Princeton Studies for Your Reading Pleasure

From the original Log College (1723-1746) to the College of New Jersey (1746-1896) to Princeton University (1896-present) and to Princeton Theological Seminary (1812-present), we are developing here at Log College Press a wealth of resources for further study about the history and character of our namesake during its golden era. We owe a debt of gratitude to the fine folks at PTS today who have worked so diligently to make accessible so many works from their libraries through Internet Archive, from which many of the resources noted below are derived. 

Beginning, of course, with the companion books by Archibald Alexander, the first professor of Princeton Theological Seminary, Biographical Sketches of the Founder, and Principal Alumni of the Log College (Alexander wrote: "It may with truth be said, that the Log College was the germ from which proceeded the flourishing College of New Jersey") and Sermons of the Log College (not forgetting also his inaugural sermon at the College in 1812 and other related works), one may learn about the Log College founded by William Tennant, Sr. 

His son, Samuel Davies Alexander, also wrote a useful volume titled Princeton College During the Eighteenth Century (1872), and a smaller work, Princeton College, Illustrated (1877).

Samuel Miller, the second professor installed at Princeton Theological Seminary, published A Brief History of the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church at Princeton, New Jersey, Together With Its Constitution, By-Laws, &c (1837), and who can forget his famous "Able and Faithful Ministry" inauguration sermon for Archibald Alexander in 1812? It was Miller who laid out one of the primary goals of the seminary: "It is to unite, in those who shall sustain the ministerial office, religion and literature; that piety of the heart, which is the fruit only of the renewing and sanctifying grace of God, with solid learning: believing that religion without learning, or learning without religion, in the ministers of the Gospel, must ultimately prove injurious to the Church.

Thomas Murphy's The Presbytery of the Log College; or, The Cradle of the Presbyterian Church in America is another excellent place to begin by examining Princeton's roots, and growth into the 19th century. 

William Armstrong Dod wrote a History of the College of New Jersey from the period of 1746 to 1783; as did John Maclean, the college's 10th president, in two volumes, spanning 1746 to 1854. Both men are buried at Princeton Cemetery. 

John Thomas Duffield published The Princeton Pulpit in 1852, which is a fine collection of notable Princeton sermons. Charles Hodge's Princeton Sermons are available to read here, as is B.B. Warfield's inaugural address at Princeton. There is also a wonderful compilation of Princeton Sermons published in 1893. We have William Henry Green's inaugural discourse, as well as the celebration of the 50th anniversary of his tenure on the faculty of Princeton, which coincided with the sesquicentennial of the college (1896).

John DeWitt, an alumni from the Class of 1861, published Princeton College Administrations in the Nineteenth Century as well as The Planting of Princeton College, both in 1897.

Charles Adamson Salmond, another Princeton alumni, wrote the most remarkable work Princetoniana: Charles & A.A. Hodge: With Class and Table Talk of Hodge the Younger, from the perspective of "a Scottish Princetonian." 

Our library is growing. If this topic interests you, please click on the author links above. We have catalogued many more secondary resources about Princeton here. We are thankful for the "able and faithful ministry" of the Princeton men, and the books we have identified here are a great way to introduce yourself to them. 

The Story of the Original Log College

Founded c. 1726, by William Tennent, Sr., (1673-1746), who saw the great for theological training in America, the story of the original Log College, which was the antecedent to the College of New Jersey / Princeton University, and the Log College Men, is a story that we think our readers will enjoy as much as we do here at Log College Press. It was the first seminary to serve Presbyterians in North America, and its alumni played important roles in the Great Awakening, the Old Side-New Side Controversy, and in the theological training of ministers for generations. The story in all its branches is bigger than can be told here, but we have the resources to help our readers dig further into it themselves.

For the first telling of this story, we look to Archibald Alexander, whose Biographical Sketches of the Founder, and Principal Alumni of the Log College, explains how the Log College was founded, and outlines the lives of the Log College Men, men such as William Tennent, Jr., Gilbert Tennent, and Samuel Davies, among others . Of these ministers, Alexander said it well: "These men may be said to have lived fast. They did much for their Lord in a short time. Being burning as well as shining lights, they were themselves consumed, while they gave light to others. Oh, that a race of ministers, like-minded, burning with a consuming zeal, might be raised up among us!" For more specimens of the writings of these Log College Men, see also, his Sermons and Essays of the Tennents and Their Contemporaries, which was published posthumously by S.D. Alexander, and has since come to be known as Sermons of the Log College

For another valuable resource, turn to Thomas Murphy's The Presbytery of the Log College; or, The Cradle of the Presbyterian Church in America. Among the many details of the story to be gleaned here is a tribute to Catharine Tennent, née Kennedy, who Murphy describes as "the real founder of the Log College." Murphy, like Catharine, came from Ireland (as indeed did Francis Makemie, the first Presbyterian minister in America), and like her as well embraced the Presbyterian cause in America. The support she gave to the cause is worthy of remembrance. The scope of the Log College story first told by Alexander is greatly expanded in Murphy's work. 

These three volumes combine to tell a story not merely of a theological school derisively termed "the Log College," but also of men who sacrificed much and gave of themselves to the ministry of the Lord in colonial America, on whose shoulders we stand today. 

What Does a 19th Century Presbyterian Pastor Have to Say About the Relationship Between Pastors and Their Flocks?

We have highlighted Thomas Murphy (1823-1900)'s important work on Pastoral Theology (1877) previously, but additionally, he has written separately on Duties of Church Members to the Church (1878) and People and Pastor: Duties Involved in the Important Relation (1887). Both of these works are filled with practical wisdom and eminently relevant today within the life of any congregation. For a sampling of the topics considered, here is a list of the duties of church members discussed, followed by a list of the relationship aspects between pastors and their flock. 

Duties of Church Members: 

  • To pray for the Church;
  • To attend Church;
  • To support the Church; 
  • To draw others to the Church;
  • To study the peace of the Church;
  • To guard the good name of the Church;
  • To stand by the Pastor of the Church;
  • To contribute to the benevolent objects of the Church;
  • To adopt some branch of Christian work; and
  • To help in the Sabbath-school of the Church.

Topics involved in the important relationship between Pastor and the People include: 

  • "Electing a Pastor"
  • "Love Your Own Church"
  • "Hearing and Criticising the Sermon"
  • "Receiving the Pastor's Visits"
  • "Bearing Evil Reports to the Pastor"
  • "Guarding the Pastor's TIme"
  • "Working With the Pastor"
  • "Aiding the Pastor by Attending Church"
  • "Drawing Non-Attendants to Church"
  • "Minor Duties"
  • "Spoiling a Pastor"
  • "Guarding the Pastor's Good Name"
  • "Pastor's Salary" 
  • "Prayer for the Pastor"

    From an experienced 19th century Presbyterian pastor, there are many practical lessons here that are worth considering today. Consider downloading these books for further study. 

Are you looking for 19th century commentaries on the book of Revelation? Here are three.

Our Presbyterian forefathers were not afraid to tackle one of the hardest books in the New Testament: the Book of Revelation. We've uploaded three commentaries on the book to the Log College Press website:

1. Alexander McLeod, Lectures Upon the Principal Prophecies of Revelation (1814)

2. Thomas Murphy, The Message to the Seven Churches of Asia (1895)

3. James Beverlin Ramsey, The Spiritual Kingdom: An Exposition of Revelation 1-11 (1873)

Though not full commentaries as we know them today, these books will give you a taste for how the 19th century viewed the book of Revelation. Happy historical hermeneutical treasure hunting!

How should the pastor spend his time in the study? Read chapter 3 of Thomas Murphy's Pastoral Theology

Thomas Murphy's Pastoral Theology, written in 1877, is a book of which most Presbyterian pastors are utterly unaware. And yet it is chock full of rich spiritual counsel for the labors of pastoral ministry. Chapters 2 and 3 are worth the price of the book, as this summary proves: "There are two places where, unseen by the world, the pastor receives strength and equipment for that momentous work to which he has been ordained; they are the closet and the study. We place them in the order of their relative importance first the closet, then the study. First the cultivation of the heart, then the cultivation of the head, is the rule of life from which the minister of the gospel ought never to depart" (Pastoral Theology, 91). If you have never heard of this book, take time to download it today. 

(Unfortunately, we have not been able to find a picture of Thomas Murphy - if anyone knows of one, please let us know!)