A candle bright and brief: Abraham Rezeau Brown

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They say that the candle that burns brightest, burns half as long. Church history has many examples to offer in support of this truism. For example, consider the following, to name a few:

  • Lady Jane Grey, English Queen (1536/1537 - 1554, age 16/17)

  • Andrew Gray, Scottish Puritan (1634 – 1656, age 22)

  • Patrick Hamilton, Scottish Reformer (1503 – 1528, age 24)

  • James Renwick, Scottish Covenanter (1662 – 1688, age 26)

  • Jim Elliot, American Missionary (1927 – 1956, age 29)

  • Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Scottish Presbyterian (1813 – 1843, age 29)

  • David Brainerd, American Presbyterian Missionary (1718 – 1747, age 29)  

  • Christopher Love, English Presbyterian (1618 – 1651, age 33)

  • James Durham, Scottish Presbyterian (1622 – 1658, age 36)

There is another name to add to this distinguished list, one that is less well-known, but equally as inspirational as the names above in personal piety and devotion to Christ — Abraham Rezeau Brown (1808-1833, age 24). The New Jersey-born eldest son of Isaac Van Arsdale Brown, and friend of James Brainerd Taylor, Rezeau, as he was known, was a gifted student who was brought up in his father’s academy (originally known as Maidenhead Academy, now Lawrenceville School), and was clearly gifted early in life. His longtime “particular friend” (1830 letter to John Hall) and biographer, James Waddel Alexander, wrote that he joined the junior class at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) at age 15 and graduated two years later with the highest literary honors. Rezeau was always of a “weak” and frail constitution, and it was poor health that took him to his Savior at the tender of age of 24. But as Alexander wrote, quoting John Newton, “Tell me not how he died, but how he lived.” And thus we shall endeavor here to do so.

It is Rezeau himself, through manuscripts found after his death, who tells us that he was not a devout Christian early on, but something remarkable happened.

There has, no doubt, happened a great change in my character, which I date in March 1S27. I was before that a mere worldling, careless of eternity, thoughtless of my own eternal interests, and of those around me, a profane swearer. Sabbath breaker, and every thing else that is wicked; though only to that degree which was quite consistent with a decent exterior, and what were considered quite regular and moral habits in a young man. At the time mentioned, I was led in a most sudden and surprising way, when I was alone one evening, to look upon myself as a deeply depraved and guilty sinner, and to experience, in a lively manner, the feeling of my desert of hell. But in the course of a few days, I was enabled, as I thought, to cast myself on the Lord Jesus Christ as my Redeemer, and I felt through him a sweet sense of forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

After his conversion, although earlier inclined to the field of medicine, more and more he felt a strong inner call to the ministry. He pursued the study of languages (Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, French, German) and ministerial studies at Yale and Princeton. He was naturally inclined to languages but also hoped to serve the gospel in foreign lands. He served from 1828 to 1831 as a tutor at Princeton Theological Seminary, and was licensed to preach the gospel in April, 1831. He served as stated supply for three different congregations located around Morgantown, Virginia (now West Virginia) from October 1831 to June 1832. The harsh winter and constant travel wore him down and he was recalled to Princeton and Trenton, New Jersey, where he continued to preach. He then joined J.W. Alexander as assistant editor of The Presbyterian in Philadelphia. He was making plans to take a trip to Europe in March 1833, when he became ill. It was an illness from which he never recovered, and on September 10, 1833, he entered the presence of his Lord. His funeral sermon was preached by J.W. Alexander from Revelation 22:3-5.

It was after that life-changing work of the Spirit in his soul in 1827 that Rezeau directed all of his energy and limited strength to this one goal - as Alexander wrote: “All his studies had this object; and it is worthy of remark, that he appeared always to study for God.” Notes found in his private memorandum book bear this out. After penning considerations on the right understanding of the call to the ministry, we read these lines written to summarize his planned course of study.

To this end, I would attend,

I. To the affairs of my soul.
II. To the affairs of my body.
III. To the affairs of my mind.
1. 1. To be much engaged in reading the Bible, in meditating and in prayer.
2. To improve opportunities of Christian intercourse.
3. To cultivate a Christian temper, and do every thing as conscious that the eye of God is directed to me, as well as the eye of the world.
4. To gain proper views of duty, and to act up to my convictions.
II. 1. To take regular exercise, morning and evening.
2. To be moderate in eating, &c.
3. To ‘keep my body under.’
III. In regard to objects of study.
1. The Bible.
2. Theology, as a science.
3. Books to aid the intellect, by their power of thought or some effective quality.
B. In regard to method,
1. Read twice every good book.
2. Read carefully, not caring so much to finish the volume as to gain knowledge.
3. Read pen in hand, noting striking thoughts, and recording such as throw light on points not hitherto understood.
C. In regard to writing. I wish to gain some facility as well as correctness in my composition for the pulpit and the press.
1. Analyses of Sermons.
2. Sermons.
3. Presbyterial Exercises.
4. Notes on remaining topics in Didactic Theology.

Another extract from his memorandum book gives witness to his experience in personal piety.

Monday, January 2, 1832. Another year is gone! Let me be excited by the remembrance of my failures in duty, sins, waste of time, slow advancement in piety and knowledge — let me be stimulated to future diligence in every good thing.

I would, in dependence on divine aid, this morning resolve,

1. To be more diligent in the pursuit of piety. And as I have most failed by the neglect of devotional reading of the scriptures, by wandering thoughts in prayer, and by permitting unholy thoughts and tempers to gain admission to my mind, I would resolve to pay special attention to these things.

2. I resolve to be more faithful in every public and private duty of the ministry. Especially in bearing such an exterior as to exhibit the influence, and commending the nature of religion; and in private and public admonition.

3. I resolve to attempt to do some good to some individual every day.

4. I resolve to study the Bible more than I have done, both critically and practically.

5. I resolve to press forward towards perfection, as much as possible here below; or in other words, to grow in grace.

His correspondence also bears witness to his faith: Writing to a relative who had just become a communicant church member he gives this counsel, based on personal experience:

In regard to personal piety, I find (as you will do) that prayer is the chief means of growth. Days devoted to prayer are very profitable; seasons of fasting and humiliation equally so. To pray much and yet be a cold Christian, is an anomaly I have never seen in the dealings of God with his church. The scriptures should take up much of your attention. Religious biography, and other religious books, are also worthy of regard and perusal. There is no royal road to manhood in Christ Jesus: we must grow by degrees, which will be greater or less in proportion to our diligence in the use of the means. Read Ephesians vi. 10—18. Philippians ill. 12—14. Romans xii. 1 —21. for some inspired directions.

We have the account of his private prayer dated July 26, 1832, which was for him a day of fasting and humiliation. And we have a meditation he wrote also in the summer of 1832 in which he critically evaluated the state of his soul. These personal devotional writings are nearly sermons, deeply humbling and convicting to read. They are too long to quote here, but the reader is encouraged (and forewarned!) to read them in J.W. Alexander’s memoir, which appeared in the October 1834 Biblical Repertory and Theological Review here, which is the source for most of this biographical record (a memoir which is also supplemented with letters from Isaac Van Arsdale Brown, Samuel Miller and Archibald Alexander). We have a few writings and translated works by Rezeau on his own page here. His story can only be briefly told in this post, but it is a story worth knowing. His candle burned brightly and briefly, but his memory is blessed forever.

A cause and a cure for misery: J.W. Alexander

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In a precious volume titled Consolation, consisting of discourses addressed to the suffering people of God, James W. Alexander tells us about the main ingredient that is needed to make life miserable. And then, thankfully, he explains what is needed to set things right.

Spiritual Quiet is favoured by Submission.

The first law of religion is submission. “Thy will be done;” and where it does not exist there is no piety, and just as truly there is no tranquillity. What a hideous sight to see a human creature in full rebellion against God’s providence; repining at his allotments; fighting against his dispensations, and cursing his judgments! But it is not more sinful than it is wretched; and hell is not only wickedness, but woe: the wickedness makes the woe, or rather is the woe. The true recipe for miserable existence is this: Quarrel with Providence. Even in the smaller measures of this temper there is enough to prevent tranquillity. And hence, when God means to make us happy, he teaches us submission — a resignation of every thing into his hands, and an acknowledgment that whatsoever He does is wisest and best. O how sweetly even afflictions fall when there is such a temper to receive them! “Shall we receive good at the hands of the Lord’, and shall we not receive evil?” “Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” Such dispositions tend to stillness of soul; and even amidst chastisement there is internal quiet.

Happy Birthday to J.W. Alexander!

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James Waddel Alexander, the son of Archibald Alexander, was born on March 13, 1804 in Louisa County, Virginia. After graduating from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) and studying at the Theological Seminary, he was licensed to preach in 1825 by the Presbytery of New Brunswick. After a period of time under the care of his uncle and mentor Dr. John Holt Rice, he was soon sent to take up a pastorate at Charlotte County, Virginia, beginning in May 1826. He was finally ordained on March 3, 1827 and installed as the pastor of Charlotte Court-House Church. It was during this period of his life that a brief notice appears in his letters to his friend John Hall that stood out to this writer.

On July 3, 1827, in response to a query from Hall, Alexander had this to say:

Ques. 2. What have you written?

  1. Letters.

  2. A few pieces for Rice’s Magazine, signed Atlanticus, Quis, M. R—n, and one anonymous intituled “The Minister of Christ.”

The magazine in question is The Virginia Evangelical and Literary Magazine, which was edited by John Holt Rice. It is a magazine for which many of the contributors assumed pseudonyms, including Rice himself (“Rusticus”). Also, because of his youth and relative inexperience in the ministry, it is not surprising that the contributions Alexander alludes to were published without his name attached. In any case, they are not referenced in Samuel Davies Alexander’s Catalogue of the Writings of the Alexander Family, nor are they mentioned in the more recent study of Alexander’s life and ministry by James M. Garretson (although Garretson mentions J.W. Alexander’s later use of the pseudonym “Charles Quill”).

Some of these anonymous contributions were identified by this writer recently after review of the 1827 volume of the magazine, and they have now been added to Log College Press here.

  • “Importance of Hebrew Literature” - “Atlanticus”

  • “Plan for Collecting Historical Records” - “Quis?”

  • “The Minister of Christ Addressed to a Young Preacher of the Gospel” - Anonymous (in three parts)

Each of these writings reveals interesting insights into the man who would later become the experienced minister whose posthumously-published Thoughts on Preaching (edited by S.D. Alexander) would mark a major contribution to the study of homiletics. They are short reads, but represent perhaps the earliest published writings by J.W. Alexander. Take time to look them over (pardoning the less-than ideal quality of the photos) today as we remember Alexander on his birthday.

A Day in the Life of a Young Rural 19th Century Pastor - J.W. Alexander

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In 1827, James Waddel Alexander was a young Presbyterian minister in the midst of his first pastorate at the Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, Virginia. In a July 3, 1827 letter in which he answered John Hall’s question about how he spent his time, we are given a wonderful snapshot into his life at this time:

He is my plan for days which I spend at home, not always adhered to. Rise at 4; shower-bath; dress; shave; a walk or exercise in the garden; family prayers at 6; breakfast 1/4 before 7; read Scriptures; a lesson in Hebrew; Greek Testament in course with commentaries; cursory reading of Greek Testament; English Bible; preparation for sermons; theology; German; I have luncheon at 11, dinner at 2 1/2; after dinner I expatiate, read every thing,* ride, walk, lie on the grass, &c.; tea at 7; family worship at 8; bed at 9.

* Earlier in the letter he describes reading “the works of Rapin, Pascal, De la Houssaye, in French; Mastricht, Mark, Witsius, in modern Latin; and Calvin, Dwight, and McDowell, in modern English.”

There are so many spiritual and other insights to be gleaned from reading the Forty Years’ Familiar Letters of James Waddel Alexander, D.D., edited by his correspondent, John Hall. We not only learn about the man but we see snapshots of life in his day that reveal glimpses of an America that has changed immensely in two centuries. The time period covered by these letters is 1819 (200 years ago exactly) to 1859. Alexander went on to other pastorates and other more urban settings. But this sample of the time he spent in rural central Virginia is a special window into a time in his life and a time in America’s past that is perhaps not to be repeated, making his letters even more of a treasure.

Give attendance to reading the Scriptures: J.W. Alexander & Thomas Murphy

Wise words to pastors especially to improve their preaching, but also to all Christians, from James W. Alexander (Thoughts on Preaching) and repeated by Thomas Murphy as well (“Incessant Study of the Bible,” Pastoral Theology):

§ 43. Study of the Scripture.— Constant perusal and re-perusal of Scripture is the great preparation for preaching. You get good even when you know it not. This is one of the most observable differences between old and young theologians. "Give attendance to reading."

And a further thought on this matter:

The liveliest preachers are those who are most familiar with the Bible, without note or comment ; and we frequently find them among men who have had no education better than that of the common school. It was this which gave such animation to the vivid books and discourses of the Puritans. As there is no poetry so rich and bold as that of the Bible, so he who daily makes this his study, will even on human principles be awakened, and acquire a striking manner of conveying his thoughts. The sacred books are full of fact, example, and illustration, which with copiousness and variety will cluster around the truths which the man of God derives from the same source. One preacher gives us naked heads of theology; they are true, Scriptural, and important, but they are uninteresting, especially when reiterated for the thousandth time in the same naked manner. Another gives us the same truths, but each of them brings in its train a retinue of Scriptural example, history, a figure by way of illustration; and a variety hence arises which is perpetually becoming richer as the preacher goes more deeply into the mine of Scripture. There are some great preachers who, like Whitefield, do not appear to bestow great labour on the preparation of particular discourses; but it may be observed, that these are always persons whose life is a study of the Word. Each sermon is an outflowing from a fountain which is constantly full. The Bible is, after all, the one book of the preacher. He who is most familiar with it, will become most like it; and this in respect to every one of its wonderful qualities; and will bring forth from his treasury things new and old.

The Great Secret of True Comfort - Archibald Alexander

When Archibald Alexander first published his devotional classic Thoughts on Religious Experience in 1841, it did not contain the Appendix that was first added to the 1844 edition which contains his “Letters to the Aged.”

It is difficult to ascertain for sure what led to the creation of those Letters to the Aged, but one possible explanation for their genesis might lie in a letter written by his son, James Waddel Alexander, to John Hall, dated August 10, 1837, in which J.W. makes this intriguing suggestion: "A book ought to be written with this title: 'The Aged Christian's Book: printed in large type for the convenience of old persons.' It should be in the largest character attainable. Such topics as these: The Trials of Old Age; The Temptations of Old Age; The Duties of Old Age; The Consolations of Old Age, &c, &c. It should be a large book, with little matter in it. Why has no Tract Society thought of such a thing? (J.W. Alexander, Forty Years' Familiar Letters, Vol. 1, p. 255; see also James M. Garretson, Thoughts on Preaching & Pastoral Ministry, p. 170).” This is an almost-perfect description of what came to be known a few years later as Alexander’s “Letters to the Aged” (republished by Log College Press under the title Aging in Grace: Letters to Those in the Autumn of Life, 2018).

Regardless of the particular origin of these “Letters to the Aged,” we have an early example of the same from the pen of Archibald Alexander as recorded by J.W. in the biography he wrote of his father. According to J.W., this is “the only letter to his aged and declining mother, which is known to be in existence” (dated May 25, 1823, from Princeton, New Jersey; see J.W. Alexander, Life of Archibald Alexander, pp. 402-404).

My Dear Mother: —

When I last saw you, it was very doubtful whether you would ever rise again from the bed to which you were confined. Indeed, considering your great age, it was not to be expected that you should entirely recover your usual health. I was much gratified to find that in the near prospect of eternity, your faith did not fail, but that you could look death in the face without dismay, and felt willing, if it were the will of God, to depart from this world of sorrow and disappointment. But it has pleased your Heavenly Father to continue you a little longer in the world. I regret to learn that you have endured much pain from a disease of your eyes, and that you have been less comfortable than formerly. Bodily affliction you must expect to endure as long as you continue in the world. 'The days of our years are three-score years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be four-score years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.' But while your Heavenly Father continues you in this troublesome world, he will, I trust, enable you to be resigned and contented and patient under the manifold afflictions which are incident to old age.

The great secret of true comfort lies in a single word, TRUST. Cast your burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain them. If your evidences of being in the favour of God are obscured, if you are doubtful of your acceptance with him, still go directly to him by faith; that is, trust in his mercy and in Christ's merits. Rely simply on his word of promise. Be not afraid to exercise confidence. There can be no deception in depending entirely on the Word of God. It is not presumption to trust in him when he has commanded us to do so. We dishonour him by our fearfulness and want of confidence. We thus call in question his faithfulness and his goodness. Whether your mind is comfortable or distressed, flee for refuge to the outstretched wings of his protection and mercy. There is all fulness in him; there is all willingness to bestow what we need. He says, 'My grace is sufficient for thee. My strength is made perfect in weakness. As thy day is so shall thy strength be. I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' Be not afraid of the pangs of death. Be not afraid that your Redeemer will then be afar off. Grace to die comfortably is not commonly given until the trial comes. Listen not to the tempter, when he endeavours to shake your faith, and destroy your comfort. Resist him, and he will flee from you. If you feel that you can trust your soul willingly and wholly to the hands of Christ, relying entirely on his merits; if you feel that you hate sin, and earnestly long to be delivered from its defilement; if you are willing to submit to the will of God, however much he may afflict you; then be not discouraged. These are not the marks of an enemy, but of a friend. My sincere prayer is, that your sun may set in serenity; that your latter end may be like that of the righteous; and that your remaining days, by the blessing of God's providence and grace, may be rendered tolerable and even comfortable.

It is not probable that we shall ever meet again in this world; and yet, as you have already seen one of your children go before you, you may possibly live to witness the departure of more of us. I feel that old age is creeping upon me. Whoever goes first, the rest must soon follow. May we all be ready! And may we all meet around the throne of God, where there is no separation for ever and ever! Amen!

His mother was Agnes Ann Reid Alexander (1740-1825), and her earthly remains are buried with her husband at the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.

Archibald Alexander clearly understood what it was like to be in the “autumn of life,” with its particular physical and spiritual challenges and opportunities, and the comfort and encouragement that is needed at this stage of life. This is why Log College Press chose to republish his worthy “Letters to the Aged” as Aging in Grace: Letters to Those in the Autumn of Life. Be sure to order your copy here, and consider purchasing extra copies for your pastor or loved ones.

J.W. Alexander: Remember to pray for your pastor

James Waddel Alexander reminds us what a privilege it is to lift our pastors before the heavenly throne to receive grace and blessing from above upon the ministry of Christ’s word:

The primary advantage of family-prayer to the church, is that it is answered. It is no small thing for any congregation to have daily cries for God's blessings on it ascending from a hundred firesides. What a spring of refreshment to a pastor! The family-devotions of praying Kidderminster, no doubt, made [Richard] Baxter a better minister, and a happier man; and it is possible that we are reaping the fruits of them, in his "Saints' Rest," and "Dying Thoughts." We have all heard of the preacher who told his flock that he had "lost his prayer-book," meaning their prayers; as also that good quaint saying of the last age, "A praying people makes a preaching minister." Such aid has been well compared to that of Aaron and Hur. Faithful and affectionate Christians never fail to remember their spiritual guide in their household supplications. (Thoughts on Family Worship, pp. 148-149)

A Word on Patience from J.W. Alexander

The life of a Christian is one of tribulation and suffering in this vale of tears. Yet, the joy of the Spirit of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). And therefore, we may “glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3).

James W. Alexander wrote a volume in 1852 titled simply Patience that is designed to help Christians better understand this patience to which we are called in the midst of tribulation. How is it that patience may have her perfect work (James 1:4, the verse upon which Alexander’s work is based)? Here is a good word from a wise pastor on what Christian patience really is, which we would all do well to consider.

In one view the suffering life of many Christians, and those the best, is hard to understand, for it seems at war not only with God's fatherly goodness, but with his gracious covenant. (Read Jer. xii. 12, and Psa. lxxiii.) But we must never lose our hold of two cardinal pillars, the very Jachin and Boaz of our temple: (1) that happiness in this world is not the chief good; the affirming of which is the radical error of all the common public economy, and much of the philanthropy of the day; and (2) that the education, or discipline, or training, or perfecting of a soul is so great and divine a work, that it is worth a lifetime of distress; so that no redeemed saint will look back on the longest sufferings of the present life as more than the scarcely perceptible moment before an eternity of holy delight. Angels look down and see poor sin-wounded creatures fighting against their chief medicine. As has been said, God does not afflict nor grieve the children of men "willingly," arbitrarily, out of any love to see them suffer, or any indifference to their sorrows; but with a wise and definite end, which will be revealed hereafter. The entire process of Christian endurance, pain-bearing, or patience, from beginning to end, in all its connection of parts, is more deeply interesting to one who could read it, than any drama ever enacted on the stage. So it will one day appear, when not only the particular sufferer, but all the company of God's elect in heaven, shall look back and see many a mystery of providence resolved. They will rise to higher admiration of the divine plan, when they shall be instructed why Joseph had his youth oppressed by cruelty, exile and imprisonment; why David was a persecuted fugitive, and a bereaved father; why the apostles were as sheep appointed to the slaughter; why the early Christians were mowed down by the sword; and why to this day they that will live godly suffer persecution. They will recall ten thousand cases, (for eternity has neither limits nor weariness,) in which some of the best of men have lain under pangs, or in languishing from sore diseases; or journeyed through a valley of gloom and depression; or been marks for arrows from the bow of wicked fellow-creatures, and more malignant demons; and why others, with hearts sickened by hope deferred, waited years and almost lifetimes without seeing the accomplishment of their strongest desires. When these several circles are complete, and every covering removed, and God's light thrown on dark places of the spiritual temple, it will appear, that this very divine product, to wit, holy patience, has been as dear to the great Architect of the Church, as is the costliest sculpture to the most devoted enthusiast in art. And therefore we are exhorted not merely to have patience, but to let patience have her perfect work.

The Providence of God is Our Consolation

Some words of wisdom from two Princeton men on how a right understanding of and faith in the Providence of God is a great comfort to us amidst the troubles and trials of our daily pilgrimage in this earth.

“A firm faith in the universal providence of God is the solution of all earthy troubles. It is almost equally true that a clear and full apprehension of the universal providence of God is the solution of most theological problems.” — B.B. Warfield, “God’s Providence Over All” in Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 1, p. 111

*******

”Men are prone to think of God, says the excellent Melancthon, as of a shipbuilder, who, when he has completed his vessel, launches and leaves it. In opposition to this error of the Epicureans and Stoics, we are to be reminded that God never abandons his work, but is as much with it the last day as the first. This governing presence of God with all his creatures and all their actions, is called Providence, from a Latin word which means to see beforehand….

The view which we here take of Providence, regards the universe of mind and matter, not as a machine, wound up and left to run its career of centuries, without the Maker’s care, but as requiring and receiving at every moment his mighty influence, a stream of power perpetually proceeding from the Godhead. The very essence of God is, therefore, everlastingly present with every atom and every spirit. This is exactly accordant to those places in Scripture where God is spoken of as the universal cause, and is said to do those things which are done, secondarily, by creatures. Ps. 104:8, 30. And to this is referred the supporting of life in the most insignificant birds. Matt. 10:29. Enough has been said in regard to this primary acting of divine Providence, in preserving all things. How God does this it would be madness for us to inquire. The simplicity of the divine acts causes them to elude our faculties. He wills it, and that is enough; just as at the beginning he willed creation. What we chiefly need is to bear this in mind, with daily faith, awe, and thankfulness. Such is God’s preserving of the creature, as a part of Providence….

It is our privilege, not only to hope in Providence, with regard to the lesser affairs of life, but to recognize it — to see God’s hand in our daily walk, with wonder and love. ‘They that observe providences, shall have providences to observe.’ The simple faith of the patriarchs saw God’s hand in every thing that befell them; and so might we. I appeal to aged and observant Christians, whether the happiest persons they ever knew, have not been those who were most ready to eye God in all the events of life: in health and sickness, in business, and in family occurrences. Let us hope in Providence. Let us hope mightily. ‘But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.’ Do days look dark? O remember, every cloud is governed by the God of truth and the God of power. The house in which you dwell is not without a master.” — James Waddel Alexander, “The Providence of God a Ground of Consolation” in Consolation, pp. 37, 40-41, 54-55

James Waddel Alexander on Earnest Preaching

"The reason why we have so little good preaching is that we have so little piety. To be eloquent one must be in earnest; he must not only act as if he were in earnest, or try to be in earnest, but be in earnest, or he cannot be effective. We have loud and vehement, we have smooth and graceful, we have splendid and elaborate preaching, but very little that is earnest. One man who so feels for the souls of his hearers as to be ready to weep over them, will assuredly make himself felt. This is what makes [preaching] effective; he really feels what he says."

-- Thoughts on Preaching, page 6.