Born near Lexington, Virginia, he was the son of a merchant and farmer. At the age of 10, he attended the academy of Rev. William Graham at Timber Ridge meetinghouse, which later became Washington and Lee University. At 17 years of age, he became the tutor to the family of General John Posey.
He then returned to Timber Ridge. He was influenced by the "Great Revival" and began the study of divinity, being licensed to preach October 1, 1791. and ordained as a Presbyterian on June 9, 1794. He was an itinerant pastor for seven years. He was president of Hampton Sydney College (1797-1806). In 1807 he became pastor of Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
He received the Doctor of Divinity in 1810 from the College of New Jersey and also assumed the presidency of the Union college in Georgia. He was the first president of Princeton Theological Seminary (1812-1851).
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A Practical View Of Regeneration
That human nature has lost that moral purity and perfection with which it was originally endued, is a truth which lies at the heart of the Christian religion. Indeed, we see not how it can be denied by the deist, without casting a gross reflection on the character of God. It is only from the Scriptures, however, that we learn the origin of evil. He ...read
Practical Directions How to Grow in Grace and Make Progress in Piety
When there is no growth, there is no life. We have taken it for granted that among the regenerate, at the moment of their conversion, there is a difference in the vigor of the principle of spiritual life, analogous to what we observe in the natural world; and no doubt the analogy holds as it relates to growth. As some children who were weak and sic ...read
The Lord's Day
Reason teaches that there is a God, and that he ought to be worshipped. Had man remained in his primeval state of integrity, social worship would have been an incumbent duty. But it is evident that continual worship, whatever may be the fact in heaven, would not have been required of him while on the earth. We know, from express revelation, that it ...read