Born of Scottish-Irish parents, Alexander was converted during the Hampden-Sydney College Revival in 1787, which began when a mere handful prayed, and resulted in the conversion of over half the students!More than thirty of them entered the Presbyterian ministry, as did Alexander.
He became an itinerant evangelist in Virginia and North Carolina, though still only a teenager. These early years witnessed many revival scenes.
Successful pastorates in Charlotte County and his evident academic abilities led to his call as President of Hampden-Sydney College in 1794, a position he held for a decade.
In 1807 he was installed as Pastor of Pine Street Church in Philadelphia and was soon elected as Moderator of the Presbyterians General Assembly.
He is most well known as the first professor of the newly-formed Princeton Theological College in 1812.
His Reformed theology and passionate piety ideally suited him to the task.
Few men in his day were more intimately acquainted with the work of revival. The missionary and revival spirit which long characterized the seminary were due in no small part to the powerful influence of this godly man.
Bibliography: W. Andrew Hoffeker, Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1730-1860, 1995; Earle E. Cairns, An Endless Line of Splendour, 1986; Bruce Shelley, The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1974.