Book review: Princeton and Preaching

Are you considering the ministry or thinking about improving some of your preaching skills? Or are you simply interested in biographies of spiritual men of the past? If so, I would highly recommend this book!

Archibald Alexander was one of the most significant lecturers at Princeton Seminary and this book, written by James M. Garretson summarises Archibalds life, but inparticular his teaching.  
I found this book is very challenging as it explained the criteria necessary to meet if you want to become a minister. This book gives a very strong emphasis on piety and holiness. 

Here is Archibald’s list of very helpful, practical and challenging points:

  • You should set yourself to correct your own imperfections.
  • You should set before yourself a high standard of moral excellence.
  • No procrastination of this business, that is, piety. Diligence is necessary.
  • You should live under the habitual influence of eternal things.
  • You must be deeply sensible on your own ability to attain this excellence by your own efforts alone.
  • You must not despond or despair of success if you seem for a long time to make no progress.
  • Avail yourself of your imperfections and faults to measure your humility and caution.
  • Let the good example and spirit of other ministers enrich you, but beware of worldliness.
  • Read frequently of the memoirs of the most devoted and pious servants of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray without ceasing for aid from above.
This list may seem a bit quaint, long and full of complicated words. But despite these minor things the emphasis on piety is there. And why shouldn't we be pious?  This book does seriously challenge your state of spirituality. The book also gives tips on practical things like sermon preparation and writing. Though this book won’t be of much interest to females what you can get out of this is simple: Marry a pious minister!

After I wrote my book review on Do Hard Things, I didn't say who the author(s) were. So I won’t make that mistake again. The publishers are The Banner of Truth. I got the book for about £12. But if you come to their Youth Conference you may get a good discount! (Among other goodies!)

This book very good because it challenges young men, like myself, to step up to the plate and do something significant with our lives. Hopefully you will add this to your books-to-read list.

By Jonah McLachlan. 


  1. Who are the authors?

  2. James M. Garretson. It does actually say that in the second paragraph... =)

  3. "You must be deeply sensible on your own ability to attain this excellence by your own efforts alone."
    Maybe I'm missing something but is that a little typo... shouldn't it be:
    "You must be deeply sensible on your own inability to attain this excellence by your own efforts alone."?

    M. :)

  4. Thank you for posting this, Jonah - it sounds very interesting! I hadn't heard of the book before or, I'm afraid, Archibld Alexander. Even though I am a girl, I think it sounds a fascinating book. :-)


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