Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Friday, October 24, 2014

24 October 1851 A.D. Funeral of Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) Archibald Alexander, Princeton Seminary. Missionary Work in Western Africa: Fruit.

24 October 1851 A.D. Funeral of Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) Archibald Alexander, Princeton Seminary.  Missionary Work in Western Africa:  Fruit.

The funeral for the esteemed Pastor, Professor, Theologian, Exegete and Seminary President of Princeton Seminary was held on 24 October 1851 A.D.  It was held at First Presbyterian Church, Princeton, NJ. The funeral procession passed in front of Nassau Hall before following Witherspoon Street to the cemetery.

A very young man, age 16, a college student, was on hand and witnessed the event.  His name was Robert Hamill Nassau.  He had wanted to be a soldier.  He was moved by the ministry, reports and the funeral.  Christ’s governing and redeeming hand was on the lad’s life through the ordinary means of God’s grace.

He graduated from the college at age 19 and entered Princeton Seminary.  He was industrious.

  • On Sundays, Mr. Nassau taught Sunday School at the town’s black Presbyterian Church. 
  • During his first summer after year 1 in seminary, he asked the Presbyterian Board of Publications for the toughest job available.  He was assigned a colporteur’s job, that is, distributing Bibles and Christian literature in Missouri and Kansas.
  • During his second summer after year 2 in the seminary, he was assigned as a missionary to boatmen on the Pennsylvania Canal.

He graduated in 1859.  He again asked the Presbyterian Board for the tough job.  He was appointed to the Corsica mission in present-day Equitorial Guinea on the coast of Western Africa. But, he sought more training for his mission.

In 1861, he received his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  At this point, we wonder if Mr. Nassau had any connection with the famous Rev. Dr. Boardman of Tenth Presbyterian, Philadelphia, an old school Presbyterian who also was a trustee of Princeton Seminary, but we digress. Mr. or now Dr. Nassau was ordained in 1861 as well.

By September 1861, Dr. Nassau was in Corsica.  He spent 45 years of faithful ministry there. He established several missions.  He mastered several African dialects. He also translated the OT and NT into Benga, a dialect of Bantu. 

Dr. Nassau, affected by the Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander’s funeral and influenced under the teaching ministry of the Rev. Dr. Charles Hodge, passed Christ’s Word and Gospel to 100s or more in Western Africa.

A rather ruder sort suggests that Reformed Churchmen have little interest in evangelism or missions.  However, to the degree that the charge is justified and in some places it is justified, let it be noted that evangelism and missions, in fact, is integral to Reformed witness.  For example, French Huguenots took their faith with them as they experienced the tumults and repressions of faith.  Dr. Nassau, Dr. Alexander, and Dr. Hodge, though dead, speak anew and afresh.


Calhoun. Princeton Seminary.

Hornerk, Norman A. “Nassau, Robert Hamill.” BDCM. 486-7.

Nichols, Robert Hastings. “Nassau, Robert Hamill.” DAB. 13: 390-1.

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