James Waddell Alexander (1804–1859) was the eldest son of the legendary Archibald Alexander, first professor at Princeton Seminary. James himself was a formidable force for Christ’s kingdom. He pastored the famous Duane Street Presbyterian Church in New York City and was eventually appointed Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government at Princeton.
He was an enthusiastic proponent of and participant in revival. But not the kind Charles Finney advocated—a spiritual stirring based on human engineering. Alexander once wrote about the necessary conditions for true revival. He said,
For my own part, I believe that revivals depend not so much, as is thought, upon phases of doctrine, or petty arrangements, as upon the ardent piety and zealous labours of humble Christianity, apart from all these things.
Do you want to see a revival in your ministry? Alexander would say pursue an ordinary ministry. Love Christ enough to prize holiness. Love Christ enough to proclaim Him zealously in every place. Leave the rest to our Sovereign King.