Archibald Alexander (1771-1851) was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia and raised in a godly home and educated at Liberty Hall Academy from the age of ten. At seventeen, he became a tutor in the family of General John Posey but resumed his former studies a few months later. Converted in 1789, he was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in 1791. He served for seven years as an itinerant pastor in Charlotte and Prince Edward counties. In 1796, he became President of Hampden-Sydney College, but resigned in 1801 and visited England and New York. During that time, he met and married Janetta, the daughter of the celebrated blind preacher, Dr. Waddel. Immediately after he resumed his position at Hampden-Sydney college, but retired due to unrest among the students.
In 1807, Alexander accepted a call to Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia. The College of New Jersey conferred on him the degree of DD in 1810, and in the same year he was elected president of Union College in Georgia, a fact which remained unknown even to his family until after his death.
Alexander was unanimously chosen as the leading professor of Princeton Theological Seminary on its organisation in 1812. He faithfully laboured there for forty years, until his death in 1851. He was always busy and hardly an edition of the Princeton Review appeared without an article from him between 1829-1850. With the exception of occasional sermons and contributions to periodicals, he did not publish anything until he was 52 years old. His first work was Outlines of the Evidences of Christianity (1823), followed by many other works. During his time at Princeton, he earned a reputation as an outstanding educator and became renowned for his understanding of the nature and effects of biblical piety.