Thoughts on Religious Experience

Weight 0.96 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.4 × 1.1 in
ISBN 9780851517575
Paperback ISBN


Clothbound ISBN



Paperback, Cloth-bound, eBook (ePub & Kindle), Cloth-bound & eBook (ePub & Kindle)


Conversion, General Theology, Life Issues, Salvation, Spiritual Growth

Original Pub Date


Banner Pub Date

Dec 1, 1967

Clothbound Pub Date

May 29, 2020

Paperback Page-Count


Clothbound Page-Count





‘The Christian world owes a great debt to Archibald Alexander. “Great” because he was the first professor in what would become the preeminent theological institution in the English speaking world—Princeton Seminary. The stamp of his influence on its ethos lasted for a hundred years. Here, in his Thoughts on Religious Experience we encounter the doctrinal richness, the spiritual penetration, and the wise discernment that thirty-nine successive classes of students tasted, and by which their ministries were permanently marked, and those to whom they ministered nourished and transformed. A work to be treasured indeed!’ — SINCLAIR B. FERGUSON

‘Archibald Alexander is not only a favourite for me but one who speaks as though he knows me as a friend. That is the feeling of many who read him, male and female, young and old. “He speaks to my heart”, my wife says. The experiences of a Christian, from new birth to death, are so varied and mysterious that it requires the love and wisdom of Christ to speak of them safely. No one pattern fits all. To Alexander this grace was given. Those who knew him well, such as Dr A.A.Hodge, did not think it too much to say of him: “More than any man of his generation he appeared to those who heard him to be endured with the knowledge and clothed with the authority of a prophet sent immediately from God.”‘ — IAIN H. MURRAY

Book Description

The nature of spiritual experience is probably both the most interesting and the most difficult subject in Christian literature: interesting because it concerns human life in all observable stages from childhood to death, and embraces all the emotions and behaviour possible in a man regenerated by the Holy Spirit; difficult because the adequate treatment of the subject makes immense demands upon the author. To trace sanctification and backsliding, as they appear in human consciousness, presupposes a sound biblical theology as well as a spirituality of mind and a pastoral knowledge broad enough to interpret all the varieties in type which occur.

Twenty years a pastor and preacher in a revival era, then forty years a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary (commenced in 1812 when he was the sole instructor), Archibald Alexander brought to this volume the best wisdom of his life. From his own observations, and from case histories drawn from Christian biography, he follows his subject with the hand of a master. He was, in Dr. Theodore Woolsey’s words, ‘The Shakespeare of the Christian heart’. Primarily concerned with what ought to be the impression made upon the life by scriptural truths he has nothing of the vague devotionalism of the religious mystics. But within this biblical context a wide variety of experiences passes under review, along with a consideration of the practical problems involved in an understanding of the new-birth, Christian growth, spiritual conflict and kindred subjects.

This is a lucid and fascinating volume almost alone in the field which it covers.

Table of Contents Expand ↓

Biographical Introduction vii
Preface xvii
I 1
Early religious impressions-Different results-Classes of persons least impressed-Examples of ineffectual impressions
II 10
Piety in children-Comparatively few renewed in infancy and childhood-Soul awakened in different ways-Legal conviction not a necessary part of true religion-Progress of conviction
III 21
The new birth an event of great importance-The evidences of the New birth-Diversities of experience in converts-Examples-Causes of diversity
IV 32
Causes of diversity in experience continued-Effect of temperament­-Melancholy-Advice to the friends of persons thus affected-Illustrative cases-Causes of melancholy and insanity
V 51
Effect of sympathy illustrated-Cautions in relation to this subject­-A singular case in illustration
VI 59
Erroneous views of regeneration-The correct view-The operation of faith-Exercises of mind, as illustrated in Jonathan Edwards's Narrative-The operations of faith still further explained
VII 79
Considerations on dreams, Visions, etc.-Remarkable conversion of a blind infidel from hearing the Bible read
Religious Conversation-Stress laid by some on the knowledge of the time and place of conversion-Religious experience of Halyburton
IX 107
Christian experience of R, C, -Narrative of Sir Richard Hill's experience
X 126
Imperfect sanctification-The spiritual warfare
XI 135
Narrative of G, A, S-, an Episcopal clergyman-Narrative of a young officer in the army
XII 145
The spiritual conflict-Various exhibitions of it-Evil thoughts-A case in illustration
XIII 157
Growth in grace-Signs of it-Practical directions how to grow in grace-Hindrances to it
XIV 169
Backsliding-The backslider restored
XV 178
The rich man and the poor-The various trials of believers
XVI 187
Death-bed of the believer
XVII 195
Death-bed exercises of Andrew Rivet
Death-bed exercises and speeches of Thomas Halyburton
XIX 217
Dying Experience of John Janeway, Edward Payson, and Samuel Finley
XX 228
Remarks on death-bed exercises, with several illustrative examples
XXI 237
Death-bed exercises of Richard Baxter and Thomas Scott
XXII 248
Preparation for death-The state of the soul after death
A prayer for one who feels that he is approaching the borders of another world 259
Letters to the Aged
Counsels of the Aged to the Young
Counsels to Christian Mothers
Letter to a Mourning Afflicted Widow
Letter to a Bereaved Widower

1 testimonial for Thoughts on Religious Experience

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  1. Herbert H Seigler

    “Thoughts on Religious Experience” by Archibald Alexander is a book for all ages in all ages. You will discover many of your own religious questions & experiences addressed in AA’s book, which will assist you in your earthly walk with Jesus.
    I am not sure as to why I originally purchased this book; I am assuming that the decision was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, and I am thankful. As I stated above, AA’s experiences, his commentary, and the experiences of others, expressed in this book, are a wonderful encouragement & guide; I heartily recommend it.

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