Proudfit, Alexander Moncrief

Proudfit, Alexander Moncrief D.D., an American divine of much celebrity, was born at Pequa, Pa., in 1770, and was educated at Columbia College, New York (class of 1792). He entered the ministry of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and was made pastor of the congregation at Salem, N. Y., in 1795, where he lived until 1835, when he became agent of the American Colonization Society. He resigned that post in 1842, and died in 1843. He published: Discourses on the Ruin and Recovery of Man (Salem, 1806, 12mo; again, 1813, 12mo): — Discourses on the Leading Doctrines and Duties of Christianity (1815, 4 vols. 12mo): — a work on the Parables (1820, 12mo): — and a number of single Sermons, Tracts, etc. (1798-1836). See Memoir of the late A. M. Proudfit, D.D., etc., by John Forsyth, D.D., minister of the Union Church. Newburgh, N. Y. (12mo), reviewed in the Meth. Quar. Rev. 6:358, by R. W. Dickinson; Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 9:67; Memorial Volumne A. B. C. F. iM. 1862, p. 114; Pincet. Rev. Oct. 1846, p. 609. Proudfit, John Wilbur, D.D., son of the preceding, was born at Salem, N.Y., Sept. 22, 1803, graduated at Union College in 1821, and at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1826. After a brief pastorate at Newburyport, Mass., he was elected professor of ancient languages in the University of the City of New York, where he remained from 1833 until 1838. He then spent some time in Europe. and in 1841 accepted the professorship of Latin and Greek literature in Rutgers College. In 1854 his chair was confined to Greek literature alone. He resigned in 1861, and transferred his ecclesiastical relation in 1864 to the Presbyterian Church. After a second protracted residence in Europe, he enlisted in the service of his country, and during the war was an exceedingly devoted and useful chaplain to the soldiers of the U.S. Army, being located on Bedloe's Island, in New York Harbor. After his return from the war he lived in New York City. He was a sincere and devout believer in the religion which he preached. His daily walk seemed to be "close with God," until, at last, "God took him." He died of pneumonia, March 9, 1870, after a very short illness, perfectly submissive to the will of the Lord and happy in the prospect of heaven. Dr. Proudfit was an eminent classical scholar and divine. His mind was highly cultivated, his tastes were refined, and his public life was distinguished by his devotion to literary and theological pursuits. He was a frequent contributor to religious newspapers, and to the Princeton Review and other serial publications. For some time he was editor of the New Brunswick Quarterly Review. In these periodicals he was actively engaged in the discussion of the exciting controversies connected with what is known as "Mercersburg theology." He edited an edition of Plautus and other classical works. His scholarship was far greater than his ability as a practical teacher of youth. His sermons were always carefully elaborated in style. elegant in expression, and evangelical in spirit, but his quiet delivery failed to give them the power to which their real merits entitled them. Some of these were published by request, among which is A Baccalaureate Discourse to the Graduating Class of 1841 in Rutgers College, one of the best specimens of his pulpit efforts. Dr. Proudfit was unusually tall and slender, dignified in appearance, with an intellectual head, benevolent face, and polished manners. He excelled as a conversationalist, being full of anecdote and illustration, and happily interweaving his reminiscences of public men and incidents of travel in foreign lands. He took a deep interest in the evangelization of the papal nations of Europe, and was familiar with the great religious questions of those lands. (W. J. R. T.)

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