Printers’ ink stained my fingers in my boyhood; for, at the age of fifteen, I ventured into a controversy on the slavery question, in the columns of our county newspaper; and, in the same paper, published a series of letters from Europe, in 1842. During my course of study in the Princeton Theological Seminary, I was a contributor to several papers, to Godey’s Magazine in Philadelphia, and to the “New Englander,” a literary and theological review published at New Haven. I wrote the first article for the first number of the “Nassau Monthly,” a Princeton College publication, which still exists under another name. Up to the year 1847 all my contributions had been to secular periodicals, but in that year I ventured to send from Burlington, N.J., where I was then preaching, a short article to the “New York Observer,” signed by my initials. This was followed by several others which, falling under the eye of my beloved friend, the Rev. Dr. Cortland Van Rensellaer, led him to say to me: “You are on the right track now; work on that as long as you live,” and I have obeyed his injunction. Within a year or two I began to write for the “Presbyterian” at Philadelphia. Its proprietor urged me to accept an editorial position, but I declined his proposal, as I have declined several other requests to assume editorial positions since. I would always rather write when I choose than write when I must, and I have never felt at liberty to hold any other position while I was a pastor of a church. My contributions to the press never hindered my work as a minister, for writing for the press promotes perspicuity in preparing for the pulpit.
In the summer of 1853 I was called from the Third Presbyterian Church of Trenton to the Market Street Reformed Church of New York City. As a loyal Dutchman, I began to write at once for the “Christian Intelligencer,” and have continued in its clean hospitable columns to this day. At the urgent request of Mr. Henry C. Bowen I began to write for his “Independent,” and sent to its columns over six hundred articles; but of all my associate