The College Writings of B.B. Warfield

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B.B. Warfield studied at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) from 1868 to 1871. It was while he was a student that the man who would become so prolific a writer published his first material in The Nassau Literary Magazine.

In 1870 a poem appeared written by Warfield, based on 1 Maccabees 9:1-21, titled “The Jewish Thermopylae.”

During his senior year, various works by Warfield were published, both in The Nassau Literary Magazine and The Nassau Herald. In February 1871, in the former publication, he published a poem, “The Taking of the Suburbs,” as well as an essay titled “Milton’s Satan.”

In April 1871, he published 1) an essay on “Woman’s Mission,” 2) another essay about the “Poetic Genius of Poe” (this was signed N.E.D. - representing the last letter of the name Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield), 3) a brief poem beginning with the first line “Despise not the wrinkles of age,” and 4) an “Olla-podrida,” a “miscellany” or “literary bouquet,” which includes a poem called “A Serenade.”

An issue of The Nassau Herald, published on Class Day, June 26, 1871 by the graduating senior class of Princeton, includes an editorial by Warfield.

Each of these publications is identified as Warfield’s by John E. Meeter and Roger Nicole in A Bibliography of Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, 1851-1921, p. 9. Together, it is believed that they constitute his earliest published writings, five of which are poems. As you read them remember that they are the works of a 19 or 20 year-old young man who would go on to become one of America’s greatest theologians. It noteworthy to ponder also that approximately four decades later, he published Four Hymns, and Some Religious Verse (1910). From his youth to his old age, Warfield was not only a student and then teacher of theology, but also a poet.