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« Irritated exclamation, prompted by a combination of student drafts and the accidental erasure of a post on Victorian historical fiction | Main | Warning: crass materialism ahead! »

February 22, 2005


anonymous coward

Thank you for introducing me to the work of Mrs. Alcock. Calvinism necessarily has God moving in history, and as Treitschke said, “Jede Epoche ist unmittelbar zu Gott.” Predestination (God does it, but it’s your fault) is explained in Romans 9: an example there is God’s hardening Pharoah’s heart every time he agrees to let the Hebrews go. So Pharoah is repeatedly punished, and it’s God’s doing. Not mentioned, but part of this theme is Uzzah, who thought he knew better than God what was necessary to the Ark.

A superb historical novelist (Swiss, 19th century) is Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, who writes on Calvinist historical themes presumably for the reasons above. His best Calvnist work is Juerg Jenatsch, the story of a Calvinist preacher turned rebel who saves his country by committing a monstrous betrayal. It’s a great novel, a great historical novel, and need not spell its lesson out for the reader can see very plainly that God raised up the man who was necessary at that hour, and cast him off again when God’s purpose was served. What are we to make of Jenatsch? A man who gave not just his life but his soul for his country, a frightening example of God’s omnipotence. And Meyer had the benefit of a language less changed than our own from the 17th century to now, so that the speeches are convincing rather than stilted.

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