Our Father’s World
The Reformation had a profound impact, not only in the ecclesiastical world, but in the sciences, as well. No single person better illustrates that point than Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, who found in nature the very handiwork of God. His Dutch Calvinism ingrained in him an understanding of the implications of the Creator/creature distinction, and taught him to seek meaning in every aspect of the world around him. Our cover, Vermeer’s “Astronomer,” is thought to be based upon Leeuwenhoek, his devoutly Christian neighbor and the father of micreobiology. (While the evidence is not conclusive, they did live only a few blocks apart and Leeuwenhoek is listed as the executor of Vermeer’s estate).
We have always conceived of Leben as a place where the stories of Reformation life may be told, and so it is that in this issue, we meet a gentle slavegirl whose Presbyterian father took the family back to Africa as missionaries to Liberia, and from whence she made the improbable journey to London to present to Queen Victoria a quilt decades in the making.
Gerhard Tersteegen was, by all accounts, an unusual man, whose eccentricities have clouded his memory. We thank George Ella for bringing us a fresh look at this hymnwriter’s life and legacy.
As a magazine produced by a seminary, Leben delights in sharing stories about pastoral training from early American life, as evidenced by a brief look at life at the “Swamp College.” And finally, your editor begs your indulgence for sharing the “testimony” of his own earliest American forebear, John Ingersoll of Westfield. As we conclude our third year of publication, we once again thank you, our readers, for your prayers and support.
On the Cover
The Geographer by Jan Vermeer van Delft (1632-1675). Courtesy of Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany. It has been suggested that Leeuwenhoek was the subject of Vermeer’s paintings, The Geographer and The Astronomer
The October-December 2007 issue includes these articles:
- Anton van Leeuwenhoek’s Amazing Little “Animalcules”
- A Quilt for the Queen
- The Swamp College
- The Testimony of John Ingersoll
- Gerhard Tersteegen