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Translator’s Introduction

In terms of his writings, Abraham Kuyper is probably best known for his tomes on academic, social, economic, political and theological topics. It is those writings that currently are bringing him into the international lime light since a group of Reformed scholars have organized translation projects of those books, while others have recently written about Kuyper’s life and theories. Please see the Kuyperiana page on my website www.SocialTheology.com for some of the details.

Another genre of Kuyper’s writings is also beginning to receive renewed attention in English, namely his volumes of meditations and writings on the Holy Spirit. For my own small part in this, please go to the last page of this book.

Here I present to you my English translation of Kuyper’s Op den Pinksterdag (met Hemelvaart), volume 3 of his series Dagen van Goede Boodschap (Kampen: Kok, 1923, though written in 1888). The literal translation of the title of this volume is On Pentecost Day (with Ascension), while the series title is Days of Good Tidings. I have chosen as title for this translation The Ascent of the Son—The Descent of the Spirit: 26 Meditations on Ascension and Pentecost. Someone described these as “meditations and biblical-theological articles,” being both at the same time. They originally were published in the two Kuyper newspapers, De Standaard and De Heraut.

Kuyper explains that he treats Christ’s Ascent or Ascension, the more common term, into Heaven along with the Descent of the Spirit within one set of covers, because these events are so closely related. In his own Introduction, he writes, “Thus the Ascension and Pentecost belong together in one single unity. He ascended into Heaven in order to pour out the Holy Spirit. It is because of that unity that this bundle offers you meditations on both of these aspects of salvation history together.” Though the Church today tends to downplay or almost ignore the Ascension, Kuyper insists on its importance. You can’t do without it and you can’t afford to ignore it, for it is woven into your entire spiritual life, a point that he makes very clear throughout the eight meditations on the subject.

The Birthday of the Catholic World Church

He begins his introduction with a majestic declaration: “On Pentecost, the Church of God steps onto the world stage as the Universal Catholic world church.” Majestic it is and probably fitting for the time when the majority of the population belonged to a church, but at the time of the event itself, people would have been surprised at such an opening, since the community of believers was a mere handful. It hardly looked like anything global. And could even the most ardent believer at the time envision a universal church?

Nevertheless, I like the spirit of that opening. It’s like a sudden wakeup call for the wimpish Western church of today, as if it had a pail of ice water dumped on it. Yes, that Church does deserve that kind of declaration, for it represents the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is a fitting coming out on the world stage, even though it is not the forceful kind of language we are accustomed to in meditational literature. But, Kuyper is Kuyper—and that can only mean forceful language, meditational, theological or political.

In spite of the importance of the event, it does not receive the attention today of either Easter or, even less, Christmas. Kuyper explains that this was

not because Pentecost has less value or respect than do Christmas or Easter, but because it appeals to a level of imagination and conception too high for the average person and is too spiritual. Pentecost is the noblest of the three feasts, but only for those who have tasted the noblest. Only those who themselves have received the “first fruits of the Spirit” can truly celebrate this Feast of the Spirit!

Pentecost “the noblest of the three!” Is it too high and too spiritual for the Church of today? Why is it celebrated with such a low profile? I encourage you readers to begin a “crusade” to restore the celebration of Pentecost—along with Ascension, since the two are inseparable—to its appropriate level as the birthday of the Church. I often greet people with “Happy birthday” on Pentecost morning and receive little more than a quizzical look. John Boer again?! This event, my sisters and brothers, needs to be revived and you and your friends can start it. You may wish to start with your pastor.

Universalized Spiritual Autobiography

I am far from an expert on Kuyper, though I have a general acquaintance with his major ideas. Neither am I an expert on his meditational writings. In fact, this volume is the only one I have read carefully. I do not know how it compares to his other volumes in this genre. But I have developed a strong feeling that these meditations reflect his own spiritual journey and makeup.

As summarized below, Kuyper underwent a lengthy conversion experience during which he struggled intensely and during which his earlier strong theological affirmations toppled one after another. One of his biographers, Frank Vanden Berg wrote, “His inner spiritual struggle of those days was one of those intimate personal experiences that remain behind the veil. One does not publicize them....” I believe that these meditations represent much of his own personal spiritual struggles; that he did, in fact, write about them in these meditations. It was just not in an acknowledged biographical context.

Furthermore, these personal experiences were mixed with and profoundly influenced by his theological instincts, which, in turn were changed by his spiritual experiences. This means, among other things, that many of the chapters contain heavy trinitarian theological stuff mixed with what he offers as universal Christian spiritual experiences, but which, I have a hunch, were, in fact, personal rather than universal. Though I deeply appreciate reading these profound reflections on his spiritual experiences, I cannot always identify with them. My experiences are different, probably a little more relaxed, from those of this intense man for whom everything seemed so absolute. I can point to experiences in my own life, but not to the antithetical type Kuyper experienced.

Kuyper’s spiritual struggles never ceased. They reflect the ups and downs of St. Paul, who would descend from the mountain top of praise and worship down to the cry that, of all men, he was the most miserable. Kuyper’s forceful personality, his native quest for power, his proclivity towards pride, would continually trip him up and lead to moments of despair:

“Would God forget His grace and never again bless with His mercy?” Was the experience of salvation only something momentary in order to let him sink into even deeper suffering? Was it a mere glimpse of a light beam that would make the dark fears in his heart even more real? And so the soul goes under, defeated.

Oh, no, not so fast, not immediately. At first, when this situation develops, he doesn’t know it and is not aware of missing anything. But once this forsaken state ends and the Lord revives his soul again, that’s when the regrets and the pain return. And only when the Comforter returns, does he realize with unspeakable pain that the Comforter had left him.

But such struggles, real as they are, would always end in victory:

Even among those born again, the eye of the soul can at times close again either partly or fully so that it can no longer see the Spirit clearly, but in such cases the consoling face retains His presence; the Holy Spirit does not withdraw.

Not for one moment should we entertain the thought that the struggle of King Jesus for the further development of His Kingdom is ever suspended for even a minute.

This can only be spiritual autobiography—Kuyper’s own struggles. Despite Vanden Berg, he lifted his own veil.

He had an extended conversion experience during which his entire world, along with his worldview, turned upside down. His “No’s” became “Yeses”; his denials, affirmations and vice versa.

Somewhere along the line, the spiritual changes within him came to their culmination through the ministry of a peasant female parishioner of his by the name of Pietronella Baltus. This whole history is sketched for us in Vanden Berg’s biography Abraham Kuyper. In these meditations every true Christian is portrayed as having experienced deep and profound struggles of fear and despair until they cross the spiritual threshold and come to rest in the arms of a compassionate Father, now glorifying in His love and peace.

I would guess that most born-again people, an important reality in these meditations, go through some struggles before “delivery,” but Kuyper’s description of the process and experience is just over the top. It is mostly really intense people or people with a particularly dark past that, it is my hunch, experience the struggle as profoundly as Kuyper describes it. He was extremely intense and absolute; He had a strong love for power and needed to dominate; His egotism sometimes seemed almost boundless. It was only when he read a novel of two brothers in which all these characteristics of strength and power were pitted against those of love and self-sacrifice with the latter clearly ending up in victory, that the truth finally dawned on Kuyper: He had to give all that up.

Author and title are Charlotte M. Yonge: The Heir of Redcliffe, a 591-page English novel published in 1853 that plays out in both England and Italy. Though little known in and not even written with The Netherlands in mind, I wager that this book is one of the most important in Dutch history through its profound effect on Kuyper. It is not all that unusual a book, but it was just the kind of book he needed; it hit him between the eyes; reading it became a major factor in his final surrender. Because of its role in the life of Kuyper, Marian M. Schoolland’s condensed version was published by Eerdmans of Grand Rapids in the book’s centennial, 1953. Probably, Yonge was never made aware of the effect of her novel on Kuyper and, subsequently, on The Netherlands.

In short, once the light of God has entered our souls, we begin to “see all of reality in a totally different perspective, both things on earth below and in Heaven above.”

Antithetical Thinking

Antithetical, yes. Kuyper affirmed both common grace and antithesis, two seeming opposites, and kept them in balance. However, in this book on Ascension and Pentecost Kuyper is strongly antithetical. Perhaps this can be explained by the course of his conversion history. He moved over from his earlier self-described “starkest intellectual rationalism” that had pervaded theological scholarship in The Netherlands and led him to applause when his professor denied the resurrection of Christ. He went through an overpowering experience in response to a scene in Yonge’s book, during which, in his own words, in one single moment, “I scorned what I formerly esteemed; I sought what I once dared to despise.”

Conversion or being born again may produce a new person, as especially St. Paul emphasizes, but the old is not altogether obliterated. When I was born again, my physical exterior was still recognizable to my family and many aspects of my personality remained in place, though, hopefully, over time in a renewed and refreshed way. The same with Kuyper. His forceful personality and way of expressing himself remained, but were now placed in the service of his Saviour. That, too, led to strong contrasting antithetical statements. From these meditations, one would get the impression that the entire world, that is, the community that does not know or acknowledge Christ, is literally one hell of a place without anything good to be said about it. That is not really the import of Kuyper’s writings as a whole; there is plenty of common grace all around, but in these meditations it is all antithesis. For example, he writes,

But now these two work against each other. On the one side there is the unregenerate (not born again) world that seeks its excitement in the visible and can therefore not understand the Spirit. On the other side, there is the flock of the Lord that, saturated with the streams of the Spirit, despises those unholy stimulants. Thus, from both sides there arise tension between them, stronger stimulation, more powerful pushes, but both from completely opposite sources.

Strong Sense of Sin

Along with this strong sense of antithesis is his strong sense of sin, even in the life of born-again Christians—especially, I believe, his own, his life of pride and power. “And should there be a time when the light in your soul’s eye dims, when guilt, sin, unrighteousness, when all sorts of idolatries and images or a mountain of pride block your prayers....” “For those who live life at a deeper dimension, misery is when the load of a sinful life oppresses them, when their conscience is restless and when they are tormented by the question what will become of them in eternity.”

Despair and hope often replace each other in quick succession. In the mist of the struggle, “you can still sense in the dark of night those prayers of the ascended Saviour, that supreme Prayer Warrior above who pleads on your behalf.” Jesus is not the only one routing for us. The Spirit also comes in to console “us with respect to our evil heart and our wicked nature as well as our powerlessness and our heart-rending lack of holiness.”

This is the fighting Kuyper, fighting against his own proclivities; in St. Paul’s terms, the struggle between the old and the new man. It was a fierce struggle within him that never ceased, that would take him through dark nights of the soul and that would find its resolution only in repeated and renewed surrender to his Saviour his Advocate, pleading on his behalf, and the Spirit, who, at his darkest hour, would serve as his comforter, consoling him within. All this was so fierce and precarious that even “if that pleading prayer for you were ever to cease for even one moment, you would no longer share in His salvation.”

The Trinity

Kuyper was a great one to hold forth at length on the mysteries of the Trinity. I have seldom read so much about the precise internal workings of the Trinity, unless it be Darrell W. Johnson’s Experiencing the Trinity. Kuyper seemed to know exactly what each Person within the Godhead does or does not or even cannot do. Even within the Person of the God-Man Jesus Christ, Kuyper could decipher exactly what He can and cannot do as Man or as God. I believe Kuyper read a lot into—“eisogesis” as it is called in theology-- the Ecumenical and Reformed creeds and used his theological imagination to fill in some of the blanks. Parts of certain meditations can be read almost as Trinitarian manuals. Nevertheless, after he had pumped and squeezed all the alleged facts out of the Trinity that he required for his purposes, he always ends up in outbursts of praise and glorifies God in all His manifestations. After he seemingly had totally demystified some aspect of one of the members of the Trinity, he falls back into profound adoration of the mysterious Three-in-One. The mysterious remains after all.

The following paragraph is typical and one of many:

His glorification affected his human nature as well. Please understand this properly. It was not that His divinity began to share His divine attributes with His human nature. That would be impossible and even absurd. The personal union of both natures took place at the moment of incarnation, His birth, and this relationship has since that time become neither less nor more intimate, but remained unchanged. It was precisely that relationship that caused both natures to be united most intimately without confounding them. The divine remained divine and the human, human, without any carryover of attributes from the one to the other.

Things get complicated. In Meditation 11, Kuyper strongly affirms three times in a row that the Son enjoys unity of substance with the Father and the Spirit, only to deny that same status of the human Jesus Christ. He may be in concert with orthodoxy in such theological constructions, but to berate people who don’t have it all together as holding to an impossible position and even accusing them as “absurd,” then I can only shake my head. Let’s be honest, by the standard of human logic and rationality, the entire doctrine of the Trinity is kind of impossible and absurd, even though we devoutly cling to it as revealed in the Scripture and further developed by pious Church Fathers. But for Father Abraham, after one of the most intricate of Trinitarian paragraphs, “it becomes absolutely clear”!

I wonder whether or not Kuyper might have extracted too much from the trinitarian “data” in both Scripture and creed. But all this analysis and speculation may help those who long for greater clarity about the mystery of the Trinity. Above all, all of this is placed in the context of devout worship and adoration on the part of an intense child of God, who is given to analyzing and describing every aspect of his own spiritual struggles not only, but also of the Persons of the Trinity who effect his salvation. It is, perhaps, not for every person to dwell upon for too long, but for those who can wade their way through this Trinitarian stuff, it is meant to lead you into to the same mode of worship and adoration that it brought to Kuyper.

Heavenly Geography?

Heavenly geography seems like an archaic interest. However, in 2010, the German writer Dieter Wellershoff wrote a novel with the title Der Himmel ist kein Ort—Heaven Is not a Place—that caused a lot of commotion in Germany and led to several conferences even. At one of these conferences a rap band performed that wore T-shirts with the slogan “Heaven is not a place. It’s a feeling.” Obviously it remains a topic of interest, even if only in its denial.

An intriguing question that keeps cropping up for me is whether Kuyper viewed Heaven as a physical place. If this essay were an exercise in scholarship, I should really do research on this subject in other Kuyper publications before discussing the question any further. This is not the time and place for that. However, in these meditations, everything in that region or sphere—not sure what words to use here—seems very physical and spatial. He writes of a Heaven that has its own structures and measurements, appearance, nature and essence as well as housekeeping arrangements and mode of existence sort of parallel to those of this world. Heaven is pictured as stretched out endlessly above our firmament. Describing our Lord’s Ascension, Kuyper writes:

To put it correctly, the Lord, our Saviour, departed from here in order to arrive there. He not only passed through the clouds and the atmosphere, but, when He arrived in Heaven, He did not tarry in the frontal regions, but He traveled on till He finally arrived in that region where the central point of God’s full revelation is located, the very throne of God.

In other meditations he writes in similar tone:

Thus an actual transfer or displacement occurred from one place to another. He is hence no longer where He used to be, that is, on earth, but now finds Himself in another place different from where He was before. Thus, in that highest Heaven there is a place where Jesus lives and works in our flesh. It is a place somewhere in that highest realm, where all the angels wait for His commands and where those fallen asleep in the Lord have found Him. It is the place where our eye will also search Him out and where we, once having entered into His glory through, will see Him as He is.

Or:

Jesus ascended into Heaven, into that Heaven that, like the earth here below, was created and thus was not from eternity. It is, to be sure, a totally different creation sphere, but that nevertheless offers a realm of life and activity, of enjoyment and beauty, but in a much richer sense. It is not a vague entity, purely spiritual, but a rich and glorious reality. It is a world much more real than our world in which we currently live. It is a created place that has a foundation; our actual fatherland. It is that magnificent creation where all of God’s good angels have their abode as well as those saved by the Lamb, the crowd that no one can count. This is the very goal of the existence of believers, their real home.

Heaven seems almost empirical, that is, it has limits and it has borders where it touches upon the “lower creation” as he calls it. All of it so concrete, like physical, empirical geography that could almost be drawn on a map!?

Son vs Father

One thing Kuyper warns against is the tendency to overrate the role of our Saviour and have Him replace the Father, as if all things come from the Son. Sometimes people pray to Jesus for all kinds of favours and things, especially when they pray with children and try to make it sound as simple and personal as possible. Though this practice may seem innocent, Kuyper warns against it in strong terms—well, what else would you expect from “Father Abraham?” Writing about the phrase, “Above, where Christ is,” a quotation from the New Testament and the title of Meditation 7, he comments,

This is a treasure of a phrase that absolutely does not mean that all good no longer flows from the Fountain of all good, but out of Christ. This could make it appear as if we had replaced God with Christ, who now becomes the Fountain of all good. We may not entertain such a shocking idea for even one moment. The eternal and glorious God is and remains the Fountain of all good forever, for everyone and, thus, also for us.

But it means that the Lord Jesus has already received or collected the waters from this Fountain on our behalf, that He has already gathered it for us and that they are already intended for us. And thus, as truly as our soul is united to the Lord Jesus Christ, so we can be sure we will never lack an abundance of refreshing waters. Yes, out of God eternal, but through the Mediator.

Elsewhere he comes out in full force:

So long as we wander along the slippery path of spiritual fanaticism and sickly imagination is it possible that we might exclusively hold fast to Christ and think it is all about Him, not about the divine Being Himself. Where this happens, faith soon loses its refreshing strength and the waters of life do not flow through the channel of our hearts. You must let go of this false Jesus image that you had formed in your sickly soul. Then, suddenly you will once again cleave to the real Immanuel, He who always points away from Himself to the Father!

The practice of misguided piety thrown overboard.

God vs Believer

Another form of misguided piety Kuyper identifies for us is the false humility that leads us to deny any achievement of ourselves and ascribe it entirely to one or all of the members of the Trinity. Someone has been credited with an honour and then shrugs it away as if she accomplished nothing and it was all God’s doing. Kuyper will have none of it and counters this false sentiment with the little-known and unmentioned doctrine of “Concurrence”—God working in us to do it ourselves. To deny our own part is to deny His. Even my language here fails, for it is not a matter of each doing his/her own part. God does it completely in us and we do it completely through His empowerment. Kuyper writes:

For this purpose have I, your God the Holy Spirit, been sent in order to make all of this effective in you eternally and completely; so to work that you will drink in all the blessedness as if you were your work, even though it was I who did this in and through you.

Not that He exacts it from our empty hearts, but, instead, He pours it into those empty hearts and somehow arranges it that we ended up doing it ourselves.

And then came the prayer of the soul, prayer not for worldly treasures or prosperity, but for the fulfillment of that promise. To beseech God every morning and evening to receive that promise that He work in us to will and to complete and that we will walk in the works for which He prepared us. Oh, blessed joy when it would come and we might thank Him for His fulfilled promise.

So, accept the praise of men for your well-deserved honour while also acknowledging Him who worked in you the will and ability to achieve.

The Bottom Line

After all is said and done, here we have this forceful, mighty, giant of a man, this “Father Abraham,” shorn of all spiritual veils, a struggling child of God with deep spirituality, at the same time a mighty leader of the oppressed Christian peasants, to whom he totally unveiled himself spiritually. Here we have a pious man who passionately loved his Saviour and who felt totally devoted to the Spirit whose descent he celebrated in these meditations, a man who insisted on the need for and the reality of being born again, something he referred to so often:

However, with genuine second births, the veil totally falls away so that so that the view of the Spirit hits and falls upon us. This amounts to His being poured out in us; His indwelling in His temple; His coming into us, living, praying, comforting and motivating.

What puzzles me is how the members of the denomination he founded and into which I was born could be so spiritually morose. Not that they harboured no faith, but the vast majority of them could and cannot express their spirituality or even pray spontaneously in the contexts of their families, let alone in other contexts. Their leader let it all hang out; the people were and are dour in their expressions of the faith. You can still detect strong traces of that feature in the Kuyperian transplants to Canada and the United States. That is a puzzle and a pity. How much more beautiful an open display of faith, joy and peace as offered to us by our own “Father Abraham.”

And let me surprise you. If you think of altar calls as not fit in a Reformed setting, go to the closing of almost any meditation in this book and you will see the literary equivalent of altar calls. Yes, this Son of Thunder issued altar calls to wake you up and make you sensitive to the Spirit whom the Father sent via His Son. He wants you to jubilate together with all the angels. He invites you to enter into the joy of the Lord. Watch him struggle with you and, at the end, together with you see the doors to your heart open to let the Lord strong and mighty enter.

There still is one more ancient door, that is, the door to your own heart, the door to your soul that satan bolted shut and sealed. Oh, how many thousands of times have you banged your head against that ancient door to your heart. It was too stuffy; in your anxious heart you could no longer stand it. You had to get out and you banged against that door and shouted, “Open up! Open up! Have mercy and don’t let me suffocate in this stuffy place.” It didn’t help; No one heard you. That door to your heart turned out to be permanent as well.

Until.... Until He came, He the King of glory! When He sent His Word from His majestic throne and hammered His envoys with it, it became clear to you that where the Word of the King is present, there is power. For at that moment the locks snapped and the bolts cracked; the doors opened, rose up and He entered, the Lord strong and mighty. Halleluiah!

Kuyper’s Literary Style

Kuyper was/is known as an exuberant and tumultuous person with strong feelings and powerful emotions—Abraham de Geweldige or Abraham the Terrible, the Son of Thunder, the Violent, the Mighty—all of which can be found back in these meditations. Everything is expressed in forceful language and images that often go over the top and sometimes lead to exuberance and exaggeration.

Ever since his university student days, Kuyper was recognized as having an acute sense of language and as a “master of style and diction.” A more recent scholar describes him as an “able wordsmith.” That he surely was. Words and phrases topple all over each other. They just gush out. He could seldom say anything concisely in one word or phrase, but had to constantly pile them on top of each other. Almost everything of significance needed to be said in triplicate or more.

In the vocabulary department he would use series of different words and phrases that, when translated into English, often end up in the same words. A couple of classic word examples for those who know the language: “Ingekleefd, ingegroeid, ingelijfd en ingevlochten met de eigen levensvezelen....” I turned it into Each child of God must be grafted into, grown into, annexed into and plaited with its own fiber....” Or take “stand en bestand en welstand.” One of my friends in The Netherlands, a poet and writer in her own right, did not know what to make of it. The language was just too exotic for her! I did the best I could at this point. Probably not totally correct, but as close as I could get.

He may have been a wordsmith, but I am not so sure about him as a “sentence-smith,” at least not in this book. Not infrequently his sentences take up half a page. If you think sentences in Paul’s letters in the New Testament are complicated, you have seen nothing yet! Of course, I realize that, like German, the Dutch sometimes allow long string-on sentences that are not tolerated in English. That probably was even more acceptable in Kuyper’s days. But in this computer age, when you transliterate one of these long sentences, the entire screen ends up with nothing but long green disapprovals. A few times I managed to retain the unity of such sentences with the computer’s approval. You have no idea how proud I was of those results of my “sentence-smithing” in English!

In terms of duplication and more here is a good example:

It is a thirst that cannot be quenched until everything that separates, prevents and beclouds drops away and will not be stilled until there is no more world to distract you, no more time to drain away, no more sinful heart to lead astray and no more devil lurking in the dark to lure you away from the One.

Part of this was due, I believe, to the personality described above; part of it to his extensive vocabulary and imagination. One way of saying it just would not do it for him. But part of it was, I believe, also due to his hurried lifestyle. The man was engaged in such a variety of projects and programmes and had so many books and articles to write, lectures to prepare, that, at least for these meditations, he did not have the time to calmly reflect and hone his use of language. He just threw or scattered his vocabulary out there on the paper without bothering to edit. The publisher’s editor must have thrown up his hands in despair at times and just let it go.

For the most part, Kuyper seemed to just cobble sentences together without any serious attempt to express himself clearly. Subject, predicate and all other grammatical features become almost impossible to ferret out. At one time, early in Meditation 14, even after consulting one of my Dutch advisors, I simply threw up my hands in despair and inserted an ellipsis. He constantly switches back and forth between second to third person pronouns, between singulars and plurals, and at one time even refers to a mother lion as a “he.” Sometimes totally arbitrary in terms of tenses and pronouns. Just throw it out there and move on. After all, he was a hero and icon for his people; he was ensured a faithful readership. You may thank me for having done the hard work of ferreting out most of these irregularities for you!

Kuyper often quotes from either Scripture or creeds without indicating source or reference. Sometimes one can find the source by doing an Internet search, but if it is a quote from the Bible it can be almost impossible to find the exact reference. I have come to the conclusion that often his Bible quotations must have been his own translation, so that one can find no exact Dutch source. Furthermore, the Hebrew or Greek texts he used were based on manuscripts different from those on which the NIV is based. For this reason, you will occasionally find that the correlation between his Dutch quotations, often unacknowledged, and my English “translation”—“re-working” might be a better term-- can be fuzzy. A case in point is the reference to Jeremiah’s prophecy of doom in general culminating in some version of Jeremiah 5:13 near the end of Meditation 13.

This book is one of separate meditations; it does not contain a sustained argument from beginning to end. So, you must not expect progression from one chapter or meditation to the next. Each meditation stands on its own; there is no building up from beginning to end. There is considerable repetition from one meditation to another. In view of many unfamiliar ideas and emphases, by the time you have finished reading the entire book, your ideas about the mystery of the God-Man Jesus Christ and about intra-Trinitarian relationships will have had a chance to be challenged, filled in and matured, but in a hit-and-miss fashion, not in a sustained progression.

Allow me to add a couple of comments about a couple of features I as translator have inserted into the mix. One is about capitalization. All synonyms, nouns and pronouns referring to God or a Member of the Trinity are capitalized in this book. This is partially because I hold that the honour and majesty of God require this token of respect and partially to help you, the reader, to distinguish between references to God or the Members and any creature, human or otherwise. It is a device that enables me to retain more of the original sentence structures without the confusion found there.

I have also taken the reverse liberty. Except where grammar demands capitals as at the beginning of a sentence, all proper and other nouns as well as pronouns referring to satan or the devil are not capitalized for the parallel reason to the above: satan does not deserve the honour of capitals. However you picture him/her, she/he is the worst scumbag in history!

Finally, to help you locate the beginning of each meditation in digital versions of this book, I have inserted an asterisk (*) behind each title.

Translator’s Final Comments

In these final comments I want to begin with a word of praise and appreciation for Sabrina Tsai, a professional graphic designer, who generously gave of her time and talent to get this entire book in shape not only but also designed its meaningful and beautiful cover. Thank you, Sabrina. That’s putting yourself in the service of the Kingdom of God that was so central to Abraham Kuyper’s calling.

Okay, time to let you do your own reading and meditating, but let me assure you there is much more that may surprise you and tug at both your heart and your emotions. And all of that from Abraham “de Geweldige,” the Son of Thunder. Don’t read too hurriedly. Allow yourself time to understand and sink in. The total number of meditations is 26. Should you wish to ponder them slowly, you could read one every two weeks, spend a year absorbing them and, with this deep focus on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, deepen both your intellectual and spiritual life. Even Kuyper, after all his detailed analysis of Trinitarian affairs, workings and distinctions, when it comes to Pentecost, advises, “Ponder, but do not analyze too much.” Father Abraham, that man of power and overstatement, put it gingerly and tenderly:

When you fall on your knees, this gaze in faith carries you quick as lightning, within one heartbeat, from your prayer room to the Lord in Heaven. Then you are in the presence of your Jesus, in whom you recognize the Lamb that was slain, and you worship Him with a love that melts your soul.

May these meditations bring you closer to your Saviour and lead you into the Father’s everlasting, ever-inviting embrace. That is Kuyper’s invitation to every reader, to all of you stoic Gereformeerden / Reformed-- to you! That’s the bottom line for Father Abraham--the most unashamed and unabashed “Evangelical” of all Kuyperian writers!

Dr. Jan H. Boer

Vancouver BC

March, 2014

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