Philadelphians today stood at the windows peering out. In my classroom folks pried apart the blinds to see. Snow, you see, was flurrying on this 12th of January, and these were the first flakes the winter has afforded us. I walked home through the flurries sadly thinking that in Philadelphia there is no Cane’s. I associate eating at Cane’s with snow for various reasons.
It does irritate me that these vandals in class sit with the blinds down all day. They don’t want the natural light on their computer screens. It makes me want to invent a potent and ultimate virus.
I’m having a John Owen class. The great man disquisits all day and it is not bad. You can ask him questions and get really good answers. I’m reading about Pepys as an interesting alternative to John Owen and enjoying much of that colorful chap. The thing is, I need to get on to reading Owen since the class is about him. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, Owen only wrote one letter to Samuel Pepys, so that’s not going to be an interesting angle. But I have discovered a few things that excite attention. Praisegod Barebones is certainly a juicy find. Even if he led a humdrum life, how can you write anything uninteresting when that’s his name? If his name is any indication, he most certainly avowed the Regulative Principle of Worship. The other interesting name and diary I’ve discovered is Bulstrode Whitelocke. To my delight, the 17th century is full of letters and diaries and all kinds of things I’d rather read besides tomes of polemical theology. And Milton. And the Metaphysical poets. Might be nice to find something between literate persons and John Owen.
They give you four weeks after class starts or after class ends—need to figure that out—to write the paper and turn it in. That will bring me to the start of the spring semester, so that will be an interesting exercise. I’m thinking I want to work on the Lord Protector, or maybe on Owen’s nonconformity, but who knows. I’m going to read my way comfortably into it all, I think, and worry about little else. I’ve never done that before, and I ought to at least give it a try.
Speaking of worries, I have agreed to review a survey of Church History and it is proving difficult saying anything positive. I don’t think the book is that bad, but it isn’t that good. Actually I think the publishers and the author wasted their time and the thing will not long be remembered. The chap apparently either doesn’t know how to use semicolons, won’t, or has had his editor ban or remove them. The result is prose that is sometimes monotonous and always rather artless, but is not altogether uninteresting. There are quite a few funny artless bits in it, popping up from time to time. The funny artless bits are the most interesting thing about the book, actually. I don’t know how to go about setting these things forth without being clever about it. I’m going to have to get help before I let it see the light of day.