When I open a book, the first page I usually turn is the acknowledgments. You can generally tell whether the book will be a dud or not by the way the author extends their thanks to those who aided and assisted them, and by the list of names they extend their gratitude to.
There is a long list of people to whom I owe thanks for their kindness and support in a much longer dissertation process than I ever imagined. Those include many of the readers of this newsletter. But if I may say so, my gratitude extends to all my readers through the years–including those who have come most recently to this work. My hope in undertaking graduate studies was to ensure that I was responsible in my writing, that I did all I could to know wherefrom I would speak. The point and purpose of that, though, depends upon an audience–and without that, I would fear the years spent writing a dissertation would have been in vain.
I doubt my own acknowledgments will impel anyone to read my dissertation.
Still, I thought I would include here the final three paragraphs of them, which were the final words I wrote for the dissertation. (They are, in that sense, the last word before the first word.)
“It is impossible to write about [the reasons Christians have to procreate] without expressing gratitude for my own parents, without whose ‘confidence in life’ I would not enjoy this irrepeatable offer from God. Their longsuffering has won them many crowns, and their love and support has justly won my earnest thanks. I hope my life, and this dissertation, bestow honour upon them; I know it is an honour to be their son. The rest of my family has been similarly supportive; it is a grand thing to be the uncle to so many spry and intelligent young ones, as it is a delightful burden to now be a godfather. Life would not have its depth or richness without such bonds, nor would the attempt to theoretically reflect on this subject be as rewarding without them. My gratitude is immeasurable for the chance to be involved in so many lives.
But no one, of all those mentioned, so deserves gratitude as my wife. In the midst of bleak days, she instilled me with confidence that this effort would not be in vain. Without her steady encouragement and her glad assumption of many extra duties and cares, I would yet be toiling away without hope of ever seeing the end. It is very good to be married to one whose joy and love abound so. There is no one to whom I would rather be in debt, nor anyone with whom I would rather face the future.
At last: Sic transit gloria mundi. Soli Deo Gloria.”
And now, for the next two weeks or so, I plan to rest and to undertake some writing and research for the fall. I was reluctant to do this, as I’m terrified I won’t be able to get back into the habit after two weeks is over….and because many of you have recently found your way here from the Great Netflix Debates.
With my deepest thanks,