A Land I Will Show Thee

A Land I Will Show Thee, by Marian Schooland, published by Wm. Eerdman’s Co.

This is a story of faith and courage: faith in the sovereign God Who guides His people according to His purpose, and courage to follow in the way that He leads. It is the story of the pioneers who left their fatherland under the leadership of their beloved pastor and friend, Albertus Van Raalte, and came to the for­ests of Michigan to make their home on the shores of Black Lake. Economic stress heightened by religious persecution and a simultaneous widespread urge for emigration to the New World caused many of the Seceders who had left the Groute Kerk because they felt that it had forsaken the doctrines of the Bible, to feel that God was leading them to for­sake their fatherland to establish a church in the New World and witness for Him there.

The plot centers around the simple but entrancing romance of Anton Berghuis and Anna Faber. Anton leaves his home­land with his family and the promise that he may send for Anna when he can pro­vide a home there for her that is “as good as the one she is used to”. The story of their heartaches and loneliness and of their long-postponed reunion in the “colony” is a fascinating and stirring tale.

But there is much more in this book that holds the interest of the reader. The simple, trusting faith of these common people as they tore themselves from their homes and loved ones in the Netherlands and followed God’s leading into a new country with hardships, poverty, sickness and death awaiting them; the courageous faith of Albertus Van Raalte as he fed his flock from God’s Word and encouraged and comforted them; the dreams and ambitions, hopes and aspirations of these people and their leader that God saw fit to bring into reality these grip the heart of the reader and leave a last­ing impression on his mind.

In her introduction to this story of the Dutch emigrants Miss Schoolland writes: “Many of the people who walk its pages are fictitious, but Van Raalte, Brummelkamp, the Americans who so nobly aided the colonists, were men who grappled with the problems of a hundred years ago and helped make the history of our com­pany. And the events of my story are, almost without exception, based upon the records of these pioneer days.”

In concluding her story, Miss School land gives us a glimpse of the present, picturing what God has given to the de­scendants of these noble pioneers. I think that in closing this book the reader who cherishes the Reformed truths will not only feel that he has read a beautiful story but he will experience a flood of thankfulness for what God hath wrought in preserving the true interpretation of His Word. It is simply written, easily read, and worthy of recommendation to our young people.