The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe. --Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (1910-1993)
(34:7.8) Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received your orders to advance, do not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, do not be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, do not falter and question your status and standing, for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying, "This is the way."
(111:6.8) It is only natural that mortal man should be harassed by feelings of insecurity as he views himself inextricably bound to nature while he possesses spiritual powers wholly transcendent to all things temporal and finite. Only religious confidence—living faith—can sustain man amid such difficult and perplexing problems.
(160:1.8) Only honest and brave individuals are able to follow valiantly through the perplexing and confusing maze of living to where the logic of a fearless mind may lead.
Peter De Vries was an American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit. He has been described by the philosopher Daniel Dennett as "probably the funniest writer on religion ever".
De Vries was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1910. He was educated in Dutch Christian Reformed Church schools, graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1931. He also studied at Northwestern University. He supported himself with a number of different jobs, including those of vending machine operator, toffee-apple salesman, radio actor in the 1930s, and editor for Poetry magazine from 1938 to 1944. During World War II De Vries served in the U.S. Marines, attaining the rank of Captain and was seconded to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Very little is known about his time in the military or with that secret organization, the predecessor to the CIA.
He joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine at the insistence of James Thurber and worked there from 1944 to 1987, writing stories and touching up cartoon captions. A prolific writer, De Vries wrote short stories, reviews, poetry, essays, a play, novellas, and twenty-three novels. Films made from De Vries's novels include The Tunnel of Love (1958), which also was a successful Broadway play; How Do I Love Thee? (1970, based on Let Me Count the Ways); Pete 'n' Tillie (1972, based on Witch’s Milk); and Reuben, Reuben (1970), which also inspired a Broadway play, Spofford. Earlier, in 1952, De Vries also contributed to the writing of the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952. Although he enjoyed success for five decades, all his novels were out of print by the time of his death.
James Bratt describes De Vries as "a secular Jeremiah, a renegade CRC missionary to the smart set."
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