Posts Tagged ‘John Calvin’
More Calvin, writing in the preface to Pierre-Robert Olivétan’s 1535 translation of the New Testament:
He [Christ] is Isaac, the beloved Son of the Father who was offered as a sacrifice, but nevertheless did not succumb to the power of death. He is Jacob the watchful shepherd, who has such great care for the sheep which he guards. He is the good and compassionate brother Joseph, who in his glory was not ashamed to acknowledge his brothers, however lowly and abject their condition. He is the great sacrificer and bishop Melchizedek, who has offered an eternal sacrifice once for all. He is the sovereign lawgiver Moses, writing his law on the tables of our hearts by his Spirit. He is the faithful captain and guide Joshua, to lead us to the Promised Land. He is the victorious and noble king David, bringing by his hand all rebellious power to subjection. He is the magnificent and triumphant king Solomon, governing his kingdom in peace and prosperity. He is the strong and powerful Samson, who by his death has overwhelmed all his enemies. This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father. If one were to sift thoroughly the Law and the Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring us to him. . . . Therefore, rightly does Saint Paul say in another passage that he would know nothing except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
via Justin Taylor.
I mentioned this principle on Sunday, but nothing like as beautifully as Calvin does here:
The Holy Spirit so inheres in his truth, which he expresses in Scripture, that only when its proper reverence and dignity are given to the Word does the Holy Spirit show forth his power…. For by a kind of mutual bond the Lord has joined together the certainty of his Word and of his Spirit so that the perfect religion of the Word may abide in our minds when the Spirit, who causes us to contemplate God’s face, shines; and that we in turn may embrace the Spirit with no fear of being deceived when we recognize him in his own image, namely, in the Word. So indeed it is. God did not bring forth his Word among men for the sake of a momentary display, intending at the coming of his Spirit to abolish it. Rather, he sent down the same Spirit by whose power he had dispensed the Word, to complete his work by the efficacious confirmation of the Word.
Calvin, Institutes, 1.9.3
via The Old Guys.
An interesting interview with Kenneth Stewart on the relationship (and alleged lack of one) between Calvinism and missions here.
Steven Lawson contributed a chapter to the book John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology (AmazonUK) on John Calvin as “The Preacher of God’s Word.” Nathan Bingham provides a summary of that chapter, outlining what Steven Lawson suggests are the ten distinguishing marks of Calvin’s preaching.
- John Calvin’s preaching was biblical in its substance.
- John Calvin’s preaching was sequential in its pattern.
- John Calvin’s preaching was direct in its message.
- John Calvin’s preaching was extemporaneous in its delivery.
- John Calvin’s preaching was exegetical in its approach.
- John Calvin’s preaching was accessible in its simplicity.
- John Calvin’s preaching was pastoral in its tone.
- John Calvin’s preaching was polemic in its defense of the truth.
- John Calvin’s preaching was passionate in its outreach.
- John Calvin’s preaching was doxological in its conclusion.
An apposite quote to demonstrate each is here.
A few days ago a friend at the church slipped me some words of encouragement, a condensed version of Calvin’s comments on Zechariah 13.2 that she had found in a book of daily devotions and prayers. It has to do with purity of worship and the Word of God, and the pastor’s duty to guard the flock against all error and superstition. The last paragraph is the clincher, but I give the whole section for the sake of context:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.”
Here the Prophet mentions another effect, which would follow the repentance of the people, and which the Lord also would thereby produce. There was to be a cleansing from all the defilements of superstitions; for the pure and lawful worship of God cannot be set up without these filthy things being wiped away; inasmuch as to blend sacred with profane things, is the same thing as though one sought to take away the difference between heaven and earth. No religion then can be approved by God, except what is pure and free from all such pollution. We hence see why the Prophet adds, that there would be an end to falsehoods and all errors, and to the delusions of Satan, when God restored his Church; for the simplicity of true doctrine would prevail, and thus abolished would be whatever Satan had previously invented to corrupt religion.
We hence learn what I have just stated — that God cannot be rightly worshipped, except all corruptions, inconsistent with his sincere and pure worship, be taken away. But we must at the same time observe, that this effect is ascribed to God’s word; for it is that which can drive away and banish all the abominations of falsehood, and whatever is uncongenial to true religion. As then by the rising of the sun darkness is put to flight, and all things appear distinctly to the view, so also when God comes forth with the teaching of his word, all the deceptions of Satan must necessarily be dissipated.
Now these two things ought especially to be known; for we see that many, who are not indeed ungodly, but foolish and inconsiderate, think that they give to God his due honor, while they are entangled in many errors, and refrain not from superstitions. Others, more politic, devise this way of peace — that they who think rightly are to concede something to tyrants and false Prophets; and thus they seek to form at this day a new religion for us, made up of Popery and of the simple doctrine of the gospel, and in this manner as it were to transform God. As then we see that men are so disposed to mix all sorts of things together, that the pure simplicity of the gospel may be contaminated by various inventions, we ought to bear in mind this truth, — that the Church cannot be rightly formed, until all superstitions be rejected and banished. This is one thing.
We may also deduce hence another principle — that the word of God not only shows the way to us, but also discovers all the delusions of Satan; for hardly one in a hundred follows what is right, except he is reminded of what he ought to avoid. It is then not enough to declare that there is but one true God, and that we ought to put our trust in Christ, except another thing be added, that is, except we warn men of those intrigues by which Satan has from the beginning deceived miserable mortals: even at this day with what various artifices has he withdrawn the simple and unwary from the true God, and entangled them in a labyrinth of superstitions. Except therefore men be thus warned, the word of God is made known to them only in part. Whosoever then desires to perform all the duties of a good and faithful pastor, ought firmly to resolve, not only to abstain from all impure doctrines, and simply to assert what is true, but also to detect all corruptions which are injurious to religion, to recover men from the deceptions of Satan, and in short, avowedly to carry on war with all superstitions.
Guy Davies shows us Calvin the worshipping poet:
When we see that the whole sum of our salvation,
and every single part of it, are comprehended in Christ,
we must beware of deriving even the minutes portion
of it from any other quarter.
If we seek salvation,
we are taught by the very name of Jesus that he possesses it;
if we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, we shall find them in his unction;
strength in his government;
purity in his conception;
indulgence in his nativity,
in which he was made like us in all respects,
in order that he might learn to sympathise with us.
If we seek redemption,
we shall find it in his passion;
acquittal in his condemnation;
remission of the curse in his cross;
satisfaction in his sacrifice;
purification in his blood;
reconciliation in his descent to hell;
mortification of the flesh in his sepulchre.
Newness of life in his resurrection;
immortality also in his resurrection;
the inheritance of a celestial kingdom
in his entrance into heaven;
protection, security, and the abundant supply
of all blessings, in his kingdom;
secure anticipation of judgement
in the power of judging committed to him.
In fine, since in him all kinds of blessings are treasured up,
let us draw a full supply from him, and none from any other quarter.
(From Institutes Book II:16:19. Versified by Guy Davies)
Justin Taylor offers this section from Institutes 3.16.19, where Calvin explains that “We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ [Acts 4:12]. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else,” as an example of appropriately beautiful language for Christ and his salvation:
If we seek salvation
we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him.”
If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit,
they will be found in his anointing.
If we seek strength,
it lies in his dominion;
in his conception;
it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects that he might learn to feel our pain.
If we seek redemption,
it lies in his passion;
in his condemnation;
if remission of the curse,
in his cross;
in his sacrifice;
in his blood;
in his descent into hell;
if mortification of the flesh,
in his tomb;
in newness of life,
in his resurrection;
in the same;
if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom,
in his entrance into heaven;
if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings,
in his Kingdom;
if untroubled expectation of judgment,
in the power given to him to judge.
In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other.