John Calvin (1509 – 1564, 55 years)
Posted on August 4, 2012
Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of his fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil. It is the Heavenly Father’s will thus to exercise them so as to put his own children to a definite test. Beginning with Christ, his first-born, he follows this plan with all his children. John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion 
It is profitable for the pious to be unsettled on earth, lest, by setting their minds on a commodious and quiet habitation, they should lose the inheritance of heaven. — Calvin on Gen 20:1
Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness. — John Calvin
The Creed sets forth what Christ suffered in the sight of men, and then appositely speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgement which he underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man. — John Calvin (1509-1564)
The offspring of believers are born holy, because their children, while yet in the womb, before they breathe the vital air, have been adopted into the covenant of eternal life. Nor are they brought into the church by baptism on any other ground than because they belonged to the body of the Church before they were born.
[Interim Adultero&endash;&endash;germanum: cui adiecta est vera Christianae Pacificationis et Ecclesiae Reformandae Ratio. Per Joann. Calvinum. Corpus Reformatorum, vol. 35, 619, cited by Schenck, The Presbyterian Doctrine of Children in the Covenant: An Historical Study of the Significance of Infant Baptism in the Presbyterian Church in America, Yale Univ. Press, 1940, p. 13.]
The children of believers are baptized not in order that they who were previously strangers to the church may then for the first time become children of God, but rather that, because by the blessing of the promise they already belonged to the body of Christ, they are received into the church with this solemn sign J Calvin Institutes, IV, xv, 22
These darts are aimed more at God than at us. For it is very clear from many testimonies of Scripture that circumcision was also a sign of repentance. Then Paul calls it the seal of the righteousness of faith….For although infants, at the very moment they were circumcised, did not comprehend with their understanding what that sign meant, they were truly circumcised to the mortification of their corrupt and defiled nature, a mortification that they would afterward practice in mature years. To sum up, this objection can be solved without difficulty: infants are baptized into future repentance and faith, and even though these have not yet been formed in them, the seed of both lies hidden within them by the secret working of the Spirit.
J Calvin Institutes, IV, xvi, 20
I come now to our doctrine. Many people condemn it out of prejudice, without hearing or exploring it. They are to occupied with some opinion or other that totally dulls the sharp edge of their minds. I am not going to mention the insults and even criminal acts that are imputed to us in an effort to keep everyone from tasting our doctrine. Only one thing can be charged against us, that we strive to call back to their own banner (namely, the Word of God) all those who are counted as belonging to Christ but have been wandering about wretchedly. We are also bringing it about that all controversy over the worship of God is settled on the basis of his Word, so that each person may believe what is established as being from God. What of our adversaries? They are making a counterfeit church, a short shield of Ajax, so that they may hide behind its empty facade. The prophets and apostles faced the same situation when they had to deal with men who were usurping, by their wicked beliefs, the very name of the church and its highest authority. John Calvin
The Fanaticism which discards the Scripture, under the pretence of resorting to immediate revelations is subversive of every principle of Christianity. For when they boast extravagantly of the Spirit, the tendency is always to bury the Word of God so they may make room for their own falsehoods. John Calvin
If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of him’ [1 Corinthians 1:30]. 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; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Hebrews 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Hebrews 5:2]. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Galatians 3:13]; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, 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.–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia, 1960) II, xvi, 19, p. 297
We must always speak of the efficacy of the ministry in such a manner that the entire praise of the work may be reserved for God alone.
John Calvin (1509-1564)
I everywhere teach that no one can be justly condemned and perish except on account of actual sin; and to say that the countless mortals taken from life while yet infants are precipitated from their mother’s arms into eternal death is a blasphemy to be universally detested.
John Calvin , in Augustus H. Strong “Systematic Theology”, page 663.
I John Calvin, servant of the Word of God in the church of Geneva, weakened by many illnesses…thank God that he has not only shown mercy to me, his poor creature….and suffered me in all sins and weaknesses, but what is more than that, he has made me a partaker of his grace to serve him through my work…I confess to live and die in this faith which he has given me, inasmuch as I have no other hope or refuge than his predestination upon which my entire salvation is grounded. I embrace the grace which he has offered me in our Lord Jesus Christ, and accept the merits of his suffering and dying that through him all my sins are buried; and I humbly beg him to wash me and cleanse me with the blood of our great Redeemer, as it was shed for all poor sinners so that I, when I appear before his face, may bear his likeness.”
Calvin’s Last Will (April 25, 1564) Letters of John Calvin, 29
Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of his fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil. It is the Heavenly Father’s will thus to exercise them so as to put his own children to a definite test. Beginning with Christ, his first-born, he follows this plan with all his children. –John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion 
The ground of discrimination that exists among men is the sovereign will of God and that alone; but the ground of damnation to which the reprobate are consigned is sin and sin alone. –JOHN CALVIN
There is no other method of living piously and justly, than that of depending upon God. Calvin on Gen 17:1.
Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit. John Calvin (1509-1564)
Prayers belong strictly to the worship of God. Fasting is a subordinate aid, which is pleasing to God no farther than as it aids the earnestness and fervency of prayer. John Calvin
Christian freedom, in my opinion, consists of three parts. The first: that the consciences of believers, in seeking assurance of their justification before God, should rise above and advance beyond the law, forgetting all law righteousness…
The second part, dependent upon the first, is that consciences observe the law, not as if constrained by the necessity of the law, but that freed from the law’s yoke they willingly obey God’s will… The third part of Christian freedom lies in this: regarding outward things that are of themselves “indifferent”, we are not bound before God by any religious obligation preventing us from sometimes using them and other times not using them, indifferently… Accordingly, it is perversely interpreted both by those who allege it as an excuse for their desires that they may abuse God’s good gifts to their own lust and by those who think that freedom does not exist unless it is used before men, and consequently, in using it have no regard for weaker brethren… Nothing is plainer than this rule: that we should use our freedom if it results in the edification of our neighbour, but if it does not help our neighbour, then we should forego it. John Calvin (1509-1564) The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Few have defined what free will is, although it repeatedly occurs in the writings of all. Origen seems to have put forward a definition generally agreed upon among ecclesiastical writers when he said that it is a faculty of the reason to distinguish between good and evil, a faculty of the will to choose one or the other. Augustine does not disagree with this when he teaches that it is a faculty of the reason and the will to choose good with the assistance of grace; evil, when grace is absent. John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion
The most perfect way of seeking God, and the most suitable order, is not for us to attempt with bold curiosity to penetrate to the investigation of His essence, which we ought more to adore than meticulously to search out, but for us to contemplate Him in His works, whereby He renders Himself near and familiar to us, and in some manner communicates Himself .
John Calvin (1509-1564)
However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts. — John Calvin, Commentary, Erh 3:21
Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God. — JOHN CALVIN
The violence of the wind had the effect of making them afraid. For we are never rightly prepared to receive the grace of God unless the vain confidence of the flesh has been mastered. For as by faith we have open access to Him, so it is that humility and fear open the door for Him to come to us. He will have nothing to do with proud and careless men who please themselves.
Calvin On Acts 1:2
For though we very truly hear that the kingdom of God will be filled with splendour, joy, happiness and glory, yet when these things are spoken of, they remain utterly remote from our perception, and as it were, wrapped in obscurities, until that day when he will reveal to us his glory, that we may behold it face to face. JOHN CALVIN
The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul. — John Calvin
True discrimination between right and wrong does not then depend on the acuteness of our intelligence, but on the wisdom of the Spirit. J Calvin on Luke 24:16
There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence. J Calvin on Luke 24:45
As God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find any acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken by the mouth of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts, to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what has been divinely commanded.
John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion 
Man’s mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much so that if a man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain. JOHN CALVIN
There is not one blade of grass, there is no colour in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice. John Calvin
It is entirely by the intervention of Christ’s righteousness that we obtain justification before God. This is equivalent to saying that man is not just in himself, but that the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation, while he is strictly deserving of punishment. John Calvin
For the statement of some, that the law of God given through Moses is dishonored when it is abrogated and new laws preferred to it, is utterly vain. For others are not preferred to it when they are more approved, not by a simple comparison, but with regard to the condition of times, place, and nation; or when that law is abrogated which was never enacted for us. For the Lord through the hand of Moses did not give that law to be proclaimed among all nations and to be in force everywhere; but when he had taken the Jewish nation into his safekeeping, defense, and protection, he also willed to be a lawgiver especially to it; and — as became a wise lawgiver — he had special concern for it in making its laws.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia, 1960)IV, xx, 16, p. 500
A lawsuit, however just, can never be rightly prosecuted by any man, unless he treat his adversary with the same love and good will as if the business under controversy were already amicably settled and composed. Perhaps someone will interpose here that such moderation is so uniformly absent from any lawsuit that it would be a miracle if any such were found. Indeed, I admit that, as the customs of these times go, an example of an upright litigant is rare; but the thing itself, when not corrupted by the addition of anything evil, does not cease to be good and pure. … John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Let us therefore learn (as I have said before) so to behave ourselves in obedience to God that men also on their parts be friendly towards us. For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God. John Calvin, Sermon 161, Thursday, March 26, 1556
In that obedience which we have shown to be due the authority of rulers, we are always to make this exception, indeed, to observe it as primary, that such obedience is never to lead us away from obedience to him, to whose decrees all their commands ought to yield, to whose majesty their sceptres ought to be submitted. And how absurd would it be that in satisfying men you should incur the displeasure of him for whose sake you obey men themselves! The Lord, therefore, is the King of Kings, who, when he has opened his sacred mouth, must alone be heard, before all and above all men; next to him we are subject to those men who are in authority over us, but only in him. If they command anything against him, let it go un-esteemed. John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion 
Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness. John Calvin
Let us not cease to do the utmost, that we may incessantly go forward in the way of the Lord; and let us not despair of the smallness of our accomplishments. JOHN CALVIN
There is a communion of men with God by which, having entered the heavenly sanctuary, appeal to him in person concerning his promises in order to experience, where necessity so demands, that what they believed was not in vain, although he had promised it in word alone. John Calvin
Grant, Almighty God, as at the present time thou dost deservedly chastise us for our sins, according to the example of thine ancient people, that we may turn our face to thee with true penitence and humility: May we throw ourselves suppliantly and prostrately before thee; and, despairing of ourselves, place our only hope in thy pity which thou hast promised. J. Calvin.
God tolerates even our stammering, and pardons our ignorance whenever something inadvertently escapes us — as, indeed, without this mercy there would be no freedom to pray. John Calvin (1509-1564
For Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know. Therefore we must guard against depriving believers of anything disclosed about predestination in Scripture, lest we seem either wickedly to defraud them of the blessing of their God or to accuse and scoff at the Holy Spirit for having published what it is in any way profitable to suppress.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion III.21.3
But for those who are so cautious or fearful that they desire to bury predestination in order not to disturb weak souls–with what colour will they cloak their arrogance when they accuse God indirectly of stupid thoughtlessness, as if he had not foreseen the peril that they feel they have wisely met? Whoever, then, heaps odium upon the doctrine of predestination openly reproaches God, as if he had unadvisedly let slip something hurtful to the church. Calvin Institutes III.21.4
However these deeds of men are judged in themselves, still the Lord accomplished his work through them alike when he broke the bloody scepters of arrogant kings and when he overturned intolerable governments. Let the princes hear and be afraid. But we must, in the meantime, be very careful not to despise or violate that authority of magistrates, full of venerable majesty, which God has established by the weightiest decrees, even though it may reside with the most unworthy men, who defile it as much as they can with their own wickedness. For, if the correction of unbridled despotism is the Lord’s to avenge, let us not at once think that it is entrusted to us, to whom no command has been given except to obey and suffer.
John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion 
No man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men: neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief. Calvin Commentary on Acts 2:21
Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ. John Calvin
Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known. John Calvin (1509-1564)
Though Satan instils his poison, and fans the flames of our corrupt desires within us,we are yet not carried by any external force to the commission of sin, but our own flesh entices us, and we willingly yield to its allurements. Calvin on Gen 22:1
Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols. John Calvin
All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors. John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion
At this day… the earth sustains on her bosom many monster minds, minds which are not afraid to employ the seed of Deity deposited in human nature as a means of suppressing the name of God. Can anything be more detestable than this madness in man, who, finding God a hundred times both in his body and his soul, makes his excellence in this respect a pretext for denying that there is a God? He will not say that chance has made him different from the brutes; … but, substituting Nature as the architect of the universe, he suppresses the name of God. — John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as an ass is incapable of understanding musical harmony. — Calvin on 1Co 1:20.
Since no man is excluded from calling upon God the gate of salvation is set open to all. There is nothing else to hinder us from entering, but our own unbelief. Calvin On Acts 1:21.
With regard to men, he says just the opposite: ‘it is a shame to them if they where long hair’…If we suggest that this is of no great importance, we see what God says about it by his Prophet: namely that He will reform the strange clothes.
John Calvin For Men Women and Order in the Church
Let us remember therefore this lesson: That to worship our God sincerely we must evermore begin by hearkening to His voice, and by giving ear to what He commands us. For if every man goes after his own way, we shall wander. We may well run, but we shall never be a whit nearer to the right way, but rather farther away from it.
John Calvin, Sermon 155: Deu 28:9-14, “Separation unto Blessing”, Thursday, March 12, 1556
And though, in adults, the receiving of the sign ought to follow the understanding of its meaning, yet, as will shortly be explained, a different rule must be followed with children. No other conclusion can be drawn from a passage in Peter, on which they strongly found. He says, that baptism is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 3:21). From this they contend that nothing is left for pÊdobaptism, which becomes mere empty smoke, as being altogether at variance with the meaning of baptism. But the delusion which misleads them is, that they would always have the thing to precede the sign in the order of time. For the truth of circumcision consisted in the same answer of a good conscience; but if the truth must necessarily have preceded, infants would never have been circumcised by the command of God. But he himself, showing that the answer of a good conscience forms the truth of circumcision, and, at the same time, commanding infants to be circumcised, plainly intimates that, in their case, circumcision had reference to the future. Wherefore, nothing more of present effect is to be required in pÊdobaptism, than to confirm and sanction the covenant which the Lord has made with them. The other part of the meaning of the sacrament will follow at the time which God himself has provided. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV,16,21
A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent…. John Calvin (1509-1564)
Whenever His Word is set before us, we must tremble, because nothing is hid from Him.– John Calvin, Commentary on Heb 4:13
What would become of us if we did not take our stand on hope, and if our heart did not hasten beyond this world through the midst of the darkness upon the path illumined by the word and Spirit of God? – John Calvin on Hebrews 11:1.
Our children, before they are born, God declares that he adopts for his own when he promised that he will be a God to us, and our seed after us. In this promise their salvation is included. Calvin’s Institutes (4.xv.20)
…we maintain that children who happen to depart this life before an opportunity of immersing them in water, are not excluded from the kingdom of heaven. …it follows, that the children of believers are not baptised, in order that though formerly aliens from the Church, they may then, for the first time, become children of God, but rather are received into the Church, by a formal sign, because, in virtue of the promise, they previously belonged to the body of Christ. Hence, if, in omitting the sign, there is neither sloth, nor contempt, nor negligence, we are safe from all danger. Calvin’s Institutes (4.xv.22)
M. Let us now see how far this command has reference to us.
S. In regard to the ceremony [the resting one day in seven], I hold that it was abolished, as the reality existed in Christ.
S. Because, by virtue of his death, our old man is crucified, and we are raised up to newness of life.
M. What of the commandment then remains for us?
S. Not to neglect the holy ordinances which contribute to the spiritual polity of the Church; especially to frequent sacred assemblies, to hear the word of God, to celebrate the sacraments, and engage in the regular prayers, as enjoined.
M. But does the figure give us nothing more?
S. Yes, indeed. We must give heed to the thing meant by it; namely, that being engrafted into the body of Christ, and made his members, we cease from our own works, and so resign ourselves to the government of God.
Calvin’s Catechism for the Church at Geneva. – on the Fourth Commandment
A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” – John Calvin (1509 &endash; 1564)
It behoves us to accomplish what God requires of us, even when we are in the greatest despair respecting the results…. John Calvin (1509-1564)</p>
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