John Calvin Institutes Quotes

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Without the fear of God, men do not even observe justice and charity among themselves.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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No one can travel so far that he does not make some progess each day. So let us never give up. Then we shall move forward daily in the Lord's way. And let us never despair because of our limited success. Even though it is so much less than we would like, our labour is not wasted when today is better than yesterday!
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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We are not to reflect on the wickedness of men but to look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, an image which, by its beauty and dignity, should allure us to love and embrace them.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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In forming an estimate of sins, we are often imposed upon by imagining that the more hidden the less heinous they are.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Those who set up a fictitious worship, merely worship and adore their own delirious fancies; indeed, they would never dare so to trifle with God, had they not previously fashioned him after their own childish conceits.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Reading list (1972 edition)[edit] 1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus – Tragedies 4. Sophocles – Tragedies 5. Herodotus – Histories 6. Euripides – Tragedies 7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes – Comedies 10. Plato – Dialogues 11. Aristotle – Works 12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid – Elements 14. Archimedes – Works 15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections 16. Cicero – Works 17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil – Works 19. Horace – Works 20. Livy – History of Rome 21. Ovid – Works 22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy – Almagest 27. Lucian – Works 28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations 29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus – The Enneads 32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt NjΓ‘l 36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks 40. NiccolΓ² Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More – Utopia 44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. FranΓ§ois Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays 48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan 57. RenΓ© Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton – Works 59. MoliΓ¨re – Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics 63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve – The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
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Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
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Faith is ultimately 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 by the Holy Spirit
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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He who neglects to pray alone and in private, however assiduously he frequents public meetings, there gives his prayers to the wind.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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We are not to look to what men in themselves deserve but to attend to the image of God which exists in all and to which we owe all honor and love.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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He who has learned to look to God in everything he does is at the same time diverted from all vain thoughts.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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A tear rolled down my cheek And more came down Until tears rolled down like a stream. My eyes were blind with tears for you. They washed my eyes till I could see.
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Calvin O'John (Anthology of Poetry and Verse Written by Students in Creative Writing Classes and Clubs During the First Three Years of Operation (1962-1965) of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico)
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Doctrine is not an affair of the tongue but of the life.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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God orders what we cannot do, that we may know what we ought to ask of him.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Prayer unaccompanied by perseverance leads to no result.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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The cross of Christ only triumphs in the breast of believers over the devil and the flesh, sin and sinners, when their eyes are directed to the power of His Resurrection.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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As far as sacred Scripture is concerned, however much froward men try to gnaw at it, nevertheless it clearly is crammed with thoughts that could not be humanly conceived. Let each of the prophets be looked into: none will be found who does not far exceed human measure. Consequently, those for whom prophetic doctrine is tasteless ought to be thought of as lacking taste buds.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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He regards it as the highest insult for the wicked to boast of His covenant while profaning His sacred Name by their whole lives.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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They who strive to build up a firm faith in Scripture through disputation are doing things backwards.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1 of 2)
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There is no inconsistency when God raises up those who have fallen prostrate.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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In a way, the futile excuses many people use to cover their superstitions are demolished. They think it is enough to have some sort of religious fervor, however ridiculous, not realizing that true religion must be according to God's will as the perfect measure; that He can never deny Himself and is no mere spirit form to be changed around according to individual preference.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Our true wisdom is to embrace with meek docility, and without reservation, whatever the holy scriptures have delivered.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Prayers will never reach God unless they are founded on free mercy.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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The true wisdom of man consists in the knowledge of God the Creator and Redeemer.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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For the Word of God is not received by faith if it flits about in the top of the brain, but when it takes root in the depth of the heart . . . the heart's distrust is greater than the mind's blindness. It is harder for the heart to be furnished with assurance [of God's love] than for the mind to be endowed with thought.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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True and sound wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Men in prayer give greater license to their unlawful desires than if they were telling jocular tales among their equals.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and, neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation. Hence, they do not conceive of him in the character in which he is manifested, but imagine him to be whatever their own rashness has devised.
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John Calvin (The Institutes of the Christian Religion (best navigation))
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I was always exceedingly delighted with that saying of Chrysostom, "The foundation of our philosophy is humility"; and yet more pleased with that of Augustine: "As the orator, when asked, What is the first precept in eloquence? answered, Delivery: What is the second? Delivery: What is the third? Delivery: so if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, I will answer, first, second, and third, Humility.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Thus it is that we may patiently pass through this life with its misery, hunger, cold, contempt, reproaches, and other troubles - content with this one thing: that our King [Jesus] will never leave us destitute, but will provide for our needs until, our warfare ended, we are called to triumph.
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John Calvin
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If grace acts in us, grace, and not we who do the work, will be crowned,
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Were the judgments of mankind correct, custom would be regulated by the good. But it is often far otherwise in point of fact; for, whatever the many are seen to do, forthwith obtains the force of custom. But human affairs have scarcely ever been so happily constituted as that the better course pleased the greater number. Hence the private vices of the multitude have generally resulted in public error, or rather that common consent in vice which these worthy men would have to be law.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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[Philosophers] are like a traveler passing through a field at night who in a momentary lightning flash sees far and wide, but the sight vanishes so swiftly that he is plunged again into the darkness of night before he can take even a step-let alone be directed on the way by its help.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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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.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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For this we must believe: that the mind is never seriously aroused to desire and ponder the life to come unless it be previously imbued with contempt for the present life. Indeed, there is no middle ground between these two: either the world must become worthless to us or hold us bound by intemperate love of it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears. In despising the gifts, we insult the Giver.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Secondly, [man] should weigh his abilities-or rather lack of abilities.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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for we see Abraham the readier to acknowledge himself but dust and ashes the nearer he approaches to behold the glory of the Lord,
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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give what is absolutely free, because he sees nothing in us that can be a ground of salvation.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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cavils.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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For so blindly do we all rush in the direction of self-love, that every one thinks he has a good reason for exalting himself and despising all others in comparison.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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we must be persuaded not only that as he once formed the world, so he sustains it by his boundless power, governs it by his wisdom, preserves it by his goodness, in particular, rules the human race with justice and Judgment, bears with them in mercy, shields them by his protection; but also that not a particle of light, or wisdom, or justice, or power, or rectitude, or genuine truth, will anywhere be found, which does not flow from him, and of which he is not the cause; in this way we must learn to expect and ask all things from him, and thankfully ascribe to him whatever we receive.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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You see how every thing is denied to free will, for the very purpose of leaving no room for merit. And yet, as the beneficence and liberality of God are manifold and inexhaustible, the grace which he bestows upon us, inasmuch as he makes it our own, he recompenses as if the virtuous acts were our own.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Let this, then, be a standing truth, that the whole strength of the godly consists in the grace of God, according to the words of the prophet, "I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you;
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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In discussing the subject of free will, the question is not, whether external obstacles will permit a man to execute what he has internally resolved, but whether, in any matter whatever, he has a free power of judging and of willing.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Now, in order that true religion may shine upon us, we ought to hold that it must take its beginning from heavenly doctrine and that no one can get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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The effect of our knowledge rather ought to be, first, to teach us reverence and fear; and, secondly, to induce us, under its guidance and teaching, to ask every good thing from him, and, when it is received, ascribe it to him. For how can the idea of God enter your mind without instantly giving rise to the thought, that since you are his workmanship, you are bound, by the very law of creation, to submit to his authority?--that your life is due to him?--that whatever you do ought to have reference to him?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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The Must be worthless by our estimation or keep us enslaved by an intemperate love of it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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The Institutes is not only the classic of Christian theology; it is also a model of Christian devotion.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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[God] does not bind the ancient folk to outward doctrine as if they were learning their ABC's.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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God does not measure the precepts of his law by human strength, but, after ordering what is right, freely bestows on his elect the power of fulfilling it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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When the same qualities which we admire in ourselves are seen in others, even though they be superior, maliciously lower and carp at them.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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We are enjoined whenever we behold the gifts of God in others so to reverence and respect the gifts as also to honor those in whom they reside.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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The majesty of God is too high to be scaled up to by mortals, who creep like worms on the earth.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Faithful is the Lord, who has made himself our debtor, not by receiving any thing from us, but by promising us all things," (August. in Ps. 32, 109, et alibi).
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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that it is better to limp in the way, than run with the greatest swiftness out of it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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our faith in doctrine is not established until we have a perfect conviction that God is its author.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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He who is most deeply abased and alarmed, by the consciousness of his disgrace, nakedness, want, and misery, has made the greatest progress in the knowledge of himself.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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This being admitted, it is certain that not a drop of rain falls without the express command of God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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We unlearn the art of speaking well when we cease to speak with God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion Volume V.1)
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Those who, rejecting Scripture, imagine that they have some peculiar way of penetrating to God, are to be deemed not so much under the influence of error as madness.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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The poor man yields to the rich, the plebeian to the noble, the servant to the master, the unlearned to the learned, and yet every one inwardly cherishes some idea of his own superiority.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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For, until men feel that they owe everything to God, that they are cherished by his paternal care, and that he is the author of all their blessings, so that nought is to be looked for away from him, they will never submit to him in voluntary obedience; nay, unless they place their entire happiness in him, they will never yield up their whole selves to him in truth and sincerity.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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whenever God is pleased to make way for his providence, he even in external matters so turns and bends the wills of men, that whatever the freedom of their choice may be, it is still subject to the disposal of God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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For what is more consonant with faith than to recognize that we are naked of all virtue, in order to be clothed by God? That we are empty of all good, to be filled by him? That we are slaves of sin, to be freed by him? Blind, to be illumined by him? Lame, to be made straight by him? Weak, to be sustained by him? To take away from us all occasion for glorying, that he alone may stand forth gloriously and we glory in him [cf. I Cor. 1:31; II Cor. 10:17]?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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We should consider that the brightness of the Divine countenance, which even an apostle declares to be inaccessible, (1Ti 6: 16) is a kind of labyrinth β€” a labyrinth to us inextricable, if the Word do not serve us as a thread to guide our path; and that it is better to limp in the way, than run with the greatest swiftness out of it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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John Calvin, brought characteristic rigor to the question. Luther dreamed of good princes, disliked law on principle, and had little interest in institutions. As a result, Lutheran churches ended up with a mishmash of governing structures. Calvin, by contrast, had trained as a lawyer, knew that structures matter, and favored more participatory government.
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Alec Ryrie (Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World)
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For as the aged, or those whose sight is defective, when any books however fair, is set before them, though they perceive that there is something written are scarcely able to make out two consecutive words, but, when aided by glasses, begin to read distinctly, so Scripture, gathering together the impressions of Deity, which, till then, lay confused in our minds, dissipates the darkness, and shows us the true God clearly.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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call β€œpiety” that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces. For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond himβ€”they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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The preachers quickly learned that he could trade biblical quotations with them almost indefinitely. It was equally pointless to cite the standard Presbyterian authorities. James denounced John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion as 'childish', dismissed John Knox as 'a knave' who ha called 'his mother a whore', and informed the minister who claimed a divine warrant to preach that 'the office of prophets was ended'. The preachers could only suffer his sarcasm in silence.
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Thomas Cogswell (James I: The Phoenix King)
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So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seem most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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And yet I will exert special effort to the end that they who lend ready and open ears to God’s Word may have a firm standing ground. Here, indeed, if anywhere in the secret mysteries of Scripture, we ought to play the philosopher soberly and with great moderation; let us use great caution that neither our thoughts nor our speech go beyond the limits to which the Word of God itself extends. For how can the human mind measure off the measureless essence of God according to its own little measure, a mind as yet unable to establish for certain the nature of the sun’s body, though men’s eyes daily gaze upon it? Indeed, how can the mind by its own leading come to search out God’s essence when it cannot even get to its own? Let us then willingly leave to God the knowledge of himself. For, as Hilary (of Poitiers) says, he is the one fit witness to himself, and is not known except through himself. But we shall be β€œleaving it to him” if we conceive him to be as he reveals himself to us, without inquiring about him elsewhere than from his Word. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I:XIII:21.
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James R. White (The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief)
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Since the earliest days the church as an organization has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was apologist for the divine right of kings.... In the domain of pure ideas one branch of the church clings to the archaic speculations of Thomas Aquinas and the other labors under the preposterous nonsense of John Calvin.... The only real way to reconcile science and religion is to set up something that is not science and something that is not religion.... To argue that the gaps in knowledge which still confront the seeker must be filled, not by patient inquiry, but by intuition or revelation, is simply to give ignorance a gratuitous and preposterous dignity. When a man so indulges himself it is only to confess that, to that extent at least, he is not a scientist at all, but a theologian, for he attempts to reconcile science and religion by the sorry device of admitting that the latter is somehow superior to the former, and is thus entitled to all territories that remain unoccupied. (TG 260-61)
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S.T. Joshi (The Unbelievers: The Evolution of Modern Atheism)
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By the blessing of God, sometimes meditating on the soul, methinks, I find in it as it were two contraries. When I look at it as it is in itself and of itself, the truest thing I can say of it is, that it has been reduced to nothing. What need is there to enumerate each of its miseries? how burdened with sin, obscured with darkness, ensnared by allurements, teeming with lusts, ruled by passion, filled with delusions, ever prone to evil, inclined to every vice; lastly, full of ignominy and confusion. If all its righteousnesses, when examined by the light of truth, are but as filthy rags (Is. 64:6), what must we suppose its unrighteousness to be? 'If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness?' (Matth. 6:23). What then? man doubtless has been made subject to vanityβ€”man here been reduced to nothingβ€”man is nothing. And yet how is he whom God exalts utterly nothing? How is he nothing to whom a divine heart has been given? Let us breathe again, brethren. Although we are nothing in our hearts, perhaps something of us may lurk in the heart of God. O Father of mercies! O Father of the miserable! how plantest thou thy heart in us? Where thy heart is, there is thy treasure also. But how are we thy treasure if we are nothing? All nations before thee are as nothing. Observe, before thee; not within thee. Such are they in the judgment of thy truth, but not such in regard to thy affection. Thou callest the things which be not as though they were; and they are not, because thou callest them 'things that be not:' and yet they are because thou callest them. For though they are not as to themselves, yet they are with thee according to the declaration of Paul: 'Not of works, but of him that calleth,'" (Rom. 9:11).
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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ever. Amen. Thank God for self-help books. No wonder the business is booming. It reminds me of junior high school, where everybody was afraid of the really cool kids because they knew the latest, most potent putdowns, and were not afraid to use them. Dah! But there must be another reason that one of the best-selling books in the history of the world is Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray. Could it be that our culture is oh so eager for a quick fix? What a relief it must be for some people to think β€œOh, that’s why we fight like cats and dogs, it is because he’s from Mars and I am from Venus. I thought it was just because we’re messed up in the head.” Can you imagine Calvin Consumer’s excitement and relief to get the video on β€œThe Secret to her Sexual Satisfaction” with Dr. GraySpot, a picture chart, a big pointer, and an X marking the spot. Could that β€œG” be for β€œgiggle” rather than Dr. β€œGraffenberg?” Perhaps we are always looking for the secret, the gold mine, the G-spot because we are afraid of the real G-word: Growthβ€”and the energy it requires of us. I am worried that just becoming more educated or well-read is chopping at the leaves of ignorance but is not cutting at the roots. Take my own example: I used to be a lowly busboy at 12 East Restaurant in Florida. One Christmas Eve the manager fired me for eating on the job. As I slunk away I muttered under my breath, β€œScrooge!” Years later, after obtaining a Masters Degree in Psychology and getting a California license to practice psychotherapy, I was fired by the clinical director of a psychiatric institute for being unorthodox. This time I knew just what to say. This time I was much more assertive and articulate. As I left I told the director β€œYou obviously have a narcissistic pseudo-neurotic paranoia of anything that does not fit your myopic Procrustean paradigm.” Thank God for higher education. No wonder colleges are packed. What if there was a language designed not to put down or control each other, but nurture and release each other to grow? What if you could develop a consciousness of expressing your feelings and needs fully and completely without having any intention of blaming, attacking, intimidating, begging, punishing, coercing or disrespecting the other person? What if there was a language that kept us focused in the present, and prevented us from speaking like moralistic mini-gods? There is: The name of one such language is Nonviolent Communication. Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication provides a wealth of simple principles and effective techniques to maintain a laser focus on the human heart and innocent child within the other person, even when they have lost contact with that part of themselves. You know how it is when you are hurt or scared: suddenly you become cold and critical, or aloof and analytical. Would it not be wonderful if someone could see through the mask, and warmly meet your need for understanding or reassurance? What I am presenting are some tools for staying locked onto the other person’s humanness, even when they have become an alien monster. Remember that episode of Star Trek where Captain Kirk was turned into a Klingon, and Bones was freaking out? (I felt sorry for Bones because I’ve had friends turn into Cling-ons too.) But then Spock, in his cool, Vulcan way, performed a mind meld to determine that James T. Kirk was trapped inside the alien form. And finally Scotty was able to put some dilithium crystals into his phaser and destroy the alien cloaking device, freeing the captain from his Klingon form. Oh, how I wish that, in my youth or childhood,
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Kelly Bryson (Don't Be Nice, Be Real)
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Each year, month, and day is governed by a new, a special, providence of God
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion Book III (Christian Heritage Series))
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That there exists in the human minds and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead, the memory of which he constantly renews and occasionally enlarges, that all to a man being aware that there is a God, and that he is their Maker, may be condemned by their own conscience when they neither worship him nor consecrate their lives to his service.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Indeed, the perversity of the impious, who though they struggle furiously are unable to extricate themselves from the fear of God, is abundant testimony that this conviction, namely, that there is some God, is naturally inborn in all, and is fixed deep within...Although Diagoras and his like may jest at whatever has been believed in every age concerning religion, and Dionysius may mock the heavenly judgment, this is sardonic laughter, for the worm of conscience, sharper than any cauterizing iron, gnaws away within.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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We do not read of any man who broke out into more unbridled and audacious contempt of the Deity than Caligula, and yet none showed greater dread when any indication of divine wrath was manifested. Thus, however, unwilling, he shook with terror before God him he professedly studied to condemn. You may every day see the same thing happening to his modern imitators. The most audacious despiser of God is most easily disturbed, trembling at the sound of a falling leaf. How so, unless in vindication of the divine majesty; which smites their conscience the more strongly the more they endeavor to flee from it. They all, indeed, look out for hiding-places where they may conceal themselves from the presence of the Lord, and again efface it from their mind; but after all their efforts remain caught within the net. Though the conviction may occasionally seem to vanish for a moment, it immediately returns, and rushes in with impetuosity, so that any interval of relief from the gnawing of conscience is not unlike the slumber of the intoxicated or the insane, who have no quiet rest in sleep, but are continually haunted with dire horrific dreams. Even the wicked themselves, therefore, are an example of the fact that some idea of God always exists in every human mind.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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The answer depends on what is meant by the word free. In some senses of the word free, everyone agrees that we are free in our will and in our choices. Even prominent theologians in the Reformed or Calvinistic tradition concur. Both Louis Berkhof in his Systematic Theology (pp. 103, 173) and John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion16 are willing to speak in some sense of the β€œfree” acts and choices of man.
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Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine)
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The Church is our mother, inasmuch as God has committed to her the kind office of bringing us up in the faith until we attain full age.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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the mark of sound doctrine given by our Saviour himself is its tendency to promote the glory not of men, but of God (John
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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the Church may exist without any apparent form, and, moreover, that the form is not ascertained by that external splendour which they foolishly admire, but by a very different mark, namely, by the pure preaching of the word of God, and the due administration of the sacraments.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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The characteristic of a true sovereign is, to acknowledge that, in the administration of his kingdom, he is a minister of God. He who does not make his reign subservient to the divine glory, acts the part not of a king, but a robber.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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unless they place their entire happiness in him, they will never yield up their whole selves to him in truth and sincerity.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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of what use is it to join Epicurus in acknowledging some God who has cast off the care of the world, and only delights himself in ease?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Such is pure and genuine religion, namely, confidence in God coupled with serious fear-fear, which both includes in it willing reverence, and brings along with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed by the law.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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If I were inclined to compile a whole volume from Augustine, I could easily show my readers, that I need no words but his.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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if men are only naturally taught, instead of having any distinct, solid, or certain knowledge, they fasten only on contradictory principles, and, in consequence, worship an unknown God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Especially in its antithesis to Anabaptism Calvinism exhibits itself in bold relief. For Anabaptism adopted the opposite method, and in its effort to evade the world it confirmed the monastic starting-point, generalizing and making it a rule for all believers. It was not from Calvinism, but from this anabaptistic principle, that Akosmism had its rise among so many Protestants in Western Europe. In fact, Anabaptism adopted the Romish theory, with this difference : that it placed the kingdom of God in the room of the Church, and abandoned the distinction between the two moral standards, one for the clergy and the other for the laity. For the rest the Anabaptist's standpoint was: (1) that the unbaptized world was under the curse, for which reason he withdrew from all civil institutions ; and (2) that the circle of baptized believersβ€”with Rome the Church, but with him the kingdom of Godβ€”was in duty bound to take all civil life under its guardianship and to remodel it; and so John of Leyden violently established his shameless power at Munster as King of the New Zion, and his devotees ran naked through the streets of Amsterdam. Hence, on the same grounds on which Calvinism rejected Rome's theory concerning the world, it rejected the theory of the Anabaptist, and proclaimed that the Church must withdraw again within its spiritual domain, and that in the world we should realize the potencies of God's common grace.
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Abraham Kuyper (Lectures on Calvinism)
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Especially in its antithesis to Anabaptism Calvinism exhibits itself in bold relief. For Anabaptism adopted the opposite method, and in its effort to evade the world it confirmed the monastic starting-point, generalizing and making it a rule for all believers. It was not from Calvinism, but from this anabaptistic principle, that Akosmism had its rise among so many Protestants in Western Europe. In fact, Anabaptism adopted the Romish theory, with this difference : that it placed the kingdom of God in the room of the Church, and abandoned the distinction between the two moral standards, one for the clergy and the other for the laity. For the rest the Anabaptist's standpoint was: (1) that the unbaptized world was under the curse, for which reason he withdrew from all civil institutions ; and (2) that the circle of baptized believersβ€”with Rome the Church, but with him the kingdom of Godβ€”was in duty bound to take all civil life under its guardianship and to remodel it; and so John of Leyden violently established his shameless power at Munster as King of the New Zion, and his devotees ran naked through the streets of Amsterdam. Hence, on the same grounds on which Calvinism rejected Rome's theory concerning the world, it rejected the theory of the Anabaptist, and proclaimed that the Church must withdraw again within its spiritual domain, and that in the world we should realize the potencies of God's common grace.
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Abraham Kuyper (Lectures on Calvinism)
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The sum is, that man cannot claim a single particle of righteousness to himself, without at the same time detracting from the glory of the divine righteousness.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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John Calvin writes, in one of the best paragraphs you’ll ever read, β€œWe 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. If we seek salvation we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is β€˜of him’ [1Β Cor. 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 [Heb. 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Heb. 5:2]. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Gal. 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” (Institutes 2.16.19). 2Institutes 3.2.24.
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Kevin DeYoung (The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness)
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Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God....Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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And, as Augustine expresses it (in Psalm cxliv.), since we are unable to comprehend Him, and are, as it were, overpowered by his greatness, our proper course is to contemplate his works, and
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John Calvin (The Institutes of the Christian Religion (best navigation))
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The human heart has so many recesses for vanity, so many lurking places for falsehood, is so shrouded by fraud and hypocrisy, that it often deceives itself.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion: The Basics of Protestant Theology)
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A curse from the Lord righteously falls not only on the head of the guilty individual, but also on all his lineage.” β€” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 15592
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Andrew L. Seidel (The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American)
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I do not say with Cicero, that errors wear out by age, and that religion increases and grows better day by day. For the world (as will be shortly seen) labours as much as it can to shake off all knowledge of God,
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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that my object in this work was to prepare and train students of theology for the study of the Sacred Volume, so that they might both have an easy introduction to it, and be able to proceed in it, with unfaltering step, seeing I have endeavoured to give such a summary of religion in all its parts, and have digested it into such an order as may make it not difficult for anyone, who is rightly acquainted with it, to ascertain both what he ought principally to look for in Scripture, and also to what head he ought to refer whatever is contained in it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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See, then, the nature of pure and genuine religion. It consists in faith, united with a serious fear of God, comprehending a voluntary reverence, and producing legitimate worship agreeable to the injunctions of the law. And this requires to be the more carefully remarked, because men in general render to God a formal worship, but very few truly reverence him; while great ostentation in ceremonies is universally displayed, but sincerity of heart is rarely to be found.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion: The Basics of Protestant Theology)
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For even if the Word in his immeasurable essence united with the nature with the nature of man into one person, we do not imagine that he was confined therein. Here is something marvelous: the Son of God descended from heaven in such a way that, without leaving heaven, he willed to be borne in the virgin's womb, to go about earth, and to hang upon the cross; yet he continuously filled the world even as he had done from the beginning.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Nevertheless the observation of Augustine is strictly true that all who are strangers to the religion of of the one true God, however they may be esteemed worthy of admiration for their reputed virtue, not only merit no reward, but are rather deserving of punishment, because they contaminate the pure gifts of God with the pollution of their own hearts...When we remember that the end of what is right is always to serve God, whatever is directed at any other end of what is right, can have no claim to that appellation...Moral duties are estimated not by external actions, but by the ends for which such actions are designed...Hence we clearly perceive that all the thoughts,meditations, and actions of man man antecedent to a reconciliation to God by faith, are accursed, and not only of no avail to justification, but certainly deserving of condemnation.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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If any one does not think it enough to know that all the orders of the heavenly host are perpetually watching for his safety, I do not see what he could gain by knowing that he has one angel as a special guardian. Those, again, who limit the care which God takes of each of us to a single angel, do great injury to themselves and to all the members of the Church, as if there were no value in those promises of auxiliary troops, who on every side encircling and defending us, embolden us to fight more manfully.” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.14.7)
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John Calvin
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So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion Book I (Christian Heritage Series - Annotated))
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I am not ignorant, however, and I have no wish to disguise the fact, that they endeavor to evade the charge by means of a more subtle distinction...The worship which they pay to their images they cloak with the name of idolodulia, and deny to be idolatria. So they speak, holding that the worship which they call dulia may, without insult to God, be paid to statues and pictures. Hence, they think themselves blameless if they are only the servants, and not the worshippers, of idols; as if it were not a lighter matter to worship than to serve. And yet, while they take refuge in a greek term, they very childishly contradict themselves. For the Greek word λατρΡύΡιν having no other meaning than to worship, that they say is just the same as if they were to confess that they worship their images without worshiping them. They cannot object that I am quibbing upon words. The fact is, that they only betray their ignorance while they attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the simple. But how eloquent soever they may be, they will never prove by their eloquence that one and the same thing makes two. Let them show how the things differ if they would be thought different from ancient idolaters. For as a murderer or adulterer will not escape conviction by giving some adventitious name to his crime, so it is absurd for them to expect that the subtle device of a name will exculpate them, if they, in fact, differ in nothing from idolaters whom they themselves are forced to condemn. But so far are they from proving that their case is different, that the source of the whole evil consists in a preposterous rivalship with them, while they with their minds devise, and with their hands execute, symbolical shapes of God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of The Christian Religion Book 1)
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The believer finds within himself two principles: the one filling him with delight in recognizing the divine goodness, the other filling him with bitterness under a sense of his fallen state; the one leading him to recline on the promise of the Gospel, the other alarming him by the conviction of his iniquity; the one making him exult with the anticipation of life, the other making him tremble with the fear of death. This diversity is owing to imperfection of faith, since we are never so well in the course of the present life as to be entirely cured of the disease of distrust, and completely replenished and engrossed by faith. Hence those conflicts: the distrust cleaving to the remains of the flesh rising up to assail the faith enlisting in our hearts. But if in the believer's mind certainty is mingled with doubt, must we not always be carried back to the conclusion, that faith consists not of a sure and clear, but only of an obscure and confused, understanding of the divine will in regard to us? By no means. Though we are distracted by various thoughts, it does not follow that we are immediately divested of faith. Though we are agitated and carried to and fro by distrust, we are not immediately plunged into the abyss; though we are shaken, we are not therefore driven from our place. The invariable issue of the contest is, that faith in the long run surmounts the
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord," (Psalm 27:14). He accuses himself of timidity, and repeating the same thing twice, confesses that he is ever and anon exposed to agitation. Still he is not only dissatisfied with himself for so feeling, but earnestly labors to correct it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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On the other hand, believers, though weighed down and almost overwhelmed with the burden of temptation, constantly rise up, though not without toil and difficulty; hence, feeling conscious of their own weakness, they pray with the Prophet, "Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouths" (Psalm 119:43). By these words, we are taught that they at times become dumb, as if their faith were overthrown, and yet that they do not withdraw or turn their backs, but persevere in the contest, and by prayer stimulate their sluggishness, so as not to fall into stupor by giving way to it. (See Calv. in Psalm 88:16).
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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First, not all the proponents of limited election seem to regard these texts as particularly important. Louis Berkhof, for example, managed to write an entire systematic theology without citing either of the texts in question;129 and though John Calvin did comment upon them briefly in his commentary on 1 John, he evidently did not regard them as important enough even to mention in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. When one thinks about it, this is truly astonishing. Calvin’s Institutes is a monumental work of over 1500 pages; in it he sought to provide an exhaustive summary of Christian doctrine, as he understood it, along with the biblical support for it. In the Westminster Press edition, the index of Bible references alone is thirty-nine pages of small print with three columns per page. And yet, in this entire work, as massive and thorough as it is, Calvin never once found the Johannine declaration that God is love important enough to discuss.
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Thomas Talbott (The Inescapable Love of God)
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I am not ignorant, however, and I have no wish to disguise the fact, that they endeavour to evade the charge by means of a more subtle distinction...The worship which they pay to their images they cloak with the name of idolodulia, and deny to be idolatria. So they speak, holding that the worship which they call dulia may, without insult to God, be paid to statues and pictures. Hence, they think themselves blameless if they are only the servants, and not the worshippers, of idols; as if it were not a lighter matter to worship than to serve. And yet, while they take refuge in a greek term, they very childishly contradict themselves. For the Greek word λατρΡύΡιν having no other meaning than to worship, that they say is just the same as if they were to confess that they worship their images without worshippingthem. They cannot object that I am quibbing upon words. The fact is, that they only betray their ignorance while they attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the simple.But how eloquent soever they may be, they will never prove by their eloquence that one and the same thing makes two. Let them show how the things differ if they would be thought different from ancient idolaters. For as a murderer or adulterer will not escape conviction by giving some adventitious name to his crime, so it is absurd for them to expect that the subtle device of a name will exculpate them, if they, in fact, differ in nothing from idolaters whom they themselves are forced tocondemn. But so far are they from proving that their case is different, that the source of the whole evil consists in a preposterous rivalship with them, while they with their minds devise, and with their hands execute, symbolical shapes of God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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The distinction of what is called dulia and latria was invented for the very purpose of permitting divine honours to be paid to angels and dead men with apparent impunity. For it is plain that the worship which Papists pay to saints differs in no respect from the worship of God: for this worship is paid without distinction; only when they are pressed they have recourse to the evasion, that what belongs to God is kept unimpaired, because they leave him λατρια. But since the question relates not to the word, but the thing, how can they be allowed to sport at will with a matter of the highest moment? But not to insist on this, the utmost they will obtain by their distinction is, that they give worship to God, and service to the others. For λατρΡὶα in Greek has the same meaning as worship in Latin; whereas δουλΡὶα properly means service, though the words are sometimes used in Scripture indiscriminately. But granting that the distinction is invariably preserved, the thing to be inquired into is the meaning of each. ΔουλΡὶα unquestionably means service, and λατρΡὶα worship. But no man doubts that to serve is something higher than to worship. For it were often a hard thing to serve him whom you would not refuse to reverence. It is, therefore, an unjust division to assign the greater to the saints and leave the less to God. But several of the ancient fathers observed this distinction. What if they did, when all men see that it is not only improper, but utterly frivolous?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion - Vol.1 (English Edition))
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When Paul reminds the Galatians of what they were before they came to the knowledge of Gods he says that they β€œdid service unto them which by nature are no gods,” (Gal. 4:8). Because he does not say λατρια, was their superstition excusable? This superstition, to which he gives the name of δυλια, he condemns as much as if he had given it the name of λατρια.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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but will supply our necessities until our warfare is ended, and we are called to triumph: such being the nature of his kingdom, that he communicates to us whatever he received of his Father. Since then he arms and equips us by his power, adorns us with splendour and magnificence,
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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but that the necessity of being constantly engaged in learning is owing to our imperfection, he at the same time reminds us, that a subject which is of boundless extent cannot be comprehended by our feeble and narrow capacities.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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The fear he speaks of is that which renders us more cautious, not that which produces despondency, the fear which is felt when the mind confounded in itself resumes its equanimity in God, downcast in itself, takes courage in God, distrusting itself, breathes confidence in God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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If, in both views, we diligently consider what we are,β€”in the one view our nothingness, in the other our greatness,β€”I presume our glorying will seem restrained; but perhaps it is rather increased and confirmed, because we glory not in ourselves, but in the Lord. Our thought is, if he determined to save us we shall be delivered; and here we begin again to breathe. But, ascending to a loftier height, let us seek the city of God, let us seek the temple, let us seek our home, let us seek our spouse. I have not forgotten myself when, with fear and reverence, I say, We are,β€”are in the heart of God. We are, by his dignifying, not by our own dignity.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Let us move forward according to the measure of our resources and pursue the path we have begun to walk. None of us will move forward with so little success that we will not make some daily progress in the way. Therefore, let us keep trying so that we might continually make some gains in the way of the Lord, and neither let us despair over how small our successes are. For however much our successes fall short of our desire, our efforts aren't in vain when we are farther along today than yesterday.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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This renewal, indeed, is not accomplished in a moment, a day, or a year, but by uninterrupted, sometimes even by slow progress God abolishes the remains of carnal corruption in his elect, cleanses them from pollution, and consecrates them as his temples, restoring all their inclinations to real purity, so that during their whole lives they may practice repentance, and know that death is the only termination to this warfare.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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It is not denied that there is room for improvement; but what I maintain is, that the nearer any one approaches in resemblance to God, the more does the image of God appear in him. That believers may attain to it, God assigns repentance as the goal towards which they must keep running during the whole course of their lives.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Still it is very important for us to call upon him: First, that our hearts may be fired with a zealous and burning desire ever to seek, love, and serve him, while we become accustomed in every need to flee to him as to a sacred anchor. Secondly, that there may enter our hearts no desire and no wish at all of which we should be ashamed to make him a witness, while we learn to set all our wishes before his eyes, and even to pour out our whole hearts. Thirdly, that we be prepared to receive his benefits with true gratitude of heart and thanksgiving, benefits that our prayer reminds us come from his hand. (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, ed. John T. McNeill [Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1960], Book 3, chapter 20, section 3.)
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R.C. Sproul (Does Prayer Change Things? (Crucial Questions, #3))
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Trie and sound wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Christ descended to us, to bear us up to the Father, and at the same time to bear us up to himself, inasmuch as he is one with the Father.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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He is always careful to take account of the unity and harmony of Scripture teaching. His expositions are not therefore afflicted with the vice of expounding particular passages without respect to the teaching of Scripture elsewhere and without respect to the system of truth set forth in the Word of God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Did not God assist us, we should not only not be able to conquer, but not able even to fight.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Those whom the Lord favours not with the direction of his Spirit, he, by a righteous judgement, consigns to the agency of Satan.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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in Augustine with this expression, - "God crowns not our merits but his own gifts; and the name of reward is given not to what is due to our merits, but to the recompense of grace previously bestowed?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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God has not rendered you due punishment, but bestows upon you unmerited grace. If you wish to be an alien from grace, boast your merits," (in Psa 70) Again, "You are nothing in yourself, sin is yours, merit God's. Punishment is your due; and when the reward shall come, God shall crown his own gifts, not your merits,
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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But it will be asked, why are they now admonished of their duty, and not rather left to the guidance of the Spirit? Why are they urged with exhortations when they cannot hasten any faster than the Spirit impels them? and why are they chastised, if at any time they go astray, seeing that this is caused by the necessary infirmity of the flesh? "O, man! who art thou that replies against God?" If, in order to prepare us for the grace which enables us to obey exhortation, God sees meet to employ exhortation, what is there in such an arrangement for you to carp and scoff at? Had exhortations and reprimands no other profit with the godly than to convince them of sin, they could not be deemed altogether useless. Now, when, by the Spirit of God acting within, they have the effect of inflaming their desire of good, of arousing them from lethargy, of destroying the pleasure and honeyed sweetness of sin, making it hateful and loathsome, who will presume to cavil at them as superfluous? Should any one wish a clearer reply, let him take the following: - God works in his elect in two ways: inwardly, by his Spirit; outwardly, by his Word. By his Spirit illuminating their minds, and training their hearts to the practice of righteousness, he makes them new creatures, while, by his Word, he stimulates them to long and seek for this renovation. In both, he exerts the might of his hand in proportion to the measure in which he dispenses them. The Word, when addressed to the reprobate, though not effectual for their amendment, has another use. It urges their consciences now, and will render them more inexcusable on the day of judgement. Thus, our Saviour, while declaring that none can come to him but those whom the Father draws, and that the elect come after they have heard and learned of the Father, (John 6: 44, 45), does not lay aside the office of teacher, but carefully invites those who must be taught inwardly by the Spirit before they can make any profit. The reprobate, again, are admonished by Paul, that the doctrine is not in vain; because, while it is in them a savour of death unto death, it is still a sweet savour unto God, (2Co 2: 16)
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Faith acquires what the Law requires; nay, the Law requires, in order that faith may acquire what is thus required; nay, more, God demands of us faith itself, and finds not what he thus demands, until by giving he makes it possible to find it.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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The abettors of this error would see a still better refutation of it, if they would attend to the source from which the apostle derives the glory of the saints, - "Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified," (Rom 8: 30) On what ground, then, the apostle being judge, (2Ti 4: 8) are believers crowned? Because by the mercy of God, not their own exertions, they are predestinated, called, and justified.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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O, man! learn from the precept what you ought to do; learn from correction, that it is your own fault you have not the power; and learn in prayer, whence it is that you may receive the power.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Is it not rather meant that it was placed far above us, in order to convince us of our utter feebleness?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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In regard to the present question, while it explains what our duty is it teaches that the power of obeying it is derived from the goodness of God, and it accordingly urges us to pray that this power may be given us.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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God very commonly takes on the character of a husband to us. Indeed, the union by which he binds us to himself when he receives us into the bosom of the church is like sacred wedlock.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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On the other hand, it is well known that a person never comes to the clear knowledge of himself unless he has first contemplated the face of the Lord, and afterward descended to consider himself.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion: The First English Version of the 1541 French Edition)
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I leave it to the philosophers to discuss these faculties in their subtle way. For the upbuilding of godliness a simple definition will be enough for us.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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For if we see that the sun, in sending forth its rays upon the earth, to generate, cherish, and invigorate its offspring, in a manner transfuses its substance into it, why should the radiance of the Spirit be less in conveying to us the communion of his flesh and blood? Wherefore the Scripture, when it speaks of our participation with Christ, refers its whole efficacy to the Spirit. Instead of many, one passage will suffice. Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 8:9-11), shows that the only way in which Christ dwells in us is by his Spirit. By this, however, he does not take away that communion of flesh and blood of which we now speak, but shows that it is owing to the Spirit alone that we possess Christ wholly, and have him abiding in us.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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But be it so that public error must have a place in human society, still, in the kingdom of God, we must look and listen only to his eternal truth, against which no series of years, no custom, no conspiracy, can plead prescription.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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One advice I give: Beware of Antichrist; for, unhappily, a love of walls has seized you; unhappily, the Church of God which you venerate exists in houses and buildings; unhappily, under these you find the name of peace. Is it doubtful that in these Antichrist will have his seat?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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They do not therefore apprehend God as he offers himself, bbut imagine him as they have fashioned him in their own presumption.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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I say therefore that he sins against the Holy Spirit who, while so constrained by the power of divine truth that he cannot plead ignorance, yet deliberately resists, and that merely for the sake of resisting.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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See how our works lie under the curse of the law if they are tested by the standard of the law.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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But we must so cherish moderation that we do not try to make God render account to us, but so reverence his secret judgments as to consider his will the truly just cause of all things.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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There is nothing absurd in the doctrine, that though man is justified by faith, he is himself not only not righteous, but the righteousness attributed to his works is beyond their own deserts.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Section 1. The knowledge of God being manifested to all makes the reprobate without excuse. Universal belief and acknowledgement of the existence of God. That there exists in the human minds and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead, the memory of which he constantly renews and occasionally enlarges, that all to a man being aware that there is a God, and that he is their Maker, may be condemned by their own conscience when they neither worship him nor consecrate their lives to his service. Certainly, if there is any quarter where it may be supposed that God is unknown, the most likely for such an instance to exist is among the dullest tribes farthest removed from civilisation. But, as a heathen tells us[1], there is no nation so barbarous, no race so brutish, as not to be imbued with the conviction that there is a God. Even those who, in other respects, seem to differ least from the lower animals, constantly retain some sense of religion; so thoroughly has this common conviction possessed the mind, so firmly is it stamped on the breasts of all men. Since, then, there never has been, from the very first, any quarter of the globe, any city, any household even, without religion, this amounts to a tacit confession, that a sense of Deity is inscribed on every heart. Nay, even idolatry is ample evidence of this fact. For we know how reluctant man is to lower himself, in order to set other creatures above him. Therefore, when he chooses to worship wood and stone rather than be thought to have no God, it is evident how very strong this impression of a Deity must be; since it is more difficult to obliterate it from the mind of man, than to break down the feelings of his nature, - these certainly being broken down, when, in opposition to his natural haughtiness, he spontaneously humbles himself before the meanest object as an act of reverence to God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Section 3. Confirmed also by the vain endeavours of the wicked to banish all fear of God from their minds. Conclusion, that the knowledge of God is naturally implanted in the human mind. All men of sound judgement will therefore hold, that a sense of Deity is indelibly engraven on the human heart. And that this belief is naturally engendered in all, and thoroughly fixed as it were in our very bones, is strikingly attested by the contumacy of the wicked, who, though they struggle furiously, are unable to extricate themselves from the fear of God. Though Diagoras[4], and others of like stamps make themselves merry with whatever has been believed in all ages concerning religion, and Dionysus scoffs at the judgement of heaven, it is but a Sardonian grin; for the worm of conscience, keener than burning steel, is gnawing them within. I do not say with Cicero, that errors wear out by age, and that religion increases and grows better day by day. For the world (as will be shortly seen) labours as much as it can to shake off all knowledge of God, and corrupts his worship in innumerable ways. I only say, that, when the stupid hardness of heart, which the wicked eagerly court as a means of despising God, becomes enfeebled, the sense of Deity, which of all things they wished most to be extinguished, is still in vigour, and now and then breaks forth. Whence we infer, that this is not a doctrine which is first learned at school, but one as to which every man is, from the womb, his own master; one which nature herself allows no individual to forget, though many, with all their might, strive to do so. Moreover, if all are born and live for the express purpose of learning to know God, and if the knowledge of God, in so far as it fails to produce this effect, is fleeting and vain, it is clear that all those who do not direct the whole thoughts and actions of their lives to this end fail to fulfil the law of their being. This did not escape the observation even of philosophers. For it is the very thing which Plato meant (in Phoed. et Theact.) when he taught, as he often does, that the chief good of the soul consists in resemblance to God; i.e., when, by means of knowing him, she is wholly transformed into him. Thus Gryllus, also, in Plutarch, (lib. guod bruta anim. ratione utantur,) reasons most skilfully, when he affirms that, if once religion is banished from the lives of men, they not only in no respect excel, but are, in many respects, much more wretched than the brutes, since, being exposed to so many forms of evil, they continually drag on a troubled and restless existence: that the only thing, therefore, which makes them superior is the worship of God, through which alone they aspire to immortality.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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All the Apostles abound in exhortations, admonitions and rebukes, for the purpose of training the man of God to every good work, and that without any mention of merit. Nay, rather their chief exhortations are founded on the fact, that without any merit of ours, our salvation depends entirely on the mercy of God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Where God thus clearly displays free mercy, have done with that empty imagination of merit.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Now, it is beyond a doubt that the steps by which the Lord in his mercy consummates our salvation are these, "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Rom. 8:30).
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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indeed, vanity joined with pride can be detected in the fact e(b)that, in seeking God, miserable men do not rise above themselves as they should, but measure him by the yardstick of their own carnal stupidity, and neglect sound investigation; thus out of curiosity they fly off into empty speculations. They do not therefore apprehend God as he offers himself, bbut imagine him as they have fashioned him in their own presumption.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Indeed, Scripture exhibits fully as clear evidence of its own truth5 as white and black things do of their color, or sweet and bitter things do of their taste.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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How detestable, I ask you, is this madness: that man, finding God in his body and soul a hundred times, on this very pretense of excellence denies that there is a God?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Nonetheless, by the time we arrive at the eighteenth century and the time of the founders, marriage and the family came to look very much as Aristotle had pictured it. In the previous centuries, Lutheran reforms had lodged marriage into the civil structure of society and made it more a concern of civil law,11 but, joined by Calvin, Protestantism retained parental control over the right of children to marry. John Locke, however, saw marriage as contracted political society, and thus his image of the family as a commonwealth made up of combined individuals parallel his image of the formation of the larger political commonwealth as well.12 Furthermore, Locke declares that parents are, β€œby the law of nature, under an obligation to preserve, nourish and educate” their children.13 Since government is instituted to enforce the laws of nature, Locke states that government should make laws that enforce β€œthe security of the marriage bed.’’14 What
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Jean Bethke Elshtain (The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, & Morals)
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all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Shall we, indeed, distinguish between right and wrong by that judgment which has been imparted to us, yet will there be no judge in heaven?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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eLet this point therefore stand: that those whom the Holy Spirit has inwardly taught truly rest upon Scripture, and that Scripture indeed is self-authenticated;16 hence, it is not right to subject it to proof and reasoning.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself?
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Daniel and Paul foretold that Antichrist would sit in the temple of God (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4); we regard the Roman Pontiff as the leader and standard-bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom.[541] By placing his seat in the temple of God, it is intimated that his kingdom would not be such as to destroy the name either of Christ or of his Church.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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When that which professes to be the Word of God is acknowledged to be so, no person, unless devoid of common sense and the feelings of a man, will have the desperate hardihood to refuse credit to the speaker.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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We explain justification simply as the acceptance with which God receives us into His favour as righteous people. And we say that it consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.
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John Calvin, Institutes 3: 11: 2
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Yet before I answer, I should like my readers again to be warned that this cavil is not hurled against me but against the Holy Spirit, who surely put this confession in the mouth of the holy man Job, β€œAs it pleased God, so was it done” [Job 1:21, cf. Vg.]. When he had been robbed by thieves, in their unjust acts and evil-doing toward him he recognized God’s just scourge. What does Scripture say elsewhere? Eli’s sons did not obey their father because God willed to slay them [I Sam. 2:25]. Another
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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But, as a heathen tells us,[54] there is no nation so barbarous, no race so brutish, as not to be imbued with the conviction that there is a God.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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bBecause of the bondage of sin by which the will is held bound, it cannot move toward good, much less apply itself thereto; for a movement of this sort is the beginning of conversion to God, which in Scripture is ascribed entirely to God’s grace.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Because it might seem absurd that the Gentiles perish without any preceding judgment, Paul immediately adds that for them conscience stands in place of law; this is sufficient reason for their just condemnation. The purpose of natural law, therefore, is to render man inexcusable. This
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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...I digressed and forgot to direct you to a proper theologian. Why not start at the top? Start with John Calvin. Among Christians of our ilk, he continues to hold the center for biblical soundness and intellectual clarity. Buy The Institutes of the Christian Religion...If you're troubled by dust balls of opinion on Calvin that you have picked up through hearsay through the years, do your best to sweep them out with the trash---come to him fresh with a clear imagination. You'll be surprised at how accessible he is, how sane, how Christian. A truly elegant intellect...you can be expected to be directed wisely and prayerfully to God---thinking about God accurately, responding to God truly. Calvin brought a biblically disciplined mind and a Spirt-attuned heart to his writing. And he was a pastor, first and foremost a pastor with a congregation whom he taught and prayed for, visited, baptized, and married and buried, whose problems he dealt with and whose faith he guided.
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Eugene H. Peterson (The Wisdom of Each Other (Growing Deeper))
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Not only does the Lord through forgiveness of sins receive and adopt us once for all into the church, but through the same means he preserves and protects us there. For what would be the point of providing a pardon for us that was destined to be of no use? Every godly man is his own witness that the Lord's mercy, if it were granted only once, would be void and illusory, since each is quite aware throughout his life of the many infirmities that need God's mercy. And clearly not in vain does God promise this grace especially to those of his own household; not in vain does he order the same message of reconciliation daily to be brought to them. So, carrying, as we do, The traces of sin around with us throughout life, unless we are sustained by the Lord's constant Grace and forgiving our sins, we shall scarcely abide one moment in the church. But the Lord has called his children to eternal salvation. Therefore, they ought to ponder that there is pardon ever ready for their sins. Consequently, we must firmly believe that by God's generosity, mediated by Christ's merit, through the sanctification of the Spirit, sins have been and are daily pardoned to us Who have been received and engrafted into the body of the church.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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No man," he declares, "can have the least knowledge of true and sound, doctrine, without having been a disciple of the Scripture. Hence originates all true wisdom, when we embrace with reverence the testimony which God hath been pleased therein to deliver concerning himself. For obedience is the source, not only of an absolutely perfect and complete faith, but of all right knowledge of God" (Inst. 1, 6, 2). In
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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We are superstitiously timid, I say, if whenever creatures threaten us or forcibly terrorize us we become as fearful as if they had some intrinsic power to harm us, cor might wound us inadvertently and accidentally, or there were not enough help in God against their harmful acts.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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The disposition of the heart is man’s, but the preparation of the tongue is the Lord’s.” [Prov. 16:1, 9, conflated.] It is an absurd folly that miserable men take it upon themselves to act without God, when they cannot even speak except as he wills!
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Since the Lord has provided us with such protection, let us not be terrified at the multitude of our enemies as if they could prevail notwithstanding of his aid, but let us adopt the sentiment of Elisha, that more are for us than against us.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God. Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true sound wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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But the nimbleness of the human mind in searching out heaven and earth and the secrets of nature, and when all ages have been compassed by its understanding and memory, in arranging each thing in its proper order, and in inferring future events from past, clearly shows that there lies hidden in man something separate from the body.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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When he would have Jonah cast into the sea, God sent a wind by stirring up a whirlwind [Jonah 1:4]. Those who do not think that God controls the government of the universe will say that this was outside the common course. Yet from it I infer that no wind ever arises or increases except by God’s express command. Otherwise
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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Here, if any where, in considering the hidden mysteries of Scripture, we should speculate soberly and with great moderation, cautiously guarding against allowing either our mind or our tongue to go a step beyond the confines of God's word.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Again, if we have any anxiety about our own salvation, we ought to make no peace nor truce with him who is continually laying schemes for its destruction. But such is the character given to Satan in the third chapter of Genesis, where he is seen seducing man from his allegiance to God, that he may both deprive God of his due honour, and plunge man headlong in destruction.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Moreover, in the passages we have already quoted, the angels of children are said to behold the face of God, to defend us by their protection, to rejoice in our salvation, to admire the manifold grace of God in the Church, to be under Christ their head.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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And surely since we have already seen how the apostles declare the Son of God to have been He whom Moses and the prophets declared to be Jehovah, we must always arrive at a unity of essence.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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The Lord held to this orderly plan in administering the covenant of his mercy: as the day of full revelation approached with the passing of time, the more he increased each day the brightness of its manifestation. Accordingly, at the beginning when the first promise of salvation was given to Adam it glowed like a feeble spark. Then, as it was added to, the light grew in fullness, breaking forth increasingly and shedding its radiance more widely. At lastβ€”when all the clouds were dispersedβ€”Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, fully illumined the whole earth.
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John Calvin (Calvin's Institutes: Abridged Edition)
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But the Lord often leaves his servants, not only to be annoyed by the violence of the wicked, but to be lacerated and destroyed; allows the good to languish in obscurity and squalid poverty, while the ungodly shine forth, as it were, among the stars; and even by withdrawing the light of his countenance does not leave them lasting joy. Wherefore, David by no means disguises the fact, that if believers fix their eyes on the present condition of the world, they will be grievously tempted to believe that with God integrity has neither favour nor reward; so much does impiety prosper and flourish, while the godly are oppressed with ignominy, poverty, contempt, and every kind of cross. The Psalmist says, "But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious of the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." At length, after a statement of the case, he concludes, "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me: until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end," (Ps. 73:2, 3, 16, 17).
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Not to dwell on this, let us here remember that on the whole subject of religion one rule of modesty and soberness is to be observed, and it is this, in obscure matters not to speak or think, or even long to know, more than the Word of God has delivered.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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When God descends to us he, in a certain sense, abases himself and stammers with us, so He allows us to stammer with Him
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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the elegant structure of the world serving us as a kind of mirror, in which we may behold God, though otherwise invisible.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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As age and weakness grew upon him, so he hastened his labour; and, according to his petition to God, he in manner ended his life with his work, for he lived not long after. So
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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We see it was the Lord's purpose to deliver nothing in his sacred oracles which we might not learn for edification. Therefore, instead of dwelling on superfluous matters, let it be sufficient for us briefly to hold, with regard to the nature of devils, that at their first creation they were the angels of God, but by revolting they both ruined themselves, and became the instruments of perdition to others.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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And if it be deemed a great wickedness to contaminate any thing that is dedicated to God, he surely cannot be endured, who, with impure, or even with unprepared hands, will handle that very thing, which of all things is the most sacred on earth. It is therefore an audacity, closely allied to a sacrilege, rashly to turn Scripture in any way we please, and to indulge our fancies as in sport; which has been done by many in former times
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
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Suppose a man falls among thieves, or wild beasts; is shipwrecked at sea by a sudden gale; is killed by a falling house or tree. Suppose another man wandering through the desert finds help in his straits; having been tossed by the waves, reaches harbor; miraculously escapes death by a finger’s breadth. Carnal reason ascribes all such happenings, whether prosperous or adverse, to fortune. But anyone who has been taught by Christ’s lips that all the hairs of his head are numbered [Matt. 10:30] will look farther afield for a cause, and will consider that all events are governed by God’s secret plan.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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The Lord enjoins us to do good to all without exception, though the greater part, if estimated by their own merit, are most unworthy of it. But Scripture subjoins a most excellent reason, when it tells us that we are not to look to what men in themselves deserve, but to attend to the image of God, which exists in all, and to which we owe all honor and love. But in those who are of the household of faith, the same rule is to be more carefully observed, inasmuch as that image is renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, whoever be the man that is presented to you as needing your assistance, you have no ground for declining to give it to him. Say he is a stranger. The Lord has given him a mark which ought to be familiar to you: for which reason he forbids you to despise your own flesh (Gal. 6:10). Say he is mean and of no consideration. The Lord points him out as one whom he has distinguished by the luster of his own image (Isaiah 58:7). Say that you are bound to him by no ties of duty. The Lord has substituted him as it were into his own place, that in him you may recognize the many great obligations under which the Lord has laid you to himself. Say that he is unworthy of your least exertion on his account; but the image of God, by which he is recommended to you, is worthy of yourself and all your exertions. But if he not only merits no good, but has provoked you by injury and mischief, still this is no good reason why you should not embrace him in love, and visit him with offices of love. He has deserved very differently from me, you will say. But what has the Lord deserved? Whatever injury he has done you, when he enjoins you to forgive him, he certainly means that it should be imputed to himself. In this way only we attain to what is not to say difficult but altogether against nature, to love those that hate us, render good for evil, and blessing for cursing, remembering that we are not to reflect on the wickedness of men, but look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, should by its beauty and dignity allure us to love and embrace them.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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Let us imagine, for example, a merchant who, entering a wood with a company of faithful men, unwisely wanders away from his companions, and in his wandering comes upon a robber’s den, falls among thieves, and is slain. His death was not only foreseen by God’s eye, but also determined by his decree. For it is not said that he foresaw how long the life of each man would extend, but that he determined and fixed the bounds that men cannot pass [Job 14:5]. Yet
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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As all future events are uncertain to us, so we hold them in suspense, as if they might incline to one side or the other. Yet in our hearts it nonetheless remains fixed that nothing will take place that the Lord has not previously foreseen.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
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For unless we pass on to his providenceβ€”however we may seem both to comprehend with the mind and to confess with the tongueβ€”we do not yet properly grasp what it means to say: β€œGod is Creator.” Carnal sense, once confronted with the power of God in the very Creation, stops there, and at most weighs and contemplates only the wisdom, power, and goodness of the author in accomplishing such handiwork. (These
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))