John Calvin Institutes Quotes

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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)
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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 (mobi))
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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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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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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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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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cavils.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set))
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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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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 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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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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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 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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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[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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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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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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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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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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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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...let them tell why men are better than oxen or asses. God might have made them dogs when he formed them in his own image. Will they allow lower animals to expostulate with God, as if the inferiority of their condition were unjust? It is certainly not more equitable that men should enjoy the privilege which they have not acquired by any merit, than that he should variously distribute favors as seems to him meet.
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John Calvin (Institutes of The Christian Religion Book 1)
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess.
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John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
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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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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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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)