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October 2009

 from John Calvin

Picture of John Calvin


July 2009 was the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, while October 2009 sees the 450th anniversary of the publication of the final edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion. When he died in 1564 he was buried without ceremony in an unmarked grave, such that when some foreign students asked to see it some months later, it could not be distinguished from others like it.

On piety
I call ‘piety’ that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of His benefits induces. For until men recognise 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 Him – 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.

On prayer
No man in the world is worthy of introducing himself to God and of appearing in his sight. To save us from the shame which should rightly have been ours, this good heavenly Father has given us his Son Jesus as mediator and intercessor. Led by Jesus, we can boldly approach him, being completely certain that nothing we ask in the name of this Intercessor will be denied us, for the Father cannot refuse him anything.

To his friend William Farel
Although we may be severely buffeted hither and thither by many tempests, yet, seeing that a pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.

From the Institutes
Christ was given to us by God’s generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ’s Spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life.

His personal testimony, in a letter to Farel
It is enough that I live and die for Christ, who is to all his followers a gain both in life and in death.