I am going to read Calvin’s Institutes in 2010. Kim is reading, too, and she says, “I had the impression that it was a daunting task ahead of me and I was amazed to discover that they are very approachable and pastoral.” It’s a big book, but it isn’t all that difficult to read. Would you like to join me?
I’ve often heard it said that Calvin was a very arrogant theologian, but I’m not sensing that in any of what I’ve read so far. To the contrary, his high view of God made him a humble man. He writes that a right perception of God in all his goodness and perfections will produce humility.
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? If so, it undoubtedly follows that your life is sadly corrupted, if it is not framed in obedience to him, since his will ought to be the law of our lives. On the other hand, your idea of his nature is not clear unless you acknowledge him to be the origin and fountain of all goodness. Hence would arise both confidence in him, and a desire of cleaving to him, did not the depravity of the human mind lead it away from the proper course of investigation.
Paul tells us in Romans that creation itself points us to our creator but our thinking is futile and our foolish hearts are darkened. I am giving thanks today that God gives His grace that opens blind eyes, purifies the futile mind, and cries, “Let there be light,” in a darkened heart.
I hope you’ll visit again for some more quotes from Calvin each week. I’ll also be tweeting one each day.