SEARCH BY AUTHORS

Quotes of Author: John-calvin

1.
The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart.

The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart.  


Author: John Calvin
2.
Hell reigns wherever there is no peace with God.

Hell reigns wherever there is no peace with God.  


3.
Even on his deathbed, his friends pleaded with John Calvin to refrain from his labors. He replied: “What! Would you have the Lord find me idle when he comes?”

Even on his deathbed, his friends pleaded with John Calvin to refrain from his labors. He replied: “What! Would you have the Lord find me idle when he comes?”


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Laziness
4.
Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.

Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.  


5.
No man is…a believer who is not a saint; and, on the other hand, no man is a saint who is not a believer.

No man is...a believer who is not a saint; and, on the other hand, no man is a saint who is not a believer.


Author: John Calvin
6.
There is no erratic power, or action, or motion in creatures, but that they are governed by God’s secret plan in such a way that nothing happens except what is knowingly and willingly decreed by Him.

There is no erratic power, or action, or motion in creatures, but that they are governed by God’s secret plan in such a way that nothing happens except what is knowingly and willingly decreed by Him.

Reference:   Institutes of Christian Religion, Westminster Press, 1960, 1:201.


7.
[Repentance] is the true turning of our life to God, a turning that arises from a pure and earnest fear of Him; and it consists in the mortification of our flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit.

[Repentance] is the true turning of our life to God, a turning that arises from a pure and earnest fear of Him; and it consists in the mortification of our flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit.

Reference:   Institutes 3.3.5.


8.
We are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, [progressive] sanctification is just as much included as [imputed] righteousness.

We are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, [progressive] sanctification is just as much included as [imputed] righteousness.

Reference:   Institutes 3.16.1.


9.
Justification and sanctification, gifts of grace, go together as if tied by an inseparable bond, so that if anyone tries to separate them, he is, in a sense, tearing Christ to pieces. Sanctification doesn’t just flow from justification, so that one produces the other. Both come from the same Source. Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify. By virtue of our union with Christ, He bestows both gifts, the one never without the other.

Justification and sanctification, gifts of grace, go together as if tied by an inseparable bond, so that if anyone tries to separate them, he is, in a sense, tearing Christ to pieces. Sanctification doesn’t just flow from justification, so that one produces the other. Both come from the same Source. Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify. By virtue of our union with Christ, He bestows both gifts, the one never without the other.

Reference:   Calvin’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:30, Volume XX, Baker, 1993, p. 93.


10.
We owe to the Scriptures the same reverence as we owe to God, since it has its only source in Him and has nothing of human origin mixed with it.

We owe to the Scriptures the same reverence as we owe to God, since it has its only source in Him and has nothing of human origin mixed with it.

Reference:   New Testament Commentaries, Volume 10, Eerdmans, 1964, p. 330.


Author: John Calvin
11.
There is no tribunal so magnificent, no throne so stately, no show of triumph so distinguished, no chariot so elevated, as is the gibbet on which Christ hath subdued death and the devil.

There is no tribunal so magnificent, no throne so stately, no show of triumph so distinguished, no chariot so elevated, as is the gibbet on which Christ hath subdued death and the devil.


12.
The blindness of unbelievers in no way detracts from the clearness of the gospel, for the sun is no less resplendent because the blind do no perceive it.

The blindness of unbelievers in no way detracts from the clearness of the gospel, for the sun is no less resplendent because the blind do no perceive it.


13.
Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God. When we see those who previously stood firm and secure so quaking with terror, that the fear of death takes hold of them, nay, they are, in a manner, swallowed up and annihilated, the inference to be drawn is that men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.

Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God. When we see those who previously stood firm and secure so quaking with terror, that the fear of death takes hold of them, nay, they are, in a manner, swallowed up and annihilated, the inference to be drawn is that men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.

Reference:   Institutes, Chapter 1.


14.
Let us therefore, leaving off all other things, aim exclusively at this – that we may be approved by God and may be satisfied to have His approbation alone, as it justly ought to be regarded by us as of more value than all the applauses of the whole world.

Let us therefore, leaving off all other things, aim exclusively at this - that we may be approved by God and may be satisfied to have His approbation alone, as it justly ought to be regarded by us as of more value than all the applauses of the whole world.


15.
If one is to be considered a true minister of the church, it is necessary that he consider the “objective or external” of the church and the secret inner call “conscious only to the minister himself.”

If one is to be considered a true minister of the church, it is necessary that he consider the "objective or external" of the church and the secret inner call "conscious only to the minister himself."

Reference:   Institutes, 2:326.


16.
Faith brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of God.

Faith brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of God.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Faith-Saving
17.
The testimony of the Spirit is superior to reason. For as God alone can properly bear witness to His own words, so these words will not obtain full credit in the hearts of men, until they are sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit… For though [Scripture] in its own majesty has enough to command reverence, nevertheless, it then begins truly to touch us when it is sealed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

The testimony of the Spirit is superior to reason. For as God alone can properly bear witness to His own words, so these words will not obtain full credit in the hearts of men, until they are sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit... For though [Scripture] in its own majesty has enough to command reverence, nevertheless, it then begins truly to touch us when it is sealed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

Reference:   Institutes, 1:7, 4-5.


18.
The simple and external demonstration of the Word of God ought, indeed, to suffice fully for the production of faith, did not our blindness and perversity interfere. But such is the propensity of our minds to vanity that they can never adhere to the truth of God, and such is their dullness that they are always blind even to his light. Hence, without the illumination of the Holy Spirit the Word has no effect.

The simple and external demonstration of the Word of God ought, indeed, to suffice fully for the production of faith, did not our blindness and perversity interfere. But such is the propensity of our minds to vanity that they can never adhere to the truth of God, and such is their dullness that they are always blind even to his light. Hence, without the illumination of the Holy Spirit the Word has no effect.

Reference:   Institutes III.2.xxxiii.


19.
Let us know, then, that the true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning; and let us embrace and abide by it resolutely. Let us not only neglect as doubtful, but boldly set aside as deadly corruptions those pretended expositions which lead us away from the natural meaning.

Let us know, then, that the true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning; and let us embrace and abide by it resolutely. Let us not only neglect as doubtful, but boldly set aside as deadly corruptions those pretended expositions which lead us away from the natural meaning.


20.
Since no daily responses are given from heaven, and the Scriptures are the only record in which God has been pleased to consign His truth to perpetual remembrance, the full authority which they ought to possess with the faithful is not recognized unless they are believed to have come from heaven as directly as if God had been heard giving utterance to them.

Since no daily responses are given from heaven, and the Scriptures are the only record in which God has been pleased to consign His truth to perpetual remembrance, the full authority which they ought to possess with the faithful is not recognized unless they are believed to have come from heaven as directly as if God had been heard giving utterance to them.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Authority-Bible
21.
The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being and it is a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.

The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being and it is a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.

Reference:   Commentary, Exodus 21:22, 1563.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Abortion
22.
The light of human reason differs little from darkness.

The light of human reason differs little from darkness.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Reason
23.
Having become with us the Son of Man, He has made us with Himself sons of God. By His own descent to the earth He has prepared our ascent to heaven. Having received our mortality, He has bestowed on us His immortality. Having undertaken our weakness, He has made us strong in His strength. Having submitted to our poverty, He has transferred to us His riches. Having taken upon Himself the burden of unrighteousness with which we were oppressed, He has clothed us with His righteousness.

Having become with us the Son of Man, He has made us with Himself sons of God. By His own descent to the earth He has prepared our ascent to heaven. Having received our mortality, He has bestowed on us His immortality. Having undertaken our weakness, He has made us strong in His strength. Having submitted to our poverty, He has transferred to us His riches. Having taken upon Himself the burden of unrighteousness with which we were oppressed, He has clothed us with His righteousness.


24.
While all men seek after happiness, scarcely one in a hundred looks for it from God.

While all men seek after happiness, scarcely one in a hundred looks for it from God.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Joy-Pursuit_of
25.
To search for wisdom apart from Christ means not simply foolhardiness but utter insanity.

To search for wisdom apart from Christ means not simply foolhardiness but utter insanity.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Wisdom-Human
26.
The excellence of the church does not consist in multitude but in purity.

The excellence of the church does not consist in multitude but in purity.


27.
The whole life of man until he is converted to Christ is a ruinous labyrinth of wanderings.

The whole life of man until he is converted to Christ is a ruinous labyrinth of wanderings.


28.
Let us consider this settled: that no one who has made progress in the school of Christ who does not joyfully await the day of death and final resurrection… Let us not hesitate to await the Lord’s coming, not only with longing, but also with groaning and sighs, as the happiest thing of all. He will come to us as Redeemer.

Let us consider this settled: that no one who has made progress in the school of Christ who does not joyfully await the day of death and final resurrection... Let us not hesitate to await the Lord’s coming, not only with longing, but also with groaning and sighs, as the happiest thing of all. He will come to us as Redeemer.

Reference:   Institutes, 3.9.5.


29.
We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. 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 of Him. 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, that He might learn to feel our pain. If we seek redemption, it lies in His passion; if acquittal, in His condemnation; if remission of the curse, in His cross; 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.

We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. 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 of Him. 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, that He might learn to feel our pain. If we seek redemption, it lies in His passion; if acquittal, in His condemnation; if remission of the curse, in His cross; 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.

Reference:   Institutes, 2.16.19.


30.
Here is a beautiful antithesis. In ourselves we are scattered, in Christ we are gathered together. By nature we go astray and are driven headlong to destruction, in Christ we find the path that leads us to the gate of salvation. Our sins overwhelm us, but they are laid on Christ by whom we are unburdened. Therefore, when we were perishing and, alienated from God, were hastening to hell, Christ took upon Himself the filthy depths of our sins, to rescue us from eternal destruction.

Here is a beautiful antithesis. In ourselves we are scattered, in Christ we are gathered together. By nature we go astray and are driven headlong to destruction, in Christ we find the path that leads us to the gate of salvation. Our sins overwhelm us, but they are laid on Christ by whom we are unburdened. Therefore, when we were perishing and, alienated from God, were hastening to hell, Christ took upon Himself the filthy depths of our sins, to rescue us from eternal destruction.

Reference:   Sermons on Isaiah’s Prophecy of the Death and Passion of Christ, p. 66-67.


31.
God declares to us that Jesus Christ, who once had His side pierced, today has His heart open, as it were, that we may have assurance of the love that He bears us; that as He once had His arms fastened to the cross, now He has them wide open to draw us to Himself; and that as once He shed his blood, so today He wishes us to be plunged within it. So, when God invites us so sweetly and Jesus Christ sets before us the fruit of His death and passion…let us all come to take our stand with our Lord Jesus Christ.

God declares to us that Jesus Christ, who once had His side pierced, today has His heart open, as it were, that we may have assurance of the love that He bears us; that as He once had His arms fastened to the cross, now He has them wide open to draw us to Himself; and that as once He shed his blood, so today He wishes us to be plunged within it. So, when God invites us so sweetly and Jesus Christ sets before us the fruit of His death and passion...let us all come to take our stand with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reference:   Sermons on Isaiah’s Prophecy of the Death and Passion of Christ, p. 82.


32.
The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves.

The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves.


33.
We must make the invisible kingdom visible in our midst.

We must make the invisible kingdom visible in our midst.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Kingdom_of_God
34.
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.

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.

Reference:   Institutes, Scripture.


Author: John Calvin
35.
Thou. Lord, bruisest me. But I am abundantly satisfied since it is from Thy hand.

Thou. Lord, bruisest me. But I am abundantly satisfied since it is from Thy hand.


36.
[The elect] are gathered into Christ’s flock by a call not immediately at birth, and not all at the same time, but according as it pleases God to dispense His grace to them. But before they are gathered unto that supreme Shepherd, they wander scattered in the wilderness common to all; and they do not differ at all from others except that they are protected by God’s special mercy from rushing headlong into the final ruin of death.

[The elect] are gathered into Christ’s flock by a call not immediately at birth, and not all at the same time, but according as it pleases God to dispense His grace to them. But before they are gathered unto that supreme Shepherd, they wander scattered in the wilderness common to all; and they do not differ at all from others except that they are protected by God’s special mercy from rushing headlong into the final ruin of death.

Reference:   Institutes, 3.24.10.


37.
The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.

The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Conscience
38.
You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy.

You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy.


39.
No man should think he is giving less service to the one God when he obeys human laws, pays tax, or bows his head to accept any other burden.

No man should think he is giving less service to the one God when he obeys human laws, pays tax, or bows his head to accept any other burden.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Taxes
40.
Men cannot open their eyes without being compelled to see Him [and] wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern at least some sparks of His glory.

Men cannot open their eyes without being compelled to see Him [and] wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern at least some sparks of His glory.

Reference:   Institutes, I, 5.1.


41.
It is beyond dispute that some awareness of God exists in the human mind by natural instinct, since God Himself has given everyone some idea of Him so that no one can plead ignorance.

It is beyond dispute that some awareness of God exists in the human mind by natural instinct, since God Himself has given everyone some idea of Him so that no one can plead ignorance.


42.
The Lord bids each one of us in all life’s actions to look to his calling. For He knows with what great restlessness human nature flames, with what fickleness it is borne hither and thither, how its ambition longs to embrace various things at once. Therefore, lest through our stupidity and rashness everything be turned topsy-turvy, He has appointed duties for every man in his particular way of life. And that no one may thoughtlessly transgress his limits, He has named these various kinds of living “callings.” Therefore each individual has his own kind of living assigned to him by the Lord as a sort of sentry post so that he may not heedlessly wander throughout life.

The Lord bids each one of us in all life’s actions to look to his calling. For He knows with what great restlessness human nature flames, with what fickleness it is borne hither and thither, how its ambition longs to embrace various things at once. Therefore, lest through our stupidity and rashness everything be turned topsy-turvy, He has appointed duties for every man in his particular way of life. And that no one may thoughtlessly transgress his limits, He has named these various kinds of living “callings.” Therefore each individual has his own kind of living assigned to him by the Lord as a sort of sentry post so that he may not heedlessly wander throughout life.

Reference:   Institutes, III.x.6.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Calling-General
43.
In the maxims of the law, God is seen as the rewarder of perfect righteousness and the avenger of sin. But in Christ, His face shines out, full of grace and gentleness to poor, unworthy sinners.

In the maxims of the law, God is seen as the rewarder of perfect righteousness and the avenger of sin. But in Christ, His face shines out, full of grace and gentleness to poor, unworthy sinners.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Law-General
44.
If we recognize the Spirit of God as the unique fountain of truth, we shall never despise the truth wherever it may appear, unless we wish to do dishonor to the Spirit of God.

If we recognize the Spirit of God as the unique fountain of truth, we shall never despise the truth wherever it may appear, unless we wish to do dishonor to the Spirit of God.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Truth-Received
45.
When divisions are rife in religion, it is bound to happen that what is in men’s minds will soon erupt in real conflict. For while nothing is more effective for joining us together, and there is nothing which does more to unite our minds, and keep them peaceful, than agreement in religion, yet if disagreement has somehow arisen in connection with it, the inevitable result is that men are quickly stirred up to engage in fighting, and there is no other field with fiercer disputes

When divisions are rife in religion, it is bound to happen that what is in men's minds will soon erupt in real conflict. For while nothing is more effective for joining us together, and there is nothing which does more to unite our minds, and keep them peaceful, than agreement in religion, yet if disagreement has somehow arisen in connection with it, the inevitable result is that men are quickly stirred up to engage in fighting, and there is no other field with fiercer disputes

Reference:   1 Corinthians, p. 26-27.


46.
Those who disrupt form the body of Christ and split its unity into schisms are quite excluded from the hope of salvation, so long as they remain in dissidence of this kind.

Those who disrupt form the body of Christ and split its unity into schisms are quite excluded from the hope of salvation, so long as they remain in dissidence of this kind.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Conflict-Church
47.
If we believe heaven to be our country, it is better for us to transmit our wealth thither, than to retain it here, where we may lose it by a sudden removal.

If we believe heaven to be our country, it is better for us to transmit our wealth thither, than to retain it here, where we may lose it by a sudden removal.


48.
And we know how necessary it was that Christ should come forth as God and man; for salvation cannot be expected in any other way than from God; and Christ must confer salvation on us, and not only be its minister. And then, as He is God, He justifies us, regenerates us, illuminates us into a hope of eternal life; to conquer sin and death is doubtless what only can be effected by divine power. Hence Christ, except He was God, could not have performed what we had to expect from Him. It was also necessary that He should become man, that he might unite us to Himself; for we have no access to God, except we become the friends of Christ; and how can we be so made, except by a brotherly union?

And we know how necessary it was that Christ should come forth as God and man; for salvation cannot be expected in any other way than from God; and Christ must confer salvation on us, and not only be its minister. And then, as He is God, He justifies us, regenerates us, illuminates us into a hope of eternal life; to conquer sin and death is doubtless what only can be effected by divine power. Hence Christ, except He was God, could not have performed what we had to expect from Him. It was also necessary that He should become man, that he might unite us to Himself; for we have no access to God, except we become the friends of Christ; and how can we be so made, except by a brotherly union?

Reference:   Commentary, Jeremiah 23:5-6.


49.
It is entirely by the intervention of Christ’s righteousness that we obtain justification before God. This is equivalent to saying that man is not just in himself, but that the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation, while he is strictly deserving of punishment.

It is entirely by the intervention of Christ’s righteousness that we obtain justification before God. This is equivalent to saying that man is not just in himself, but that the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation, while he is strictly deserving of punishment.


50.
Justification is the main hinge on which salvation turns.

Justification is the main hinge on which salvation turns.


51.
All God’s promises depend upon Christ alone. This is a notable assertion and one of the main articles of our faith. It depends in turn upon another principle – that it is only in Christ that God the Father is graciously inclined towards us. His promises are the testimonies of His fatherly goodwill towards us. Thus it follows that they are fulfilled only in Christ… Secondly, we are incapable of possessing God’s promises till we have received the remission of our sins and that comes to us through Christ.

All God’s promises depend upon Christ alone. This is a notable assertion and one of the main articles of our faith. It depends in turn upon another principle – that it is only in Christ that God the Father is graciously inclined towards us. His promises are the testimonies of His fatherly goodwill towards us. Thus it follows that they are fulfilled only in Christ… Secondly, we are incapable of possessing God’s promises till we have received the remission of our sins and that comes to us through Christ.

Reference:   Commentary.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: God-Promises
52.
When certain days are represented as holy in themselves, when one day is distinguished from another on religious grounds, when holy days are reckoned a part of divine worship, then days are improperly observed… When we, in the present age, make a distinction of days, we do not represent them as necessary, and thus lay a snare for the conscience; we do not reckon one day to be more holy than another; we do not make days to be the same thing with religion and the worship of God; but merely attend to the preservation of order and harmony. The observance of days among us is a free service, and void of all superstition.

When certain days are represented as holy in themselves, when one day is distinguished from another on religious grounds, when holy days are reckoned a part of divine worship, then days are improperly observed… When we, in the present age, make a distinction of days, we do not represent them as necessary, and thus lay a snare for the conscience; we do not reckon one day to be more holy than another; we do not make days to be the same thing with religion and the worship of God; but merely attend to the preservation of order and harmony. The observance of days among us is a free service, and void of all superstition.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Sabbath
53.
The external observance of the Sabbath rest is a Jewish ceremonial ordinance and no longer binding on Christians. Sabbatarians surpass the Jews three times over in a crass and carnal Sabbatarian superstition.

The external observance of the Sabbath rest is a Jewish ceremonial ordinance and no longer binding on Christians. Sabbatarians surpass the Jews three times over in a crass and carnal Sabbatarian superstition.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Sabbath
54.
If the Lord himself teaches that the Church will struggle with the burden of countless sinners until the Day of Judgment, it is obviously futile to look for a Church totally free from faults.

If the Lord himself teaches that the Church will struggle with the burden of countless sinners until the Day of Judgment, it is obviously futile to look for a Church totally free from faults.


Author: John Calvin
55.
Faith…is a steady and certain knowledge of the Divine benevolence towards us, which being founded on the truth of the gratuitous promise in Christ, is both revealed to our minds, and confirmed to our hearts, by the Holy Spirit.

Faith…is a steady and certain knowledge of the Divine benevolence towards us, which being founded on the truth of the gratuitous promise in Christ, is both revealed to our minds, and confirmed to our hearts, by the Holy Spirit.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Faith-Defined
56.
However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.

However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: God-Goodness
57.
Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.

Every one of us is, even from his mother's womb, a master craftsman of idols.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Idolatry
58.
For where love is wanting, the beauty of all virtue is mere tinsel, is empty sound, is not worth a straw, nay more, is offensive and disgusting.

For where love is wanting, the beauty of all virtue is mere tinsel, is empty sound, is not worth a straw, nay more, is offensive and disgusting.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Love-Christian
59.
Let us say something about fasting, because many, for want of knowing its usefulness, undervalue its necessity, and some reject it as almost superfluous; while, on the other hand where the use of it is not well understood, it easily degenerates into superstition. Holy and legitimate fasting is directed to three ends; for we practice it either as a restraint on the flesh, to preserve it from licentiousness, or as a preparation for prayers and pious meditations, or as a testimony of our humiliation in the presence of God when we are desirous of confessing our guilt before him.

Let us say something about fasting, because many, for want of knowing its usefulness, undervalue its necessity, and some reject it as almost superfluous; while, on the other hand where the use of it is not well understood, it easily degenerates into superstition. Holy and legitimate fasting is directed to three ends; for we practice it either as a restraint on the flesh, to preserve it from licentiousness, or as a preparation for prayers and pious meditations, or as a testimony of our humiliation in the presence of God when we are desirous of confessing our guilt before him.

Reference:   Institutes.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Fasting
60.
It is a sign of a perverse and treacherous disposition to wound the good name of another, when he has no opportunity of defending himself.

It is a sign of a perverse and treacherous disposition to wound the good name of another, when he has no opportunity of defending himself.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Gossip
61.
We must not think that [God] takes no notice of us, when He does not answer our wishes: for He has a right to distinguish what we actually need.

We must not think that [God] takes no notice of us, when He does not answer our wishes: for He has a right to distinguish what we actually need.

Reference:   Quoted in: Tabletalk, March 2008, p. 46.


Author: John Calvin
62.
Nothing will be ambiguous if we hold fast to what ought to be clear from the foregoing: that there are two kinds of call. There is the general call, by which God invites all equally to Himself through the outward preaching of the word – even those to whom He holds it out as a savor of death (cf. 2 Cor. 2:16), and as the occasion for severer condemnation. The other kind of call is special, which He designs for the most part to give to the believers alone, while by the inward illumination of His Spirit he causes the preached Word to dwell in their hearts.

Nothing will be ambiguous if we hold fast to what ought to be clear from the foregoing: that there are two kinds of call. There is the general call, by which God invites all equally to Himself through the outward preaching of the word – even those to whom He holds it out as a savor of death (cf. 2 Cor. 2:16), and as the occasion for severer condemnation. The other kind of call is special, which He designs for the most part to give to the believers alone, while by the inward illumination of His Spirit he causes the preached Word to dwell in their hearts.

Reference:   Institutes, 3.24.8.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Salvation-Call
63.
Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” [Gal. 5:19].

Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” [Gal. 5:19].

Reference:   Institutes, II:1.8.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Sin-Original
64.
Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to Him, or of exciting Him to do His duty, or of urging Him as though He were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse to seek Him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on His promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into His bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.

Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to Him, or of exciting Him to do His duty, or of urging Him as though He were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse to seek Him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on His promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into His bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.

Reference:   Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, Eerdmans, n.d., p. 314.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Prayer-Purpose
65.
Now, because no description can deal adequately with the gravity of God’s vengeance against the wicked, their torments and tortures are figuratively expressed to us by physical things, that is, by darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 8:12; 22:13), unquenchable fire (Mt. 3:12; Mk. 9:43; Isa. 66:24), an undying worm gnawing at the heart (Isa. 66:24). By such expressions the Holy Spirit certainly intended to confound all our senses with dread.

Now, because no description can deal adequately with the gravity of God’s vengeance against the wicked, their torments and tortures are figuratively expressed to us by physical things, that is, by darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 8:12; 22:13), unquenchable fire (Mt. 3:12; Mk. 9:43; Isa. 66:24), an undying worm gnawing at the heart (Isa. 66:24). By such expressions the Holy Spirit certainly intended to confound all our senses with dread.

Reference:   Institutes.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Hell-Horrors
66.
Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy.

Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy.


67.
A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.

A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Truth-Defended
68.
To know God as the Master and Bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of Him, and still not go to Him and ask of Him – this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him.

To know God as the Master and Bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of Him, and still not go to Him and ask of Him – this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him.

Reference:   Institutes, p. 850.


Author: John Calvin
69.
[Only those] who have learned well to be earnestly dissatisfied with themselves, and to be confounded with shame at their wretchedness [truly understand the Christian gospel].

[Only those] who have learned well to be earnestly dissatisfied with themselves, and to be confounded with shame at their wretchedness [truly understand the Christian gospel].

Reference:   The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and Thessalonians, Eerdmans, www.eerdmans.com, 1979, 8:135.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Gospel-Applied
70.
I can say as to myself, that I have been assailed on all sides, and have scarcely been able to enjoy repose for a single moment, but have always had to sustain some conflict either from enemies without or within the church.

I can say as to myself, that I have been assailed on all sides, and have scarcely been able to enjoy repose for a single moment, but have always had to sustain some conflict either from enemies without or within the church.

Reference:   Preface to the Commentary on the Psalms.


71.
When Christ returned to heaven, He withdrew His physical presence from our sight.  He didn’t stop being with the disciples but by the ascension fulfilled His promise to be with us to the end of the world.  As His body was raised to heaven, so His power and reign have spread to the uttermost parts.

When Christ returned to heaven, He withdrew His physical presence from our sight.  He didn’t stop being with the disciples but by the ascension fulfilled His promise to be with us to the end of the world.  As His body was raised to heaven, so His power and reign have spread to the uttermost parts.


72.
There cannot be a surer rule, nor a stronger exhortation to the observance of it, than when we are taught that all the endowments which we possess are divine deposits entrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed for the good of our neighbour.

There cannot be a surer rule, nor a stronger exhortation to the observance of it, than when we are taught that all the endowments which we possess are divine deposits entrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed for the good of our neighbour.


73.
Prosperity inebriates men, so that they take delights in their own merits. 

Prosperity inebriates men, so that they take delights in their own merits. 


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Prosperity
74.
Nothing is more dangerous than to be blinded by prosperity.

Nothing is more dangerous than to be blinded by prosperity.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Prosperity
75.
Form the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and – what is more – depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone. To this extent we are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God; and we cannot seriously aspire to Him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves… Accordingly, the knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find Him.

Form the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and – what is more – depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone. To this extent we are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God; and we cannot seriously aspire to Him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves… Accordingly, the knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find Him.

Reference:   Institutes, The Knowledge of God.


76.
The fanaticism which discards the Scripture, under the pretense of resorting to immediate revelations is subversive of every principle of Christianity. For when they boast extravagantly of the Spirit, the tendency is always to bury the Word of God so they may make room for their own falsehoods.

The fanaticism which discards the Scripture, under the pretense of resorting to immediate revelations is subversive of every principle of Christianity. For when they boast extravagantly of the Spirit, the tendency is always to bury the Word of God so they may make room for their own falsehoods.


77.
Repentance is the true turning of our life to God, a turning that arises from a pure and earnest fear of Him; and it consists in the mortification of the flesh and the renewing of the Spirit.

Repentance is the true turning of our life to God, a turning that arises from a pure and earnest fear of Him; and it consists in the mortification of the flesh and the renewing of the Spirit.


78.
Wherefore all theology, when separated from Christ, is not only vain and confused, but is also mad, deceitful, and spurious; for, though the philosophers sometimes utter excellent sayings, yet they have nothing but what is short-lived, and even mixed up with wicked and erroneous sentiments.

Wherefore all theology, when separated from Christ, is not only vain and confused, but is also mad, deceitful, and spurious; for, though the philosophers sometimes utter excellent sayings, yet they have nothing but what is short-lived, and even mixed up with wicked and erroneous sentiments.


79.
[The Lord] has given us a table at which to feast, not an altar on which a victim is to be offered; He has not consecrated priests to make sacrifice, but servants to distribute the sacred feast.

[The Lord] has given us a table at which to feast, not an altar on which a victim is to be offered; He has not consecrated priests to make sacrifice, but servants to distribute the sacred feast.

Reference:   Institutes, 4.18.12.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Communion
80.
We should therefore learn that the only good we have is what the Lord has given us gratuitously; that the only good we do is what He does in us; that it is not that we do nothing ourselves, but that we act only when we have been acted upon, in other words under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit.

We should therefore learn that the only good we have is what the Lord has given us gratuitously; that the only good we do is what He does in us; that it is not that we do nothing ourselves, but that we act only when we have been acted upon, in other words under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit.

Reference:   Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1960, p. 317-318, www.eerdmans.com.


81.
[The one] who judges according to the word and law of the Lord, and forms his judgments by the rule of charity, always begins with subjecting himself to examination, and preserves a proper medium and order in his judgments.

[The one] who judges according to the word and law of the Lord, and forms his judgments by the rule of charity, always begins with subjecting himself to examination, and preserves a proper medium and order in his judgments.

Reference:   Quoted in: Tabletalk, March 2008, p. 39.


82.
[Man never achieves] a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating Him to scrutinize himself. For we always seem to ourselves righteous and upright and wise and holy – this pride is innate in all of us – unless by clear proofs we stand convinced of our own unrighteousness, foulness, folly, and impurity. Moreover, we are not thus convinced if we look merely to ourselves and not also to the Lord, who is the sole standard by which this judgment must be measured.

[Man never achieves] a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God's face, and then descends from contemplating Him to scrutinize himself. For we always seem to ourselves righteous and upright and wise and holy – this pride is innate in all of us – unless by clear proofs we stand convinced of our own unrighteousness, foulness, folly, and impurity. Moreover, we are not thus convinced if we look merely to ourselves and not also to the Lord, who is the sole standard by which this judgment must be measured.

Reference:   Institutes, Westminster Press, 1975, book 1, I:2.


Author: John Calvin
83.
Those who fall away have never been thoroughly imbued with the knowledge of Christ but only had a slight and passing taste of it.

Those who fall away have never been thoroughly imbued with the knowledge of Christ but only had a slight and passing taste of it.


84.
The human heart has so many crannies where vanity hides, so many holes where falsehood lurks, is so decked out with deceiving hypocrisy, that it often dupes itself.

The human heart has so many crannies where vanity hides, so many holes where falsehood lurks, is so decked out with deceiving hypocrisy, that it often dupes itself.

Reference:   A Calvin Treasury. Christianity Today, v. 37, n. 4.


85.
No one knows the one-hundredth part of the sin that clings to his soul.

No one knows the one-hundredth part of the sin that clings to his soul.


86.
Children, obey. Why does the apostle use the word obey instead of honor, which has a greater extent of meaning? It is because obedience is the evidence of that honor which children owe to their parents, and is therefore more earnestly enforced.

Children, obey. Why does the apostle use the word obey instead of honor, which has a greater extent of meaning? It is because obedience is the evidence of that honor which children owe to their parents, and is therefore more earnestly enforced.


87.
Let’s get rid of the inhuman philosophy which only allows necessities. Not only does it wrongly deprive us of legitimate enjoyment of God’s generosity, but it cannot be effected without depriving man of all his senses, reducing him to a block.

Let’s get rid of the inhuman philosophy which only allows necessities. Not only does it wrongly deprive us of legitimate enjoyment of God’s generosity, but it cannot be effected without depriving man of all his senses, reducing him to a block.


Author: John Calvin
88.
The moment any mention is made of Christian liberty lust begins to boil, or insane commotions arise, if a speedy restraint is not laid on those licentious spirits by whom the best things are perverted into the worst.

The moment any mention is made of Christian liberty lust begins to boil, or insane commotions arise, if a speedy restraint is not laid on those licentious spirits by whom the best things are perverted into the worst.


Author: John Calvin
89.
Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of His fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil. It is the Heavenly Father’s will thus to exercise them so as to put His own children to a definite test. Beginning with Christ, His first-born, He follows this plan with all His children.

Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of His fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil. It is the Heavenly Father’s will thus to exercise them so as to put His own children to a definite test. Beginning with Christ, His first-born, He follows this plan with all His children.


90.
Let us consider this settled, that no one has made progress in the school of Christ who does not joyfully await the day of death and final resurrection.

Let us consider this settled, that no one has made progress in the school of Christ who does not joyfully await the day of death and final resurrection.

Reference:   Institutes, 3.10.5.


91.
There is no inconsistency in saying that God rewards good works, provided we understand that nevertheless men obtain eternal life gratuitously.

There is no inconsistency in saying that God rewards good works, provided we understand that nevertheless men obtain eternal life gratuitously.


92.
Wherever we find the Word of God surely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, there, it is not to be doubted, is a church of God.

Wherever we find the Word of God surely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, there, it is not to be doubted, is a church of God.


93.
Can true repentance exist without faith? By no means. But although they cannot be separated, they ought to be distinguished.

Can true repentance exist without faith? By no means. But although they cannot be separated, they ought to be distinguished.

Reference:   Institutes, p. 311.


Author: John Calvin
94.
Whenever God reproves us, not only in words, but in reality, and reminds us of our sins, we do not so suffer for one fault as to be free for the future, but that until we from the heart repent, He ever sounds in our ears these words, Still God will contend with you: and a real contention is meant.

Whenever God reproves us, not only in words, but in reality, and reminds us of our sins, we do not so suffer for one fault as to be free for the future, but that until we from the heart repent, He ever sounds in our ears these words, Still God will contend with you: and a real contention is meant.

Reference:   Commentary, Jeremiah 2:9.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: God-Discipline
95.
Our prayer must not be self-centered. It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden we must lay upon God, but also because we are so bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.

Our prayer must not be self-centered. It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden we must lay upon God, but also because we are so bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Love-Others_for
96.
Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.

Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: God-Greatness
97.
Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.

Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.

Reference:   Institutes , 1, 1, 3.


98.
Hypocrisy can plunge the mind of a man into a dark abyss, when he believes his own self-flattery instead of God’s verdict.

Hypocrisy can plunge the mind of a man into a dark abyss, when he believes his own self-flattery instead of God’s verdict.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Hypocrisy
99.
As Christ is the end of the Law and the Gospel and has within Himself all the treasures of wisdom and understanding, so also is he the mark at which all heretics aim and direct their arrows.

As Christ is the end of the Law and the Gospel and has within Himself all the treasures of wisdom and understanding, so also is he the mark at which all heretics aim and direct their arrows.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: False_Teachers
100.
[Many] falsely suppose that the feelings, which God has implanted in us as natural, proceed only from a defect. Accordingly the perfecting of believers does not depend on their casting off all feelings, but on their yielding to them and controlling them, only for proper reason.

[Many] falsely suppose that the feelings, which God has implanted in us as natural, proceed only from a defect. Accordingly the perfecting of believers does not depend on their casting off all feelings, but on their yielding to them and controlling them, only for proper reason.

Reference:   Commentary on Acts 20:37.


Author: John Calvin
Topics: Feelings