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#48784 Thu May 10, 2012 5:50 AM
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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley
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"For he who is ashamed is as yet healable; but when such an impudence is contracted through a sinful habit, that vices, and not virtues, please us, and are approved, there is no more any hope of reformation. ...what that is I know not, except we refer to that which is the summit of all wickedness, — that is, when wretched men, having cast away all shame, undertake the patronage of vices in opposition to the righteousness of God."~John Calvin

chestnutmare #48795 Sat May 12, 2012 5:41 PM
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Annie Oakley
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Calvin's commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:15
". . . [H]e has enjoined upon us frugality and temperance, and has forbidden, that anyone should go to excess, taking advantage of his abundance. Let those, then, that have riches, whether they have been left by inheritance, or procured by industry and efforts, consider that their abundance was not intended to be laid out in intemperance or excess, but in relieving the necessities of the brethren."

chestnutmare #48818 Wed May 23, 2012 6:20 AM
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Annie Oakley
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The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves Mutually Connected. Nature of the Connection.

1. The sum of true wisdom, i.e., the knowledge of God and of ourselves. Effects of the latter.

"Our wisdom, insofar as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts toward God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; no, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distill to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upward; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stripped of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties, every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us that in the Lord, and none but he, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but also led as by the hand to find him."

~John Calvin, 'Institutes of the Christian Religion'

chestnutmare #48819 Wed May 23, 2012 6:26 AM
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Annie Oakley
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2. "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. 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. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also-he being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure: just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white. No, the bodily sense may furnish a still stronger illustration of the extent to which we are deluded in estimating the powers of the mind. If, at mid-day, we either look down to the ground, or on the surrounding objects which lie open to our view, we think ourselves endued with a very strong and piercing eyesight; but when we look up to the sun, and gaze at it unveiled, the sight which did excellently well for the earth is instantly so dazzled and confounded by the refulgence, as to oblige us to confess that our acuteness in discerning terrestrial objects is mere dimness when applied to the sun. Thus, too, it happens in estimating our spiritual qualities. 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 if 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." ~John Calvin, 'Institutes of the Christian Religion'

chestnutmare #48820 Wed May 23, 2012 2:54 PM
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Annie Oakley
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Calvin on Phil 2:3, "in honor, give preference to one another....humility, and with good reason, is the mother of moderation, the effect of which is that, yielding up our own right, we give the preference to others, and are not easily thrown into agitation. He gives a definition of true humility — when every one esteems himself less than others. Now, if anything in our whole life is difficult, this above everything else is so. Hence it is not to be wondered if humility is so rare a virtue. For, as one says, [101] "Every one has in himself the mind of a king, by claiming everything for himself." See! here is pride. Afterwards from a foolish admiration of ourselves arises contempt of the brethren. And so far are we from what Paul here enjoins, that one can hardly endure that others should be on a level with him, for there is no one that is not eager to have superiority.

But it is asked, how it is possible that one who is in reality distinguished above others can reckon those to be superior to him who he knows are greatly beneath him? I answer, that this altogether depends on a right estimate of God's gifts, and our own infirmities. For however any one may be distinguished by illustrious endowments, he ought to consider with himself that they have not been conferred upon him that he might be self-complacent, that he might exalt himself, or even that he might hold himself in esteem. Let him, instead of this, employ himself in correcting and detecting his faults, and he will have abundant occasion for humility. In others, on the other hand, he will regard with honor whatever there is of excellences, and will by means of love bury their faults. The man who will observe this rule, will feel no difficulty in preferring others before himself. And this, too, Paul meant when he added, that they ought not to have every one a regard to themselves, but to their neighbors, or that they ought not to be devoted to themselves. Hence it is quite possible that a pious man, even though he should be aware that he is superior, may nevertheless hold others in greater esteem."

chestnutmare #49171 Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:37 PM
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Annie Oakley
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‎"Grant, Almighty God, that as we are in this life subject to so many miseries, and in the meantime grow insensible in our sins, - O grant that we may learn to search ourselves and consider one sins, that we may be really humbled before thee, and ascribe to ourselves the blame of all our evils, that we may be thus led to a genuine feeling of repentance, and so strive to be reconciled to thee in Christ, that we may wholly depend on thy paternal love, and thus ever aspire to the fulness of eternal felicity, through thy goodness and that immeasurable kindness which thou testifies is ready and offered to all those, who with a sincere heart worship thee, call upon thee, and flee to thee, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers of John Calvin, Commentary on Hosea

chestnutmare #49172 Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:38 PM
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Annie Oakley
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Grant, Almighty God, that as thou often dost justly hide thy face from us, so that on every side we see nothing but evidences of thy dreadful judgment, - O grant, that we, with minds raised above the scene of this world, may at the same time cherish the hope which thou constantly settest before us, so that we may feel fully persuaded that we are loved by thee, however severely thou mayest chastise us and may this consolation so support and sustain our souls, that patiently enduring whatever chastisements thou mayest lay upon us, we may ever hold fast the reconciliation which thou hast promised to us in Christ thy Son. Amen.
Prayers of John Calvin, Commentary on Hosea

chestnutmare #49193 Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:43 PM
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Annie Oakley
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"Men must be often awakened, for forgetfulness of God often creeps over them; they indulge themselves, and nothing is more difficult than to lead them to God; nay, when they have made some advances, they soon turn aside to some other course."
~ John Calvin

chestnutmare #49214 Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:50 AM
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Annie Oakley
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“The more eminently that any one excels in holiness, the farther he feels himself from perfect righteousness, and the more clearly he perceives that he can trust nothing but the mercy of God alone. Hence it appears, that those are grossly mistaken who conceive that the pardon of sin is necessary ONLY to the beginning of righteousness. As believers are every day involved in many faults, it will profit them nothing that they have once entered the way of righteousness, unless the same grace which brought them into it accompany them to the last step of life.” ~ Commenting on Ps 32:1

chestnutmare #49215 Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:54 AM
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Annie Oakley
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“It is a horrible blindness, indeed, when a mortal man is not ashamed to oppose himself to God; but to such a pitch of madness does Satan carry those who set a higher value on their own ambition than on the truth of God. Meanwhile, it is our duty to cherish such a reverence for the word of God as shall extinguish all the splendour of the world, and scatter its vain pretensions; for miserable would be our condition, if our salvation depended on the will of princes, and far too unsteady would our faith be, if it were to stand or fall according to their pleasure.” ~ Commenting on John 7:48

chestnutmare #49216 Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:57 AM
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Annie Oakley
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Therefore, while we all labour naturally under the same disease, those only recover health to whom the Lord is pleased to put forth his healing hand. The others whom, in just judgement, he passes over, pine and rot away till they are consumed. And this is the only reason why some persevere to the end, and others, after beginning their course, fall away. Perseverance is the gift of God, which he does not lavish promiscuously on all, but imparts to whom he pleases. If it is asked how the difference arises – why some steadily persevere, and others prove deficient in steadfastness, we can give no other reason than that the Lord, by his mighty power, strengthens and sustains the former, so that they perish not, while he does not furnish the same assistance to the latter, but leaves them to be monuments of instability. ~ Institutes of the Christian Religion 2.5.3

chestnutmare #49217 Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:13 AM
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Annie Oakley
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Sinclair Ferguson writes of John Calvin:
“For me, Calvin has been the model of what a gospel minister in a local congregation should be. He preached every second week, preaching probably eight sermons, and the other week probably five. He counseled, but he understood that the counseling arose either out of emergency crises that he was able to help, or because under the ministry of the Word all the filth and sludge of human hearts came to the surface. I feel the church desperately needs to get back to the centrality of the ministry of the Word that characterized Calvin’s preaching and pastoring. You just need to read his sermons to think, You know, if I could take my lunchtime and listen to him for forty minutes, asthmatic as he was, struggling for breath, this would be mind-changing and life-changing. Here is this totally unspectacular man, who never had a laugh in his church, patiently unfolding the Scriptures. It transformed lives pastorally and it gave multitudes of young men the courage to be martyrs for the gospel.”

chestnutmare #49238 Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:43 PM
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Annie Oakley
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James 3:9 [ASV] “Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God:”

“…Therewith, or, by it, bless we God. It is a clear instance of its deadly poison, that it can thus through a monstrous levity transform itself; for when it pretends to bless God, it immediately curses him in his own image, even by cursing men. For since God ought to be blessed in all his works, he ought to be so especially as to men, in whom his image and glory peculiarly shine forth. It is then a hypocrisy not to be borne, when man employs the same tongue in blessing God and in cursing men. There can be then no calling on God, and his praises must necessarily cease, where evil speaking prevails; for it is an impious profanation of God’s name, when the tongue is virulent towards our brethren and pretends to praise him. That we may therefore rightly praise God, the vice of evil-speaking as to our neighbour must especially be corrected.

This particular truth ought also to be borne in mind, that sever censors discover their own virulence, when they suddenly vomit forth against their brethren whatever curses they can imagine, after having in sweet strains offered praises to God. Were any one to object and say, that the image of God in human nature has been blotted out by the sin of Adam; we must, indeed, confess that it has been miserably deformed, but in such a way that some of its lineaments still appear. Righteousness and rectitude, and the freedom of choosing what is good, have been lost; but many excellent endowments, by which we excel the brutes, still remain. He, then, who truly worships and honours God, will be afraid to speak slanderously of man.” Calvin’s Commentary on James 3:9

chestnutmare #49298 Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:36 PM
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Annie Oakley
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Now let us fall down before the majesty of our great God, acknowledging our sins and praying that he would so touch us by his Holy Spirit with a true spirit of repentance, that we might tremble, despairing of ourselves, being emptied and stripped of all presumption.

Furthermore, may it please him to increase in us the graces of his Holy Spirit so that we are no longer given over to our flesh and to this world, and hindered and held back by them.

May we instead aim to serve him and make every effort to ensure that his name is glorified in us more and more, and that we bear visible evidence of our adoption, that we may be strengthened within ourselves.

Thus others will have occasion to glorify the name of our great God, when he has worked in us. May he show this grace, not only to us, but also to all peoples and nations on earth. — John Calvin sermon on Galatians

chestnutmare #49306 Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:18 PM
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Annie Oakley
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What do we bring from our mother's womb, except sin?

Therefore we differ not one whit, one from another; but it pleaseth God to take those to Himself whom He would. And for this cause, St. Paul useth these words in another place, when he saith, men have not whereof to rejoice, for no man finds himself better than his fellows, unless it be because God discerneth him. So then, if we confess that God chose us before the world began, it necessarily follows, that God prepared us to receive His grace; that He bestowed upon us that goodness, which was not in us before; that He not only chose us to be heirs of the kingdom of heaven, but He likewise justifies us, and governs us by His Holy Spirit. The Christian ought to be so well resolved in this doctrine, that he is beyond doubt.

John Calvin

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