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chestnutmare #49315 Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:18 PM
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Annie Oakley
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The causes of election are these. The efficient cause is—the free mercy of God, which we ought to acknowledge with humility and thanksgiving. The material cause is—Christ, the well-beloved Son. The final cause is—that, being assured of our salvation, because we are God’s people, we may glorify him both in this life and in the life which is to come, to all eternity. The effects are, in respect either of many persons, or of a single individual; and that by electing some, and justly reprobating others. The elect are called by the preaching of the word and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, are justified, and sanctified, that they may at length be glorified.

- John Calvin, Aphorisms of the Institutes

chestnutmare #49320 Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:24 PM
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Annie Oakley
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"...we must be thoroughly resolved and persuaded in ourselves that God counts us as his children. And how may that be but by embracing his mercy through faith, as he offers it to us in his gospel, and by assuring ourselves also that we are grounded in his eternal election? For if our faith should depend upon ourselves, surely it would soon slip from us; and it might be shaken off, if it were not maintained from above." - John Calvin

chestnutmare #49321 Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:25 PM
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"They err who call on the Saints that are placed beyond this life.
1. Because Scripture teaches that prayer ought to be offered to God alone, who alone knows what is necessary for us. He chooses to be present, because he has promised. He can do so, for he is Almighty.
2. Because he requires that he be addressed in faith, which rests on his word and promise.
3. Because faith is corrupted as soon as it departs from this rule. But in calling on the saints there is no word, no promise; and therefore there is no faith; nor can the saints themselves either hear or assist."
—John Calvin

chestnutmare #49323 Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:23 PM
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Annie Oakley
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Calvin on Jer.9:13,14 :"And they have walked after the hardness, or obstinacy, or imaginations, of their own heart See Note on Jeremiah 3:17, 18. He opposes the imaginations, or hardness of the heart, to the voice of God, as we find in other places, where contrary things are stilted, that is, what men’s minds devise, and what God shews by his word to be right; for there is no less contrariety between the rule of right living and the imaginations of men, than there is between fire and water. Let us therefore know, that our life cannot be rightly formed except we renounce our own imaginations, and simply obey the voice of God: for as soon as we yield the least to our own imaginations, we necessarily turn aside from the right way, which God has made known to us in his word. This contrast, then, between the law of God and the imaginations or the obduracy of men ought to be carefully noticed.

He then more clearly explains how they had sinned, and after Baalim. It is supposed that the Israelites made a difference between this word and God: they allowed but one God, but introduced Baalim, or inferior gods, and worshipped them. They tried to evade the charge of idolatry, by alleging that Baalim were mediators. But no excuse of this kind was admitted, as God everywhere imputed idolatry to them. Notwithstanding this example, and the distinct declaration of Scripture, that there is but one God and one Mediator, (1 Corinthians 8:5, 6; 1 Timothy 2:5,) the error, the awful error of praying to saints, etc., as mediators, has prevailed in the Christian Church! — Ed. The Prophet here adds nothing new; but by specifying one thing he shews how the Jews followed their own imaginations, by giving themselves up to profane superstitions. What indeed must happen to men, when they forsake God, and allow themselves to follow their own thoughts? what but error and superstition, yea, the abyss of all errors? In short, the Prophet in this clause intended to cut off every occasion for subterfuges; for the Jews, like hypocrites, who sophistically deal with God, might have made this evasion, and said, “Why dost thou object to us our imaginations? what are these imaginations?” Baalim, he says, “Ye have devised idols far yourselves in addition to the only true God; it is hence quite evident, that having forsaken God’s word, ye have followed your own imaginations.”

"Let us therefore know, that our life cannot be rightly formed except we renounce our own imaginations, and simply obey the voice of God: for as soon as we yield the least to our own imaginations, we necessarily turn aside from the right way, which God has made known to us in his word. This contrast, then, between the law of God and the imaginations or the obduracy of men ought to be carefully noticed."Calvin, Jer.9:13,14, "Who can know the mind of the Lord?"

chestnutmare #49344 Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:31 AM
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Annie Oakley
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"The people in Micah’s time carried a physical testimony of God’s love for them. But if God’s covenant with Abraham was intended to demonstrate that they were supposed to be united in love, then Micah’s reference to Jesus Christ shows how our Lord came to take away all dissensions and struggles, in order to convert the instruments of war into means of serving our neighbors [in peace] (see Micah. 4:2-3) Hence those who act as enemies, tormenting and robbing other shows their disdain peace with God. For when God reveals himself to us he does so in order to unite us along those lines of unity and concord which I have spoken. Thus when we fight among ourselves it is as if we are resisting God’s grace, as if we are chasing off the very peace that God longs to give us.

We need to consider Micah’s message “My people have risen up as an enemy” If we were truly a people of God we would be meek and kind. As St. Paul admonishes we would strive to live at peace with each other and we would do so in spite of Satan’s attempts to deprive us of such peace in this world and his constant efforts to rise up and take vengeance against each other. If we must strive at peace with all our hearts. That is why David wants us to pursue it, why he encourages us to seek it, though it steal away before us and mankind incites us to respond with evil and anger. Even then we must seek after peace. Otherwise, as Micah says, we will become as enemies, as people of war, even though we boast of being the people of God while lacking the knowledge that is required to persevere in obedience to God.

–John Calvin “Sermons on Micah”

chestnutmare #49348 Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:01 AM
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"And, indeed, Paul informs us that there are two ways in which we are loved in Christ; first, because the Father chose us in him before the creation of the world, (Ephesians 1:4;) and, secondly, because in Christ God hath reconciled us to himself, and hath showed that he is gracious to us, (Romans 5:10.) Thus we are at the same time the enemies and the friends of God, until, atonement having been made for our sins, we are restored to favor with God. But when we are justified by faith, it is then, properly, that we begin to be loved by God, as children by a father. That love by which Christ was appointed to be the person, in whom we should be fiercely chosen before we were born, and while we were still ruined in Adam, is hidden in the breast of God, and far exceeds the capacity of the human mind. True, no man will ever feel that God is gracious to him, unless he perceives that God is pacified in Christ. But as all relish for the love of God vanishes when Christ is taken away, so we may safely conclude that, since by faith we are ingrafted into his body, there is no danger of our falling from the love of God; for this foundation cannot be overturned, that we are loved, because the Father hath loved his Son." Calvin, Commentary, John 17:23.

chestnutmare #49349 Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:11 AM
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"And let us not take it into our heads either to seek out God anywhere else than in his Sacred Word, or to think anything about him that is not prompted by his Word, or to speak anything that is not taken from that Word." - John Calvin

chestnutmare #49364 Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:43 PM
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"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." - John Calvin, Institutes

chestnutmare #49421 Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:00 PM
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Bible

If the doctrine of the apostles and the prophets is the foundation of the church, the former must have had its certainty before the latter began to exist…

For if the Christian church was founded at first on the writings of the prophets, and the preaching of the apostles, that doctrine, wheresoever it may be found, was certainly ascertained and sanctioned antecedently to the church, since, but for this, the church herself never could have existed.

Nothing, therefore can be more absurd than the fiction, that the power of judging Scripture is in the church, and that on her nod its certainty depends…

As to the question, How shall we be persuaded that it came from God without recurring to a decree of the church?

It is just the same as if it were asked, How shall we learn to distinguish light from darkness, white from black, sweet from bitter?

Scripture bears upon the face of it as clear evidence of its truth, as white and black do of their color, sweet and bitter of their taste.

Institutes

chestnutmare #49520 Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:14 AM
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Our fortitude... has its foundation in the assurance of the divine protection alone, so that they who rely upon God, and put their trust in him, may truly boast, not only that they shall be undismayed, but also that they shall be preserved in security and safety amidst the ruins of a falling world. Calvin

Standing on the promises of God, my Savior!!

chestnutmare #49559 Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:49 AM
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Annie Oakley
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God having been pleased to reserve the treasure of intelligence for his children, no wonder that so much ignorance and stupidity is seen in the generality of mankind. In the generality, I include even those specially chosen, until they are ingrafted into the body of the Church. Isaiah, moreover, while reminding us that the prophetical doctrine would prove incredible not only to strangers, but also to the Jews, who were desirous to be thought of the household of God, subjoins the reason, when he asks, “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53: 1.) If at any time, then we are troubled at the small number of those who believe, let us, on the other hand, call to mind, that none comprehend the mysteries of God save those to whom it is given.
~Institutes of the Christian Religion

chestnutmare #49561 Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:57 AM
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Annie Oakley
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On the Sabbath

Remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God brought you from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to keep holy the Sabbath Day.

John Calvin sermon
It is as if he said: Is it so important for you that I have chosen and reserved one day for serving me, in which you are to do nothing but read and meditate on my Law, hear the doctrine that is preached to you, come to the temple to be strengthened by the sacrifices you shall offer, call on my name, and confess that you are part of the fellowship of my people?

Does this upset you since you have six days entirely to yourselves to do your business and carry out your work? Since I deal so graciously with you by requiring only one day of seven, are you so unthankful that you complain about the time as though it were wasted? Are you so vulgar and miserly to begrudge me a seventh of your time? I give you your entire life. When the sun shines on you, you should consider my goodness and that I am a generous father to you. I make the sun shine to give light to your way so that you can go about your business (Ps 104.22, 23).

Why then shouldn’t I have one day of seven in which all men will cease from their own business and you will not be tied up with worldly cares, and instead have time to think about me?

chestnutmare #49578 Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:31 PM
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Annie Oakley
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Calvin and "heretics" : Titus 3 :10,11

10 Avoid an heretical man This is properly added; because there will be no end of quarrels and dispute, if we wish to conquer obstinate men by argument; for they will never want words, and they will derive fresh courage from impudence, so that they will never grow weary of fighting. Thus, after having given orders to Titus as to the form of doctrine which he should lay down, he now forbids him to waste much time in debating with heretics, because battle would lead to battle and dispute to dispute. Such is the cunning of Satan, that, by the impudent talkativeness of such men, he entangles good and faithful pastors, so as to draw them away from diligence in teaching. We must therefore beware lest we become engaged in quarrelsome disputes; for we shall never have leisure to devote our labors to the Lord’s flock, and contentious men will never cease to annoy us.

When he commands him to avoid such persons, it is as if he said that he must not toil hard to satisfy them, and even that there is nothing better than to cut off the handle for fighting which they are eager to find. This is a highly necessary admonition; for even they who would willingly take no part in strifes of words are sometimes drawn by shame into controversy, because they think that it would be shameful cowardice to quit the field. Besides, there is no temper, however mild, that is not liable to be provoked by the fierce taunts of enemies, because they look upon it as intolerable that those men should attack the truth, (as they are accustomed to do,) and that none should reply. Nor are there wanting men who are either of a combative disposition, or excessively hot-tempered, who are eager for battle. On the contrary, Paul does not wish that the servant of Christ should be much and long employed in debating with heretics.

We must now see what he means by the word heretic. There is a common and well-known distinction between a heretic and a schismatic. But here, in my opinion, Paul disregards that distinction: for, by the term “heretic” he describes not only those who cherish and defend an erroneous or perverse doctrine, but in general all who do not yield assent to the sound doctrine which he laid down a little before. Thus under this name he includes all ambitious, unruly, contentious persons, who, led away by sinful passions, disturb the peace of the Church, and raise disputings. In short, every person who, by his overweening pride, breaks up the unity of the Church, is pronounced by Paul to be “heretic.”

But we must exercise moderation, so as not instantly to declare every man to be a “heretic” who does not agree with our opinion. There are some matters on which Christians may differ from each other, without being divided into sects. Paul himself commands that they shall not be so divided, when he bids them keep their harmony unbroken, and wait for the revelation of God. (Philippians 3:16.) But whenever the obstinacy of any person grows to such an extent, that, led by selfish motives, he either separates from the body, or draws away some of the flock, or interrupts the course of sound doctrine, in such a case we must boldly resist.

In a word, a heresy or sect and the unity of the Church — are things totally opposite to each other. Since the unity of the Church is dear to God, and ought to be held by us in the highest estimation, we ought to entertain the strongest abhorrence of heresy. Accordingly, the name of sect or heresy, though philosophers and statesmen reckon it to be honorable, is justly accounted infamous among Christians. We now understand who are meant by Paul, when he bids us dismiss and avoid heretics. But at the same time we ought to observe what immediately follows, —

After the first and second admonition; for neither shall we have a right to pronounce a man to be a heretic, nor shall we be at liberty to reject him, till we have first endeavored to bring him back to sound views. “Au droit chemin.” — “To the right road.” He does not mean any “admonition,” whatever, or that of a private individual, but an “admonition” given by a minister, with the public authority of the Church; for the meaning of the Apostle’s words is as if he had said, that heretics must be rebuked with solemn and severe censure.

They who infer from this passage, that the supporters of wicked doctrines must be restrained by excommunication alone, and that no rigorous measures beyond this must be used against them, do not argue conclusively. There is a difference between the duties of a bishop and those of a magistrate. Writing to Titus, Paul does not treat of the office of a magistrate, but points out what belongs to a bishop. 267267 “Ce qu’il convient au Pasteur de faire.” — “What it belongs to the pastor to do.” Yet moderation is always best, that, instead of being restrained by force and violence, they may be corrected by the discipline of the Church, if there be any ground to believe that they can be cured."

chestnutmare #49602 Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:55 PM
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Annie Oakley
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" Bear ye one another's burdens. The weaknesses or sins, under which we groan, are called burdens. This phrase is singularly appropriate in an exhortation to kind behavior, for nature dictates to us that those who bend under a burden ought to be relieved. He enjoins us to bear the burdens. We must not indulge or overlook the sins by which our brethren are pressed down, but relieve them, -- which can only be done by mild and friendly correction. There are many adulterers and thieves, many wicked and abandoned characters of every description, who would willingly make Christ an accomplice in their crimes. All would choose to lay upon believers the task of bearing their burdens. But as the apostle had immediately before exhorted us to restore a brother, the manner in which Christians are required to bear one another's burdens cannot be mistaken.

And so fulfill the law of Christ. The word law, when applied here to Christ, serves the place of an argument. There is an implied contrast between the law of Christ and the law of Moses. "If you are very desirous to keep a law, Christ enjoins on you a law which you are bound to prefer to all others, and that is, to cherish kindness towards each other. He who has not this has nothing. On the other hand, he tells us, that, when every one compassionately assists his neighbor, the law of Christ is fulfilled; by which he intimates that every thing which does not proceed from love is superfluous; for the composition of the Greek word anaplerosate, conveys the idea of what is absolutely perfect. But as no man performs in every respect what Paul requires, we are still at a distance from perfection. He who comes the nearest to it with regard to others, is yet far distant with respect to God.

3. For if a man think himself. There is an ambiguity in the construction, but Paul's meaning is clear. The phrase, When he is nothing, appears at first view to mean, "if any person, who is in reality nothing, claims to be something;" as there are many men of no real worth who are elated by a foolish admiration of themselves. But the meaning is more general, and may be thus expressed: "Since all men are nothing, he who wishes to appear something, and persuades himself that he is somebody, deceives himself." First, then, he declares that we are nothing, by which he means, that we have nothing of our own of which we have a right to boast, but are destitute of every thing good: so that all our glorying is mere vanity. Secondly, he infers that they who claim something as their own deceive themselves. Now, since nothing excites our indignation more than that others should impose upon us, it argues the height of folly that we should willingly impose upon ourselves. This consideration will render us much more candid to others. Whence proceeds fierce insult or haughty sternness, but from this, that every one exalts himself in his own estimation, and proudly despises others? Let arrogance be removed, and we shall all discover the greatest modesty in our conduct towards each other.

4. But let every man prove his own work. By a powerful blow, Paul has already struck down the pride of man. But it frequently happens that, by comparing ourselves with others, the low opinion which we form of them leads us to entertain a high opinion of ourselves. Paul declares that no such comparison ought to be allowed. Let no man, he says, measure himself by the standard of another, or please himself with the thought, that others appear to him less worthy of approbation. Let him lay aside all regard to other men, examine his own conscience, and inquire what is his own work. It is not what we gain by detracting from others, but what we have without any comparison, that can be regarded as true praise.

Some consider Paul to be speaking in irony. "Thou flatterest thyself by a comparison with the faults of others; but if thou wilt consider who thou art, thou wilt then enjoy the praise which is justly due to thee." In other words, no praise whatever shall be thine; because there is no man by whom the smallest portion of praise is really deserved. In conformity with this view, the words that follow, every man shall bear his own burden, are supposed to mean, that it is usual for every man to bear his own burden. But the plain and direct sense of the words agrees better with the apostle's reasoning. "With respect to thyself alone, and not by comparison with others, thou wilt have praise." I am well aware that the next sentence, which annihilates all the glory of man, has been regarded as justifying the ironical interpretation. But the glorying of which this passage treats, is that of a good conscience, in which the Lord allows his people to indulge, and which Paul elsewhere expresses in very animated language.

"Paul earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." (Acts 23:1.)

This is nothing more than an acknowledgment of Divine grace, which reflects no praise whatever on man, but excites him to give God the glory. Such a reason for glorying do the godly find in themselves; and they ascribe it, not to their own merits, but to the riches of the grace of God.

"For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of a good conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." (2 Corinthians 1:12.)

Our Lord himself instructs us:

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet; and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:6.)

Strictly speaking, he makes no assertion, but leads us to conclude, that, when a man is valued for his own worth, and not for the baseness of others, the praise is just and substantial. The statement is therefore conditional, and imports that none are entitled to be regarded as good men, who are not found to be so, apart from the consideration of others.

5. For every man shall bear his own burdens. To destroy sloth and pride, he brings before us the judgment of God, in which every individual for himself, and without a comparison with others, will give an account of his life. It is thus that we are deceived; for, if a man who has but one eye is placed among the blind, he considers his vision to be perfect; and a tawny person among negroes thinks himself white. The apostle affirms that the false conclusions to which we are thus conducted will find no place in the judgment of God; because there every one will bear his own burden, and none will stand acquitted by others from their own sins. This is the true meaning of the words."~Gal. 6 Commentary

chestnutmare #49611 Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:09 AM
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"Plato sometimes says that the life of a philosopher is a meditation upon death; but we may more truly say that the life of a Christian man is a continual effort and exercise in the mortification of the flesh, till it is utterly slain, and God’s Spirit reigns in us. Therefore, I think he has profited greatly who has learned to be very much displeased with himself, not so as to stick fast in this mire and progress no farther, but rather to hasten to God and yearn for him in order that, having been engrafted into the life and death of Christ, he may give attention to continual repentance. Truly, they who are held by a real loathing of sin cannot do otherwise. For no one every hates sin unless he has previously been seized with a love of righteousness, (Institutes pg. 614-615).

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