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#48784 Thu May 10, 2012 5:50 AM
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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

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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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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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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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“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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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

chestnutmare #49315 Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:18 PM
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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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Annie Oakley
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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.

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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

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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

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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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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

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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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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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" 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).

chestnutmare #49612 Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:11 AM
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God will use foreign nations, peoples to bring judgment and chastening to His people.
Calvin on Habakkuk 1:6 "6. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs."

This verse is added by the Prophet as an explanation; for it was not enough to speak generally of God’s work, without reminding them that their destruction by the Chaldeans was nigh at hand. He does not indeed in this verse explain what would be the character of that judgement which he had mentioned in the last verse Habakkuk 1:5; but he will do this in what follows. Now the Prophets differ from Moses in this respect, for they show, as it were by the finger, what he threatened generally, and they declare the special judgements of God; as it is indeed evident from the demonstrative adverb, “Behold.”

How necessary this was, we may gather from the perverseness of that people; for how distinctly soever the Prophets showed to them God’s judgements, so that they saw them with their eyes, yet so great was their insensibility, that they despised denunciations so apparent. What, then, would have been done, if the Prophets had only said in general, ‘God will not spare you!’ This, then, is the reason why the Prophet, having spoken of God’s terrible vengeance, now declares in express terms, that the Chaldeans were already armed by Him to execute His judgement.

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And rightly it can be said of the western nations and America specifically, by way of application that God will bring judgment upon the United States for its idolatry and denunciation of God. sigh


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chestnutmare #49830 Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:24 AM
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Important Distinctions to Understand:
The Choices of Man - Voluntary or Coerced by John Calvin

"There are four expressions regarding the will which differ from one another “namely that the will is 1) free, 2) bound, 3) self-determined, or 4) coerced. People generally understand a free will to be one which has in its power to choose good or evil …[But] There can be no such thing as a coerced will, since the two ideas are contradictory. But our responsibility as teachers is to say what it means, so that it may be understood what coercion is. Therefore we describe [as coerced] the will which does not incline this way or that of its own accord or by an internal movement of decision, but is forcibly driven by an external impulse. We say that it is self-determined when of itself it directs itself in the direction in which it is led, when it is not taken by force or dragged unwillingly. A bound will, finally, is one which because of its corruptness is held captive under the authority of its evil desires, so that it can choose nothing but evil, even if it does so of its own accord and gladly, without being driven by any external impulse."

"According to these definitions we allow that man has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. We do away with coercion and force, because this contradicts the nature of the will and cannot coexist with it. We deny that choice is free, because through man’s innate wickedness it is of necessity driven to what is evil and cannot seek anything but evil. And from this it is possible to deduce what a great difference there is between necessity and coercion. For we do not say that man is dragged unwillingly into sinning, but that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin and therefore of necessity will in an evil way. For where there is bondage, there is necessity. But it makes a great difference whether the bondage is voluntary or coerced. We locate the necessity to sin precisely in corruption of the will, from which follows that it is self-determined." (John Calvin, "BONDAGE AND LIBERATION OF THE WILL" pp 69, 70)

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We are all sinners by nature ,therefore we are held under the yoke of sin . But if the whole man is subject to the dominion of sin , surely the will , which is it's principal seat , must be bound with the closest of chains. And indeed if divine grace were preceded by any will of ours, Paul could not have said that ," it is God that worketh in us to will and to do ' (Phil. 2:13)
- John Calvin

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What we must know about man

At the beginning, man was formed in the image and resemblance of God, so that he might admire his Maker in the dignity with which God has so nobly invested him, and might honor him with appropriate thankfulness.

But man, trusting in the enormous excellence of his nature, and forgetting where it had come from and by whom it continued to exist, endeavored to exalt himself apart from the Lord. He therefore had to be stripped of all God's gifts, on which he foolishly prided himself, so that, divested and deprived of all glory, he might know this God who had so enriched him by his generous gifts, and whom he had dared to despise.

This is why all of us—who owe our origin to Adam's descendants, and in whom this resemblance to God is erased—are flesh born from flesh. For although we are made up of a soul and a body, we never feel anything but the flesh. The result is that whatever aspect of man we look at, it is impossible for us to see anything other than what is impure, irreverent, and abominable to God. For man's wisdom, blinded and steeped in numberless errors, sets itself against God's wisdom; the will, wicked and full of corrupt affections hates God's justice more than anything; and human strength, incapable of any good deed whatever, is furiously inclined towards iniquity. —Truth for All Time

chestnutmare #49926 Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:24 AM
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Free will

Scripture often asserts that man is the slave of sin. What it means is that his mind is so far removed from God's righteousness that he thinks of, deeply desires and undertakes nothing that is not evil, perverse, iniquitous and sullied; for the heart, having drunk its fill of sin's venom, can emit nothing but sin's fruits.

However, we must not think that there is some violent necessity driving man to sin. He sins with the full agreement of his own will, and he does it eagerly and in line with his own inclinations.

The corruption of his heart means that man has a very strong and continuing hatred of the whole of God's righteousness. In addition, he is devoted to every kind of evil. Because of this he is said not to have the free power of choosing between good and evil—which is called free will. Truth For All Time

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It was once said (author unknown)... "In the beginning God created man in His own image. And, since that day, man has been trying to return the favor."


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chestnutmare #49936 Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:02 PM
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"Grace was freely conferred on few; when it might have been, with justice, denied equally to all."

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