Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh: And The Truth About Calvin’s Income

The sigh inducing claim:


The truth

In his Preface to the Book of Psalms, Calvin says: ‘People circulate ridiculous rumours respecting my treasures, my great power, and my wealthy sort of life. But if a man satisfies himself with such simple fare and such common clothing, and does not require more moderation in the humblest than he himself exercises, how can it be said that he is a spendthrift and fond of self-display? My death will prove what they would not believe in my life’ (Me non esse pecuniosum, si vivus quibusdam non persuadeo, mors tandem ostendet).

His salary, when he occupied the chief ecclesiastical position in Geneva as preacher in the cathedral and minister of its congregation, never exceeded about £160 in our money, and he was provided with a house and garden.*


[Calvin’s] work as pastor and professor was never lucrative. He was indeed so pressed by poverty, as his letters to Farel show, that more than once he had to sell his books. His actual salary was a florin a week (about five francs and a half). It was therefore necessary for him to take boarders. But as these pensioners were themselves poor students, Calvin’s income was not thereby greatly increased.*

Aside from those bitlets there are loads of historical evidence in the literature about Calvin’s simplicity of life and poverty.  Osteen of Geneva my ____________.

*C. H. Irwin, John Calvin: The Man and His Work (Bellingham, WA: The Religious Tract Society, 1909).