These … are the mighty works of the Lord, perfected to his desires, and so wisely perfected that, when the angelic and human creation had sinned, that is had done not what God willed but what it itself willed, even through the same creaturely will by which was done what the Creator did not wish, he fulfilled what he willed, as the supreme good using even evil deeds well, for the damnation of those whom he justly predestined to punishment, and for the salvation of those whom he graciously predestined to grace. As regards themselves, they did what God did not will; as regards God’s omnipotence, they were by no means able to prevail against it. In this itself they did what was against the will of God; yet through them God’s will was done. — John Calvin
Category Archives: Calvin
Geneva was falling into more and more of disorder. Discipline was nil and immorality ran riot. The political freedom of the country was in danger. Bern, outwitting the Genevese commission, acquired treaty sovereignty, which the Great Council would not acknowledge.
The Genevese themselves were divided into three parties, the Bernese, Roman Catholic parties and Reformers. The Bernese party was decimated by political execution. Both that party and the Roman Catholic made blunders. The party of the Reformers began again to grow in relative power and numbers.
Thus the way was prepared for the recall of Calvin. This was discussed in the council early in 1539, again in February, 1540, and decided upon September 21, 1540. From that time on increasingly earnest measures were taken to get him. The syndics’ letter bearing date of October 22d concludes, “On behalf of our Little, Great and General Councils (all of which have strongly urged us to take this step), we pray you very affectionately that you will be pleased to come over to us, and to return to your former post and ministry; and we hope that by God’s help this course will be a great advantage for the furtherance of the holy gospel, seeing that our people very much desire you, and we will so deal with you that you shall have reason to be satisfied.”* The seal of the letter bore the legend, “After darkness I hope for light.”*
*Thomas Cary Johnson, John Calvin and The Genevan Reformation: A Sketch. (Richmond, VA: The Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1900), 45–46.
These, he says, are the mighty works of the Lord, perfected to his desires, and so wisely perfected that, when the angelic and human creation had sinned, that is had done not what God willed but what it itself willed, even through the same creaturely will by which was done what the Creator did not wish, he fulfilled what he willed, as the supreme good using even evil deeds well, for the damnation of those whom he justly predestined to punishment, and for the salvation of those whom he graciously predestined to grace. — Calvin
GENEVA, August 27, 1553.
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, more peculiarly set apart, and my worshipful brethren.
You have doubtless heard of the name of Servetus, a Spaniard, who twenty years ago corrupted your Germany with a virulent publication, filled with many pernicious errors. This worthless fellow, after being driven out of Germany, and having concealed himself in France under a fictitious name, lately patched up a larger volume, partly from his former book, and partly from new figments which he had invented. This book he printed secretly at Vienne, a town in the neighbourhood of Lyons. Many copies of it had been conveyed to Frankfort for the Easter fairs: the printer’s agent, however, a pious and worthy man, on being informed that it contained nothing but a farrago of errors, suppressed whatever he had of it.
It would take long to relate with how many errors—yea, prodigious blasphemies against God—the book abounds. Figure to yourselves a rhapsody patched up from the impious ravings of all ages. There is no sort of impiety which this monster has not raked up, as if from the infernal regions. I had rather you should pass sentence on it from reading the book itself. You will certainly find on almost every single page, what will inspire you with horror. The author himself is held in prison by our magistrates, and he will be punished ere long, I hope; but it is your duty to see to it that this pestiferous poison does not spread farther.
The messenger will inform you respecting the number and the repository of the books. The bookseller, if I mistake not, will permit them to be burnt. Should anything stand in the way, however, I trust that you will act so judiciously, as to purge the world of such noxious corruptions. Besides, your way will be clear,—because if the matter be submitted to your judgment, there will be no necessity for asking the magistrate to interfere. And while I am so persuaded of your integrity that I believe it would be sufficient to inform you of it; yet the magnitude of the affair demands that I should beseech you, by Christ, faithfully to strive to discharge your duty, lest the opportunity should slip from you.
Fare ye well, most honoured Sirs, and very dear brethren. May the Lord guide you by His Spirit, shield you by His protection, and bless your labours.
If a book is pernicious, burn it.
‘On Monday, August 26, thirty-six écus were voted by the Council to Eustace Vincent, equestrian herald, to go for Master Calvin, the preacher, at Strasburg.’ It was announced in the Council, August 29, that Master Calvin was to arrive one of these days.
They talked of the lodgings which must be assigned to him, and propositions rapidly succeeded each another. At first they thought of the house which was occupied by the pastor Bernard, whom they would remove to the house of la Chantrerie. Then, September 4, there was further discussion. ‘La Chantrerie, being opposite to St. Peter’s church, is most suitable,’ they said, ‘for the abode of Master Calvin, and some garden (curtil) will be provided for him.’ On the 9th it was announced in the Council that he was to arrive the same evening. The houses in question being, doubtless, in an unfit state, orders were given to Messieurs Jacques des Arts and Jean Chautemps to make ready for him the house of the Sieur de Fréneville, situated in the Rue des Chanoines, between the house of Bonivard, on the west, and that of the Abbé de Bonmont, on the east. But after all it was in another house, the fourth proposed, that he was to he received.
It does not appear that Calvin had himself announced to the Council the day of his arrival; nor are we acquainted with any document which in a clear and positive manner indicates this date, worthy of remark though it be. All that we know is that on the 13th he was there, and appeared before the Council. Instead of the 9th he may have arrived on the 10th, the 11th, or even the 12th. We may suppose that Calvin wished the Genevese not to know the day of his arrival, fearing lest they should give him a rather noisy reception.*
Calvin’s return was more stupendous than his earlier departure. And now he was here to stay, and to exert enormous influence.
*J. H. Merle D’aubigné D.D. and William L. R. Cates, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (vol. 7; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1876), 61–62.
The whole set of the Ioannis Calvini opera quae supersunt omnia consists of 59 volumes in 58 bindings. This particular edition is a facsimile edition of the original books from C.A. Schwetske and Sons in Braunschweig (1860-1990). These bindings are printed by the Johnson Reprint Corporation at New York and London.
The books are uniformly bound in red imitation leather with gilt lettering. The entire collection is in excellent condition.
More info here.
PS- My birthday is in a week…. just sayin….