23. Not that David was uniformly in this joyful frame; but in so far as the measure of his faith made him sensible of the divine favor, he glories in intrepidly despising every thing that could disturb his peace of mind. . Here the office of hope is to perform what the prophet enjoins, “Though it tarry, wait for it” (Hab_2:3). The example of these men illustrates the truth of our Savior’s declaration, that his Spirit “the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (Joh_14:17). Faith, as Paul (declares (Eph_6:16), is our shield, which receiving these darts, either wards them off entirely, or at least breaks their force, and prevents them from reaching the vitals. Still they admonish us how carefully we ought to cling to the word of God, and at the same time confirm what we have taught, viz., that faith gives way when not supported by the word, just as the minds of Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah, would have lost themselves in devious paths, had not the secret restraint of Providence kept them obedient to the word. Of the modes of supplementing satisfaction--viz. I would grant this, did we hold that we were able to subject the incomprehensible counsel of God to our feeble intellect. and if I be a master, where is my fear?” But while he thus distinguishes between the two, it is obvious that he at the same time confounds them. O teacher, worthy of the pupils, whom you found in these insane raving schools! As if he had said, that faith is a kind of certain and secure possession of those things which are promised to us by God; unless we prefer taking hupostasis for confidence. It is only when actually smitten by his hand that they are forced, whether they will or not, to fear. indulgences and purgatory. In the same way God can train his people to humility, and curb them by the bridle of modesty, while yet fighting bravely. If there were only a single gift of the Spirit, he who is the author and cause of faith could not without absurdity be said to be its effect; but after celebrating the gifts with which God adorns his church, and by successive additions of faith leads it to perfection, there is nothing strange in his ascribing to faith the very gifts which faith prepares us for receiving. In both, this must have been the result of faith. A summary of the opinion common to all the philosophers. The daily benefits derived from it. The life of a Christian man. For this reason Paul justly says, “We are saved by hope” (Rom_8:24). . . Hence the Spirit performs the part of a seal, sealing upon our hearts the very promises, the certainty of which was previously impressed upon our minds. For though it is only when the promises are received in faith that their efficacy is manifested, still their reality and power are never extinguished by our infidelity or ingratitude. Scoffers also rise up, as Peter tells us, and asks where is the promise of his coming? CHAPTER 2. Chapter 5: The Supplements they Add to Satisfaction – Indulgences and Purgatory. For as in that rejection of the Jews there still remained some who were not excluded from the covenant of adoptions, so there might be some among the Gentiles who, possessing no true faith, were only puffed up with vain carnal confidence, and so abused the goodness of God to their own destruction. - THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD STIFLED OR CORRUPTED, IGNORANTLY OR MALICIOUSLY. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Faith is the special gift of God in both ways – in purifying the mind so as to give it a relish for divine truth, and afterwards in establishing it therein. 34. What! According to the frivolous trifling of these objectors, he ought to have said, Christ indeed has life in himself, but you, as you are sinners, remain liable to death and condemnation. . Then, when he bids us work out our salvation with fear and trembling, all he requires is, that we accustom ourselves to think very meanly of our own strength, and confide in the strength of the Lord. . But we have already shown clearly that the only object of faith is the mercy of God, to which, to use the common expression, it must look with both eyes. Institutes of the Christian Religion is John Calvin's seminal work on Protestant systematic theology. The labyrinths of philosophers. 5, Secs. The promises of the law and the Gospel reconciled. The opinions of others continued—viz. It is not said that it will be victorious in a single fight, or a few, or some one assault, but that it will be victorious over the whole world, though it should be a thousand times assailed. Book 2, Chapter 10. If faith cannot support itself in the view of this power, it never will give Him the honor which is due. An admirable security, indeed, is left us, if, for the present moment only, we can judge from moral conjecture that we are in grace, but know not how we are to be to-morrow! 37. the three divisions of this chapter are,--i. The knowledge of God being manifested to all makes the reprobate without excuse. Hope and fear, again, they place in complete contrast – the one falling as the other rises, and rising as the other falls. “That good thing which was committed unto thee,” says Paul, “keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (2Ti_1:14). He holds out the hope of a blessed resurrection to those only who feel His Spirit dwelling in them (Rom_8:11); they imagine hope when there is no such feeling. This knowledge, however, is not left to every man’s imagination, but depends on the testimony which God himself gives to his goodness. . of repentance. Section 2. But how can faith be saving, unless in so far as it in grafts us into the body of Christ? Salem Media Group. II. Institutes, Vol.2: Part 4: Chapter 3: Everything proceeding from the corrupt nature of man damnable. Therefore, I thus retort the argument, If you look to yourself damnation is certain: but since Christ has been communicated to you with all his benefits, so that all which is his is made yours, you become a member of him, and hence one with him. - WHAT IT IS TO KNOW GOD,—TENDENCY OF THIS KNOWLEDGE. Nay, the world and the flesh insinuate the same thing. Thus Paul says “In whom he has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph_1:6). chapter 3. For if faith is (as has been said) a firm persuasion of the truth of God – a persuasion that it can never be false, never deceive, never be in vain, those who have received this assurance must at the same time expect that God will perform his promises, which in their conviction are absolutely true; so that in one word hope is nothing more than the expectation of those things which faith previously believes to have been truly promised by God. Blood Red Moons, Pipelines, and Revival in the Middle East, Cycles, Civil War, and a possible coup d’etat. Hence without the illumination of the Spirit the word has no effect; and hence also it is obvious that faith is something higher than human understanding. Its peculiar properties. In addressing the Corinthians, when he tells them that faith stands not “in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God” (1Co_2:4), he is no doubt speaking of external miracles; but as the reprobate are blinded when they behold them, he also includes that internal seal of which he elsewhere makes mention. You see how he teaches that the hearts of believers are stamped with the Spirit as with a seal, and calls it the Spirit of promise, because it ratifies the gospel to us. 2-6. For the soul, when illumined by him, receives as it were a new eye, enabling it to contemplate heavenly mysteries, by the splendor of which it was previously dazzled. This is indeed true; but we are unjustly and calumniously charged with denying that faith has respect to the whole word of God. 22. But though you should hold that the words were addressed to elect believers, no inconsistency will follow. Thus the Apostle says, “In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance” (Eph_1:13, Eph_1:14). Hope cannot have any other object than faith has. Therefore, as we cannot possibly come to Christ unless drawn by the Spirit, so when we are drawn we are both in mind and spirit exalted far above our own understanding. Truly also does Solomon declare: “Happy is the man that feareth alway; but he that hardeneth his heart falleth into mischief” (Pro_28:14). Nothing can be worse than their perversion of the passage of Ecclesiastes, which is ever in their mouths: “No man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them” (Ecc_9:1). Calvin’s axiom that God has implanted in the human mind a concept of divinity is expressed here. 21. CHAPTER 3. They are not alarmed by the fear of punishment, as if it were impending over them, but are rendered the more cautious of doing anything to provoke it. However it may seem shaken and bent in this direction or in that, its flame is never so completely quenched as not at least to lurk under the embers. In this matter we are all naturally blind; and hence the word cannot penetrate our mind unless the Spirit, that internal teacher, by his enlightening power make an entrance for it. the mode of obtaining the grace of christ. The whole of this subject may be better understood from the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, to which I have already adverted. Of the eternal election, by which God has predestined some to salvation, and others to destruction. When Naaman the Syrian made inquiry at the prophet as to the true mode of worshipping God, we cannot (it is said) suppose that he was informed of the Mediator, and yet he is commended for his piety (2Ki_5:17-19). (Isa_44:3). Of faith. A summary of the Christian life. But of what use were it to lament before him if they had no hope of solace? Section 3. Price: $0.00. Very different is his language. The next thing necessary is, that what the mind has imbibed be transferred into the heart. That they may not attempt to undermine the certainty of faith in one direction only, they attack it in another, viz., that though it be lawful for the believer, from his actual state of righteousness, to form a judgment as to the favor of God, the knowledge of final perseverance still remains in suspense. They tell you, if you look to Christ salvation is certain; if you return to yourself damnation is certain. The same doctrine is taught by Bernard when he treats professedly on this subject in his Fifth Homily on the Dedication of the Temple: “By the blessing of God, sometimes meditating on the soul, methinks, I find in it as it were two contraries. for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2Pe_3:4). They admit, that whenever we look to Christ we are furnished with full ground for hope; but as we are ever unworthy of all the blessings which are offered us in Christ, they will have us to fluctuate and hesitate in the view of our unworthiness. But let any one consider with himself, how he is ever and anon assailed with doubts in regard to the power of God, and he will readily perceive, that those who duly magnify it have made no small progress in faith. . . . OF FAITH. 4. And yet how is he whom God exalts utterly nothing? Faith is the foundation on which hope rests; hope nourishes and sustains faith. We expect salvation from him – not because he stands aloof from us, but because ingrafting us into his body he not only makes us partakers of all his benefits, but also of himself. For the mysteries of God (and to this class belong the things which pertain to our salvation) cannot be discerned in themselves, or, as it is expressed, in their own nature; but we behold them only in his word, of the truth of which we ought to be as firmly persuaded as if we held that every thing which it says were done and completed. The definition of it. Romans 1:18-32 lies behind Calvin’s thinking in chapters iii-ix. Hence the Scripture, when it exhorts us to faith, bids us be at peace. 79 and 95), the conviction of things not present, the Greek term being elengchos, it is the same as if he had called it the appearance of things not apparent, the sight of things not seen, the clearness of things obscure, the presence of things absent, the manifestation of things hid. For which reason David sings, that the loving-kindness of God experienced by the pious heart is sweeter and more to be desired than life itself (Psa_63:3). Universal belief and acknowledgement of the existence of God. Sections. For though they are not as to themselves, yet they are with thee according to the declaration of Paul: ‘Not of works, but of him that calleth,’” (Rom_9:11). Chapter 1. To confirm our belief in it we have, I. I have no objection to this, though I am more inclined to adopt the other interpretation, which is more generally received. Of justification by faith, both the name and the reality defined. In like manner he says to the Corinthians, “God has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2Co_1:22). This the Apostle teaches us: “The body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness” (Rom_8:10). Believers, indeed, ought to recognize God as the judge and avenger of wickedness; and yet mercy is the object to which they properly look, since he is exhibited to their contemplation as “good and ready to forgive,” “plenteous in mercy,” “slow to anger,” “good to all,” and shedding “his tender mercies over all his works” (Psa_86:5; Psa_103:8; Psa_145:8, Psa_145:9). And it tends to prove the vanity of the human intellect, that it is so completely in the dark as to matters which it is of the highest importance to know. Accordingly, he prays for the Thessalonians, “that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power” (2Th_1:2). Hence again we infer, as has already been explained, that faith has no less need of the word than the fruit of a tree has of a living root; because, as David testifies, none can hope in God but those who know his name (Psa_9:10). But though defect and infirmity obscure faith, they do not extinguish it. Wars and Rumors of War, Yemen, and Is the end of Endless Wars? Paul, again, in the Epistle to the Philippians, from hope deduces expectation (Phi_1:20), because in hoping patiently we suspend our wishes until God manifest his own time. Price: $0.00. But why the one, and not the other? In this way, it appears that the word, which is an incorruptible seed, produces fruit similar to itself. Having elsewhere shown more fully, when treating of the corruption of our nature, how little able men are to believe (Book 2, ch. Paul, in another passage, though not in strict propriety of speech, expresses the same thing in these words, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (Gal_5:5); that is, after embracing the testimony of the Gospel as to free love, we wait till God openly manifest what is now only an object of hope. I see that I am able, but how I am able I see not; this far only I see, that it is of God. To withstand these assaults, faith arms and fortifies itself with the word of God. We all acknowledge that God can do whatsoever he pleases; but while every temptation, even the most trivial, fills us with fear and dread, it is plain that we derogate from the power of God, by attaching less importance to his promises than to Satan’s threatening against them. Here he appropriately unites confident faith leaning on the divine mercy with religious fear, which of necessity we must feel whenever coming into the presence of the divine majesty we are made aware by its splendor of the extent of our own impurity. How do we receive … 41. Of bearing the cross--one branch of self-denial. The pious mind will always rise, and be able to say with David, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” (Psa_23:4). Sometimes he not only permits faith to grow languid, but even openly manifests his displeasure. In short, if we have every earthly comfort to a wish, but are uncertain whether we have the love or the hatred of God, our felicity will be cursed, and therefore miserable. It is certain, however, that her desire proceeded from faith. Objection—that religion and the belief of a Deity are the inventions of crafty politicians. 26). They used the sacrifices of the Law, and must have distinguished them from the spurious sacrifices of the Gentiles, by the end to which they referred, viz., Christ. Third, Definition of Faith, sec. And in like manner, in another passage, he says of himself, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2Ti_1:12). Second, of Implicit Faith, sec. I admit that, in some respect, their faith was not explicit either as to the person of Christ, or the power and office assigned him by the Father. Its peculiar properties. Hence, when we were desirous to express the sum of blessedness, we designated it by the favor of God, from which, as their source, all kinds of blessings flow. 1 From: John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book II, Ch. If fear of impending punishment was a work of faith, threatening ought not to be excluded in defining it. For by the term substance (hupostasis), he means a kind of prop on which the pious mind rests and leans. Hence, with good reasons Paul declares that in him all the promises of God are confirmed and completed (Rom_15:8). Chapter 4: Discussion of Confession and Satisfaction. Here faith must be supported by the patience of hope, and fixed on the contemplation of eternity, consider that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2Pe_3:8; Psa_90:4). Chapter 2: Faith: Its definition and properties explained. in Joann. The righteousness of works improperly inferred from rewards. It is strange when two persons hear, the one despises, the other ascends. “Flesh and blood” does not reveal them (Mat_16:17). Some examples are brought forward as repugnant to this view. “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine,” says the Prophet, “and we shall be saved” (Psa_80:3). . "The reason why the ancients used the term in this sense is not obscure. Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3 John CALVIN (1509 - 1564), translated by Henry BEVERIDGE (1837 - 1929) Institutes of the Christian Religion is John Calvin… It seeks life in God, life which is not found in commands or the denunciations of punishment, but in the promise of mercy. how burdened with sin, obscured with darkness, ensnared by allurements, teeming with lusts, ruled by passion, filled with delusions, ever prone to evil, inclined to every vice; lastly, full of ignominy and confusion. 38. They are too well caught thus to escape; for in that passage he is treating not of his individual experience, but of the blessings which all believers in common derive from faith. But believers, as has been said, dread the offense even more than the punishment. Again, to intimate that until the last day, when the books will be opened (Dan_7:10; Rev_20:12), the things pertaining to our salvation are too lofty to be perceived by our sense, seen by our eyes, or handled by our hands, and that in the meantime there is no possible way in which these can be possessed by us, unless we can transcend the reach of our own intellect, and raise our eye above all worldly objects; in short, surpass ourselves, he adds that this certainty of possession relates to things which are only hoped for, and therefore not seen. For when Peter says that we are “kept by the power of God through faith until salvation, ready to be revealed in the last times” (1Pe_1:5), he attributes to faith what more properly belongs to hope. If all its righteousnesses, when examined by the light of truth, are but as filthy rags (Isa_64:6), what must we suppose its unrighteousness to be? What, then, does Paul mean, when he says to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves. For as Paul says (Rom_8:24), “A hope that is seen is not hope,” that we “hope for that we see not.” When he calls it the evidence or proof, or, as Augustine repeatedly renders it (see Hom. The word is, in regard to those to whom it is preached, like the sun which shines upon all, but is of no use to the blind. Two things to be observed in gratuitous justification. How is he nothing to whom a divine heart has been given? This fear the sacred writers term servile, and oppose to the free and voluntary fear which becomes sons. But what kind of confidence is that which is ever and anon supplanted by despair? He often seems, after beginning to speak of the hope of pardon and reconciliation, to digress, and unnecessarily take a long circuitous course, describing how wonderfully God rules the fabric of heaven and earth, with the whole course of nature; and yet he introduces nothing which is not appropriate to the occasion; because unless the power of God, to which all things are possible is presented to our eye, our ears malignantly refuse admission to the word, or set no just value upon it. Thus it truly is. They endeavor to evade the force of this by frivolously pretending that the Apostle had this assurance by special revelation. man doubtless has been made subject to vanity – man here been reduced to nothing – man is nothing. It is necessary, first of all, to believe that you cannot have remission of sins except by the indulgence of God; secondly, that you cannot have any good work at all unless he also give it; lastly, that you cannot by any works merit eternal life unless it also be freely given” (Bernard, Serm. In the same way, we cannot say that the holy patriarch Isaac was altogether void of faith, in that, after he had been similarly informed of the honor transferred to the younger son, he still continues his predilection in favor of his first-born, Esau. That every promise is a wide difference, all our ability proceeds gives itself the least indulgence respect to word. Will OR not, to hope for any thing without merit, it never will give him the honor is! Made to us ; hope expects that he will always act the Part both of an son! Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated of future life, a. 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