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 Calvin’s Institutes in a Nutshell


The other day I stumbled across a great feature of the Henry Beveridge translation of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion in my Logos library. At the end of the book, Beveridge includes One Hundred Aphorisms, containing, within a narrow compass, the substance and order of the four books of the Institutes of the Christian Religion, by Rev. William Pringle. Essentially, Pringle has boiled down the four books of Institutes into 100 bullet points. And these are simply “light” observations. Pringle really brings out the depth of the various sections he references from Institutes. For example, here is what Pringle has to say about Calvin’s section on self-denial:

50. The sum of the Christian life is denial of ourselves.

51. The ends of this self-denial are four. 1. That we may devote ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. 2. That we may not seek our own things, but those which belong to God and to our neighbour. 3. That we may patiently bear the cross, the fruits of which are—acknowledgment of our weakness, the trial of our patience, correction of faults, more earnest prayer, more cheerful meditation on eternal life. 4. That we may know in what manner we ought to use the present life and its aids, for necessity and delight. Necessity demands that we possess all things as though we possessed them not; that we bear poverty with mildness, and abundance with moderation; that we know how to endure patiently fulness, and hunger, and want; that we pay regard to our neighbour, because we must give account of our stewardship; and that all things correspond to our calling. The delight of praising the kindness of God ought to be with us a stronger argument.

1 John Calvin and Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010), 566-67.

Having this resource will certainly help anyone looking to see the bird’s eye view of Institutes, or refresh and review the essence of Calvin’s work.

from: http://www.calvin500.com/page/2/


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/4/22 21:32Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4802


 Re: Calvin’s Institutes in a Nutshell

"50. The sum of the Christian life is denial of ourselves."

Paul would add to this thought...for he wrote:

Rom. 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Only by the Spirit can man know and do, anything less, man finds himself under the curse of the Law.




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Jeff Marshalek

 2011/4/22 22:23Profile









 Re: Calvin’s Institutes in a Nutshell


Hi Jeff,

You probably know a LOT more about Calvin's thinking than I, but I would suggest he assumed the help of the Spirit in the Christian's life, because 'cessationism' had not yet appeared.

The Catholic Church still talks of receiving the Holy Spirit (through infant baptism) and there is no hint in Tyndale's work of any denial of the Holy Spirit, just as the scripture describes it, and we still have it in the KJV.

Did Calvin believe it? How do we know he did not?

 2011/4/23 6:08
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4802


 Re:

Hi Sis,

Paul wrote this to the Corinthian church...

1Cr 4:7 For who makes you differ [from another]? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive [it], why do you boast as if you had not received [it]?

The Corinthian church had been given all things which pertain to Christ, yet Paul convicts those who would listen of something missing in their walk. Boasting is the outward evidence of a life not yet founded on the work of the Holy Spirit. The evidence of a life that has of yet not recognized man's ability as a hinderance, because one has not yet been judged or approved by the work of the Holy Spirit on their life.

Paul always distanced his ministry of the gospel from those who preached the gospel from human wisdom. Paul always points to the "power of God" which confirmed his stewardship. The "power of God" will illuminate the darkness of the human flesh. Those who boast have not yet witnessed the hopelessness of their own efforts to become what Scripture calls us to do. They will continually preach of the necessity of self sacrifice. Yet they live under the law of condemnation.

I did not see mentioned the "power of God" in the article posted. It reminds me of the purpose driven life version 1.


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Jeff Marshalek

 2011/4/23 9:58Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
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 Re:

When darkness is used in Scriptures, it is speaking of the situation man, without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, exists in this world. Man is a vessel that will either be filled with the spiritual nature of Satan or Christ. The corruption that entered this world came through Lucifer. All the character traits of Satan are being imprinted into mankind. The world suffers under the sway of Satan. Christ through the Holy Spirit seeks to lead the captives free from the bondage of this spiritual oppression. We fool ourselves if we think we can find a way to die to ourselves in our darkness. Liberty from oppression can only come by men inquiring of God to deliver them from this state we find ourselves in.


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Jeff Marshalek

 2011/4/25 7:18Profile









 Re: Calvin’s Institutes in a Nutshell


Hi Jeff,

Quote:
When darkness is used in Scriptures, it is speaking of the situation man, without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, exists in this world.

I've heard this thought before, from an ex-Catholic.

It seemed he believed darkness always equalled chaos, and a cover for sin, but I don't see this in Genesis 1:2

And the earth was without form, and void;
and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Here, darkness is being sanctified by God, and when He commanded the light to shine, there is no dispersal of chaos or sin, for though Lucifer had been cast out of heaven, he was not yet 'on' earth.

I find this contrast helpful, as we all have to face natural darkness every day, and it cannot always be a fearful thing if the Holy Spirit is with us and in us.

I need to look a bit more closely at what else Calvin actually said!

 2011/4/25 8:11
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4802


 Re:

Hi Sis,

Gen 1:3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

Where does this light come from?


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Jeff Marshalek

 2011/4/25 10:16Profile









 Re: Calvin’s Institutes in a Nutshell


Quote:
Where does this light come from?

He speaks it into being. It is material. Measurable.

God Himself is un-created Light.

 2011/4/25 11:14









 Re:

Does not the writer of Hebrews say that what is seen was made out of what was not visible. But then I am not a Calvinost.

 2011/4/25 11:58









 Re: Calvin’s Institutes in a Nutshell

Quote:
Does not the writer of Hebrews say that what is seen was made out of what was not visible.

I'm not sure which verse you have in mind. Could you jot it down here, please?

There is a difference between a thing (like air) which is invisible but has a physical substance - as particular light does - and, the absence of all physical material - no thing at all.

When light was created, God made it out of nothing. Some would say He made it out of Himself, which is a better argument for those who believe God is limited by the universe He has made. If one believes God is bigger than the universe, then He can create light out of nothing.

Things which are not seen are definitely invisible, but their reality may not have a physical substance (like particles) to define them.

Things like faith, hope and love are abstract until they are expressed through human behaviour, and then they become as real to others, as to the person who first perceived them. Effectively, unless they are expressed through word/action (which may simply mean waiting on God), others are entitled to conclude they don't exist.

Am I just rambling now? :)

 2011/4/25 12:46





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