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Reformation- ten powerful quotes from Calvin’s Institutes, via LAD Rosary

Calvin

Here are ten powerful quotes from Calvin’s Institutes:

1. On knowing God and self

“Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. […] The knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find him.”

— Book 1, chapter 1, section 1 (I, i, 1)

2. On the effect of knowledge of God

“The effect of our knowledge rather ought to be, first, to teach us reverence and fear; and, secondly, to induce us, under its guidance and teaching, to ask every good thing from him, and, when it is received, ascribe it to him. 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?”

— I, ii, 2

3. On false worship

“Those, therefore, who set up a fictitious worship, merely worship and adore their own delirious fancies; indeed, they would never dare so to trifle with God, had they not previously fashioned him after their own childish conceits.”

— I, iv, 3

4. On chance and providence

“Suppose a man falls among thieves, or wild beasts; is shipwrecked at sea by a sudden gale; is killed by a falling house or tree. Suppose another man wandering through the desert finds help in his straits; having been tossed by the waves, reaches harbor; miraculously escapes death by a finger’s breadth. Carnal reason ascribes all such happenings, whether prosperous or adverse, to fortune. But anyone who has been taught by Christ’s lips that all the hairs of his head are numbered [Matt. 10:30] will look farther afield for a cause, and will consider that all events are governed by God’s secret plan.”

— I, xvi, 2

5. On humility

“Whoever is utterly cast down and overwhelmed by the awareness of his calamity, poverty, nakedness, and disgrace has thus advanced farthest in knowledge of himself.”

— II, ii, 10

6. On advice from the devil

“If it is the devil’s word that exalts man in himself, let us give no place to it unless we want to take advice from our enemy.”

— II, ii, 10

7. On the fear of God in human relations

“Apart from the fear of God men do not preserve equity and love among themselves. Therefore we call the worship of God the beginning and foundation of righteousness.”

— II, viii, 11

8. On faith

“We shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

— III, ii, 7

9. On kindness toward others

“[…] We are not to reflect on the wickedness of men, but look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, should by its beauty and dignity allure us to love and embrace them.”

— III, vii, 6

10. On effective prayer

“Prayer unaccompanied by perseverance leads to no result.”

— III, xx, 52

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