Calvin's Institutes Chapter 17 (785-822)

August 4, 2020

What a great way to end our time in this book. This chapter is jam packed! I did, as I have before, find humor in Calvin pointing out at the opening of the chapter that he did not want his book to get too long (785). Although, I do have to agree with him that compared to some of the church fathers, he is brief! Also, at the opening of this chapter was Calvin's distinction between philosophers and Scripture (785-787), and that was a helpful and enriching thought.

When [philosophers] do their best to exhort us to virtue, they give no other reason that that we should live according to nature. Scripture, however, leads us to a much better source of encouragement. (787)

Denying self for the sake of others: humility and forgiveness

This section (792-793) was really rich for me. I was tempted to type up the whole section and print it out. Calvin aptly reveals how our hearts operate, and it is convicting. Yet, through the gateway of this conviction we can with Christ's help to grow in humility and forgiveness.

Real love comes from the heart

Someone may fully discharge his duty to his neighour [sic] outwardly, yet be far from fulfilling his proper obligations to him. (796)

May we consider this and the showmanship that we often engage in.

How not to love the world

There is no middle way between these two extremes: either we hold the world in contempt, or else it will hold us fast in its fierce embrace. (811)

This has been on my heart for many years. It is something that I try to bring out constantly in my teaching and preaching. Yet, I myself have often realized I have been living like a sleepy Christian and then I have ended up with a worldly heart.

Detachment is the best antidote to self-indulgence

I wasn't sure what to think in this section. I acknowledge that I did not dwell on it long, but I am curious if anybody has something to comment on from it.

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