Yesterday I mentioned the plan to read through Calvin’s Institutes in a year. Day three is now finished. Prior to that I gave a summary of my (meagre) blogging efforts in 2011. In the latter post, I proposed the idea of trying to blog more often (and hopefully with better content); and in the light of former post (still with me?), I came up with an idea: to meet the goal of ‘more often’ (in terms of quantity), why not give a ‘thought of the day’ from Calvin? So that’s what I’ll do. Sound good? Here’s today’s:
[I]t is not the mere fear of punishment that restrains [the pious man]* from sin. Loving and revering God as his father, honouring and obeying him as his master, although there were no hell, he would revolt at the very idea of offending him. Such is pure and genuine religion, namely, confidence in God coupled with serious fear–fear, which both includes in it willing reverence, and brings along with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed by the law. And it ouught to be more carefully considered, that all men promiscuously do homage to God, but very few truly reverence him. On all hands there is abundance of ostentatious ceremonies, but sincerity of heart is rare.
–Calvin, Institutes 1.2.2.
This brought to mind Hos 6.6: ‘For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, an in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings’ (cf. Isa 1.11-17).
* I am using the term ‘man’ in the sense that Calvin most likely used it–i.e. an ancient classification term denoting a particular species, in this case: a human being. And because the ancient term, α͗νθρωπος is grammatically ‘masculine’ all related pronouns will agree in ‘gender’ with this antecedent.