Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy 500th Birthday, John Calvin

John Calvin
July 10, 1509 - May 27, 1564

Without the gospel

All of us are useless and empty;
Without the gospel
We are not Christians;
Without the gospel
All wealth is poverty,
Wisdom is foolishness before God,
Strength is weakness,
All human justice is condemned of God,
But by the knowledge of the gospel,
We are made children of God,
Brothers of Jesus Christ,
Fellow citizens of the saints,
Citizens of the kingdom of heaven,
Heirs of God with Jesus Christ,
By whom the poor become rich,
the weak powerful,
the fools wise,
the sinners justified,
the desolate comforted,
the doubting certain,
the slaves set free.
It is the power of God
For the salvation of all believers
And the key to the knowledge of God
Which opens the door of the kingdom of heaven
To unbelievers lying in their sins.

Happy are all those
Who hear and keep it.
For by that they show
That they are children of God.
Miserable are those
Who wish neither to hear nor follow it:
For they are children of the devil.

Taken from John Calvin's preface to Pierre Robert's French translation of the New Testament (1535), as recorded in The Piety of John Calvin: A Collection of His Spiritual Prose, Poems, and Hymns (page 206), translated by Ford Lewis Battles (1915-1979)

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