Calvin on The Beatitudes
A review by John Brentnall of John Calvin’s Sermons on the Beatitudes: Five Sermons from the ‘Gospel Harmony’, delivered in Geneva in 1560.1
Those who read Calvin’s works for their sweet taste of sound doctrine and sharp application will welcome this new and fine translation of the Reformer’s five sermons on the Beatitudes. While the twenty-two pages of Endnotes are themselves full of good things from the translator’s extensive knowledge of Calvin’s Geneva, the Sermons show Calvin at his best. All the features of his preaching are here: a masterly command of the language of the people, popular allusions, great reverence for God, spiritual sensitivity, pungent rebukes, cheering encouragement, delight in God’s goodness, faithfulness to God’s law, strong moral imperatives and a superb teaching method.
The way Calvin brings out the most important truths from the most familiar gospel narratives is striking. Even more striking is his assertion that all the Beatitudes are perfectly embodied in Christ Himself. Let a few quotations whet your appetite:
Be sure of this, that the very worst of human guilt can never affect God’s settled purpose.
Our minds are earthbound.
What we must do is learn to weep before our God.
We should regard material possessions as props to help us until we see the Father face to face. He is our bliss and happiness.
We read these Sermons as the gifted translator desires: that is, ‘hearing’ Calvin preach to us on issues of perennial, even eternal concern.
Five sermons from the 'Gospel Harmony', delivered in Geneva in 1560
A review by John Brentnall of John Calvin’s Sermons on the Beatitudes: Five Sermons from the ‘Gospel Harmony’, delivered in Geneva in 1560.1 Those who read Calvin’s works for their sweet taste of sound doctrine and sharp application will welcome this new and fine translation of the Reformer’s five sermons on the Beatitudes. While the […]
Taken from Peace and Truth 2007:1 with permission.
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