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Let Christ be Magnified – A Review by H M Cartwright

Category Book Reviews
Date October 31, 2008

The Banner of Truth has published Let Christ Be Magnified: Calvin’s Teaching for Today by J H Merle d’Aubigné1. A preface by the publisher introduces Merle d’Aubigné (1794-1872), the author of an extensive, thorough and eminently-readable history of the Reformation. He was greatly influenced by Robert Haldane in Geneva at a time when the theology of Calvin had been abandoned there, and was a correspondent of Thomas Chalmers. This Preface is followed by the publisher’s brief account of the life of John Calvin, who died on 27 May 1564. The blurb on this little book suggests that the best way to commemorate the birth of Calvin, on 10 July 1509, is to remember the gospel he preached. On 27 May 1864 Merle d’Aubigné gave a public address in Geneva on ‘Calvin’s Teaching for the Present Day’. This volume reproduces that address.

In his introduction, the author indicates that, while he wishes to acknowledge the Church’s indebtedness to Calvin, his aim is not to honour Calvin but is in keeping with Calvin’s own motivation: ‘The glory of God, the glory of Christ; this was his overruling idea, the principle of his activity, the aim of his whole life’. The following four chapters seek to highlight the place which Christ’s Word, Person, Grace and Life had in both the life and teaching of the Reformer.

Calvin ‘defended the exclusive and regulating authority of Scripture. He proclaimed it alike in the presence of sceptical reason and of a superstitious Church’. ‘Dwelling habitually as in his presence, he contemplated Jesus, loved, and adored him. He desired to make him known, and loudly gave glory before the world to his holy humanity and his perfect divinity.’ ‘Guided by the hand of God, he has found the grace of Christ in eternity; he has found it at Calvary. He now goes further, and discovers it acting with power, and alone, in the hearts of the children of God . . . It is God who gives the will, it is God who gives the power.’ ‘But it is not only in the heart that Christ must be glorified; it is (according to Calvin) in the whole life.’

This is not a systematic or substantial discussion of Calvin’s theology. It takes some points which the author considers key elements in the life and preaching of the Reformer and seeks in a simple way to summon the hearer (and now the reader) to make these central for himself.

Notes

    • Let Christ Be Magnified
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      The Banner of Truth has published Let Christ Be Magnified: Calvin’s Teaching for Today by J H Merle d’Aubigné1. A preface by the publisher introduces Merle d’Aubigné (1794-1872), the author of an extensive, thorough and eminently-readable history of the Reformation. He was greatly influenced by Robert Haldane in Geneva at a time when the theology […]

Taken with permission from the Free Presbyterian Magazine, October 2008.

www.fpchurch.org.uk

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