Letters of John Calvin

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Weight .8 lbs
Dimensions 7.5 x 5 x 1.25 in
binding

Cloth-bound

Format

Book

isbn

9781848718432

Original Pub Date

1855

page-count

320

topic

Church Life, General Theology, Life Issues

FORTHCOMING RELEASE

Endorsement

‘This is one of my favourite books. My copy is highlighted, underlined, and falling apart from constant use. Students of Calvin, as well as pastors and serious Christians, will enjoy these letters. I’m thrilled that Banner of Truth has reissued this classic.’ — KEVIN DEYOUNG

Book Description

Few great Christian leaders have suffered quite so much misunderstanding as John Calvin. He is often dismissed as a theologian without humanity. In fact the very reverse is much nearer the truth, as these letters amply demonstrate. He was a man of deep and lasting affection, passionately concerned for the cause of Christ in the world—a man who burned himself out for the gospel.

Calvin wrote to kings and princes, Reformers and friends, nobility and common people alike. The Letters of John Calvin reveal a man of deep pastoral concern, consistent and exemplary evangelistic zeal, with a humble sense of the final authority of God and his word. This selection contains a number of letters written in connection with the establishment of the Reformation in England; a cross-section of Calvin’s correspondence with his closest friends, especially William Farel, and also Luther and Melanchthon. There are also letters of pastoral counsel and encouragement, and perhaps most moving of all, Calvin’s exhortations to five young men imprisoned in Lyons, France, awaiting the day of their certain martyrdom.

This selection of seventy letters is taken from the collection edited by Jules Bonnet, first published in 1855–7, with an introductory biographical sketch.

Table of Contents Expand ↓

  Introduction xiii
  The Life of Calvin xv
     
  LETTERS OF JOHN CALVIN  
     
1 TO NICOLAS DUCHEMIN 3
Calvin at the University of Orleans — His early friendships — He is recalled to Noyon by the illness of his father
2 TO FRANCIS DANIEL 5
Calvin’s first work — Commentary on Seneca’s Treatise De Clementia
3 TO CHRISTOPHER LIBERTET 6
Calvin in Basle — Revision of the Bible of Robert Olivétan — Treatise on the Immortality of the Soul
4 TO FRANCIS DANIEL 9
Calvin in Geneva — Translation into French of the Institutes — Disputation of Lausanne — Establishment of the doctrines of the Reformation in the Pays de Vaud
5 TO LOUIS DU TILLET 13
Departure of Louis du Tillet from Geneva — Regret of Calvin — Controversy between the two friends regarding the character of the Church of Jesus Christ
6 TO HENRY BULLINGER 20
State of the Church at Geneva—Wish for the union of the Reformed Churches —Mention of Luther
7 TO WILLIAM FAREL 23
Farel called as minister to the Church of Neuchâtel—Sad condition of the Church at Geneva — Uncertainty of Calvin — Bucer’s urgency to draw him to Strassburg
8 TO FAREL 28
Death of Courault — Calvin’s discouragement and trust in God — Answers a question of Saunier regarding the Supper — The faithful at Geneva exhorted not to separate from the new preachers — Affectionate advice given to Farel
9 TO FAREL 34
Second edition of the Institutes — Death of Robert Olivétan—State of religion in Germany — First lectures of Calvin at Strassburg
10 TO FAREL 37
Impressions of Calvin on his recall to Geneva — Rigorous application of discipline in his church — News of Germany, of France, and of England
11 TO PETER VIRET 41
Excuses for his silence — Sad news from France — Repugnance of Calvin to return to Geneva — His comparative estimate of Capito, Zwingli, Luther, and OEcolampadiu
12 TO FAREL 44
Prepares to depart for Geneva — Self-denial of Calvin — Absolute submission to the will of God
13 TO FAREL 47
Details of the death of the first Syndic, Amy Porral
14 TO LUTHER 52
Calvin submits to Luther several of his writings, of which he desires to obtain his approval
15 TO MELANCHTHON 55
He complains of Luther’s tyranny, and affectionately exhorts Melanchthon to manifest greater decision and firmness
16 TO MONSIEUR DE FALAIS 58
Exhortation to glorify God amid poverty and persecution
17 TO JOHN FRELLON 61
Rupture of the relations between Calvin and Servetus
18 TO FAREL 63
Reply to various questions — Threat against Servetus — Imprisonment of one of the leaders of the Libertines
19 TO VIRET 67
Calvin invites his friend to Geneva after the death of his wife
20 TO FAREL 68
False report of Calvin’s death—Proposition (query) by the wife of Amy Perrin — Calumnious accusation against Idelette de Bure — Journey of Farel to Geneva
21 TO THE PROTECTOR SOMERSET 71
Duties imposed on the Protector by the high office which he holds — Plan of a complete reformation in England — Preaching of the pure word of God — Rooting out of abuses — Correction of vices and scandalous offence
22 TO VIRET 92
Death of Idelette de Bure, the wife of Calvin
23 TO FAREL 94
Further details regarding the death of Idelette de Bure
24 TO MADAME DE CANY 96
Account of the instructive death of Madame Laurent de Normandie
25 TO THE PROTECTOR SOMERSET 102
Congratulations on the royal favour shown to the Duke of Somerset — Use to be made of his influence for spreading the Gospel in England
26 TO WILLIAM RABOT 107
Exhortation to the study of the Scriptures
27 TO THE KING OF ENGLAND 109
He exhorts him to persevere in the work of the Reformation in his kingdom — Enumeration of abuses, ceremonies, ecclesiastical elections — Universities
28 TO A FRENCH GENTLEMAN 115
Sickness of Theodore Beza — Calvin’s grief
29 TO THE DUKE OF SOMERSET 116
Protestations of attachment — Reforms required in the Church of England — Squandering of the revenues of benefices and of the universities
30 TO LAELIUS SOCINUS 119
Refusal to reply to the curious questions proposed to him by Socinus
31 TO CRANMER 122
Agreement to the proposal for assembling a General Synod for the more close union of the Reformed Churches
32 TO THE FIVE PRISONERS OF LYONS — MARTIAL ALBA, PETER ESCRIVAIN, CHARLES FAVRE, PETER NAVIHÈRES, BERNARD SEGUIN 127
Information on various doctrinal points, and assurances of Christian sympathy
33 TO EDWARD VI 127
Dedication of a new work, and Christian exhortations
34 TO CRANMER 127
Calvin exhorts him to prosecute with fresh zeal the reformation of the Church in England, by purging it of the relics of Popery
35 TO THE FIVE PRISONERS OF LYONS 137
Exhortations to constancy — Mention of Oritz the Inquisitor
36 TO EDWARD VI 142
Recommendation of a French gentleman, a prisoner for the sake of the Gospel
37 TO CRANMER 142
He entreats his influence in favour of the person already recommended to the King
38 TO THE FIVE PRISONERS OF LYONS 144
He exhorts them to steadfastness unto the end, in the assurance of eternal joy reserved in heaven
39 TO THE PRISONERS OF LYONS 153
He impresses on them the duty of maintaining their confession of the truth quietly and modestly
40 TO BULLINGER 153
Expression of regret for the death of the King of England — Sad condition of the German Churches
41 TO FAREL 155
Arrest of Servetus, and institution of the process against him
42 TO MELANCHTHON 158
He deplores the silence of Melanchthon, and urges him to apply himself to the controverted questions of Election and the Lord’s Supper
43 TO THE ENGLISH AT FRANKFORT 162
He exhorts them to make in their liturgy all the changes compatible with the maintenance of union and the peace of their Church
44 TO THE DUCHESS OF FERRARA 165
He exhorts her to make a courageous display of her faith under persecution
45 TO MELANCHTHON 168
Thanks him for his approval of the condemnation of Servetus — Urgent entreaties to determine Melanchthon to pronounce with more firmness in the question of the sacraments
46 TO BULLINGER 171
Defeat of the party of the Libertines at Geneva — Answer of the Swiss churches to the defence of the Consensus
47 TO JOHN KNOX 174
Criticism of the Anglican Liturgy — Counsels addressed to the parties which divide the foreign Church of Frankfort
48 TO BULLINGER 177
Account of the nocturnal riot excited by the Libertines at Geneva — Defeat and total dispersion of that party
49 TO PETER MARTYR 191
Fall of the French Church of Strassburg—Grief of Calvin
50 TO RICHARD VAUVILLE 192
Christian consolations on the occasion of his wife’s death
51 TO THE KING OF POLAND 194
He exhorts him to undertake courageously the reform of his states, in proposing to him the example of David, Hezekiah, and Josiah
52 TO FAREL 198
Complaints about the bad proceedings of the Seigneurs of Berne — Domestic griefs
53 TO MONSIEUR D’ANDELOT 200
He blames him for his weakness — And exhorts him to repair the scandal caused by his fall
54 TO THE EARL OF ARRAN 205
Eulogiums on his attachment to the Gospel, and on his zeal to spread it
55 TO THE MINISTERS OF NEUCHÂTEL 208
He deplores the marriage of Farel, in recalling to their minds the glorious services which he has rendered to the cause of truth
56 TO FAREL 211
He makes an excuse for not being able to be present at the marriage of his friend
57 TO WILLIAM CECIL 213
Hopes connected with the accession of Elizabeth — Wishes for the establishment of the pure Gospel in England
58 TO JEROME ZANCHI 217
Call to the ministry in the Church of Geneva
59 TO WILLIAM CECIL 219
He exculpates himself to this minister of state of the imputations brought against him on account of a writing of Knox’s
60 TO JOHN KNOX 222
Answers to different ecclesiastical questions
61 TO THE BRETHREN OF FRANCE 228
He exhorts them to redouble their faith to meet their redoubled persecutions, and to live and die for the confession of Jesus Christ
62 TO THE BISHOP OF LONDON 237
Recommendation of the French Church of London — Eulogium of des Gallars — Wish for a complete Reform of the Anglican Church
63 TO THE KING OF NAVARRE 241
He exhorts him to pursue with ardour the restoration of the Gospel in France
64 TO THE QUEEN OF NAVARRE 243
He congratulates her on her conversion, and lays before her her principal duties as a Christian princess
65 TO THE ADMIRAL COLIGNY 246
Encomiums on the constancy of the Admiral — Recommendation of Geneva
66 TO JOHN KNOX 249
Explanations on the subject of a letter — Expression of satisfaction at the progress of the Reformation in Scotland and of sympathy for a domestic affliction
67 TO THE KING OF NAVARRE 252
Warning on the subject of the Lutheran intrigues to introduce into France the Confession of Augsburg
68 TO THE PHYSICIANS OF MONTPELLIER 256
Medical consultation
69 TO BULLINGER 258
Sufferings of Calvin and the inefficacy of the healing art to relieve them — News of France and Germany
70 TO FAREL 261
Last adieus
     
  LAST DISCOURSES OF JOHN CALVIN  
     
  Last Will and Testament of Master John Calvin 265
  Calvin’s Farewell to the Seigneurs of Geneva 271
  Calvin’s Farewell to the Ministers of Geneva 277

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