(Calvin, Genesis 1. part 2)

as well as that of the most Ancient Church, will engage your thoughts
with equal profit and delight. And, certainly, if Paul justly condemns
the perverse stupidity of men, because with closed eyes they pass by the
splendid mirror of God's glory which is constantly presented to them in
the fabric of the world, and thus unrighteously suppress the light of
truth; not less base and disgraceful has been that ignorance of the
origin and creation of the human race which has prevailed almost in every
age. It is indeed probable, that shortly after the building of Babel, the
memory of those things, which ought to have been discussed and celebrated
by being made the subjects of continual discourse, was obliterated. For
seeing that to profane men their dispersion would be a kind of
emancipation from the pure worship of God, they took no care to carry
along with them, to whatever regions of the earth they might visit, what
they had heard from their fathers concerning the Creation of the World,
or its subsequent restoration. Hence it has happened, that no nation, the
posterity of Abraham alone excepted, knew for more than two thousand
successive years, either from what fountain itself had sprung, or when
the universal race of man began to exist. For Ptolemy, in providing at
length that the Books of Moses should be translated into Greek, did a
work which was rather laudable than useful, (at least for that period,)
since the light which he had attempted to bring out of darkness was
nevertheless stifled and hidden through the negligence of men. Whence it
may easily be gathered, that they who ought to have stretched every nerve
of their mind to attain a knowledge of The Creator of the world, have
rather, by a malignant impiety, involved themselves in voluntary
blindness. In the meantime the liberal sciences flourished, men of
exalted genius arose, treatises of all kinds were published; but
concerning the History of the Creation of the World there was a profound
silence. Moreover, the greatest of philosophers, who excelled all the
rest in acuteness and erudition, applied whatever skill he possessed to
defraud God of his glory, by disputing in favour of the eternity of the
world. Although his master, Plato, was a little more religious, and
showed himself to be imbued with some taste for richer knowledge, yet he
corrupted and mingled with so many figments the slender principles of
truth which he received, that this fictitious kind of teaching would be
rather injurious than profitable. They, moreover, who devoted themselves
to the pursuit of writing history, ingenious and highly-cultivated men
though they were, while they ostentatiously boast that they are about to
become witnesses to the most remote antiquity, yet, before they reach so
high as the times of David intermix their lucubrations with much turbid
feculence; and when they ascend still higher, heap together an immense
mass of lies: so far are they from having arrived, by a genuine and clear
connection of narrative, at the true origin of the world. The Egyptians
also are an evident proof that men were willingly ignorant of things
which they had not far to seek, if only they had been disposed to addict
their minds to the investigation of truth; for though the lamp of God's
word was shining at their very doors, they would yet without shame
propagate the rank fables of their achievements, fifteen thousand years
before the foundation of the world. Not less puerile and absurd is the
fable of the Athenians, who boasted that they were born from their own
soil, maintaining for themselves a distinct origin from the rest of
mankind, and thus rendering themselves ridiculous even to barbarians.
Now, though all nations have been more or less implicated in the same
charge of ingratitude, I have nevertheless thought it right to select
those whose error is least excusable, because they have deemed themselves
wiser than all others.
  Now, whether all nations which formerly existed, purposely drew a veil
over themselves, or whether their own indolence was the sole obstacle to
their knowledge, the [First] Book of Moses deserves to be regarded as an
incomparable treasure, since it at least gives an indisputable assurance
respecting The Creation of the World, without which we should be unworthy
of a place on earth. I omit, for the present, The History of the Deluge,
which contains a representation of the Divine vengeance in the
destruction of mankind, as tremendous, as that which it supplies of
Divine mercy in their restoration is admirable. This one consideration
stamps an inestimable value on the Book, that it alone reveals those
things which are of primary necessity to be known; namely, in what manner
God, after the destructive fall of man, adopted to himself a Church; what
constituted the true worship of himself, and in what offices of piety the
holy fathers exercised themselves; in which way pure religion, having for
a time declined through the indolence of men, was restored as it were, to
its integrity; we also learn, when God deposited with a special people
his gratuitous covenant of eternal salvation; in what manner a small
progeny gradually proceeding from one man, who was both barren and
withering, almost half-dead, and (as Isaiah calls him) solitary, yet
suddenly grew to an immense multitude; by what unexpected means God both
exalted and defended a family chosen by himself, at though poor,
destitute of protection, exposed to every storm, and surrounded on all
sides by innumerable hosts of enemies. Let every one, from his own use
and experience, form his judgment respecting the necessity of the
knowledge of these things. We see how vehemently the Papists alarm the
simple by their false claim of the title of The Church. Moses so
delineates the genuine features of the Church as to take away this absurd
fear, by dissipating these illusions. It is by an ostentatious display of
splendour and of pomp that they (the Papists) carry away the less
informed to a foolish admiration of themselves, and even render them
stupid and infatuated. But if we turn our eyes to those marks by which
Moses designates the Church, these vain phantoms will have no more power
to deceive. We are often disturbed and almost disheartened at the paucity
of those who follow the pure doctrine of God; and especially when we see
how far and wide superstitions extend their dominion. And, as formerly,
the Spirit of God, by the mouth of Isaiah the prophet, commanded the Jews
to look to the Rock whence they were hewn, so he recalls us to the same
consideration, and admonishes us of the absurdity of measuring the Church
by its numbers, as if its dignity consisted in its multitude. If
sometimes, in various places, Religion is less flourishing than could be
wished, if the body of the pious is scattered, and the state of a
well-regulated Church has gone to decay, not only do our minds sink, but
entirely melt within us. On the contrary, while we see in this history of
Moses, the building of the Church out of ruins, and the gathering of it
out of broken fragments, and out of desolation itself, such an instance
of the grace of God ought to raise us to firm confidence. But since the
propensity, not to say the wanton disposition, of the human mind to frame
false systems of worship is so great, nothing can be more useful to us
than to seek our rule for the pure and sincere worshipping of God, from
those holy Patriarchs, whose piety Moses points out to us chiefly by this
mark, that they depended on the Word of God alone. For however great may
be the difference between them and us in external ceremonies, yet that
which ought to flourish in unchangeable vigour is common to us both,
namely that Religion should take its form from the sole will and pleasure
of God.
  I am not ignorant of the abundance of materials here supplied, and of
the insufficiency of my language to reach the dignity of the subjects on
which I briefly touch; but since each of them, on suitable occasions has
been elsewhere more copiously discussed by me, although not with suitable
brilliancy and elegance of diction, it is now enough for me briefly to
apprise my pious readers how will it would repay their labour, if they
would learn prudently to apply to their own use the example of The
Ancient Church as it is described by Moses. And, in fact, God has
associated us with the holy Patriarchs in the hope of the same
inheritance, in order that we, disregarding the distance of time which
separates us from them, may, in the mutual agreement of faith and
patience, endure the same conflicts. So much the more detestable, then
are certain turbulent men, who, incited by I know not what rage of
furious zeal, are assiduously endeavouring to rend asunder the Church of
our own age, which is already more than sufficiently scattered. I do not
speak of avowed enemies, who, by open violence, fall upon the pious to
destroy them, and utterly to blot out their memory; but of certain morose
professors of the Gospel, who not only perpetually supply new materials
for fomenting discords, but by their restlessness disturb the peace which
holy and learned men gladly cultivate. We see that with the Papists,
although in some things they maintain deadly strife among themselves,
they yet combine in wicked confederacy against the Gospel. It is not
necessary to say how small is the number of those who hold the sincere
doctrine of Christ, when compared with the vast multitudes of these
opponents. In the meantime, audacious scribblers arise, as from our own
bosom, who not only obscure the light of sound doctrine with clouds of
error, or infatuate the simple and the less experienced with their wicked
ravings, but by a profane license of skepticism, allow themselves to
uproot the whole of Religion. For, as if, by their rank ironies and
cavils, they could prove themselves genuine disciples of Socrates, they
have no axiom more plausible them, that faith must be free and
unfettered, so that it may be possible, by reducing everything to a
matter of doubt, to render Scripture flexible (so to speak) as a nose of
wax. Therefore, they who being captivated by the allurements of this new
school, now indulge in doubtful speculations, obtain at length such
proficiency, that they are always learning, yet never come to the
knowledge of the truth.
  Thus far I have treated briefly, as the occasion required, of the
utility of this History. As for the rest, I have laboured--how skilfully
I know not, but certainly faithfully--that the doctrine of the Law, the
obscurity of which has heretofore repelled many, may become familiarly
known. There will be readers, I doubt not, who would desire a more ample
explication of particular passages. But I, who naturally avoid prolixity,
have confined myself in this Work to narrow limits, for two reasons.
Firsts whereas these Four Books [of Moses] already deter some by their
length, I have feared lest, if in unfolding them, I were to indulge in a
style too disuse, I should but increase their disgust. Secondly, since in
my progress I have often despaired of life, I have preferred giving a
succinct Exposition to leaving a mutilated one behind me. Yet sincere
readers, possessed of sound judgment, will see that I have taken diligent
care, neither through cunning nor negligence, to pass over anything
perplexed, ambiguous, or obscure. Since, therefore, I have endeavoured to
discuss all doubtful points, I do not see why any one should complain of
brevity, unless he wishes to derive his knowledge exclusively from
Commentaries. Now I will gladly allow men of this sort, whom no amount of
verbosity can satiate, to seek for themselves some other master.
  But if you, Sire, please to make trial, you will indeed know, and will
believe for yourself, that what I declare is most true. You are yet a
youth; but God, when he commanded Kings to write out the Book of the Law
for their own use, did not exempt the odious Josiah from this class, but
choose rather to present the most noble instance of pious instruction in
a boy, that he might reprove the indolence of the aged. And your own
example teaches the great importance of having habits formed from tender
age. For the germ springing from the root which the principles of
Religion received by you have taken, not only puts forth its flower, but
also savours of a degree of maturity. Therefore labour, by indefatigable
industry, to attain the mark set before you. And suffer not yourself to
be retarded or disturbed by designing men, to whom it appears
unseasonable that boys should be called to this precocious wisdom, (as
they term it.) For what can be more absurd or intolerable, than that,
when every kind of corruption surrounds you, this remedy should be
prohibited? Since the pleasures of a Court corrupt even your servants,
how much more dangerous are the snares laid for great Princes, who so
abound in all luxury and delicacies, that it is a wonder if they are not
quite dissolved in lasciviousness? For it is certainly contrary to nature
to possess all the means of pleasure, and to refrain from enjoying them.
The difficulty, however, of retaining chastity unpolluted amidst scenes
of gaiety, is more than sufficiently evident in practice. But do you, O
most Illustrious Prince, regard everything as poison which tends to
produce a love of pleasures. For if that which stifles continence and
temperance already allures you, what will you not covet when you arrive
at adult age? The sentiment is perhaps harshly expressed, that great care
for the body is great neglect of virtue, yet most truly does Cato thus
speak. The following paradox also will scarcely be admitted in common
life: "I am greater, and am born to greater things, than to be a slave to
my body; the contempt of which is my true liberty." Let us then dismiss
that excessive rigour, by which all enjoyment is taken away from life;
still there are too many examples to show how easy is the descent from
security and self-indulgence to the licentiousness of profligacy.
Moreover; you will have to contend, not only with luxury, but also with
many other vices. Nothing can be more attractive than your affability and
modesty; but no disposition is so gentle and well-regulated, that it may
not degenerate into brutality and ferociousness when intoxicated with
flatteries. Now since there are flatterers without numbers who will prove
so many tempters to inflame your mind with various lusts, how much more
does it behave you vigilantly to beware of them? But while I caution you
against the blandishments of a Court, I require nothing more than that,
being endued with moderation, you should render yourself invincible. For
one has truly said, He is not to be praised who has never seen Asia, but
he who has lived modestly and continently in Asia. Seeing, therefore,
that to attain this state is most desirable, David prescribes a
compendious method of doing so--if you will but imitate his example--when
he declares that the precepts of God are his counsellors. And truly,
whatever counsel may be suggested from any other quarter will perish,
unless you take your commencement of becoming wise from this point. It
remains, therefore, most noble Prince, that what is spoken by Isaiah
concerning the holy king Hezekiah should perpetually recur to your mind.
For the Prophet, in enumerating his excellent qualities, especially
honours him with this eulogy, that the fear of God shall be his treasure.
  Farewell, most Illustrious Prince, may God preserve you in safety under
His protection, may He adorn you more and more with spiritual gifts, and
enrich you with every kind of benediction.

  Geneva, July 31st, 1563.


Since the infinite wisdom of God is displayed in the admirable structure
of heaven and earth, it is absolutely impossible to unfold The History of
the Creation of the World in terms equal to its dignity. For while the
measure of our capacity is too contracted to comprehend things of such
magnitude, our tongue is equally incapable of giving a full and
substantial account of them. As he, however, deserves praise, who, with
modesty and reverence, applies himself to the consideration of the works
of God, although he attain less than might be wished, so, if in this kind
of employment, I endeavour to assist others according to the ability
given to me, I trust that my service will be not less approved by pious
men than accepted by God. I have chosen to premise this, for the sake not
only of excusing myself, but of admonishing my readers, that if they
sincerely wish to profit with me in meditating on the works of God, they
must bring with them a sober, docile, mild, and humble spirit. We see,
indeed, the world with our eyes, we tread the earth with our feet, we
touch innumerable kinds of God's works with our hands, we inhale a sweet
and pleasant fragrance from herbs and flowers, we enjoy boundless
benefits; but in those very things of which we attain some knowledge,
there dwells such an immensity of divine power, goodness, and wisdom, as
absorbs all our senses. Therefore, let men be satisfied if they obtain
only a moderate taste of them, suited to their capacity. And it becomes
us so to press towards this mark during our whole life, that (even in
extreme old age) we shall not repent of the progress we have made, if
only we have advanced ever so little in our course.
  The intention of Moses in beginning his Book with the creation of the
world, is, to render God, as it were, visible to us in his works. But
here presumptuous men rise up, and scoffingly inquire, whence was this
revealed to Moses? They therefore suppose him to be speaking fabulously
of things unknown, because he was neither a spectator of the events he
records, nor had learned the truth of them by reading. Such is their
reasoning; but their dishonesty is easily exposed. For if they can
destroy the credit of this history, because it is traced back through a
long series of past ages, let them also prove those prophecies to be
false in which the same history predicts occurrences which did not take
place till many centuries afterwards. Those things, I affirm, are clear
and obvious, which Moses testifies concerning the vocation of the
Gentiles, the accomplishment of which occurred nearly two thousand years
after his death. Was not he, who by the Spirit foresaw an event remotely
future, and hidden at the time from the perception of mankind, capable of
understanding whether the world was created by God, especially seeing
that he was taught by a Divine Master? For he does not here put forward
divinations of his own, but is the instrument of the Holy Spirit for the
publication of those things which it was of importance for all men to
know. They greatly err in deeming it absurd that the order of the
creation, which had been previously unknown, should at length have been
described and explained by him. For he does not transmit to memory things
before unheard of, but for the first time consigns to writing facts which
the fathers had delivered as from hand to hand, through a long succession
of years, to their children. Can we conceive that man was so placed in
the earth as to be ignorant of his own origin, and of the origin of those
things which he enjoyed? No sane person doubts that Adam was
well-instructed respecting them all. Was he indeed afterwards dumb? Were
the holy Patriarchs so ungrateful as to suppress in silence such
necessary instruction? Did Noah, warned by a divine judgment so
memorable, neglect to transmit it to posterity? Abraham is expressly
honoured with this eulogy that he was the teacher and the master of his
family, (Gen. 18: 19.) And we know that, long before the time of Moses,
an acquaintance with the covenant into which God had entered with their
fathers was common to the whole people. When he says that the Israelites
were sprung from a holy race, which God had chosen for himself, he does
not propound it as something new, but only commemorates what all held,
what the old men themselves had received from their ancestors, and what,
in short, was entirely uncontroverted among them. Therefore, we ought not
to doubt that The Creation of the World, as here described was already
known through the ancient and perpetual tradition of the Fathers. Yet,
since nothing is more easy than that the truth of God should be so
corrupted by men, that, in a long succession of time, it should, as it
were, degenerate from itself, it pleased the Lord to commit the history
to writing, for the purpose of preserving its purity. Moses, therefore,
has established the credibility of that doctrine which is contained in
his writings, and which, by the carelessness of men, might otherwise have
been lost.

I now return to the design of Moses, or rather of the Holy Spirit, who
has spoken by his mouth. We know God, who is himself invisible, only
through his works. Therefore, the Apostle elegantly styles the worlds,
"ta me ek fainomenoon blepomena", as if one should say, "the
manifestation of things not apparent," (Heb. 11: 3.) This is the reason
why the Lord, that he may invite us to the knowledge of himself, places
the fabric of heaven and earth before our eyes, rendering himself, in a
certain manner, manifest in them. For his eternal power and Godhead (as
Paul says) are there exhibited, (Rom. 1: 20.) And that declaration of
David is most true, that the heavens, though without a tongue, are yet
eloquent heralds of the glory of God, and that this most beautiful order
of nature silently proclaims his admirable wisdom, (Ps. 19: 1.) This is
the more diligently to be observed, because so few pursue the right
method of knowing God, while the greater part adhere to the creatures
without any consideration of the Creator himself. For men are commonly
subject to these two extremes; namely, that some, forgetful of God, apply
the whole force of their mind to the consideration of nature; and others,
overlooking the works of God, aspire with a foolish and insane curiosity
to inquire into his Essence. Both labour in vain. To be so occupied in
the investigation of the secrets of nature, as never to turn the eyes to
its Author, is a most perverted study; and to enjoy everything in nature
without acknowledging the Author of the benefit, is the basest
ingratitude. Therefore, they who assume to be philosophers without
Religion, and who, by speculating, so act as to remove God and all sense
of piety far from them, will one day feel the force of the expression of
Paul, related by Luke, that God has never left himself without witness,
(Acts 14: 17.) For they shall not be permitted to escape with impunity
because they have been deaf and insensible to testimonies so illustrious.
And, in truth, it is the part of culpable ignorance, never to see God,
who everywhere gives signs of his presence. But if mockers now escape by
their cavils, hereafter their terrible destruction will bear witness that
they were ignorant of God, only because they were willingly and
maliciously blinded. As for those who proudly soar above the world to
seek God in his unveiled essence, it is impossible but that at length
they should entangle themselves in a multitude of absurd figments. For
God--by other means invisible--(as we have already said) clothes himself,
so to speak, with the image of the world in which he would present
himself to our contemplation. They who will not deign to behold him thus
magnificently arrayed in the incomparable vesture of the heavens and the
earth, afterwards suffer the just punishment of their proud contempt in
their own ravings. Therefore, as soon as the name of God sounds in our
ears, or the thought of him occurs to our minds, let us also clothe him
with this most beautiful ornament; finally, let the world become our
school if we desire rightly to know God.
  Here also the impiety of those is refuted who cavil against Moses, for
relating that so short a space of time had elapsed since the Creation of
the World. For they inquire why it had come so suddenly into the mind of
God to create the world; why he had so long remained inactive in heaven:
and thus by sporting with sacred things they exercise their ingenuity to
their own destruction. In the Tripartite History an answer given by a
pious man is recorded, with which I have always been pleased. For when a
certain impure dog was in this manner pouring ridicule upon God, he
retorted, that God had been at that time by no means inactive because he
had been preparing hell for the captious. But by what seasonings can you
restrain the arrogance of those men to whom sobriety is professedly
contemptible and odious? And certainly they who now so freely exult in
finding fault with the inactivity of God will find, to their own great
costs that his power has been infinite in preparing hell for them. As for
ourselves, it ought not to seem so very absurd that God, satisfied in
himself, did not create a world which he needed not, sooner than he
thought good. Moreover, since his will is the rule of all wisdom, we
ought to be contented with that alone. For Augustine rightly affirms that
injustice is done to God by the Manichaeans, because they demand a cause
superior to his will; and he prudently warns his readers not to push
their inquiries respecting the infinity of duration, any more than
respecting the infinity of space. We indeed are not ignorant, that the
circuit of the heavens is finite, and that the earth, like a little
globe, is placed in the centre. They who take it amiss that the world was
not sooner created, may as well expostulate with God for not having made
innumerable worlds. Yea, since they deem it absurd that many ages should
have passed away without any world at all, they may as well acknowledge
it to be a proof of the great corruption of their own nature, that, in
comparison with the boundless waste which remains empty the heaven and
earth occupy but a small space. But since both the eternity of God's
existence and the infinity of his glory would prove a twofold labyrinth,
let us content ourselves with modestly desiring to proceed no further in
our inquiries than the Lord, by the guidance and instruction of his own
works, invites us.
  Now, in describing the world as a mirror in which we ought to behold
God, I would not be understood to assert, either that our eyes are
sufficiently clear-sighted to discern what the fabric of heaven and earth
represents, or that the knowledge to be hence attained is sufficient for
salvation. And whereas the Lord invites us to himself by the means of
created things, with no other effect than that of thereby rendering us
inexcusable, he has added (as was necessary) a new remedy, or at least by
a new aid, he has assisted the ignorance of our mind. For by the
Scripture as our guide and teacher, he not only makes those things plain
which would otherwise escape our notice, but almost compels us to behold
them; as if he had assisted our dull sight with spectacles. On this
point, (as we have already observed,) Moses insists. For if the mute
instruction of the heaven and the earth were sufficient, the teaching of
Moses would have been superfluous. This herald therefore approaches, who
excites our attention, in order that we may perceive ourselves to be
placed in this scene, for the purpose of beholding the glory of God; not
indeed to observe them as mere witnesses but to enjoy all the riches
which are here exhibited as the Lord has ordained and subjected them to
our use. And he not only declares generally that God is the architect of
the world, but through the whole chain of the history he shows how
admirable is His power, His wisdom, His goodness, and especially His
tender solicitude for the human race. Besides, since the eternal Word of
God is the lively and express image of Himself, he recalls us to this
point. And thus, the assertion of the Apostle is verified, that through
no other means than faith can it be understood that the worlds were made
by the word of God, (Heb. 11: 3.) For faith properly proceeds from this,
that we being taught by the ministry of Moses, do not now wander in
foolish and trifling speculations, but contemplate the true and only God
in his genuine image.
  It may, however, be objected, that this seems at variance with what
Paul declares: "After that, in the wisdom of God, the world through
wisdom knew not God, it seemed right to God, through the foolishness of
preaching, to save them who believe," (1 Cor. 1: 21.) For he thus
intimates, that God is sought in vain under the guidance of visible
things; and that nothing remains for us but to retake ourselves
immediately to Christ; and that we must not therefore commence with the
elements of this world, but with the Gospel, which sets Christ alone
before us with his cross, and holds us to this one point. I answer, It is
in vain for any to reason as philosophers on the workmanship of the
world, except those who, having been first humbled by the preaching of
the Gospel, have learned to submit the whole of their intellectual wisdom
(as Paul expresses it) to the foolishness of the cross, (1 Cor. 1: 21.)
Nothing shall we find, I say, above or below, which can raise us up to
God, until Christ shall have instructed us in his own school. Yet this
cannot be done, unless we, having emerged out of the lowest depths, are
borne up above all heavens, in the chariot of his cross, that there by
faith we may apprehend those things which the eye has never seen, the ear
never heard, and which far surpass our hearts and minds.' For the earth,
with its supply of fruits for our daily nourishment, is not there set
before us; but Christ offers himself to us unto life eternal. Nor does
heaven, by the shining of the sun and stars, enlighten our bodily eyes,
but the same Christ, the Light of the World and the Sun of Righteousness,
shines into our souls; neither does the air stretch out its empty space
for us to breathe in, but the Spirit of God himself quickens us and
causes us to live. There, in short, the invisible kingdom of Christ fills
all things, and his spiritual grace is diffused through all. Yet this
does not prevent us from applying our senses to the consideration of
heaven and earth, that we may thence seek confirmation in the true
knowledge of God. For Christ is that image in which God presents to our
view, not only his heart, but also his hands and his feet. I give the
name of his heart to that secret love with which he embraces us in
Christ: by his hands and feet I understand those works of his which are
displayed before our eyes. As soon as ever we depart from Christ, there
is nothing, be it ever so gross or insignificant in itself, respecting
which we are not necessarily deceived.
  And, in fact, though Moses begins, in this Book, with the Creation of
the World, he nevertheless does not confine us to this subject. For these
things ought to be connected together, that the world was founded by God,
and that man, after he had been endued with the light of intelligence,
and adorned with so many privileges, fell by his own fault, and was thus
deprived of all the benefits he had obtained; afterwards, by the
compassion of God, he was restored to the life he had forfeited, and this
through the loving-kindness of Christ; so that there should always be
some assembly on earth, which being adopted into the hope of the
celestial life, might in this confidence worship God. The end to which
the whole scope of the history tends is to this point, that the human
race has been preserved by God in such a manner as to manifest his
special care for his Church. For this is the argument of the look: After
the world had been created, man was placed in it as in a theatre, that
he, beholding above him and beneath the wonderful works of God, might
reverently adore their Author. Secondly, that all things were ordained
for the use of man, that he, being under deeper obligation, might devote
and dedicate himself entirely to obedience towards God. Thirdly, that he
was endued with understanding and reason, that being distinguished from
brute animals he might meditate on a better life, and might even tend
directly towards God, whose image he bore engraved on his own person.
Afterwards followed the fall of Adam, whereby he alienated himself from
God; whence it came to pass that he was deprived of all rectitude. Thus
Moses represents man as devoid of all good, blinded in understanding,
perverse in heart, vitiated in every part, and under sentence of eternal
death; but he soon adds the history of his restorations where Christ
shines forth with the benefit of redemption. From this point he not only
relates continuously the singular Providence of God in governing and
preserving the Church, but also commends to us the true worship of God;
teaches wherein the salvation of man is placed, and exhorts us, from the
example of the Fathers, to constancy in enduring the cross. Whosoever,
therefore, desires to make suitable proficiency in this book, let him
employ his mind on these main topics. But especially, let him observe,
that ever Adam had by his own desperate fall ruined himself and all his
posterity, this is the basis of our salvation, this the origin of the
Church, that we, being rescued out of profound darkness, have obtained a
new life by the mere grace of God; that the Fathers (according to the
offer made them through the word of God) are by faith made partakers of
this life; that this word itself was founded upon Christ; and that all
the pious who have since lived were sustained by the very same promise of
salvation by which Adam was first raised from the fall.
  Therefore, the perpetual succession of the Church has flowed from this
fountain, that the holy Fathers, one after another, having by faith
embraced the offered promise, were collected together into the family of
God, in order that they might have a common life in Christ. This we ought
carefully to notice, that we may know what is the society of the true
Church, and what the communion of faith among the children of God.
Whereas Moses was ordained the Teacher of the Israelites, there is no
doubt that he had an especial reference to them, in order that they might
acknowledge themselves to be a people elected and chosen by God; and that
they might seek the certainty of this adoption from the Covenant which
the Lord had ratified with their fathers, and might know that there was
no other God, and no other right faith. But it was also his will to
testify to all ages, that whosoever desired to worship God aright, and to
be deemed members of the Church, must pursue no other course than that
which is here prescribed. But as this is the commencement of faith, to

(continued in part 3...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01/cvgn1-02.txt