Calvin, Institutes, Vol.3, Part 8
(... continued from part 7)
Chapter 7. 
7. A summary of the Christian life. Of self-denial. [5]
    The divisions of the chapter are, - I. The rule which permits 
us not to go astray in the study of righteousness, requires two 
things, viz., that man, abandoning his own will, devote himself 
entirely to the service of God; whence it follows, that we must seek 
not our own things, but the things of God, sec. 1, 2. II. A 
description of this renovation or Christian life taken from the 
Epistle to Titus, and accurately explained under certain special 
heads, sec. 3 to end. 
1. Consideration of the second general division in regard to the 
    Christian life. Its beginning and sum. A twofold respect. 1. We 
    are not our own. Respect to both the fruit and the use. Unknown 
    to philosophers, who have placed reason on the throne of the 
    Holy Spirit. 
2. Since we are not our own, we must seek the glory of God, and obey 
    his will. Self-denial recommended to the disciples of Christ. 
    He who neglects it, deceived either by pride or hypocrisy, 
    rushes on destruction. 
3. Three things to be followed, and two to be shunned in life. 
    Impiety and worldly lusts to be shunned. Sobriety, justice, and 
    piety, to be followed. An inducement to right conduct. 
4. Self-denial the sum of Paul's doctrine. Its difficulty. Qualities 
    in us which make it difficult. Cures for these qualities. 1. 
    Ambition to be suppressed. 2. Humility to be embraced. 3. 
    Candour to be esteemed. 4. Mutual charity to be preserved. 5. 
    Modesty to be sincerely cultivated. 
5. The advantage of our neighbour to be promoted. Here self- denial 
    most necessary, and yet most difficult. Here a double remedy. 
    1. The benefits bestowed upon us are for the common benefit of 
    the Church. 2. We ought to do all we can for our neighbour. 
    This illustrated by analogy from the members of the human body. 
    This duty of charity founded on the divine command. 
6. Charity ought to have for its attendants patience and kindness. 
    We should consider the image of God in our neighbours, and 
    especially in those who are of the household of faith. Hence a 
    fourfold consideration which refutes all objections. A common 
    objection refuted. 
7. Christian life cannot exist without charity. Remedies for the 
    vices opposed to charity. 1. Mercy. 2. Humility. 3. Modesty. 4. 
    Diligence. 5. Perseverance. 
8. Self-denial, in respect of God, should lead to equanimity and 
    tolerance. 1. We are always subject to God. 2. We should shun 
    avarice and ambition. 3. We should expect all prosperity from 
    the blessing of God, and entirely depend on him. 
9. We ought not to desire wealth or honours without the divine 
    blessing, nor follow the arts of the wicked. We ought to cast 
    all our care upon God, and never envy the prosperity of others. 
10. We ought to commit ourselves entirely to God. The necessity of 
    this doctrine. Various uses of affliction. Heathen abuse and 
    1. Although the Law of God contains a perfect rule of conduct 
admirably arranged, it has seemed proper to our divine Master to 
train his people by a more accurate method, to the rule which is 
enjoined in the Law; and the leading principle in the method is, 
that it is the duty of believers to present their "bodies a living 
sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is their reasonable 
service," (Rom. 12: 1.) Hence he draws the exhortation: "Be not 
conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of 
your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and 
perfect will of God." The great point, then, is, that we are 
consecrated and dedicated to God, and, therefore, should not 
henceforth think, speak, design, or act, without a view to his 
glory. What he hath made sacred cannot, without signal insult to 
him, be applied to profane use. But if we are not our own, but the 
Lord's, it is plain both what error is to be shunned, and to what 
end the actions of our lives ought to be directed. We are not our 
own; therefore, neither is our own reason or will to rule our acts 
and counsels. We are not our own; therefore, let us not make it our 
end to seek what may be agreeable to our carnal nature. We are not 
our own; therefore, as far as possible, let us forget ourselves and 
the things that are ours. On the other hand, we are God's; let us, 
therefore, live and die to him (Rom. 14: 8.) We are God's; 
therefore, let his wisdom and will preside over all our actions. We 
are God's; to him, then, as the only legitimate end, let every part 
of our life be directed. O how great the proficiency of him who, 
taught that he is not his own, has withdrawn the dominion and 
government of himself from his own reason that he may give them to 
God! For as the surest source of destruction to men is to obey 
themselves, so the only haven of safety is to have no other will, no 
other wisdom, than to follow the Lord wherever he leads. Let this, 
then be the first step, to abandon ourselves, and devote the whole 
energy of our minds to the service of God. By service, I mean not 
only that which consists in verbal obedience, but that by which the 
mind, divested of its own carnal feelings, implicitly obeys the call 
of the Spirit of God. This transformation, (which Paul calls the 
renewing of the mind, Rom. 12: 2; Eph. 4: 23,) though it is the 
first entrance to life, was unknown to all the philosophers. They 
give the government of man to reason alone, thinking that she alone 
is to be listened to; in short, they assign to her the sole 
direction of the conduct. But Christian philosophy bids her give 
place, and yield complete submission to the Holy Spirit, so that the 
man himself no longer lives, but Christ lives and reigns in him, 
(Gal. ii. 20.) 
    2. Hence follows the other principle, that we are not to seek 
our own, but the Lord's will, and act with a view to promote his 
glory. Great is our proficiency, when, almost forgetting ourselves, 
certainly postponing our own reason, we faithfully make it our study 
to obey God and his commandments. For when Scripture enjoins us to 
lay aside private regard to ourselves, it not only divests our minds 
of an excessive longing for wealth, or power, or human favour, but 
eradicates all ambition and thirst for worldly glory, and other more 
secret pests. The Christian ought, indeed, to be so trained and 
disposed as to consider, that during his whole life he has to do 
with God. For this reason, as he will bring all things to the 
disposal and estimate of God, so he will religiously direct his 
whole mind to him. For he who has learned to look to God in 
everything he does, is at the same time diverted from all vain 
thoughts. This is that self-denial which Christ so strongly enforces 
on his disciples from the very outset, (Matth. xvi. 24,) which, as 
soon as it takes hold of the mind, leaves no place either, first, 
for pride, show, and ostentation; or, secondly, for avarice, lust, 
luxury, effeminacy, or other vices which are engendered by self 
love. On the contrary, wherever it reigns not, the foulest vices are 
indulged in without shame; or, if there is some appearance of 
virtue, it is vitiated by a depraved longing for applause. Show me, 
if you can, an individual who, unless he has renounced himself in 
obedience to the Lord's command, is disposed to do good for its own 
sake. Those who have not so renounced themselves have followed 
virtue at least for the sake of praise. The philosophers who have 
contended most strongly that virtue is to be desired on her own 
account, were so inflated with arrogance as to make it apparent that 
they sought virtue for no other reason than as a ground for 
indulging in pride. So far, therefore, is God from being delighted 
with these hunters after popular applause with their swollen 
breasts, that he declares they have received their reward in this 
world, (Matth. 6: 2,) and that harlots and publicans are nearer the 
kingdom of heaven than they, (Matth. 21: 31.) We have not yet 
sufficiently explained how great and numerous are the obstacles by 
which a man is impeded in the pursuit of rectitude, so long as he 
has not renounced himself. The old saying is true, There is a world 
of iniquity treasured up in the human soul. Nor can you find any 
other remedy for this than to deny yourself, renounce your own 
reason, and direct your whole mind to the pursuit of those things 
which the Lord requires of you, and which you are to seek only 
because they are pleasing to Him. 
    3. In another passage, Paul gives a brief, indeed, but more 
distinct account of each of the parts of a well-ordered life: "The 
grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 
teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should 
live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking 
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might 
redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works," (Tit. 2: 11-14.) After holding forth 
the grace of God to animate us, and pave the way for His true 
worship, he removes the two greatest obstacles which stand in the 
way, viz., ungodliness, to which we are by nature too prone, and 
worldly lusts, which are of still greater extent. Under ungodliness, 
he includes not merely superstition, but everything at variance with 
the true fear of God. Worldly lusts are equivalent to the lusts of 
the flesh. Thus he enjoins us, in regard to both tables of the Law, 
to lay aside our own mind, and renounce whatever our own reason and 
will dictate. Then he reduces all the actions of our lives to three 
branches, sobriety, righteousness, and godliness. Sobriety 
undoubtedly denotes as well chastity and temperance as the pure and 
frugal use of temporal goods, and patient endurance of want. 
Righteousness comprehends all the duties of equity, in every one his 
due. Next follows godliness, which separates us from the pollutions 
of the world, and connects us with God in true holiness. These, when 
connected together by an indissoluble chain, constitute complete 
perfection. But as nothing is more difficult than to bid adieu to 
the will of the flesh, subdue, nay, abjure our lusts, devote 
ourselves to God and our brethren, and lead an angelic life amid the 
pollutions of the world, Paul, to set our minds free from all 
entanglements, recalls us to the hope of a blessed immortality, 
justly urging us to contend, because as Christ has once appeared as 
our Redeemer, so on his final advent he will give full effect to the 
salvation obtained by him. And in this way he dispels all the 
allurements which becloud our path, and prevent us from aspiring as 
we ought to heavenly glory; nay, he tells us that we must be 
pilgrims in the world, that we may not fail of obtaining the 
heavenly inheritance. 
    4. Moreover, we see by these words that self-denial has respect 
partly to men and partly (more especially) to God, (sec. 8-10.) For 
when Scripture enjoins us, in regard to our fellow men, to prefer 
them in honour to ourselves, and sincerely labour to promote their 
advantages (Rom. 12: 10; Phil. 2: 3,) he gives us commands which our 
mind is utterly incapable of obeying until its natural feelings are 
suppressed. For so blindly do we all rush in the direction of self- 
love, that every one thinks he has a good reason for exalting 
himself and despising all others in comparison. If God has bestowed 
on us something not to be repented of, trusting to it, we 
immediately become elated, and not only swell, but almost burst with 
pride. The vices with which we abound we both carefully conceal from 
others, and flatteringly represent to ourselves as minute and 
trivial, nay, sometimes hug them as virtues. When the same qualities 
which we admire in ourselves are seen in others, even though they 
should be superior, we, in order that we may not be forced to yield 
to them, maliciously lower and carp at them; in like manner, in the 
case of vices, not contented with severe and keen animadversion, we 
studiously exaggerate them. Hence the insolence with which each, as 
if exempted from the common lot, seeks to exalt himself above his 
neighbour, confidently and proudly despising others, or at least 
looking down upon them as his inferiors. The poor man yields to the 
rich, the plebeian to the noble, the servant to the master, the 
unlearned to the learned, and yet every one inwardly cherishes some 
idea of his own superiority. Thus each flattering himself, sets up a 
kind of kingdom in his breast; the arrogant, to satisfy themselves, 
pass censure on the minds and manners of other men, and when 
contention arises, the full venom is displayed. Many bear about with 
them some measure of mildness so long as all things go smoothly and 
lovingly with them, but how few are there who, when stung and 
irritated, preserve the same tenor of moderation? For this there is 
no other remedy than to pluck up by the roots those most noxious 
pests, self-love and love of victory, (filoneicia cai filantia.) 
This the doctrine of Scripture does. For it teaches us to remember, 
that the endowments which God has bestowed upon us are not our own, 
but His free gifts, and that those who plume themselves upon them 
betray their ingratitude. "Who maketh thee to differ," saith Paul, 
"and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst 
receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" 
(1 Cor. 4: 7.) Then by a diligent examination of our faults let us 
keep ourselves humble. Thus while nothing will remain to swell our 
pride, there will be much to subdue it. Again, we are enjoined, 
whenever we behold the gifts of God in others, so to reverence and 
respect the gifts, as also to honour those in whom they reside. God 
having been pleased to bestow honour upon them, it would ill become 
us to deprive them of it. Then we are told to overlook their faults, 
not, indeed, to encourage by flattering them, but not because of 
them to insult those whom we ought to regard with honour and good 
will.6 In this way, with regard to all with whom we have 
intercourse, our behaviour will be not only moderate and modest, but 
courteous and friendly. The only way by which you can ever attain to 
true meekness, is to have your heart imbued with a humble opinion of 
yourself and respect for others. 
    5. How difficult it is to perform the duty of seeking the good 
of our neighbour! Unless you leave off all thought of yourself and 
in a manner cease to be yourself, you will never accomplish it. How 
can you exhibit those works of charity which Paul describes unless 
you renounce yourself, and become wholly devoted to others? "Charity 
(says he, 1 Cor. 13: 4) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth 
not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave 
itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked &c. 
Were it the only thing required of us to seek not our own, nature 
would not have the least power to comply: she so inclines us to love 
ourselves only, that she will not easily allow us carelessly to pass 
by ourselves and our own interests that we may watch over the 
interests of others, nay, spontaneously to yield our own rights and 
resign it to another. But Scripture, to conduct us to this, reminds 
us, that whatever we obtain from the Lord is granted on the 
condition of our employing it for the common good of the Church, and 
that, therefore, the legitimate use of all our gifts is a kind and 
liberal communication of them with others. There cannot be a surer 
rule, nor a stronger exhortation to the observance of it, than when 
we are taught that all the endowments which we possess are divine 
deposits entrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed 
for the good of our neighbour. But Scripture proceeds still farther 
when it likens these endowments to the different members of the 
body, (1 Cor. 12: 12.) No member has its function for itself, or 
applies it for its own private use, but transfers it to its fellow- 
members; nor does it derive any other advantage from it than that 
which it receives in common with the whole body. Thus, whatever the 
pious man can do, he is bound to do for his brethren, not consulting 
his own interest in any other way than by striving earnestly for the 
common edification of the Church. Let this, then, be our method of 
showing good-will and kindness, considering that, in regard to 
everything which God has bestowed upon us, and by which we can aid 
our neighbour, we are his stewards, and are bound to give account of 
our stewardship; moreover, that the only right mode of 
administration is that which is regulated by love. In this way, we 
shall not only unite the study of our neighbour's advantage with a 
regard to our own, but make the latter subordinate to the former. 
And lest we should have omitted to perceive that this is the law for 
duly administering every gift which we receive from God, he of old 
applied that law to the minutest expressions of his own kindness. He 
commanded the first-fruits to be offered to him as an attestation by 
the people that it was impious to reap any advantage from goods not 
previously consecrated to him, (Exod. 22: 29; 23: 19.) But if the 
gifts of God are not sanctified to us until we have with our own 
hand dedicated them to the Giver, it must be a gross abuse that does 
not give signs of such dedication. It is in vain to contend that you 
cannot enrich the Lord by your offerings. Though, as the Psalmist 
says "Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not unto thee," yet 
you can extend it "to the saints that are in the earth," (Ps. 16: 2, 
3;) and therefore a comparison is drawn between sacred oblations and 
alms as now corresponding to the offerings under the Law.7 
    6. Moreover, that we may not weary in well-doing, (as would 
otherwise forthwith and infallibly be the case,) we must add the 
other quality in the Apostle's enumeration, "Charity suffiereth 
long, and is kind, is not easily provoked," (1 Cor. 13: 4.) The Lord 
enjoins us to do good to all without exception, though the greater 
part, if estimated by their own merit, are most unworthy of it. But 
Scripture subjoins a most excellent reason, when it tells us that we 
are not to look to what men in themselves deserve, but to attend to 
the image of God, which exists in all, and to which we owe all 
honour and love. But in those who are of the household of faith, the 
same rule is to be more carefully observed, inasmuch as that image 
is renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, 
whoever be the man that is presented to you as needing your 
assistance, you have no ground for declining to give it to him. Say 
he is a stranger. The Lord has given him a mark which ought to be 
familiar to you: for which reason he forbids you to despise your own 
flesh, (Gal. 6: 10.) Say he is mean and of no consideration. The 
Lord points him out as one whom he has distinguished by the lustre 
of his own image, (Isaiah 58: 7.) Say that you are bound to him by 
no ties of duty. The Lord has substituted him as it were into his 
own place, that in him you may recognize the many great obligations 
under which the Lord has laid you to himself. Say that he is 
unworthy of your least exertion on his account; but the image of 
God, by which he is recommended to you, is worthy of yourself and 
all your exertions. But if he not only merits no good, but has 
provoked you by injury and mischief, still this is no good reason 
why you should not embrace him in love, and visit him with offices 
of love. He has deserved very differently from me, you will say. But 
what has the Lord deserved?8 Whatever injury he has done you, when 
he enjoins you to forgive him, he certainly means that it should be 
imputed to himself. In this way only we attain to what is not to say 
difficult but altogether against nature,9 to love those that hate 
us, render good for evil, and blessing for cursing, remembering that 
we are not to reflect on the wickedness of men, but look to the 
image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating 
their faults, should by its beauty and dignity allure us to love and 
embrace them. 
    7. We shall thus succeed in mortifying ourselves if we fulfil 
all the duties of charity. Those duties, however, are not fulfilled 
by the mere discharge of them, though none be omitted, unless it is 
done from a pure feeling of love. For it may happen that one may 
perform every one of these offices, in so far as the external act is 
concerned, and be far from performing them aright. For you see some 
who would be thought very liberal, and yet accompany every thing 
they give with insult, by the haughtiness of their looks, or the 
violence of their words. And to such a calamitous condition have we 
come in this unhappy age, that the greater part of men never almost 
give alms without contumely. Such conduct ought not to have been 
tolerated even among the heathen; but from Christians something more 
is required than to carry cheerfulness in their looks, and give 
attractiveness to the discharge of their duties by courteous 
language. First, they should put themselves in the place of him whom 
they see in need of their assistance, and pity his misfortune as if 
they felt and bore it, so that a feeling of pity and humanity should 
incline them to assist him just as they would themselves. He who is 
thus minded will go and give assistance to his brethren, and not 
only not taint his acts with arrogance or upbraiding but will 
neither look down upon the brother to whom he does a kindness, as 
one who needed his help, or keep him in subjection as under 
obligation to him, just as we do not insult a diseased member when 
the rest of the body labours for its recovery, nor think it under 
special obligation to the other members, because it has required 
more exertion than it has returned. A communication of offices 
between members is not regarded as at all gratuitous, but rather as 
the payment of that which being due by the law of nature it were 
monstrous to deny. For this reason, he who has performed one kind of 
duty will not think himself thereby discharged, as is usually the 
case when a rich man, after contributing somewhat of his substance, 
delegates remaining burdens to others as if he had nothing to do 
with them. Every one should rather consider, that however great he 
is, he owes himself to his neighbours, and that the only limit to 
his beneficence is the failure of his means. The extent of these 
should regulate that of his charity. 
    8. The principal part of self-denial, that which as we have 
said has reference to God, let us again consider more fully. Many 
things have already been said with regard to it which it were 
superfluous to repeat; and, therefore, it will be sufficient to view 
it as forming us to equanimity and endurance. First, then, in 
seeking the convenience or tranquillity of the present life, 
Scripture calls us to resign ourselves, and all we have, to the 
disposal of the Lord, to give him up the affections of our heart, 
that he may tame and subdue them. We have a frenzied desire, an 
infinite eagerness, to pursue wealth and honour, intrigue for power, 
accumulate riches, and collect all those frivolities which seem 
conducive to luxury and splendour. On the other hand, we have a 
remarkable dread, a remarkable hatred of poverty, mean birth, and a 
humble condition, and feel the strongest desire to guard against 
them. Hence, in regard to those who frame their life after their own 
counsel, we see how restless they are in mind, how many plans they 
try, to what fatigues they submit, in order that they may gain what 
avarice or ambition desires, or, on the other hand, escape poverty 
and meanness. To avoid similar entanglements, the course which 
Christian men must follow is this: first, they must not long for, or 
hope for, or think of any kind of prosperity apart from the blessing 
of God; on it they must cast themselves, and there safely and 
confidently recline. For, however much the carnal mind may seem 
sufficient for itself when in the pursuit of honour or wealth, it 
depends on its own industry and zeal, or is aided by the favour of 
men, it is certain that all this is nothing, and that neither 
intellect nor labour will be of the least avail, except in so far as 
the Lord prospers both. On the contrary, his blessing alone makes a 
way through all obstacles, and brings every thing to a joyful and 
favourable issue. Secondly, though without this blessing we may be 
able to acquire some degree of fame and opulence, (as we daily see 
wicked men loaded with honours and riches,) yet since those on whom 
the curse of God lies do not enjoy the least particle of true 
happiness, whatever we obtain without his blessing must turn out 
ill. But surely men ought not to desire what adds to their misery. 
    9. Therefore, if we believe that all prosperous and desirable 
success depends entirely on the blessing of God, and that when it is 
wanting all kinds of misery and calamity await us, it follows that 
we should not eagerly contend for riches and honours, trusting to 
our own dexterity and assiduity, or leaning on the favour of men, or 
confiding in any empty imagination of fortune; but should always 
have respect to the Lord, that under his auspices we may be 
conducted to whatever lot he has provided for us. First, the result 
will be, that instead of rushing on regardless of right and wrong, 
by wiles and wicked arts, and with injury to our neighbours, to 
catch at wealth and seize upon honours, we will only follow such 
fortune as we may enjoy with innocence. Who can hope for the aid of 
the divine blessing amid fraud, rapine, and other iniquitous arts? 
As this blessing attends him only who thinks purely and acts 
uprightly, so it calls off all who long for it from sinister designs 
and evil actions. Secondly, a curb will be laid upon us, restraining 
a too eager desire of becoming rich, or an ambitious striving after 
honour. How can any one have the effrontery to expect that God will 
aid him in accomplishing desires at variance with his word? What God 
with his own lips pronounces cursed, never can be prosecuted with 
his blessing. Lastly, if our success is not equal to our wish and 
hope, we shall, however, be kept from impatience and detestation of 
our condition, whatever it be, knowing that so to feel were to 
murmur against God, at whose pleasure riches and poverty, contempt 
and honours, are dispensed. In shorts he who leans on the divine 
blessing in the way which has been described, will not, in the 
pursuit of those things which men are wont most eagerly to desire, 
employ wicked arts which he knows would avail him nothing; nor when 
any thing prosperous befalls him will he impute it to himself and 
his own diligence, or industry, or fortune, instead of ascribing it 
to God as its author. If, while the affairs of others flourish, his 
make little progress, or even retrograde, he will bear his humble 
lot with greater equanimity and moderation than any irreligious man 
does the moderate success which only falls short of what he wished; 
for he has a solace in which he can rest more tranquilly than at the 
very summit of wealth or power, because he considers that his 
affairs are ordered by the Lord in the manner most conducive to his 
salvation. This, we see, is the way in which David was affected, 
who, while he follows God and gives up himself to his guidance, 
declares, "Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in 
things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as 
a child that is weaned of his mother," (Ps. 131: 1, 2.) 
    10. Nor is it in this respect only that pious minds ought to 
manifest this tranquillity and endurance; it must be extended to all 
the accidents to which this present life is liable. He alone, 
therefore, has properly denied himself, who has resigned himself 
entirely to the Lord, placing all the course of his life entirely at 
his disposal. Happen what may, he whose mind is thus composed will 
neither deem himself wretched nor murmur against God because of his 
lot. How necessary this disposition is will appear, if you consider 
the many accidents to which we are liable. Various diseases ever and 
anon attack us: at one time pestilence rages; at another we are 
involved in all the calamities of war. Frost and hail, destroying 
the promise of the year, cause sterility, which reduces us to 
penury; wife, parents, children, relatives, are carried off by 
death; our house is destroyed by fire. These are the events which 
make men curse their life, detest the day of their birth, execrate 
the light of heaven, even censure God, and (as they are eloquent in 
blasphemy) charge him with cruelty and injustice. The believer must 
in these things also contemplate the mercy and truly paternal 
indulgence of God. Accordingly, should he see his house by the 
removal of kindred reduced to solitude even then he will not cease 
to bless the Lord; his thought will be, Still the grace of the Lord, 
which dwells within my house, will not leave it desolate. If his 
crops are blasted, mildewed, or cut off by frost, or struck down by 
hail,10 and he sees famine before him, he will not however despond 
or murmur against God, but maintain his confidence in him; "We thy 
people, and sheep of thy pasture, will give thee thanks for ever," 
(Ps. 79: 13;) he will supply me with food, even in the extreme of 
sterility. If he is afflicted with disease, the sharpness of the 
pain will not so overcome him, as to make him break out with 
impatience, and expostulate with God; but, recognising justice and 
lenity in the rod, will patiently endure. In short, whatever 
happens, knowing that it is ordered by the Lord, he will receive it 
with a placid and grateful mind, and will not contumaciously resist 
the government of him, at whose disposal he has placed himself and 
all that he has. Especially let the Christian breast eschew that 
foolish and most miserable consolation of the heathen, who, to 
strengthen their mind against adversity, imputed it to fortune, at 
which they deemed it absurd to feel indignant, as she was ascopoV 
(aimless) and rash, and blindly wounded the good equally with the 
bad. On the contrary, the rule of piety is, that the hand of God is 
the ruler and arbiter of the fortunes of all, and, instead of 
rushing on with thoughtless violence, dispenses good and evil with 
perfect regularity. 
[5]On this and the three following chapters, which contain the 
second part of the Treatise on the Christian Life, see Augustine, De 
Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae, and Calvin de Scandalis. 
[6]Calvin. de Sacerdotiis Eccles. Papal. in fine. [7]Heb. 13: 16; 2 
Cor.ix. 12. 
[8]French, "Car si nous disons qu' il n'a merite que mal de nous; 
Dieu nous pourra demander quel mal il nous a fait, lui dont nous 
tenons tout notre bien;" - For if we say that he has deserved 
nothing of us but evil, God may ask us what evil he has done us, he 
of whom we hold our every blessing. 
[9]Matth. 5: 44; 6: 14; 18: 35; Luke 17: 3. 
[10]The French is, "Soit que ses bleds et vignes soyent gastees et 
destruites par gelee, gresle, ou autre tempeste;" - whether his corn 
and vines are hurt and destroyed by frost, hail, or other tempest. 

Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 3, Part 8

(continued in part 9...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-04: cvin3-08.txt