John Calvin


French Theologian and Pastor

Author Quotes

True and substantial wisdom principally consists of two parts, the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves. But, while these two branches of knowledge are so intimately connected, which of them precedes the other, is not easy to discover.

To “justify” means nothing else than to acquit of guilt him who was accused as if his own innocence were confirmed.

To make God a momentary Creator, who once and for all finished His work, would be cold and barren, and we must differ from profane men especially in that we see the presence of divine power shining as much in the continuing state of the universe as its inception.

The will, being inseparable from the nature of man, is not annihilated; but it is fettered by depraved and inordinate desires, so that it cannot aspire after anything that is good.

The question is not how we can be righteous, but how, though unrighteous and unworthy, we can be considered as righteous.

Our mind cannot conceive of God without ascribing some worship of Him.

If heaven is our country, what is the earth but a place of exile? If the departure out of the world is but an entrance into life, what is the world but a sepulchre? What is a continuance in it but an absorption in death?

For conscience, instead of allowing us to stifle our perceptions, and sleep on without interruption, acts as an inward witness and monitor, reminds us of what we owe to God, points out the distinction of good and evil, and thereby convicts us of departure from duty.

He only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God is poor in spirit

If we are not our own, but the Lord's, it is clear to what purpose all our deeds must be directed. We are not our own, therefore neither our reason nor our will should guide us in our thoughts and actions. We are not our own, therefore we should not seek what is only expedient to the flesh. We are not our own, therefore let us forget ourselves and our own interests in as far as possible.

Were the judgments of mankind correct, custom would be regulated by the good. But it is often far otherwise in point of fact; for, whatever the many are seen to do, forthwith obtains the force of custom. But human affairs have scarcely ever been so happily constituted as that the better course pleased the greater number. Hence the private vices of the multitude have generally resulted in public error, or rather that common consent in vice which these worthy men would have to be law.

Those who set up a fictitious worship, merely worship and adore their own delirious fancies; indeed, they would never dare so to trifle with God, had they not previously fashioned him after their own childish conceits.

As far as sacred Scripture is concerned, however much forward men try to gnaw at it, nevertheless it clearly is crammed with thoughts that could not be humanly conceived. Let each of the prophets be looked into: none will be found who does not far exceed human measure. Consequently, those for whom prophetic doctrine is tasteless ought to be thought of as lacking taste buds.

The Lord commands us to do good unto all men without exception, though the majority are very undeserving when judged according to their own merits... [The Scripture] teaches us that we must not think of man's real value, but only of his creation in the image of God to which we owe all possible honor and love.

The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart.

Our prayer must not be self-centered. It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden we must lay upon God, but also because we are so bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.

Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.

Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the Church?

However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.

The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both

Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols

It would be the height of absurdity to label ignorance tempered by humility "faith"!

True wisdom consists in two things: Knowledge of God and Knowledge of Self.

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.

There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

French Theologian and Pastor