free ebooks

A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

The Institutio is divided into four parts


was there that he finished his _Christianae Religionis Institutio_, which had for its preface the celebrated letter addressed to Francis I. King of France. The book was the strongest weapon Protestantism had yet forged against the Papacy, and the letter "a bold proclamation, solemnly made by a young man of six-and-twenty, who, more or less unconsciously, assumed the command of Protestantism against its enemies, calumniators, and persecutors." News had reached Basel that Francis, who was seeking the alliance of the German Lutheran Princes, and was posing as protector of the German Protestants, had resolved to purge his kingdom of the so-called heresy, and was persecuting his Protestant subjects. This double-dealing gave vigour to Calvin's pen. He says in his preface that he wrote the book with two distinct purposes. He meant it to prepare and qualify students of theology for reading the divine Word, that they may have an easy introduction to it, and be able to proceed in it without obstruction. He also meant it to be a vindication of the teaching of the Reformers against the calumnies of their enemies, who had urged the King of France to persecute them and drive them from France. His dedication was: _To His Most Gracious Majesty, Francis, King of France and his sovereign, John Calvin wisheth peace and salvation in Christ._ Among other things he said:

"I exhibit my confession to you that you may know the nature of that doctrine which

is the object of such unbounded rage to those madmen who are now disturbing your kingdom with fire and sword. For I shall not be afraid to acknowledge that this treatise contains a summary of that very doctrine which, according to their clamours, deserves to be punished with imprisonment, banishment, proscription, and flames, and to be exterminated from the face of the earth."

He meant to state in calm precise fashion what Protestants believed; and he made the statement in such a way as to challenge comparison between those beliefs and the teaching of the mediaeval Church. He took the _Apostles' Creed_, the venerable symbol of Western Christendom, and proceeded to show that when tested by this standard the Protestants were truer Catholics than the Romanists. He took this _Apostles' Creed_, which had been recited or sung in the public worship of the Church of the West from the earliest times, which differed from other creeds in this, that it owed its authority to no Council, but sprang directly from the heart of the Church, and he made it the basis of his _Institutio_. For the _Institutio_ is an expansion and exposition of the _Apostles' Creed_, and of the four sentences which it explains. Its basis is: _I believe in God the Father; and in His Son Jesus Christ; and in the Holy Ghost; and in the Holy Catholic Church._ The _Institutio_ is divided into four parts, each part expounding one of these fundamental sentences. The first part describes God, the Creator, or, as the Creed says: "God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"; the second, God the Son, the Redeemer and His Redemption; the third, God the Holy Ghost and His Means of Grace; the fourth, the Holy Catholic Church, its nature and marks.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us