Calvin And Calvinism -- By: Granville S. Abbott

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 030:119 (Jul 1873)
Article: Calvin And Calvinism
Author: Granville S. Abbott


Calvin And Calvinism

Rev. Granville S. Abbott

Love and hatred alike, usually adhere to positiveness of character. Hence it is an equivocal compliment to say of a man, “He has no enemies”; for such an one may have no friends, proved and true. Men, however, of thoroughly settled convictions; the men of one idea; the founders of philosophy, the Aristotles, the Bacons, the Hegels; the discoverers in science, the Jenners and Mesmers, the Newtons and Watts; the agitators in philanthropy, the Clarksons and Garrisons; the aggressors upon spiritual darkness, the Wesleys and Careys; the fathers of distinctive theologies, the Pelagiuses and Augustines, entitle themselves to a harvest of differing human judgment. But for men careless of immediate applause, positiveness of conviction would have been lost in time-serving. As a caution, therefore, against mere negativeness of character, of such neutral tints as to be neither friendly nor hostile to truth, Jesus said to his disciples, “Woe, when all men shall speak well of you.”1 He guarded them against that thought of great place in the world that could be secured only by a sacrifice of steadfastness in the faith. He was himself the object of the warmest affection, and of the bitterest malice. When the Magi laid

their offerings at his infant feet, Herod was planning to number him among his slaughtered dead. When Roman soldiers watched his sepulchre, holy women, with love living on, went out early in the day to visit his place of burial. Unexceptionable honor, therefore, cannot be looked for by the followers of Jesus. “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master.”

Of all men since the day of Christ few, if any, have earned for themselves more praise and blame than John Calvin; born in Noyon, near Paris, July 10, 1509; died in Geneva, May 27th, 1564. It has ever been Calvin’s fortune to stand between contraries held in antipathy. The blessings of Gerizim and the curses of Ebal flow in counter currents across his reputation. M. Guizot cites him with St. Louis, as one of the “Two great Christians of France.” Montesquieu counsels Geneva to hold his coming to her in perpetual festival. Bishop Horsley holds his memory in veneration. Arminius differs from him in doctrine, but values his writings more highly than all the writings of the Christian Fathers. Bancroft speaks of him as more self-denying than Lycurgus, and as achieving an immortality of fame. Others regard him as a kind of theological Laocoon, deservedly exposed to the coils of hate and the fangs of calumny. Not a few of these are sons of Calvinistic ancestry; graduates of colleges that were founded by Calvinism; heirs of the civil and ...

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