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  • JOHN CALVIN'S WRITINGS -
    LETTER 6.


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    CALVIN TO FAREL.

    I am retained here as you wished; which may God grant to be for his glory.

    Viret still continues with me, nor will I suffer him by any means to be torn from me. It is your duty, and that of all the brethren, to afford me assistance, unless you wish me to be tormented and miserable, without doing any good to the cause. I reported the labors of my office to the senate, and assured them of the impossibility of settling the church on any permanent foundation, unless a system of discipline was adopted, such as is prescribed by the word of God, and was observed by the ancient church. I treated upon certain points, which might sufficiently explain my wishes. And without entering upon the whole ground, I requested them to appoint some members who might confer with us on the subject. They chose a committee of six. Articles concerning the whole polity of the church will be drawn up, which we shall lay before the senate. Our three colleagues pretend that they will consent to whatever Viret and myself shall judge expedient. Something will be effected. We are anxious to hear how matters progress in your church. We hope, through the authority of the Bernese and the Biellese, that the commotions are at least allayed, if not terminated. When fighting against the devil, under the banner of Christ, He who armed and directed you to the battle, will give you the victory.

    But a good cause requires a good defender; take heed, therefore, and give diligence, that those qualifications may be found in you which command the approbation of good men. We do not exhort you to preserve a pure and undefiled conscience; of this we do not doubt. But this we desire, that you would be as accommodating to the people as your duty will allow.

    There are, you know, two kinds of popularity. The one is, when we obtain approbation, by our ambition and desire of pleasing; the other, when by moderation and equity, we entice the minds of others to yield themselves to us with a pleasant docility. Pardon us, if we use too much freedom with you, on this point, we perceive that you do not fully satisfy the virtuous. If in nothing else, you transgress in this, that you do not satisfy those to whom the Lord has made you a debtor. You know how much we respect, how much we love you. This love and this respect impel us to censure you with this exact and rigid severity. We ardently desire, that those excellent gifts, which the Lord has bestowed upon you, may not be sullied by a single blemish, which may afford a handle to the carpings of malevolence, to injure your influence. I have written these things by the advice of Viret, and for this reason have used the plural number. Farewell, dearest and excellent brother.

    Geneva, 16th September 1541

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