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  • JOHN CALVIN'S WRITINGS -
    LETTER 21.


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    CALVIN TO MELANCTHON SALUTEM DICIT.

    Your letter, my dear sir, gave me great satisfaction, not only because every thing that comes from you is dear to me, but because from it I understand, that the affection with which you embraced me, at our first acquaintance, still remains fixed in your heart. And especially, as you commend, with a sufficient eulogy, my endeavors to expunge the impious heresy of Servetus. From this letter I learn also, that you were not offended by the plainness and freedom of my admonitions. I wish, however, that you had treated more fully on the subject on which I wrote. I will not importunately urge you; but as far as you can with peace, I exhort you, again and again, to examine, at least with yourself, those things about which I wrote you. For, in this way, I trust you will endeavor, that some more definite form of teaching, concerning the gratuitous election of believers, than heretofore, may be agreed upon between us. About the worship of the bread, I have long since known the secret opinion of your mind, which you do not dissemble in your letter. But your too great tardiness displeases me, by which you not only cherish, but augment the madness of those whom you see pursuing daily, with such petulance, the destruction of the whole church. It may not seem easy to you to restrain those violent men, yet I think it would be a light matter, if you would boldly attempt it. You know that our duties do not depend upon the hope of success but in the most desperate cases we must do precisely what God requires of us. Your excuse does not appear a sufficient one to me, that those malevolent men would, from your appearing openly in the cause, take the probable means of overwhelming you. For what can the servants of Christ accomplish, unless they disregard hatred; pass by with indifference unfavorable reports, casting off the fear of danger, and whatever obstacles the adversary may throw in their path; and overcome by invincible constancy? It is certain, should they even become violently mad against you, nothing awaits you more severe from them, than that you should be compelled to leave that place. This, in my opinion, you ought, for many reasons, to wish for. But as extremities of every kind are to be feared, it is your duty to resolve at once, what you owe to Christ; lest in suppressing an ingenuous profession of the truth, you afford unprincipled men, by your silence, a patronage for its destruction. In order to restrain their violence, I have again summed up, in a short compendium, the chief points of doctrine. All the Helvetic churches have subscribed it.

    The church of Zurich approved of it most decidedly. I now anxiously expect your opinion, and I wish very much to know what the divines of Germany may think or say of it. But if those who traduce us with such hostility do not desist from their disorderly conduct, we will endeavor to make the world hear our complaints. Farewell, most excellent man, always respected by me above others. May the Lord govern you with his Spirit, protect you with his hand, and sustain you with strength; and may he hold us in holy union until he brings us together in his heavenly kingdom.

    JOHN CALVIN.

    March 5, 1555.

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