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  • JOHN CALVIN'S WRITINGS -
    LETTER 23.


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    CALVIN TO MELANCTHON.

    Most distinguished man, You indeed observe, with correctness and sagacity, that the only object of our adversaries is to exhibit themselves to the public. But, however, I hope, and it is credible, that their expectation will be greatly disappointed. Should they still bear off the applause of the whole world, we must be more anxiously diligent to seek the approbation of our heavenly Judge, under whose eyes we contend. What? Will the holy assembly of angels, who excite us by their presence, and point out the way of strenuous exertion by their example, permit us to be slothful, or move with a delaying step? What the whole company of the holy fathers?

    Will they not stimulate us to exertion? What, moreover, the church of God, now in the world? When we know that she is fighting for us by her prayers, and is animated by our example, will her assistance avail nothing with us? Let these be my spectators, I will be contented with their approbation. Though the whole world should hiss me, my courage shall not fail. Far be it from me to envy these flashy and boisterous men the glory of a laurel, in some obscure corner, for a short time. I am not ignorant of what the world applaud as praise-worthy, or condemn as odious. But it is the whole of my concern, to follow the rule prescribed by my Master.

    Nor do I doubt but that this ingenious will, on the whole, be more pleasing to the pious and faithful, than that soft and complying method of instruction, which argues an empty mind. The obligation which you acknowledge yourself under to God and his church, I beseech you to discharge with all diligence. I do not insist upon this, for the purpose of freeing myself, and loading you with a great part of their hatred. By no means. I would rather, if it could be, from my love and respect for you, receive on my own shoulders whatever load may already oppress you. It is your duly to consider, although I did not admonish you, that you will with difficulty discharge that obligation, unless you promptly deliver from hesitation those pious men, who are looking up to you for instruction.

    Moreover, if that proud and blustering man, on the banks of the Danube, does not arouse you to exertion, all will justly accuse you of sloth and indifference. Farewell, most excellent and sincerely respected man. May Christ, the faithful shepherd of his people, be always present, guide and defend you. Amen. Salute Camerarius, and other friends at Wittemberg, in my name.

    JOHN CALVIN.

    Geneva, August 22, 1555.

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