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  • JOHN CALVIN'S WRITINGS -
    LETTER 2.


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    CALVIN TO PETER CAROLI.

    Grace and peace to you from the Lord, who can inspire both you and us with a good understanding and a right heart. Since your situation is such, we should have preferred to have you presented yourself in person, to treat in our presence concerning a reconciliation, rather than that you should attempt this by a letter. You vehemently labor to prove, that you did not excite disturbances in the church without just cause; as if there could be some good reason for exciting those disturbances. Grant that you were not treated in that manner, by the brethren, which you ought to have been. Would this indeed furnish you with a right to raise such a tumult?

    Will you say, that it was the Spirit of God that influenced you to declare war upon us all? I do not say this to upraid you; I wish I was permitted to be wholly silent. But while you connect all those with Satan, who did not, at least according to your opinion, treat you with sufficient equity, you certainly suppose them to be very stupid, if you imagine that this business can be passed over in silence. You still glory in this, that you have attempted nothing against the gospel even at Metz. But by what method will you prove this to us? If any one carries on a warfare with a profound servant of Christ, and instead of aiding, obstructs, in every possible manner, the kingdom of Christ, would it not be strange if you should declare such a man to stand on the side of the gospel! Look, I beseech you, again and again, to the end of your course. We hold a ministry in no manner separated from Christ. If you doubt this, we still have the certain and confident testimony of our conscience. You may flatter yourself as you will; you will at last find, that it is hard kicking against the pricks. In the mean time, how are you able to injure us? You will call us heretics. Where? Among those, for instance, who hold you as a heretic, and at this very moment expose your falsehoods. Among the pious and the learned, I fear no injury from your reproaches. They see all these things in that light, in which I would have you receive them, and call them to mind before that God whose presence you begin to acknowledge.

    And I beseech you, do not meditate your defense by the condemnation of that injustice in others, for which you want not only a foundation, but even a pretext. If you still persevere in this way, I shall be satisfied. I would not, by any means, have you cast away all hope and courage. For if you will exhibit to us the true and substantial index of a right mind, we are sincerely prepared to have you return immediately into our favor, and have all things buried, forgiven, and erased wholly from the memory. I wish you were able, Caroli, to inspect my breast; for there is nothing I more desire, than that you should in the first place be reconciled to God, that a lasting union might be formed between us. But, believe me, you will never acceptably serve the Lord, unless you lay aside your haughtiness and bitterness of tongue. If you have then a mind to return into favor with us, we are prepared to embrace you, and to render you every office of kindness in our power. But we are not able to enter into that compact which you demand; for how shall we at this time promise you a church? In the first place, you know, that churches are not at our disposal; besides, with what conscience should we promise that to you, before it is evident, that we agree in doctrine. You do not dissemble but that as yet you differ from us; and yet you would have us designate a place for you as a teacher.

    Weigh, yourself, the extreme impropriety of this. Were we to be so obsequious to you, you would correctly judge us to be something more than stupid. But to conclude, I beseech you to examine thoroughly the whole cause, by yourself, with a composed and sedate mind, and weigh this letter it, the scales of candid and impartial judgment. You certainly know, that it is the highest wisdom to turn from the evil course into which you have entered. If you will make the experiment, no office of friendship shall be wanting to you, when restored, from me, and Farel seriously promises the same for himself. You will remember, that the charity which you so severely demand of others, must be shown, in some measure, towards others. If I seem to be somewhat too severe, think what your letter deserves. I mention this only to profit you; what I have written, is for the purpose of calling up your sins to your remembrance. Farewell, my brother in the Lord, if you suffer yourself to be esteemed and to hold the place of a brother. The Lord Jesus Christ guide you by the spirit of counsel and prudence, that from those dangerous rocks, against which you have broken, and that tempestuous sea, on which you are tossed, you may be received safe into the haven of rest. Your sincere friend,

    JOHN CALVIN.

    Strasburg, August 10, 1540.

    P.S. Farel bids you to be in health, and wishes that you may be sincerely converted to the Lord, and so may you be prepared to return to our friendship and fraternal union, as we ourselves are prepared to embrace you.

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