alien righteousness

A Few Quotes from John Calvin’s Dedication to Francis I

Certainly we recognize well that we are poor and despised people; that is, before God we are miserable sinners, scorned and cast out by people, and even — if you will — the dung and waste- sweepings of the world or whatever can be named that is even more vile.  We are such that we have nothing about which we can glory before God, except His mercy alone, by which we are saved without any merit of our own; and we have nothing about which we can glory with regard to people except our weakness, that is, what all regard as our great shame (2 Cor. 10 [13, 17]; Tit. 3[5]; 2 Cor. 11 [30-31] and 12 [5,9]).  (7-8)

Besides, what is more fitting for faith than to promise that God is a gentle and beneficent Father when Christ is recognized as Brother and propiciator? What more fitting to await all good and prosperity from God, whose love for us has extended so far that “He did not spare His very Son but delivered Him up for us” (Rom. 8[32]).   What is more fitting than to rest in the certain expectation of salvation and eternal life, when we consider that the Father gave us Christ, in whom are hidden such treasures?  They resist and reject such things, and say that such a certainty of confidence is not without arrogance and presumption.  But just as we dare claim nothing for ourselves, so we should claim everything for God, and the only reason we are deprived or our empty glory is so that “we may glory in God” (2 Cor. 10 [17]; Jer. 9 [23-24]).  (8-9)

Taken from John Calvin’s dedication to Francis 1 in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: 1541 French Edition, The First English Version. Translated by Elsie Anne Mckee.

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