Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | March 2, 2008

Lord’s Day Quote: John Calvin

There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity.  This we take to be beyond controversy.  To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretense of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty.  Ever renewing its memory, he repeatedly sheds fresh drops.  Since, therefore, men one and all perceive that there is a God and that he is their Maker, they are condemned by their own testimony because they have failed to honor him and to consecrate their lives to his will.

If ignorance of God is to be looked for anywhere, surely one is most likely to find an example of it among the more backward folk and those more remote from civilization.  Yet there is, as the eminent pagan says, no nation so barbarous, no people so savage, that they have not a deep-seated conviction that there is a God.  And they who in other aspects of life seem least to differ from brutes still continue to retain some seed of religion.  So deeply does the common conception occupy the minds of all, so tenaciously does it inhere in the hearts of all!  Therefore, since from the beginning of the world there has been no region, no city, in short, no household, that could do without religion, there lies in this a tacit confession of a sense of deity inscribed in the hearts of all.

Indeed, even idolatry is ample proof of this conception. We know how man does not willingly humble himself so as to place other creatures over himself.  Since, then, he prefers to worship wood and stone rather than to be thought of as having no God, clearly this is a most vivid impression of a divine being.  So impossible is it to blot this from man’s mind that natural disposition would be more easily altered, as altered indeed it is when man voluntarily sinks from his natural haughtiness to the very depths in order to honor God!

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion – Book I, Chapter III, Section I


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