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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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The Force of Bad Example

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By John Calvin

It ought to be observed that we are exceedingly disposed to wicked imitation. When we see bad examples, we are drawn to them with great force, and take the example for a law; for when others go before us, we think that we have a right to act in the same manner, and especially when it is not only one or a few persons who have led the way, but the custom has become universal. What is in itself manifestly wrong is concealed by the plausible cloak of public opinion; and not only so, but all are carried, as it were, by the violence of a whirlwind, to adopt an established custom, as if the will of the people had the force of a law to authorize their corruptions. This has not been the fault of a single age, but at the present day it abounds as much or even more than before; for it is an evil deeply seated in all by the corruption of nature, to reckon a prevailing error as a law. Hence arise the superstitions of all ages, and those which at the present day exist in Popery, the origin of which, if it be investigated, will be found to be nothing else than that some persons have drawn others into the same error; and thus almost all have been foolishly caught by the snares of Satan, and the general agreement of men is still the chief foundation of those superstitions. All defend themselves by this weapon. “We are not alone,” say they; “we follow an immense multitude.”

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From Commentary on Isaiah 8:11 by John Calvin

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