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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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William

Psychopannychia: Soul-sleep

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by John Calvin

 

OR, A REFUTATION OF THE ERROR ENTERTAINED BY SOME UNSKILFUL PERONS, WHO IGNORANTLY IMAGINE THAT IN THE INTERVAL BETWEEN DEATH AND THE JUDGMENT THE SOUL SLEEPS.TOGETHER WITH AN EXPLANATION OF THE CONDITION AND LIFE OF THE SOUL AFTER THIS PRESENT LIFE.

 

JOHN CALVIN TO THE PIOUS READER.

 

It is said that Cato, when about to address the Roman People for the purpose of urging them to correct their extravagant expenditure, began by premising that he should have a difficult task to perform, as the belly had no ears. My task, were I to exhort the Romanists of the present day to restore the doctrine of godliness, and cleanse the Church of corruption, would be much more difficult: for I should have to contend not only with a deaf belly, but with blind ambition. We seer that however they may be vanquished in argument, they nevertheless continue obstinate because they think they have to fight for honor and life. I will not, therefore, be so foolish as to attempt in vain to recall them to a sound mind; those of them, I mean, whose contumacy is seen to be altogether desperate. I will rather turn in a different direction, and let all the godly see how abominable the impiety of those men is. Of this I here exhibit no obscure specimen in The Acts of the Council of Trent, in which they have so explained all their inward feelings, as to leave, nobody in doubt what the state of the Church would be if it depended on their decision.

 

But that this may the better appears I beg and exhort my readers first to peruse my treatise on the Necessity of Reforming the Church; and thereafter, on comparing, decide to which party they ought to incline.

 

GENEVA, 21st November 1547.

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