Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sundays with Jean

Here are a few collected quote from this week's reading of Calvin's Institutes.

If we confess that we lack what we seek of God, and he by promising it proves our lack of it, no one should now hesitate to confess that he is able to understand God's mysteries only in so far as he is illumed by God's grace. He who attribultes any more understanding to himself is all the more blind because he does not recognize his own blindness.

If...the Lord wished to show that nothing good can ever be wrung from our heart, unless it become wholly other, let us not divide between him and us what he claims to himself alone. If, therefore, a stone is transformed into flesh when God converts us to zeal for the right, whatever is of our own will is effaced. What takes its place is wholly from God.

As Augustine teaches, grace precedes every good work; while will does not go before as its leader but follows after as its attendant.

...God by co-operating perfects that which by operating he has begun...

"...Grace anticipates unwilling man that he may will: it follows him willing that he may not will in vain." Bernard agrees with Augustine when he makes the church speak thus: "Draw me, however unwilling, to make me willing; draw me slow-footed, to make me run."

...the human will does not obtain grace by freedom, but obtains freedom by grace; when the feeling of delight has been imparted through the same grace, the human will is formed to endure; it is strengthened with unconquerable fortitude; controlled by grace, it never will perish, but, if grace forsake it, it will straightway fall; by the Lord's free mercy it is converted to good, and once converted it perseveres in good; the direction of the human will toward good, and after direction its continuation in good, depend solely upon God's will, not upon any merit of man. Thus there is left to man such free will, if we please so to call it, as he elsewhere describes: that except through grace the will can neither be converted to God not abide in God; and whatever it can do it is able to do only through grace.

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