example of the life and death of the Christian, such as it will not be easy to depreciate, such as it will be difficult to emulate.”
Though Calvin built his theology on the foundations laid by earlier reformers, and especially by Luther and Bucer, his peculiar gifts of learning, of logic and of style made him pre-eminently the theologian of the new religion. The following may be regarded as his characteristic tenets, though not all are peculiar to him.
The dominant thought is the infinite and transcendent sovereignty of God, to know whom is the supreme end of human endeavour. God is made known to man especially by the Scriptures, whose writers were “sure and authentic amanuenses of the Holy Spirit.” To the Spirit speaking therein the Spirit-illumined soul of man makes response. While God is the source of all good, man as a sinner is guilty and corrupt. The first man was made in the image and likeness of God, which not only implies man’s superiority to all other creatures, but indicates his original purity, integrity and sanctity. From this state Adam fell, and in his fall involved the whole human race descended from him. Hence depravity and corruption, diffused through all parts of the soul, attach to all men, and this first makes them obnoxious to the anger of God, and then comes forth in works which the Scripture calls works of the flesh (Gal. v. 19). Thus all are held vitiated and perverted in all parts of their nature, and on account of such corruption deservedly condemned before God, by whom nothing is accepted save righteousness innocence, and purity. Nor is that a being bound for another’s offence; for when it is said that we through Adam’s sin have become obnoxious to the divine judgment, it is not to be taken as if we, being ourselves innocent and blameless, bear the fault of his offence, but that, we having been brought under a curse through his transgression, he is said to have bound us. From him, however, not only has punishment overtaken us, but a pestilence instilled from him resides in us, to which punishment is justly due. Thus even infants, whilst they bring their own condemnation with them from their mother’s womb, are bound not by another’s but by their own fault. For though they have not yet brought forth the fruits of their iniquity, they have the seed shut up in them; nay, their whole nature is a sort of seed of sin, therefore it cannot but be hateful and abominable to God (Instit. bk. ii. ch. i. sect. 8).
To redeem man from this state of guilt, and to recover him from corruption, the Son of God became incarnate, assuming man’s nature into union with His own, so that in Him were two natures in one person. Thus incarnate He took on Him the offices of prophet, priest and king, and by His humiliation, obedience and suffering unto death, followed by His resurrection and ascension to heaven, He has perfected His work and fulfilled all that was required in a redeemer of men, so that it is truly affirmed that He has merited for man the grace of salvation (bk. ii. ch. 13-17). But until a man is in some way really united to Christ so as to partake of Him, the benefits of Christ’s work cannot be attained by him. Now it is by the secret and special operation of the Holy Spirit that men are united to Christ and made members of His body. Through faith, which is a firm and certain cognition of the divine benevolence towards us founded on the truth of the gracious promise in Christ, men are by the operation of the Spirit united to Christ and are made partakers of His death and resurrection, so that the old man is crucified with Him and they are raised to a new life, a life of righteousness and holiness. Thus joined to Christ the believer has life in Him and knows that he is saved, having the witness of the Spirit that he is a child of God, and having the promises, the certitude of which the Spirit had before impressed on the mind, sealed by the same Spirit on the heart (bk. iii. ch. 33-36). From faith proceeds repentance, which is the turning of our life to God, proceeding from a sincere and earnest fear of God, and consisting in the mortification of the flesh and the old man within us and a vivification of the Spirit. Through faith also the believer receives justification, his sins are forgiven, he is accepted of God, and is held by Him as righteous, the righteousness of Christ being imputed to him, and faith being the instrument by which the man lays hold on Christ, so that with His righteousness the man appears in God’s sight as righteous. This imputed righteousness, however, is not disjoined from real personal righteousness, for regeneration and sanctification come to the believer from Christ no less than justification; the two blessings are not to be confounded, but neither are they to be disjoined. The assurance which the believer has of salvation he receives from the operation and witness of the Holy Spirit; but this again rests on the divine choice of the man to salvation; and this falls back on God’s eternal sovereign purpose, whereby He has predestined some to eternal life while the rest of mankind are predestined to condemnation and eternal death. Those whom God has chosen to life He effectually calls to salvation, and they are kept by Him in progressive faith and holiness unto the end (bk. iii. passim). The external means or aids by which God unites men into the fellowship of Christ, and sustains and advances those who believe, are the church and its ordinances, especially the sacraments. The church universal is the multitude gathered from diverse nations, which though divided by distance of time and place, agree in one common faith, and it is bound by the tie of the same religion; and wherever the word of God is sincerely preached, and the sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ’s institute, there beyond doubt is a church of the living God (bk. iv. ch. 1, sect. 7-11). The permanent officers in the church are pastors and teachers, to the former of whom it belongs to preside over the discipline of the church, to administer the sacraments, and to admonish and exhort the members; while the latter occupy themselves with the exposition of Scripture, so that pure and wholesome doctrine may be retained. With them are to be joined for the government of the church certain pious, grave and holy men as a senate in each church; and to others, as deacons, is to be entrusted the care of the poor. The election of the officers in a church is to be with the people, and those duly chosen and called are to be ordained by the laying on of the hands of the pastors (ch. 3, sect. 4-16). The sacraments are two—Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the sign of initiation whereby men are admitted into the society of the church and, being grafted into Christ, are reckoned among the sons of God; it serves both for the confirmation of faith and as a confession before men. The Lord’s Supper is a spiritual feast where Christ attests that He is the life-giving bread, by which our souls are fed unto true and blessed immortality. That sacred communication of His flesh and blood whereby Christ transfuses into us His life, even as if it penetrated into our bones and marrow, He in the Supper attests and seals; and that not by a vain or empty sign set before us but there He puts forth the efficacy of His Spirit whereby He fulfils what He promises. In the mystery of the Supper Christ is truly exhibited to us by the symbols of bread and wine; and so His body and blood, in which He fulfilled all obedience for the obtaining of righteousness for us, are presented. There is no such presence of Christ in the Supper as that He is affixed to the bread or included in it or in any way circumscribed; but whatever can express the true and substantial communication of the body and blood of the Lord, which is exhibited to believers under the said symbols of the Supper, is to be received, and that not as perceived by the imagination only or mental intelligence, but as enjoyed for the aliment of the eternal life (bk. iv. ch. 15, 17).
The course of time has substantially modified many of these positions. Even the churches which trace their descent from Calvin’s work and faith no longer hold in their entirety his views on the magistrate as the preserver of church purity, the utter depravity of human nature, the non-human character of the Bible, the dealing of God with man. But his system had an immense value in the history of Christian thought. It appealed to and evoked a high order of intelligence, and its insistence on personal individual salvation has borne worthy fruit. So also its insistence on the chief end of man “to know and do the will of God” made for the strenuous morality that helped to build up the modern world. Its effects are most clearly seen in Scotland, in Puritan England and in the New England states, but its influence was and is felt among peoples that have little desire or claim to be called Calvinist.
Bibliography.—The standard edition of Calvin’s works is that undertaken by the Strassburg scholars, J.W. Bauin, E. Cunitz, E. Reuss, P. Lobstein, A. Erichson (59 vols., 1863-1900). The last of these contains an elaborate bibliography which was also published separately at Berlin in 1900. The bulk of the writings was published in English by the Calvin Translation Society (48 vols., Edinburgh, 1843-1855); the Institutes have often been translated. The early lives by Beza and Collodon are given in the collected editions. Among modern biographies are those by P. Henry, Das Leben J. Calvins (3 vols., Hamburg, 1835-1844; Eng. trans, by H. Stebbing, London and New York, 1849); V. Audin, Histoire de la vie, des ouvrages, et des doctrines de Calvin (2 vols., Paris, 1841; Eng. trans, by J. McGill, London, 1843 and 1850) unfairly antagonistic; T.H. Dyer, Life of John Calvin (London, 1850); E. Stähelin, Joh. Calvin, Leben und ausgewählte Schriften (2 vols., Elberfeld, 1863); F.W. Kampschulte, Joh. Calvin, seine Kirche und sein Staat in Genf (2 vols., 1869, 1899, unfinished); Abel Lefranc, La Jeunesse de Calvin (Paris, 1888); E. Choisy, La Théocratie à Genève au temps de Calvin (Geneva, 1897); E. Doumergue, Jean Calvin; les hommes et les choses de son temps (5 vols., 1899-1908). See also A. M. Fairbairn, “Calvin and the Reformed Church” in the Cambridge Modern History, vol. ii. (1904); P. Schaff’s, History of the Christian Church, vol. vii. (1892), and R. Stähelin’s article in Hauck-Herzog’s Realencyk. für prot. Theologie und Kirche. Each of these contains a useful bibliography, as also does the excellent life by Professor Williston Walker, John Calvin, the Organizer of Reformed Protestantism, “Heroes of the Reformation” series (1906). See also C.S. Horne in Mansfield Coll. Essays (1909).
CALVINISTIC METHODISTS, a body of Christians forming a church of the Presbyterian order and claiming to be the only denomination in Wales which is of purely Welsh origin. Its beginnings may be traced to the labours of the Rev. Griffith Jones (1684-1761), of Llanddowror, Carmarthenshire, whose sympathy for the poor led him to set on foot a system of circulating charity schools for the education of children. In striking contrast to the general apathy of the clergy of the period, Griffith Jones’s zeal appealed to the public imagination, and his powerful preaching exercised a widespread influence, many