John Calvin—A Biblical-Theological Survey of the Bible

While doing some research I came across this brief document (though not brief for a blog post) from John Calvin. I began reading, planning only to glance at it, but I could not stop reading. It is the preface that Calvin wrote for the Geneva Bible of 1550. It constitutes Calvin’s biblical-theological explanation of the entire storyline of the Scripture. I have modernized some of the spelling and added the headings but the rest is Calvin. I hope that you are blessed by it too.

John Calvin—A Biblical-Theological Survey of the Bible

[John Calvin, Christ the End of the Law: Being the Preface to the Geneva Bible of 1550 (London: William Tegg, & Co., 1850), 1-34.]

GOD, the Creator, the very-perfect Maker of all things, made man as a Masterpiece exhibiting a singular excellence beyond his other creatures, by which he had already shown himself to be more than admirable: for he formed him to His own likeness and image, in such manner that the light of His glory shone brightly in him.

Man, Created to Glorify God

How, that which would have enabled man to remain in the condition in which he had been established, was that, in humility he should bow himself lowly before the Majesty of GOD, magnifying it with thanksgiving; and that, in himself he should not seek his own glory; but, considering that all things came from above, he should also always look above, to thank for them One Sole GOD, to whom belongs the praise of them.

Man Seeks to Glorify Himself

But the wretched being, wishing to be something of himself, soon began to forget and to misunderstand from whence the good came to him; and by outrageous ingratitude essayed to elevate himself, and to puff himself up against his Creator, and the Author of all his unmerited benefits [graces].

From this cause he fell headlong into ruin: he lost all the dignity and excellence of his first Creation; he was despoiled and stripped of all his Glory; he was deprived of all the Gifts which had been entrusted to him: to the end that he might be confounded in his own Pride, and be, by force, made to learn that which he had refused to understand of his own will; namely, that he was only Vanity, and that he had never been anything else, except so far as his Creator had assisted and supported him in the state to which He had created him.

Man Treats God as His Enemy

From that time GOD also began to hate the human race [except those whom He from that time made partakers of His mercy], and, as it well merited, He disavowed it as His work; seeing that His image and likeness was effaced from it, and that the gifts of His goodness were no longer in it. And, as He had sent it forth and ordained it to please Himself and to take His delight in it, as a Father would take pleasure in his well-beloved child; so, on the contrary, He despised and abominated it, in such sort that all which had been pleasing to Him, now displeased Him: that in which He had taken delight, angered Him: that, which He had been used to contemplate with benign and parental regards, He now took to detest and to behold with regret. In short, the whole Man with all that belongs to him, his deeds, his thoughts, his words, his life, displeased GOD, as entirely as if he had been His special Enemy and Adversary; so that finally He said “He repented that He had made him.”

God Provides Warnings So All are Without Excuse

Now, the Human Race, cast down into such confusion, has been fruitful in its cursed seed to beget a race like unto itself: that is to say Vicious, Perverse, Corrupt, Barren and Void of any Good, Rich and Abounding in Evil. Nevertheless, the LORD of Mercy, [who not only Loves, but, who is Love and Pity itself,] wishing still, of His infinite Goodness, to love that which is no longer worthy of His Love, did not entirely consume lost and ruined man, as his Iniquity demanded; but in order to preserve the Human Race, as much to draw out from it his elect, as to render other men more inexcusable, has sustained and supported them in Tenderness and in Patience.

And however much He might mystify and conceal Himself, [as if He would hide himself from them,] leaving them, for the most part, to follow the wishes and desires of their Covetousness, without Law, without Direction, without other advice by His Word: nevertheless, He freely gave them [baillé] abundance of Warnings which ought to incite them to seek Him, and to endeavor to know and to honor Him as it behooves them to do. For, He has everywhere, in every place, and in every thing, raised His Ensigns and Standards under blazes of such bright Intelligence, that no one can justify his ignorance in not recognizing One Sole Sovereign LORD, who has so widely displayed his Grandeur.

Since the Glory of His Power, Goodness, and Wisdom, and his Eternity, are written and, as it were, engraved in all parts of the world, in the heavens and the earth; therefore, St. Paul has very truly said, that, “the LORD did not leave Himself “without witnesses; even towards those to whom He has “not sent any knowledge of His WORD.” Seeing that all His Creatures, from the firmament to the centre of the Earth, can be Witnesses to men and Messengers to them of His glory, to draw them to seek Him; and, when they have found Him, to do Him that homage and service which is becoming to the Dignity of a LORD so Good, so Powerful, so Wise, and who is Eternal: and they do help, each in its place, in that pursuit. For the Young Birds, singing, sing GOD; the Beasts shout aloud to Him; the Elements proclaim His might; the Mountains echo Him; the Rivers and Fountains sparkle to Him; the Herbs and flowers smell sweet to Him. Moreover, truly, there is no occasion to go far to seek Him; seeing that everyone can find Him in himself; inasmuch as we are all preserved and sustained by His Might dwelling in us.

God Elects and Redeems Israel and Gives Them His Word

Nevertheless, to manifest still more largely His Goodness and Infinite Clemency towards men, He did not rest satisfied with instructing them by such teachings as those already set forth; but, He in a special manner made His voice heard to a certain people, which, of His Good Will and Free Grace, He Elected and Chose from among all the nations of the Earth. It was the children of Israel to whom, by His Word, He clearly showed what He is; and by His marvelous Works showed what He can do: for He brought them out from subjection to Pharaoh king of Egypt [under whom they had been detained and oppressed], to free them and set them at liberty. Night and day He accompanied them in their flight; being, as it were, a Fugitive in the midst of them. He fed them in the Desert. He made them to possess the Promised Land. He gave them Victories and Triumphs into their hands. And, as if He were nothing to other nations, He wished to be, in a special manner, called “The GOD of Israel,” and that they should bear the name of “His people;” under this Covenant, that they should never recognize any other Lord, nor receive any other God. And this Covenant was Confirmed and Ratified by the Testament and Witness which He gave them as a Surety.

Rampant Idolatry Among the Gentiles

Nevertheless, Men, exhibiting their cursed origin, and showing themselves true heirs of the iniquity of their father Adam, were not at all aroused by such Remonstrance’s, and would not listen to the teaching by which GOD warned them. Creation, on which is written the Glory and Magnificence of GOD, was of no avail to the Gentiles to bring them to glorify Him, of whom it testified. The Law and the Prophets had no power over the Jews, to conduct them into the right way. All were blind to the Light, deaf to Admonitions, hardened against the Commands. It is very true that the Gentiles, astonished and convinced by so many Benefits which they beheld around them, were constrained to acknowledge the Unseen Benefactor, from whom so much Goodness proceeded. But, instead of giving to the True GOD the Glory which is due to Him, they Invented for themselves a God after their own desire, and according to that which their mad fancy, in its Vanity and Deceit, imagined. And not one only, but as many as their rash presumption could pretend and set up: so that there was neither People nor Region which did not make to itself new Gods, as seemed good to it. From thence Idolatry began her reign,—the Prostituting Traitress [traitresse maquerelle] who has caused men to turn themselves away from GOD, and to make to themselves a host of Images to which they themselves gave Form, Name, and Being.

Idolatry Among His People, the Jews, and the Promise of a New Covenant

Touching the Jews: although they had received and accepted the Messages and Commandments which the LORD sent them by His Servants: yet, they immediately broke Faith with Him; lightly turned themselves back from following Him; violated and despised His Law, which they hated, and in which they walked with regret; opposing His Will, they became strangers to His House, and can greedily after other Gods, committing Idolatry after the manner of the Gentiles. Wherefore, as the LORD had well foreseen, and had well provided for from the commencement, in order to bring men to GOD, Jews as well as Gentiles, it was necessary that there should be a new Covenant, Certain, Assured, and Inviolable; and to Establish and Confirm it there was need of a Mediator, who should go between and intercede with the two parties, to Reconcile them; without which, man must always be under the Wrath and Indignation of GOD; and had no means of relieving himself from the Curse, Misery, and Confusion into which he had plunged.

Jesus Christ, the Hope of Recovering the Loss Made in Adam for Jew and Gentile

It was our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, the True and only Eternal Son of GOD, who was to be sent and given to men on the part of the Father, to be the Restorer of a world otherwise Dispersed, Destroyed, and laid Waste; to Him, from the beginning of the world, has ever been the hope of recovering the loss made in Adam.

For even to Adam, immediately after his ruin, to console and comfort him, was given the Promise, that, “by the Seed of the Woman the head of “the Serpent should be crushed.” Which meant, that by JESUS CHRIST, born of a Virgin, the power of Satan should be beaten down and destroyed. Afterwards, this same Promise was fully renewed to Abraham, when GOD said, that, “by his Seed, all nations of the “earth should be blessed:” which was, that from his seed should come forth, according to the flesh, JESUS CHRIST; by whose blessing, all men, of whatever nation they might be, should be sanctified. Again, it was continued to Isaac, in the same form and in the same words: and, from age to age, many times Proclaimed, Repeated, and Confirmed by the testimony of different Prophets, even to showing fully, for more complete assurance, where He should be born; and at what time, and in what place; what afflictions and death He should suffer, from which He should resuscitate; what should be His reign; and to what safety He should lead and conduct His people.

Jesus Christ—God with Us

First it was predicted in Isaiah, how He should be born of a Virgin, saying, “Behold a Virgin “shall be with child, and shall bring forth a “Son, and thou shalt call His name IMMANUEL.”

Jesus Christ—King

In Moses, the time is set forth to us, when the good Jacob said, “The scepter shall not be taken “away from the tribe of Judah, nor the leader “from his armies; until He who is to be sent comes: “and He shall be the waited for of the nations.” Which was verified at the time when JESUS CHRIST came into the world. For the Romans, after having divested the Jews of all government and control, had, about thirty-seven years before, appointed Herod king over them; who was a stranger, his father Antipater being an Idumean, and his mother an Arabian. It had several times happened that the Jews had been without kings; but they had never been seen, as they then were, without Counsellors, Governors, or Magistrates. Another description of it is given in Daniel, by the computation of the seventy weeks. The place of his birth is clearly pointed out to us by Micah, saying, “And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art not “the least among the thousands of Judah; from thee “shall come forth, for me, Him who shall be the Ruler “in Israel; and His going forth is of Eternity, from “before the beginning of days.”

Jesus Christ—Redeemer

As to the Afflictions which He had to bear for our Deliverance; and the Death which He had to suffer for our Redemption; Isaiah and Zechariah have spoken of them fully and clearly. The Glory of His Resurrection, and the Nature of His Reign, and the Gift of Salvation which He should bring to His people, have been richly treated of by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah.

Jesus Christ—Messiah, the End and Fulfillment of the Law

In such Promises, announced and assured by these holy persons filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, the Children and Elect of GOD have rested in peace and comforted themselves: and in them, have Nourished, Sustained, and Strengthened their Hope, waiting until the LORD should will to make manifest to them, those things which He had promised them. Among whom many Kings and Prophets strongly desired to see the accomplishment of them; yet nevertheless, they did not fail, by faith, to apprehend in their hearts and minds, that which they could not see with their eyes. And again, still more by every means to confirm them in the long expectation of the Great Messiah, GOD gave them, as a pledge, His written Ceremonial Law, in which were comprised many Ceremonies, Purifications, and Sacrifices; which things were only Figures and Shadows of great good things to come by CHRIST, who alone is the Body and Truth of them. For the Law could not bring any one to Perfection: on the contrary, it only pointed out, and, as a Schoolmaster, directed and conducted to CHRIST, who was, as St. Paul says, “The End and Fulfilment of it.”

In like manner, many times at different periods He sent them Kings, Princes, and Leaders, to deliver them from the power of their Enemies, to govern them in Peace, to recover them their Losses, to make their kingdom Flourish, and by great exploits [proüesses] to make them Renowned among all other people: in order to give them some foretaste of the mighty marvels which they would receive from the Great MESSIAH, in whom should be displayed all the Goodness and Power of the Spiritual Kingdom of GOD. But, when the fullness of time was come, and the period preordained of GOD had elapsed, this Great MESSIAH, so long promised and so long looked for, came and Perfected and Accomplished all that was necessary for our Redemption and Salvation. He was given, not to the Israelites only, but to all men of every nation and region; in order that, by Him, the Human Race might he Reconciled to GOD.

Jesus Christ—the One whom the Old and New Covenants Seek to Make Known

To make known which, the Lord JESUS, who was the Founder and the Substance of it, after that He had executed His Function among the Jews, ordained His Apostles, to whom He gave Charge and Commandment to publish His Grace through all the world. Now, the Apostles, in order well and fully to acquit themselves of their duty, not only took labor and vigilance to execute their Mission by oral Preaching; but, after the example of Moses and the Prophets, to leave an everlasting Record of their teaching, reduced it to writing: in which they first recited the history of that which our Lord JESUS CHRIST did and suffered for our Salvation: then, afterwards, showed the Value of it all; what Benefit we receive from it; and in what Way we must take it. All this recital is called the New Covenant; and is so called with reference to the Old; which, inasmuch as it was to bring into subjection to the other, and to refer to it, was, in itself, Weak and Imperfect; and moreover, has been Abolished and Abrogated.

But the other is New and Eternal, and will never grow Old, and will never Fail: since JESUS is the Mediator who Ratified and Confirmed it by His Death, by which He accomplished a full and complete Remission of all the Transgressions which had been committed under the first Covenant; inasmuch as He brought them back to that which ought to be exhibited and performed under the New. The Scriptures also call it the Gospel, that is to say, Good and Joyful Tidings: because, in it is set forth to us that CHRIST, the only Natural and Eternal Son of the Living GOD, was made man to make us, by adoption, children of GOD His Father: and so is our only Saviour, on whom depends entirely our Redemption, Peace, Justification, Sanctification, Salvation, and Life; who Died for our sins, Resuscitated for our justification; who Ascended into Heaven to give us admission there; to take Possession for us, and in our name, and to remain forever present with His Father as our Perpetual Advocate and Priest [Sacrificateur]; who has sat down at the right hand of GOD as a King, constituted Lord and Master over all, in order to Restore all things in Heaven and in Earth; which all the Angels, Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles would never have been able nor have known how to do; for to that they were not appointed by GOD.

And, as the MESSIAH had been so often promised in the Old Testament by many witnessing’s of the Prophets: so JESUS CHRIST has by certain and undoubtable evidence been declared to be Him, who was to come and who was waited for, and no other. For, the Lord GOD, by His own Voice and by His Spirit, by His Angels, Prophets, and Apostles, moreover, by all His Creatures, has rendered us so fully sure of it, that no one can contradict it without Resisting and Rebelling against His Power.

The Beloved Son

In the first place, the Lord GOD Eternal, by His own Voice [which is without any doubt irrevocable truth], has testified it to us, saying, “Behold my well-beloved Son, in whom I have taken delight; listen to Him.” The HOLY SPIRIT is a great witness of it to us in our hearts, as St. John says, “The angel Gabriel, being sent to the Virgin “Mary, said to her, Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy “womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and shalt call His “name JESUS; for He shall be Great, and shall “be called the Son of the Very-High. And the Lord “GOD shall give Him the seat of David, His father, “and He shall reign eternally in the house of Jacob, and “in His Kingdom there shall be no end.” A message the same in substance, was delivered to Joseph: and, again, afterwards to the Shepherds; to whom it also was announced, that “A Saviour, who is CHRIST “the Lord, is born.” And this message was not only brought by an Angel; but, it was confirmed by a great multitude of Angels, who with one accord rendered Glory to the LORD, and announced Peace on Earth.


Simeon the Just, in prophetic spirit, confessed Him aloud; for taking the Little Infant between his arms, he said, “Now, O LORD! “thou leave thy servant in peace, according to thy “word, for mine eyes have seen thy Salvation, which “thou host prepared before the face of all people.” John the Baptist also spoke of Him, as pertained to Him, when, at the river Jordan, seeing Him coming, he said, “Behold the Lamb of GOD! Behold Him who “takes away the sins of the world.” Peter and all the Apostles Confessed, bore Witness, and Preached, that in CHRIST, the True Son of GOD, were accomplished all things belonging to that Salvation, and foretold by the Prophets. And those whom the LORD ordained to be witnesses of Him, even to the end of the world, have, by their writings, fully set Him forth, as the readers can sufficiently perceive. All these Evidences unite so well in one, and agree together in such a manner, that by that Agreement it is easy to understand that He is Truth; for such an Agreement could not exist in Falsehood.


Moreover, not only the FATHER, the SON, the HOLY SPIRIT, the Angels, the Prophets, and the Apostles, bear witness of JESUS; but further, His marvellous Works show His surpassing Might. The Sick, Lame, Blind, Deaf, Dumb, Paralytic, Leprous, Lunatics, Demoniacs, nay even the Dead resuscitated, bear the tokens of it. In His own Might He Resuscitated Himself. In His own Name He Pardoned sins. And therefore, it was not without cause He said, that the Works which His Father had given Him to do, were sufficiently good witnesses to Him. In addition, the Wicked and those who were the enemies of His Glory, were constrained by the force of truth, to confess and to acknowledge something of it; as Pilate and his wife. I do not choose to bring forward the Testimony of the Devils and Unclean Spirits, seeing that He rejected it.

God, Lord, and Master

In short, all the Elements, and all created things gave glory to JESUS CHRIST. At His command the Winds ceased; the troubled Sea became calm; the Fish brought the piece of money in his belly; the Rocks, to bear witness to Him, were crushed; the Vail of the Temple was rent down the middle; the Sun was darkened; the Tombs opened themselves, and many bodies were resuscitated. There was nothing, either in Heaven or in Earth, which did not testify, that JESUS CHRIST is its God, Lord, and Master, and the great Ambassador of the FATHER sent here below to effect the salvation of mankind. All these things are announced to us, clearly shown, written and signed, in that Testament, by which JESUS CHRIST makes us His heirs to the kingdom of GOD His Father, and declares to us His Will, as a Testator does to his Heirs for them to execute. Now we are called to this heritage without exception of persons, Male or Female; Small or Great; Servant or Lord; Master or Disciple; Clergy or Lay; Hebrew or Greek; French or Latin. No one is rejected from it: whoever by sure betrothment [fiànce] shall receive that which is sent to him, shall embrace that which is presented to him; in short, who shall acknowledge JESUS CHRIST to be such as He is given of the FATHER.

And shall we, who hear the name of Christians, suffer to be torn away from us, to be hid, and to be corrupted, that Testament which so justly belongs to us? without which we cannot pretend any Right to the Kingdom of GOD; without which, we are ignorant of the Great Benefits and Promises which JESUS CHRIST has conferred upon us; the glory and happiness which He has prepared for us; we know not what GOD has commanded or forbidden; we cannot discern good from evil; light from darkness; the commandments of GOD from the ordinances of men. Without the Gospel, we are useless and vain; without the Gospel, we are not Christians; without the Gospel, all riches is poverty; Wisdom is folly before GOD; Strength is weakness; all Human Righteousness is condemned. But, by the knowledge of the Gospel, we are made Children of GOD; Brothers of JESUS CHRIST; Members of the Fellowship of the Saints; Inhabitants of the Kingdom of Heaven; Heirs of GOD with JESUS CHRIST, by whom the Poor are made rich, the Feeble powerful, Fools wise, Sinners are justified, the Afflicted are consoled, Doubters are confirmed, Slaves are made free.

The Gospel is the Word of Life and of Truth

The Gospel is the word of Life and of Truth. It is the Power of GOD for the salvation of all Believers: The Key of the knowledge of GOD, which opens to the Faithful the door of the Kingdom of Heaven, unbinding them from their sins; and shuts it against the Unbelieving, binding them in their sins. Blessed are those who hear it and keep it, for thereby they show that they are the Children of GOD. Miserable are those who will not hear nor follow it, for they are the Children of the Devil. O Christians! hear this and learn; for assuredly the Ignorant will perish with his ignorance; and the Blind, following another Blind, will fall with him into the ditch. There is only One Way to life and salvation; it is the Faith and Assurance of the Promises of GOD, which can be had by the Gospel alone; by the hearing and understanding which, lively Faith is freely given, with certain Hope and perfect Peace with GOD, and ardent Love toward one’s neighbor. Where then is your Hope, if you despise and disdain to Hear, to See, to Read, and to Hold fast this Holy Gospel?

Those who have their Affections rooted on things of this world, purchase, by every means, that which they think concerns their happiness, without sparing their Labour, Body, Life, or Renown. And all these things are done to serve this wretched body, the life of which is so Miserable, Vain, and Uncertain. When it is a question of Life immortal and incorruptible, of Bliss eternal and unappreciable, of all the treasures of Paradise, shall we not constrain ourselves to follow after them? Those who apply themselves to any Mechanical Arts, however base and vile they may be, undergo much trouble and labor to learn them and to make themselves masters of them: and those who wish to be reputed the most wise, torment their minds Night and Day, to understand some branch of human Science, the whole of which is but Wind and Smoke. To how much greater extent ought we to employ ourselves, and to strive in the study of that Heavenly Wisdom which passes out for beyond the world, and penetrates even to the Mysteries of GOD, which He has been pleased to reveal by His Holy WORD.

To Be in Christ, is to be Blessed and Holy—No Matter What

What then shall be able to divert and alienate us from this Holy Gospel? Shall Injuries, Curses, Reproaches, Privations of worldly honor? But we well know that JESUS CHRIST passed through such a road, and we must follow if we would be His Disciples, and must not refuse to be Despised, Mocked, Degraded, Rejected before men; in order to be Honored, Prized, Glorified, and Exalted at the judgment of GOD. Shall Banishment, Proscriptions, Deprivations of goods and wealth? but we well know, that though we be banished from one country, “The earth is the LORD’S:” and though we should be cast out from all the earth, yet we should not be out of His Kingdom: that, though we be plundered and made poor, we have a FATHER sufficiently rich to maintain us; even as CHRIST was made poor, to the intent that we should follow him in poverty. Shall Afflictions, Prisons, Tortures, Torments? but, by the example of JESUS CHRIST, we know that to be the road which leads to Glory. Finally, shall Death? but Death does not take from us a life to be desired. In short, if we have CHRIST with us, we shall find nothing so Cursed that it shall not, by Him, be made Blessed; nothing so Hateful that it shall not be made Holy; nothing so Bad that it shall not be turned into Good.

Let us not be discouraged though we see all Wordly might and powers against us, for His Promise cannot fail us. “The LORD, from on high, “will laugh to scorn the Assembling’s and Efforts of men “who gather themselves together against Him.” Let us not be Disconsolate as if all Hope was lost, though we see the faithful Servants of GOD put to death before our eyes. For it was truly said by Tertullian, and has always been confirmed, and will be to the end of time, that “The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of “the Church.”

Fear of God and Fear of Man—Eternal Consequences

And we have a still better and firmer Consolation: it is to turn our eyes away from this World, and to cast off all that we see before us, awaiting in Patience the great Judgment of GOD, by which, in a moment, all that men have ever invented against Him, will be Beaten down, Overturned, and Annihilated. That will be when the Reign of GOD, which we now see in Hope, will be made manifest, and JESUS CHRIST will appear in His Majesty with His Angels. Then, both the Good and the Bad must be present before the Judgment-seat of that Great King. Those who have remained firm in that Covenant, and have followed and kept the Will of that Good FATHER, will be on the Right Hand, as true Children, and will receive the Blessing the End of their Faith, which will be Life Eternal. And, further, and they were not ashamed to Avow and Confess JESUS CHRIST at the time when he was Despised among men, they will also be Partakers of His Glory and be Crowned with Him Eternally. But the Perverse, Rebellious, and Reprobate, who have despised and rejected that Holy Gospel; and likewise those, who to retain their Riches, Honors, and Exalted Conditions, were unwilling to humble themselves and to become of Low Estate with JESUS CHRIST; and for Fear of men, have thrown off the Fear of GOD, as Bastards and Disobedient to their Father, will be on the Left Hand, and will cast into Cursing’s; and for the Wages of their Unbelief will receive Eternal Death.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ—the Beginning, the Middle, and the End of our Salvation

Now, since you have heard that the Gospel presents to you JESUS CHRIST, in whom all the Promises and Gifts of GOD are accomplished; and declares to you that He was sent from the FATHER, came down to Earth, Conversed with men, Completed all that was necessary for our Salvation; as it had been Predicted in the Law and the Prophets: it ought to be very certain and clear to you, that the Treasures of Paradise are open to you, and the Riches of GOD spread before you, and the Life Eternal revealed to you. “For this is Life Eternal, to known one “only True GOD; and Him whom He sent, JESUS “CHRIST,” in whom he has fixed the Beginning, the Middle, and the End of our Salvation.

Jesus Christ, the Yes and Amen of Every Promise

This is Isaac, the well-beloved Son of his Father, who was offered in Sacrifice, and yet for all that did not succumb to the power of Death. This is the Good Shepherd, Jacob, taking such great care of the Sheep of which he has the charge. This is the Good and Pitying Brother, Joseph, who in his glory was not ashamed to recognize his Brothers, contemptible and object as they were. This is the Great Priest and Bishop Melchiseder, who has made an eternal sacrifice, once for all men. This is the Sovereign Law-giver Moses, writing his law, by his Spirit, on the tables of our hearts. This is the Faithful Captain and Guide Joshua, to conduct us to the promised land. This is the Noble and Victorious King David, subduing under his hand every rebellious power. This is the Magnificent and Triumphant King Solomon, governing his people in peace and prosperity. This is the Strong and Mighty Samson, who, by his death, overwhelmed all his enemies. And even every Good which can be Imagined or Desired is found in one alone, JESUS CHRIST.

For He Humbled Himself, to Exalt us; He made Himself a Servant, to set us Free; He became Poor, to Enrich us; He was Sold, to Buy us back [re-archeter]; a Captive, to Deliver us; Condemned, to procure our Pardon; He was made a Curse, that we might be Blessed; the Oblation for sins, for our Justification; His face was marred, to re-beautify ours; He Died, that we might have Life. In such sort that, by Him, Hardness is softened; Wrath appeased; Darkness made light; Iniquity turned into Righteousness; Weakness is made Strength; Despair is consoled; Sin is resisted; Shame is despised; Fear is emboldened; Debt is paid; Labor is lightened; Sorrow turned into joy; Misfortune into blessing; Difficulties are made easy; Disorder made order; Division into union; Ignominy is ennobled; Rebellion subjected; Threat is threatened; Ambush is ambushed; Assault assailed; Striving is overpowered; War is warred against; Vengeance is avenged on; Torment tormented; Damnation damned; Destruction destroyed; Hell burned up; Death is killed; Mortality changed to Immortality.

Jesus Christ, Triumphant Warrior King

In short, Pity has swallowed up all misery; and Goodness, all wretchedness. For all those things, which used to be the arms with which the Devil combated us, and the Sting of Death, are, to draw us forward, turned into instruments from which we can derive profit. So that we can boast with the Apostle, saying, “O Hell! “where is thy Victory? O Death! where is thy “Sting?” And thence it comes, that by such a spirit as CHRIST promised His Elect, We no longer live, but CHRIST lives in us; and we are, by the Spirit, seated in heavenly places, until the world shall be no longer a world to us, in that we have our conversation in Him: but we are content, whatever may be our Country, Place, Condition, Clothes, Food, and other like things: and are comforted in Tribulation; in Sorrow, are joyful; under Abuse, glorified; in Poverty, abounding; in Nakedness made warm; patient of Evil; in Death, living.

Jesus Christ, the Whole of What We Should Seek in the Scriptures

This is the whole of what we should seek in the Scriptures: to be well acquainted with JESUS CHRIST, and the Infinite Riches which are comprised in Him; and which are, by Him, offered to us from GOD His Father. For if the Law and the Prophets be most carefully searched, there is not to be found in them one word which does not refer and lead to Him. And in fact, since all the treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge are hid in Him, it is not well to have any other end or object; unless we wish, as with deliberate intention, to turn ourselves away from the light of Truth, to go astray into the thick darkness of Falsehood.

Moreover, St. Paul, in another passage, rightly says, “That he did not account it of any value to Know all “things, if he did not Know CHRIST and Him “Crucified.” For however much to the carnal mind that Knowledge may seem a common and contemptible thing; nevertheless, the acquiring of it is sufficient to occupy us all our life. And we shall not have lost our time, though we employ all our Study, and apply all our Understanding to profit by it. What more could we ask, for the Spiritual Teaching of our souls, than to known GOD; to be transformed into Him; to have His Glorious Image impressed upon us; and to be partakers of His Righteousness? to be heirs of His Kingdom? to possess it fully to the end?

The Written Word and the Living Word—All We Need, Now and Forever

Now, it is thus, that from the commencement He gave Himself to our contemplation; and now more clearly gives Himself in the Person of His CHRIST. It is not then allowable that we turn ourselves away and wander here and there, however little it may be; but our understanding must be altogether stayed at this point, to learn in the Scriptures to know only JESUS CHRIST, in order to be, by Him, conducted straight to the FATHER, who contains within Himself all Perfection.

Behold, I say to you again, where is contained all the wisdom, which men can acquire or ought to seek after in this life: to it neither Angel, nor Man, nor Living, nor Dead, can add anything, or take anything from it. Moreover, that is the end where we must stop and limit our understanding, without adding anything of our own, and must not receive any doctrine which is added thereto. For whoever dares undertake to teach on syllable beyond or above that which is there taught us, ought to be held cursed before GOD and His Church.

By |October 2nd, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

About the Author:

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and assistant professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero. He blogs at Prince on Preaching and frequently writes for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, For the Church, the BGEA and Preaching Today