Home > Calvinism > We hold to the good writings of the church fathers, while our enemies hold to their errors

We hold to the good writings of the church fathers, while our enemies hold to their errors

John%20Calvin%20114. It is a calumny to represent us as opposed to the Fathers, (I mean the ancient writers of a purer age,) as if the Fathers were supporters of their impiety. Were the contest to be decided by such authority (to speak in the most moderate terms,) the better part of the victory would be ours. While there is much that is admirable and wise in the writings of those Fathers, and while in some things it has fared with them as with ordinary men; these pious sons, forsooth, with the peculiar acuteness of intellect, and judgment, and soul, which belongs to them, adore only their slips and errors, while those things which are well said they either overlook, or disguise, or corrupt, so that it may be truly said their only care has been to gather dross among gold. Then, with dishonest glamour, they assail us as enemies and despisers of the Fathers. So far are we from despising them, that if this were the proper place, it would give us no trouble to support the greater part of the doctrines which we now hold by their suffrages.

Still, in studying their writings, we have endeavored to remember, (1 Corinthians 3:21-23; see also Augustin. Ep. 28,) that all things are ours, to serve, not Lord it over us, but that we are Christ’s only, and must obey him in all things without exception. He who does not draw this distinction will not have any fixed principles in religion: for those holy men were ignorant of many things, are often opposed to each other, and are sometimes at variance with themselves.

John Calvin-Prefatory Address to Francis King of the French-Institutes of the Christian Religion

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