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The martyrdom of men whose hearts have become inflamed with the truth, prove that scripture is divine revelation

February 26, 2014 3 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The constancy of the martyrs. Conclusion. Proofs of this description only of use after the certainty of Scripture has been established in the heart by the Holy Spirit.

13. Again, with what confidence does it become us to subscribe to a doctrine attested and confirmed by the blood of so many saints? They, when once they had embraced it, hesitated not boldly and intrepidly, and even with great alacrity, to meet death in its defense. Being transmitted to us with such an earnest, who of us shall not receive it with firm and unshaken conviction? It is therefore no small proof of the authority of Scripture, that it was sealed with the blood of so many witnesses, especially when it is considered that in bearing testimony to the faith, they met death not with fanatical enthusiasm, (as erring spirits are sometimes wont to do,) but with a firm and constant, yet sober godly zeal. There are other reasons, neither few nor feeble, by which the dignity and majesty of the Scriptures may be not only proved to the pious, but also completely vindicated against the cavils of slanderers. These, however, cannot of themselves produce a firm faith in Scripture until our heavenly Father manifest his presence in it, and thereby secure implicit reverence for it. Then only, therefore, does Scripture suffice to give a saving knowledge of God when its certainty is founded on the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Still the human testimonies which go to confirm it will not be without effect, if they are used in subordination to that chief and highest proof, as secondary helps to our weakness. But it is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the Word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith. Justly, therefore, does Augustine remind us, that every man who would have any understanding in such high matters must previously possess piety and mental peace.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation

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Those who opposed the Reformers claimed knowledge, but were ignorant of the things of God

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-00152. It is owing to the same ignorance that they hold it to be doubtful and uncertain; for this is the very thing of which the Lord complains by his prophets “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people does not consider,” (Isaiah 1:3.) But however they may sport with its uncertainty, had they to seal their own doctrine with their blood, and at the expense of life, it would be seen what value they put upon it. Very different is our confidence — a confidence which is not appalled by the terrors of death, and therefore not even by the judgment-seat of God.

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

Concerning Those not Settled in the Faith

Such as are not settled in the faith can never suffer for it. Skeptics in religion hardly ever prove martyrs. They that are not settled hang in suspense; when they think of the joys of heaven they will espouse the gospel, but when they think of persecution they desert it.

Thomas Watson