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A Summary of the Books of the Old and New Covenants by John Calvin
THE Books of the Old Testament teach us that the GOD adored by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and our other Fathers, is the Only True GOD, All-powerful and Eternal; Who, of the infinite Goodness which is in Him, created by His Eternal WORD the Heavens, and the Earth, and all that is in them; from Whom all things proceed; without Whom nothing exists; Who executes justice and merry and all other things entirely as seemeth Him good, and suffers not that any one presumptuously ask, why that which He has done is thus, or thus.
Beyond this, these Books give us to understand, that the Very-high, and All-powerful GOD, after He had created all things, formed Adam, the first man, and that in His own image and likeness; appointing and establishing him Lord over all creatures of the Earth. Which Adam, through the Hatred and Deceit of the Devil, fell into Disobedience, doing and striving in opposition to the Commandment of his Creator; and, by his Sin, so brought into the World the infection and poison of Sin, that all we who descend from him, are from our birth deserving of the Wrath and Punishment of GOD, partakers of Death and Damnation, enslaved under the Power and Tyranny of the Devil.
We learn, also, in these very excellent Books, that of old, GOD promised to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and others of those of old time, that He would send the Blessed Seed, His Son JESUS CHRIST, our Saviour: who should deliver from Sin, and from the Tyranny and Slavery of the Devil, those who, with a living and fruit-producing Faith, should believe that promise, and should trust in JESUS CHRIST, expecting the promised Deliverance and Liberty, of Him, and by Him alone.
Also they shew us and cause us to understand, that notwithstanding that the old Israelitish Fathers waited for the Promised Salvation and Deliverance [yet Man is of a nature so Haughty and Corrupted that, of his own will, he does not acknowledge himself a Sinner, such as is concerned in the Promised Saviour], GOD the Creator gave, by Moses, His Law written on Two Tables of Stone, that by it men might learn how great is the Depravity and Malice of the Human Heart; to the end that they might, therefore, more ardently desire the coming of JESUS CHRIST, who was to Redeem them and Deliver them from Sin; which could not be done by the Law, nor by the Victims and Sacrifices of the Law, which only served to represent and typify the Real Offering, that JESUS CHRIST would make of His Own Body, by which Oblation all Sins should be blotted out and abolished.
The Books of the New Testament inform us, that the Great King and Promised Messias, JESUS CHRIST [who is very GOD, worthy of Praise over all for ever], typified and represented in the Books of the Old Testament, was at last sent from His FATHER, in the time that the FATHER had ordained and settled in Himself; that is to say, when Iniquity and Abomination abounded in the World. And the Saviour JESUS CHRIST was thus sent, and took upon Him Human Flesh, and suffered Death, and returned to Life; not on account of Good Works that any one had done [for all were sinners], but, in order that GOD our Father, whose Word is Truth, might give us the great riches of His Grace which He had promised, and might save us by His Mercy.
It is, then, clearly shown to us in the New Testament, that JESUS CHRIST, the real Lamb and the true Victim, wiping away the Sins of Men, came into the World to make peace between His FATHER and us, and to restore us to His Favour and Love, cleansing us from our Sins by His Blood, to the end that He might deliver us from the Slavery of the Devil [by whom we were made Captives and Slaves, whenever we fell into Sin], and might adopt us and make us Children of GOD, to be Fellow-heirs with Himself of so Beautiful and so Noble a Kingdom.
And to the end that we may know this singular and excellent benefit which GOD has done for us, He gives us His HOLY SPIRIT, the fruit and effect of which is to make us Believe in GOD and in the King and Messias whom He hath sent. For, certainly, without the operation of the HOLY SPIRIT [by which we are taught, and, as with a seal affixed to them are made certain and sure of, the things which we believe], we cannot believe that GOD sent the Messias into the World, nor that JESUS CHRIST is that Messias. For as St. Paul says, “No one can confess that JESUS is GOD and “LORD, having power to save, unless it be by the “might and inspiration of the HOLY SPIRIT.” This same SPIRIT is the Witness to our Spirit, and makes it believe that we are Children of GOD, and fills us with that great Charity and Love which St. Paul describes to the Corinthians. Besides Faith and Charity, this same SPIRIT gives us the vigour of Hope, which is a certain looking forward to the Life Eternal and indestructible [of which Life it becomes our Pledge, like a good security in a matter of loan]: it gives us also other Favours and Spiritual Gifts, of which St. Paul writes to the Galatians. We must not deem the fruits of Faith to be trifling or of slight efficacy; for by Trust and Faith in JESUS CHRIST [which shows itself in works of love, and constrains man to do them], we are made Just and Holy, that is to say, GOD, the Father of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, who is also our Father, because of the Adoption of us by JESUS CHRIST our Brother, esteems us Just and Holy, purely of His Favour and Goodness, through the Merit and Satisfaction of His Son JESUS CHRIST, making no reckoning of our Sins; and not accounting them to us as Sins, and not condemning us to Eternal Death and Misery because of them.
Lastly, JESUS CHRIST came into this World in order that after we are purged from our Sins, and made holy by Faith in Him, we should take from Him an example of Well-doing, following His will in doing good Works and renouncing all carnal Works, and, of a Free will, serving Him in living Justly and Holily all the days of our Life; and that through good Works [which, before our calling, GOD had made ready and prepared to be done by us] we should show that we are called to that Favour and Gift of Faith. And whoever does not these good Works, shows that he has not that Faith in JESUS CHRIST which He requires of us.
To this Saviour we must come out, and go, and with great boldness follow Him, that He may instruct us; for He is our Master—Tender and Lowly of Heart: our Example and Model, from whom we must take pattern how to live.
Still further, He is the Bishop and Shepherd of our Souls, the Great Priest and Offering-maker, who Himself offered His Own Blood for us; the Mediator and Atonement between GOD and us Men, who is now set down at the Right Hand of God His Father, being our Advocate and Intercessor, praying for us; who will undoubtedly obtain from the FATHER, that which we ask of Him, or of His FATHER in His Name; provided, that in asking, we firmly Believe it will be so because He has promised it.
Through Him, when we have Sinned, let us not fear, with true Repentance [to which JESUS CHRIST invites and urges us from the very beginning of His preaching], and with firm and lively Faith, to go to the Throne and Royal Seat, where He ever sits, not to exercise Vengeance, but to show Favour to those who ask it, and He Will be merciful, for He came into the World that by His Grace He might save Sinners.
JESUS CHRIST, verily, will come, after the time settled by His FATHER, and will sit upon His Throne with great Majesty, and will Judge all men, and will render to every one according to his Deeds, whether Good or Evil; and will say to those on His Right Hand, who in this World looked forward to good things to come, that is, to Life Eternal, “Come, you who “are chosen of my FATHER to Life Eternal, “take possession of the Kingdom which is prepared “for you, and assigned to you from before the “creation of the World.” And, on the controry, to those “on His Left Hand He will say, “Depart from me, “ye Cursed and Reprobate Creatures, into the Eternal “Fire which is prepared and made ready for the Devil “and his Angels.” Then, to a certainty, will be the End of the World, when JESUS CHRIST, after having triumphed over all His Enemies, shall give up and restore to GOD His Father, the Kingdom which now He holds of Him.
In order that we might learn all this which is here set forth, the goodness of GOD has willed that through His HOLY SPIRIT the Books of the Bible should be given to us in writing, and has ordained the preaching of the Doctrine contained in them. He has also given us His Sacraments, by which the truth of this same Doctrine is, as it were, sealed; that we might known and believe that there is but One True GOD, and One Sole JESUS CHRIST, whom He has sent as He promised, and that in Believing we might have Eternal Life through the same JESUS CHRIST.
Other Foundation than this, can no man lay in the Church of CHRIST; upon it she is based; so that St. Paul desired that whoever should proclaim any other Faith and Salvation than that through JESUS CHRIST—even though he were an Angel from Heaven—might he Lost, Cast out, and Rejected of GOD.
To GOD the Father, then, of whom, and by whom, and to whom are all things: and to JESUS CHRIST our Lord, who Redeemed the World to the Father: and to the HOLY SPIRIT, be Honour and Glory Eternally.
Calvin, J. (1850). Christ the End of the Law: Being the Preface to the Geneva Bible of 1550 (pp. 35–45). London: William Tegg, & Co.