Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Club -- Institutes of the Christian Religion

I am continuing on my journey through Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. Some of the best mornings lately, have been those when I wake up and read Calvin: about our faith -- how it falters and it's not perfect and yet the Lord is gracious and He continues to work in us and strengthen us, and produce in us "an eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison."

On Saturday night (as I was delighting in my completed to-do list, in my bed (by 7:30!!), reading Calvin, ready for the Lord's day!) I was finishing chapter three of Book Three. He was talking about (by the way, just let me know if this is the most perfect way to end the week, or what?) In any event, He was talking about our sinfulness and how the saints can often become so overwhelmed with how sinful they far short of His glory they fall, that they lose sight of the Savior. And then he quoted Bernard~

"Grief for sins is necessary, but must not be perpetual. My advice is to turn back at times from sorrow and the anxious remembrance of your ways, and escape to the plain, to a calm review of the divine mercies. Let us mingle honey with wormwood, that the salubrious bitter may give health when we drink it tempered with a mixture of sweetness: while you think humbly of yourselves, think also of the goodness of the Lord."
Oh, we do not have a book big enough (I'm somewhat paraphrasing Thomas Watson, here) to write all the mercies of God in. As William Langland said, “All the wickedness in this world that man might work or think, Is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal in the sea.”

We must see our sinfulness. We cannot see ourselves in desperate need of a Savior if we do not see how totally wicked are our hearts. But I wanted to brighten up Monday a bit with the reminder to "think also on the goodness of the Lord." For He is good...all His ways are good...He desires to pour out good things on His children and causes all things to work together for the good of His godly ones! "Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise!"

In the Savior's grip,


* Salubrious: healthy, or health-giving *


Lily said...


I really liked that quote. The indented one. It reminded me of what Thomas Watson said in All Things For Good about the bitter cup that Christ drank for us, and the gall left in the cup that he mingles with honey for our own good. I don't have the book sitting with me, but that's a rough paraphrase. Anyway, I'm supposed to be doing math right toodles!


Miss Blair said...


Yeah, I remember that part of All Things For Good. What a wonderful book. I mean, that's just one huge notable quotable :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the quote by Bernard. I was so encouraged by that -- "think also upon the goodness of the Lord." Oh, Lily, He is so good! So faithful. So merciful to His godly ones. We have much to think upon with such a Savior!



Lily said...

And I did make time to read Calvin the other day...he's ok...he just doesn't motivate you to read any least not in my opinion. ;)But I felt very "accomplished" making time to read the Institutes of the Christian Religion last Sunday. And, I knew you'd be proud...

Miss Blair said...


I am so glad that you were able to spend the Lord's Day reading Calvin. You're so funny: we have opposite views on Calvin. For me, if I haven't had time to read it in a while I have to convince myself that it really is worth my time and that I really do enjoy reading it and then, after I start, I just get so into it and I read pages at a time. I haven't had the time to read my three pages per day lately and so I'm a bit behind but this week I've started reading again and I am just so encouraged and so refreshed. So just keep pluggin'! Leah and I already gave you a round of applause on the phone. It made you laugh...and that counts for something!

Love you,