What would it have like to have known John Calvin? Bruce Gordon tells us in his marvelous survey of Calvin’s life, Calvin (Yale, 2009).
One picture emerges from his letters and sixteenth-century biographers: serious, though not without a sense of humour, intense and deeply spiritual. Discipline was not simply for the church; discipline was his way of life. Calvin believed that he lived each day in the presence of God and that every activity, great and small, was consecrated to the Lord, to whom he would have to give account. He rose around four in the morning to begin the day with prayers with Idelette and their servants. Prayer punctuated the day, at meals and again before retiring. Work itself was a form of prayer as he laboured to penetrate the mysteries of scripture by reading, translating and writing. From 1543 until his death he lived in a house in the rue des Chanoines which had a bedroom, a living/dining area, and a study where he had his books and papers (144).