Get over yourself, and get impressed with God – Institutes of the Christian Religion

Get over yourself, and get impressed with God – Institutes of the Christian Religion November 25, 2011

Amazon’s Kindle website gives an interesting snapshot of books by sharing the post popular highlights by people using Kindle software to read a book. Generally you get a good impression of a book, and it’s most striking themes. This is certainly true with Calvin’s Institutes, where his desire to point us away from ourselves and towards a God who is infinitely better than us rings out loud and clear. Here are some examples of popular quotes:


we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves.

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For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself.

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So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods.

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men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.

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For, until men feel that they owe everything to God, that they are cherished by his paternal care, and that he is the author of all their blessings, so that nothing is to be looked for away from him, they will never submit to him in voluntary obedience; nay, unless they place their entire happiness in him, they will never yield up their whole selves to him in truth and sincerity.

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The effect of our knowledge rather ought to be, first, to teach us reverence and fear; and, secondly, to induce us, under its guidance and teaching, to ask every good thing from him, and, when it is received, ascribe it to him. For how can the idea of God enter your mind without instantly giving rise to the thought, that since you are his workmanship, you are bound, by the very law of creation, to submit to his authority? – that your life is due to him? – that whatever you do ought to have reference to him?

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Besides, it is not the mere fear of punishment that restrains him from sin. Loving and revering God as his father, honoring and obeying him as his master, although there were no hell, he would revolt at the very idea of offending him.

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Such is pure and genuine religion, namely, confidence in God coupled with serious fear – fear, which both includes in it willing reverence, and brings along with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed by the law. And it ought to be more carefully considered that all men promiscuously do homage to God, but very few truly reverence him. On all hands there is abundance of ostentatious ceremonies, but sincerity of heart is rare.

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More at Amazon Kindle: Institutes of the Christian Religion.

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