Not Lessened One Whit

Posted: June 8, 2011 in books, calvin, history, hope, joy, persecution, providence, quotes, suffering

Letter to Monsieur De Falais
Exhortation to glorify God amid poverty and persecution.

…It is time to show in reality that when you have set yourself frankly to follow Jesus Christ, you have not done so without being resolved to hold fellowship with Him at the cross, since He has done us that honour to be crucified in us, to glorify us with Himself…But, forasmuch as it is very reasonable that one should be taught by experience discernment of what our affection is most set upon, you are to consider that it has been the Lord’s will to give you to many others for an example, and, by this means, to glorify His name in you.

On the other hand, we know not what it is to part with everything for the love of Him, until He has brought us to the test.  True it is, that he who has taken off his affection from the goods of this world has already sold all, and has made himself poor, so far as depends upon himself; but the fruit and proof of this spiritual poverty are, patiently to endure the loss of worldly goods, and without any regret, when it pleases our heavenly Father that we should be despoiled of them…

The time then is arrived when you must manifest that you reckon all things no more than dung, that you may reach forward to Him who not only has bestowed on you all His benefits, but also Himself.  And since God has permitted that you should be disburdened of a part of your worldly goods, you are to consider that He has clearly perceived that, for the present, they would prove a useless burden for you…

In short, you have not been lessened one whit, seeing that our Lord, while teaching you that your inheritance is in heaven, has made provision for what might be useful for the life of the body, by bestowing contentment upon you, and, as regards poverty, more than was needful to make you contented…It is certain, that having the Son of God, we suffer no injury in being deprived of all else: for thus highly ought we indeed to prize Him.

…I pray our good Lord that He would so work in you now more powerfully than ever, to make you despise all that is in the world, and to make you breathe upwards direct to Him with your whole heart, without being turned aside by anything whatsoever, making you taste what is the worth of the hope which He reserves for us in heaven…

– John Calvin, Letter to Monsieur De Falais (1545), Letters of John Calvin, p. 76-77


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