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John Calvin – On the Golden Rule

19 Jun


So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 ESV)

It is an exhortation to his [Christ’s] disciples to be just, and contains a short and simple definition of what justice means. We are here informed, that the only reason why so many quarrels exist in the world, and why men inflict so many mutual injuries on each other, is, that they knowingly and willingly trample justice under their feet, while every man rigidly demands that it shall be maintained towards himself.

Where our own advantage is concerned, there is not one of us, who cannot explain minutely and ingeniously what ought to be done. And since every man shows himself to be a skilful teacher of justice for his own advantage, how comes it, that the same knowledge does not readily occur to him, when the profit or loss of another is at stake, but because we wish to be wise for ourselves only, and no man cares about his neighbours? What is more, we maliciously and purposely shut our eyes upon the rule of justice, which shines in our hearts. Christ therefore shows, that every man may be a rule of acting properly and justly towards his neighbours, if he do to others what he requires to be done to him. He thus refutes all the vain pretences, which men contrive for hiding or disguising their injustice. Perfect justice would undoubtedly prevail among us, if we were as faithful in learning active charity, (if we may use the expression,) as we are skilful in teaching passive charity.

~John Calvin~

Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 355–356.

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Wilhelmus à Brakel – Struggles With Loving Our Neighbor

9 Jan
Wilhelmus a Brakel 1

1635-1711. Dutch Reformed Pastor in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, if one considers the conduct of many of the truly regenerate, how much they fall short of this standard! It is true: They love the godly because God loves them and because they love God in Christ. Their heart is knit to them in that respect—with the exclusion of all other men. They esteem them, their heart goes out toward them, they rejoice when they perceive the godly in their essential nature; but when it comes to their deeds, it is manifest how weak their love is. They keep to themselves and it is as if all others were strangers to them, or they exercise fellowship with only one or with but a few, and ignore others. If one of the godly has a fault, they will immediately render his godliness suspect. If he is perceived as a challenge to us and he does not act according to our wishes, then displeasure, wrath, strife, and backbiting surface, and one gives him the cold shoulder—acting as if their spiritual life did not proceed from one and the same Spirit. And in regard to the unconverted, where is the heartfelt affection for them? Where is the joy about their prosperity, the grief over their mishaps, and the exercise concerning their spiritual and physical welfare?

It ought indeed to be investigated why it is that there is so little love among the godly, so that everyone would be motivated to remove the causes of his lovelessness which he perceives within himself, and thus enhance his progress in the exercise of love.”

~Wilhelmus à Brakel~

The Christian’s Reasonable Service, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1992), 61.

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à Brakel’s Works on Logos Bible Software

More à Brakel Quotes at The Old Guys