|IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 1, Number 7, April 12 to April 18, 1999|
"The strength of that heretic consisted in this, that money never had the slightest charm for him. If I had such servants, my kingdom would extend from sea to sea."Calvin's dearest friend, Theodore Beza, said of him:
"The thing to be wondered at is that a single man, as if he had been a kind of Christian Hercules, should have been able to subdue so many monsters, and this by that mightiest of all clubs, the Word of God."
"Let each one of us seek to make those whom we meet partners of our peace; yet our peace will only rest upon the children of peace. Let us speak to the heart of each one whom we meet, let us offer him the remedy of salvation, so that he and through him others may not perish. But it belongs to God to bless our words in those whom He has chosen."Calvin's theology must be tested by its fruits. Henry Martin, a Catholic, said:
"One might suppose that the doctrine of predestination would result in nothing other than carefree existence, or idle hopelessness, that it would destroy all determination to a devout life. But nothing of the sort with the disciples of Calvin. The compelling power of the growing Protestantism is so strong that men, conscious of their salvation, do their work as a natural fruitage of their faith, thereby justifying their doctrine. Even after the relapse from the first great enthusiasm one can see how a strong generation, strict with itself, and of unusual moral and physical vitality, continues to exist."Jules Michelet, an unbeliever, said:
"Geneva existed because of its moral strength. It had no territory, no army, nothing for space, time and matter. It was the city of the Spirit, built out of Stoicism upon the rock of election by grace. Against the monstrously dark dragnet in which Europe was caught through the laxity of France, this academy of heroes was needed. To each nation in danger, Sparta sent as an army a Spartan. Thus Geneva . . . let Loyola undermine the ground, let Spanish gold and the sword of the Guise blind and bribe! In this peaceful place, in this dusky garden of God bloomed blood-red roses under the hand of Calvin for the salvation and the freedom of the soul. If there be any need of martyrs in Europe, the need of a man to be burned or broken upon the wheel, this man is in Geneva, ready to go with the singing of psalms."Those who really knew Calvin found him to be gentle with real love in his heart for people. He grieved with his people in their sorrows and rejoiced in their joys. He had a heart for people and would write beautiful notes of sympathy when tragedy would strike a home. When a wedding occurred or a baby came to grace a home, he took a warm personal interest in the event. It was not unusual for him to stop on the street in the midst of weighty matters to give a schoolboy a friendly pat and an encouraging word. His enemies might call him pope or king or caliph; his friends thought of him only as their brother and beloved leader.
"By a sudden conversion, God subdued and reduced to docility my soul, which was more hardened against such things than one would expect of my youthful years."
"Like a flash of light, I realized in what an abyss of errors, in what chaos I was."
"You are concerned about your rest and your personal interests. . Therefore I proclaim to you in the name of Almighty God whose command you defy: Upon your work there shall rest no blessing . . . Therefore,let God damn your rest, let God damn your work!"Calvin was terrified and shaken by these words of Farel and he accepted the call to the ministry as teacher and pastor of the evangelical church of Geneva. His reply to Farel was, "I obey God!"
"Admittedly, to the age of the Reformation the word ‘tolerance' was unknown. Who does not keep this in mind lacks understanding of the history of this epoch, be he historian or even biographer of Calvin. He who sees the events of the past through the spectacles of his own age and views them in its ‘knowledge' sees them distorted. Calvin was a child of his century. If he wanted to build up what was torn down, he could not have proceeded any differently. Faith was to him the highest wisdom, it was the content of life. He did not go halfway, but drew all consequences from this assumption, for the Church and for the state, as well as for every citizen. And his theocratic state, even though one may be critical or hostile towards it, was something magnificent, impressive and moving" (Emanuel Stickelberger, Calvin ).
"Were I to tell you only the littlest things of the misfortune — what am I saying? — of the adversity which virtually crushed us during the course of one year, you would hardly believe me. I am convinced that not a day passed in which I did not long for death ten times."This was a very discouraging movement for Calvin, but this rejection was also in the providence of God.