Front Page Titles (by Subject) EPISTLE TO THE READER. - The Institutes of the Christian Religion
EPISTLE TO THE READER. - John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion 
The Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1846). 2 volumes in 1.
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- Institutions of the Christian Religion.
- Prefatory Address to His Most Christian Majesty, the Most Mighty and Illustrious Monarch, Francis, King of the French, His Sovereign; 1 John Calvin Prays Peace and Salvation In Christ. 2
- The Epistle to the Reader.
- Subject of the Present Work.
- Epistle to the Reader.
- Method and Arrangement, Or Subject of the Whole Work.
- General Index of Chapters.
- Book First.: of the Knowledge of God the Creator.
- Chapter I.: The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves Mutually Connected.—nature of the Connection.
- Chapter II.: What It Is to Know God.—tendency of This Knowledge.
- Chapter III.: The Knowledge of God Naturally Implanted In the Human Mind.
- Chapter IV.: The Knowledge of God Stifled Or Corrupted, Ignorantly Or Maliciously.
- Chapter V.: The Knowledge of God Conspicuous In the Creation and Continual Government of the World.
- Chapter VI.: The Need of Scripture, As a Guide and Teacher, In Coming to God As a Creator.
- Chapter VII.: The Testimony of the Spirit Necessary to Give Full Authority to Scripture. the Impiety of Pretending That the Credibility of Scripture Depends On the Judgment of the Church.
- Chapter VIII.: The Credibility of Scripture Sufficiently Proved, In So Far As Natural Reason Admits.
- Chapter IX.: All the Principles of Piety Subverted By Fanatics, Who Substitute Revelations For Scripture.
- Chapter X.: In Scripture, the True God Opposed, Exclusively, to All the Gods of the Heathen.
- Chapter XI.: Impiety of Attributing a Visible Form to God.—the Setting Up of Idols a Defection From the True God.
- Chapter XII.: God Distinguished From Idols, That He May Be the Exclusive Object of Worship.
- Chapter XIII.: The Unity of the Divine Essence In Three Persons Taught, In Scripture, From the Foundation of the World.
- Chapter XIV.: In the Creation of the World, and All Things In It, the True God Distinguished By Certain Marks From Fictitious Gods.
- Chapter XV.: State In Which Man Was Created. the Faculties of the Soul—the Image of God—free Will—original Righteousness.
- Chapter XVI.: The World, Created By God, Still Cherished and Protected By Him. Each and All of Its Parts Governed By His Providence.
- Chapter XVII.: Use to Be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
- Chapter XVIII.: The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed By God, While He Continues Free From Every Taint. 1
- Book Second.: of the Knowledge of God the Redeemer, In Christ, As First Manifested to the Fathers, Under the Law, and Thereafter to Us Under the Gospel.
- Chapter I.: Through the Fall and Revolt of Adam, the Whole Human Race Made Accursed and Degenerate. of Original Sin.
- Chapter II.: Man Now Deprived of Freedom of Will, and Miserably Enslaved.
- Chapter III.: Everything Proceeding From the Corrupt Nature of Man Damnable.
- Chapter IV.: How God Works In the Hearts of Men.
- Chapter V.: The Arguments Usually Alleged In Support of Free Will Refuted.
- Chapter VI.: Redemption For Man Lost to Be Sought In Christ.
- Chapter VII.: The Law Given, Not to Retain a People For Itself, But to Keep Alive the Hope of Salvation In Christ Until His Advent.
- Chapter VIII.: Exposition of the Moral Law.
- First Commandment.: I Am the Lord Thy God, Which Brought Thee Out of the Land of Egypt, Out of the House of Bondage. Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me.
- Second Commandment.: Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Graven Image, Or Any Likeness of Anything That Is In Heaven Above, Or That Is In the Earth Beneath, Or That Is In the Water Under the Earth: Thou Shalt Not Bow Down Thyself to Them, Nor Serve Them.
- Third Commandment.: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord Thy God In Vain.
- Fourth Commandment.: Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep It Holy. Six Days Shalt Thou Labour and Do All Thy Work: But the Seventh Day Is the Sabbath of the Lord Thy God. In It Thou Shalt Not Do Any Work, &c.
- Fifth Commandment.: Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother, That Thy Days May Be Long Upon the Land Which the Lord Thy God Giveth Thee.
- Sixth Commandment.: Thou Shalt Not Kill.
- Seventh Commandment.: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.
- Eight Commandment.: Thou Shalt Not Steal.
- Ninth Commandment.: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbour.
- Tenth Commandment.: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s House, Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Wife, Nor His Man-servant, Nor His Maid-servant, Nor His Ox, Nor His Ass, Nor Any Thing That Is Thy Neighbour’s.
- Chapter IX.: Christ, Though Known to the Jews Under the Law, Yet Only Manifested Under the Gospel.
- Chapter X.: The Resemblance Between the Old Testament and the New. 1
- Chapter XI.: The Difference Between the Two Testaments.
- Chapter XII.: Christ, to Perform the Office of Mediator, Behoved to Become Man.
- Chapter XIII.: Christ Clothed With the True Substance of Human Nature.
- Chapter XIV.: How Two Natures Constitute the Person of the Mediator.
- Chapter XV.: Three Things Chiefly to Be Regarded In Christ—viz. His Offices of Prophet, King, and Priest.
- Chapter XVI.: How Christ Performed the Office of Redeemer In Procuring Our Salvation. the Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ.
- Chapter XVII.: Christ Rightly and Properly Said to Have Merited Grace and Salvation For Us.
- Book Third: the Mode of Obtaining the Grace of Christ. the Benefits It Confers, and the Effects Resulting From It.
- Chapter I.: The Benefits of Christ Made Available to Us By the Secret Operation of the Spirit.
- Chapter II.: Of Faith. the Definition of It. Its Peculiar Properties.
- Chapter III.: Regeneration By Faith. of Repentance.
- Chapter IV.: Penitence, As Explained In the Sophistical Jargon of the Schoolmen, Widely Different From the Purity Required By the Gospel. of Confession and Satisfaction.
- Chapter V.: Of the Modes of Supplementing Satisfaction—viz., Indulgences and Purgatory.
- Chapter VI.: The Life of a Christian Man. Scriptural Arguments Exhorting to It.
- Chapter VII.: A Summary of the Christian Life. of Self-denial. 1
- Chapter VIII.: Of Bearing the Cross—one Branch of Self-denial.
- Chapter IX.: Of Meditating On the Future Life.
- Chapter X.: How to Use the Present Life, and the Comforts of It.
- Chapter XI.: Of Justification By Faith. Both the Name and the Reality Defined.
- Chapter XII.: Necessity of Contemplating the Judgment-seat of God, In Order to Be Seriously Convinced of the Doctrine of Gratuitous Justification.
- Chapter XIII.: Two Things to Be Observed In Gratuitous Justification.
- Chapter XIV.: The Beginning of Justification. In What Sense Progressive.
- Chapter XV.: The Boasted Merit of Works Subversive Both of the Glory of God, In Bestowing Righteousness, and of the Certainty of Salvation.
- Chapter XVI.: Refutation of the Calumnies By Which It Is Attempted to Throw Odium On This Doctrine.
- Chapter XVII.: The Promises of the Law and the Gospel Reconciled.
- Chapter XVIII.: The Righteousness of Works Improperly Inferred From Rewards.
- Chapter XIX.: Of Christian Liberty.
- Chapter XX.: Of Prayer—a Perpetual Exercise of Faith. the Daily Benefits Derived From It.
- Chapter XXI.: Of the Eternal Election, By Which God Has Predestinated Some to Salvation, and Others to Destruction.
- Chapter XXII.: This Doctrine Confirmed By Proofs From Scripture.
- Chapter XXIII.: Refutation of the Calumnies By Which This Doctrine Is Always Unjustly Assailed.
- Chapter XXIV.: Election Confirmed By the Calling of God. the Reprobate Bring Upon Themselves the Righteous Destruction to Which They Are Doomed.
- Chapter XXV.: Of the Last Resurrection.
- Book Fourth.: of the Holy Catholic Church.
- Chapter I.: Of the True Church. Duty of Cultivating Unity With Her, As the Mother of All the Godly.
- Chapter II.: Comparison Between the False Church and the True.
- Chapter III.: Of the Teachers and Ministers of the Church. Their Election and Office.
- Chapter IV.: Of the State of the Primitive Church, and the Mode of Government In Use Before the Papacy.
- Chapter V.: The Ancient Form of Government Utterly Corrupted By the Tyranny of the Papacy.
- Chapter VI.: Of the Primacy of the Romish See.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Beginning and Rise of the Romish Papacy, Till It Attained a Height By Which the Liberty of the Church Was Destroyed, and All True Rule Overthrown.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Power of the Church In Articles of Faith. the Unbridled Licence of the Papal Church In Destroying Purity of Doctrine.
- Chapter IX.: Of Councils and Their Authority. 1
- Chapter X.: Of the Power of Making Laws. the Cruelty of the Pope and His Adherents, In This Respect, In Tyrannically Oppressing and Destroying Souls.
- Chapter XI.: Of the Jurisdiction of the Church, and the Abuses of It, As Exemplified In the Papacy.
- Chapter XII.: Of the Discipline of the Church, and Its Principal Use In Censures and Excommunication.
- Chapter XIII.: Of Vows. the Miserable Entanglements Caused By Vowing Rashly.
- Chapter XIV.: Of the Sacraments.
- Chapter XV.: Of Baptism.
- Chapter XVI.: PÆdobaptism. Its Accordance With the Institution of Christ, and the Nature of the Sign.
- Chapter XVII.: Of the Lord’s Supper, and the Benefits Conferred By It.
- Chapter XVIII. 1: Of the Popish Mass. How It Not Only Profanes, But Annihilates the Lord’s Supper.
- Chapter XIX.: Of the Five Sacraments, Falsely So Called. Their Spuriousness Proved, and Their True Character Explained.
- Of Confirmation. 2
- Of Penitence.
- Of Extreme Unction, So Called.
- Of Ecclesiastical Orders.
- Of Marriage.
- Chapter XX.: Of Civil Government.
- One Hundred Aphorisms, * Containing, Within a Narrow Compass, the Substance and Order of the Four Books of the Institutes of the Christian Religion.
- Book I.
- Book II.
- Book III.
- Book IV.
EPISTLE TO THE READER.
[prefixed to the last edition, revised by the author.]
In the first edition of this work, having not the least expectation of the success which God, in his boundless goodness, has been pleased to give it, I had, for the greater part, performed my task in a perfunctory manner (as is usual in trivial undertakings); but when I understood that it had been received, by almost all the pious, with a favour which I had never dared to ask, far less to hope for, the more I was sincerely conscious that the reception was beyond my deserts, the greater I thought my gratitude would be, if, to the very kind wishes which had been expressed towards me, and which seemed of their own accord to invite me to diligence, I did not endeavour to respond, at least according to my humble ability. This I attempted not only in the second edition, but in every subsequent one the work has received some improvement. But though I do not regret the labour previously expended, I never felt satisfied until the work was arranged in the order in which it now appears. Now I trust it will approve itself to the judgment of all my readers. As a clear proof of the diligence with which I have laboured to perform this service to the Church of God, I may be permitted to mention, that last winter, when I thought I was dying of quartan ague, the more the disorder increased, the less I spared myself, in order that I might leave this book behind me, and thus make some return to the pious for their kind urgency. I could have wished to give it sooner, but it is soon enough if good enough. I shall think it has appeared in good time when I see it more productive of benefit than formerly to the Church of God. This is my only wish.
And truly it would fare ill with me if, not contented with the approbation of God alone, I were unable to despise the foolish and perverse censures of ignorant, as well as the malicious and unjust censures of ungodly men. For although, by the blessing of God, my most ardent desire has been to advance his kingdom, and promote the public good,—although I feel perfectly conscious, and take God and his angels to witness, that ever since I began to discharge the office of teacher in the Church, my only object has been to do good to the Church, by maintaining the pure doctrine of godliness; yet I believe there never was a man more assailed, stung, and torn by calumny—[as well by the declared enemies of the truth of God, as by many worthless persons who have crept into his Church—as well by monks who have brought forth their frocks from their cloisters to spread infection wherever they come, as by other miscreants not better than they ]. After this letter to the reader was in the press, I had undoubted information that, at Augsburg, where the Imperial Diet was held, a rumour of my defection to the papacy was circulated, and entertained in the courts of the princes more readily than might have been expected. This, forsooth, is the return made me by those who certainly are not unaware of numerous proofs of my constancy—proofs which, while they rebut the foul charge, ought to have defended me against it, with all humane and impartial judges. But the devil, with all his crew, is mistaken if he imagines that, by assailing me with vile falsehoods, he can either cool my zeal or diminish my exertions. I trust that God, in his infinite goodness, will enable me to persevere with unruffled patience in the course of his holy vocation. Of this I give the pious reader a new proof in the present edition.
I may further observe, that my object in this work has been, so to prepare and train candidates for the sacred office, for the study of the sacred volume, that they may both have an easy introduction to it, and be able to prosecute it with unfaltering step; for, if I mistake not, I have given a summary of religion in all its parts, and digested it in an order which will make it easy for any one, who rightly comprehends it, to ascertain both what he ought chiefly to look for in Scripture, and also to what head he ought to refer whatever is contained in it. Having thus, as it were, paved the way, as it will be unnecessary, in any Commentaries on Scripture which I may afterwards publish, to enter into long discussions of doctrinal points, and enlarge on commonplaces, I will compress them into narrow compass. In this way much trouble and fatigue will be spared to the pious reader, provided he comes prepared with a knowledge of the present work as an indispensable prerequisite. The system here followed being set forth as in a mirror in all my Commentaries, I think it better to let it speak for itself than to give any verbal explanation of it.
Farewell, kind reader: if you derive any benefit from my labours, aid me with your prayers to our heavenly Father.
Geneva, 1st August 1559.
- The zeal of those whose cause I undertook,
- Has swelled a short defence into a book.
“I profess to be one of those who, by profiting, write, and by writing profit.”—Augustine, Epist. vii.
The passage in brackets occurs only in the French original. The words are as follows: “Tant des ennemis manifestes de la vérité de Dieu, que de beaucoup de canailles qui se sont fourrez en son Eglise: tant des Moines qui ont apporté leurs frocs hors de leurs cloistres pour infecter le lieu où ils venoyent, que d’autres vilains qui ne valent pas mieux qu’eux.”
The words in the French are, “Avec trop grande facilité; ce qui monstroit que beaucoup de meschans hypocrites, faisans profession de l’Evangile, eussent bien voulu qu’ainsi fust.” With too great facility; showing that many wicked hypocrites, making profession of the gospel, would have been very glad it had been so.