Front Page Titles (by Subject) Fifth Commandment.: HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER, THAT THY DAYS MAY BE LONG UPON THE LAND WHICH THE LORD THY GOD GIVETH THEE. - The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Fifth Commandment.: HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER, THAT THY DAYS MAY BE LONG UPON THE LAND WHICH THE LORD THY GOD GIVETH THEE. - 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.
HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER, THAT THY DAYS MAY BE LONG UPON THE LAND WHICH THE LORD THY GOD GIVETH THEE.
The end of this commandment is, that since the Lord takes pleasure in the preservation of his own ordinance, the degrees of dignity appointed by him must be held inviolable. The sum of the commandment, therefore, will be; that we are to look up to those whom the Lord has set over us, yielding them honour, gratitude, and obedience. Hence it follows, that everything in the way of contempt, ingratitude, or disobedience, is forbidden. For the term honour has this extent of meaning in Scripture. Thus when the Apostle says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour” (1 Tim. v. 17), he refers not only to the reverence which is due to them, but to the recompense to which their services are entitled. But as this command to submit is very repugnant to the perversity of the human mind (which, puffed up with ambitious longings, will scarcely allow itself to be subject), that superiority which is most attractive and least invidious is set forth as an example calculated to soften and bend our minds to habits of submission. From that subjection which is most easily endured, the Lord gradually accustoms us to every kind of legitimate subjection, the same principle regulating all. For to those whom he raises to eminence, he communicates his authority, in so far as necessary to maintain their station. The titles of Father, God, and Lord, all meet in him alone; and hence, whenever any one of them is mentioned, our mind should be impressed with the same feeling of reverence. Those, therefore, to whom he imparts such titles, he distinguishes by some small spark of his refulgence, so as to entitle them to honour, each in his own place. In this way, we must consider that our earthly father possesses something of a divine nature in him, because there is some reason for his bearing a divine title, and that he who is our prince and ruler is admitted to some communion of honour with God.
Wherefore, we ought to have no doubt that the Lord here lays down this universal rule—viz. that knowing how every individual is set over us by his appointment, we should pay him reverence, gratitude, obedience, and every duty in our power. And it makes no difference whether those on whom the honour is conferred are deserving or not. Be they what they may, the Almighty, by conferring their station upon them, shows that he would have them honoured. The commandment specifies the reverence due to those to whom we owe our being. This Nature herself should in some measure teach us. For they are monsters, and not men, who petulantly and contumeliously violate the paternal authority. Hence, the Lord orders all who rebel against their parents to be put to death, they being, as it were, unworthy of the light in paying no deference to those to whom they are indebted for beholding it. And it is evident, from the various appendices to the Law, that we were correct in stating, that the honour here referred to consists of three parts, reverence, obedience, and gratitude. The first of these the Lord enforces, when he commands that whoso curseth his father or his mother shall be put to death. In this way he avenges insult and contempt. The second he enforces, when he denounces the punishment of death on disobedient and rebellious children. To the third belongs our Saviour’s declaration, that God requires us to do good to our parents (Matth. xv.). And whenever Paul mentions this commandment, he interprets it as enjoining obedience.
A promise is added by way of recommendation, the better to remind us how pleasing to God is the submission which is here required. Paul applies that stimulus to rouse us from our lethargy, when he calls this the first commandment with promise; the promise contained in the First Table not being specially appropriated to any one commandment, but extended to the whole law. Moreover, the sense in which the promise is to be taken is as follows:—The Lord spoke to the Israelites specially of the land which he had promised them for an inheritance. If, then, the possession of the land was an earnest of the divine favour, we cannot wonder if the Lord was pleased to testify his favour, by bestowing long life, as in this way they were able long to enjoy his kindness. The meaning therefore is: Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayst be able, during the course of a long life, to enjoy the possession of the land which is to be given thee in testimony of my favour. But, as the whole earth is blessed to believers, we justly class the present life among the number of divine blessings. Whence this promise has, in like manner, reference to us also, inasmuch as the duration of the present life is a proof of the divine benevolence toward us. It is not promised to us, nor was it promised to the Jews, as if in itself it constituted happiness, but because it is an ordinary symbol of the divine favour to the pious. Wherefore, if any one who is obedient to parents happens to be cut off before mature age (a thing which not unfrequently happens), the Lord nevertheless adheres to his promise as steadily as when he bestows a hundred acres of land where he had promised only one. The whole lies in this: We must consider that long life is promised only in so far as it is a blessing from God, and that it is a blessing only in so far as it is a manifestation of divine favour. This, however, he testifies and truly manifests to his servants more richly and substantially by death.
Moreover, while the Lord promises the blessing of present life to children who show proper respect to their parents, he, at the same time, intimates that an inevitable curse is impending over the rebellious and disobedient; and, that it may not fail of execution, he, in his Law, pronounces sentence of death upon them, and orders it to be inflicted. If they escape the judgment, he, in some way or other, will execute vengeance. For we see how great a number of this description of individuals fall either in battle or in brawls; others of them are overtaken by unwonted disasters, and almost all are a proof that the threatening is not used in vain. But if any do escape till extreme old age, yet, because deprived of the blessing of God in this life, they only languish on in wickedness, and are reserved for severer punishment in the world to come; they are far from participating in the blessing promised to obedient children. It ought to be observed, by the way, that we are ordered to obey parents only in the Lord. This is clear from the principle already laid down: for the place which they occupy is one to which the Lord has exalted them, by communicating to them a portion of his own honour. Therefore the submission yielded to them should be a step in our ascent to the Supreme Parent, and hence, if they instigate us to transgress the law, they deserve not to be regarded as parents, but as strangers attempting to seduce us from our obedience to our true Father. The same holds in the case of rulers, masters, and superiors of every description. For it were unbecoming and absurd that the honour of God should be impaired by their exaltation—an exaltation which, being derived from him, ought to lead us up to him.
Exod. xxi. 17; Levit. xx. 9; Prov. xx. 20; Deut. xxi. 18; Matth. xv. 4; Eph. vi. 1; Coloss. iii. 20.
The French adds, “et la doit plustost augmenter, qu’amoindrir confirmer que violer;”—and ought to augment rather than diminish, to confirm rather than violate it.