Monday, August 04, 2008

The Indefatigable Industry of John Calvin

Charles Bridges in The Christian Ministry (Banner of Truth, 2006 [1830]) in a section on "habits of general study" praises the industry of John Calvin whom he describes as "the most diligent preacher." He adds this in a footnote:

‘What shall I say of his indefatigable industry, even beyond the power of nature, which being paralleled with our loitering, I fear I will exceed all credit, and may be a true object of admiration, how his lean, worn, spent, and weary body could possibly hold out? He read every week in the year three divinity lectures, and every other week over and above; he preached every day, so that (as Erasmus saith of Chrysostom) I do not know, whether more to admire the indefatigableness of the man, or his hearers. Yea, some have reckoned up, that his lectures were yearly one hundred and eighty-six, his sermons two hundred and eighty-six, besides Thursdays he sat in the presbytery,’ &c. &c. Clark’s Lives. Calvin's own account in one of his letters to Farel, thus speaks—‘When the messenger called for my book (The Commentary on the Romans), I had twenty sheets to revise—to preach—to read to the congregation—to write forty-two letters—to attend to some controversies—and to return answers to more than ten persons, who interrupted me in the midst of my labors, for advice' (p. 43, n. 3).


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