Preaching as Calvin undertook to do it extends far beyond the confines of a carefully written manuscript. It is not bound by the niceties of style, sentence structure, and the like. It is marked by an immeasurably greater degree of intensity, by an obvious determination to instruct and persuade, by an astounding capacity to confront hearers both with the truth of divine revelation and with the implications of that truth for faith and obedience.
There are distinct advantages, therefore, in having before us these sermons on Genesis precisely as they were delivered. They let us see and hear a man aflame with love for the Lord and his Word, a preacher who spent himself utterly in the work of summoning his people to repentance, faith and holiness.
The feature that has struck me most powerfully is the sermons' immediacy. As I have read them, it has quite often seemed to me almost as though I were sitting with the congregation in Geneva and listening to Calvin himself as he opened up the passage, and then carefully, deliberately, and sometimes with painful specificity applied its teaching to those who heard him. In his masterful translation Dr. McGregor has quite wonderfully brought the preacher back to life and allowed us the privilege of being able, with a little imagination, to take our places in St. Peter's Church on those cold autumn and winter days with the Reformer himself in the pulpit.
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