When John Calvin first began writing his Institutes of the Christian Religion, he had in mind a short handbook or manual which would set out the essentials of the Christian faith. Although the persecution of Protestants in France led him in time to accentuate the apologetic nature of the book, the Institutes, as first published in 1536, remained a work of Christian instruction, intended, as Calvin says, for those who were 'touched with some zeal for religion', and principally for those among his French compatriots who 'were hungering and thirsting for Christ', and who 'might be shaped to true godliness'.
No chapter better corresponds to the author's original intention than that entitled 'On the Christian Life'. It offered a clear, balanced set of directions and encouragements to all who desired to live according to the gospel. Strong in its theological affirmation of God's righteousness and providential care, of the reconciliation won for us by Christ and of the Holy Spirit's work of sanctification, it was equally strong in its pastoral concern for believers who were beset by their own weakness and sin, who daily endured trial and temptation and who nevertheless, united to Christ by faith, shared in his life and tasted his power.
This handsome, imitation leather volume embossed with Calvin's insignia and the title On the Christian life makes an excellent gift for all major life celebrations. But it also functions a convenient take-along book for any who wish to have The Confession on hand for devotional reading or memorization. Measuring only 3.9 x 0.5 x 5.5 inches, it fits nicely into any purses, book bags, brief cases, and any other bag used to carry one's personal belongings.