Calvin's Calvinism: God's Eternal Predestination and Secret Providence together with A Brief Reply and Reply to the Slanderous Reports by John Calvin. These works by John Calvin were translated from the Latin and first published by Henry Cole in 1856. As a first edition, in 1987, the RFPA reprinted Sovereign Grace Union's 1927 publication. The RFPA's significantly revised second edition, which includes two historcial introductions, will be a Book Club selection. This work contains John Calvin's clearest teaching on God's sovereign decree of predestination. He wrote this treatise against the error promoted in his day, that God elected all men to salvation in Christ, and reprobation is merely the result of wicked men who deprive themselves of the benefit of universal election. In Calvin's day already, many preferred not to hear about predestination. He wrote: I know full well that no mention whatever can be made of God's eternal predestination, but, in a moment, numberless unholy and absurd thoughts rush into the mind. (p. 76.)
Calvin refused to be silent about this doctrine - it is too important a truth. Calvin writes: "This great subject is not, as many imagine, a mere thorny and noisy disputation, nor a speculation which wearies the minds of men without any profit, but a solid discussion eminently adapted to the service of the godly." Why is that? He insists: It builds us up soundly in the faith, trains us to humility, and lifts us up into an admiration of the unbounded goodness of God towards us while it elevates us to praise this goodness in our highest strains. For there is not a more effectual means of building up faith than the giving our open ears to the election of God, which the Holy Spirit seals upon our heart while we hear, showing us that it stands in the eternal and immutable goodwill of God towards us, and that, therefore, it cannot be moved or altered by any storms of the world, by any assaults of Satan, by any changes, or by anyb?&weaknesses of the flesh.
For our salvation is sure to us when we find the cause of it in the breast of God. Thus when we lay hold of life in Christ, made manifest to our faith, the same faith being still our leader and guide, our sight is permitted to penetrate much farther and to see from what source that life proceeded. Our confidence of salvation is rooted in Christ, and rests on the promises of the gospel. But it is no weak prop to our confidence when we are brought to believe in Christ, to hear that all was originally given to us of God, and that we were as much ordained to faith in Christ before the foundation of the world as we were chosen to the inheritance of eternal life in Christ. Hence, therefore, arises the impregnable and insubvertible security of the saints. (pp. 18-19)