24 September 2008

Calvin: Psalm 73

Calvin is at his best when reflecting on Ps 73, a text we are reading for the Calvin class I'm currently in. On the Lord's providence, for example, he says:

As to ourselves, experience shows how slight impressions we have of the providence of God. We no doubt all agree in admitting that the world is governed by the hand of God; but were this truth deeply rooted in our hearts, our faith would be distinguished by far greater steadiness and perseverance in surmounting the temptations with which we are assailed in adversity. But when the smallest temptation which we meet with dislodges this doctrine from our minds, it is manifest that we have not yet been truly and in good earnest convinced of its truth.

My hand is raised: guilty!

--Calvin's Commentaries, Commentary on Psalms, p. 121

Here's another excerpt, this time from that life-giving and idol-deflating verse, Ps 73:25: "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you." Calvin reflects:

David declares that he desires nothing, either in heaven or in earth, except God alone, and that without God, all other objects which usually draw the hearts of men towards them were unattractive to him. And, undoubtedly, God then obtains from us the glory to which he is entitled, when, instead of being carried first to one object, and then to another, we hold exclusively by him, being satisfied with him alone.

--p. 154

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