Review: Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11

Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11
Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11 by John Calvin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


850 pages, on 11 chapters of the Bible!

This is an excellent edition gives us a glimpse into Calvin's pulpit ministry. Rather wordy, but his pastor's heart shines through. No academic discourses, these! He was always on the lookout for applying the text to the people, clearly and plainly. I found myself quoting his pithy sayings from the pulpit myself, often.

On Abel's murder: "The blood of Abel accused Cain, but the blood of Jesus Christ excuses us."

From Cain's guilt: "Even if the reprobates lived in palaces and did nothing but take leisurely walks and everyone came to make a big fuss over them and were at their beck and call... they still... have to be scared stiff, their lives are still hanging by a thread, and they feel no certainty or assurance, and they do not know why."

From Cain's departure, we "learn what true repentance is, which is hatred for the sin which is rooted in our hearts."

From Genesis 5 we learn to "not become entangled in the abominations which sourround us on all sides."

On God remembering Noah: "we imagine that God is asleep.... it is not enought to trust in God for just a single minute. We must persist, and our faith must not grow weary. That, in short, is how we must put this passage into practice."

Calvin repeats that last sentence often, or a variant of it. He wraps up a section saying, "That's the main thing."

Calvin preached every weekday, many weeks, and these are dated in the book: "Thursday, 14 December 1559." It's fun to see him start a sermon by saying, Yesterday we saw that...

THere is a lot to weed through, here, but there are gems that show the world hasn't really changed all that much since Calvin's time, and the pastoral application is as relevant today as it was then.

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