Monday, May 25, 2009

5/26- Day Before Calvin's Death

(Picture of older Calvin)

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

5/26- The Day Before Calvin’s death (5/27/1564)

14 The LORD said to Moses, "Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, where I will commission him." So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the tent of meeting…24 After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, 25 he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD: 26 "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them. 29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD and arouse his anger by what your hands have made."(Deuteronomy 31:14-29)

Calvin: “If you would preserve this republic in security, see to it with unremitting care, that the sacred seat of authority, in which God hath placed you, be not defiled with the pollution of sin; for he is totally sovereign King of Kings, and Lord of all lords, who will honor those that honor him; but, on the other hand, will cast down, and cover with disgrace, those by whom he is despised. Worship him, therefore, according to his precepts, and let your minds be more and more intensely directed to the obeying of his will, for we are always at a very great distance from the performance of our duty. I know the temper and manner of you all, and am aware of your needing exhortation. There is none, even of those who excel, without many imperfections; and let each in this case examine himself with care, and ask of the Lord the supply of his known deficiencies. “We see what vices reign in the greatest number of the assemblies convened in the world. Some, cold and indifferent to the public interest, pursue with eagerness their own private emoluments; others, are only intent upon the gratification of their own passions; some make a bad use of the distinguished talents bestowed upon them by God; while others are vain-glorious, and confidently demand that the rest of their fellow-counselors should sanction their opinions.” (Calvin’s last words to the Senators of Geneva who came to his home as he was dying).

The way Calvin died speaks a lot of his life, and that his faith was not just a surface faith. When Calvin knew he was going to die (tuberculosis, perhaps cancer, intestinal disease, and more), he had himself carried to church on Easter where he had his last communion. He made his will (we’ll look at that in a couple of days). He wanted to be carried to the Senator of Geneva, but instead they met with him and he spoke the words above.
He later met with the company of pastors. He kept writing, and managed to finish much of his work in his last year. Many wanted to come to see him, and he saw many until he couldn’t speak. When he could no longer speak, he asked that the people pray for him instead.
For Calvinists, a good death was important. Calvin remained faithful until the end.

Prayer: Help us today, to make the most of the time you have given us. Thank you for life, and help us to be conscious about passing on what we have learned from you to others. Amen.

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