The Mystery of Godliness and Other Sermons, A short review

The Mystery of Godliness and Other Sermons, John Calvin

This collection of sermons is based upon the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) and expounds a wide variety of doctrine and practices.  From the truth of election and salvation to the requirement of godliness and prayer, Calvin’s addresses clearly express a pastor’s heart while articulating a scholar’s grasp of the Bible.  With fourteen sermons at about fifteen pages apiece, this book becomes good food for meditation and contemplation.

Being a translation from 1580 and transported to America in 1830, it is written in the style of the King James Bible, but without much of the grammatical oddities.  Calvin’s sermons are also more direct than our sensitive ears may be accustomed to hear (as even the original preface of this book points out).  He spoke and wrote during a time of great upheaval and direct confrontation with heresies and lies; thus, he was very zealous to comfort and guard the flock, “Let us therefore endeavor to bring back those that have strayed…but when [some]…make confusion in the church…we must not spare them, because the whole salvation of the people of God is in danger.” (p.172).  He also has no problems calling public enemies of the gospel “mad beasts” (p.40).

For those without a fear of older writing styles and plain speech, this little treasure will encourage the reader to take the biblical commands of truth and obedience to heart.

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