The Right Use of the Present Life

| February 19, 2015

John Calvin's Golden Booklet of the True Christian Lifeis not a book in and of itself, but rather an excerpt of the second edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1539).Instead of reflecting on otherworldliness, Golden Booklet focuses on the importance of living today as an active and devoted Christian. The selection that follows comes from Chapter 5, “The Right Use of the Present Life.”

Just as Scripture points us to heaven as our goal, so it fully instructs us in the right use of earthly blessings, and this ought not to be overlooked in a discussion of the rules of life.

[A]s we run the danger of falling into two opposite errors, let us try to proceed on safe ground, so that we may avoid both extremes. For there have been some people, otherwise good and holy, who saw that intemperance and luxury time and again drive man to throw off all restraints unless he is curbed by the utmost severity. And in their desire to correct such a pernicious evil, they have adopted the only method that they saw fit, namely to permit earthly blessings only insofar as they were an absolute necessity. This advice showed…

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