Calvin: His Life and Times by Thomas Lawson on-line

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Thomas Lawson – Calvin: His Life and Times

Thomas Lawson, Calvin: His Life and Times, 4th edn. London: F. Kirby / Brighton / A.M. Robinson, n.d. pp.157. [Click to download]

Preface to the Fourth edition

In producing the following chapters, the object of the author has been to supply, in an attractive form, as much reliable information upon the life and labours of this remarkable man as possible.

The principles and practices of the Papacy, in which the Reformer was trained, have been, in all fairness and charity, contrasted with the doctrine and grace of Christ, to which he was converted.

Many admirable works, and some much more voluminous than the present, have since John Calvin’s day appeared upon his life and times. But it is to be regretted that some of his biographers have, through natural aversion to his doctrine, formed harsh judgments of his motives. This, however, is not surprising, for man’s dignified notions of the freedom of his own will, are so averse to the unconditional predestination of elect sinners to everlasting life, that although this truth shines as clearly in the Bible as the sun in the firmament, he is found constantly opposing it, and yet in his blindness he thinks he is doing God service.

While giving a faithful record of this remarkable Reformer, great care has been taken in the following pages to avoid ascribing undue honour to the creature. To glorify the God of grace, who delivered John Calvin from the power of darkness, translated him into the kingdom of His dear Son, and made him an able, faithful minister of Christ, has been the sincere desire of the writer.

Thos. Lawson


I. John Calvin

ll. His early days, appearance and practice-The laws of nature to be regarded – His natural piety and great talents – First principles of true Reformation – A.Pharisee of the Pharisees

III. James Pavanne, a youthful Martyr-The Hermit of Livry – Calvin’s convictions

IV. “There are only two Religions in the world” – Human Authority or Divine Revelation?-Dead Works – Confession – The Confessional has no Scriptural authority, and was unknown to the early Fathers

V. Jesus the Mediator – The Keys, or objections answered – Does the Confessional produce good results?

VI. The Sorrows of Death and the Source of Religion – The Redeemed Sinner’s Need – The Prisoner Released and Pardon Sealed

VII. Our Illustrations – A great struggle – Calvin the lawyer – Calvin the Gospel minister – His Father’s Death

VIII. Calvin visits his native city-He returns to Paris and labours as a Missionary-Roussel preaching in the Royal Palace- Light rejected, Grace communicated

IX. The Martyrdom of Alexander – The time for Calvin to come forward – His Oration read before the Sorbonne – The Assembly arose and the Storm burst – Calvin’s Escape – Calvin on the Worship of Images

X. French Reformers before Calvin – Le Fevre and Calvin contrasted – Reasons for protesting against Popery – Calvin administers the Lord’s Supper in both kinds – The Decree of the Council of Constance for withholding the Cup from the Laity – Tested by the Word of God and Reason – Calvin resigns his livings and secedes from the Church

Xl. A bold Adventure in the Dark – Morning and its Revelations – Bartholomew Millon – Superstition, Pomp and Barbarity

XII. Calvin and his work – Halfway men – Interview between Erasmus and Calvin – His distinguished Scholarship – Another John Calvin – Calvin arrested in Italy by the Officers of the Inquisition

XIII. Reflection after Deliverance-Calvinism – Life’s Turning Points – Geneva

XIV. Church and State – Geneva – William Farel – Froment’s school

XV. A True Church – Angels of Darkness and their Weapons of Warfare – Public Disputation – Spiritual and Political Protestantism – The Nuns of St. Claire – Nuns and Nunneries – All Bibles ordered to be burnt – Sham Pilgrims – God preserved the Reformers from being Poisoned – Protestantism established in Geneva

XVI. The Decree of the Creature and the Decree of the Creator – Seeds of Internal Discord – Calvin at the Gates of Geneva – Farel’s Denunciation and Calvin’s Surrender

XVII. Calvin’s first work in Geneva – The Theological Teacher not a Gospel Preacher – Calvin’s first Sermon in Geneva – Public Disputation and a Friar Converted – The Dragon and his angels – Divine Chastening in lovingkindness – Superstitious Consecration of Bells – The immoral fruits of superstition – The Lord’s Supper and the Romish Mass

XVIII. A Terrific Tempest – Reflection – The Shafts of the Almighty against Calvin’s Enemies

XIX. Calvin at Strasburg – The Genevese invited by the Mother of Harlots to return to her grasp – Macaulay’s reason for Men of Learning being found in the Church of Rome – Natural and Spiritual Knowledge contrasted – Geneva repenting – Calvin reluctantly returns to Geneva – – Moral Laws introduced

XX.-Calvin’s marriage and the death of his wife – The eelibacy of the Clergy-Marriage is honourable

XXI. An injustice done to Calvin – Servetus – Apprehension and examination – A Libertine conspiracy against Calvin – The trial

XXII. Toleration – A fresh indictment against Servetus – The Council release Berthelier and deprive Calvin of the power to exclude the profane from the Lord’s table – The snare and the Deliverer – September 3rd, 1553 – Calvin taking farewell of his flock

XXIII. The field of Calvin’s labour fixed by God – An Officer from Vienna demands Servetus-The Articles of Accusation – The case referred to the Churches and Magistrates of Switzerland – The Letters of Servetus – The Verdict of the Cities and Pastors of Switzerland – Now let us reflect on the whole affair

XXIV. A black spot from Rome’s fires – Truth revealed and truth sealed – Calvin’s letters to the Martyrs

XXV. The five young Martyrs of Lyons

XXVI. Calvin and Luther contrasted – The Libertines – Their utter confusion – The speedy rise and prosperity of Geneva – Cardinal Sadoleto’s visit to Calvin

XXVII. His literary labours – The Reformation in England – The nobility and dignity of the Church

XXVIII. The Reformation in France – The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s day – Silver lining to a dark cloud – A College and Academy at Geneva

XXIX. His last interview with the Council – His farewell address to the Pastors – Calvin’s will – William Farel and Calvin meet for the last time – The Reformer’s last moments – His Death and Burial – Concluding Remarks

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