John Calvin on The knowledge of God and of revelation part 1

Summa Theologica

John Calvin

John Calvin is considered and rightly so, A theologian that spoke beyond his century.  As far as the Bible is concerned, he is considered as the first of the modern commentators for his exegesis trying to get to the real text.  Any theologian worth his salt should at least have read his Institute of the Christian Religion. So, I think it is proper and right to start of with his first book. 

His Institutes starts with asking the question of the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves.

1. Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom,

consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of

ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy

to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in

the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his

thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is

perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot

possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than

subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which

unceasingly distill to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the

fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes

more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into

which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our

eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence

ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as

there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we

were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense

series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the

consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at

least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want,

weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us, (see Calvin on

John 4:10,) that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of

wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our

own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot

aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with

ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact,

does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as

he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful

of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of

himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to

find him.

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