by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. —Psalm 50:14, 15
There is in all men by nature a strong and ineffaceable conviction that they ought to worship God. Indisposed to worship him in a pure and spiritual manner, it becomes necessary that they should invent some specious appearance as a substitute; and however clearly they may be persuaded of the vanity of such conduct, they persist in it to the last, because they shrink from a total renunciation of the service of God.
Men have always, accordingly, been found addicted to ceremonies until they have been brought to the knowledge of that which constitutes true and acceptable religion.
Praise and prayer are here to be considered as representing the whole of the worship of God, according to a figure of speech. The Psalmist specifies only one part of Divine worship, when he enjoins us to acknowledge God as the Author of all our mercies, and to ascribe to him the praise which is justly due unto his name; and adds, that we should betake ourselves to his goodness, cast all our cares into his bosom, and seek by prayer that deliverance which he alone can give, and thanks for which must afterwards be rendered to him.
Faith, self-denial, a holy life, and patient endurance of the cross, are all sacrifices which please God. But as prayer is the offspring of faith, and uniformly accompanied with patience and mortification of sin, while praise, where it is genuine, indicates holiness of heart, we need not wonder that these two points of worship should here be employed to represent the whole.
Praise and prayer are set in opposition to ceremonies and mere external observances of religion, to teach us that the worship of God is spiritual. —Commentaries
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.