by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. —Deuteronomy 6:7
If we desire to be exalted to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must bear the reproach of his cross. Thus I entreat you, according as necessity may remind you, to shake off your sloth and bestir yourself to do battle valiantly against Satan and the world, desiring to be dead unto yourself so as to be fully renewed in God.
And because we must know before we can love, I entreat you also to exercise yourself in reading the holy exhortations that may be helps to this end. For the coldness we observe in certain persons arises from that carelessness which disposes them to fancy that it is enough to have briefly relished some passage of the Scriptures, without laying down as a rule to profit by it as need should require.
On the contrary, we have to practise what is said by St. Paul, that by contemplating the face of Jesus Christ in the mirror of the gospel, we may conform ourselves to him from glory to glory. Whereby the apostle means that in proportion as we draw nearer to Jesus Christ, and know him more intimately, the grace and virtue of his Spirit will at the same time grow and be multiplied in us.
So then be it your constant care to profit more and more.
And besides all that, you have to think of your children, whom God has confided to your charge for this end, that they should be dedicated to him, and that he should be the supreme Father of them as of you.
It is true that many persons are prevented from discharging their duties toward their children, because their single desire is to further the advancement of their offspring in the world. But this is a pitiful and perverse consideration. I entreat you then since God has bestowed on you a race of children gifted with good dispositions, and as you value this inestimable treasure, to take measures for having them brought up betimes in his fear, and preserved from the corruptions and pollutions by which we have been surrounded.
I am aware that you have not waited for my exhortations to begin this happy work, but that you have provided for them a man endowed with knowledge to instruct them and zealous in the discharge of his functions; but because both father and children should be entirely devoted to God, and because the obstacles which Satan lays in the way of so good an end are almost insurmountable, it is highly necessary that you should train them up for the possession of a heavenly inheritance, rather than that of perishable wealth and honors here below. —Correspondence
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.