New PDF release: A History of Political Thought in the Sixteenth Century

By J. W Allen

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But to suppose that this is what Calvin meant is to suppose that in this passage he flatly contradicted what he had said about perse­ cuting and sacrilegious tyrants only a few pages earlier. To attribute such self-contradiction to Calvin is, I think, absurd. It is simply incredible that by means of this casual phrase he should deliberately have contradicted the tenor of the teaching of his whole life upon the subject. The phrase, it may be admitted, was an unfortunate one : Homer for once was not wide awake.

Any the least hesitation, any new-born doubt in his mind on the point, would account for the intrusion into the Institute o£ 1 559 of ambiguous and apparently self-contradictory phrases. This, I think, is the utmost concession it is possible to make to those who would represent Calvin as having justified resistance for the cause of religion.

He endeavoured to leave no possible doubt about it. 1 Some, without a thought of duty, give themselves wholly to pleasure ; others, greedy of gold, sell right and justice ; others again overburden their subjects with taxes to support their prodigality. g, outraging women and brutalizing innocence. ' For it. must . be admitted that in such monsters no one can perceive the image of God or any token of a divine ministry. Men have always hated such tyrants. But one must turn from the contemplation of their iniquities to the Word of God.

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A History of Political Thought in the Sixteenth Century by J. W Allen


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