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Calvin and Gualther on Redeemed Souls Perishing

April 3, 2009

Calvin:

Hence it ought to be observed, that whenever the Church is afflicted, the example of the Prophet ought to move us to be touched (sumpatheia) with compassion, if we are not harder than iron; for we are altogether unworthy of being reckoned in the number of the children of God, and added to the holy Church, if we do not dedicate ourselves, and all that we have, to the Church, in such a manner that we are not separate from it in any respect. Thus, when in the present day the Church is afflicted by so many and so various calamities, and innumerable souls are perishing, which Christ redeemed with his own blood, we must be barbarous and savage if we are not touched with any grief. And especially the ministers of the word ought to be moved by this feeling of grief, because, being appointed to keep watch and to look at a distance, they ought also to groan when they perceive the tokens of approaching ruin. John Calvin, Isaiah 22:4.

Gualther:

Hark (brethren) the presumptuous & horrible words of Anti-Christ, yea hear them not, but rather spit them out of your ears, & out of your hearts, that you are not polluted with them. For what Christian man can away with the hearing of them? Who is it, that can patiently abide them? We see (brethren) that readiness of God towards us, we see that softness and hearty purpose of God’s righteousness towards us to be such, that he disdains not to declare unto us wretched persons (which shall live here but a short space), a plain reckoning (almost) of all his judgments. But this man of sin, & that son of perdition, & that brothel of all fleshly filthiness, & all wickedness, when he is waited upon, with his train of dancing lecherous ruffians, & buggers, will be under the judgment of no man, nor rend account of his office using unto no manner of man in the world, although he bring infinite souls of men, (that were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ), and bind innumerable people prentices, with the common enemy of mankind the Devil, unto the slaughter-house of everlasting damnation. And even this man it is, that takes upon him, to be the head of the church, and the only and most high shepherd of Christ’s sheepfold.

Is it then with property of an head, to rage against his own members, and to cast them upon sword and fire, to be destroyed? Is it the property of a shepherd, to run men mad upon his flock, worse than a wolf would? If the B. of Rome hurt the body of such as be his, if he rashly hurt the name that be his, if he take away their goods for filthy lucre’s sake, the apostolic canons despeach him wuite out of his office: And shal all the holy Church than suffer him  ragingly to run upon men’s souls, to destroy them, without correction? But to the intent they might mitigate the outrage of their blasphemy, by some manner of cloaked pretence, they devised to add this to: Except he be deprehended out of the way from the faith.

For sooth a goodly addition, “O you block-head Cannonists.” Will you then say, that these be the works of faith, for the Pope to make innumerable people bond men, to the everlasting fire of hell? Or shall we say, that he has faith wich makes them subjects to the torments of hell, whom Christ (the Son of God) has by his death and bloodshed, delivered from hell?

But this conclusion of this Canon was not added without the providence of God. For by this means it is evident, that the B. of Rome’s faith is not a lively and healthy giving faith, whereunto justification and salvation is commonly attributed in the Scriptures, but a certain other faith, far contrary from it. Which, like as it is in their power, to withdraw men’s souls from salvation, and make them bondslaves unto perdition, so it pulls away from Christ, the only redeemer of the world, and deprives and damned, so has he bound all others that obey his voice, unto damnation: he is also that great and notable Adversary, which is contrary to Christ in all things, and repugns clean contrary against his life and doctrine, and is a tyranny most insolent, most arrogant, and most disdainful, exalted in his blasphemous heart, not only above miserable and mortal men, but also above the almighty and immortal God.  Rodulphe Gualter, AntiChrist (Imprinted in Sothwarke by Christopher Trutheall, 1556),120b-124a. [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting, and underlining mine.]

Putting these together, back to back, once again we see that Rainbow’s interpretation of Calvin’s many “wasted blood” passages is just impossible.  For further of Calvin and Gualther in comparison, go here.

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