by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. —Isaiah 29:13, 14
It is clearly evident that neither voice nor singing, if used in prayer, has any validity, or produces the least benefit with God, unless it proceed from the inmost desire of the heart.... We do not here condemn the use of the voice, or singing, but rather highly recommend them, provided they accompany the affection of the heart. For they exercise the mind in Divine meditation, and fix the attention of the heart; which by its versatility is easily relaxed and distracted to a variety of objects, unless it be supported by various helps.
Besides, as the glory of God is in some respect to be manifested in every part of our bodies, to this service, both in singing and in speaking, it is especially fitting to us to devote our tongues, which were created for the express purpose of declaring and celebrating the Divine praises.
Nevertheless the principal use of the tongue is in the public prayers which are made in the congregations of believers; the design of which is that with one common voice, and as it were with the same mouth, we may all at once proclaim the glory of God, whom we worship in one spirit and with the same faith; and this is publicly done, that all interchangeably, each one of his brother, may receive the confession of faith and be invited and stimulated by his example. —Institutes, III, xx, xxxi
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.