by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Set a watch, 0 Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. —Psalm 141:3
Immediately thereafter he explains himself to mean, that he would not desire to strive with them in wickedness, and thus make himself like his enemies. Had that monk of whom Eusebius makes mention duly reflected upon this, he would not have fallen into that silly fallacy of imagining that he had shown himself the perfect scholar by observing silence for a whole term of seven years.
Hearing that the regulation of the tongue was a rare virtue, he betook himself to a distant solitude, from which he did not return to his master for seven years; and being asked the cause of his long absence, replied that he had been meditating upon what he had learned from this verse.
It would have been proper to have asked him at the same time whether during the interim he had thought nothing as well as spoken nothing. For the two things stand connected—being silent and being free from the charge of evil thoughts. It is very possible that although he observed silence, he had many ungodly thoughts, and these are worse than vain words.
In committing himself to the guidance of God, both as to thoughts and words, David acknowledges the need of the influence of the Spirit for the regulation of his tongue and of his mind, particularly when tempted to be exasperated by the insolence of opposition.
If, on the one hand, the tongue is liable to slip and be too fast of utterance, unless continually watched and guarded by God; on the other, there are disorderly affections of an inward kind which require to be restrained. What a busy workshop is the heart of man, and what a host of devices is there manufactured every moment!
If God do not watch over our heart and tongue, there will confessedly be no bounds to words and thoughts of a sinful kind—so rare a gift of the Spirit is moderation in language, while Satan is ever making suggestions which will be readily and easily complied with, unless God prevent. —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.