by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. —Luke 23:55, 56
Consider what was the courage and constancy of women at the death of our Lord Jesus Christ; when the apostles had forsaken him, how they continued by him with marvellous constancy, and how a woman was the messenger to announce to the apostles his resurrection, which the latter could neither believe nor comprehend.
If he then so honored women, and endowed them with so much courage, think you ,that he has less power now, or that his purposes are changed? How many thousands of women have there been who have spared neither their blood nor their lives to maintain the name of Jesus Christ and announce his reign! Has not God caused their martyrdom to fructify? Has their faith not obtained the glory of the world as well as that of the martyrs?
And without going so far, have we not still before our eyes examples of how God works daily by their testimony, and confounds his enemies, in such a manner that there is no preaching of such efficacy as the fortitude and perseverance which they possess in confessing the name of Christ? Do you not see how deeply rooted in their hearts is this saying of our Lord, He who denies me before men, him will I deny before God my Father; and he who confesses me, him also will I confess, and avow before God my Father? They have not feared to quit this perishable life to obtain a better, full of glory and everlasting.
Set before you, then, these noble examples, both ancient and recent, to strengthen your weakness, and teach you to repose on him who has performed such great things by weak vessels; and recognize the honor which he has done you, in order that you may suffer yourselves to be led by him, being confident that he is powerful to preserve your life, if he wishes yet to make use of it, or if it is his will to exchange it for a better, you are most blessed in employing this perishable existence for his glory at so high a price, and with the assured hope of living eternally with him.
For to that end have we been sent into this world, and illuminated by the grace of God, to glorify him, both in our life and in our death, and be finally united to him. May the Lord grant you the grace to meditate attentively on these things, and impress them on your hearts, in order that you may conform yourselves wholly to his holy will. —Letter (to the women detained in prison at Paris)
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.