Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chapter 14 Angels

John Calvin now turns to another realm of God's created universe, that of angels. He expends a fair amount of ink in debunking what had apparently become a favorite parlor game of the theologians of his day, that of categorizing, naming, numbering, and otherwise speculating about angels. Soli scriptorum always being his rule, he nevertheless thoroughly handles the nature of angels, including refutation of various errors concerning their essence and relation to God. He turns to their office and mission, including their role as messengers to and protectors of the elect. He summarizes by stating that angels, as all other aspects of God's creation are to bring us to Himself.
He then turns to Satan and his angels and discusses fallen angels. As with holy angels, he pleas for avoidance of speculation regarding how and when they fell.
He ends the chapter with a brief treatise on creation of the world on which we live, and again concludes that it's purpose is to draw men to Himself. For those who might avoid reading "The Institutes" because it may be cold and lacking in passion, I quote:

But he was pleased to display his providence and paternal care towards us in this, that before he formed man, he provided whatever he foresaw would be useful and salutory to him. How ungrateful, then, were it to doubt whether we are cared for by this most excellent Parent, who we see cared for us even before we were born! How impoous were it to tremble in distrust, lest we should one day be abandoned in out necessity by that kindness which, antecedent to out existence, displayed itself in a complete supply of all good things! Moreover, Moses tells us that everything which the world contains is liberally placed at our disposal. This God certainly did not that he might delude us with an empty form of donation. Nothing, therefore, which concerns our safety will ever be wanting. To conclude, in one word; as often as we call God the Creator of heaven and earth, let us remember that the distribution of all the things which he created are in his hand and power, but that we are his sons, whom ge has undertaken to nourish and bring up in allegiance to him, that we may expect the substance of all good from him alone, and have full hope that he will never suffer us to be in want of things necessary to salvation, so as to leave us dependent on some other sounce; that in everything we desire we may address our prayers to him, and in every benefit we receive acknowledge his hand and give him thanks; that thus allured by his great goodness and beneficence, we may study with our whole heart to love and serve him.

Take Home Pearl: Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!