Tag Archive - Farel

Calvin’s Last Letter to Farel

Nearing death, Calvin wrote the following to his dear friend Farel,

Farewell, my best and most worthy brother. Since God has determined that you should survive me in this world, live mindful of our union, which has been so useful to the Church of God, and the fruits of which await us in heaven. Do not fatigue yourself on my account. I draw my breath with difficulty, and am expecting continually that my breath will fail. It is sufficient that I live and die in Christ, who is gain to his servants in life and in death. Again, farewell with the brethren.

Thomas Smyth, Calvin and His Enemies: A Memoir of the Life, Character, and Principles of Calvin. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 65-66.

Do you Prefer Your Studies More than Jesus?

Calvin, wanting to just sit back and read some books, was challenged by Farel when we came through Geneva. Faral’s words no doubt cut Calvin to the heart and ultimately led to him staying in Geneva. Perhaps they cut at you too?

ON quitting Italy, Calvin returned to France, with Anthony, his only remaining brother; but on account of the persecutions which then ran high, he soon resolved to return to Basil or Strasbourg. But the direct road being then impassable on account of the war, he was compelled to go through Geneva. He had then no intention of stopping there, but the event soon made it evident that he had been conducted thither by a secret determination of Providence. This was in the month of August 1536. The reformed religion had been wonderfully established there by Guillaume Farel, and Pierre Viret. Farel had been instructed, not in a convent as some have supposed, but in the school of Jacques Le Fevre d’Estaples. Calvin, not willing to pass through Geneva without paying his respects to them, made them a visit, on which occasion Farel earnestly entreated him to stop at Geneva, and help him in the labour to which God had called him. But perceiving that Calvin was not to be prevailed upon, he said, “You have not any other pretext to refuse me, than the attachment which you profess for your studies; but I warn you in the name of Almighty God, that if you do not share with me the holy work in which I am engaged, he will not bless your designs, since you prefer your repose to Jesus Christ.” Calvin, subdued by this appeal, submitted to the wish of the seigneurs, and of the Consistory of Geneva, by whose suffrages and the consent of the people, he was received to the charge of the ministry, in the month of August 1536.

Theodore Beza and John Mackenzie, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of John Calvin (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 42-43.

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