Lord Reveals

And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
~ Exodus 19:18-19

Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
~ Psalm 106:23, Numbers 16:48, Hebrews 12:24, 1 Timothy 2:5

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
~ Psalm 81:10, Matthew 4:10

Deuteronomy 5:4-7. John Calvin’s Sermons on the Ten Commandments.

Wednesday, June 12, 1555 (1)

Sermon Two (2)

Deuteronomy 5:4-7 (3)

The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying, I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
~ Deuteronomy 5:4-7

We have seen by the preceding that Moses worked diligently in order to make the people conscious of the majesty which God’s Word contains, to the end that it might be received with all reverence.(4) For although men vehemently reaffirm their will to obey God (for nature also compels them to that end), they are still unable to submit to it; nevertheless, it is the true proof for knowing whether or not we are subject to God. But such is the rebellious nature of the world. And although men confess that it is necessary to receive the Word of God without resistance, nevertheless with great trouble will we find one out of a hundred who submits in
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Footnotes:
(1) N. in CO: “This sermon corresponds to the second in the 1562 collection, pp. 31-49, where nevertheless it is said to refer to Chapter 5:1-4.” CO 26.247.
(2) The original title: “The First Sermon on Chapter 5:4-7.” CO 26.247.
(3) Cf. Calvin’s discussion of the First Commandment in his Comm. Four Books of Moses, vol. 1, pp. 341-42, 417-19; CO 24.211, 261-62. Also see the Catechism, CO 6.54. Cf. also the Institutes 2.8.13-16.

(4) The word reverence is used to translate crainte here. For Calvin the law inexorably elicits our “fear” of God as much as our “love” and “reverence.” See Institutes 2.8.2
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good earnest to accord it the authority which it merits. And why is that? Because we do not apprehend at all the majesty of God which is revealed here.

That is why Moses, not without cause, so often admonished those we have discussed that the Word of God must be of such a majesty toward us that all creatures tremble under it. And now again (5) he adds a confirmation to this subject in saying: that God spoke to the people face to face on the mountain, out of the midst of the fire.(6) It’s as if he were saying: “Now you have no cause for doubting whether the doctrine which I proclaim to you is of God or man. For it has been so much and more approved: God has revealed himself to you by visible and well-known signs so that you ought to be conscious that it is he who has spoken.” Now we see Moses’ intention.

However, before we leave the subject, one ought to be able to ask a question here. Since it is said that God spoke face to face, and in light of the fact that men cannot comprehend his infinite glory, with what eyes can we contemplate the essence of God? We are so feeble that if God only sends us a little ray of his light, we would be totally dazzled and confused. And besides, we know what is said: that we cannot see God face to face until we have been renewed, which will not be until the last day. For now (says Saint Paul), we see in a mirror only, in part and in obscurities? Further, it is said in another passage that the gospel today presents us with the majesty of God in such a way that we are able to see it. But the law has been obscured and has had a veil over it, preventing the fathers from having known God in such a way and as intimately as we know [him] today. But all of that is held in very good understanding. For when we make a comparison of the law with the gospel, it is certain that one will find what Paul says is true. For God is not revealed in such familiarity as he reveals himself to us by means of our Lord Jesus Christ who is his living image.

Today, then, the great treasures of wisdom are opened before us; we know that God calls us to his kingdom of heaven and that he shows us that he accepts us as his children and heirs. That was not the case in the time of the law. Nevertheless, although today
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Footnotes:
(5) derechef-de nouveau.
(6) Deut. 5:4.? I Cor. 13:12 811 Cor. 3:12-18.
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we have such an intimate knowledge, and such a personal one at that, what we have just cited continues true, that we see only in part. Why? Because we are not yet participants in the glory of God, thus we cannot approach him; rather, it is necessary for him to reveal himself to us according to our rudeness(9) and infirmity. The fact remains that since the beginning of the world when God appeared to mortal men, it was not in order to reveal himself as he was, but according to men’s ability to support him. We must always keep this in mind: that God was not known by the Fathers. And today he does not appear to us in his essence. Rather he accommodates himself to us. That being the case, it is necessary for him to descend according to our capacity in order to make us sense his presence with us.(10)

At all events it is not without cause that Moses says here: that he spoke face to face.(11) For he means that the people did not have a conjecture for doubting, or for imagining only some opinion, but they had an infallible testimony, such that they could conclude: Here is God who has truly communicated himself to us that our faith need no longer be uncertain. And the doctrine which is proclaimed to us in his name need no longer be disputed as to whether or not it merits reception. Why? Because God has given a certain mark which cannot deceive us nor leave us in doubt that it proceeds from him. Thus we now see Moses’ meaning. In any event, we may gather a good lesson from it. For if God does not reveal himself to us in as lofty a manner as our ambition requires, remember that it is for our profit and salvation that he does so. For if we but consider our infirmity, that should humble the audacity to which our nature is always soliciting us. For we would like to inquire into the secrets of God without end or measure. And why? Because we do not understand our own limits?(12) Nevertheless, let us magnify the goodness of our God, seeing that it pleased him to have regard for both us and our rudeness and that he is satisfied to hide his glory from us in order that we might not be overwhelmed by it.

For (as we have already said) we are not able to support it being as fragile as we are. However, know that there is no longer any
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Footnotes:
(9) rudesse-ignorance or rudeness.
(10) See “Introduction,” n. 74.
(11) Face to face. Cf. Calvin’s discussion of this phrase in his Comm. Four Books of Moses, vol. 1, pp. 341f; CO 24.211. The phrase confirms God’s authorship of the law.

(12) faculte.
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excuse when God shall have given us some evident sign of his presence except that we render to him the respect which he is due. Let us not expect God to come in his inestimable glory, for the skies to burst asunder, for all the angels of paradise to appear to us. But when our Lord reveals to us that it is he who speaks, let that suffice for us. Let us humble ourselves immediately. For if under these circumstances we still wish to be sluggish, he will blame us for having turned our back on him since he has shown his face to us.

Now it is true that in another place it is said to us that men cannot see the face of God without perishing, but although Moses had this revelation which is mentioned in Numbers(13), that God was as familiar to him as a friend, the fact remains that it is said that he did not see him except for his back. Still its purpose is ever to show us that we must not presume to approach God as long as we are surrounded by our flesh, that we must not think to rise that high. For if the angels of paradise themselves under the figure of Seraphim hide their eyes when God reveals himself, what does this mean for us who only grovel here on earth? In any event, this is what God condemns in our ingratitude when we have not willed to contemplate his face and when the signs which reveal his presence to us are not considered sufficient.

Above all let us keep in mind here that it is as much a question of our subjection to the gospel as to the law. For it is in the gospel that God principally wills to be known of men in order that they may worship him, simply receiving all that proceeds from his mouth. To what end then shall we apply this sentence of Moses? That when the Scripture is put before us, and one preaches it to us and expounds it for us, or when we read it, that this preface might humble us to the end that we exalt God in all reverence and not attempt to dispute his Word, but tremble under it as it is pointed out in the prophet Isaiah(14) For all that is contained in Holy Scripture is so well attested to us that we can say that God spoke to men as if he were revealing himself in a visible manner.

Still Moses adds: that he was between the two as an intermediary between God and men, because the people were afraid and did not dare climb the mountain(15). Moses’ meaning here is that although the law was
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Footnotes:
(13) N. in CO: “The 1562 edition reads more correctly-in Exod. (33:11, 23).” CO 26.249.
(14) Isa. 66:2, 5.
(15) Deut. 5:5.
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carried by a mortal man, that should not detract from its authority. For that is due to the people’s imperfection; it is the result of their vice. And it is a passage well-worth noting. For we are always looking for subterfuges in order to condone disrespect for the Word of God. True, we will not overtly pretend this, but the fact remains that this malice will be found in almost all the world; that we are comfortable when we can find some pretext for saying: “O I do not know if this Word is of God; I do not know if it is addressed to me; I do not know under what conditions.” That is how the world always seeks to exempt itself from the obedience of the Word of God; and this excuse is by far too common when we say: “Yes, it is true that God must surely be obeyed, but in the meantime it is men like ourselves who preach. And it is necessary that their doctrine be received as if they were men who had come from heaven.”
It seems to many people that that kind of thinking is sufficient to justify their continual rebellion against God, or in any event it does not restrain(16) them significantly to subject themselves to him and his Word. (17)

Now we have a response here whose purpose is to put an end to all(18) that: namely, that God when he sends his Word by the hand of men does so as a consequence of their vice and infirmity. Nevertheless he does not neglect to provide some mark of his glory to the end that his Word is easily recognised as celestial. For when we regularly inquire into it, we see that God approves it so much and more. So then it is not solely for the ancient Fathers that Moses spoke, but his admonition is addressed to us. Its purpose is to help us see that although men are made messengers in order to preach the Word of God, that does not detract from its majesty. And certainly we misunderstood our fragility when we hunger for God to perform miracles everyday and do not even understand what is fitting for us. As for miracles, there have been enough of them to ratify the truth of both the law and the gospel to those of us who have a full certainty about them. Nevertheless, today it is appropriate that God should send us people similar to ourselves to whom he commits the task of teaching us in his name and in his stead as he gently allures us and all humanity to himself.(19) After
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Footnotes:
(16) chaille.
(17) Calvin may well have had the Perrinists and his Bernese opponents in mind.
(18) pour … coupper broche.
(19) Calvin frequently emphasizes God’s gentleness in accommodating himself to men. See the Institutes 2.8.4, 14.
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all, do you think we could actually stand before his presence if he were to appear as he truly is? Alas! We would be totally consumed. If God were to speak in his force, we know what is said: the very rocks and mountains would melt.(20) And we who are so utterly weak, could we subsist before such a force without it destroying us?

Let us note then that when God ordained for his Word to be preached to us and made available in writing, he was accommodating himself to our weakness and was treating us as if he were a mortal man in order that we might not be frightened in coming to him, but that we might be drawn to him in all gentleness.(21) Moreover, consider the honour he bestows upon us when it pleases him to choose from among us people of no valor who nevertheless represent his person and speak to us in his Name. For what more could he assign to the angels of paradise? Could he give them a more honourable charge and office? In the fact that he deigns to fashion men into such a noble and excellent vessel(22) as to carry his Word, he reveals how great his goodness is toward us, that it is more than paternal.

Now in addition he tests our humility. For if he thundered from heaven, if he appeared to us visibly, if the angels descended, it would hardly be a thing of astonishment if men believed his Word. But when both the great and the small receive the decree(23) which he has instituted in his church: that we should obey his Word when it is preached, that is the means by which our faith is tested. Nevertheless, let us always return to this: that God has sufficiently revealed himself to men, so much so that we shall have no occasion to put his Word in doubt and dispute what has happened. For his will for us is more than certain on condition that we are not unwilling to receive the signs which have been given to us concerning it.

Thus you see what we have to cling to in Moses’ passage when he says that the people did not dare climb the mountain because of the terror they perceived. And although today we would not refuse it if God were to speak to us, yet when everything is taken into consideration, it would be of no profit to us. Therefore let us
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Footnotes:
(20) An allusion to Ps. 97:5; Isa. 64:1, 3; Mic. 1:4.
(21) See n. 10 above.
(22) chose.
(23) ordre.
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understand that God’s use of the medium of men must not diminish at all the certainty of our faith.

In consequence it is said that God taught the people saying: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. You shall have no other God before me.”(24) Here, in order to hold the people of Israel in check, God shows them that the knowledge which they have must separate them from all superstitions. For if the pagans had idols and were misled by their errors and fantasies, we should not be astonished. Let us understand that it comes from man himself. We are so inclined toward vanity that it is a pity. It is hardly necessary for us to go to school in order to learn to be deceived, for in this respect each of us is rather a skilled teacher.(25) Briefly, we always tend toward evil, even under the species of good, so that in place of serving God, there is nothing in us but corruption and idolatry.

And so the pagans had their diverse superstitions, for each one could conjure a god according to his post, and in the meanwhile the living God was abandoned by all. And why? Because he was not so gracious as to reveal himself to all the world. And so men became stupid, but it was the fault of [their] teaching. In any event, this does not excuse them, for they are still g before God. Moreover, the source of idolatry came from the ingratitude and malice of men who abandoned God on their own accord. But when the world became decadent(26) (as I have already discussed), the poor pagans wandered like blind men, for they had no light to show them the way to salvation.

Now unless they hold to the law which God has given them, he here accuses the people of Israel of rebellion. How is that? I am the Lord your God. When he says, “I am the Lord,” it is in order to exclude all the gods which have been invented by men. It’s as if he said: “There is only one sole deity, and that will be found in me. Thus it follows that those who have known me, who turn aside to serve their idols, have no excuse, provided, to their knowledge, they have not renounced the living God.”

Now when he adds that he is the God of this people, his purpose is to show that he was adequately revealed. It’s as if he said: “I have separated you from all the rest of men. You see how the others rave. But this is due to the fact that they have neither guidance
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Footnotes:
(24) Deut. 5:6-7.
(25) grand docteur.
(26) abastardi.
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nor direction.(27) But I have chosen you for my people and I have revealed(28) myself to you. Moreover, since I am your God, cling therefore to me, or you will have even less of an excuse than the pagans. For if that were the case your punishment would of necessity be double, a hundred times more heavy,(29) seeing that you would have corrupted the faith you promised me and would have broken the covenant which I made with you.”

He cites(30) still further the grace which he bestowed upon the people, saying, when he took them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.(31) By this he means that he has truly bound them to himself so that the people cannot revolt against him without meriting further punishment. For seeing that they shall have forgotten the redemption by which they were redeemed, their ingratitude will be double. For since they were purchased by the hand of God, it was imperative that they give themselves in service to him who was their Redeemer.

And in particular he calls Egypt “the House of Bondage” in order that the people thoroughly remember the condition under which they had existed there.(32) For we see how those who had sighed and cried when oppressed by such violence and tyranny as we read in Exodus, that no sooner than God had delivered them, they asked to return. And from whence did this proceed? Is it not from the fact that they no longer remembered the oppression which they suffered and the fact that the devil blinded their eyes in order that the grace of God might not be esteemed by them as it deserves? That is the reason why Moses entitles the land of Egypt: “The House of Bondage.” In the end the commandment is added: that the people shall have no other gods before him whom they must hold as their God.(33)

Now let us apply all of this doctrine to our usage. In the first place, when he says, I am the Lord, let us truly learn to grasp the weight of these words: that since the majesty of God has appeared to us, we conceive of no other deity. For God cannot allow any rival.(34) If the sun obscures the light of the stars, is it not reasonable
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Footnotes:
(27) adresse.
(28) baillé.
(29) griefue.
(30) allegue-cite.
(31) Deut. 5:6.
(32) Cf. the Institutes 2.8.15.
(33) Deut. 5:7.
(34) “Car Dieu ne peut souffria d’autre compagnon.” CO 26.253.
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that when God reveals himself we should each worship him and that what formerly appeared as glory seems as nothing now? That is why it is said in the Prophets that when the Lord shall reign, there will be no other light than his own; that even the sun will be obscured, the moon will be turned into darkness.(35) That is in order to show us that when we mingle with God any fantasies off the top of our head, we diminish all rights that belong to him. For he cannot bear any rival. It is necessary then that this word of the Lord disarm in us all fantasies in order that we do not take any further license to conceive of this or that. Let us be content simply to have one sole God and let him suffice.

That is also why it is said that when our Lord Jesus shall have set up and established his seat in the world that the idols of Egypt will tumble.(36) Now this passage also belongs to us. For, in the same way, Moses was saying to the people of old: “You have the Lord who has appeared to you, it is imperative then that all idols be driven from your midst.” Furthermore, since God has revealed himself to us in the person of his unique Son, it is equally imperative that all idols be swept away.

Now we know that this country of Egypt, above all the others of the world, had been crammed full of idols. Therefore, inasmuch as they were formerly plunged in lies and darkness, surrounded by an infinite number of idols, all that has to be swept away when God reveals that he is the Lord. Still when he is called our God, its purpose is to win us over to himself in such a way that his majesty might be known by us in an amiable way. For if God only spoke in his eternity and essence we would often be confused. True, that would be a fitting condemnation for all daydreaming, but in any event it would hardly serve for our instruction and benefit. Rather it is necessary that God, having revealed himself to us as the only one we ought to worship and to whom we ought do homage, should come in a gentle and intimate manner,(37) in order that we might be able to accept him as our Father and as our master, recognising that he wishes to abide with us in order that we might adhere to him. This is what the title means which is claimed in this passage, saying: “I am not solely the Lord who has come to startle you, but, at the same time, I am your God. I have chosen you for myself. It is my will that you be my inheritance.”
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Footnotes:
(35) See Ezek. 13:7, 10.
(36) See Isa. 19:1.
(37) See the Institutes 2.8.4.
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Now, then, we see why he authorises his law: in order that we might receive it in all fear and humility.(38) Nevertheless he wishes for us to accept it as friendly, in order that we might taste it and take pleasure in submitting ourselves to it and permit ourselves to be governed by it according to the doctrine which it contains. And thus, in sum, all excuse is taken away from us when today we do not do homage to our God, denouncing all superstitions and whatever is contrary to his service. Why? Because he must draw to himself by means of these titles which he attributes to himself which are to be held in awę by us. When he speaks to us of his dominion, which is over us, and when he refers to himself as our God, that ought to make us aware(39) of his paternal goodness. We thus see that there remains nothing else except to hearken to what is revealed to us in the law of God and simply to hold to it.

And that is why he reproaches the people of Israel, for they neither feared him nor loved him. “If I am your God and your master, where is your fear? And if I am your father, where is your love?” says the prophet Malachi.(40) There is no doubt that the prophet has in mind what is covered here by Moses. For when God calls himself the Lord, it is in order that we might honour him with the reverence which he is due. When he calls himself the God of the people, his purpose is to win them by friendship and to show them that since he has elected them, it is quite reasonable for them to entrust everything in his hands.

Now if this was the case under the law, today even more so he belongs to us. For although God in the person of his unique Son willed to be emptied,(41) nevertheless he has always retained his glory, and his emptying has never diminished any of his eminence mentioned here.(42) The humiliation of our Lord Jesus Christ is an infallible testimony of the mercy of our God, but whatever the case, this must not lead us to scorn. For God willed to win us over to his infinite glory that he might be worshiped by us when he descended. It is with good reason then that he reproaches us today, for unless we fear him and love him, we, too, in every respect, are inexcusable. For he reveals himself as our God and our master. Where then is our fear when we do not take account of
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Footnotes:
(38) See n. 4 above.
(39) gouster.
(40) Mal. 1:6.
(41) aneanti.
(42) See Phil. 2:7-8.
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what he commands, when we are unyielding to his threats(43) to the point that we dismiss them, when we always continue to practice our evil deeds, although he reveals himself as our judge and calls us to account for the fact that we are only making a mockery of ourselves? Where is that awe which is due our God? For if he were a mortal creature, we would fear him more than we do the living God who has complete mastery over us. Moreover it is not enough that we fear God in a servile manner, as if we were being forced; rather, it is imperative that love be joined with it. For that is why he is called our Father. In fact we ought to note that when he revealed himself as the God of Israel, under that term he meant that he would also be our saviour. “Thou art our God,” (says Habakkuk), “and we cannot perish.”(44) Therefore let us earnestly retain these titles, seeing that they belong to us; that is to say, since the majesty of God is shining in our Lord Jesus Christ,(45) they ought to benefit our instruction today.

Now, nevertheless, we ought also to note what he adds about the grace which he has bestowed upon his people. “I brought you,” he says, “out of the land of Egypt.”(46) It is true that God here especially willed to bind the people of Israel to himself above all nations. For that is why he has specifically mentioned the redemption which he has made. But when God speaks we ought to think of all the benefits by means of which he has bound us to himself, which are infinite and inestimable. But at all events we must test them according to our ability and we must apply our full understanding to them; and insofar as we fail,(47) we must strive that much harder to know them, at least those which can instruct us in the fear and in the love of our God.

But does God speak in this way? Well, in the first place we must consider that it is he who has created and formed us; thus we are his. That is a benefit which is already well refined.(48) And although each one of us should strive full-strength to serve God, how should we be able to reward him as we should for putting us in this world and feeding us? Moreover, when we thoroughly contemplate the testimonies which he renders us of his love, seeing
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Footnotes:
(43) For Calvin’s discussion of the threats and promises which accompany the law, see the Institutes 2.8.4. Cf. Comm. Four Books of Moses, vol. 2, pp. 110; CO 24.378.

(44) Hab. 1:12.
(45) See I Tim. 3:16.
(46) Deut. 5:6.
(47) deffaillons.
(48) exquis-raffiné.
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that he has created the world because of us, that he has destined and consecrated everything to our usage, that he has implanted his image in us to the end that we might be immortal, that he has prepared(49) for us a better inheritance than this decrepit life when we see all this, would we not be more than stupid if we failed to be enraptured with an ardent desire to worship our God and to devote ourselves and everything to him?

But in addition to this, it is necessary for us to make an investigation of all the benefits which God has bestowed on us, the common as well as the particular. In fact it would even be proper for us to confess with David: “Lord, when I think of your goodness, my spirit is plunged into the abyss; their number make my hair stand on end,” as he speaks of it in Psalm 40.(50) Moreover, once we have acknowledged in general how indebted we are to our God, let each one in his privacy think also of the benefits that he has received from the hand of God. For in the passage where it was said of old to the people of Israel: “I have brought you out of the land of Egypt,” let us understand from what it is that our Lord has delivered us when he willed to include us in his house and his church. For we are children of Adam, miserable in nature, heirs of death, possessors only of sin, and in consequence it is fitting that we should be execrable to our God. Let men please themselves and glorify themselves as much as they want; if such is their origin, here is their nobility: they are slaves of Satan; they have an abyss of sin and corruption within themselves; they only have the wrath(51) and malediction of God upon their heads. In brief, being banished from the kingdom of heaven, they are abandoned to all misfortune. But our Lord has delivered us from that by the hand of his Son. He did not solely send us a Moses, as he did to the people of old; rather he did not spare his unique Son, but handed him over to death for us. Therefore being purchased with so dear and inestimable a price—such as the sacred blood of the Son of God-ought we not totally surrender our selves to him?

Besides, when it is said that Egypt is a house of bondage, I pray you, doesn’t that mean that when the devil holds us in his grasp and under his tyranny that we have no means of escaping from death, that we are cut off from all hope of salvation, and that God
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Footnotes:
(49) appresté-préparé.
(50) Allusion to Ps. 40:2, 11-12.
(51) l’ire.
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is against us? When we are exempt from all that, where can a more excellent redemption be found than what is spoken of here by Moses? And thus in the place where it was said to the people of old: “Your God has delivered you from the land of Egypt,” now it is said that we are not our own. [Indeed) as Saint Paul explains in the fourteenth chapter of Romans and again in the seventh chapter of the First Letter to the Corinthians: “We are not our own.” It is no longer fitting that the faithful are given the liberty to do whatever seems good to them and that each one follow his own appetite. Why? The Lord Jesus is dead and is risen(52) in order to rule over both the living and the dead. Thus there is ample justification for Jesus Christ to be Lord of both life and death,(53) since he did not spare himself when our redemption and salvation were in question. Moreover, beyond this, the Son of God has offered himself for our salvation. Let us understand then today that by means of the gospel he makes us participants of that benefit, for he gathers us to himself in order that we might be his flock.

Now it is true that he is the Lamb without spot who has taken away the sin of the world; he offered himself in order to reconcile men to God. But the fact remains that we see many people are abandoned and to whom the door is closed, as God does not bestow on them this grace to illumine them in faith as he has with us.(54) And thus let us carefully note that since the gospel has been announced to us, and contains the testimony that the Son of God wishes to make valid in us this redemption which he has accomplished once and for all,(55) and that he wishes for us to rejoice in such a benefit, then our ingratitude will be that much more wretched unless we make the effort to surrender ourselves to our God who binds us to himself.

If unbelievers behave like runaway horses,(56) if they overflow with superstitions and dissipate their life, indeed it is because they have no bridle; God has not retained them as his servants. In the papacy we see the horrible confusion that is present there; nevertheless neither is there any doctrine which might redirect men toward God, rather it serves for alienating them from him. And we see that the devil has truly gained a foothold, that all is full of
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Footnotes:
(52) ressuscité.
(53) The order in the text is death and life.”
(54) This is the first appearance of any reference to Calvin’s doctrine of predestination in the series.
(55) une fois. 56″font des chevaux eschappez.”
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fraud and illusions, and that the living God is forsaken. It is a horrible confusion.

But for our part, when God reclaims us for himself, are we not all the more strictly obligated fully to unite ourselves with him, to hold ourselves under the obedience of the doctrine which is proclaimed to us in his name? And thus let us learn to hold ourselves truly to our God, to renounce anything that we might be able to forge in our head. For we no longer have to falter this way or that, or be troubled by anything whatever, for there is one sole God who wishes to possess us, who does not want his honour sullied by having it transferred to creatures, and who watches over us in order that we might realise that it is he alone whom we must invoke and in whose succour and grace our refuge lies.

And finally, since he wishes to have and hold us in his house, let us walk as in his presence and in his sight, indeed, in such a way that we worship him as our only God, not solely in ceremonies, or in external affirmation, but in our heart, since we know his service is spiritual. In brief, let him possess our bodies and souls, in order that he might be glorified in all and by all.(57)
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Footnote:
(57) Golding’s translation concludes this sermon with the following prayer: “Now let us kneele downe in the presence of our good God with acknowledgement of our faultes, praying him to make us feele them better, that it may leade us to true repentance to be mortified more and more, so as our wicked lustes may be cut off, and we bee wholy given to feare and honour him: & that forasmuch as wee can not serve him thoroughly as he deserveth, so long as we be hild downe under the infirmities of our flesh: it may please him to uphold us, untill hee have clothed us with his own righteousness. And so let us all say, Almighty God, etc.” Sermons Upon the Fifth Book of Moses, trans. Golding, p. 187. Cf. Calvin, Sermons sur les dix commandemens, 1557 ed., p. 31.
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