Sunday, June 19, 2011

Calvin on wisdom and peace

Calvin comments on James 3:17-18
" But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

"those who wish to be physicians to heal vices out not to be executioners".
His basic thrust is to cut people some slack. Not in the sense of turning a blind eye, but in the manner you raise issues. .Calvin connects this to the pride of the previous verses

"They, then, are alone wise in the sight of God, who connect this meekness with an honest conversation; for they who are severe and inexorable, though they may excel others in many virtues, do not yet follow the right way of wisdom".
It is interesting stuff to hear from Calvin, given the caricature that accretes around his more outspoken followers.
Speaking of outspoken followers, the footnote from John Owen on these verses is fascinating too.
"Pure,, is to be understood according to what the context contains. It means what is free from taint or pollution: the kind of taint must be learnt from the passage. The wisdom from above is contrasted with the wisdom from below: the latter has envy and contention; the former is "pure", being free from envy, and is "peaceable" "
Calvins Commentaries Vol XXII Baker: Grand Rapids, 324-328

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