On this first Lord’s Day of 2016 we continue our on-going series of posts on the prayers of John Calvin (see my previous Sunday posts in Nov./Dec., 2014, throughout 2015, and now in 2016, which follow his lectures on the OT prophecy of Jeremiah (Baker reprint, 1979).
Today we post a brief section from his twenty-fourth lecture and the prayer that concludes it.
This lecture covers Jeremiah 6:10-15, which includes Calvin’s comments on v.10, “To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.”:
This metaphor is common in all the prophets. The uncircumcised ear is that which rejects all true doctrine. An uncircumcised heart is that which is perverse and rebellious. But we ought to understand the reason of this: as circumcision was an evidence of obedience, so the Scripture calls those uncircumcised who are unteachable, who cast away every fear of God, and all sense of religion, and follow their own lusts and desires.
…It was God’s will to consecrate his ancient people to himself by circumcision: but when they became satisfied with the visible sign only, there was no longer the reality, and God’s covenant was profaned. It is the same at this day with respect to baptism; they who wish to be deemed Christians, boast of it, while at the same time they show no fear of God, and while their whole life obliterates the true character of baptism. It is hence evident, that they are sacrilegious, for they pollute what is holy.
…God receives us into his Church on condition [that is, in the way of] that we are the members of Christ, and that being ruled by his Spirit we renounce the lusts of our flesh. But when we seek under the cloak of baptism to associate God with the Devil, it is a most detestable sacrilege (pp.328-29).
Following this lecture is this prayer (slightly edited):
Grant, Almighty God, that inasmuch as Thou seekest daily to restore us to Thyself, and so arrangest Thy word, as now kindly to allure us, and then to reprove us severely, and even to drive us by threatenings,
– O grant, that we may not be altogether unteachable: but so rule us by the spirit of meekness, that we may submit ourselves to Thee and to Thy holy word, and be so terrified by the fear of Thy judgment as yet ever to taste of the sweetness of Thy mercy, so that we may cleave to Thee in Christ Thy Son, until we shall at length fully know that Thou art our Father, and enjoy the fruit of our adoption in the same Christ Jesus our Lord.