Kindle - Sermons on the Song of Hezekiah by John Calvin

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Logan

Puritan Board Junior
It's been a few years (busy with other things) but I finally got around to finishing my transcription of Calvin's sermons on the Song of Hezekiah, first published in English in 1560 and never since republished!

Kindle link

There were 16 sets of Calvin's sermons published in English in the 1500s, and then a nearly 400 year gap before first Eerdman and then Banner of Truth began republishing or retranslating many of them. This publication celebrates the last of those to be put into a modern typeface and have the spelling standardized. This means going from this:

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to this:

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I hope it will bless you as it has blessed me. I don't know if it is the current time period we are in, but the suffering Hezekiah was under and the way Calvin applies it to us spoke very deeply to me. Following are a few of my favorite quotes.

On the shortness of our life:
Now though he do speak here but of one man alone, yet we have thereby a good admonition of the shortness of our own life also. Truth it is, that it is a thing well enough known unto us, and yet we do very seldom think of it. For although we do confess this present life to be nothing else but a shadow: yet are we so wrapped therein that no man thinketh upon any other thing, but to make provision for a hundred years. And to be short, it seemeth that we should never depart from this world, we are so occupied on things of the world. So much the more then ought we to call that to mind which the scripture showeth us of the frailty of our life, as St Paul also saith that now we are lodged in a cabin: the body of a man is not a house worthy to be called a goodly dwelling, or building: for in it is nothing but transitory, wherefore let us mourn waiting till we may be fully restored, and let us not be tied so to this world but that always we may be going forward.
On praying even when we are not articulate
And God heareth even those groanings: as also we see that St Paul saith, that the Holy Ghost moveth us to unspeakable groans, such as cannot be expressed. Therefore if one would make an art of Rhetoric of the prayers of the faithful, it is a great abuse: for our Lord humbleth us to this end, that we should not imagine to obtain any thing at his hands by any fair tale: he had rather that we were so confused, that we had not only one word aright in our prayers, but that now we should cast out puffings, and blowings, and anon that we should abide still with silence: alas my God, alas what shall I do? And when we shall mourn so, that we should be so wrapped in, and tangled, that there should neither be beginning nor ending. Then when we shall be brought to that point, our Lord knoweth this kind of language, although we understand it not, and although our perplexities hinder us, that we cannot bring forth one perfect sentence, so that men also understand not what we would say: yet God (as we have said before) will hear us well enough.
On the greatness of God and our lack of regard to it
There is such an arrogancy in us that we always think ourselves to be strong and mighty, and that we can never be beaten down but with a great thunder and lightning. And forasmuch as we cannot magnify the power of God as it ought to be, we talk of it, and we think somewhat of it, but we do not give unto it an infinite greatness so as we be ravished when we think of it, and so as it occupy all our senses in such sort as it ought.
On assurance
Moreover by this fashion of speech that Hezekiah useth, we see what is the remission of our sins, that is, that God cast them behind his back, and cast them there in such sort that he punish them no more, nor ask vengeance on them. And this is worthy to be noted: For the devil always travaileth to darken this doctrine because it is the principal point of our salvation, and as it is showed us in Holy Scripture, there is no other righteousness nor holiness, but this free forgiveness of sins. Happy is the man (saith David) whose sins are pardoned.
On teaching one's children
Moreover, when he speaketh how fathers ought to behave themselves toward their children, we have to gather in general (as hath been said here before) that it is not enough that we procure that God be glorified during our life, but we ought to desire, as his name is immortal, so that from age to age it may be honored, and that those which shall come after us, may keep the pure religion, and that the service of God may never fall in decay. That it may be followed and advanced always and that the goodness of God may be everywhere magnified. They that have children, let them know that God hath committed them in charge to them, and that they must render an account if they bestow not all travail to teach them to serve God. For when it is said that the father shall show to his children the truth of God, we must always come to this end. Why? To this end that the children may trust in him, that they may call upon him, that they may give to him the praise of all good things, that they may dedicate and consecrate themselves wholly to him and to his obedience. Then if fathers will discharge themselves of their duties, let them know that this is the principal heritage that they ought to leave to their children.
On the solemn responsibility of fathers
Let the fathers then think better of this than they have been accustomed, that is to say, when God giveth them children, he bindeth them to this charge, that they endeavor so much the more, that they may be instructed in his truth, so long as they live.
On gathering to worship
He speaketh here of a solemn sacrifice of praise which he will make to God in a great assembly. And for this same cause our Lord hath willed his to gather together. For he was able enough to have taught them particularly if he would, and to say: Let every man praise me in his chamber. But his pleasure is that there be this policy: that we be knit together in one body, that we call upon him with on mouth, and that we make confession of our faith with one accord.
 
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JimmyH

Puritan Board Junior
I too purchased a copy. If anyone isn't familiar with Logan's expertise don't hesitate to buy with confidence. His formatting of J.C. Ryle's Holiness is superb, and anything else he's published as an e-book. If you open the link at Amazon click on the editor (Logan West) it will display other e-books Logan has formatted and edited.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Funny story (well, funny now, not funny at the time). I went back and forth with at least a half-dozen emails with Amazon trying to get this book past their censors.

First, since I had listed the book as public domain, they wanted me to prove the author was dead and the work wasn't still in copyright. I sent a link to John Calvin's Wikipedia article.

Next, they insisted that the translator had to be listed. I told them that the translator was only listed in the book as "A.L." and even 20th century Calvin expert THL Parker didn't know for certain who that was.

Despite this, it was insisted I MUST put in the translator's name. So I put in "A.L." which helps nobody. I also put in a link to EEBO so they could see the transcribed manuscript for themselves and the publication date of 1560.

After this they asked me to prove that the translator was deceased and his work was in the public domain. And I'm thinking "haven't you followed any of this conversation at all?" I resend the same information with the link to EEBO again.

Then they insisted that it was not clear at all that this book was in the public domain. I pointed them (for the fifth time now) to EEBO. Date right there: 1560 and said I didn't know how to get any more clear than I'd already been. I said "there are few works more obviously public domain than this one, guys."

It was finally approved. Next time perhaps I'll just claim I own the copyright and skip all this headache!
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
It was finally approved. Next time perhaps I'll just claim I own the copyright and skip all this headache!
Was the choice to file a copyright or to say public domain? I would do the first since you are copyrighting the edition and if it cuts out the nonsense like that.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Was the choice to file a copyright or to say public domain? I would do the first since you are copyrighting the edition and if it cuts out the nonsense like that.
I think I've talked about this before, but court rulings have been that "sweat of the brow" is not an argument to claim copyright on previously public-domain material. Modernizing spelling, putting the work into a new format, etc. does not make it "new content" and is therefore not copyrightable, at least according to my understanding and I think Edward has looked into this extensively as well. I could copyright my formatting, but not the text itself.

So while I could probably claim copyright for some things (big grey area), I'd rather people be able to copy it, share it, etc., without any qualms or legal issues anyway. The more people that read this the better.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
So while I could probably claim copyright for some things (big grey area), I'd rather people be able to copy it, share it, etc., without any qualms or legal issues anyway. The more people that read this the better.
Then I guess you know the drill for next time at least. I do disagree. What publisher doesn't copyright their new editions? RHB's Perkins? Oxford's Shakespeare? I'm not out on a limb here by myself at least.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Well again, you can probably copyright your layout and certainly your editorial notes, bibliography, or forward, and RHB does do some modernizing of phrasing I believe. But the text itself remains in the public domain, and someone could theoretically re-type it out or OCR it from your edition, for example, without violation of copyright.

Anyone can of course claim copyright on anything they republish but that doesn't necessarily mean its defensible. There's a lot of grey area and confusion about this, even among publishers I've talked to (one which was trying to claim copyright on a facsimile). I'd love for anyone who knows better to inform me on this. I've talked to the US Copyright office before and they seemed to confirm my understanding.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Well again, you can probably copyright your layout and certainly your editorial notes, bibliography, or forward, and RHB does do some modernizing of phrasing I believe. But the text itself remains in the public domain, and someone could theoretically re-type it out or OCR it from your edition, for example, without violation of copyright.
Yes; but the point is to protect the work of the new edition which is not just the text but all those things, which represents not just considerable labor, but expertise and adding to the value of the original text. For instance, in a recent book I collated 3 editions noting the changes the authors made over them, so a critical text, provided, at considerable expense, translation of a lot of Latin, did extensive bibliographical work, and made a couple of discoveries, correcting the attribution of a work, etc., to name just some of the work that went into the new edition. How is that not copyright-able? I don't mean to go down the same debate as before, but it just seems to me, slap an intro and a copyright on the text and skip the frustrating routine with Amazon next time.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
I would look at the "Doctrine of Originality" or the "Sweat of the Brow" in copyright law for more information. It largely comes from the Feist case.

Feist produced their own telephone book that had extensively copied information from the Rural telephone book without licensing it. Rural was upset about this and said that it wasn't fair for all their labor to be used so easily by someone else, they should have to do the same work or license it.

The US Supreme Court disagreed. It was public domain information and doing all that work didn't give the right to copyright it. Now if they had simply photocopied pages and sold it, that would have been different I'm sure.

Wikipedia has an article on "copyfraud" which describes some of this, including the following:

According to copyright experts Jason Mazzone and Stephen Fishman, a massive amount of works in the public domain are reprinted and sold by large publishers that state or imply they own copyrights in those works. While selling copies of public domain works is legal, claiming or implying ownership of a copyright in those works can amount to fraud.
But again, it's a big grey area when extensive editing or changes to the text are done.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Although it doesn't answer the question directly, US Copyright office always indicates that copyrightable material is material that is appearing for the first time. Collections of works, compilations, derivative works, don't count except for the new material.

A work that has fallen into the public domain, that is, a work that is no longer protected by copyright, is also an underlying “work” from which derivative authorship may be added, but the copyright in the derivative work will not extend to the public domain material, and the use of the public domain material in a derivative work will not prevent anyone else from using the same public domain work for another derivative work.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
There is recent consensus among Calvin scholars that A.L. is Anne Locke (see here).
Thanks, I was aware of that (and I listed her as the translator in my compiled list of Calvin's sermons in English I put out a few years ago). THL Parker has a good case for her authorship but like I said, even he didn't know for certain.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
But again, it's a big grey area when extensive editing or changes to the text are done.
Additions, biographies, original research, and the list can go on.
Although it doesn't answer the question directly, US Copyright office always indicates that copyrightable material is material that is appearing for the first time. Collections of works, compilations, derivative works, don't count except for the new material.
If someone wants to OCR a book of mine, edit out the errors from that, remove my new materials, have at it. There's bound to be an easier way to make a living though. Revisiting this sure hasn't improved the case for Naphtali Press ebooks.
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah, I know we've talked about this before but my philosophy is just different. With 10 ebooks and 5 printed books I make about $30 a month in royalties so I'm definitely not making a living on this. But I freely distribute copies to those who write to me, and have several standing offers to multiple publishers to work with them to use the material for free if they want to republish any of it in their own editions for wider distribution.

I hope I'm helping to preserve it for future generations and if someone gets some use out of it, I'll be happy. I even wish people would copy and distribute things more widely (I publish all my books DRM-free and copyright-free). I just hope people will read the material. The main reason I charge at all is because people seem typically to undervalue free things and just collect them, not read them.

I very much appreciate the work you do. We just have different goals for ourselves and others. I for one would love to see some Naphtali Press ebooks and offer my services to make that happen should you ever change your mind.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I very much appreciate the work you do. We just have different goals for ourselves and others. I for one would love to see some Naphtali Press ebooks and offer my services to make that happen should you ever change your mind.
Well, the work I put in is full time and plus some, and my intent is to try to make a living out of this while I have the strength and my marbles, such as they are. That may be a piece of folly, but that is a different question. Ebooks is simply not an option as human nature has soured me on them. I've had too much experience with people sharing clear non grey area copyrighted material with ease to expect any different consideration of the supposed grey area stuff.
 
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