My Translation of Sermons on Job By John Calvin [NOT COMPLETED]

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My Translation of Sermons on Job By John Calvin [COMPLETED]

The Sermons of Master John Calvin
Upon the book of Job
The first Sermon upon the first Chapter
There was in the land of Hus a man named Job, sound and upright, fearing God, and withdrawing himself from evil.

The better to profit our selves by that which is contained in this present book, first and foremost it is necessary for us to understand the sum of it. For the story here written , shows us how we are in God's hand, and that it lies in Him to determine our life, and to dispose of the same according to His good pleasure: and that it is our duty to submit ourselves unto Him with all humbleness and obedience: and that it is good reason, that we should be wholly His, both to live and die: and specially that when it pleases Him to lay His hand upon us, although we perceive not what cause He does it, yet we should glorify Him continually, acknowledging Him to be just and upright, and not to grudge against Him, nor fall to striving with Him, assuring ourselves that we shall always be vanquished in pleading against Him.

So then, the thing that we have briefly to bear in mind in this story, is, that God has such a sovereignty over His creatures, as he may dispose of them at His pleasure: and that when He shows any rigor which we think strange at the first glance, yet despite this we must hold our peace, and not grudge, but rather confess that He is righteous, and wait till He shows us for what reason He chastises us. And here with all we have to behold the patience of the man that is set here before our eyes, according as St. James exhorts us. For when God shows us that we ought to bear all the miseries that He shall send upon us: we can well afford to confess that it is our duty so to do: but yet at the same time we declare our own frailty, and we bear our selves in hand, that that ought to serve for our excuse.

Therefore it is good for us to have such examples, as shown to us how there have been other men as frail as we, who never the less have resisted temptations, and continued steadfastly in obedience unto God, although He have scourged them even with extremity. Thus we have here and excellent mirror. Moreover, we have to consider not only the patience of Job: but also the issue of it, as St. James says. For had Job continued in misery: albeit that he had had more than an angelical strength in himself, yet had that been no happy issue. But when we see he was not disappointed of his hope, and that he found grace, because he humbled himself before God: upon the fight of such an issue we may conclude, that there is nothing better, than to submit ourselves unto God, and to suffer peaceably whatsoever he sends us, until He deliver us of His own mere goodness.

And here with all (besides the story) we have to consider the doctrine comprised in this book. That is to know, concerning those that came unto Job under pretense to comfort him and yet tormented him much more than did his own miseries: and concerning the answers that he used to reject their checks, where it seemed they would have intimidated him. But first of all, as in respect of our afflictions, we have to note, that although God send them, and that they proceed from Him: yet nevertheless the devil also stirs them up in us, according as St. Paul tells us, that we have war against the spiritual powers. For when the devil has once kindled the fire, he has also his bellows: that is to say, he sends men that are fit to prick us always forward, both to feed the evil, and to increase it.
So then, we shall see how Job (besides the misery that he endured) was also tormented both by his friends and by his wife, and (above all) by such as came to tempt him spiritually. For I call it a spiritual temptation, not only when we be smitten and afflicted in our bodies: but also when the devil comes to put a toy in our head, that God is our deadly enemy, and that it is not for us to resort any more unto him, but rather to assure ourselves, that for now on He will not show us any mercy. See toward what end all the discourse extended which Jobs friends laid before him. It was to make him believe, that he was a man forsaken by God, and that he deceived himself in imagining that God would be merciful to him.

Surely these spiritual battles are far more harder to be borne, than all the miseries and adversities that we can suffer by any persecutions. And yet does God let Satan run so far upon his bridle, that he also brings his servants with him, who give us such assaults, as we see Job has endured. Mark this well for a special point. But here with all we have farther to mark, that in all this disputation, Job maintained a good case, and to the contrary his adversaries maintained an evil case. And yet it is more, that Job maintaining a good argument, did handle it ill, and that the other setting forth an unjust matter, did convey it well.

The understanding of this, will be as a key to open unto us all this whole book. How is it that Job maintained the good case? It is that he knows, that God does not ever punish men according to the measure of their sins, but has His secrete judgments, where as He does not make known to us, and therefore that it is necessary for us to wait till He reveals unto us for what cause He does this or that. Thus is he in this whole discourse persuaded, that God does not always punish men according to the measure of their sins: and thereupon assuring himself, that he is not a man rejected of God, as they would make him believe.

Behold here a good and true case, in spite of the fact that it be ill handled. For Job ran here out of his bounds, and used such excessive and outrageous talk, that in many points seems like a desperate person. And specially he so chased, as it seemed that he would even resist God. Thus may we see a good case mishandled. But on the contrary, they that undertook the evil case ( that is to say, that God does always punishes men according to the measure of their sins), have godly and holy sentences, and there is nothing in their whole talk which would not entice us to receive it as if the Holy Ghost Himself had uttered it. For it is plain truth: they be the grounds of religion: they treat of God's providence: they treat of His justice: they treat of men's sins. Thus we see a doctrine which we must receive without gainsaying: and yet the drift of it is evil, namely for that these men labor to cast Job into despair , and to drown him altogether.

But here by we see, that when we have a sure ground, it is necessary for us to look that we build upon it in such manner, as all things be answerable to it: according as St. Paul says of himself, that he built well for as much as he founded the Church upon the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ, and therefore that it has such a conformity in it, as those that come after him, shall not make any other foundation, either of chaff, or of stubble, or of any other brittle stuff: but have a good foundation, steadfast, and substantial, ready laid to their hand. Likewise in our whole life we have to look unto this point: namely that if we be grounded upon good and rightful reason, it is necessary for each one of us to stand upon his guard, that he really not, ne waver not one way or other. For there is nothing easier than to mar a good and rightful matter, so sinful is our nature, as we find by experience at all times. God of His grace may give us a good case: and yet we may be so stung by our enemies, that we cannot hold ourselves within our bounds, nor simply follow that which God has enjoined us, without adding some trick of our own.

Seeing then that we be so easily carried away: we ought more willingly pray to God, that when we have a good case, He Himself will vouchsafe to guide us in all singleness by His Holy Spirit, so as we may not pass the bounds which He has set us by His Word. Here also we bear in mind, not to apply God's truth to any evil use. For in so doing we dishonor it: like as these men did here, who although they spoke holy (as we have shown already, and as we shall see more fully later on) are despite this truth are but traitors to God. For they corrupt God's truth, and abuse it falsely, applying that thing to an evil end, which of itself is good and rightful.

So then, whenever God gives us the knowledge of His Word, let us learn to receive it with such reverence, as our receiving of it may not be to deface good things, nor to set a color upon evil things, as often times those that be most sharp witted and cunning, do overshoot themselves, and abuse the knowledge that God has given them, unto deceit and naughtiness, turning all things upside down, in such a way that they do nothing but entangle themselves.

Considering therefore how all men are given to such infirmities: it remains for us all the more to pray to God to give us the grace to apply His Word to such use as he has ordained it: that is namely, to pureness and simplicity. And thus you see what we ought to consider in effect. But now that we understand what is in this book: we must lay forth these matters more at length, in such sort as the things that we have but lightly touched, may be laid forth at large according to the process of the history.
It is said, that
There was a man in the land of Hus, named Job, a sound and upright man, and fearing God, and withdrawing himself from evil.

We know not, neither can we guess in what time Job lived: saving that a man may perceive he was of great antiquity: however that some of the Jews have been of opinion, that Moses was the author of this book: and that he did set it as a looking glass before the people, to the intent that the children of Abraham ( of whose race he himself came) might know that God had showed favor to others that were not of the same line, and upon that be ashamed if they themselves walked not purely in the fear of God, seeing that this man (which had not the mark of God's covenant, nor was circumcised, but was a Pagan) had behaved himself so well. But forasmuch as this is not certain: we must leave it in suspense.

Nevertheless let us take that which is out of all doubt: that is to say, that the Holy Ghost has edited this book, to the end that the Jews should know how God has had people to serve Him, albeit that they have not been separated out from the rest of the world: and that although they had not the sign of circumcision, yet despite this they walked in all pureness of conversation. By the knowledge of which, the Jews have had occasion to be so much the more diligent to keep the law of God: and since He had vouchsafed them such favor and privilege, as to gather them out from among all other strange nations, they ought to dedicate themselves wholly unto Him. Also a man may perceive by the book of Ezekiel , that the name of Job was renowned among the people of Israel. For in this 14th chapter, we see it is said, that if Noah, Job , & Daniel were among the people that should perish, they should save no other men's lives but their own, & all the rest of the people should be destroyed. See how the Prophet speaks of these three men, as of such as were known and renowned among the Jews, as I have touched already.

And thereby we see the intent of the Holy Ghost is: namely that the Jews should have a mirror and pattern whereby to know, how they ought to keep the doctrine of salvation that was given to them, seeing that this man which was of a strange nation, had so kept himself in such purity. And that is the chief thing that we have to remember concerning the name that is set down here, when he says that he was of the land of Hus. True it is, that some men do place this land far eastward. Nevertheless in the fourth chapter of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the same word Hus is put for a part of Edom. We know that the Edomites are descended of Esau: and true it is that they also had circumcision. However forasmuch as they were strayed away from God's church, they had it no more as the sign of His covenant.

Therefore if we take Job to have been of this land of Hus, then was he an Edomite, that is to say, of the line of Esau. And we know how the Prophet Malachi says, that although Esau and Jacob were natural brothers, born both at one birth: yet God of His mere goodness chose Jacob, rejecting Esau, and cursing him with all his whole linage. Look how the Prophet in speaking to magnify God's mercy towards the Jews, telling them that He chose them not for any worth that was in their persons, considering that He had rejected Jacob's eldest brother, to whom the birthright belonged, and had chosen him that was the younger and inferior. So then, although that this man was born of Esau's line: yet despite this we see how soundly he lived, & how he served God not only by upright conversation & equity among men: but also in pure religion, which he defiled not with the idolatries and superstitions of the infidels.

As touching the name of Job, some interpret it to signify weeping or whaling. And other's take it for an utter enemy, not such a one as he hates, but such a one as it were a target for men to shoot at. There is no cause why we should doubt whether this man (whose country is so marked out, & whole name is expressed) were or not, or lived or not, or whether the things that are written here, did come to pass or not: so as we should think it to be but a tale contrived, as if a man should under a counterfeit name set out something unto us that was never done. For I have already stated the record of Ezekiel, and also of St. James, who showed right well that there was a Job indeed. And farther, seeing that the story itself declares it, we cannot in any way deface the thing which the Holy Ghost meant to utter precisely.

As for the residue, we have to mark, that in that time, although the world were fallen away from the true serving of God, and from pure religion: yet despite this there was still far more soundness by a great deal, than there is at this day, specially in the papacy.

And indeed we see, that in Abraham's time Melchizedek had God's church and sacrifices which were without any defilement. And even though the most part of the world was wrapped in manifold errors, and false and wicked imaginations: yet despite all of this, God had reserved some little seed to Himself, and He had always some that were held still under the pure truth, indeed and which waited continually when God should establish His church, and choose out one people, ( that is to say the offspring of Abraham) to the end they might know that they were picked out from the rest of the whole world. But very true it is, that Job lived after this time, though the church of God was not then so well established as it was afterward.

For we know that while the children of Israel lived in Egypt, it was like that all should come to nothing. And specially we see to what an disadvantage they were to come to in the end when Pharaoh commanded that their first born sons should be killed: and in the wilderness where is seemed that God had rejected them. When they were to go into the country of Canaan, they had great battles against their enemies, and specially the service of God and His tabernacle were not yet there so well appointed as was required. God therefore having not yet settled an apparent state of the Church, where there should always remain some small seeds of it among the Pagans, to the intent He might be worshipped: & that was also to convince those that are turned outside of the right way like Pagans: for Job alone was enough to condemn a whole country. Noah also condemned the whole world (as Scripture says) because he held himself always in pureness, and walked as before God, at such time as every man had forgotten Him, and all men were gone astray in their own superstitions. Here then is Noah judge of the whole world, to condemn the unbelievers and rebels. As much is to be said of Job, who has condemned all the people of that country: in that he has served God purely, and the residue were full of idolatry, shameful deeds, and many errors. And this came to pass, because they held it a scorn to know the true living God, and how and after what sort it was His will to be honored.

So great regard has God always had (as I have said) to make the wicked and the unbelievers always without excuse. And for this cause it was His will, that there should always be some men that should follow the things that He had showed to the ancient fathers. Such a one was Job, as the Scriptures tells us, & as this present story shows full well, who served God purely, and lived uprightly among men.

It is said, that He was a sound man. This word Sound in the scripture is taken for a plainness, when there is no point of saying, counterfeiting, or hypocrisy in a man, but that he showed himself the same outwardly that he is inwardly, & specially when he had no starting holes to shift himself from God, but laid open his heart, and all his thoughts and affections, so as he desired nothing but to consecrate and dedicate himself wholly unto God. The said word has also been translated perfect, as well by the Greeks as by the Latins. But for as much as the word perfect, has afterward been misunderstood: it is much better for us to use the word Sound. For many ignorant people, not knowing how the said perfection is to be taken, have thought thus: Behold here a man that is called perfect, and therefore it follows, that it is possible for us to have perfection in ourselves, even during the time that we walk in this present life. But they deface the grace of God, of which we have need continually. For even they that lived most uprightly, must have recourse to God's mercy: and except their sins be forgiven them, and that God uphold them, they all must perish. So then, although that they which have used the word perfect, have meant well, yet despite this for as much as there have been some that have wrestled it to a contrary sense, (as I have said) let us keep still the word Sound.

Then look upon Job, who is called Sound. And how so? It is because there was no hypocrisy or dissimulation, nor any doubleness of heart in him. For when the Scriptures meant to set down the vice that is contrary to this virtue of soundness: it says heart and heart, meaning thereby a double heart. Let us mark then, that first of all this title is attributed unto Job, to show that he had a pure and simple mind, that he bear not two faces in one wood, nor served God by halves, but labored to give himself wholly unto Him.

True it is that as now we cannot be so sound as to attain to the mark as were to be wished. For as touching those that follow the right way, although they go forward limping: yet are they so lame, that they drag their legs and their wings after them. The case then stands so with us, so long as we be wrapped in this mortal body, that until such time as God have quite discharged us of all miseries whereto we be subject: there shall never be any perfect soundness in us, as I have already said. But yet for all that , it is necessary for us nevertheless to come to the said plainness, and to give over all counterfeitness and falsehood. And further, let us note, that the true holiness begins within us, insomuch that if we show all the fairest countenances in the world before men, and that our life be so well guided that every man shall commend us: yet if we have not this plainness and soundness before God, all that we do have is nothing. For it is necessary that the fountain be first pure, and afterward that the streams that run out of it be pure also. Otherwise the water may well be clear: and yet nevertheless be bitter, or else have some other filthy corruption in it.

Therefore it is necessary for us to begin always with this text, That God will be served in Spirit, and in truth: for He is a Spirit, and he regards the truth of the heart, as it is said in the fifth of Jeremiah. Then ought we to learn first and foremost, to frame our hearts to the obeying of God. For after that Job has been reported to have been found, it is also said of him that He was upright. This uprightness is meant of the life that he led, which is as it were the fruit of the said root which the Holy Ghost had planted beforehand. Job then had an upright and sound heart. For his life was simple, that is to say, he walked and lived among his neighbors, without hurting any person, without doing any wrong or trouble to anybody, without setting of his mind to any artful deception or mischievousness, and without seeking his own profit by the hindrance of other folks. We see now what this uprightness imports, which is added in this place. And hereby we be admonished, to have an agreeableness between our heart and our outward senses. True it is (as I have said before) that we may well withhold ourselves from yielding, & that we may well have a fair show before men: but that shall be nothing, if there be any hypocrisy or covert dissimulation before God, when it comes to the root that is within our heart.

What must we do then? We must begin at the foresaid point, as I have told you before: and then to have perfect soundness, it is necessary that our eyes, our hands, our feet, our arms, and our legs be answering to that matter: so as in our whole life we may show that our will is to serve God, and how that it is not in vain that we pretend a meaning to keep the same soundness within. And here we may see why St. Paul also exhorts the Galatians to walk after the Spirit, if they live after the Spirit, as if he should say. Truly it is necessary that the Spirit of God dwell in us and govern us. For it is to no purpose to have a happy life that pleases men, and is had in great estimation unless we be renewed by the grace of God. But what? It is necessary for us to walk: that is to say, it is necessary for us to show in effect, & by our work, how the Spirit of God reigns in our minds. For if our hands be stained with robbery, with cruelty, or with other annoyances: if the eyes be carried with lewd & impure jokes, with coveting other men's goods, with pride, or with vanity: or if the feet (as Scripture says) be swift to do evil: thereby we will declare, that our heart is full of mischievousness and corruption. For it is neither the feet nor the hands, nor the eyes that guide themselves: the guiding of them comes from the mind & from the heart.

Wherefore let us endeavor to have the said agreeableness which the Scriptures shows us, when it says, that Job having this soundness and plain meaning, did also live uprightly, that is to say was among his neighbors without any annoying of them, & without seeking of his own peculiar profit, & kept an even hand with everyone in the world. Also we see the reason why God proves whether we serve Him faithfully or not: It is not for that He has need of our service, or of anything that we can do: But because that when we deal well with our neighbors, so as we keep our faithfulness toward all men, according as nature itself teaches us: in so doing we yield assurance that we fear God.

We see many which bear the face of very zealous Christians, so long as it is but to dispute, and to hold long talk, and to bear men in hand that they study to serve God, and to honor Him: and yet for all that, as soon as the have to do with their neighbors, a man shall perceive what they have in their hearts. For they seek their own advantage, and make no conscience to rake to themselves, and to trick folk when they have them in their danger, by what means so ever it be. Now then there is no doubt, that those which seek their own advantage and profit, are hypocrites, and that their heart is corrupt: and how earnest Christians so ever they seem outwardly, God warns that they have nothing but dung and poison in their hearts: And why so? For look where soundness is, there must needs be uprightness also: that is to say, if the affection be pure within, then will it follow, that when we have to deal with men, we shall procure the welfare of every man, in such a way as we shall not be given to ourselves private commodity, but shall have the indifference which Jesus Christ avouches to be the rule of life, and the whole sum of the law and the prophets: namely that we do not that thing to any man, which we would not have done to ourselves.

So then, we perceive that by this commendation of Job many men are condemned, forasmuch as the Holy Ghost declares, that this man had not only a soundness before God, but also an uprightness and plain dealing among men. This plain dealing which he speaks of , shall serve to give sentence of damnation upon all such as are full of maliciousness, and upon all such as pass not to snatch and rake to themselves the goods of other men, or which pass not to spoil other men of their livings. This sort of men are condemned by this present text.
For it follows, that
He feared God, yes that he was a man which feared God, and withdrew himself from evil​

Now seeing that Job had had the praise of keeping right and equity among men: it was necessary for him also to walk before God: for without that, the rest is worth nothing. True it is (as I have said before) that we cannot live with our neighbors to do harm to none, and to do good to all: unless we have an eye unto God. For as for them that follow their own nature, although it be that they endowed with admirable virtues, (for so will it seem) yet are they overtaken with self love, & it is nothing else but vain gloriousness, or some other such respect which thrusts them forward: in so much that all the show of virtue which appeared in them is thereby marred. But although we cannot have the said uprightness without the fearing of God: yet despite this, the serving of God, and the regarding of our neighbors are two separate things, in like manner as God has distinguished then in His law, at such time as it pleased Him to have them written out in the two tables.

Then let us bear in mind, that like as before now under the word uprightness, the Holy Ghost meant to show after what manner Job lived among men: also when He says that Job feared God, he means to set out the religion that was in him. And hereby we be warned, that if we will frame our life aright, we must first have an eye unto God, & then our neighbors. I say we must have an eye unto God, to give ourselves over unto Him, & to yield to Him His due honor: And we must have an eye to our neighbors, to discharge ourselves of our duty towards them, according to that we are commanded to help them, and to live in equity & uprightness: and finally (forasmuch as God has knit us each to each other) that every man study to employ his whole ability to the common good of all.

Thus we see how the case stands with us having of an eye both to God and men, for the well ordering of our life: for he that looks in himself, is sure that he has nothing but vanity in him. For if a man were able to order his life in such a way, as he might seem faultless to the world, & yet despite this, if God hates him: what shall he gain by his overlaboring of himself to walk in such a way as men might magnify him? As toward God he is nothing else but uncleanness , & must this sentence which is written in St. Luke be verified, namely that the thing which is most high and excellent before men, is abominable before God.
Then let us bear in mind, that we can never order our life as we ought to do, except we have our eyes fastened upon God and our neighbor. Upon God? and for what reason? To this end we may know, that we are created for His glory, to serve Him and to worship Him. For although he has no need of us as our neighbors have, nor is either the better or the worse for our service: yet is it His will to have reasonable creatures which should know Him, and in knowing Him, yield Him that which belongs to Him. Furthermore, while he speaks of the fear of God: we have to understand, that it is not a slavish fear ( as men term it) but it is so termed in respect of the honor which we owe Him, for that he is our Father and Master: Do we fear God? Then is it certain that we desire nothing but to honor Him and to be wholly His. Do we know Him? That must be in such a way as he has uttered Himself: that is to say, that he is our maker, maintainer, and one that has showed such fatherly goodness towards us, that we of duty ought to be as children towards Him, if not we will be utterly unthankful.

Also it is necessary for us to acknowledge His dominion and superiority over us, to the end that every one of us yielding Him His due honor, may learn to please Him in all respects. Thus you see, how that under this fearing of God, here is comprehended all religion: that is to say, all the service and honor which the creatures owe unto their God.
And surely it was an excellent virtue in Job to fear God after that manner, considering how the whole world was turned aside from the right way. When we hear this, when we perceive that although we live among the most wicked of men in the whole world, we shall be utterly inexcusable, if we are not given to the serving of God as we ought to be: And this is well to be marked, because many men are of opinion, that when they are among thorns, God will hold them not guilty and excused: and that if afterward they corrupt themselves, (or as the Proverb says) hold with the Hare, and hunt with the Hound, (which is all one) God will pardon them. But on the other hand, look upon Job, who is called a man that feared God. In what country? It was not in Judah, it was not in the city of Jerusalem, it was not in the Temple: but it was in a defiled place, in the middle of such as were utterly perverted. Although he was amongst such people, yet he had such a power of endurance in himself , and lived in such a way, that he walked purely among his neighbors, in spite of the fact that at that time all was full of cruelty, of outrage, of robbery, and of such other like sins in that place.

Upon which we have to consider, that it shall turn to so much to our greater shame, if we on our behalf have not a care to keep ourselves pure in the service of God, and of our neighbors, seeing he gives us such occasion as we have, that is to say, that God's Word is continually preached to us, that we are strongly encouraged to it, and that he reforms us when we have done wrong. It is for this reason then, to give an ear to what is shown to us here.

And therefore in conclusion let us mark that which is added here in the text: namely that he withdrew himself from evil. For we see that the cause why Job overcame all barriers and encounters that might hinder him from serving God, and from living uprightly among men, was for he had a power of endurance in himself; for he knew right well, that if he had taken liberty to do like other men, he should have been given to all vices, so as he should have been the enemy of God. Job then walked not so in the fear of God and in such plain dealing and soundness, without great store of encounters, or without the Devils extremely crowed against him to over throw him and to cast him into filthiness of the whole world: but he withdrew himself from evil, that is to say, he withheld himself.
What must we do then? Although we are in the church of God, yet we see great abundance of evils, and (how so ever it happens) there shall never be such plainness and pureness, but we shall be mixed with a mass of scorners and prodigals which are the firebrand's of hell and deadly plagues to infect all men. Therefore it is necessary for us to beware, seeing there are so many stumbling blocks and so great looseness, by which to train us immediately unto waste.

What remedy is there then? Let us withdraw ourselves from evil: that is to say, let us fight against such assaults after the example of Job: and when we see abundance of vices and corruptions reign in the world,
although that we are glad to be mixed in with them, yet let us not be defiled with them, nor say as commonly men are to say, namely that we must do as other men do: but rather let us take counsel by Job's example to withdraw ourselves from evil, and retire in such sort, as Satan may not be able to make us yield to all the temptations that he shall cast before us: but that we may suffer God to cleanse us from all our filth and infection (according as he has promised us in the name of Jesus Christ,) until he have pulled us out of the soil and uncleanness of this world, to match us with His Angels, and to make us partakers endless bliss, for which we must labor here continually.

Therefore let us present ourselves before the face of our good God, with acknowledgment of our sins, praying to him to give us such feeling, that in acknowledging our own poverty, we may always have recourse to the remedy that He gives us: which is, that He pardons all of our offences, will so govern us by His Holy Spirit, that although Satan be named the Prince of the world, and have such a scope among men, that the greater part of them are so perverted as we see: yet despite this we may not be taken away with them: but rather that our good God will hold us back under His high honor, and that we may know the thing to what we are called, so as we may follow it, and maintain brotherliness which He has ordained among us, so linking ourselves one with another, as we may desire nothing but to procure the welfare of our neighbors, to the end we may be settled more and more in His grace which He has granted us by our Lord Jesus Christ, until He make us to receive the fruit of it in His heavenly glory: and that it may please him to bestow this benefit and grace not only on us, but also upon all people and nations of the earth: &c.
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Puritan Board Sophomore
No this is my translation of the 1577 Facsimile by Banner of truth. I have 21 hours invested in 3 pages of the first sermon. There is 2 more pages left to translate in to modern text type.


Staff member
Okay; thanks. Translation may not be the most accurate term then, but in any case, that is certainly a lot of editing to get into modern parlance.
Is this for personal use or do you envision formally publishing the whole? If the latter, doing more than just spelling and text type updates would add significantly to the value of the production.


Puritan Board Sophomore
I want to get through the whole I think 157 sermons and see if Banner of Truth will publish for me like 10 copies in a hardback book. As for the editing I only wish to make Calvin's work availabe to the modern reader.
I wish I could find someone that could help me make it more 21st century friendly.

---------- Post added at 12:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:18 PM ----------

Did you understand it well?


Iron Dramatist
Jason -

I am with Chris on this - it's not a translation. It's a laudable goal you have - but you'll definitely need, in order to portray what you're really doing, to call this a "modernization" effort. What you've posted here, however, is very close to the Arthur Golding version - only a small word change here or there seems to have been made. If you hope to get a modernized version of Calvin's sermons on Job published, you'll need to make far more substantial changes, I'd think, and have a solid working knowledge of the French (so that you are able to accurately portray Calvin's words) as well as the 16th century English of Arthur Golding's time. It's a rather monumental undertaking.



Staff member
I find the period considerably harder to edit than the next century. The type faces from then are certainly more a barrier than the 17th Century which saw a lot of improvement (though still has a lot of archaic forms, those f's and s's, etc.). But if you are going to do this a some sort of professional attempt, you have to learn the type and get some familiarity with the jargon and archaic aspects of the material. Getting an Oxford English Dictionary is essential; or joining online.

As far as publishing, Banner of Truth or any publisher would not just publish 10 copies. If they use professional book makers they would have to make 1000 or more. If you did compile the text you could self publish hard copies via or some such. But I agree with Todd's comments. The typing as much grunt work as it is, is just the beginning of making such a work useful to folks.

If you are interested in pursuing this beyond just a simple transcription into modern type, you may want to consult examples of what has been done with some of the recent edition of old works. My edition of James Durham's sermons on Isaiah 53 has at least some of the basics I like to see in new editions. However, as I do subsequent projects I find even more can be done as far as checking references, compiling bibliographies, running down allusions to classical literature, checking citations, etc. But the basics would be to at least give interpretive help in footnotes or inserted alternative words (modern synonyms, etc.).

However, with Calvin, the bar is set consierably higher than anything I have done. As Todd suggests, one should interact with the original French. I'm not familiar with how good the Golding was but I imagine with so much text some ambiguity would arise that one would want to clarify by going back to the original French. One also simply most look for missing text. It is not impossible Golding omitted text in his translating, though I only suggest that as a possibility.

I want to get through the whole I think 157 sermons and see if Banner of Truth will publish for me like 10 copies in a hardback book. As for the editing I only wish to make Calvin's work availabe to the modern reader. I wish I could find someone that could help me make it more 21st century friendly. ---------- Post added at 12:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:18 PM ---------- Did you understand it well?


Puritan Board Sophomore
Ok the reason I started this task is, I want to hear Calvin's preaching on Job. After I got this far and read how sweet it was, I now want to make these sermons useful for the Sheep. I do not care about having a great name in taking this task; I just want to feed God's Flock. If by going thourgh the 1577 version and only making slight changes, so that modern readers can understand it, then I have accomplished my purpose.


Staff member
It's not about making a name; it's about doing good and the most useful work. If you just want to do a simple transcription and throw it up on the Internet, have at it.


Puritan Board Sophomore
When I am finished with the first sermon, I will also be converting them over to mp3 audio format so they can be uploaded to sermonaudio.

---------- Post added at 02:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:54 PM ----------

Oxford English Dictionary is essential; or joining online.

I have one on my kindle app


Puritan Board Sophomore
As far as publishing, Banner of Truth or any publisher would not just publish 10 copies. If they use professional book makers they would have to make 1000 or more.

If they were happy with my work, then they could have to publish under the pretense of disclosing what it actualy is. Meat for modern Sheep!

---------- Post added at 03:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:39 PM ----------

Originally Posted by NaphtaliPress Oxford English Dictionary is essential; or joining online.

I thank you so dearly to pointing me to the oxford dictionary. The dictionary I was using was between Webster's 1828 and I looked up some archaic words from the text and the meanings came to life in the context of what Calvin is saying!! Thank you Thank you!

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior

I had a similar idea a while back. I accomplished the first two sermons, and contacted Banner of Truth. Jon replied back, saying it would be a wonderful thing to do. He wanted a word for word copy of the facsimile "as is" typed into Word format first. This purpose was to create a digital copy of the original sixteenth century translation. Once that was done, other editing would then be accomplished. Things came up for me, and I couldn't continue with the project. I've always wanted to get back to it, but haven't. I'm glad you a disire towards it.

I have the email's from Jon at Banner of Truth, if you need them for reference to this idea.



Puritan Board Sophomore
Ok everyone here it is the first sermon has been completed and posted. Let me know if you can understand this.
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