from Calvin's Commentary
"If the love of ourselves hinder us from following Christ, we must resist it courageously." Matthew 10:37
"Those who are excessively desirous of an earthly life, take pains to guard themselves with unfounded confidence, as if they were looking well to themselves, but their life, though defended by such powerful safeguards, will pass away; for they will bring to them everlasting ruin. On the other hand, when believers surrender themselves to die, their soul, which appears to vanish in a moment, passes into a better life." Matthew 10:37
"That no one may think it hard to follow Christ on the condition of renouncing all his desires, a useful warning is here given. We must consider beforehand what the profession of the gospel demands. The reason why many persons yield to very slight temptations is, that they have pictured to themselves unmixed enjoyment, as if they were to be always in the shade and at their ease. No man will ever become fit to serve Christ till he has undergone a long preparation for warfare. Now the comparisons are exceedingly adapted to this that gives little satisfaction on account of the expense. War, threatens destruction to the human race, so that it is never undertaken but with reluctance. And yet the advantages of building are found to be sufficient to induce men to spend their substance on it without hesitation; while neccessity drives them to shrink from no expenses in carrying on wars. But a far more valuable reward awaits those who are the builders of the temple of God, and who fight under the banner of Christ: for Christians do not labour for a temporary building, or fight for a passing triumph." Luke 14:28
Luke 14:33 shows what is meant by the calculation of expenses, with which Christ enjoins his followers to begin: it is to lead them to consider that they must forsake all. In vain do persons who are delighted with an easy, indolent life, and with exemption from the cross, undertake a profession of Christianity. Those persons are said to forsake all who prefer Christ so greatly, both to their own life, and to all the wishes of the flesh, that nothing deters them from the right course. It would be absurd to insist on a literal interpretation of the phrase, as if no man were a disciple of Christ, till he threw into the sea all that he possessed, divorced his wife, and bade farewill to his children. Such idle dreams led foolish people to adopt a monastic life, as if those who intend to come to Christ must leave off humanity. Yet no man truly forsakes all that he possesses till he is prepared at every instant to leave all, gives himself free and unconstrained to the Lord, and rising above every hinderance, pursues his calling. Thus the true self-denial which the Lord demands from his followers does not consist so much in outward conduct as in the affections; so that every one must employ the time which is passing over him without allowing the objects which he directs by his hand to hold a place in his heart." Matthew 10:37
"And he who received the seed among thorns..." "He places in the third class, those who would have been disposed to receive the seed within, if they had not permitted other things to corrupt and render it degenerate. Christ compares to thorns the pleasures of this life, or wicked desires, and covetousness, and the other anxieties of the flesh....Each of us ought to endeavor to tear the thorns out of his heart, if we do not choose that the word of God should be choked; for there is not one of us whose heart is not filled with a vast quantity, and, I may say, a thick forest, of thorns. And, indeed, we perceive how few there are that reach maturity; for there is scarcely one individual out of ten that labours, I do not say to root out, but even to cut down the thorns. Nay more, the very number of the thorns, which is so prodigious that it ought to shake off our sloth, is the reason why most people give themselves no trouble about them...Let us remember that the affections of our flesh, the number and variety of which are incalculable, are so many injurious influences to corrupt the seed of life...None are compared by Christ to a good and fertile soil, but those in whom the Word of God not only strikes its roots deep and solid, but overcomes every obstacle that would prevent it from yielding fruit". Matthew 13:18-23
"And this is a genuine and an undoubted proof of our faith, when, being visited with adversity, we, notwithstanding, persevere in cherishing and exercising hope in God. From this, we also learn that the gate of mercy is shut against our prayers if the key of faith do not open it for us."
"In the second clause of the forth verse, he proceeds farther, and states, that he had been a friend not only to the good, but also to the bad, and had not only restrained himself from all revenge, but had even succoured his enemies, by whom he had been deeply and cruelly injured. It would certainly not be very illustrious virtue to love the good and peaceable, unless there were joined to this self-government and gentleness in patiently bearing with the bad. But when a man not only keeps himself from revenging the injuries which he has received, but endeavours to overcome evil by doing good, he manifests one of the graces of a renewed and sanctified nature, and in this way proves himself to be one of the children of God; for such meekness proceeds only from the Spirit of adoption...If we could bring a good conscience like this before God, his hand would be more quickly stretched forth to afford us immediate assistance. But as it often happens that those who molest us have been provoked by us, or that we burn with the desire of revenge when offended, we are unworthy of receiving succour from God; yea our own impatience shuts the gate against our prayers." Psalm 7:3-5.
"In the end of the verse (6) he shows that he asks nothing but what is according to the appointment of God. And this is the rule which ought to be observed by us in our prayers; we should in everything conform our requests to the Divine will, as John also instructs us, (I Jn. 4:14.) and, indeed, we can never pray in faith unless we attend, in the first place, to what God commands that our minds may not rashly and at random start aside in desiring more than we are permitted to desire and pray for. David, therefore, in order to pray aright reposes himself on the word and promise of God; and the import of his exercise is this: Lord, I am not led by ambition, or foolish headstrong passion, or depraved desire, inconsiderately to ask from Thee whatever is pleasing to my flesh; but it is the clear light of Thy Word which directs me, and upon it I securely depend...The faithful must therefore, take care not to exceed these bounds, if they desire to have God present with them to maintain and preserve them." Psalm 7:6-8.
"On account of the adversaries "God is not under the necessity of making war with great power to overcome the faithful, who willingly harken to His voice, and manifest a ready obedience, as soon as he gives the smallest intimation of His will. The providence of God I confess, shines forth principally for the sake of the faithful, because they only have eyes to behold it. But as they show themselves willing to receive instruction, God teaches them with gentleness; while on the other hand, he arms himself against His enemies, who never submit themselves to him but by constraint." Psalm 8:2.
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