Page:Commentaries on Genesis (Calvin) Vol 1.djvu/18

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viii
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

Calvin, like Luther, was a man of courage; but he wanted Luther's fire, he wanted Luther's ardent frankness of disposition; he wanted, in short, the faculty which Luther possessed in a pre-eminent degree, of laying hold on the affections, and of kindling the enthusiasm of a mighty nation.

Calvin, like Luther too, was a Translator of the Scriptures, and it is worthy of remark, that he also wrote in a far purer and better style than any of his contemporaries, or than any writers of an age near his own. But he had not the honour, which God conferred on Luther, of sending forth the sacred volume as a whole, through that great nation in which his language was spoken, and of thus pouring, by one single act, flood of light upon millions of his countrymen.

But whatever advantage may lie on the side of Luther in the comparison, so far as it has yet been carried, we shall find it on the side of Calvin in grasp of intellect, in discriminating power, in calmness, clearness and force of argument, in patience of research, in solid learning, in every quality, in short, which is essential to an Expositor of Holy Writ. We are the better able to institute this comparison, because Luther himself wrote a Commentary on the Scriptures; but the slightest inspection of the two Commentaries will convince the Eeader of Calvin's intellectual superiority; and will show, that as a faithful, penetrating, and judicious Expounder of the Holy Spirit's meaning in the Scriptures, he left the great Leader of the Reformation at an immeasurable distance behind.[1]

  1. Nothing is farther from the Editor's intention than to speak slightingly of Luther's Commentaries. That on the Galatians alone has laid the Church of Christ under lasting obligation to its Author. But its excellencies are not of the same order with those which mark the expository writings of Calvin. As a defence of the Gospel of Christ against the prevailing errors of the day—and, alas! of our own day too—it stands forth a masterpiece of sound argument and energetic declamation; and as a balm to wounded consciences, it remains to the present hour without a rival.