CHAPTER III. PROGRESS OF CALVINISM
Calvin's system was modelled to a great extent on the doctrines of Luther and Zwingli, but it was coloured largely by his own harsh and morose disposition. For the distinguishing feature of his system, namely, absolute predestination, he was dependent largely upon the works of Wycliffe. Like Luther, he began with the assumption that the condition of man before the Fall was entirely natural, and that consequently by the Fall he was deprived of something that was essential to his nature and without which human nature was completely corrupted. Man was no longer free, and every act of his was sinful. His want of freedom was the result of the play of external forces directed and arranged by God, rather than of any internal necessity by which he was forced to sin. God is, according to Calvin, the author of sin, in the sense that he created a certain number of men to work evil through them in order that He might have an opportunity of displaying the divine attribute of mercy. Hence the motive of God in bringing about evil is different from the motive of the sinner, and therefore though the sinner is blameworthy God is nowise responsible for his crime.
Adam sinned because it was decreed by God that he should fall in order that the divine mercy should be manifested to the world. For the same reason God did not intend that all should be equally good or that all should be saved. He created some men that they might sin and that their punishment might afford an example of God's justice, while He made others that they might be saved to show His overwhelming mercy. The former are condemned to hell by an irreversible decree, the others, the elect, are predestined absolutely to glory. The elect are assured of justification through the merits of Christ, and once justified they are always justified, for justification cannot be lost. Faith such as that advocated by Luther was the means of acquiring justification, but, mindful of his other doctrine that even the best of men's works are sinful, Calvin took care to explain that justifying faith was only the instrument by which a man laid hold of the merits of Christ. It was like a vessel which, though containing some priceless treasure, was in itself worthless.
As might be expected, Calvin refused to admit that the sacraments were endowed with any objective power of conferring Grace. In the case of their reception by the elect, however, he held that they were the means of strengthening the faith by which justification is acquired, but for those predestined to damnation they were mere signs without any spiritual effect. In regard to the Eucharist, while he rejected the Catholic view of Transubtantiation, he maintained against the Lutherans that Impanation or Companation was equally absurd. Nor did he agree with Zwingli that the Eucharist is a mere sign of Christ's love for men. According to him Christ is really present, in the sense that though the bread and wine remain unchanged, the predestined receive with the Eucharistic elements a heavenly food that proceeds from the body of Christ in Heaven.
Like Luther he contended that the true Church of Christ is invisible, consisting in his view only of the predestined, but, realising the necessity for authority and organisation, he was driven to hold that the invisible Church manifested itself through a visible religious society. Unlike Luther, however, he was unwilling to subordinate the Church to the civil power, believing as he did that it was a society complete in itself and entirely independent of temporal sovereigns. Each Calvinistic community should be to a great extent a self- governing republic, all of them bound together into one body by the religious synods, to which the individual communities should elect representatives. The churches were to be ruled by pastors, elders, and deacons. Candidates for the sacred ministry were to receive the confirmation of their vocation by a call from some Calvinistic church body, and were to be ordained by the imposition of the hands of the presbyters or elders. For Calvin as for Luther the Holy Scriptures were the sole rule of faith to be adopted by both the preachers and the synods. The special illumination of the Holy Ghost was sufficient to guard individuals from being deceived either in determining what books are inspired, or what is the precise meaning which God wished to convey in any particular book or passage.
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 Baird, Theodore Beza, Counsellor of the French Reform, 1900.
 Galli, Die Lutheran, und Calvinist, Kirchenstrafen im
 Rouquette, L'Inquisition protestante. Les victimes de Calvin ,
1906. Galiffe, Quelques pages d'histoire exacte sur les proces
intentes a Geneve, 1862. Paulus, Luther und Gewissensfreiheit,
1905. Id., Melanchthon und Gewissensfreiheit ( 'Katholik, i.,