Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Letter to a King

A selection from a letter by John Calvin to the young king of England, Edward VI. Along with the letter he sent a copy of his exposition of Psalm 87, hoping that he would “take pleasure in it” and that it “might be profitable” to him. The letter was written in Geneva, July 4, 1552.

You know, Sire, how much danger kings and princes are in, lest the height to which they are raised should dazzle their eyes, and amuse them here below, while making them forgetful of the heavenly kingdom; and I doubt not that God hath so warned you against this evil, to preserve you therefrom, that you are a hundred times more impressed with it, than those who have no personal experience of it… It is indeed a great thing to be a king, and yet more, over such a country; nevertheless, I have no doubt that you reckon it beyond comparison better to be a Christian. It is therefore an invaluable privilege that God has vouchsafed you, Sire, to be a Christian king, to serve as his lieutenant in ordering and maintaining the kingdom of Jesus Christ in England… I pray our Lord to fill you with the gifts of his Holy Spirit, to guide you in all prudence and virtue, to make you prosper and flourish to the glory of his name.

John Calvin: Tracts and Letters, edited by Jules Bonnet and translated by David Constable, first published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1858, republished by The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009, vol. 5, pp. 354-355.

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