The Banner of Truth Trust has recently republished the seven-volume set, John Calvin – Tracts and Letters. This is to mark the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth. The entire set is being offered throughout 2009 in the USA directly by the Banner for $80. The set consists of three volumes of Reformation tracts and other writings of Calvin, and four volumes of his letters.
Concerning the Letters, volumes 4-7 of the set, the Banner of Truth Magazine for March says:
“A man who regularly lectured to theological students, preached on average five times a week, and authored enough material to fill forty-eight large volumes would not be expected to show much enthusiasm for correspondence. Yet in the Complete Works of John Calvin there are no fewer than eleven volumes of letters. Calvin wrote to kings and princes, reformers and friends, nobility and common people alike. His letters discuss affairs of State, but also the most mundane problems of everyday life, and through them all there is revealed a man of deep pastoral concern, consistent and exemplary evangelistic zeal, and a humble sense of the final authority of God and his Word.
“The four volumes of Letters in this edition range from 1528 to the year of the Reformer’s death (1564). They are of enormous historical interest, but their permanent significance lies in the reminder they provide of a great work of God, and the example they set of compassionate Christian care and a deep concern for the advance of the gospel wherever it is proclaimed. Calvin’s personal ambition undergirds each letter: ‘It is enough that I live and die for Christ who is to his followers a gain both in life and in death.’”
I add my hearty amen to this endorsement. The letters are a goldmine of historical, theological, and pastoral interest. A man’s personal letters opens a window into his soul. If you want to know Calvin better, then read his letters. I am enjoying the journey through them at present and I am finding them both enjoyable and profitable.