Thursday, May 27, 2010

John Calvin

"...Among the attentive group which I now saw, might be distinguished various expressions similar to those of the audience in the famous cartoon of Paul preaching at Athens. Here sat a zealous and intelligent Calvinist, with brows bent just as much as to indicate profound attention ; lips slightly compressed; eyes fixed on the minister with an expression of decent pride, as if sharing the triumph of his argument; the forefinger of the right hand touching successively those of the left, as the preacher, from argument to argument, ascended towards his conclusion. Another, with fiercer and sterner look, intimated at once his contempt of all who doubted the creed of his pastor, and his joy at the appropriate punishment denounced against them. A third, perhaps belonging to a different congregation, and present only by accident or curiosity, had the appearance of internally impeaching some link of the reasoning; and you might plainly read, in the slight motion of his head, his doubts as to the soundness of the preacher's argument. The greater part listened with a calm, satisfied countenance, expressive of a conscious merit in being present, and in listening to such an ingenious discourse, although perhaps unable entirely to comprehend it..."

Walter Scott's description of the Calvinist attending kirk services appears in "Rob Roy".  John Calvin was the son of a cooper, who was supported in his schooling by a wealthy family, attending the University of Paris.  Calvin met Wolmar the Reformer while in Bruges, who inspired him toward Protestantism.  Calvin influenced Scottish religious understanding, as represented in Presbyterianism, through John Knox, who studied under Calvin in Geneva.  Calvin died on May 27, 1564, at age 55.

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