To Catch Sight of the Ineffable Vision

Have you visited the Compilations page at Log College Press recently? We are adding special volumes by multiple authors as we can. One such gem that is very much worth downloading and studying with care is the 1909 Calvin Memorial Addresses.

In May 1909, the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) assembled in Savannah, Georgia, to honor the 400th anniversary of the birth of the French Reformer, John Calvin. It was on this occasion that a gavel was presented to the Moderator of the General Assembly. That gavel was made from a timber of wood obtained from the tower of the St. Pierre
Cathedral in Geneva from which John Calvin preached. It was a fitting tribute to a man whom we admire because he, it seems, had "caught sight of the ineffable Vision." In the Calvin Memorial Addresses delivered on that occasion, B.B. Warfield (1851-1921) gave a description of Calvinism and what it means to be a Calvinist, a description that resonates a century on: 

"The Calvinist, in a word, is the man who sees God. He has caught sight of the ineffable Vision, and he will not let it fade for a moment from his eyes—God in nature, God in history, God in grace. Everywhere he sees God in His mighty stepping, everywhere he feels the working of His mighty arm, the throbbing of His mighty heart. The Calvinist is therefore, by way of eminence, the supernaturalist in the world of thought. The world itself is to him a supernatural product. not merely in the sense that somewhere, away back before all time, God made it, but that God is making it now, and in every event that falls out. In every modification of what is, that takes place, His hand is visible, as through all occurrences His “one increasing purpose runs”. Man himself is His— created for His glory, and having as the one supreme end of his existence to glorify his Maker, and haply also to enjoy Him for ever. And salvation, in every step and stage of it, is of God. Conceived in God’s love, wrought out by God’s own Son in a supernatural life and death in this world of sin, and applied by God’s Spirit in a series of acts as supernatural as the virgin birth and the resurrection of the Son of God themselves—it is a supernatural work through and through. To the Calvinist, thus, the Church of God is as direct a creation of God as the first creation itself. In this supernaturalism, the whole thought and feeling and life of the Calvinist is steeped. Without it there can be no Calvinism, for it is just this that is Calvinism....But let us make no mistake here. For here, too, Calvinism is just Christianity. The supernaturalism for which Calvinism stands is the very breath of the nostrils of Christianity; without it Christianity cannot exist. And let us not imagine that we can pick and choose with respect to the aspects of this supernaturalism which we acknowledge—that we may, for example, retain supernaturalism in the origination of Christianity. and forego the supernaturalism with which Calvinism is more immediately concerned, the supernaturalism of the application of Christianity. Men will not believe that a religion, the actual working of which in the world is natural, can have required to be ushered into the world with supernatural pomp and display. These supernaturals stand or fall together....This is what was meant by the late Dr. H. Boynton Smith, when he declared roundly: 'One thing is certain,—that Infidel Science will rout everything excepting thoroughgoing Christian orthodoxy. . . . The fight will be between a stiff thoroughgoing orthodoxy and a stiff thoroughgoing infidelity. It will be, for example, Augustine or Comte, Athanasius or Hegel, Luther or Schopenhauer, J. S. Mill or John Calvin.' This witness is true....Calvinism thus emerges to our sight as nothing more or less than the hope of the world."