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Calvin on communion

Calvin on communion

Daily Reading for May 28 • John Calvin, Theologian, 1564

If the Lord truly represents the participation in his body through the breaking of bread, there ought not to be the least doubt that he truly presents and shows his body. And the godly ought by all means to keep this rule: whenever they see the symbols appointed by the Lord, to think and be persuaded that the truth of the thing signified is surely present there. For why should the Lord put in your hand the symbol of his body, except to assure you of true participation in it? But if it is true that a visible sign is given to seal to us the gift of a thing invisible, when we have received the symbol of the body, let us no less surely trust that the body itself is given to us. . . .

In short [Christ] feeds his people with his own body, the communion of which he bestows upon them by the power of the Spirit. In this manner, the body and blood of Christ are shown to us in the Sacrament . . . . I freely accept whatever can be made to express the true and substantial partaking of the body and blood of Christ, which is shown to believers under the sacred symbols of the Supper—and so to express it that they may be understood not to receive it solely by imagination or understanding of the mind, but to enjoy the thing itself as nourishment of eternal life.

From John Calvin’s Institutes 4.17.10, 18, 19.


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