By John C. Olin, John Calvin, Visit Amazon's Jacopo Sadoleto Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Jacopo Sadoleto,
In 1539, Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto, Bishop of Carpentras, addressed a letter to the magistrates and electorate of Geneva, asking them to come back to the Roman Catholic religion. John Calvin answered to Sadoleto, protecting the adoption of the Protestant reforms. Sadoleto's letter and Calvin's answer represent probably the most fascinating exchanges of Roman Catholic/Protestant perspectives through the Reformationand an exceptional advent to the nice spiritual controversy of the 16th century. those statements usually are not in vacuo of a Roman Catholic and Protestant place. They have been drafted in the middle of the spiritual clash that used to be then dividing Europe. they usually mirror too the temperaments and private histories of the boys who wrote them. Sadoleto's letter has an irenic technique, an emphasis at the cohesion and peace of the Church, hugely attribute of the Christian Humanism he represented. Calvin's answer is partly a private safeguard, an apologia professional vita sua, that files his personal spiritual event. And its taut, finished argument is attribute of the disciplined and logical brain of the writer of The Institutes of the Christian faith.
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Whether they properly believedin Christ? Both will, in like manner, answer yea. But when they will be examined as to what they believed, and how they believed (for this investigation, respecting right faith, precedes that concerninglife and character), when a confession of right 36 SADOLETO’S LETTER TO THE GENEVANS faith will be exacted of them, he who was educated in the lap and discipline of the Catholic Church will say: “Having been instructed by my parents, who had learned it from their fathers andforehthers,that I should,in all things, be obedient to the Catholic Church, and revere and observe its laws, admonitions, and decrees, as if Thou, thyself, 0 Lord, hadst made them, and perceiving that almost all who bore the Christian name and title in our days, and before it, and followed Thy standards far and wide over the world, were and had been of the same opinion, all of them acknowledging and venerating this very Church, as the mother of their faith, and regarding i t as a kind of sacrilege to depart from her precepts and constitution, I studied to approve myself to Thee by the same faith which the Catholic Church keeps and inculcates.
For we must also bring a mind full of piety toward Almighty God, and desirous of performing whatever is agreeable to Him; in this, especially, the power of the Holy Spirit resides. This mind, though sometimes it proceeds not to external acts, is, however, inwardly prepared of itself for well-doing and shows a prompt desire to obey God in all things, and this in us is the true habit of divine justice. For what else does this name of justice signify, or what other meaningand idea does it present to us, if regard is not had in it to good works?
Then astothose insinuations by which you have supposed you might win your way into the minds of simple men, anyone,notutterlystupid,might easily refutethem. But things of this nature,though many will, perhaps, be disposedtobelieve them, I am unwilling to ascribe to you, because they seem tome unsuitable to the character of one who has been polished by all kinds of liberal learning. I will, therefore, in entering into discussion with you, give you credit for having written to the Genevese with the purest intention as becomes one of your learning, prudence, and gravity, and for having, in good faith, advised them to the course which you believed conducive to their interest and safety.