By Paul Helm
Calvin on the Centre explores the implications of assorted principles within the considered John Calvin, and the effect of his rules on later theologians. The publication units to at least one facet the idea that Calvin's perspectives are merely biblical and unaffected through the actual highbrow conditions during which he lived.
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90 Inst. 3. 91 Sermons of Maister John Calvin, upon the Book of Job, trans. Arthur Golding (London, 1574; repr. in facsimile, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1993), 477. The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves 33 it is eclipsed by God’s saving wisdom as revealed in Jesus Christ, the key to which is the fear of God. C A LV I N AND DESCARTES An attempt at a positive comparison between Calvin and Descartes is likely to be met by pained surprise. ’ In this last section of the chapter we will consider how the Augustinian motif of the knowledge of God and of ourselves was modiﬁed in the hands of Descartes, by comparison with how it fared with Calvin.
After that, he was in no doubt that this God, the God of the Christian Church and not the God of the Manichees, was the true and living God. So the ascent has both a conceptual and an epistemological aspect for Augustine. This technique involved a non-sensuous route, learned from the books, of ‘ascending’ to God through the mind. Stephen Menn seems to think that this was the occasion for Augustine coming to know God, and develops the thesis (to which we will return) that in the Meditations and elsewhere Descartes follows this method—knowing God and the soul—in the development of his scientiﬁc epistemology.
Green (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 9. 83 On Christian Teaching, 25. 84 For a summary of this see Raymond Canning, ‘uti/frui’, in Allan D. : Eerdmans, 1999). The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves 31 look at this, and at the different kind of strain that it imposes on Calvin’s thought, in Chapter 10. Nevertheless, in drawing the distinction between ‘things below’ and ‘things above’, a distinction he took, of course, from the New Testament,85 and giving overriding importance to the second, Calvin recognized the legitimacy of the ﬁrst in a way that Augustine found it difﬁcult to do.