Here are some of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite Calvin books.
Nine years have now elapsed since Albertus Pighius the Campanian, a man of clearly frenzied audacity, tried in the same book both to establish the freewill of man and to overthrow the secret counsel of God whereby he chooses some to salvation and destines others for eternal destruction. [This is the opening line of the main portion of the book.]
For it [the doctrine of predestination] builds up faith soundly, trains us to humility, elevates us to admiration of the immense goodness of God towards us, and excites to praise this goodness. There is no consideration more apt for the building up of the faith than that we should listen to this election which the Spirit of God testifies in our hearts to stand in the eternal and inflexible goodwill of God, invulnerable to all storms of the world, all assaults of Satan and all vacillation of the flesh. For then indeed our salvation is assured to us, since we find its cause in the breast of God.
No one doubts that the root of piety and the mother of all virtues is humility.
Further, Augustine is so much at one with me that, if I wished to write a confession of faith, it would abundantly satisfy me to quote wholesale from his writings.
To make faith the cause of election is quite absurd and at variance with the words of Paul.
Paul’s premise is: because the Lord in His good pleasure saves whom He chooses without discrimination of works; and his conclusion: therefore it is not of him that wills nor him that runs, and the whole matter turns on the mercy of God alone.
On the judgment of Pighius, God must render a reason for whatever He does, if His justice is to win praise. The rule of modesty prescribed by us, on the other hand, is that, where the reason of God’s work lies hidden, we none the less believe Him to be just.
The external sound of the voice strikes our ears in vain, until God inwardly touches the heart.
Those who suggest that they were ordained by the motion of their own hearts deserve no more refutation than those who say the world was created by itself.
But I do not send men off to the secret election of God to await with gaping mouth salvation there. I bid them make their way directly to Christ in whom salvation is offered us, which otherwise would have lain hid in God. For whoever does not walk in the plain path of faith can make nothing of the election of God but a labyrinth of destruction. Therefore, that the remission of sins may be a certainty to us, our consciences rest in confidence of eternal life, and we call upon God as Father without fear, the beginning is not to be made here [with election]. We must begin with what is revealed in Christ concerning the love of the Father for us and what Christ Himself daily preaches to us through the Gospel.
The more anyone tries to invade and penetrate those profound recesses of divine counsel, the further he recedes from God.