Sunday Citation

“Many marvel why the Lord so sharply threatens to astound the people who worshiped him with the commands of men (Isa. 29:13-14). But if they were to weigh what it is to depend upon God’s bidding alone in matters of religion (that is, on account of heavenly wisdom), they would at the same time see that the Lord has strong reasons to abominate such perverse rites, which are performed for him according to the willfulness of human nature. For even though those who obey such laws in the worship of God have some semblance of humility in this obedience of theirs, they are nevertheless not at all humble in God’s sight, since they prescribe for him these same laws which they observe. Now, this is the reason why Paul so urgently warns us not to be deceived by the traditions of men (Col. 2:4), or by ‘will worship,’ devised by men apart from God’s teaching (Col 2:23, 22). It is certainly true that our own and all men’s wisdom must become foolish, that we may allow him alone to be wise. Those who expect his approval for their paltry observances contrived by men’s will, and offer to him, as if involuntarily, a sham obedience which is paid actually to men, do not hold to that path. So it has been done for some centuries past, and within our memory, and is done today also in those places in which the authority of the creature is more than that of the Creator (Rom 1:25). There religion (if it still deserves to be called religion) is defiled with more, and more senseless, superstitions than ever any paganism was. For what could men’s mind produce but all carnal and fatuous things which truly resemble their authors?”

-John Calvin in Institutes, 4.10.24, p. 1203, in the chapter titled “Perverse worship an abomination to God”

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