Lectures on Calvinism [Abraham Kuyper] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Kuyper presents Calvinism as a life-system of comprehensive. Lectures on Calvinism. Abraham Kuyper. PAPERBACK; Published: 10/4/ ISBN: Price: $ Pages. Trim Size, in inches: X . Kuyper closed his lectures with a claim that for many today sounds preposterous. Do not write him off. Get the book Lectures on Calvinism, and test these words.

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The page numbering of the Eerdmans printed edition has been retained for the benefit of readers. Only now therefore we proceed, summarily and in principle, to combat the unhistorical suggestion that Calvinism represents an exclusively ecclesiastical and dogmatic movement. The religious momentum of Calvinism has placed also beneath political Society a fundamental conception, all its own, just because it not merely pruned the branches and cleaned the stem, but reached down to the very root of our human life.

That this had to be so becomes evident at once to everyone who is able to appreciate the fact that no political scheme has ever become dominant which was lectues founded in a specific religious or anti-religious conception.

Lectures on Calvinism – Abraham Kuyper : Eerdmans

And that this has been the fact, as regards Calvinism, may appear from the calvunism changes which it has effected in those three historic lands of political freedom, the Netherlands, England and America.

Every competent historian will without calvinims confirm the words of Bancroft: In order that the influence of Calvinism on our political development may be felt, it must be shown for what fundamental political conceptions Calvinism has opened the door, and how these political conceptions sprang from its root principle.

This dominating principle was not, soteriologically, justification by faith, but, in the widest sense cosmologically, the Sovereignty of the Triune God over the whole Cosmos, in all its spheres and kingdoms, visible and invisible.

A primordial Sovereignty which eradiates in mankind in a threefold deduced supremacy, viz. The Sovereignty in the State; 2. The Sovereignty in Society; and 3. The Sovereignty in the Church. Allow me to argue this matter calvnism detail by pointing out to you how this threefold deduced Sovereignty kuyler understood by Calvinism.

First then a deduced Sovereignty in that political sphere, which is defined as the State. And then we admit that the impulse to form states arises from man’s social nature, which was expressed.

God might have created men as disconnected individuals, standing side by side and without genealogical coherence. Just as Adam was separately created, the second and third and every further man might have been individually called lecturees existence; but this was not the case.

Man is created calvinsim man, and by virtue of his birth he is organically united with the whole race. Together we form one humanity, not only with those who are living now, but also with all the generations behind us and with all those who shall come after us pulverized into millions though we may be.

All the human race is from one blood. The conception of States, however, which subdivide the earth into continents, and each continent into morsels, does not harmonize with this idea. Then only would the organic unity of our race be realized politically, if one State could embrace all the world, and if the whole of humanity were associated in one world empire. Had sin not intervened, no doubt this would actually have been so.

If sin, as a disintegrating force, had not divided humanity into different sections, nothing would have. And the mistake of the Alexanders, and of the Augusti, and of the Napoleons, was not that they were charmed with the thought of the One World Empire, but it was this-that they lectuges to lectkres this idea notwithstanding that the force of sin had dissolved our unity.

In like manner the international cosmopolitan endeavors of the Social-democracy present, in their conception of union, an ideal, which on this very account charms us, even when we are aware that they try to reach the unattainable, in endeavoring to realize this high and holy ideal, now and in a sinful world. Nay, even Anarchy, conceived as the attempt to undo all mechanical connections among men, together with the undoing of all human authority, and to encourage, in their stead, the growth of a new organic tie, arising from nature itself – I say, all this is nothing but a looking backward after a lost paradise.

For, indeed, without sin there would have been neither magistrate nor state-order; but political life, in its entirety, would have evolved itself, after a patriarchal fashion, from the life of the family. Neither bar of justice nor police, nor army, nor navy, is conceivable in a world without sin; and thus every rule and ordinance and law would drop away, even as all control and assertion of the power of the magistrate would disappear, were life to develop itself, normally and without hindrance, from its own organic impulse.


Who binds up, where nothing is broken? Who uses crutches, where the limbs are sound? Every State-formation, every assertion of the power of the magistrate, every mechanical means of compelling order and of guaranteeing a safe course of life is therefore always something unnatural; something against which the deeper aspirations of our nature rebel; and which, on this very account, may become the source both of a dreadful abuse of power, on the part of those who exercise it, and of a continuous revolt on the part of the multitude.

Thus originated the battle of the ages between Authority and Liberty, and in this battle it was the very innate thirst for liberty which proved itself the God-ordained means to bridle the authority wheresoever it degenerated into despotism.

And thus all true conception of the nature of the State and of the assumption of authority by the magistrate, and on the other hand all true conception. In this one thought are hidden both the light-side and the shady side of the life of the State. The shady-side for this multitude of states ought not to exist; there should be only one world-empire. These magistrates rule mechanically and do not harmonize with our nature. And this authority of government is exercised by sinful men, and is therefore subject to all manner of despotic ambitions.

But the light-side also, for a sinful humanity, without division of states, without law and government, and without ruling authority, would be a veritable hell on earth; or at least a repetition of that which existed on earth when God drowned the first degenerate race in the deluge. Calvinism has, therefore, by its deep conception of sin laid bare the true root of state-life, and has taught us two things: And on the other hand also that, by virtue of our natural impulse, we must ever watch against the danger which lurks, for our personal liberty, in the power of the State.

But Calvinism has done more. In Politics also it taught us that the human element -here the people -may not be considered as the principal thing, so that God is only dragged in to help this people in the hour of its need; but on the contrary that God, in His Majesty, must flame before the eyes of every nation, and that all nations together are to be reckoned before Him as a drop in a bucket and as the small dust of the balances.

From the ends of the earth God cites all nations and peoples before His high judgment seat. For God created the nations. They exist for Him. They are His own. And therefore all these nations, and in them humanity, must exist for His glory and consequently after his ordinances, in order that in their well-being, when they walk after His ordinances, His divine wisdom may shine forth.

When therefore humanity falls apart through sin, in a multiplicity of separate peoples; when kuypfr, in the bosom of these nations, separates men and tears them apart, and kuper sin reveals.

No man has the right to rule over another man, otherwise such a right necessarily, and immediately becomes the right of the strongest. As the tiger in the jungle rules over the defenceless antelope, so on the banks of the Nile a Pharaoh ruled over the progenitors of the fellaheen of Egypt. Nor can a group of men, by contract, from their own right, compel you to obey a fellow-man.

What binding force is there for me in the allegation that ages ago one of my progenitors made a. As man I stand free and bold, over against the most powerful of my fellow-men. I do not speak of the family, for here organic, natural ties rule; but ccalvinism the sphere of the State I do not yield or bow down to anyone, who is man, as I am. Authority over men cannot arise from men. Just as little from a majority over against a minority, for history shows, almost on every page, that very often the minority was right.

And thus to the first Calvinistic thesis that sin alone has necessitated the institution of governments, this second and no lrctures momentous thesis is added that: For, in like proportion as you degrade yourself, by bowing low to a child of man, whose breath is in his nostrils; so, on the other hand calvinisj you raise yourself, if you submit to the authority of the Lord of heaven and earth. Thus the word of Scripture stands: Therefore he that oectures the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God.

Abraham KUYPER Lectures on Calvinism 3 РLe blog de Luc Bussi̬re

But he is more. Besides all this he is instituted by God as His Servant, in order that he may. Thus God, ordaining the powers that be, in order that, through their instrumentality, He might maintain His justice against the strivings of sin, has given to the magistrate the terrible right of life and death.


And from the same motive every citizen is bound to obey, not only from dread of punishment, but for the sake of conscience. Further Calvin has expressly stated that authority, as such, is in no way affected by the question how a government kectures instituted and in what form it reveals itself.

It is well known that personally he preferred a republic, and that he cherished no predilection for a monarchy, as if this were the divine and ideal form of government. This indeed would lecturess been the case in a sinless state. For had sin not entered, God would have remained the sole king of all kugper, and this condition will return, in the glory to come, when God once more will be all and in all.

God’s own direct government is absolutely monarchial; no monotheist will deny calvinim. But Calvin considered a co- operation of many persons under mutual control, i. In his system, however, this could only amount to a gradual difference in practical excellency, but never to a fundamental difference, as regards the essence of authority.

He considers a monarchy and an aristocracy, as well as a democracy, both possible and practicable forms of government; provided it be unchangeably maintained, that no one on earth can claim authority. The question how those persons, who by divine authority are to be clothed with kujper, are indicated, cannot, according to Calvin, be answered alike for all peoples and for all time. And yet he does not hesitate to state, in an ideal sense, that the most desirable conditions exist, where the people itself chooses its own calvinlsm.

I may add that the popular choice gains the day, as a matter of course, where no other rule exists, or where the existing rule falls away. Wherever new States have been founded, except by conquest or force, the first government has always been founded by popular choice; and so also where the highest authority had fall. But with equal decision, Calvin asserts that God has the ,ectures power, in the way of His dispensing Providence, to take from a people lecures most desirable condition, kuypsr never to bestow it at all.

The historic development of a people shows, as a matter of course, in what other ways authority is bestowed. This bestowal may flow from the right of inheritance, as in a hereditary lecturess. It may rest with the. States of the country, as was the case in the old Dutch republic. In a word it may assume a variety of forms, because there is an endless difference in the development of nations.

Lectures on Calvinism

A form of government like your own could not exist one day in China. Even now, the people of Russia are unfit for any form of constitutional government. And among the Kaffirs and Hottentots of Africa, even a government, such as exists in Russia, would be wholly inconceivable. All this is determined and appointed by God, through the hidden counsel of His providence.

All this, however, is no theocracy. A theocracy was only found in Israel, because in Israel, God intervened immediately.

For both by Urim and Thummim and by Prophecy; both by His saving miracles, and by His chastising judgments, He held in His own hand the jurisdiction and the leadership of His people. But the Calvinistic confession of the Sovereignty of God holds good for all the world, is true for all nations, and is of force in all authority, which man exercises over man; even in the authority which parents possess over their children.

It is therefore a political faith which may be summarily expressed in these three theses: God only-and never any creature-is possessed of sovereign rights, in the destiny of the nations, because God alone created.

Sin has, in the realm of politics, broken down the direct government of God, and therefore the exercise of authority for the purpose of government, has subsequently been invested in men, as a mechanical remedy. In whatever form this authority may reveal itself, man never possesses power over his fellow-man in any other way than by an authority which descends upon him from the majesty of God. Directly opposed to this Calvinistic confession there are two other theories.

That of the Popular- sovereignty, as it has been antitheistically proclaimed at Paris in ; and that of State- sovereignty, as it has of late been developed by the historico-pantheistic school of Germany. Both these theories are at heart identical, but for the sake of clearness they demand a separate treatment. What was it that impelled and animated the spirits of men in the great French revolution?