Thanks Jim for some great encouragement as we are just beginning our own private "Blogging The Institutes." Following are Jim's remarks - hope to also follow up with another post by Kwame.
Back in the Institutes. What great teaching to bring glory to our God! I love Calvin's prefatory address to King Francis. I could use a number of quotes that tingle my spine and make a loud YES come from within. I especially like these three paragraphs on Miracles. Sound doctrine! I hope all of you are enjoying this as much as I am.
"As I remember from previously reading Institutes, I found the book to be very heart-inflaming and devotional" I agree that the reading of the Institutes about 7 years ago for me were like a breathe of fresh air to my Arminian delusional way of thinking. I am looking forward to all of your thoughts as we proceed. God's blessings to all!.........Jim
"In demanding miracles of us, they act dishonestly. For we are not forging some new gospel, but are retaining that very gospel whose truth all the miracles that Jesus Christ and his disciples ever wrought serve to confirm. But, compared with us, they have a strange power: even to this day they can confirm their faith by continual miracles! Instead they allege miracles which can disturb a mind otherwise at rest — they are so foolish and ridiculous, so vain and false! And yet, even if these were marvelous prodigies, they ought not to be of any moment against God’s truth, for God’s name ought to be always and everywhere hallowed, whether by Miracles or by the natural order of things."Perhaps this false hue could have been more dazzling if Scripture had not warned us concerning the legitimate purpose and use of miracles. For Mark teaches that those signs which attended the apostles’ preaching were Set forth to confirm it [Mark 16:20]. In like manner, Luke relates that Our “Lord … bore witness to the word of his grace,” when these signs and wonders were done by the apostles’ hands [<441403>Acts 14:3 p.]. Very much like this is that word of the apostle: that the salvation proclaimed by the Gospel has been confirmed in the fact that “the Lord has attested it by signs and wonders and various mighty works [Hebrews 2:4 p.; cf. Romans 15:18-19]. When we hear that these are the seals of the Gospel, shall we turn them to the destruction of faith in the gospel? When we hear that they were appointed only to seal the truth, shall we employ them to confirm falsehoods?
Since Christ affirms this test of doctrine, miracles are wrongly valued that are applied to any other purpose than to glorify the name of the one God.
Deuteronomy 13:2 ff.]. And we may also fitly remember that Satan has his miracles, which, though they are deceitful tricks rather than true powers, are of such sort as to mislead the simple-minded and untutored [cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10]. Magicians and enchanters have always been noted for miracles. Idolatry has been nourished by wonderful Miracles, yet these are not sufficient to sanction for us the superstition either of magicians or of idolaters."