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THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES.
BY JOAN CALVIN.
TRANSLATED AND EDITED
BY THE REV, JOHN OWEN,
VICAR OF THRUSSINGTON, AND RURAL DEAN, LEICESTERSHIRE.
PRINTED FOR THE CALVIN TRANSLATION SOCIETY.
THAT EXCELLENT SERVANT OF GOD, AS BISHOP DOWNAM OFTEN CALLS HIM (CALVIN)."-bishop Stillingfleet.
[@ntered at Stationers' Hall.]
LET NO MAN UPON A WEAK CONCEIT OP SOBRIETY, OR AN ILL-APPLIED MODERATION, THINK OR MAINTAIN, THAT A MAN CAN SEARCH TOO FAR, OR BE TOO WELL STUDIED IN THE BOOK OF GOD'S WORD, OR IN THE BOOK OF GOD'S WORKS, DIVINITY OR PHILOSOPHY; BUT RATHER LET MEN ENDEAVOUR AN ENDLESS PROGRESS OR PROFICIENCY IN BOTH ; ONLY LET MEN BEWARE THAT THEY APPLY BOTH TO CHARITY AND NOT TO SWELLING, TO USE AND NOT TO OSTENTATION.”—Lord Bacon.
EDINBURGH : PRINTED BY T. CONSTABLE, PRINTER TO HER MAJESTY,
The Dedication to King Edward the Sixth is remarkably interesting, as it refers to the character of Popery at that day, and to its maneuvres with regard to a General Council. The language is strong, and perhaps rougher than what would be at present used, but still true according to all we gather from history as to the state of things in those days. The main principles of Popory are still the same, and similar are its proceedings, though they may be more disguised, and its spirit is equally intolerant and persecuting. Like Mahomedanism, it is exclusive, and ever injurious to the harmony and peace of society.
The order in which the Epistles are arranged is not the same as in our version. There has not been a uniformity in this respect among the ancients. The reason for the arrangement here adopted was probably this, that the First Epistle of Peter, and the First of John, had, from the beginning, been universally acknowledged as genuine, while the Epistle of James, the Second of Peter, and that of Jude, had not from the first been universally received as canonical, though they were eventually so received. The Second and the Third Epistle of John were evidently not deemed by Calvin as “catholic;" and for this reason, as it seems, he omitted them.
The word “Catholic,” or General, as applied to the Epistles here explained, has been differently understood. Some have thought that they have been thus called, because they contain catholic truths; but other Epistles might, for this reason, be also called catholic. Others have supposed that catholic is synonymous with canonical ; but in this case also