The whole human race perished in the person of Adam.  Consequently, that original excellence and nobility which we have recounted would be of no profit to us but would, rather, redound to our greater shame, until God, who does not recognize, as His handiwork, men defiled and corrupted by sin, appeared as redeemer in the person of His only-begotten Son.  Therefore, since we have fallen from life into death, the whole knowledge of God the Creator that we have discussed would be useless unless faith also followed, setting forth for us God, our Father, in Christ.  The natural order was that the frame of the universe should be the school in which we were to learn piety and, from it, pass over to eternal life and perfect felicity.  But, after man’s rebellion, our eyes – wherever they turn – encounter God’s curse.  This curse, while it seizes and envelops innocent creatures through our fault, must overwhelm our souls with despair.  For, even if God wills to manifest His fatherly favor to us in many ways, yet we cannot, by contemplating the universe, infer that He is Father.  Rather, conscience presses us within and shows, in our sin, just cause for His disowning us and not regarding or recognizing us as His sons.  Dullness and ingratitude follow, for our minds, as they have been blinded, do not perceive what is true.  And, as all our senses have become perverted, we wickedly defraud God of His glory. – John Calvin (1509-1564), from Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.6.1 (pages 340-341 of the Ford Lewis Battles translation).

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