Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.

Translating that which was first in French, then translated into the King’s English into regular English so y’all can follow along. Buckle up, good theology ahead!

Book 2: Of the knowledge of God the Redeemer, in Christ, as first manifested to the fathers, under the law, and thereafter to us under the gospel.

Chapter 4: “How God Works In The Hearts Of Men.”

Section 6: While some actions themselves are neither good nor bad, the freedom with which they are acted upon has not yet been explained. While man has no ability to do good, God has the ability to use men for His own purposes. Throughout the old testament God has repeatedly stepped into the lives of people to turn their affections in the manner of His choosing. This is shown in the following places in scripture: Exodus 11:3; Genesis 43:14; Ps 106:46; 1 Sam. 11:6; Lev 26:36; and Deut. 28:65.

Section 7: Those examples cannot be assumed to be the general rule. They are written in scripture because they are peculiar and to show that God can and does direct people (or their situations as to lead people to His intended end) for His own purposes. Our judgement fails – even in simple things, our courage wanes, our resolve dissolves, and our strength weakens. Who are we to say that God is not the cause of these events? Solomon agreed with this when he said, “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (Prov. 20:12), and “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1). God can guide the thoughts and intentions of all mankind to fulfill His plans – peasants and kings. Augustine states, “Scripture, if it be carefully examined, will show not only that the good wills of men are made good by God out of evil, and when so made, are directed to good acts, even to eternal life, but those which retain the elements of the world are in the power of God, to turn them whither he pleases, and when he pleases, either to perform acts of kindness, or by a hidden, indeed, but, at the same time, most just judgment to inflict punishment,” (August. De Gratia et Lib. Arb. ad Valent. cap. 20).

Section 8: Free will is not, therefore, a question of what someone can do regardless of outside influence, but whether he has freedom to judge and desire. If men possess both of these freedoms, he is as free in a prison as he would be while ruling a country.

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