March 20, 2012

Electoral Bumpkins

John Calvin on Elections:
When elections have to be made, just as today the governors have to be elected, and tomorrow and the day after and throughout the week the estates of this city and the judicial order have to be provided for, how many are there who think of God when they undertake this, which is such a religious thing?   
The most solemn of all the elections is due now -- but those who will come to it, where are they, most of them?  I met some of my bumpkins (I could easily point them out by name,  but there is no need, for we all know them well enough); some of them were going up to the Bourg de four, and others were coming this way.  They thought they would have no time for breakfast unless they chose service time.  I saw this with my own eyes as I was coming to church.  And is it not a crying shame?   
So when it is plain that we who ought to be well learned in the Word of God, seeing it is preached to us intimately every day, are still so stupid -- more, that we have such a spirit of brutishness in us -- is not this a great shame? 
Now then, let us consider that we are not told without good reason that, when we are going to elect men to some public position, we must set about it reverently and carefully.  For we shall provoke God's anger if we pollute the seat of justice, putting men in it who have neither zeal nor interest to honor and serve it... we must learn, (if we do not want to spoil everything) to do better than we have done so far, to be really serious and take care when elections have to be made, so that God may reign among us and that He may bring it to pass that all are governed by His Holy Spirit and that they may have zeal and love for His Word.
From Portrait of Calvin by T.H.L. Parker.  You can also find this book on the Desiring God website for free.