Presbyterians of the Past

John Calvin on Psalm 133

The following is an excerpt from John Calvin’s comments on Psalm 133. It is a short psalm of encouragement to Christian unity. It is suggested that you read the psalm before and after reading the comments from the genius of Geneva.

John Calvin, date unknown

David in this Psalm renders thanks to God for the peace and harmony which came about after a long and melancholy state of confusion and division in the kingdom, and he exhorted all individually to work to maintain peace….The hand of God was wonderfully seen, and most unexpectedly, in the concord which ensued among them, when those who had been inflamed with the most violent antipathy cordially coalesced.…
There can at the same time be no doubt that the Holy Spirit is to be viewed as commending in this passage the mutual harmony which should exist among all God’s children, and exhorting us to make every effort to maintain it. So long as animosities divide us, and grudges prevail among us, we may still, no doubt, be brethren by our common relation to God, but cannot be judged such so long as we present the appearance of a broken and dismembered body. As we are one in God the Father and in Christ, the union must be ratified among us by reciprocal harmony and fraternal love….

We maintain, therefore, that men are to be united among themselves in mutual affection, with this as the great end, that they may be placed together under the government of God. If there be any who disagree with these terms, we would do well rather to oppose them strenuously, than purchase peace at the expense of God’s honor….

Let us then, as much as lies in us, study to walk in brotherly love, that we may enjoy the divine blessing. Let us even stretch out our arms to those who differ from us, desiring to bid them welcome if they will but return to the unity of the faith. Do they refuse? Then let them go. We recognize no brotherhood, as I have said already, except among the children of God.

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