In sum, our entire soul, entangled in the enticements of the flesh, seeks its happiness on earth. In order to resist this wickedness, the Lord teaches his people about the emptiness of this present life through constant lessons in suffering. Thus, so that His people don’t promise themselves lofty and untroubled peace in this life, He often permits them to be troubled and harassed by wars, uprisings, robberies, and other injuries.
Earlier this week a friend asked where he should start in reading Calvin’s Institutes. I suggested, as I often do, beginning with Calvin’s A Little Book on the Christian Life which is an excerpt of the larger work, and one focused largely on Christian living. Here’s a wonderful and timely extract from the new edition translated by Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons.
In whatever trouble comes to us, we should always set our eyes on God’s purpose to train us to think little of this present life and inspire us to think more about the future life. For God knows well that we are greatly inclined to love this world by natural instinct. Thus, He uses the best means to draw us back and shake us from our slumber, so that we don’t become entirely stuck in the mire of our love for this world.