Monday, November 2, 2009

Our hooded friends

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 13 - Rash vows and their entanglements
15-19 - Comparing past and present monks; women
15. So far we've only looked at problems inherent in the monastic systems. But there is also a clear difference in morals of monks, too. "You will scarcely find one in ten which is not a brotherl rather than a sanctuary of chastity.... they are fattened just like pigs." There are "still some good ones in their flock," but they are the exception.
16. Ancient monks were better, but still had "immoderate affectation and perverse zeal.... God prefers devoted care in ruling a household...."
17. The monks "invent any mode of life they please without regard for God's call." Vows of life-long chastity are unwise. Those "denied the power of continence are called to marriage by god's clear word." See 1 Cor 7:9. Men are given no recourse to this, should their desires rise, in the monk's life-long vow. They say the sin of breaking the vow and marrying is greater than fornication!
18. They try to quote 1 Tim 5:11-12 against this, but celibacy was not a thing religious in itself; the widow's call conflicted with marriage, and thus the vow couldn't be revoked.
19. Recruiting nuns at 12, 20, and 30 years of age doesn't fit with 1 the Tim 5 passage, which gives a minimum age limit of 60!

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