Calvin was a prolific letter-writer. Reprinted below is the entire text of a letter sent to Martin Luther, by way of Philip Melanchthon; along with some of Calvin’s writings. Melanchthon never showed the letter to Luther.


Philip Melanchthon [1497–1560]
Despite the animosity that later existed between Lutherans and Calvinists, Melanchthon and Calvin were dear friends.

January 21, 1545

To the very excellent pastor of the Christian Church, Dr. M Luther, my much respected father.

When I saw that my French fellow-countrymen, as many of them as had been brought out from the darkness of the Papacy to soundness of the faith, had altered nothing as to their public profession, and that they continued to defile themselves with the sacrilegious worship of the Papists, as if they had never tasted the savour of true doctrine, I was altogether unable to restrain myself from reproving so great sloth and negligence, in the way that I thought it deserved. How, indeed, can this faith, which lies buried in the heart within, do otherwise than break forth in the confession of the faith? What kind of religion can that be, which lies submerged under seeming idolatry? I do not undertake, however, to handle the argument here, because I have done so at large already in two little tractates, wherein, if it shall not be troublesome to you to glance over them, you will more clearly perceive both what I think, and the reasons which have compelled me to form that opinion. By the reading of them, indeed, some of our people, while hitherto they were fast asleep in a false security, having been awakened, have begun to consider what they ought to do. But because it is difficult either casting aside all considerations of self to expose their lives to danger, or ...

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