To signify his willingness to sacrifice all to the service of the Lord, Calvin’s seal pictured a burning heart in a hand and was accompanied by this motto: “Promptly and Sincerely in the work of God.”

Calvin’s early training was as a lawyer and his first published book was an academic commentary on the ancient philosopher Seneca.

Although neither were Protestants, both Calvin’s father and his brother Charles were excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

Calvin was not granted citizenship in Geneva until five years before his death in 1564. He had been the city’s most famous person for over twenty years.

Calvin’s association with the Swiss city of Geneva was not part of his plans. He visited the city only because of a detour to avoid the hostilities of a war raging between the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and the King of France, Francis I. Calvin had intended to remain in Geneva a single night before resuming his travel to Strasbourg. John Knox, the Scottish Reformer, visited Calvin’s Geneva. He wrote to an English friend saying of the city, it “is the most perfect school of Christ that ever was in the earth since the days of the Apostles.”

Although he never met the great German Reformer, Martin Luther, Calvin esteemed him very highly. To his friend Heinrich Bullinger, Calvin wrote: “even if he [Luther] were to call me a devil I should still regard him as an outstanding servant of God.”

Calvin married a widow with two children. After her death in 1549, he raised her two children as his own.

Calvin encouraged congregational psalm-singing in the church at Geneva. Calvin viewed music as a gift of God, and even put to music a number ...

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