Indulging Vain Speculation

I noted earlier that I am attempting to read through The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin this year. This is the 500th anniversary year of Calvin's birth and there are book releases, European study tours, lectures, conferences about the man planned by many groups this year.

No word yet on whether there will be mugs, mouse pads or neckties available.

I ordered a copy of the Institutes but it didn't arrive until January 8 which put me a little behind on the Reading Schedule provided by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals by way of Reformation 21 blog. Today, while reading the entry for January 14, I came across this -

"In saying that some fall away into superstition, I mean not to insinuate that their excessive absurdity frees them from guilt; for the blindness under which they labor is almost invariably accompanied with vain pride and stubbornness. Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation. Hence, they do not conceive of him in the character in which he is manifested, but imagine him to be whatever their own rashness has devised. This abyss standing open, they cannot move one footstep without rushing headlong to destruction. (Institutes, 1.4.1)

I thought this was an apt description of many folks in our day, written over 400 years ago! Isn't he saying, basically, that people, in their pride, try to make God out to be whatever they want him to be and that doing so is damning to their souls? I think that's what he's saying.


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