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17 April, 2007 / theexpositor

John Calvin on Monastic Vows and Spiritual Disciplines

Source-Apprising Ministries 

From The Institutes, book IV, Chapter 13:

17. Monastic vows, especially the vow of chastity

Now, then, let us see the nature of the vows by which the monks of the present day are initiated into this famous order.

First, as their intention is to institute a new and fictitious worship with a view to gain favour with God, I conclude from what has been said above, that every thing which they vow is abomination to God.

Secondly, I hold that as they frame their own mode of life at pleasure, without any regard to the calling of God, or to his. approbation, the attempt is rash and unlawful; because their conscience has no ground on which it can support itself before God; and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” (Rom. 14: 23.)

Moreover, I maintain that in astricting themselves to many perverse and impious modes of worship, such as are exhibited in modern monasticism, they consecrate themselves not to God but to the devil. For why should the prophets have been permitted to say that the Israelites sacrificed their sons to devils and not to God, (Deut. 32: 17; Ps. 106: 37,) merely because they had corrupted the true worship of God by profane ceremonies; and we not be permitted to say the same thing of monks who, along with the cowl, cover themselves with the net of a thousand impious superstitions?