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Guillaume Farel is perhaps most famous for threatening John Calvin with the curse of God unless Calvin stayed to lead the churches in Geneva, though the fiery reformer contributed more to the early days of the Reformation that just that fateful encounter. Seven years prior (1529), Farel had published his Summarie, which consisted of forty-two chapters intended to present a “brief declaration of those points very necessary for each Christian to place his confidence in God and to help his neighbor”.

Despite Farel’s widely acknowledged choppy writing style, it’s an interesting read, and another fascinating insight into the earliest confessional movements taking shape in the early days of the Protestant Reformation. Here’s a sample:

CHAPTER V: CONCERNING THE GOSPEL

“The gospel is the true power of God in salvation to everyone believing” (Rom 1:16), the consolation of the afflicted, the deliverance of the captives (Luke 4:18-19), the life of the dead and lost, the joy of the heart overcoming every feeling.

Who would not rejoice in hearing that his enemy (which he is not able to flee, in the full power of which he exists) has been conquered and destroyed? That death and inevitable damnation be turned from him into life and eternal salvation? Hell to the kingdom of heaven? The horror of the company of devils, in the citizenship of heaven and the adoption of the children of God? That which is announced to us by the death of Jesus, who, by the power of the Father who is in Him has saved us, ridding us of our servile fear of the threats of the law, because “there is no damnation to those who are in Jesus” (Rom 8:1). For they are delivered from the bondage of sin and death (in which they were held by the law, Rom 7:24-25), serve and live for God, by whom they are made sons of faith which they have, believing perfectly all their sins to be forgiven by Jesus, who has triumphed powerfully over his enemies. And yet His victory is for us, and through Him everything is ours, so that it is announced to us by the good news which is the gospel, that He has restored and given us everything, and again much more than what has been lost (Col 2:4-11).

And yet having full faith, we arm ourselves with His righteousness against our sin, with His life against our death, and His innocence against our iniquity. And by Him we obtain all the promises of God, and such great good that eye never saw, nor ear heard, nor heart conceived, so great is that which God has promised us (Isa 64:4; 1 Cor 2:9)

–From “Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Vol. 1: 1523-1552” James T. Dennison, Jr., ed.

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