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´╗┐Title: John Calvin's Writings - Letter 18 Calvin to Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Salutem
Author: John Calvin
Language: English

Since we can by no means expect at this time, what we so
much desired, that the principal doctors, from those churches
which have embraced the pure doctrines of the gospel, should
assemble, and from the word of God publish a definite and
luminous confession concerning all the points now
controverted; I very much approve, Reverend Sir, of your
design, that the English should maturely determine their
religion among themselves; that the minds of the people may
no longer remain in suspense about unsettled doctrines, or rites
less determined than they ought to be. It is especially your
business, and that of all those who have the government in
their hands, to unite your exertions to effect this object. You
see what your station requires, and more imperiously demands
of you, in return for the office which you hold by his favor.
The chief authority is in your hand, confirmed both by the
greatness of the honor, and the long established opinion
concerning your prudence and integrity. The eyes of the better part are turned upon you, that they
may follow your motions, or grow torpid under the pretext of your negligence. I wish they had
followed you as a leader more than three years since, and avoided the present numerous contests
for removing gross superstitions. I confess indeed, that since the time the gospel has seriously
flourished in England, the acquisitions have been great. But if you consider how much remains to
be done, and how much delay there has been in many things, you will hasten to the goal, as if a
great part of your course was yet to be finished. I do not give you this admonition to assiduity in
the work, lest you should indulge yourself as though it was accomplished; but to speak freely, I
greatly fear, and this fear is constantly recurring to my mind, that so many autumns will be past
in delaying, that the cold of a perpetual winter will succeed. The more you advance in years, the
more vigorously you ought to excite yourself to action; lest leaving the world in this confused
state of things, great anxiety should distress you from a consciousness of negligence. I call it a
confused state of things; for the external superstitious have been so imperfectly corrected, that
the innumerable remaining suckers unremittingly germinate.

Indeed I hear that of the corruptions of popery such a mass remains, as not only to obscure, but
almost destroy the pure and genuine worship of God. At the same time, the spirit of all
ecclesiastical discipline is breathless, at least the preaching of the gospel does not flourish as it
ought. Sound doctrine certainly will never prevail, until the churches be better provided with
qualified pastors, who may seriously discharge the office of teachers. That this may not take
place, Satan opposes his secret arts. But I understand that one manifest obstacle is, that the
revenues of the church are exposed for pillage. This is truly an intolerable evil. Besides this
waste, which is too gross, another evil, not much lighter, is that idle fellows are fed upon the
public income of the church, that they may chant their vespers in an unknown tongue. I say
nothing more, as it is more than absurd, that you should be an approver of these reproaches
which are in open opposition to the legitimate order of the church. I doubt not but these things
often occur to your mind, and are suggested to you by that best and most excellent man, Peter
Martyr, whose advice it gives me pleasure to hear that you use. The many arduous difficulties,
with which you have to struggle, appeared to me a sufficient reason for my exhortation. Farewell,
excellent prelate. May the Lord long preserve you safe; enrich you more and more with the spirit
of prudence and fortitude, and bless all your labors. Amen.