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THE AUTHOR’S DEDICATORY EPISTLE.

TO THAT MOST ACCOMPLISHED MAN,

MELCHIOR WOLMAR RUFUS, LAWYER.

JOHN CALVIN

HEALTH.

Should you be disposed to charge me, not merely with neglect, but even with incivility, for not having written to you for so long a time, I confess I have scarcely any apology to offer. For if I were to allege that the distance between us is so great, and that, during fully five years, I have met with no one that was going in your direction, this indeed were true, but it would be, I readily acknowledge, but a lame excuse. It appeared to me, accordingly, that I could not do better than offer to you some compensation, that might make up for the errors of the past, and might at once set me clear from all blame. Here, then, you have a commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, prepared by me with as much care as was in my power. 195195     “Composé et dressé par moy, auec le plus grand soin et dexterite qu’il m’a este possible;” — “Composed and prepared by me with the utmost care and skill in my power.” For I have no doubt that you will, in your kindness, accept of this as a sufficient compensation. At the same time there are other and weightier considerations, that have induced me to dedicate this to you.

First of all, I remember with what fidelity 196196     “De quelle affection;” — “With what affection.” you cherished and strengthened the friendship, which had begun, (now long since,) in some small degree, to subsist between us — how generously you were prepared to lay out yourself and your services on my account, when you thought that you had an opportunity presented to you of testifying your affection towards me; how carefully you made offer to me of your assistance 197197     “Votre credit;“ — “Your influence.” for my advancement, had not the calling in which I was at that time engaged prevented me from availing myself of it. Nothing, however, has had greater weight with me than the recollection of the first time I was sent by my father to learn civil law. Under your direction and tuition, I conjoined with the study of law Greek literature, of which you were at that time a most celebrated professor. And certainly it was not owing to you that I did not make greater proficiency; for, with your wonted kindness of disposition, you would have had no hesitation in lending me a helping hand for the completion of my course, had I not been called away by my father’s death, when I had little more than started. I am, however, under no small obligations to you in this respect, that I was initiated by you in the rudiments, at least, which were afterwards of great advantage to me. Hence I could not satisfy myself without leaving to posterity some memorial of my gratitude, and at the same time rendering to you some fruit, such as it is, of your labor. 198198     “De vostre labeur ancien, duquel ie sens encore auiourd’huy le proufit;” — “Of your ancient labor, of which I feel even at this day the advantage.” Farewell.

Geneva, 1st August 1546.


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