Gospel Seeds in John Calvin’s Early Life

I recently posted a portion of a letter written to John Calvin by his cousin, Peter Robert Olivetan. Later in the letter we begin to see some of the gospel seeds making their way into the life of Calvin at the young age of 10. While it would be many years until Calvin would turn his heart and devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is clear that there were people in his life who were hearing and receiving the gospel, and trying to share it with Calvin.

I am delighted with my studies. * * * I must tell you of a dear old man, who is one of our teachers. His name is Doctor James Lefevre. I am proud of him because he is a Picard. He was once a poor boy in the village of Etaples, where he was born about sixty-five years ago. Perhaps there is some hope for us Noyon lads, if we will be as studious and pious as he has been. He is a small man of a mean appearance, but his great soul, his vast learning, his deep piety and his powerful eloquence make him the most charming man in the university. He has travelled into Asia and Africa, and it is whispered about here that he saw things in Rome which he does not consider to be Christian, but of which it will not do to tell. We all know that he reads and talks about the Holy Scriptures, as few others do in our day. A child can understand him when he preaches. Some of the students are beginning to make an uproar about the gospel that he preaches to us. They think he is fighting against the church. But I am sure that he tells us more about Jesus Christ than we ever heard before.* The students all love him, unless there be some who turn everything holy into ridicule. But it seems that nearly every priest in all Paris hates him, just because he would have us study the Bible and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wm. M. Blackburn, College Days of Calvin (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 7-9.