Monday, December 3, 2012

Calvin on the "deitatis sensus"

"I do not say with Cicero, that errors wear out by age, and that religion increases and grows better day by day.  For the world . . . labours as much as it can to shake off all knowledge of God, and corrupts his worship in innumerable ways.  I only say, that, when the stupid hardness of heart, which the wicked eagerly court as a means of despising God, becomes enfeebled, the sense of Deity, which of all things they wished most to be extinguished, is still in vigour, and now and then breaks forth."

"quum stupida quam impii ad Deum spernendum cupide accersunt, durities in eorum animis tabescat, vigere tamen, ac subinde emergere quem maxime extinctum cuperent, deitatis sensum."

     John Calvin, Institutes III.3, trans. Henry Beveridge.  This I would translate somewhat as follows:  "when the stupid hardness in their minds, which the impious, in order to spurn God, eagerly cultivate, subsides, there then flourishes, and immediately [re-]emerges, what they were especially hoping [they had] extinguished, [namely,] the sense of deity."

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