Translated for TheLaymensLounge and for the glory of our King by Harry Van Dyke, Oct. 2023
to John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion
§ 1. Dr. Allard Pierson, whose generous assessment of Calvinism contrasts favorably with that of many biased detractors, wrote in 1881 about Calvin’s Institutes that in its day it was “the expression of a living faith” but that today “it is no more than a historical document.”
The present edition of Calvin’s masterwork lodges a protest against this incorrect opinion.
Dr. Pierson was one of the few scholars who paid attention to the founding of the Free University as a sign of the revival of Calvinism in our country. Since then he has devoted considerable time to Calviniana and has published two volumes of critical studies about Calvin’s person and Calvin’s labors. Apparently, he thought that the professors of the new university would rush to Calvin’s defense. When that did not happen he took it ill of them that they did not address his critiques. This shows how little he understood that our rejuvenated Calvinism had better things to do than waste time engaging in academic tournaments; that it faced an uphill battle for its right to exist and assert itself. He seems not to have realized that the proponents of this revived Calvinism shortly after its public appearance would have to join battle in an entirely different way than with his critical Calvin studies, and that the Free University, rather than settling down into calmer scholarly work, was forced to adapt to a serious struggle for its very existence.
His flawed judgment is related to his deficient knowledge of what was taking place in our country and among our people. Of course, anyone who thought that Calvin’s Institutes is no longer the “expression of a living faith” but merely “a historical document” neither knew the inspiration of present-day Calvinism nor had an inkling of the bitter hatred of its opponents.
Had it been the case, as he imagined, that the old Reformed religion was no longer alive in the consciousness of a good portion of our nation, and thus had lost its capacity to incite the hatred of our Arminians, yes, then indeed there would have been more than enough time for quiet historical study, and my esteemed colleague Dr. Rutgers would have adduced crystal-clear evidence, as I can attest on good grounds, that Dr. Pierson’s critiques have much that is unsound.
But now that this did not turn out to be the case, and that instead the religion of the Institutes is definitely still alive and still counts for something in our national life and only needed to be defended to quickly antagonize our latter-day adherents of the thinking of Pighius and Caroli and Sadoleto and Castellio, then to waste time and energy on such futile skirmishes would have betrayed our cause and demonstrated that we were not up to our task by not taken our calling seriously.
We had to take a stance. We had to study the issues of the ongoing controversy in the church. Our little force had to be organized throughout the country. We needed to sharpen the weapon for the struggle that we knew awaited us. There was no time to waste for setting in motion all the moral forces of sacrifice and dedication that would be able to protect our sacred banner in the hour that we would be attacked.
§ 2. Looking back, we can only conclude that this course of action was the right one. The fierce attack by the enemies of Calvinism got off the ground even earlier than we had thought. We had counted on at least ten years of quiet preparation, but before five years were out the thunderstorm broke out over our heads. The shrewdest among our Arminian, Socinian, and Erasmian adversaries most likely understood that the sooner they assaulted us the better their chances of success, and not daring to attack a mature Calvinism, they assailed it during the early stages of its revival.
It defies our comprehension that men who value their reputation for sound judgment could have published in black and white that it was the Free University itself that provoked the attack. Imagine, a new consortium that has only just begun to organize itself shortens its own highly necessary time of preparation by half! A Theological Faculty, which in January of 1886 still had no professor available, suddenly creates five vacancies that it will not be able to fill for many years! A general who has just recruited his army sends his young recruits into the line of fire even before they have learned the simplest of exercises! This rumor may therefore be reckoned among the fairy tales of history, and before long the common sense of those qualified to judge will conclude that the opponents of Calvinism never made a craftier move than when they attacked it while still on the drill square.
Yet, even though various surprise attacks were conducted with hot-headed recklessness, Dr. Pierson must have realized that the danger for our fortress was too great that we could afford to engage in an academic tournament. The situation was like that of our apologists defending the Christian faith against the attacks of Modernism. The school of apologetics, so ably led in our country by the late Dr. Van Oosterzee, faced these critical attacks with a courage and perseverance which no doubt brought them honor. In the meantime, however, as these good apologists conducted their skirmishes on the outer redoubts about all kinds of secondary issues of criticism, bulwark after bulwark of the fortress was lost. All that squabbling consumed the time our theologians needed for the spiritual instruction of our Christian populace. And by repeatedly having its task and tactics and methods defined by its opponents, our corps of apologists drifted away from its main task.
The Reformed refused to make the same mistake and having learned also from Calvin, chose their own path. Instead of arguing endlessly about the authority of Scripture, they fostered belief in its authority among the believers and put up with the fact that the critics made fun of their stone and sling. And if one compares the outcome of this deviation from apologetics, one will have to admit that the brief battle we have waged in our chosen way since 1880 has contributed more to the acceptance of the authority of Scripture than thirty years of apologetics.
We Calvinists, men of practice more than of theory, went our own way and, although half pitied by the men of the public universities, we are encouraged by the results achieved and hope to persist in our tactic rather than rise to Dr. Pierson’s bait. He may wish to lump us with the Calvin whom he accuses, in contrast to Thomas Aquinas, of skipping over a host of intriguing and weighty questions—at least the great Scholastic tried his hand at solving them—but we happen to have our own practices, which thus far have proved beneficial for Calvinism, practices that we cannot set aside without jeopardizing our future. Later, when the time has come to lay down the trowel and pick up the sword, and when we have arrived at where we want to be, we shall pay attention also to detailed studies, and sooner or later Dr. Pierson will find his man among us. But since we have not yet reached that point, it seems far more desirable to convince Dr. Pierson by means of a factual demonstration that he is mistaken in his judgment of modern-day Calvinism. For him, Calvinism has become an embalmed mummy; we wish to show him that it is still very much alive.
The edition of Calvin’s Institutes that we are putting on the market today is not even a reprint of the Latin original, but is in fact a reissue of an old Dutch translation. And when this folio volume in its old Dutch dress is still sold in our country by thousands of copies, then Dr. Pierson will be compelled to concede that his judgment is refuted by the facts and that we have provided conclusive evidence that, contrary to his claim, the root of Calvinism is still very much among us.
§ 3. Our evidence will be all the more convincing if we remind him that it is only twenty years ago that the last Dutch translation appeared.
It was a translation by Mr. W. J. Wyenberg, then living in Zuid-Beyerland, and it was published by the reputable firm of G. Ph. Zalsman in Kampen. The aim of this translation was to provide a text in more modern Dutch and render the thoughts of the great Reformer in more familiar words. We do not hesitate to repeat what Dr. Sepp wrote already in 1883: the hand that produced this translation was competent in every way. In fact, in many respects this new translation is so good that the question may arise why we come with a reprint of Corsman’s translation.
To begin with, Wyenberg omits Beza’s Life of John Calvin, which has always been included in past editions. Moreover, the reader is hampered by the absence of running heads and an Index of Subjects. Finally, the new translation does not really improve on Corsman’s in accuracy or power of expression.
[Here follow two facing columns reproducing a passage from Inst. I. xiii. 23 in both translations, which Kuyper then proceeds to compare in terms of diction, eloquence, and accuracy as compared to the original Latin. His detailed examination of the two versions, which includes dozens of critical comments on grammar and word choice and even a lengthy overview of the development of the Dutch language since the seventeenth century, lead him to conclude that, all things considered, Corsman’s is better able “to bring the reader into the presence of Calvin and place him at Calvin’s feet.”]
§ 4. Of course, we took note of the critical edition by the Strasbourg scholars Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss. But when we gathered together the hundred variants they list, we discovered that a third of them had already been silently corrected in old Dutch translations, and that the remainder did not affect the meaning, although we have chosen to improve Corsman’s wording here and there.
§ 5. The extent to which the Reformed people in the Netherlands from the very beginning showed a keen interest in Calvin’s Institutes appears most clearly in the series of translations that successively saw the light.
[A footnote refers to Ch. Sepp, Bibliographische Mededeelingen, pp. 100–108, which enumerates them in chronological order. Kuyper then adds that in the interest of clarity it might be helpful to tabulate them. He then gives a brief physical description of each, followed by a comment or two about its special nature and the name of the publisher and, if known, of the translator and/or editor.]
Thus, no fewer than 10 editions and reprints appeared in 1560, 1578, 1594, 1602, 1614, 1617, 1650, again in 1650, 1739, and 1865. The present edition therefore is the eleventh in our language. Their dates tell the story of the rise, decline, and revival of Calvinism in our country.
The edition here presented is a reprint, with minor improvements, of the translation made in 1650 by Wilhelmus Corsmannus, and completed after his death by Jacobus Hollebeek, both pastors in the Dutch Reformed Church—Corsman in Baardwijk and Hollebeek in Amsterdam, where the work was published by the firm of Paulus Aertz van Ravesteyn.
Hollebeek’s Foreword (“To the Christian Reader”) states that he sees no need to praise the translation, the excellence of which speaks for itself: “my life-long faithful friend loved the Dutch language and deplored the many lapses in existing translations that tended to obscure Calvin’s sweet-flowing style.” Nor does he feel worthy, writes Hollebeek, to praise the author, “which has been done so well by Theodor Beza.” His Foreword closes with these words:
We recommend all lovers of God’s Holy Truth to read this learned and devout book and study it, with prayers to God for his Holy Spirit, in order that one and all may rightly understand these instructions of Dr. John Calvin and in accordance with God’s Word receive and believe them. When, next to earnest prayer to God, the work is studied diligently, this doctrine of truth, with God’s blessing, will be received in faith and professed unto a sure comfort in life and in death. To the glory of God’s Holy Name and the promotion of our everlasting happiness, which is my heartfelt wish for all who love their eternal salvation and guard it with all their heart. Amen. May 1, 1650.
§ 7. What was Calvin’s purpose in writing his Institutes? Dr. Pierson notes that Calvin expressed his goal successively in four ways: as a handbook of doctrine for believers; as a defense of French Protestants (Huguenots) who had been falsely accused of creating civil unrest; as an aid to German scholars who needed to distinguish between Huguenots and Anabaptists; and as a course of instruction for aspiring pastors.
These different goals, however, do not cancel the overall unity of the work. In the early days of the Reformation, people were not sure what exactly to believe. The original purity of the Christian religion had been obscured by Rome. Even those who sympathized with the “purer doctrine” were without a book that could shed light on it. Some preachers were still not well informed about the unadulterated confession of the whole. In short, there was a dearth of light on this score. Calvin felt this lack keenly and with God’s help resolved to turn on the light. Begun in 1536, his book at first was of a modest size, but gradually grew in length as he learned of demands for greater clarity about more points of doctrine. His final revised and expanded edition appeared in 1559, geared particularly to students of theology.
To be sure, Zwingli and Melanchthon had earlier tried their hand at making the essence of the faith of the Reformation better known. But neither Zwingli’s work Über die wahre und die falsche Religion (1525) (On the true and the false religion), nor Philip Melanchthon’s Loci Theologici (1543) (Main heads of theology) offered what was needed. Zwingli’s expositions were far too philosophical and disfigured by humanistic elements that crept in, notions he had learned from classical antiquity, not Scripture. More popular was Melanchthon’s work (for a French translation of which Calvin had personally written an introduction, albeit not without pointing out where the author differed from the Reformed position). But Melanchthon could only be Melanchthon, always wavering somewhat, not Lutheran and even less Calvinist, and thus attracting readers who vacillated between the two main currents of the Reformation.
Where Zwingli and Melanchthon failed, Calvin succeeded with unparalleled success.
The Huguenots, the Reformed, the Calvinists, or whatever you want to call the purest confessors of the Christian Religion, were not given to emotionalism. While they appreciated the great value of genuine mysticism, they took no pleasure in swaying on the currents of sentimentalism, the convolutions of which cause everything to flow into everything else and make a mockery of clear distinctions. That generation honored the life of feelings provided it was sober. Not dreaming, but wide awake. They demanded for their Christian mind a clear-headed account of their faith. They believed that a man who is awake and lives in self-awareness is superior to the sleeper or the dreamer who forgets to rub his eyes and utters unintelligible sounds. To them, the mind, too, is a gift of God, and they wished to make the most of it.
Yet that did not make them intellectualists. Calvin’s sound and warm mysticism sufficiently refutes this false accusation. But then, mind and understanding are two different things, and the mind absorbs not just what our understanding picks up and orders and examines, but definitely also things from the invisible world and from the depth of our feeling life, things that penetrate to the mirror of our minds along entirely different paths and channels.
Thus, the Reformed Religion quite escaped the curse of intellectualism, but at the same time it was on guard against vanishing into the depths of so-called theosophy or against sinking in the waters of emotional incomprehensibilities.
In theologians who stray from the Reformed paths and lean toward theosophy our people always run up against things they cannot understand, things that float and fluctuate. One hears them constantly complaining about it, and not till genuine Calvinist tones are heard do things clear up for them.
Calvin met this need in a superb way. He did not give what Thomas Aquinas left us in his Summa Theologiae, and however gratefully we still often consult that goldmine, Calvin would have entirely missed his goal if he had given a Reformed rehearsal of the Summa. Thomas wrote for skeptics seeking certainty; Calvin wrote for believers seeking tools to defend their faith and clarify their insight. And that is what he offered in a masterly way in his Institutes.
A Christian’s confession must not come from vague feelings but in the final analysis from the conscious mind. The Reformed confession was to be internally consistent. Further, it was to enable the confessor not to be at a loss for words but rather to enable him to give reasons for the hope that is in him. Now then, these three qualities, clarity, consistency and candor, the Reformed nations at the time owed to Calvin’s Institutes.
Hence its astonishing success and its widespread dissemination.
Hence also the steadfast care that Calvin repeatedly devoted to his major work.
Hence, finally, the fact that long after Calvin’s death his Institutes in many circles has the power and authority to decide what is and what is not the Reformed faith and Reformed preaching.
§ 8. That brings me naturally to the fruit which I hope this reprint will bear for the coming generations.
Calvinism, which since the defection of Johan van den Honert was shamefully abandoned by our theologians, has seen a revival. Not that I wish to minimize Van den Honert’s merits. He stood for a sharp distinction between Calvinism and Lutheranism, yet he led the Leiden faculty in combating Holtius and Comrie concerning justification by faith, a doctrine that the latter wished to refine and develop further—more in the spirit of Calvin, a task that had thus far been neglected. In opposing this, Van den Honert, without realizing it, cut the lifeline between Calvinism and our theological faculties. From that hour onward, Calvinism was lumped with “obscurantism” and retreated from the academy, to survive only among the common people, while the Faculties of Theology first languished and wilted, and then welcomed, along with Schleiermacher, philosophical, theosophical, and Lutheran forms of confession.
For this is the issue: the theology that is preached today by 70 percent of our pastors is philosophical, not Scriptural; and insofar as it is Scriptural it is not Reformed but Lutheran; and it is Lutheran in the German sense, not like the Lutheranism that is popular in the Netherlands. Our pastors disdained our own theology and imported German books. They hated Reformed literature and preferred Lutheran works. They did not drink from their own waters but filled their cups with the waters of Pharpar.
But improvement is on the way. The general tendency today is to look for the particular and the unique. In our country, there is a new appreciation for the Reformed treasure. Many are enamored of the name Calvin, and everybody wants to be called Reformed—understandable enough, since Calvinism not only invites scorn but also gives influence, and influence is worth more than gold. Accordingly, everybody offers their wares on the market with the label Reformed, and Satan takes pleasure in deceiving the innocent. But that is precisely why it is imperative that we put an end to this swindle and conduct our national dialogue truthfully. He who at every point where Calvinism differs from other confessions lays aside Calvinism and chooses for the other should be too honest to want to pass for a Calvinist among his fellow-countrymen.
Now then, nothing will promote such honesty more than that this book be widely read. We are beset on all sides by German-Lutheran and German-Melanchthonian influences, both from the Ethical school and the neo-Kohlbruggians. The latter are distancing themselves ever further from the Reformed Confession and losing themselves in German-Lutheran, in part even German-Catholic ideas.
Indeed, there is a great need for knowledge of the essence of the Reformed faith. No one should be allowed to make of Calvinism what they like and approve. No book is better suited to settle the matter than Calvin’s Institutes.
§ 9. Yet there is more.
Many today are walking on genuinely Reformed paths, but without a light on their path. Real acquaintance with Calvinism is absent. In the days of our decline a great deal of knowledge was lost, and the fact that today many of our elderly are dying in Christ greatly reduces the number of pious individuals who used to spend money on books and relished reading in the old theologians. A generation is growing up who welcome Calvinism and take pride in it, but who are not well versed in the subject. There are, to be sure, lots of good handbooks in our language that can be of help; but still, all of them diverge on one or another point of doctrine. Which is a good thing, because it would be foolish to think that Calvin had spoken the final word and that he was the last person used by the Holy Spirit to spread light.
Yet although we readily admit this, and although there is more than one point that we ourselves wish Calvin had expressed differently, still his Institutes remains the root from which almost every other handbook of Reformed theology has derived its main lines. Those others are the children born later, but the Institutes remains the mother of them all.
There is no question, therefore, that if a fresh, new development of Calvinism is to become a reality, we must go back to God’s Word with the help of the Institutes of John Calvin, in order from there, with God’s grace, to proceed together in unison.
The Reformed religion is not different from the Lutheran, for both are forms of the one Christian religion; but the Reformed confession presents the same religion with greater purity, clarity, vigor.
If our German Lutherans have less, well, we shall not be hard on them; they are still our beloved brothers. But we Reformed, who have been given more, may not bury that larger talent in the ground.
One day the Lord will demand a reckoning!
§ 10. The present reprint, accordingly, is intended for our elders and deacons, for schoolteachers and common believers. Let everyone take from it what can give comfort and strength to their soul.
This reprint is also offered to the ministers of the Word. When Latin was still readily understood, our pastors had no need of a translation, but now that Latin has fallen into disuse and only a small percentage of our educated men still read Latin with ease, this reprint is also for them.
But especially our elders and deacons should read the Institutes. Without deeper knowledge, how else would they be able to minister to the church of God?
For our teachers, the Institutes is a natural choice. For even though one does not want to ply the children with dogmas, still a teacher needs to have clear and sober insight into this higher world of thought, for how else would he be able to enlist the children’s sympathy for that higher world? Lack of clarity does not bring up or educate but depresses and darkens.
No less do we have in mind our faithful men and women. Definitely women too, for if the “mothers in Christ” die out among us, or feminine mysticism drive out the clarity of faith, we shall backslide.
Next to our men and women, we are also thinking of our young people. Our Young Men’s Societies would profit immensely from reading together a solid book like the Institutes and studying it systematically. That would yield ten times more than many immature and vacuous reflections.
And if this could be the means whereby our people begin to read again, so that knowledge grows and darkness and confusion recedes before light and clarity, then there will be fruit also for putting insight into practice.
You cannot read Calvin’s Institutes without becoming smaller, more of a sinner before God. You will decrease, at last disappear altogether, and your Lord will be your all!
People like to make a show of citing the motto Soli Deo gloria, but meanwhile they are often burning incense to themselves and others. But if you wish that Soli Deo gloria turn from a mere slogan into a power and a glorious delight in your life, then read and reread these Institutes by the great Reformer, and it shall automatically be truth to you.
This book compels you to piety; impels you to boldness; fortifies you for patience and forbearance.
It has left a trail of light in its wake wherever it entered, or, after being banished, returned.
And that is why we dare to entertain the hope and to prophesy that once again it will be of great benefit to our churches.
May it bring an enrichment of true spiritual knowledge to those churches, and also to you reading this.
Amsterdam, August 1887 Kuyper
Kindly informed by various literary men and collectors of books, I am now able to give a more complete list of Dutch editions of Calvin’s Institutes than was possible when writing my Introduction.
[Here Kuyper provides a list, with brief descriptions, of a total of—not ten this time, but seventeen—editions or reprints between 1560 and 1865. Some descriptions are now more detailed, and in a few instances he includes the name of the correspondent who owns a copy of it.]
To all my esteemed correspondents who helped me compose this inventory, I express my heartfelt gratitude for their much-appreciated assistance.
Amsterdam, 1 June 1889 Kuyper
 A. Kuyper, “Inleiding.” Institutie ofte Onderwijsinghe in de Christelicke Religie. In vier boeken beschreven door Johannes Calvinus (Doesburg: J. C. van Schenk Brill, 1889), 3–14. Translated, edited, and slightly abridged by Harry Van Dyke. His annotations appear in brackets.
 A. Pierson, Studiën over Joh. Kalvyn, 1527–1536 (Amsterdam, 1881), 223. [Dr. Allard Pierson (1831–1896) was professor of art history and aesthetics in the City University of Amsterdam (which had 8 professors and 250 students). Having begun as a Reformed pastor, he resigned when he could no longer believe in divine revelation, and he developed into an influential proponent of higher criticism.]
 [The volume for which Kuyper is writing this Introduction is a reprint, with minor changes, of Calvin’s Institutes in a Dutch translation by Willem Corsman (Amsterdam, 1650).]
 [In 1880, Kuyper and his fellow Calvinists founded a university free of state and church, owned and operated by the Association of Reformed Higher Education. It was launched with 5 professors serving 8 students. The academic establishment in the Netherlands found it difficult to take the venture seriously.]
 [The Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1886 suspended and then deposed those pastors and elders who adhered to historic Calvinism and the presbyterian form of church government. This led to the schism known as the Doleantie, whereby the national church lost about 10 percent of her members, 76 of her pastors, and 200 congregations, yet retained title to all church property.]
 [Dr. Frederik Lodewijk Rutgers (1838–1917) was professor of Church History and Church Polity in the Free University.]
 [Sixteenth-century theologians who combated the teachings of Calvin.]
 [Orig.: een vijftigtal vacaturen (some fifty vacancies).]
 [Mistakenly numbered § 2.]
 Ch. Sepp, Bibliographische Mededeelingen (Leiden: Brill, 1883), p. 107.
 [In the Battles translation the passage reads: “From this morass another similar monster has come forth [namely, a heretical description of the Trinity] … [T]hey do no observe that, even though the name “God” is also common to the Son, it is sometimes applied to the Father par excellence because he is the fountainhead and beginning of deity—and this is done to denote the simple unity of essence.”]
 [J. W. Baum, A. H. Cunitz, and E. G. Reuss were professors of theology in the University of Strasbourg who jointly edited the complete works of John Calvin, 38 vols. (Basel, 1863 and foll.).]
 [In a footnote Kuyper copies the first twelve, to show how trivial they are.]
 [Number 6 appears to have been skipped.]
 [Here and in the following, mind translates “bewustzijn,” commonly rendered “consciousness.” The word “mind” is preferred here, in keeping with the Abbild theory of knowledge that Kuyper seems to have in mind when he later refers to the “mirror” of our “bewustzijn.”]
 [The compact edition of 1536 expanded into the final authoritative edition of 1559. Almost every time the work was reprinted, Calvin revised passages and added new ones, rearranged the sequence of sections, numbered the paragraphs, moved the chapter on civil government to the end, and added indexes.]
 [Johannes van den Honert (1696–1758) professor of theology in the University of Utrecht, later in Leiden, was renowned especially for his polemical publications that drew the ire of more strictly orthodox Calvinists who accused him of favoring religious toleration in the spirit of the Enlightenment.]
 [Nicolaas Holtius (1693–1773) and Alexander Comrie (1706–1774) were leading theologians of the Second or Puritan Reformation in the Netherlands.]
 [ Orig.: de nachtschool.]
 [Pharpar is the river in Syria that Naaman preferred to Israel’s Jordan (cf. 2 Kings 5:12).]
 [Mentioned are those whom Kuyper denies the right to call themselves Reformed: theologians of the Groningen school, the Ethical school, the neo-Kohlbruggians, and Eduard Böhl and J. H. Gunning, Jr.]
 Evidence of the decline of Latin is the low number of subscribers to the series Bibliotheca Reformata: only 120 out of at least 2,000 pastors in our country. No longer able to read Latin is, in and of itself, no shame: familiarity with a language depends on one’s environment, and when no one speaks Latin anymore one can hardly be expected to be at home in it. Nevertheless, Reformed theologians should take care to be more intentional about brushing up on their Latin, for unfamiliarity with Latin makes one also unfamiliar with the old unalloyed Reformed literature. And on this score, it saddened us that so many Reformed pastors from both the Dutch Reformed and the Christian Reformed denominations did not even subscribe to the Bibliotheca Reformata. Surely the price was low enough.
[Bibliotheca Reformata was an initiative of Kuyper, inspired by the publications of the Parker Society in Britain. The series was dedicated to reprinting the best of early Reformed writings in the original language. It opened in 1882 with a volume of selected writings by Franciscus Junius (1545–1602). Over the years it published works by Gijsbert Voetius (1589–1676), Jerome Zanchius (1516–1590), Jeremias Bastingius (1551–1595), and William Ames (1576–1633). The subscription price was 5 guilders per annum.]
 A final note, in brief: (1) Omitted from this reprint is the list of Calvin’s writings: it is terribly outdated and best replaced by the most complete list in E. Haag, La France Protestante, 6 vols. (Paris, 1846–59), VI, 548ff., where it covers almost 200 pages—too large to include here. (2) Omitted as well is the Foreword, Spilgard’s ode praising its excellence, and an appended work entitled De reformanda ecclesia, the first two of which are of little value for the Christian, and the third is a separate work in its own right. (3) The full-length portrait of John Calvin has been replaced by a copy of the only known original portrait, also used in the Strasbourg editions. (4) Using Tholück’s edition, I have added an Index of the Scripture Passages that are discussed or cited in the main text.
 [Kuyper probably published a request in his weekly De Heraut, asking readers to inform him of any copies of a Dutch edition of the Institutes that they knew about.]