Volume 2: 1771 Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica!


Calvinists, in church-history, those who follow the opinions of John Calvin, one of the principal reformers of the church, in the XVIth (16th) century, a person of great parts and industry, and of considerable learning; whose doctrine still subsists in its greatest purity at Geneva, where it was first broached, and from whence it was propagated. This is the prevailing religion of the United Provinces. In England, it is confined among the dissenters; and in Scotland, it is the only orthodox faith.*

The Calvinists are great advocates for the absoluteness of God's decrees, and hold that election and reprobation depend on the mere will of God, without any regard to the merit or demerit of mankind; that he affords to the elect an irresistible grace, a faith that they cannot lose, which takes away the freedom of will, and necessitates all their actions to virtue.

The Calvinists believe that God foreknew a determinate number, whom he pitched upon to be persons, in whom he would manifest his glory; and that having thus foreknown them, he predestinated them to be holy, in order to which he gives them an irresistible grace, which makes it impossible for them to be otherwise.

[21st Century Editor's annotation]: * The doctrine espoused by Calvin regarding election and reprobation are not a part of the doctrine of the One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic Orthodox Church, nor are Calvinists recognized as visible members of the Holy Orthodox Church, nor can it be said that Calvinists espouse the "only orthodox faith".

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