Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4

John Calvin


Of the true church. Duty of cultivating unity with her, as the mother of all the godly.

Comparison between the false church and the true.

Of the teachers and ministers of the church. Their election and office.

Of the state of the primitive church, and the mode of government in use before the papacy.

The ancient form of government utterly corrupted by the tyranny of the papacy.

Of the primacy of the Romish see.

Of the beginning and rise of the Romish papacy, till it attained a height by which the liberty of the church was destroyed, and all true rule overthrown.

Of the power of the church in articles of faith. The unbridled licence of the papal church in destroying purity of doctrine.

Of councils and their authority.

Of the power of making laws. The cruelty of the pope and his adherents, in this respect, in tyrannically oppressing and destroying souls.

Of the jurisdiction of the church, and the abuses of it, as exemplified in the papacy.

Of the discipline of the church, and its principal use in censures and excommunication.

Of vows. The miserable entanglements caused by vowing rashly.

Of the sacraments.

Of baptism.

Pedobaptism. Its accordance with the institution of Christ, and the nature of the sign.

Of the Lord's supper, and the benefits conferred by it.

Of the popish mass. How it not only profanes, but annihilates the Lord's supper.

Of the five sacraments, falsely so called. Their spuriousness proved, and their true character explained.

Of civil government.