The Best and Holiest Life

best and holiest life“Here, therefore, let us stand fast: our life shall best conform to God’s will and the prescription of the law when it is in every respect most fruitful for our brethren. In the entire law we do not read one syllable that lays a rule upon man as regards those things which he may or may not do, for the advantage of his own flesh. And obviously, since men were born in such a state that they are all too much inclined to self-love – and, however much they deviate from the truth, they still keep self-love – there was no need of a law that would increase or rather enkindle this already excessive love. Hence it is very clear that we keep the commandments not by loving ourselves but by loving God and neighbor; that he lives the best and holiest life who lives and strives for himself as little as he can, and that no one lives in a worse or more evil manner than he who lives and strives for himself alone, and thinks about and seeks only his own advantage” (John Calvin: Institutes, 2.8.54).

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