Calvin’s Definition of the Sacraments

CalvlibwebI think that this definition will be proper and simple, if we say that a sacrament is an exterior sign by which God seals in our consciences the promises of his good will toward us, to strengthen the weakness of our faith, and by which, on our part, we testify as much before him and the angels as before men, that we take him for our God.

One may define what a sacrament is even more briefly, in saying that it is a witness of the grace of God toward us, confirmed by an external sign, with a mutual expression of the honor with which we esteem him.

Jean Calvin, L’Institution Chrétienne, IV.XIV.1

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