Tracking down correspondence between the Reformers is quite a task, I have found. Nonetheless, it is useful to read the letters between the Reformers to get a sense of how they esteemed each other. Sometimes they were brutally honest with how they felt about each other. Sometimes they were more brutal than honest. But most times, they esteemed each other with the highest of respect.
I read a particular letter some time ago that reminded me of the men of God who work so diligently to present the Word of God with clarity and authority world wide. It also reminded me of the small band of brothers of the pen who write on this blog. This quote is from Calvin to Bullinger regarding, among other things, the receipt of Bullinger’s fifth Decade:
I was met by a messenger bearing your letter, when lately on my way to Neuchatel. After my return home, I received another from a certain Italian, together with the fifth Decade. You say by way of apology for sending your books, that you do not do so in order that I may learn from you; for my part, as I am desirous to make my labors beneficial to all good men, so on the other hand, I am glad to profit by the writings of others. And indeed intercourse like this is brotherly, when we know that the gifts of the Spirit are so distributed among us, that no one individual is sufficient for himself. Your gift was, therefore, acceptable to me.
Bullinger presented his gift to Calvin with the greatest of humility, acknowledging that he did not think Calvin to be in need of such instruction. Calvin, for his part, gratefully accepted this gift from Bullinger expressing his gratitude that the Spirit had distributed among the Reformers great gifts of intellect and insight. In this, we know that great and mighty men were used of God all throughout Europe to establish and maintain Reform. But, what they were doing amounted to preaching God’s Word with power and authority.
And truly, it is good be reminded of the privilege of being part of God’s church, knowing that the Spirit uses us in different ways to spread the Gospel and glorify God.