“First, then, Calvinism should no longer be ignored where it still exists, but rather be strengthened where its historical influences are still manifest. A pointing out in detail. with even some degree of completeness, of the traces that Calvinism has everywhere left behind in social and political, in scientific and aesthetic life, would in itself demand a broader study than could be thought of in the rapid course of a lecture. Allow me, therefore, addressing an American audience, to point out a single feature in your own political life. I have already observed in my third lecture how in the preamble of more than one of your Constitutions, while taking a decidedly democratic view, nevertheless not the atheistic standpoint of the French Revolution, but the Calvinistic confession of the supreme sovereignty of God, has been made the foundation, at times even in terms, as I have pointed out, corresponding literally with the words of Calvin. Not a trace is to be found among you of that cynic anti-clericalism which has become identified with the very essence of the revolutionary democracy in France and elsewhere. And when your President proclaims a national day of thanksgiving, or when the houses of Congress assembled in Washington are opened with prayer, it is ever new evidence that through American democracy there runs even yet a vein which, having sprung from the Pilgrim Fathers, still exerts its power at the present day. Even your common school system, inasmuch as it is blessed with the reading of Scripture and opening prayer, points, though with decreasing distinctness, to like Calvinistic origin. Similarly in the rise of your university education, springing for the larger part from individual initiative; in the decentralized and autonomous character of your local governments; in your strict and yet not nomistic Sabbath-observance; in the esteem in which woman is held among you, without falling into the Parisian deification of her sex; in your sense for domesticity; in the closeness of your family ties; in your championship of free speech, and in your unlimited regard for freedom of conscience; in all this your Christian democracy is in direct opposition to demonstrable that you owe this to Calvinism and to Calvinism alone. But, lo and behold, while you are thus enjoying the fruits of Calvinism, and while even outside of your borders the constitutional system of government as an outcome of Calvinistic warfare, upholds the national honor, it is whispered abroad that all these are to be accounted blessings of Humanism, and scarcely any one still thinks of honoring in them the after-effects of Calvinism, the latter being believed to lead a lingering life only in a few dogmatically petrified circles. What I demand then, and demand with an historic right, is that this ungrateful ignoring of Calvinism shall come to an end; that the influence it has exerted shall again receive attention where it still remains stamped upon the actual life of today; and that, where men of a wholly different spirit would unobservedly divert the current of life into French revolutionary or German pantheistic channels, you on this side of the water, and we on our side, should oppose with might and main such falsification of the historic principles of our life.”
Excerpt From: Kuyper, Abraham. “Lectures On Calvinism.” Fig, 2012-07-10T19:48:14+00:00. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.
Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=543724982