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Calvin the Parsimonious

Jim West passes along a description of John Calvin’s parsimonious lifestyle. A snip:

On December 28, 1556, the council sent him some wood to warm his chamber; he carried them the money for it, but they would not take it. The same body sent him, May 14, 1560, a tun of the best wine, because he had only what was very indifferent.

He borrowed however twenty-five dollars to meet the expenses of his sickness, and on the 22d of June, 1563, earnestly entreated the council to receive them back.* He protested indeed, “that he would never again enter the pulpit, if he were compelled to retain another indemnification.”

Twenty dollars, that is, almost half the amount of his stipend, he had formally rejected,—a plain proof this of his desire to remain poor.

By Jordan Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012), and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous volumes. Jordan also serves as associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research of Calvin Theological Seminary.