Daily Riches: Knowing Self/Knowing God (John Calvin and Thomas Merton)

“… true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other is not easy to discern. In the first place, no one can look upon himself without immediately turning his thoughts to the contemplation of God, in whom he ‘lives and moves’ [Acts 17:28]. …the knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find him. Again, it is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself.”  John Calvin

“If I find God I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find God.” Merton

“Contemplation is also the response to a call … from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being….”  Merton

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.
They will be my people, and I will be their God….”
Jeremiah 24:7a

Moving From Head to Heart

Calvin insists that “sound and true wisdom” consists in essentially two things – knowing ourselves and knowing God. We must know ourselves intimately to know God properly, and we must know God intimately to know ourselves properly.

  • Are you devoting as much effort to knowing yourself as you are to knowing God? Can you imagine truly knowing one and not the other?
  • Have you been “aroused to seek God” or “find” him in a new way through “scrutiny of yourself?”
  • Are you responding to the “call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything?”  Do you try to listen for his voice “in the depths of your own being?”

Abba, lead me, as it were, by the hand into a deeper experience of knowing myself … and you.


For More: The Institutes by John Calvin


The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

3 thoughts on “Daily Riches: Knowing Self/Knowing God (John Calvin and Thomas Merton)

  1. Truly incredible riches! And nothing could be more important. Keep spreading the good news, Bill. Glad to have connected with you 🙂


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