More from Calvin in the anti-Heshusius tract:
Moreover, I do not interpret this communion of flesh and blood as applying only to the common nature, in respect that Christ, by becoming man, made us sons of God with himself by virtue of fraternal fellowship; but I distinctly affirm, that our flesh which he assumed is vivifying by becoming the material of spiritual life to us. And I willingly embrace the saying of Augustine, As Eve was formed out of a rib of Adam, so the origin and beginning of life to us flowed from the side of Christ. And although I distinguish between the sign and the thing signified, I do not teach that there is only a bare and shadowy figure, but distinctly declare that the bread is a sure pledge of that communion with the flesh and blood of Christ which it figures. For Christ is neither a painter, nor a player, nor a kind of Archimedes, who presents an empty image to amuse the eye, but he truly and in reality performs what he promises by an external symbol.
So this quote will be going in a paper that I have already written, but will have to now revise in order to increase its sheer awesomenisity.
This comes from his letter against Heshusius on the Lord’s Supper. Heshusius was a Lutheran and had objected that Calvin’s view could not properly explain why the wicked were judged for profaning the Lord’s Body if they did not actually receive it in the sacrament. Calvin replied:
He might have some color for this, if I denied that the body of Christ is given to the unworthy; but as they impiously reject what is liberally offered to them, they are deservedly condemned for profane and brutish contempt, inasmuch as they set at nought that victim by which the sins of the world were expiated, and men reconciled to God.
Yeah. That’s not your grandmother’s Calvinism there.
Let us see that in Calvin’s system:
A) The body of Christ is offered to all.
B) The unworthy reject Christ.
C) The unworthy are condemned for rejecting the victim who expiated the world’s sins, thus showing their ingratitude.
I find it interesting that this letter is used for one high-profile, though ambiguous, quote quite frequently, but never for this one.
The treatise is online here.