Lucid Brevity

“I Remember that when three years ago we had a friendly converse as to the best mode of expounding Scripture, the plan which especially pleased you, seemed also to me the most entitled to approbation: we both thought that the chief excellency of an expounder consists in lucid brevity. And, indeed, since it is almost his only work to lay open the mind of the writer whom he undertakes to explain, the degree in which he leads away his readers from it, in that degree he goes astray from his purpose, and in a manner wanders from his own boundaries. Hence we expressed a hope, that from the number of those who strive at this day to advance the interest of theology by this kind of labour, some one would be found, who would study plainness, and endeavour to avoid the evil of tiring his readers with prolixity. I know at the same time that this view is not taken by all, and that those who judge otherwise have their reasons; but still I cannot be drawn away from the love of what is compendious” (THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY JOHN CALVIN TO SIMON GRYNÆUS).


“I farther hoped, that by adopting a different plan, I should not expose myself to the invidious charge of rivalry, of which I was afraid in the first instance. Philipp [in his comments on Romans–CD] attained his object by illustrating the principal points: being occupied with these primary things, he passed by many things which deserve attention; and it was not his purpose to prevent others to examine them. Bucer [in his comments on Romans–CD] is too diffuse for men in business to read, and too profound to be understood by such as are simple and not capable of much application: for whatever be the subject which he handles, so many things are suggested to him through the incredible fecundity of his mind, in which he excels, that he knows not when to stop. Since then the first has not explained every passage, and the other has handled every point more at large than it can be read in a short time, my design has not even the appearance of being an act of rivalship” (THE EPISTLE [Romans–CD] DEDICATORY JOHN CALVIN TO SIMON GRYNÆUS).