I was allowed to stand in the pulpit of John Calvin. I am not superstitious, but the first time I saw this medal bearing the venerated effigy of John Calvin I kissed it, imagining that no one saw the action. I was very greatly surprised when I received this magnificent present, which shall be passed round for your inspection. On the one side is John Calvin with his visage worn by disease and deep thought, and on the other side is a verse fully applicable to that man of God. “He endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” That is the very character of the man. That glorious man, Calvin! I preached in the cathedral. I do not think half the people understood me in the Cathedral of St. Peter’s; but they were very glad to see and join in heart with the worship in which they could not join with understanding. I did not feel very happy when I came out in full clergyman’s dress, but the request was put to me in such a beautiful way that I could have worn the Pope’s tiara, if by so doing I could preach the gospel more freely. They said,—“Our dear brother comes to us from another country. Now, when an ambassador comes from another country, he has a right to wear his own costume at Court; but, as a mark of very great esteem, he sometimes condescends to the manners of the country which he visits, and wears the Court dress.” “Well,” I said—“yes, that I will, certainly, if you do not require it, but merely ask it as a token of my Christian love. I shall feel like running in a sack, but it will be your fault.” But it was John Calvin’s cloak, and that reconciled it to me very much. I do love that man of God, suffering all his life long, enduring not only persecutions from without but a complication of disorders from within; and yet serving his Master with all his heart.
For meditation: The advice “When in Rome do as the Romans do” may lead the believer into unhealthy compromise. When in Geneva Spurgeon willingly became as a Genevan for the sake of the gospel. Does the same thought motivate us to be adaptable, without compromise, in order to win all sorts and conditions of men?