Did John Calvin see assurance as blessed?
But assurance I do not understand to mean that which soothes our mind with sweet and perfect repose, releasing it from every anxiety. For to repose so peacefully is the part of those who, when all affairs are flowing to their liking, are touched by no care, burn with no desire, toss with no fear. But for the saints the occasion that best stimulates them to call upon God is when, distressed by their own need, they are troubled by the greatest unrest, and are almost driven out of their senses, until faith opportunely comes to their relief. For among such tribulations God’s goodness so shines upon them that even when they groan with weariness under the weight of the present ills, and also are troubled and tormented by the fears of greater ones, yet, relying upon his goodness, they are relieved of the difficulty of bearing them, and are solaced and hope for escape and deliverance. It is fitting therefore that the godly man’s prayer arise…and that he groan under present ills and anxiously fear those to come, yet at the same time take refuge in God, not at all doubting he is ready to extend his helping hand. It is amazing how much our lack of trust provokes God if we request of him a boon that we do not expect.
I would argue that Calvin did indeed see assurance as blessed, but not in the manner that most might think of it today. Assurance comes, not when every anxiety is released, but when through those anxieties and tribulations, faith looks up to a mighty God who delivers! It is then that the godly man can sing:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in HIs blood.
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.