John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

25 (Exodus 30:25)

Verse 25

25.And thou shalt take it an oil of holy ointment. Although the genitive is put in the place of an epithet, as if Moses had said “a holy oil;” yet it is so called from its effect, because without it nothing is accounted pure. And assuredly the Spirit of God sanctifies ourselves and all that is ours, because without Him we are unholy, and all that belongs to us corrupt. He enjoins the use of the ceremony throughout all the generations of the ancient people, Exodus 30:31. In these words there is an implied contrast with the new Church, which wants no shadows since the manifestation of the substance; and justly does the only begotten Son of God possess the name of Christ, since by His coming He has abolished these figures. And Simeon, when he took Him in his arms, and called Him “the Lord’s Christ,” (183) taught that the external use of the legal oil had ceased. So much the sillier is the superstition of the Papacy, when in imitation of the Jews it anoints its priests, and altars, and other toys: (184) as if they desired to bury Christ again with their ointments; wherefore let us hold this invention in detestation as blasphemous, because it overthrows the limits prescribed by God.

In order that the Jews may hold this mystery in just reverence, he forbids similar ointment to be made. We know that ointments were then among the luxuries of a fine banquet; but it is accounted profanation if they make use of this kind; and we must mark the reason, that what is holy, may be holy unto them, Exodus 30:32, i.e., that they may reverently observe what is peculiarly devoted to their salvation. For although the sacred things divinely instituted always retain their nature, and cannot be either corrupted or made void by our vices, yet may we by our filthiness, by our impure use or neglect of them, pollute them as far as in us lies.

"Transtulerunt item sua haec olea, cure ad homines moribundos, tum etiam ad parietes, altaria, and campanas: necnon calices et alia hujusmodi, qum videmus, κακοβηλίᾳ improbanda ex veteri Judaismo esse traducta. Excusat ille Innocentius, (Decret. Greg., lib. 1, tit. 15, de Sacra Unctione.) Ecclesiam haec faciendo non Judaizare,” etc. — Petr. Mart. Loci Com., Cl. 4, cap. 1:21.

- John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible