But that must not be understood as if we blindly submit to a thing that is unknown to us. No; we are conscious that in Scripture we possess unassailable truth and feel that “the undoubted power of his divine majesty lives and breathes there,” a power by which we are drawn, knowingly and willingly, yet vitally and effectively, to obey him.60 Calvin knew that in this doctrine of the testimony of the Holy Spirit he was not describing some private revelation but the experience of all believers.61 Nor was this testimony of the Holy Spirit isolated from the totality of the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers but integrally united with it. By it alone the entire church originates and exists. The entire application of salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit; and the witness to Scripture is but one of many of his activities in the community of believers. The testimony of the Holy Spirit is not a source of new revelations but establishes believers in relation to the truth of God, which is completely contained in Scripture. It is he who makes faith a sure knowledge that excludes all doubt.
60 J. Calvin, Institutes, I.vii; Commentary on 2 Tim. 3:16. Ed. note: Bavinck again refers to the literature he cites in par. 21 in Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, which is given above in n. 58.
61 Ibid., I.vii.5. Erasmus also affirms that it is especially the Spirit of Christ who, by his secret working, communicates unwavering certainty to the human mind.” Cf. Martin Schulze, Calvins Jenseitschristemtum in seinem Verhältnisse zu den religiösen Schriften des Erasmus (Görlitz: Rudolf Dulfer, 1902), 54.
Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 583–584.