« PreviousContinue »
id foundation was laid for the where the images. Farell thunReformation in Geneva, and the dered from the pulpit, even in minds of the inhabitants at large the churches exclusively resery, became prepared to give it a cor- ed to the Catholics, till those who dial reception.
get remained were removed by a Viret soon joined Farell and decree of the Senate, and all the Froment. Their preaching was monasteries suppressed, and apunremitted, and the number of propriated to secular uses. А believers increased day by day. confession of faith, composed by This opportunity was too favour. Farell, was adopted, and sancable to be neglected by the Sen- tioned with an oath, which, for ate of Berne, who had been slan- its native simplicity, as Ruchat dered for favouring the Reform- observes, has been highly and tion by Furbit, a Dominican deservedly recommended. monk and doctor of the Sarbon- But what use did the Reform
The Senate demanded the ed make of this glorious victory? punishment of Furbit. He was Did they obey the command of actually imprisoned. The irri- their divine Master, to do to othtated clergy could not brook that ers, as they would that others one of their body should be sub- should do to them ? No. They jected to the judicature of lay- showed no symptoms of his men. They were countenanced meekness. They treaied the by the Senate of Fribourg ; but Catholics with uncommon harshe the more powerful menaces of ness, and proved too often, that Berne prevailed with the Senate they were more eager to imitate, of Geneva. After a public dis- than to abhor their example. putation, Furbit was again im- The mass was abolished, the prisoned, from which he was images in the church proscribafterwards enlarged at the inter- ed, and the refractory punished cession of the king of France. with imprisonment and exile.
At length the Reformation was With the same intemperate zeal sanctioned by the Senate in a they went on reforming the solemn decree of Aug. 27, 1535. churches in the country, till the Farell, Viret, and Froment had civil magistrate interposed, and continued, under the protection notwithstanding the cries of of the mission of Berne, the irre. Farell, “that the work of God ligious instructions, and claimed ought not to be obstructed," an open toleration, till one of the obtained a month's time for churches in the suburbs was the dissenters to reflect maturely seized by the populace with the on a topic so serious. connivance of the Senate. Here But in this reprehensible point Farell preached the first sermon, Farell was not alone. Nor was 1 March, 1534.
he so guilty, as in more favourBut what wisdom can avail, able circumstances he might apa where intemperate zeal dictates, pear to us. He was unquestionand when the populace is the ably a worthy man ; a man of chosen instrument for the execu. eminent abilities, and genuine tion of its fury and its whims? piety. His blemish was the The multitude, inflamed by Far- blemish of all the Reformers. ell's ardent sermons, broke every Even Melanchton was not free, He admonished the Senate of study of dialectics, the barbarous Venice of the errors of Servetus, logic of the schools. because he had heard that his His father originally intended book was then in circulation. him for the church, for which he Melanchton procured the death appeared to be peculiarly fitted, by of two Socinians, and approved his early seriousness of disposition, the condemnation of Servetus. gravity of manners, and abhor. Moreover it ought not to be rence of vice, which he sharply reomitted, as it must influence our proved in his companions. With judgment respecting Farell's and this view, in 1521, a benefice was Calvin's transactions, that at procured for him in the catheGeneva religion and politics dral church of Noyon, and in were uncommonly blended to 1527, a parochial curacy in the gether; that the Roman Catho- neighbouring village of Pont l'E. lics had become dangerous citi- vesque. But becoming acquainted zens, through their connexions about this time with Peter Olivewith the bishop and dukes of tan, a Protestant, he imbibed Savoy, and that the safety of the from him the principles of the Republic was often endangered Reformed religion, which disby them.
gusted him with the superstiHaving given this brief histo- tious errors of Popery ; and his ry of the state of Geneva previ- father beginning to think that ously to the time when Calvin the profession of law would be began to have influence there, both more honourable and more we shall now turn our atten- lucrative, in compliance with his tion to the character and useful- desire, he determined to relinness of that extraordinary man. quish theological pursuits.
John CALVIN, the son of Ger- In consequence of this deterard Chauvin (latinised Calvinus) mination, he went to Orleans, and of Joanna Le Franc, was and there, under the tutorage of born 10th July, 1509, at Noyon, Peter de l'Etoille, undoubtedly in Picardy, a province of France. the most eminent civilian of his His father being a man of tal- time, entered with such ardour ents and probity was highly es- on his new studies, as soon enteemed by his fellow citizens, abled him occasionally to supply and particularly by a noble family, his master's chair. He was inunder whose roof John received deed more like a teacher than a the first rudiments of education. scholar : and when he left the From his native city he was sent University, as a testimony of ap10 Paris, where he made uncom- probation and high respect, he mon proficiency in the Latin lan- 'received an unanimous and gra. guage under Maturinus Corderi- tuitous offer of a doctor's deus, one of the most distinguish- gree. Mean while, he did not ed teachers of the age. He af- neglect sacred learning in priterwards removed to the college vate ; but even in this made of Montague, then under the di- such attainments as to excite the rection of a learned Spaniard ; admiration of all the friends of and there leaving his fellow stu- pure and undefiled religion in dents far behind him in classical that city. He seldom slept till attainments, he commenced the the night was far advanced, and
efter a very few hours repose, re. Sorbonne, when cop thereby sumed his meditations on the sub- excited the resentment of his ject that had engaged his attention learned audience, and being cited the preceding eveniug. This wo appear before their parliament, habit regularly continued, im- consulted his safety by flight, proved his memory, facilitated the officers who were sent to his acquisition of knowledge, apprehend him, not finding him, expanded and strengthened all forcibly entered Calvin's house, the powers of his mind. But and seized his letters, among his incessant application produc- which there were many from ed a weakness in his stomach, the friends of the Reformation, which was the cause of various which had almost involved them diseases, and at length of his in destruction. But this threatpremature death.
ened storm was prevented by the Attracted by the reputation of prudent intercession of the the University of Bourges, to queen of Navarre, the only sis. which the talents of Alciat, an ter of the French king, a wo. Italian lawyer, added lustre, Cal- man of extraordinary powers, vin went thither to attend his and warmly attached to the ProJectures, and there gained the testant cause. friendship of Wolmar, who Calvin, to escape the cruel
taught him Greek, and for whom designs of his enemies, left Par• he had such an esteem, as after- is, and took refuge at Saintonge,
wards to dedicate to him his where, at the request of a friend, Commentary on 2d Corinthians. he published some short religHe remained at the University ious addresses, and dispersed till the sudden death of his fath- them among the people. In er recalled him to his native 1534, he returned to Paris, country ; but during his resi- whither he seems to have been dence, he preached more than directed by Providence, that he once at Lignieres, a village in might check, for a season at the neighbourhood. He soon least, the zeal of Servetus, who after visited Paris, where, in was disseminating his Antitrini. 1533, he wrote his Commentary tarian heresies in that city. Unon Seneca de Clementia, an au- daunted by his exposure to the thor whom he read and illustrat- malice of his adversaries, Calvin ed with great delight. In a few would have held a public confermonths he became acquainted ence with Servetus, but this herwith the principal Protestants in etic, after having agreed to it, Paris, who at their private meet- shrunk from the interview. ings earnestly besought him to This year a dark cloud hung give himself wholly to the Lord, over the interests of the Refor. and to them in the work of the mation in France, raised by the ministry. He yielded to their indiscreet zeal of some of its adentreaties ; but Paris was not herents. “ They had affixed to destined to be the scene of his the gates of the Louvre, and
For, having urged other public places, papers conNicolas Cop, rector of the Uni- taining indecent reflections on versity, boldly to preach the the doctrines and rites of the truth before the doctors of the Popish church. Six of the per
sons concerned in this rash erous and inhuman conduct, to action were discovered and seize exculpate himself, and preserve ed *. The king, in order to their friendship, which he wishavert the judgments which it was ed to employ against his rival supposed their blasphemies Charles V. he affirmed that he might draw down upon the na- had punished only some fanatical tion, appointed a solemn proces- and seditious Anabaptists, whom sion. The holy sacrament was he knew the Protestants as well, carried through the city in as the Papists abhorred. great pomp; Francis walked This false and unprovoked in. uncovered before it, bearing a sult, Calvin judged it necessary torch in his hand ; the princes to contradict and repel ; and of the blood supported the cano- with this design, in 1535, pubpy over it ; the nobles marched lished his Institutions, to which in order behind. In the pres. he prefixed a preface addressed ence of this numerous assembly, to Francis, which in force of arthe king, accustomed to express gument, energy of expression, himself on every subject in and elegance of latinity, has selstrong and animated language, dom been equalled, and never declared that if one of his hands excelled. were infected with heresy, he After visiting the duchess of would cut it off with the other, Ferrara, daughter of Louis XII. and would not spare even his of France, a princess of eminent own children, if found guilty of piety, who received and enterthat crime. As a dreadful proof tained him with every mark of of his being in earnest, the six esteem, he returned to the unhappy persons were publicly neighbourhood of Paris, but burned before the procession finding the country a scene of was finished, with circumstances confusion and danger, he settled of the most shocking barbarity his pecuniary affairs, and, acattending their execution.”+ companied by Anthony his only
Calvin retired to Orleans, brother, resolved to reside at whence, accompanied by his old Basil or Strasburg. The war Saintonge friend, he proceeded on the frontiers of France and to Basil, where he studied He- Germany made them travel by brew; and though anxious to be the way of Geneva, whither he concealed, felt himself constrain- was thús, unintentionally on his ed, on the following account, to part, led by the hand of Provipublish his Institutions of the dence. Farell and Viret, who a Christian Religion, The Prot- few years before had introduced estant princes of Germany, the gospel into Geneva, earnest. with whom Francis, under a ly importuned him to become pretended regard for their relig- their associate in the ministry. ious tenets, had made an alliance, He was with difficulty persuadhaving in the most pointed terms ed, not indeed till Farell had expressed their indignation at ventured in the name of the his suspicions, not to say treach- Almighty to denounce a curse According to Beza, in his life of He yielded at length to the soli
against him if he should refuse. Calvin, the number was eight.
| Robertson's Charles V. Book 6. citation of the presbytery and
magistrates, by whose suffrage, which also received the sanction with the concurrence of the peo- of the Senate. ple, he was chosen to be their Besides his own church, Cal. Minister and Professor of Divin- vin took on himself the care of ity in the year 1536.
believers, wherever they dwelt, Fully prepared by his long and, by his correspondence, adcourse of study, by his ardour of ministered to them the instrucmind and habits of devotion, for tion, reproof, or consolation, the faithful exercise of the mine which their conduct or 'their ciristerial functions, he commenced cumstances required. The conhis public labours by composing formity of multitudes to the Roa concise and simple Formula of mish forms of communion, Christian Doctrine, to which he while they secretly embraced the added a short Catechism, for the doctrines of the Reformed use of the church at Geneva, church, about this period particthen scarcely emancipated from ularly, called forth his zeal for antichristian bondage. Persuad- the truth, and was the occasion. ed that some form of ecclesias- of his writing two masterly and tical government was absolutely elegant Epistles, in which he exnecessary for maintaining the horted the people to renounce unity and order of the church, their idolatrous communion, and and preferring the Presbyterian, the authority of their priests, as being not only the most simple whose conduct he reprobated as in itself, the best calculated for flagitious and detestable. the impartial administration of His attention was, in the foldiscipline, as well as removed lowing year, occupied by dissenat once from the imperious- sions in his own city, which he ness of Episcopacy, and the in vain endeavoured to heal. irregularity of Anabaptism ;* When a whole state embraced but as, in their opinion, the the religious system of the Remost agreeable to the intima- formers, though all became by tions of scripture, Calvin, Fara profession Protestants, multiell, and Viret, resolved to estab- tudes, it is obvious, would retain lish it at Geneva. Though op- much of their original prejudice posed both by public violence and and error. At Geneva, accordprivate malignity, they succeed- ingly, though all professed the ed; and after the people had sol- true religion, many continued in emnly abjured Popery, on the the practice of those impurities 20th of July, 1537, they took an to which they had been addicted oath of adherence to certain arti- when their consciences were uncles of doctrine and discipline, der the guidance of the priests
of Rome. Political discussions The Anabaptists of that time, concerning the war then raging or Mennonites, held opinions subver in Savoy, were also the means sive at once of Christian truth and of producing variance and anisocial order. They employed arms mosities among the rich and to propagate their system, and were
the noble, and consequently tendthe cause not only of commotions, but of bloodshed throughout the
ed to injure the cause of religion. provinces of the German empire. See Farell, Calvin, and Corald, his Mosheim, Cent. 16. & 3. pt. 2. colleague, beheld with deep con