CALVIN TO FAREL.
I was prepared to detail to you at large the state of our affairs; but when I was informed that our good father Capito, of sacred memory, was taken from us, and that Bucer was sick with the plague, my mind was so shocked that I can now only weep. You know it was always resolved, that if I returned to Geneva, you should return with me; that our united ministry might be restored. Your troubles, at that time, prevented you from leaving Neufchatel. It is now, however, the interest of our common ministry, and of the whole church, that you should come to this city. You must do it, if for no other reason but to fulfill your promise to me. Your pretext for declining, that you was banished by the people and could not be recalled by the senate, displeases me. You call that seditious faction of abandoned men, the people; and is it not enough that the people themselves, by their decree, pronounced your banishment unjust? It is certain, that most of those who banished you have either suffered an ignominious death, or have fled from the city; and the rest are either ashamed to say any thing, or openly confess their fault. Was not that a decree of the people, by which they unanimously confessed our innocence? It was my intention on entering the city, to have asserted that we were innocent; and although I do not excel in oratory, to have defended our cause. But when the people came to meet me, condemning themselves, and confessing their faults, I perceived that it would be useless, ungenerous, and inhuman, as I should only be insulting our prostrate enemies, condemned of God, of men, and of their own conscience.
Will you continue to urge your scruples about the people’s recall, when you are told, that when they decreed, that those who were banished should be recalled, the question was put in this form, Do you not confess that injustice was done to Farel and his associates? Will you require more than this, that the people condemn themselves, and acquit you? It was added, Will ye, that Farel and his associates, etc.? Shall I not ascribe (forgive me, my brother, if I err) your scrupulous difficulties to moroseness, rather than sound judgment? I know your sincerity — how little you regard yourself; but others, less acquainted with you, may suspect your motives, and make a handle of it for detraction. I do not pretend, that the church has made satisfaction, proportioned to its offense.
But if you saw how tender every thing is here, you would yourself agree to press this matter no farther at present. I entreat you, my Farel, to yield to the counsel of those who are prudently solicitous for the honor of your ministry. Give up, if not to our judgment, at least to the entreaties of your friends. Farewell, best and beloved brother.
Geneva, November 29, 1541.