CALVIN TO MELANCTHON.
I wish that my sympathy in your grief, while it distresses me, might in some measure relieve you. If the fact is as the brethren of Zurich say, they certainly had a just cause for writing. With what rashness your Pericles (Osiander,) continues to thunder? Especially as his cause is only the worse for it. We all owe much to him, I confess; and I should be willing to have him possess, the chief magistracy, if he only knew how to govern himself.
We must, however, always take heed, in the church, how much deference we pay to men. The work is done, when any one has more power than all the rest; especially, if this one has nothing to check him in making all possible experiments. In the present deranged state of things, we perceive how difficult it is to quiet the disturbances. If we all, however, exercise that disposition which ought to guide us, some remedy perhaps might be found. We are certainly transmitting to posterity a pernicious example, by consenting to abandon our liberty, rather than to disquiet the mind of one man with some trifling mortification. His passions are vehement, and he is subject to violent paroxysms. He also boasts of this vehemency, in proportion as we all indulge him, and suffer every thing from him. If this example of insolent domination manifests itself, at the very opening of the reformation of the church, what will shortly take place, when things shall have fallen into a still worse condition? Let us weep, therefore, for the calamity of the church; let us not suppress our grief in our own breasts; but venture at length to give our lamentations a free circulation. What if you were, by the permission of God, reduced to the extreme necessity of having extorted from you, a fuller confession concerning this subject? I acknowledge, indeed, that what you teach is perfectly true; and that, by your mild manner of teaching, you have endeavored hitherto to recall others from contention; and I commend your prudence and moderation.
But while you avoid this subject, (consubstantiation,) as some dangerous rock, lest you incur the displeasure of some, you leave many in suspense and perplexity, who require of you something more decisive, in which they may acquiesce. It is, however, a dishonor to us, as I remember to have said to you before, that we do not consignare, ratify, at least with ink, that doctrine, which so many pious persons have delivered to us, testatam, sealed with their own blood. Perhaps God will now open to you the way for a full and firm explanation of your mind, on this subject; that those who depend on your authority, whom you know to be very many, may no longer remain in doubt. I do not say this so much to awaken as to console you. For unless I hoped that something of this kind would arise from this turbulent and overbearing insurrection, I should be affected with a grief much more severe. However, we must quietly wait for such a termination as the Lord will please to grant. In the mean time, let us preserve our course with unyielding resolution.
I give you many thanks for your answer, and also for the singular kindness with which you have treated Claudius, as he informs me. From your kind and generous reception of my friends, I am enabled to form an opinion of your disposition towards me. I give sincere thanks to God, that on the chief heads of that question, (as stated in the preceding letter,) concerning which we were consulted, our opinions have so entirely agreed. For although there is a very small difference about some particulars, yet as to the substance of he matter, we perfectly coincide.
June 28, 1445.