The Tonsure in the Romish Church may be received after the age of seven years. It is the first part of the ceremony of ordination. The candidate presents himself in a black cassock before the Bishop, with a surplice on his right arm, and a lighted taper in his hand. He kneels, and the Bishop, standing covered with his mitre, repeats a prayer and several verses from the Scripture. The Bishop then sitting, cuts five different parcels of hair from the head of the candidate, who repeats these words —The Lord is my inheritance. Putting off his mitre, the Bishop then says a prayer over the person tonsured—an anthem is sung by the choir; then a prayer, in the middle of which the Bishop puts the surplice on the candidate for orders, and says, may the Lord clothe thee with thy new name. The ceremony is closed by the candidate’s presenting the wax taper to the Bishop, who gives him his blessing. Dr. Hurd’s Rites and Cerem. p. 282. Calvin, in his Epistle prefatory to his Commentaries on the Psalms, gives the following account of the change of mind here spoken of: “As David was raised from the sheepfold to the highest dignity of government, so God has dignified me, derived from an obscure and humble origin, with the high and honorable office of Minister and Preacher of the Gospel. My father had destined me, from my childhood, for theology. But, observing how extensively the science of the law enriched its professors, he suddenly changed his purpose, and recalled me from the study of philosophy to that of jurisprudence. In this I obeyed the will of my father, and endeavored to give faithful attention. God, however, with the reins of his secret Providence, eventually turned my course in a different direction. At my first entrance on that study, I was indeed too pertinaciously addicted to the superstitions of the Papacy, to be easily drawn out of such deep mire; and my mind too firmly rooted in those habits, to yield with docility to a change in my studies so entire and unexpected. At length, however, having experienced some taste of the pure doctrines, I was inflamed with such zeal to progress farther, that, although I did not reject my other studies, yet I pursued them only in a cold and indifferent manner. One year had not elapsed, before all those, who were desirous of the knowledge of the purer doctrines, flocked to me for instruction, while as yet I was myself a mere beginner in that school.” * Taken from Vol. 1 Selected Works Bayle, in his Dictionary, says that Beza is mistaken as to the age of Calvin when he published his Commentary on Seneca’s Epistle. Bayle says the Epistle Dedicatory is dated from Paris, April 4th 1532, and therefore, that Calvin was but twenty-three, and not twenty-four years old, as Beza states, Maimbourg, in his History of Calvinism, p. 58, states that “the Lieutenant Morin, went well accompanied to Cardinal le Moine’s College, where Calvin lodged, to seize him: but coming into his chamber, they found he had escaped out at the window by the help of his sheets, which were left tied to it.” On this Bayle remarks that “if this account were true, (which appears to be founded on Papyrius Masso’s Life of Calvin, p. 414,) Beza would be a very ill historian; for he says only that Calvin happened to be then abroad, quo forte domi non reperto. Varilla’s account is the same with Maimbourg’s, and he accompanies it with abundance of circumstances.” The name of this friend of Calvin, was Lewis du Tillet. He was a brother to John du Tiller, Register of the Parliament of Paris, and also to another Du Tillet, Bishop of Meaux. Bayle—Drelincourt’s Defense of Calvin. p. 40. Calvin, in his preface to his Commentary on the Psalms, thus states his reason for publishing his Institutes. “While I lived unknown and secluded at Basil, the burning of many pious men in France excited, throughout Germany, severe indignation.
In order to remove these resentments, wicked and false pamphlets were dispersed, in which it was asserted, that those, who were thus cruelly burnt, were only Anabaptists, and some turbulent persons who, by their perverse conceits, were attempting to overthrow not only religion, but the whole order of civil government. Perceiving that, by this artifice, the crafty courtiers of Francis designed to cover the crime of shedding innocent blood, and to cast a false reproach on those holy martyrs, and also from that time to secure to themselves, under this pretense, the privilege of persecuting the Reformers, even to death, without the hazard of exciting the resentment or compassion of any on account of their sufferings, I determined that my silence could not be excused from perfidy; and that it was my duty to oppose those proceedings with all my power.
The reasons for my publishing the INSTITUTES were:—First, that I might vindicate, from unjust reproaches, those brethren whose death was precious in the sight of the lard. Secondly, because similar punishments threatened many defenseless and oppressed persons, for whom I was anxious to excite, at least, some compassion and solicitude among foreign nations. This work was not then so full and laborious as it now is, sed breve duntaxat Enchiridion tunc in lucem prodiit, but a short Manual only was then published, having solely in view, to testify the faith of those whom I saw wickedly put to death, by the impious and perfidious courtiers of the king. Besides, that I by no means sought to increase my own fame, is evident from my immediate departure from Basil, when as yet no one in that city knew me to be the author. This I continued to conceal, as it was my determined purpose to be unknown, until I was retained at Geneva, not so much by counsel and entreaty, as by the formidable and solemn injunction of William Farel, which arrested me, not otherwise than if God from Heaven had laid his powerful hand upon me.”
Calvin embraced this opportunity to show that the doctrines of the Reformation were not those taught and held by the Anabaptists; and also, that it was not against these fanatics alone that the persecution of Francis was directed.
Although most of the editions of this work have the date August 1, 1536. Yet Bayle, who examined the matter carefully, says, with Dupin, that the first edition was published at Basil, August 1, 1535.
Calvin’s own statement accords with this date. And it appears that the custom of booksellers was, to put the date of the next year to a work printed off toward the end of August. The first edition was but a rough sketch or outline of what the author afterwards produced. The second edition appeared in 1536, at Strasburgh, in folio, and was both larger and more correct than the first. The third edition was printed at the same place, in 1543, and was still more complete. A fourth edition also came out at Strasburgh, with considerable improvements. A fifth edition in 4to was published at Geneva, in 1550, corrected in many places, and having two indexes. In 1558, both the Latin and French editions received the author’s last revision. Since that period, the work has gone through a vast number of editions, and has been translated into almost all the modern languages; a circumstance which alone is sufficient to demonstrate its real excellence. Here we find that a Presbytery existed in Geneva, before Calvin went there; yet it is asserted by some violent advocates of prelacy, that Presbyterianism originated with Calvin. But it is a fact that Presbyterianism was introduced into Geneva, long before Calvin ever saw that city, and when he was not more than nineteen years of age.
Dr. Heylin, in his History of Presbyterianism, p. 4-9, and who was a very zealous and high-toned Episcopalian, says that after the religious system of Berne had been altered, two men exceedingly studious of the Reformation, namely, Viret and Farel, labored to effect the same changes in Geneva, which they did, after the expulsion of the Bishop of Geneva; and that Calvin, when he came to Geneva, heartily approved of what they had done.
Calvin, in his letter to Cardinal Sadolet, says, that the religious system of Geneva had been instituted, and its ecclesiastical government reformed, before he was called thither. But what had been done by Farel and Viret, he heartily approved, and strove, by all means in his power, to preserve and establish.
It is equally clear, from the above statement of Beza, that the settlement of a minister was considered as a proper act of the Presbytery. It may be presumed that when Beza wrote the account of Calvin’s entering on the ministerial office, he did not even dream that any one, either from ignorance or effrontery, would call in question or deny Calvin’s ordination. But what Beza did not probably even dream of, two doctors in America, after about two centuries and a half, have called in question, and it seems denied. Dr. Leaming may be excused for not construing the Latin of Beza; but Dr. Bowden, unless by choosing to lose himself in his own prejudices, he has passed beyond the limits of common testimony, and escaped out of the entire dominion of argument, may be requested to read in the original Latin, Beza’s Life of Calvin, Anno 1536. Let him examine also Calvin’s Preface to his Commentary on the Psalms, and his answer to Sadolet, a short extract from which shall be here given in a fair translation.— “When I was called to Geneva, the reformed religion was already established, and the order of the Church corrected. I not only approved by my voice of those things which had been done by Farel and Viret, but as much as I was able, I labored to preserve and confirm that cause in which I was by necessity united with them. I could have easily forgiven you any personal injury, out of respect to your office and literature; but when I see my ministry, which I doubt not was founded and sanctioned by the vocation of God, wounded through my side, it would be perfidy and not patience, if I should remain silent and dissemble in such a case. I discharged first the Office of Professor and afterwards that of Pastor in that Church. And I contend that I accepted of that charge having the authority of a lawful vocation. With how great fidelity and reverential fear I performed my duty, I have no occasion now to testify in detail. I will not arrogate to myself any peculiar discernment, erudition, prudence, address or even diligence. I am, however conscious, before Christ my judge, and all his Angels, that I walked in that church with the sincerity which is becoming in the work of the Lord. On this point, all good men will give me the most luminous testimony. Since then this ministry has been established by the Lord, if I should silently suffer it to be slandered and abused by you, who would not reprobate such silence as a prevarication? Every one sees, that I am now pledged by the high responsibility of my office, and that I cannot escape the obligation which binds me to defend myself against your criminations, unless I deliberately, and with open perfidy, abandon and betray the work which the Lord has committed to my charge. But though I am, at present, freed from the pastoral charge of the Genevese church, still this is no reason why I should not embrace it with paternal affection, since God once put me in authority over it, and bound me to it in a perpetual covenant.” Cardinal Sadolet did not deny Calvin’s ordination. Opuscula Calvini, p. 105. Bellarmin, another Cardinal, who was twenty-two years of age when Calvin deceased, says that none but the Popes could create Bishops and Presbyters—and that neither LUTHER nor ZUINGLIUS, nor CALVIN were BISHOPS, but only PRESBYTERS—sed tantum Presbyteri. It may be fairly left with the doctor to determine the question, how Calvin could be a Presbyter without ordination.
Francis Junius, in his animadversions upon Bellarmin, says that Luther and Zuinglius received ordination in the Roman Church—that Calvin was ordained by those who preceded him —qui antecesserunt, cumque ordinaverunt.—Farel and Couraut, who received ordination in the Romish Church, preceded Calvin at Geneva; and Beza states, that they were colleagues with Calvin in the church in that city. The letter of Bucer to Calvin, dated Strasburg, November 1, 1536, is unanswerable testimony, that Calvin was at this time a minister of the church of Geneva, or Bucer would not have spoken of his ministry, nor called him my brother and fellow minister. This designates the time before which Calvin must have received ordination and the charge of that church.—For other proofs of Calvin’s ordination, see the able and elegant letters of Dr. MILLER, vol. 2, Continuation of letters concerning the constitution and order of the Christian ministry, addressed to the members of the Presbyterian churches in the city of New York, 1809.
Lett. 7, p. 306.—Waterman. Calvin, according to Spon, had borne his own expenses without receiving any salary.—Tr. As the Reformers married to prove their conversion from the Papists, the latter reproached them, as if they warred against Rome, in the same reasons that the Grecians warred against Troy. “Our adversaries,” says Calvin,” pretend that we wage a sort of Trojan war for a woman. To say nothing of others at present, they must allow myself at least to be free from this charge. Since I am more particularly able, in my own case, to refute this scurrilous reflection. For notwithstanding, I was at liberty to have married under the tyranny of the Pope, I voluntarily led a single life for many years.” Calvin was full thirty years old when he married Idolette de Bure. She was an Anabaptist, whom he was the means of converting. He married her at Strasburg, in 1540. Before this, Calvin wrote to Farel thus, “Concerning my marriage, I now speak more openly. You know very well what qualifications, I always expected in a wife. I am not of that passionate race of lovers, who, when once captivated with the external form, embrace also with eagerness, the moral defects it may cover. The person who would delight me with her beauty, must be chaste, frugal, patient, and afford me some hope that she will be solicitous for my personal health and prosperity.” —Strasburg, May 29, 1539.
This lady whom Calvin married had children by her former husband, and also brought Calvin a son, who died before his father. This son was Calvin’s only child, and he died in 1545. Calvin at the close of a letter to Viret, dated August 19th of that year, says, “The Lord has certainly inflicted a heavy and severe wound on us, by the death of our little son, but He is our Father, and knows what is expedient for his children.” James Bernard, one of the ministers of Geneva, wrote a letter to Calvin, which he received while on his way to the Diet of Ratisbon, from which the following is an extract: “The next day, the Council of two hundred convened and called for Calvin. The following day, a general meeting assembled. All exclaimed, we demand the return of Calvin, the honest man, the learned minister of Christ. When I heard this I praised God, who had done what was marvelous in our eyes, in making the stone which the builders rejected become the head of the corner. Come then, my venerable father in Christ. All sigh after you. Your estimation in the hearts of this people will be testified by their affectionate reception of you. You will find me not an opposer, according to the representations of some, (may God forgive them,) but a faithful and sincere friend, devoted to your wishes in the Lord. Come then to Geneva, to a people renovated, by the grace of God, through the labors of Viret; and may the Lord hasten your return to our church, whose blood he will require at your hands, for he has set you a watchman unto the house of our Israel. Farewell. BERNARD.
GENEVA, February 6, 1541. That Calvin was not greedy of gain, is the testimony of friends and foes. This would abundantly appear from a perusal of his will. But in addition it may be stated that he publicly renounced all fellowship with the Romish church, by resigning on the 4th of May, 1531, the benefices of the Chapel of La Gesine, and the Rectory of Point l’Eveque. By a covert conduct, he might still have enjoyed the annual emolument of these livings under the Papacy. In throwing himself, therefore, poor and unpatronized, upon the hand of his Divine Master, he demonstrated the firmness of his principles, and the purity of his motives. When Calvin came back, in 1541, from Strasburg to Geneva, in consequence of the Council’s revocation of their own sentence of exile, he thus addressed his auditory:— “If you desire to have me for your pastor, correct the disorder of your lives. If you have with sincerity recalled me from my exile, banish the crimes and debaucheries which prevail among you. I certainly cannot behold, without the most painful displeasure, within your walls, discipline trodden under foot, and crimes committed with impunity. I cannot possibly live in a place so grossly immoral. Vicious souls are too filthy to receive the purity of the Gospel, and the spiritual worship which I preach to you. A life stained with sin is too contrary to Jesus Christ to be tolerated. I consider the principal enemies of the Gospel to be, not the pontiff of Rome, nor heretics, nor seducers, nor tyrants, but such bad Christians; because the former exert their rage out of the church, while drunkenness, luxury, perjury, blasphemy, impurity, adultery, and other abominable vices overthrow my doctrine, and expose it defenseless to the rage of our enemies. Rome does not constitute the principal object of my fears. Still less am I apprehensive from the almost infinite multitude of monks. The gates of hell, the principalities and powers of evil spirits, disturb me not at all. I tremble on account of other enemies, more dangerous; and I dread abundantly more those carnal covetousness, those debaucheries of the tavern, of the brothel, and of gaming; those infamous remains of ancient superstition, those mortal pests, the disgrace of your town, and the shame of the reformed name. Of what importance is it to have driven away the wolves from the fold, if the pest ravage the flock? Of what use is a dead faith without good works? Of what importance is even truth itself, where a wicked life belies it, and actions make words blush? Either command me to abandon a second time your town, and let me go and soften the bitterness of my afflictions in a new exile, or let the severity of the laws reign in the church. Re-establish there the pure discipline. Remove from within your walls, and from the frontiers of your state, the pest of your vices, and condemn them to a perpetual banishment.” Mackenzie, pp. 163, etc. The London Christian Observer, in the review of Mackenzie’s life of Calvin, has remarked that Calvin was “a model of industry unwearied by toil; of perseverance undaunted by the opposition of an enemy, or disheartened by the timidity or languor of wavering and inefficient friends. With far greater fidelity than the author, (Johnson,) whose well-known language we adopt, could he assert, that his almost incredible labors were pursued ‘with little assistance of the learned, and without any patronage of the great; not in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shelter of academic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and in sorrow’—An exile from his native soil, and living in an age when the mingled storms of controversy and persecution beat against the Church, he had his ‘gloom of solitude;’ gloom darkened by the deepest shades of public and spiritual calamity, ‘without were rightings, within were fears.”— Ch. Observer 1817, p. 441-5.
It may be well to observe in this place, as exhibiting another department of Calvin’s labor, as well as another object of his solicitude, that the instruction of youth, was, in his estimation, an object of primary interest to the welfare of civil society, and the cause of religion. He therefore, revised and enlarged the Catechism which he first published in 1537. This judicious and popular work was composed after the order of his Institutes, embracing doctrines, duties, and the means of grace. He published it in French and in Latin. It was noticed with unparalleled applause, and soon translated into many languages, as Beza states.— And the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, in 1648, made it the model of the Catechism which is so justly esteemed among all the Presbyterian churches. “Ubi quum Pastoris constantis et seduli opera requireretur. Beza has used the word Pastor in a manner too loose for a historian, and has misled some learned writers, who, from this expression, have concluded that Sebastian Castalio was a Pastor of the Church. But this is not the fact. Castalio was never in the ministry. Calvin first patronized him by introducing him as a teacher of the languages in the Divinity school at Strasburg, about 1540 or 1541. After Calvin returned to Geneva, he invited Castalio to take the charge of the grammar school in this city. He soon discovered his obscene taste and heretical opinions. Castalio was excluded by the Senate from Geneva in 1544. The following is a part of the certificate which Castalio states was given him at that time, written by Calvin: “We testify, in a brief manner, that he so conducted himself with us that by our united consent he was already designed for the pastoral office. Lest, therefore, any one should suspect, that it was for some other reason that Sebastian went away from us, we would give this testimony wherever he shall come:—he left of his own accord the mastership of the school.
In that employment he so conducted himself, that we judge him worthy of the holy ministry; and to this he would have been received had it not been for some spots on his life, and some profane opinions which he advanced against the articles of our faith. These were the only reasons which prevented.” This is full evidence that Castalio was never in the Ministry, and of course not deposed from it, as Spon and others have asserted. Calvin’s conduct in this instance appears candid and dignified towards Castalio, who did not cease, in a covert and hypocritical way, to injure and involve him in difficulties, by aiding the factious at Geneva. Castalio spent his time subsequently at Basil, where he instructed in the languages. He died poor and unpatronized, December 29, 1503, aged 48. Bayle Art. Cast.”—Waterman.
The name of Castalio deserves a remark. He once addressed Calvin as follows: “When I was at Lyons, before I went to you at Strasburg, some one, by mistake, called me Castalio instead of Castellio. I was pleased with it, remembering the fountain Castalius consecrated to the Muses: this made me in love with that false name. I preferred it before that of my family, and adorned myself with it at the beginning of a book.” In his defense, he says, “throwing off this Greek vanity, and meeting with an opportunity, which I had long wished for, of making the change, I desire that I may be again called by my paternal name, Castellio.”
Bayle Art. Cast. Pyghius was a Dutch divine, and was remarkable for his extreme ugliness, and dissonant voice. But he was reputed the greatest sophist of his time. The pope rewarded him with the provostship of St. John, at Utrecht, for defending his bull to the General Council in 1539. The Cardinals Sadolet and Cervinus were his patrons. The former assured him that he would recommend him to the pope and cardinals. The latter wrote to him on the 27th October, 1542, in these words: “As to your debts, were it in my power to pay them, you should be in no distress: and although his holiness, at present, is put to vast charges on many accounts, I will not fail to represent your services and wants, and to assist you as much as I can.”
Pyghius was a Pelagian, and was stigmatized as such by several learned Catholics; and particularly by a Jansenist, who said he was full of Pelagian errors on the subject of original sin; and that he spoke against Divine predestination, and the doctrine of efficacious and free grace, with great indiscretion and ignorance.
Some say that the reading of Calvin’s works made Pyghius heretical with respect to the merit of good works, and the justification of sinners. Others affirm that Pyghius examined the works of Calvin with so great a desire of refuting them, that he ran into the extreme of Pelagius. Bucer, in a letter to Calvin, dated Strasburg, October 28, 1542, says: “Our literary school is well supplied; a man has arrived here from Italy, learned in Greek, Hebrew and Latin, happily versed in the scriptures, 44 years of age, with good talents and a penetrating genius; his name isPETER MARTYR. He was President of the Canons of Lucca in Lombardy.
Martyr continued at Strasburg, until, at the invitation of Cranmer in the King’s name, he went over to England, in November 1547. In 1549, he was appointed divinity Professor at Oxford, by Edward VI. He married at Strasburg a nun who, like himself, had escaped from the superstitions of a convent. She died during his residence at Oxford. On the accession of Queen Mary in 1553, after Martyr returned to Strasburg, during the Marian persecution, the bones of his wife were dug up by the virulent Papists, and buried in a dung hill. Martyr was, for the seven last years of his life, Professor at Zurich. He was at the Convention at Poissy, in 1561, with Theodore Beza, and died soon after his return in 1562, aged 63. He was learned, zealous, sincere and humble. He wrote Commentaries on the Scriptures, and against the Papists, and on the Lord’s Supper, in reply to Gardner, Bishop of Winchester Burnet, vol. 2, p. 50. To allay the increasing evils, this council of two hundred were convoked to meet on the 16th day of September, 1547. On the preceding day, Calvin informed his colleagues, that tumults would probably be excited by the factious, and that it was his intention to be present at the meeting. Accordingly, Calvin accompanied by his colleagues, proceeded to the Council house, but arrived before the appointed time. Seeing many persons walking about the door, they retired through an adjoining gate, and were unnoticed. They had not been long in this retreat, before they heard loud and confused clamors, which instantly increased with all the signs of sedition. Calvin ran to the place, and though the aspect of things was terrible, he advanced into the midst of the violent and noisy crowd. His presence struck them with astonishment; his friends pressed around him as a defense; he raised his voice, and solemnly declared, that he came to oppose his body to their swords, and if they were determined to shed any blood, he exhorted them to begin with his. The heat of the sedition abated.
On entering the Senate chamber, he found a more violent contest. He pressed between the parties, when they were upon the point of drawing their swords for mutual slaughter, in the very sanctuary of Justice. Like an angel of peace, he arrested the fury of the faction, and having brought the assembly to their seats, he addressed them in a continued and impressive oration. He pointed out to the seditious their crimes, and the public evils which must inevitably follow upon indulging in such immoralities and factions; and denounced upon them the judgments of God, if they should persist in such iniquity. The effects of this address were so deeply felt by the seditious themselves, that they commended him for his interposition, which had arrested their bloody attack upon the senate.—See Calvin’s letter to Viret, dated, September 17th, 1547. The companion of Calvin, who had for about nine years cherished him in the most affectionate manner, was removed by death in March, 1549. She was comely in her person, [Bayle] amiable in her manners, and devoutly humble in her religious duties; and her death was to Calvin, amidst his labors and infirmities, an irreparable loss. His strong and habitual faith, however, enabled him to submit, with exemplary calmness and constancy, to this chastising stroke from the hand of divine sovereignty. On this interesting occasion, he shall speak for himself. “CALVIN TO FAREL. “The report of the death of my wife has doubtless reached you before this. I use every exertion in my power not to be entirely overcome with heaviness of heart. My friends, who are about me, omit nothing that can afford any alleviation to the depression of my mind. When your brother left us, we almost despaired of her life. On Tuesday, all the brethren being present, we united in prayer. Pouppinus then, in the name of the rest, exhorted her to faith and patience. In a few words, (for she was very feeble,) she gave evidence of the state of her mind.
After this I added an exhortation, such as I thought suitable to the occasion. As she had not mentioned her children, I was apprehensive that from delicacy she might cherish in her mind an anxiety more painful than her disease; and I declared before the brethren, that I would take the same care of them as if they were my own. She answered, I have already commended them to the Lord. When I observed that this did not lessen my obligation of duty to them, she answered immediately, If the Lord takes them under his protection, I know they will be entrusted to your care. The elevation of her mind was so great that she appeared to be raised above this world. On the day when she gave up her soul to the Lord, our brother Borgonius, a little before 6 o’clock, opened to her the consolations of the Gospel, during which she frequently exclaimed, so that we all perceived that her affections were on things above. The words she uttered were, O glorious resurrection!— God of Abraham, and of all our fathers!—The faithful have, for so many ages, hoped in thee, and not one has been disappointed—I will also hope. These short sentences she rather ejaculated, than pronounced with a continued voice. She did not catch them from others. But by these few words she manifested the thoughts which exercised her mind, and the meditations which she cherished in her own heart. At 6 o’clock I was compelled to leave home. After seven they shifted her position, and she immediately began to fail. Perceiving her voice beginning to falter, she said, Let us pray—Let us pray—Pray for me, all of you.— At this time I entered the house. She was unable to speak, but gave signs of an agitated mind. I said a few things concerning the grace of Christ, the hope of eternal life, our domestic intercourse and fellowship, and our departure from this society and union. I retired to pray. She was attentive to the instruction, and heard the prayers with a sound mind. Before 8 o’clock she breathed her last so placidly, that those present could not distinguish the moment which closed her life. I now suppress the sorrow of my heart, and give myself no remission from my official duties. But the Lord still exercises me with other troubles. Farewell, dear and faithful brother. May the Lord Jesus strengthen you by his spirit, and me also in this so great calamity, which would inevitably have overpowered me unless from heaven he had stretched forth his hand, whose office it is to raise the fallen, to strengthen the weak, and to refresh the weary. Salute all the brethren and your whole family. “Yours, JOHN CALVIN. “GENEVA, April 11, 1549.” “CALVIN TO VIRET. “Although the death of my wife is a very severe affliction, yet I repress, as much as I am able, the sorrow of my heart. My friends also afford every anxious assistance, yet with all our exertions we effect less, in assuaging my grief than I could wish; but still the consolation which I do obtain I cannot express. You know the tenderness of my mind, or rather with what effeminacy I yield under trials; so that without the exercise of much moderation, I could not have supported the pressure of my sorrow.
Certainly it is no common occasion of grief. I am deprived of a most amiable partner, who, whatever might have occurred of extreme endurance, would have been my willing companion, not only in exile and poverty, but even in death. While she lived she was indeed the faithful helper of my ministry, and on no account did I ever experience from her any interruption. “For your friendly consolation I return you my sincere thanks.
Farewell, my dear and faithful brother. May the Lord Jesus watch over and direct you and your wife. To her and the brethren express my best salutation. “Yours, JOHN CALVIN. “April 7, 1549.” Martin Bucer, Professor of Theology in the University of Cambridge, closed his learned and useful career, February 28, 1551. As he had been highly respected by Edward VI his remains were interred with distinguished funeral honors. See Bucer, volume 2, p. 155.
In the Marian persecution, the tomb of Bucer was demolished, and his body burnt; but the tomb was afterwards rebuilt by order of Queen Elizabeth.
The death of Bucer occurred at the critical moment when the Liturgy of the English Church was undergoing a reform. The loss of his influence in that work, and the close of a long and most confidential intimacy and correspondence, so deeply affected Calvin, that in his letter to Farel, he forbore dwelling on the painful subject; and says, “When I reflect with myself, how great a loss the Church of God has sustained in the death of this man, it cannot be but that I should be tortured with fresh sorrow, his influence was great in England. And from his writings, I cannot but indulge the hope, that posterity will be benefited in a still more extensive degree. It may be added, that the Church appears to be deprived of faithful teachers.” Calvin proceeds to mention in the same letter, the death of his friend, James Vadian, consul of St. Gal, a civil magistrate valuable for his learning and piety, the weight of whose influence was very great in the civil and religious concerns of the Helvetians. See Calvin’s letter to Farel, dated June 15, 1551, and to Viret, dated May 10, 1551.
Bucer was born 1491, at Schelestadt, in the province of Alsace. He entered the order of Dominicans at the age of seven years. In 1521, he had a conference with Luther. Having previously perused the writings of Erasmus and of Luther, he was prepared to unite with the German Reformers. He settled at Strasburg, and officiated there both as Minister and Theological Professor for 20 years; and, with Capito, was the chief instrument of the early reformation in that city. When the troubles about the Interim arose, he gladly accepted the invitation of Cranmer, and went to England, 1549. This excellent prince was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, who was delivered of him at Hampton Court, October 12, 1537, but not without the cesarean operation, of which she died in a few days after. During this young king’s last illness, a few hours before his death, with his eyes closed, and judging that no one heard him, he offered up the following prayer. “Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen. Howbeit, not my will, but thine be done. Lord I commit my spirit to thee. O Lord, thou knowest how happy it were for me to be with thee; yet for thy chosen’s sake, send me life and health, that I may truly serve thee. O my Lord God, bless thy people, and save thy inheritance. O Lord God, save thy chosen people of England. O my Lord God, defend this realm from papistry, and maintain thy true religion, that I and my people may praise thy holy name, for thy Son Jesus Christ his sake.” His last words were, “I am faint, Lord have mercy upon me, and take my spirit.” Thus died this blessed king—this young Josias, July 6, 1553, aged 17.
Mr. Bradford, the martyr, said of this excellent prince, that he judged him to be the holiest and godliest man in the realm of England.
In the beginning of his reign, Charles I, emperor of Germany and king of Spain, requested that leave might be given to Lady Mary (afterwards Queen Mary) to have mass said in her house. Bishops Cranmer and Ridley were sent by the Council to entreat the young king on this behalf. They plead for it as a matter of state policy. But the young king answered them from Scripture with such gravity and force, that they could not reply. They however pressed their suit, but the king told them to be satisfied, and said that he was resolved rather to lose his life, and all that he had, than agree to that which he knew with certainty to be against the truth. Notwithstanding all this, the bishops continued their intercessions, when the king burst into tears, through tenderness, love, and zeal for the truth; which the bishops no sooner observed than they wept also and withdrew. On their return to the Council, they met Mr. Cheek, who had a great share in the king’s education. Cranmer took him by the hand, and said “Ah, Mr. Cheek, you may be glad all the days of your life, that you have such a scholar; for he hath more divinity in his little finger, than we have in our whole bodies.” The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia says, this even occurred in 1551. So also says Bayle. Geneva, though formerly an imperial city, had for some years been under the immediate government of the bishop, who had the title of prince of the town and adjacent country. The Dukes of Savoy had long contended with the bishop of Geneva, for the government of that city.
The form of its internal constitution was purely republican. The people annually elected four syndics, twenty-five senators, and a council of two hundred, for the management of their affairs.
The citizens, who were attached to the popular form of their government, had always been firm in their opposition to those who supported the Episcopal or ducal prerogatives.
The bishop and the duke dropped their contending claims, and from policy, united their strength against the common enemy—the people and the reformation. The bishop having offended both the duke and the people, made a precipitate retreat from Geneva. The duke was defeated by the citizens, and they extended their authority over the neighboring castles, and eventually established their independence on the republican basis. This free and independent city progressed under the benign influence of the reformed doctrines, to a degree of consideration, wealth, and influence, which was for a long period of momentous import to the civil and religious concerns of Europe.— Dupin, 16 Cent. page 179. Rob. Chapter 5 volume 3 page 117. Rees’ Cyclop. Art. Geneva. Here is the humble and candid confession of a Christian. Calvin was a man of ardent feelings, and they may at times have betrayed him into angry and hasty expressions. And “amidst the incessant and violent attacks which he received, and the uninterrupted warfare which he had to carry on with the advocates of error, he must have been more than mortal, if he had never spoken hastily or harshly. But a few incidental actions, contrary to a man’s general conduct, do not constitute character: and after every thing of this kind which can be mustered, it will still be true that characteristically Calvin was not a traducer or calumniator, but the possessor of a meek spirit, a governed tongue, and a guarded pen. He must, on the whole, be ranked not only among the greatest but the best of men.”—Rees’ New Encyclop. Am. Ed.
Middleton quotes Toplady as saying that “Calvin has been taxed with fierceness and bigotry. But his meekness and benevolence were as eminent as the malice of his traducers is shameless. I shall give one single instance of his modesty and gentleness. While he was a very young man, disputes ran high between Luther and some other Reformers, concerning the manner of Christ’s presence in the holy sacrament. Luther, whose tempter was naturally warm trod rough, heaped many hard names on the divines who differed from him on the article of consubstantiation, and, among the rest, Calvin came in for his dividend of abuse. Being informed of the harsh appellations he received he meekly replied in a letter to Bullinger, “It is a frequent saying with me, that if Luther should even call me a devil, I hold him notwithstanding in such veneration, that I shall always own him to be an illustrious servant of God; who, though he abounds in extraordinary virtues, is not without considerable imperfections.”
This letter to Bullinger, which was written to allay the exasperated feelings of those whom Luther had provoked by his asperity, is as follows. “I hear that Luther has at length burst forth, with atrocious invectives, not only against you, but against us all. Now I scarcely dare beg of you and your colleagues to be silent, because it is not just that the innocent should be thus abused, and not be allowed to defend themselves; and besides, it is difficult to determine whether it is expedient. I wish you to recall these things to your mind: how great a man Luther is, and with how great gifts he excels; also with what fortitude and constancy of mind, with what efficacy of learning, he hath hitherto labored and watched to destroy the kingdom of Antichrist, and to propagate, at the same time, the doctrine of salvation. I often say, if he should call me a devil, I hold him in such honor, that I would acknowledge him an eminent servant of God. 24a But as he is endowed with great virtues, so he labors under great failings. I wish he had studied more effectually to restrain his impetuosity of temper, which breaks forth in every direction; that he had always turned his vehemence, which is so natural to him, against the enemies of the truth, and not equally brandished it against the servants of God; and that he had given more diligent labor to search out his own faults. He has been surrounded by too many flatterers, seeing he is also too much inclined by nature to indulge himself. It is our duty to reprehend what is evil in him, in such a manner as to yield very much to his excellent qualities. Consider, I beseech you, with your colleagues, in the first place, that you have to deal with a chief servant of Christ, to whom we are all much indebted. And then, that by contending, you will effect nothing, but a pleasure to the impious, who will triumph not so much over us as over the gospel. For reviling one another, they will give us more than full credit. But when we preach Christ with one consent and one mouth, they pervert this union, to diminish our faith, by which they disclose, more than they would, the importance of our united labors. I wish you to examine and reflect upon these things, rather than dwell on what Luther has merited by his intemperate language. Lest that befall us, therefore, which Paul denounces, that by biting and devouring one another we should be consumed; however he may have provoked us, we must rather abstain from the contest, than increase the wound, to the common injury off the church.”
This letter fully shows that Calvin’s disposition was tender and affectionate, and that his temper, perhaps naturally irritable, was under the restraint of a Christian spirit. ft24a Luther, in his asperity against the Zuinglians, Bullinger, and others, had used harsh language; and Calvin, who was anxious to prevent the controversy, states his own feelings, supposing Luther should call him a devil, etc., to allay the resentment of Bullinger and the other pastors of Zurich. Francis Junius, in his animadversions upon Bellarmin, says that he was at Geneva when Calvin closed his life; but that he never saw, heard, knew, thought, or even dreamed of the blasphemies and curses which the papists said he uttered at his death. ft25a Middleton says there are many among the Roman Catholics who would do justice to Calvin, if they durst speak their thoughts. Guy Patin has taught us to make this judgment; for he observes that Joseph Scaliger said that Calvin was the greatest wit the world had seen, since the Apostles. He acknowledged that no man ever understood ecclesiastical history like Calvin, who at the age of twenty-two, was the most learned man in Europe. And he tells us that John de Monluc, bishop of Valence, used to say that Calvin was the greatest divine in the world. Patin caused the life of Calvin, written by Papyrius Masso, to be made public. This life has done a great deal of mischief to the copies of Bolsec; for who can read it without laughing at those who accuse this minister of loving good wine and cheerful company? The papists, at last, have been obliged to acknowledge the falsity of these infamous calumnies published against the morals of Calvin. Their best pens have been contented to say, that though he was free from corporeal vices, he was not so from spiritual ones, such as slander, passion, avarice and pride.—2 Middleton, 57,58. Which gives a light to every age.
Which gives, but borrows none. Our Reformer thus writes on the death of Bucer, “I feel my heart to be almost torn asunder, when I reflect on the very great loss which the church has sustained on the death of Bucer, and on the advantages that England would have derived from his labors had he been spared to assist in carrying on the Reformation in that kingdom.—Tr . “They mourn the dead, who live as they desired.”—YOUNG. The Revelation Andrew Fuller commenced writing his excellent treatise, “Calvinism and Socinianism compared,” as a means of solacing his grief for the loss of a beloved partner.—Tr . The steady performance of our various duties, domestic, social, professional, and Christian, is one of the most powerful and certain means, with the joy and consolation of the Spirit of God, to enable us to bear up under any bereavements.—Tr . The following extract from a letter of the mild Melancthon to Calvin, proves what his opinions were concerning persecution. “I have read your clear refutation of the horrid blasphemies of Servetus, and I thank the Son of God who awarded you a cross of victory in this combat.
The church owes you a debt of gratitude even at the present moment, and will owe it to the latest posterity. I perfectly assent to your opinion. Your magistrates did right in punishing, after a regular trial, this blasphemer.” In this very letter Melancthon speaks of Calvin “as a lover of truth and as having a mind free from hatred and other unreasonable passions.” Melancthon, in a letter to Bullinger, writes, “I wonder at those who disapprove of the severity of the sentence of the Genevese senate against Servetus, for they were perfectly right since he could never cease blaspheming.”—Tr . It is truly gratifying to learn that the duke of Wellington is doing his utmost to destroy its ravages among our soldiers. Should he, in any measure, conquer this horrid vice, he will be a greater benefactor to his country, than even by his glorious achievements at Waterloo.—Tr. He exhibited both these characters in the trial of Servetus. Promptness induced him to have this heresiarch arrested on a Sunday; Calvin’s calumniators and revilers have falsely stated, when Servetus was at church. Our reformer maintained with all the leading pillars of the reformation, contrary to the character, and principles, and Spirit of the Lamb of God, the Savior of sinners, that blasphemy ought to be punished by the civil magistrate, and, as a freeman of Geneva, considered himself bound to impeach Servetus. Sincerity, and an earnestness of zeal to prevent the spread of erroneous principles, led him, therefore, to have Servetus arrested and tried by the magistrates, but Calvin never uttered a word concerning his punishment. Sufficient time was granted the Spanish physician for carrying on his trial, but, contrary to the voice of humanity and of justice, no advocate was allowed by the senate of Geneva, and his jail exhibited a mass of squalid filth, which Howard alone could have assisted to remove; for he is the only Christian, since the days of the apostles, who seems to have fully entered into the glorious practice of visiting the prisoner in his abodes of the deepest wretchedness and destitution. Servetus, on his trial condemned by the natural standing court of his own conscience, and declared guilty by its verdict, acknowledged his hypocrisy in attending mass when at Vienne, although he at that time considered the pope to be Anti-Christ. The torments of the flames, with all their horrors, the entreaties and admonitions of Calvin, whose pardon Servetus begged only two hours before his death, never induced him to think he was in an error; but he died in the same sincere conviction of the truth of his opinions, as he had lived. Had all the reformers attended mass, like Servetus, the Roman hierarchy would never have been shaken; and had the first reformers understood the nature, enlarged the dimensions and beheld the real deformities, and monstrous stings of persecution, they would have never been disgraced, or become a stumbling-block to others, by the scheming goodness of this principle which Christ utterly loathes. May the writer and readers of this note be enabled to understand that heavenly wisdom of divine love, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy; and to practice its dictates with promptness and sincerity, guided by the voice of a truly enlightened, and, in every respect, Christian conscience.—Tr. Every reader of Melancthon’s Letter to Henry the Eighth must feel thoroughly convinced that his heroic feelings were entirely Christian.—Tr. Whoever is at all versed in the history of the foreign Protestant Churches, cannot be ignorant of the great abilities, piety, and learning, which ornamented great numbers of their divines, and particularly in the French Protestant Church. But what said the judicious Hooker, a man who may justly be considered as having well weighed every assertion which he made? Speaking of this very Calvin, he writes, ‘whom, for my own part, I think incomparably the wisest man that ever the French Church did enjoy since the hour it enjoyed him. His bringing up was in the study of the civil law. Divine knowledge he gathered not by hearing or reading so much as by teaching others. For though thousands were debtors to him, as touching knowledge in that kind, yet he to none but only to God, the author of that most blessed fountain, the Book of Life, and of the admirable dexterity of wit, together with the helps of other learning which were his guides.’ (Pref. to Hook. Ecclesiastical Polity.) Such an opinion, so delivered, and by such a man, surely deserves some attention from those who consider Calvin as a vile utterer of blasphemy and nonsense. Once more let the venerable author of the Ecclesiastical Polity bear his testimony. ‘We should be injurious to virtue itself, if we did derogate from them whom their industry hath made great. Two things of principal moment there are which have deservedly procured him honor throughout the world; the one, his exceeding pains in composing the Institutions of the Christian Religion; the other, his no less industrious travails for exposition of Holy Scripture according unto the same institutions.’ (Ibid.) Surely the venerators of Hooker must feel some portion of esteem for him whom Hooker thus venerated, and expressly calls ‘a worthy vessel of God’s glory.’
Few names stand higher, or in more deserved pre-eminence amongst the wise and pious members of the English Church, than that of Bishop Andrews; his testimony to the memory of Calvin is, that ‘he was an illustrious person, and never to be mentioned without a preface of the highest honor.’
Of the high opinion entertained of Calvin by Archbishop Cranmer and his associates in the English Reformation, there cannot be a higher proof; than that he expressly wrote to him, intimating his desire ‘that learned and godly men, who excel others in learning and judgment, might meet to handle all the heads of ecclesiastical doctrine, and agree not only as to things themselves, but also as to words and thrums of speaking.’ He then entreats Calvin, that he and Melancthon and Bullinger would deliberate among themselves how such a synod might be assembled. The Archbishop also expressly writes to Calvin, admonishing him, that he could not do any thing more profitable than to write often to the king. It is an additional argument of the deference paid to his opinions, that the liturgy underwent an entire alteration in compliance with the objections which Calvin made to it as it previously stood. Bishop Hooper so highly valued Calvin, that he wrote to him from prison, addressing him by the title of Vir praestantissime; earnestly begging the prayers of his Church, and subscribing himself tuae pietatis studiosissimus. Many more proofs might be given of the high veneration with which he was treated by his contemporaries. Whoever examines into the sermons, writings, etc. of English divines, in the reign of Elizabeth and James the First, will continually meet with the epithets of honor with which his name is mentioned: the ‘learned,’ the ‘wise,’ the ‘judicious,’ the ‘pious’ Calvin, are expressions every where to be found in the remains of those times.
It is well known, that his Institutes were read and studied in the universities by every student in divinity, For a considerable portion of a century; nay, that by a convocation held at Oxford, that book was recommended to the general study of the nation. So far was the Church of England and her chief divines from countenancing that unbecoming and absurd treatment, with which the name of this eminent Protestant is now so frequently dishonored, that it would be no difficult matter to prove, that there is not, perhaps, a parallel instance on record, of any single individual being equally and so unequivocally venerated for the union of wisdom and piety, both in England and by a large body of the foreign churches, as John Calvin. Nothing but ignorance of the ecclesiastical records of those times, or resolute prejudice, could cast a cloak of concealment over this fact; it has been evidenced by the combined testimony both of enemies and friends to his system of doctrines.
As one more additional, and no inconsiderable proof, that the name and authority of Calvin was highly esteemed by the governors of the English Church at a former period, we find, from Bishop Overal’s Convocation Book, containing the Acts and Canons which were passed by the Convocation first called, AD 1603, 1mo. Jac. and continued by adjournments and prorogations to 1610, that the name of Calvin is formally mentioned in the preamble to the eighth canon of the second book, thus—“The Cardinal (Bellarmine) is so far driven by a worthy man, and some others of our side,” etc. In the margin the reference is made to Calvin’s Institutes. The deliberate introduction of the name and its epithet into the acts of a convocation of the Church of England, appears to be well worthy of notice in our present inquiry. 35a From such data, though they will leave every man to a liberty of conscience as to his approbation of Calvin’s system, yet it certainly does not leave him at liberty to consign his memory to opprobrium and obloquy, without incurring the imputation of presumption, pride, or ignorance. ft35a Witness also the exalted testimonies given of him by Bishop Bilson, Bishop Morton, Bishop Stillingfleet, Dr. Hoyle, who wrote under the patronage of Archbishop Usher, and many others cited by Dr. John Edwards, in his Veritas redux. The Life of Calvin, by the Rev. Mr. Scott, is written with much judgment and impartiality. Professor Stuart’s Critical Remarks on the Epistles to the Romans and the Hebrews are truly valuable.—Tr . Dr. Hodge’s Commentary on the Romans, is invaluable, as a masterly and orthodox exposition of the sacred text.—Am. Ed. See Dr. M’Crie’s excellent History of the Progress and Suppression of the Reformation in Italy.—Tr. Yet Robinson adopts as a motto—“Let every thing said or written against truth be unsaid and unwritten.”—Tr . Bishop Watson. The whole amount of spirit and wine-merchants, taverns, inns, beershops, etc., in London consisting of 1,500,000 inhabitants, is nearly 6000, while the places of worship do not much exceed 600. Can government be said to do its utmost for religion under such circumstances, when the active operations of the ministers of the gospel, compared with those of the venders of wine, spirits, ale, etc., can only be as one to ten?—Tr . The Conference at Worms was appointed to be opened on the 28th of October, 1540. From this time, nothing was effected till the 13th of January, 1541. On this day, they agreed upon a colloquy. This was after the Emperor; by Granville, his prime minister, had published his determination to hold a Diet at Ratisbon, in March. The dispute commenced upon the doctrine of original sin. Eckius and Melancthon were the only collectors appointed. On the third day, Granville dismissed the conference.—Dupin. The advocates to manage the business in the Diet, appointed by the Emperor, were for the Catholics, Julius Pflugius, John Eckius, and John Grophar—for the confederates, Philip Melancthon, Martin Bucer, and John Pistorius. Dupin, 16th cent. book 2, p. 162. His institutes. See particularly his Dedication. A Catholic collier was once asked, “What do you believe?” What the church believes. “And what does the church believe ?’ What I believe. “And what do you both believe?” Why we both believe the same thing.
Hence the expression fides carbonaria. Opuscula p. 356 et 374. In argumento Genesis. Volume 1, ejus operum. Passages might be multiplied, from the writings of Calvin, to show that he totally rejected the impious dogma— That God is the author, or the efficient cause of sin—a single passage in which he quotes Augustine, may here be appropriate—Men are the work of God, says Augustine, as they are men; but they are in subjection to the devil, as they are sinners, until they are delivered from that state by Christ. “Therefore,” adds Calvin,” the good are of God; the wicked, a seipsis, from themselves.” Opuscula Calvini, page 126—see also in his tracts, in p. 627-629—“Nego Deum esse man authorem.” Cal. in Acts 2:23. “Neque tamen malorum author sit Deus.” Cal. Lib. de praedestinat, et passim. President Edwards says—I utterly deny God to be the author of sin; rejecting such an imputation on the Most High, as what is infinitely to be abhorred; and deny any such thing to be the consequence of what I have laid down.— Freedom of the will, Part IV. Sec. IX. II. It may be modestly suggested, whether some have not re-preached the writings of Augustine, Calvin and Edwards, who still never read them, the sum total of whose knowledge of the works of these great men is picked up from mutilated scraps, selected for the sole purpose of prejudicing the minds of common readers against them; and whether others professedly, and doubtless in some instances, real friends to religion, have not been prompted by a desire for distinction, to make the world believe, that they could see farther and clearer on those speculative points, than Calvin; and thus plunging, with metaphysical enthusiasm, into the darkness of that double labyrinth which will bewilder many unweary minds into skepticism and infidelity. Jottin, more than once, calls Augustine a fatalist. Ref. in Italy, p. 151. Non quia falsa sunt, sed quia imperfecta, et tanquam a parvulo parvulis scripta. Niceron. Mem. des Hommes III. 2:235. Beza Hist. des Ecc. Ref. T. 19.—Vit. Calv. Vie de Calv. p. 9, ed. 1664, apud Chauffpie. Opuscul. min. p. 517, ed. 1667. Senebier. I. 205. Calv. Op. 8:517. Scott’s Continuation of Milner, volume 3. 437. Socinus procured the death of Francis David, because the latter denied that Christ should be worshipped. See the whole account in Chauffpie, note BB. also Bi. Brit. volume 4, page 66. Murdock’s Mosheim, Volume 3. 269, n. (80). 275. And Servetus himself shows what was the opinion of the age, in his request of August 22d, 1553, in which he acknowledges, as we shall see, that heretics might be banished. Chap.
Chauff supra. Guerike. Hand. d. allgemeiner Kirchengeschichte. II. p. 959. Some of his own expressions are: Ignis ille ab aeterno paratus est ipsemet Deus qui est ignis. Si hoc bene intellexisset Origenes, non dixisset daemones salvandos, eoquod essen, ad suum principium redituri; redibunt quidem, et euntes in ignem ad ipsumet Deum ibunt.
Chauffpie, note W. For the propositions in full, see Natalis Alexandri Hist. Ecc. 9. 163, ed.
Lucca. fol. 1734. Calvin. Tract. Theol. p. 590. sqq. Also consult EpiSt. Philippi Melancthonis, p. 152, 708, 710, fol. Lond. 1642. Calvin to Farel, Oct. 27, 1553. Declaratorie, p. 11, apud Chauffpie. Blackstone, vol. 4, p. 355, note 8. Even at the time Calvin complained that he was made responsible for every thing: “Quicquid a senatu nostro actum est, mihi passim ascribitur.” The statement of the text will be confirmed by reference to Scott, vol. 3. p. 432, 439, 442, and Waterman’s Calvin, p. 124. In the Encyclopaedia Americana, Art. “Calvin,” the compiler of a hasty and disingenuous sketch, without citing a angle authority, pretends to give certain acts of the commonwealth, “to prove,” forsooth, “the blind and fanatical zeal which he [Calvin] had infused into the magistracy of Geneva.” As if the penal statutes against heresy had not been for ages a part of their code! See Chauffpie, notes S. and Z., and la Chapelle, Bib. Raisonn. vol. 2, p. 139, 141. Chauffpie, note 2. “Historia Michelis Serveti.” Helmstadt, 1727. This work was written under the superintendence of Dr. Mosheim. Every reader of Maclaine’s notes has learned to be on his guard against this learned man, whenever the question lies between the Lutherans and the Reformers. Bibl. Raison. n. 2. p. 173. Chauff. note Y. and, as there cited, Bi. Angl. n. 2. p. 163. Multa ergo fide et diligentia contra hunt opus esse judicamus, praesertim cum ecclesim nostrae apud exteros male audiant, quasi haereticae sint et haereticis foveant. Obtulit vero in praesenti sancta Dei Providentia occasionem repurgandi vos, simul ac nos a pravi mali hujus suspicione: si videlicet vigilantes fueritis, diligenterque caveritis ne veneni hujus contagio, per hunc serpat latius. Id quod facturos A.V. nil dubitamus. Inter. Ep. Calv. Neque dubitamus quin vos pro insigni prudentia vestra ipsius conatus repressuri sitis, ne blasphemiae ipsius tanquam cancer latius depascantur Christi membra. Nam longis rationibus avertere ipsius deliramenti; quid aliud esset quam cum insaniente insaniri?—ib. Verum si insanabilis in concepta semet perversitate perst et, sic pro officio vestro potestateque a Domino concessa coerceatur, ne dare incommodum queat ecclesiae Christi, neve fiant novissima primis deteriorari.—ib. Bi. Ang. in Chauff. u. supra. Waterman’s Life of Calvin, 117. The Champel was a small eminence, about a quarter of a mile from the walls of Geneva. Life of Servetus, London edit. 1774. See Tractatus Theologici Calvini, p. 511-597. Ep. Cal. Farello. 71. Opusc. 8. 511. As a specimen of his petuleuce, the Latin reader may take the following phrases:—Jam pudet toties respondere bestialitati hominis— Ridiculus mus—Impudentissime—Monstrum horrendum— Tu teipsum non intelligis—Sycophanta imperitissime—Tu plasquam pessimus— Ignoras miser—Abusor futilis et impudens Deliras—O nebulonem excoecatissimum—Sceleratus—Simon Magus — Mentiris imo ab aeterno. —Tract. Theol. p. 592, sqq. Restitutio Christianismi, hoc est totins ecclesiae apostoliae ad sua limina vocatio: in integrum restituta cognitione Dei, fidei Christianae, justificationis nostrae, Regenerationis, Baptismi, et Coenae Domini manducationis; restituto denique nobis regno coelesti, Babylonis impia captivitate soluto, et and-christo cure suis penitus destructo.’—This book is extremely scarce; all the copies were burned at Vienne and Frankfort: it has been long doubted whether there were any remaining; but it appears certain that Doctor Mead possessed a copy, which found its way into the library of the Duke de la Valiere. One of the most celebrated commentators of the 14th century. Whether the accusations were proved, and if proved, whether he was guilty of blasphemy. Rees’ Cyclopaedia, Art. Eras. and Bayle. Beza de Haereticis a magistratu puniendis. Tract. Theol. p. 95. Chauff. Servetus, note BB. If we except the case of Luther, perhaps the earliest toleration that was practiced after popery had introduced the reign of persecution, was settled upon the basis of doctrines decidedly Calvinistic. We mean the decree of Berne, in November, 1584.—Scott, 3. p. 245. Le Bas’ Life of Cranmer, volume 1, p. 272. Harper’s stereotype edition. See also a no less uncalled for taunt in Hallam’s ConSt. History of England, volume 1. p. 131. Burnet’s Hist. Ref. vol. 2. 112. Gilpin’s Lives of Reformers, 2. 99. Le Bas’ Cranmer, vol. 1. p. 270. Life of Calvin, p. 122. Here is given the sentence cited above. Table Talk, p. 143. See also a fair discussion of the case in Sir David Brewster’s Encycloptedia, Art. “Calvin.” Page 230. Christian Observer for 1827, p. 622.—“Declaration of Arminius.”
Ibid. 1807, p. 179. Scott’s Milner, 3. 490. Calvin was not alone in his exceptions against the Liturgy, for Cranmer “Fatebatur multa detracts oportere superflus, et ardentibus votis cupiebat ea in melius correcta.”—Cranmer confessed that there were many superfluous things in the Book, that ought to be taken out, and earnestly wished that it might have some further amendment. Pierce’s Vindic. p. 12, 13, quoted by Neal, Vol. 1. Quarto Ed. Appendix, p. 895. The American editor would take this opportunity to acknowledge his indebtedness to this author, for much of the matter of his notes. See Waterman’s Life of Calvin, p. 336, and 333, where Calvin gives his approbation to the Homilies, the Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and Ten Commandments, as set forth by Cranmer, and published by Somerset, 1547. Burnet, vol. 2. p. 25.—And Wood’s Athen. Oxon. vol. 1. fol. p. 72. A copy of the Protector’s translation is in Harvard library, first ed. 1550. Hist. Reform. vol. 3. p. 214. fol. King Edward’s Catechism appears to be published at large in the first vol. of the Christian Observer. Dr. Heylin says that bishops Jewel, Bentham, Alley, and Davis, were the four who reviewed Nowell’s Catechism, February 25, 1562. HiSt. Reform. p. 332. See Burner, vol. 3. p. 303. And archbishop Wake’s state of the church, fol. p. 602. ft104a Cal. Instit. Lib. 3, chapter 24. ~. 5, et Lib. 1, chap. 87. ~. 5, and Christian Observer, vol. 3, p. 433. Christian Obser. vol. 1. p. 9, 10, for 1802. Vita Jewelli, p. 236, ed. 1573. Jewell’s defense of his Apology, published 1564. See Christian Observer, vol. 3, p. 629. Calvin drew up the confession of the French churches—Vide Harm.
Confess. Catal. Confess. Vita Jewelli, p. 177. Cent. 16. sect. 2. part 2. Cent. 17. sect. 2. part 2. See Bayle, Art. Schultingius. When Laud was archbishop of Canterbury, he was charged with popish inclinations. A lady who had turned papist, being asked by the archbishop the cause of her changing her religion, tartly replied, My Lord, it was because I ever hated a crowd. He requested her to explain. I perceived, said she, that your Lordship and many others were making for Rome with all speed, and to prevent a press, I went before you.— Bayle. These were the followers of Zuinglius, of the church of Zurich, between whom and the followers of Luther there was a wide difference of opinion, about the manner of the presence of Christ in the sacrament. These were the Pope’s agents, as appears from Seckendorf, vol. 2, anno 1539. Mabillon says, it was an ancient custom to ring the bells for persons about to expire, to advertise the people to pray for them; whence was derived the passing-bells, the use of which was connected with other superstitions; as was the bell at the festivals, masses, etc. See Rees’ Cycloptedia, Art. Bell and Funeral. This undoubtedly refers to the sermon which Cop, the Rector of the University of Paris, preached on All Saints’ day, which it is said Calvin composed in part at least. It was the danger to which Calvin was then exposed, that brought him first acquainted with the Queen. Chrism—Oil consecrated by the bishop, and used in the Romish church in the administration of baptism, confirmation, ordination, and extreme unction. This last is called, in that church, a sacrament; and the oil is applied to the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands, feet, etc. of persons supposed to be near death.—When the oil is applied to those parts, this prayer is used. “By this holy unction, and his own most pious mercy, may the Almighty God forgive thee whatever sins thou hast committed, by the eyes, by the hearing, smelling, tasting, etc., etc.” It is not considered so essential to salvation as baptism, and is not administered to children who are not capable of actual sin. Lexici Theologici novi, etc. p. 1756 and 1757. By this, the spiritual infirmities and actual sins are supposed to be taken away, as original sin is by baptism. Matthias Flacius Illyricus left Wittemberg, and went to Magdeburg, in April, 1549, where he began writing against the Wittemberg Divines, (Melancthon, etc.) This was the first introduction to that religious war, which opened the door for many evils, the termination of which, says Bucholtzer, in 1610, we have not yet seen. Bucholtzer Chronologia, anno 1549. Nicholas Amsdorf died in 1541. He was a rigid adherent of Luther, and extravagantly asserted, that good works were an impediment to salvation. He was distinguished for his opposition to the Papists, and his controversy with Melancthon, who labored to check this violent man, and to set the truth about good works in a proper light. Rees’ Cyclopedia. The Helvetic churches, Zurich, etc. Mosheim states, that arrogance and singularity were the principal lines in Osiander’s character. Melancthon, in his letter to Calvin, calls him a Gorgon, who had dangling vipers for hair, and petrified others by his aspect. He treated Melancthon with the grossest language of satire and illiberality. Melancthon’s letter to Calvin is dated October 1, 1552.
Osiander died October 17, but Calvin had not heard of his death when he wrote the above letter in November. Calvin’s Treatise, concerning the eternal election of God was published in 1551. See Tract. Theol. Cal. p. 593. Calvin here alludes to an apprehension which Melancthon had of being driven into exile. This period embraces the persecuting reign of queen Mary, who succeeded Edward VI October, 1553, and died November, 1559. Cecil was first promoted by the duke of Somerset, and became a distinguished lawyer; and by his moderate and temporizing conduct, during Mary’s bloody reign, he escaped punishment, and continued in England, till, on the accession of Elizabeth, he was made secretary of state. Gaspar Olevianus, of Treves, first studied jurisprudence; but in attempting to save from drowning some rash young men, who had upset their boat, he fell into extreme danger, and made a vow, that if God would deliver him, he would, if called to it, preach the gospel, he escaped, and began first to read the Commentaries of Calvin; he then went to Geneva, and studied theology under the instruction of that eminent divine. In 1560, he was professor at Heidleberg, in the University of Wisdom, from which place he wrote to Calvin for the laws of the Genevese Consistory. The above letter is the answer of Calvin. Olevianus died minister of Herborn in Germany, 1587, aged 57.
Melchior Adams, in Vita Oleviaui, p. 590. St. Augustine, who died A.D. 430, says that this custom was adopted in the church, on account of infant slaves presented by their masters; of infants whose parents were dead; and of those whom their parents abandoned. In all ordinary cases, parents answered for their children.
Wall’s Hist. Bap. vol. 1. In the reformed churches, as there was no commandment from God for sureties at baptism, they made no rule to bind parents to have them, except in cases where one or both parents were Papists, or when children of Saracens, or or the gypsies, were offered. So also it was required, that a mother, or a woman, in presenting a child, should have a surety, to secure the religious education of the child. The Presbyterian and Congregational churches now consider the church, which receives a child, to be the surety, together with the parent or presenting person, for the religious education of the child. See Quick’s Synod. vol. 1. p. 45.