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Geneva, were displeasing to Calvin, and he refused to follow them. For the present, therefore, the opposite party so far prevailed, that Calvin and his friend Farel were banished the city, 1538. Calvin departed to Basil, and thence to Strasburgh, where Bucer and his co-pastors gladly received him. The professorship of divinity was conceded to him, and a church of French refugees was soon collected under his pastoral care.

In this station he continued till the end of the year 1541, when the Genevese became sensible of their loss, and of the impolicy of driving from them a man of Calvin's estimation. The universal cry of the people was now for the restoration of Calvin. The friends of the reformation felt the importance of Geneva as a station for the Gospel, on account of its easy communication with both France and Italy, and they advised the return of Calvin. He did not, however, yield to the request of the people, till he had brought them to consent to swear that they would observe for ever a form of discipline which he had drawn up. The constitution he gave them enacted a standing ecclesiastical court, of which the ministers were to be perpetual members. To these were added double their number of laymen, who were to be chosen annually. This court was to determine all causes relating to the affairs of the church, and possessed a censorship over the morals and manners of the

people. No

person was to be exempt from the jurisdiction of this consistory, which, if necessary, was to proceed to the sentence of excommunication. This institution, it is evident, lodged a very extensive power in the hands of the clergy, the perpetual members of the court; and in the hands of such a man as Calvin, who, during his life, was perpetual president, it was, in fact, an investiture of more than episcopal authority.

A zeal for the enforcing of church discipline may be considered as the characteristic distinction of this reformer; and, from having been placed in a situation so remarkably favourable to his views, his example and success stimulated the zeal - perhaps the ambition — of many churchmen in a subsequent age. His object was, not only, by labouring in the word and doctrine, to convert and edify the souls of his people, but, by the exercise of discipline through his consistory, to compel a multitude professing the Christian faith to submit to the moral restraints of the Gospel precepts. Drunkenness and debauchery, profaning the name or the day of the Lord, heresy, and blasphemy, did not fail to receive the judgment of the presbytery. Even the amusements of the people, when they seemed to offend against their sense of propriety, were under the inspection of the same censorship; nor were their sentences to be despised in existing circumstances, though they inflicted, directly, no civil penalties. In many cases, however, the government of the republic lent the aid of the secular arm, even to the sentence of banishment, and capital punishment.

In a conflict which arose with the civil power, Calvin was enabled, by the weight of character which he possessed, to achieve a victory, which may be compared with any triumph of ecclesiastical power, in former times. Bertelier, a register of one of the courts of justice, had been suspended from the sacrament by the presbytery, on account of his vicious life. He appealed to the senate of Geneva, who, it appears, wished to claim the final judgment in causes requiring the sentence of excommunication. The senate granted letters of absolution to Bertelier, sealed with the seal of the republic. Calvin, before the celebration of the sacred mysteries, declared in a public discourse, “ I will rather suffer myself to be killed, than this hand shall reach forth the sacred things of the Lord to those who have been adjudged contemners of God.” “ It is wonderful to be told,” says Beza, “ how powerful was the effect even upon the most refractory." Bertelier was advised not to present himself.

“ The mysteries were celebrated with a silence that struck the attention, attended with a tremulous awe, as if the Deity Himself was in sight.” In the afternoon, Calvin, in his sermon, took leave of his people, as not being willing to strive with “ them that are in authority.” The decree of the senate was, however, immediately suspended, and the decision of the case was referred to the judgment of the four Helvetian cities, who gave it for Calvin, against the senate : not, however, with the full approbation of the ecclesiastical constitution of Geneva, which differed considerably from their own, respecting the authority of the civil power in ecclesiastical regulations.

From his return to Geneva, Calvin presided over the church and university of that city for nearly three and twenty years, and died in the year 1564. Both the church and the university under his care flourished exceedingly, and rose to a degree of eminence in the Protestant world, that seemed to throw into shade the former glories of Wittemberg. Beyond the narrow boundaries of Lutheranism, Calvin seemed to occupy, in the eyes of the world, the station in which Luther had once stood at the head of the reformation. He was a man most indefatigable in his labours. By the publication of his books, he greatly

promoted the cause of the Gospel, and his remaining correspondence shews him to have been much interested, and to have been much consulted in the concerns of all the churches where the reformed faith was received. Luther, Calvin, and Zuinglius, seem by very general consent to be placed in the first rank of the reformers. Zuinglius must be considered as the first leader of the Helvetian churches, as Luther was of the reformation in Germany.

The importance of the station assigned to Luther in the reformation was, however, superior to that of all others. That reformation was considerably advanced when Calvin appeared in the ascendant, and his station was merely that of the successor of Zuinglius, the most eminent among the Helvetic divines, as Melancthon was among the Lutheran; but the Helvetic community was now raised up far above the Lutheran, and the primacy of Luther seemed to pass rather to the successor of Zuinglius than to his own, as the praises of the friends of the reformation, and the reproaches of its enemies, have long since proclaimed.

On the nature of the divine presence in the Lord's supper, Calvin fully agreed with Bucer; and this became the prevailing opinion in the reformed churches. He plainly asserted a real presence; and though he admitted not the consubstantiation of the Lutherans, any more than the transubstantiation of the papists, yet his opinion differed very widely from the earlier Zuinglians, who made the words of the institution merely figurative and symbolical".

! “The communion which we have in Christ, is not only figured in the supper, but afforded ; nor are mere words there given us from the Lord, but the verity and the thing itself corresponding to the words.

“This communion moreover is not in the imagination, but that by which we coalesce into one body and into one substance with our head.” Epist. Col. p. 23. In other parts of his works he states, that “the nature or mode —'ratio'of this communion is beyond the human comprehension, and must be referred to a miracle; nor must we be ashamed to say with St. Paul, ' It is a great mystery.' Calvin expresses in a letter to Farel, that Philip Melancthon himself thought altogether as they did respecting the presence in the Sacrament; and he felt persuaded, that“ had that eminent servant of God and faithful teacher, Martin Luther, been alive, he would not have been so harsh and implacable,”—as some of the Lutherans now were, “ but would freely have admitted this confession, that the sacraments truly supply what they figure, and that therefore in the sacred supper we are made partakers of the body and blood of Christ. For how often has he declared, that he contended for no other cause, but that it might be established, that the Lord does not amuse us with empty signs, but does internally fill inose things which he places before the eyes, and that the effect is united with the signs. Unless I am very much deceived, this is agreed upon amongst us, that

On the doctrines of predestination and grace, now called Calvinism, it would be difficult to say wherein Calvin, and the divines of whose circle he was the centre, differed from Luther, or from Augustin before him. The great distinguishing doctrine of the reformation, justification by faith alone, he taught also like Luther, perhaps with greater correctness and distinction, respecting the nature of the faith that justifies, and the assurance it should give to the believer's mind. He was indeed a most strenuous assertor of church authority and ecclesiastical discipline ; but the example he left at Geneva, is more to be attributed to the difference of his situation from that of some of the other reformers, than to any difference in their sentiments as to the general necessity of restoring the ancient discipline?. The

the supper of Christ is not a theatrical exhibition of spiritual food, but in very deed does give what it represents, because these pious souls are fed with the flesh and blood of Christ.”—P. 84.

· How little countenance the disturbers of the peace of other churches, from the love of the Geneva discipline, or the promoters of the cause of schism in general, receive from the example of Calvin, appears in several parts of his correspondence, and particularly in a letter to Farel, during the time of their expulsion from Geneva. Some of their friends, whom they had left behind, consulted him," whether it was lawful to receive the Lord's supper from the hands of those ministers who were obtruded upon them in their stead, and whether they ought to communicate with such a rabble —'cum tanta hominum colluvie.'” To this, with the concurrence of Capito, he answers, “ The hatred of schism among Christians ought to be so great, that they should ever, if possible, avoid it. That so great ought their reverence of the ministry and of the sacraments to be, that wherever they see them existing, there they should conclude the church to be. Since, therefore, it was by the Lord's permission, the church was governed by these, whatever they are; if they behold there the marks of a church, it would be better not to separate themselves from its communion, nor should it be an obstacle that some unsound doctrines — impura quædam dogmata' — were taught there ; for scarcely any church is there, which does not retain some remainders of ignorance. It is sufficient for us, if that doctrine on which the church of Christ is founded, hold and maintain its place. Nor ought it to deter us, that he ought not to be considered as a lawful minister, who has not only fraudulently crept, but wickedly intruded into the place of the true minister; for it is not for every private individual to perplex himself with these scruples. In the sacraments they communicate with the church; that by the hands of such persons, they should be dispensed to them, they sustain as an evil*. It concerns such ministers, indeed, very seriously to consider whether they lawfully or unlawfully possess their places ; but others may suspend their judgment till a lawful recognition can be obtained. Meanwhile, they may use their ministry,” — “and exhibit a testimony of their patience" — “ without any hazard of seeming to approve or sanction their usurpa

* Epistolæ Calvini, p. 5.

odium of episcopacy, and the assertion of the divine right of the presbyterian form of church government, so violently contended for in the following age, are not to be ascribed to Calvin himself".

After a life of incessant labours in the cause of religion, this great reformer died in his fifty-fifth year. His vigour of mind continued to the last. When he was urged to relax in his duties, his reply was, “ What, would you have me idle when my master is coming ? At the same time, his feeble body had to sustain a complication of the most distressing and painful disorders to which the human frame is subject. The exclamation, Lord, how long !” was often wrung from him through the sense of his sufferings. Hearing, a few days before his death, that Viret, in his old age, was undertaking a journey to see him, he wrote to beg him to desist: “ I draw my breath with difficulty, continually expecting it will fail. It is enough that to Christ I live and die, who, to those that are his, is gain in life and death.” His last days he seemed to spend in almost continual prayer. Of his bodily organs, all affected with disease, his clear, bright, shining eye, lifted towards the heavens, could alone express the ardour of his soul. In the midst of his pains he feebly uttered, “ I held my tongue, O Lord, for it was thy doing.” " I did moan as a dove,” was his reflection on his groans extorted by his sufferings. Beza, who was with him, heard him say,

“ Thou, Lord, hast bruised me, but it is quite enough for me that this is thy hand.” His final dismissal was most easy and peaceful, like one who quietly fell asleep. Not even a heavier breathing indicated the departure of the happy spirit.

tion," &c. Again:-“Where the doctrine is sound and pure, and the ceremonies are used for decency and civil ornament, we ought rather silently to pass these things over,

than raise contentions and stirs about them*.” 1 The cruel death of Servetus, who suffered for heresy at Geneva, by the sentence of the magistrates of that city, while Calvin presided over the church, is, with great want of just discrimination, and with some degree of ignorance, often referred to, as particularly marking the character of Calvin, as distinguished from that of the other reformers. A hatred to the doctrines to which his name is applied, is probably the cause of this. It seems to be forgotten, that it was the common opinion of the age, that the magistrate ought to visit with capital punishment all teachers of heresy in fundamentals and blasphemers. An exception should, perhaps, be made for Luther, who doubted the policy rather than the justice of it. All the reformers were of this opinion. The gentle Melancthon praises the magisstrates of Geneva for this very act, and expresses his very great surprise, that any one should call in question its justice or propriety.

* Epistolæ Calvini, p. 147.

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