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Divine Providence, which enabled now dead, he determined to dedithis small state to struggle into cate himself wholly to the service of liberty, from the thraldom of Fri. God, his mind having been gradually burg and the court of Savoy, that it more and more directed to this obmight become the strong hold of ject by his study of the Scriptures, truth and the centre of the Pro- and the acquaintance of several testant cause.
pious men. Accordingly be came We come now to our notices of to Paris, and began to propagate his Calvin, whose history occupies nearly sentiments, but was soon compelled three hundred pages of this volume- to retire from it by the persecution a space, long as it may appear, not in which his zeal excited. This was in the least too extended. Wequestion November 1533. He ventured there if, in the whole eight volumes of again the following year; but was ecclesiastical annals of the Milners again forced to fly by the violence and Mr. Scott, there is any portion of Francis the First, who was persemore important, more impartially cuting the Protestants of bis own conducted, more remarkably oppor- country, whilst for political purposes tune to the circumstances of the he was seeking to support those in present times than this. We cannot Germany. Calvin, after visiting spare a single page, and scarcely a Strasburg, fixed himself at Basle, quotation. Nor can we sufficiently and here published in 1535, at the admire the calmness, the indepen- age of twenty-seven, his most celedence of mind, the clear and pene. brated work, The Institutes of the trating judgment which our author Christian Religion, without his name, exhibits, and which make us look and merely to defend the Protestants forward with strong anticipation to against the calumny which would his intended account of the English confound them with the wildness Reformation.
and fanaticism of the Anabaptists. John Cauvin, Chauvin, or, ac- The work had then only six cording to the Latin and usual chapters; but though it was the form, Calvin, was born at Noyon, labour of his life to revise, enlarge, in Picardy, July 10, 1509. He and re-arrange it, the last edition received his early education with in 1559 containing eighty, all the the children of a family of rank, main positions and doctrines conand accompanied them to Paris tinue precisely the same: the views where the celebrated grammarian of predestination, for instance, in Cordery was his teacher. From bis the first and last edition are idenyouth he was remarkable for gravity, tical; so little truth is there in the and rather stern rebukes of vice. insinuation that he did not begin to In 1521, at the age of twelve, he publish his sentiments on that solemn obtained a benefice in the Church subject till the year 1557, of Rome at Noyon; and afterwards, In 1536 he visited Italy, and in 1527 and 1529, the parochial cures afterwards, for the last time, France, of Marteville and Pont l'Evêque, His design, on his return, was to where he is related to have delivered fix himself at Basle or Strasburg ; discourses to the people even before but the war which then raged comhis admission into full orders. He pelling him to pass through Dauphiny afterwards changed his pursuits from and Savoy, he was obliged, contrary theology to the civil law, at the in. to his inclination, to pass through stance of his father, though he still Geneva. Farel here met him, and continued to study the Sacred urged him to remain : he felt for a Scriptures with intense eagerness. considerable time little inclination He published his first work in 1532, to comply, but at last he yielded at the age of twenty-three-a com- to importunity, and in August 1536 mentary on Seneca's De Clementia. accepted the office of a Professor of Soon after this, his father being Divinity. The state of public morals, however, amongst the population- whole of the New, with the excepthe ignorance and vice and super- tion of the Apocalypse. The last stition which remained-the relax. of these commentaries, that on the ation of civil order, which their long Book of Joshua, was finished only struggle for independence had oc- just before his death. He married casioned--the party spirit and family in 1540, but left no children. In feuds, not appeased at once by the 1548, and again in 1531, he wrote reception of the Reformation which his letters to the protector Somerprevailed – the free constitution of set, and Bishops Hooper and Cranthe state, which allowed almost every mer,—and, after the accession of Eli. man a voice—the large number of zabeth, those to Cecil and Grindal. individuals who had no real religious The case of Servetus, to which we principle- the tumults excited by shall soon refer more at length, octhe Anabaptists—the chicanery and curred in 1553. His health began perseverance of the surrounding sensibly to decline in 1557; and it Papal states, rendered the situation was in 1564, in the fifty-fifth year of of Calvin no easy post. A strict his age, that he was gathered to bis discipline in religious concerns, and fathers, and to that heavenly rest especially on admission to the Lord's in the mansions prepared for him by Supper, formed a part of his plan of his Redeemer, which he had so long conduct, and was carried forward in earnestly desired and pressed fora manner not, perhaps, altogether ward to, amidst the sins and sorrows well adapted to the circumstances of of an evil and jarring world. His the case. In two years from his ar- habitual labours, contrasted with the rival at Geneva be was banished from weakness of his health and his hathe republic. His remark on being bitual intirmities, shews the power of informed of the decree corresponded his conscientious conviction of his with the humility and simplicity of responsibility for the use of his time mind with which he undertook his and talents, the strength of the grace charge: “ Had I been the servant of God supporting him, and those of man," he observed, “ I must have mighty endowments of mind with complained of being ill requited" (he which he was blessed. bad received no stipend); " but it is “ An extraordinary account is given of well for me that I have served One Calvin's labours from the time of his re.
turn to Geneva. • In every fortnight he who never deserts those who devote preached one entire week'—whether daily themselves to him.” He was or not, does not appear. Thrice in every called, however, in 1542, in a manner week he delivered divinity lectures : on the most honourable to bis character; the Thursdays he presided in the con. not by any steps taken by bimself, called the congregation, a meeting for
sistory, and on the Fridays in what was but in consequence of confusion the collation and exposition of Scripture. prevailing at Geneva, the death or Frequent bis advice, which his skill in removal of the principal persons the science of law, combined with his geconcerned in opposing him, and neral wisdom and talent, made him
very the general conviction of his piety, competent to do. His correspondence talents, and integrity. It was a also was very extensive, the fame of his penitent people entreating their learning and piety causing him to be coninjured pastor to return.
sulted from all quarters: and he himself From
complains of the continual interruptions 1542 till the period of his death which, as might naturally have been exin 1564, Calvin devoted his almost pected, he encountered from the visits of unrivalled powers to the establish- strangers, and from other avocations. Yet ment and diffusion of the principles of tures, and other writings, chiefly in a po
his copious commentaries on the Scripthe Gospel. His published works ex- lished Latin style, are known to be very tended io nine closely printed folios, elaborate and accurate. Such were the seven of which are occupied with performances of a man, whose constituhis invaluable commentaries on most
tion was delicate, and his health bad, and
who never completed his fifty-fifth year." parts of the Old Testament, and the p. 370.
“. He was naturally of a spare and ment, or death, rested on the nature feeble frame, of a sallow complexion and of the laws in each state, the truth bilious habit, tending to consumption. He was subject to severe headachs, from which and supposed enormity of the facts strict abstinence alone afforded him relief. alleged, and the impartiality of the Hence for more than ten years together trial. Cranmer in England went he took only one meal in the day, gene- far greater lengths in this false road, fasted for thirty-six hours together. "Histhan Calvin. The ministers at Berne digestion was bad : and his sleep scarcely and Constance acted upon it with deserved the name. Five years before respect to the fanatical Anabaptists. his death he was attacked by a spitting of Fourteen years after the execution of blood: and, when his long-continued intermitting fever left him, that · host of Servetus, a public proposition was disorders to which we have alluded, and made at Geneva by Gentiles, an which he himself enumerates—asthma, Antitrinitarian, to hold a disputation gout, (ascending from his feet to his with the orthodox, on the condition hemorrhoidal' affection—began to shew that“ the party who could not prove themselves : and, as he observed in writ- their doctrine from the word of God, ing to the physicians, the inaction to which should be put to death as impos. the pains in his legs and feet, together with
tors." the complaint which rendered him unable to ride, reduced him, left him no hope of
The whole of this spirit we need recruiting his strength. He strictly ob- not say how unequivocally we conserved the directions of his medical at- demn; we are decided and warm tendants, but otherwise, and when not advocates for the most unfettered under their care, he suffered nothing to interrupt his work : preaching often under toleration; but we do not the less a headach which would have confined most distinguish between an action permen to their couch.' ” pp. 472, 473. formed under a false principle, from
We pass on to the case of Serve- obedience to the existing laws, in tus, of which every one has heard compliance with what was uniformly exaggerated statements, and which considered as a duty of the civil mathe infidel rejoices to appeal to. gistrate, at the period when it took Gibbon hesitates not to declare, “I place, and which proceeded from no am more deeply scandalized at the private malice; and the same acsingle execution of Servetus, than at tion if it had been committed three the hecatombs which have blazed in centuries later, when the extent the auto-da-fés of Spain and Por. and obligation of toleration were tugal.” He then says, that “Cal- known, and nothing but personal vin's zeal was summoned by person. revenge and a strained interpretaal malice, and perhaps envy; that tion of the laws could dictate the he “ accused his adversary before crime. their common enemies, the judges of We boldly affirm, then, with our Vienne; and betrayed, for his de- author, that most, if not all, the pestruction, the sacred trust of private culiar indignation excited in modern correspondence." Mr. Roscoe also, times against the individual reformer in his Leo X., gravely pronounces whose life we are reviewing, is a that “the annals of persecution calumny, an infliction of false pu. cannot furnish a more atrocious in. nishment for an offence which did stance of bigotry and cruelty, than not exist in the sense in which it is the burning of Servetus in a Protes- alleged. For this Servetus was, by tant city, and by Protestant priests." the confession of all, a monster of The plain fact is, that the subject blasphemy; not only venting the of toleration was not understood at most fearful insults against the Sa. the period when this mournful event viour, but relying on the seditious occurred. Men falsely supposed that libertine faction in Geneva for the Mosaical enactments against the protection. In this course he perblasphemer bound Christian coun- severed from the year 1532 to 1553. tries. The judgment as to particular Calvin first offered to meet him in instances of imprisonment, banish. Paris in 1534, in order to reclaim him from his errors ; and as late sidered. Before sentence was passed, as 1546 corresponded with him for copies of the proceedings were transthe same purpose. At that time mitted to the churches of Zuric, he also solemnly warned him from Berne, Basle, and Schaffhausen: the coming to Geneva, assuring him replies from which agreed on the that the laws would in such a case fact of Servetus's enormous heresies, have their course against him ; so and on the duty of using the power thoroughly was the state of the law committed to them in preventing his as to blasphemy then understood. doing further mischief to the church. In fact, Servetus was in 1552 im. After the sentence had been passed, prisoned by the Popish authorities (concerning which Calvin uttered in Vienne, and only escaped the not a sentiment, except as he strove death pronounced against him by to mitigate the kind of death), he flight: he was burned, however, in sent for Calvin two hours before his effigy, with five bales of his books. execution, and begged his pardon. With this Calvin had no concern,
“ Calvin, in reply, told him, that he had except that a citizen of Lyons re
never thought of revenging himself on him siding at Geneva obtained from him for any personal injuries ; and admonished by great importunity some of Ser- him with all mildness; reminding him vetus's letters, which were however that sixteen years before he had endeavournever brought forward in evidence. ed, even at the risk of his own life, to re
claim him, and that it had not been through Servetus came next to Geneva, with his fault that Servetus had not by repentthis sentence out against him ; and ance been restored to the friendship of he was committed to prison at Cal- all religious persons. After this, Calvin vin's instance, according to the ex- correspondence, without wishing to draw
added, be had treated with him in private isting statutes of the republic, by one public attention, to the same purport; and of the syndics. A series of articles had omitted no office of kindness, tiíl, irwas extracted from his works, and ritated by his faithful reproofs, Servetus preferred against him, and as much him. Calvin then exhorted him to seek
had poured forth a torrent of abuse against. time allowed him as he required, to forgiveness of God: but, finding his adretract, explain, or deny them. In monitions unavailing, he desisted and with short, it would be difficult to point drew.” pp. 427, 428. out a case where either the errors And what were the prevailing and the behaviour of the accused sentiments of the best and holiest, were so aggravated, or all the ad- the most humane and moderate men, vantages of a fair hearing so fully at the time when it occurred? The granted. Every pains was taken to gentle Melancthon expressed surthe very last, and by Calvin himself, prise that any objection should be in the greatest sincerity, to reclaim raised. Bucer, Bullinger, Farel, him ; time without limit was allowed Viret, Peter Martyr, and Beza him; all papers and documents were were of the same mind: nor does submitted to him, with such books as it appear that one dissentient voice he desired. And at last bis vio. was raised against the proceeding lent and insolent conduct when by any except one personal and under examination, and his confi. avowed foe of our Reformer. No dence that he should triumph over apology was ever deemed necessary; his prosecutors, by the aid of the and his bitterest enemies, Bolsec powerful faction then opposed to Cal- and Maimbourg, bring no charge vin, were such, that the learned against him on that head. Chauffepié (whose account Gibbon We cannot then but consider the pronounces the best), says, that he case as settled for ever; and we • fell a victim to his own pride and rank Mr. Scott's impartial examifalse anticipations.”
nation of it, as one of the most imNor was this all the alleviation portant services which he has ren. which the case, so far as regards dered to the Christian world, The Calvin, receives, when calmly cona age of Calvin, and the prevalent state of the laws in that age, as it re- Thou didst it :' or those of Isaiah, · I pects toleration, we again condemn did mourn as a dove. And again he was
overheard saying, 'Thou bruisest me, O as loudly as any of his bitterest ca- Lord, but it amply suffices me that it is lumniators ; but to judge fairly of Thy hand.”—Still he persisted in dictatCalvin's personal conduct, we ought ing and writing as he was able, and, when to place ourselves in the circum- entreated by his friends to forbear, he restances of the age in which he lived, idle when he cometh? What a triumph
plied, · Would you have my Lord find me before the intolerant notions which
was here exhibited, not only of mind over the Reformers had imbibed from matter, but still more of pious zeal over the persecuting church in which they the demands of nature for repose.
“ On the 10th of March his brother were educated, were shaken off. It is ministers coming to him, as they frequentimpossible to justify or palliate the ly did, found him sitting at the table at deed; it would be revolting to every which he was accustomed to study. He
sat silent for a short time, resting his feeling of humanity and religion to do so, but Calvin's conduct we be. head on his hand, as his manner was when
thinking; and then, with a kind and cheerlieve to have been thoroughly con- ful countenance, he warmly thanked them scientious, and, according to his own for all their attentions to him, and told full conviction, salutary and Chris- them he still hoped at a fortnight's end
(when the stated time recurred,) to meet tian. Would it be equitable to visit them in the consistory, but for the last on Judge Hale, or any other indi- time: for by that period, said he, ‘I vidual, the moral guilt of those in think the Lord will manifest his pleasure Aictions of severity upon supposed concerning me, and will probably take me
to himself. He accordingly did attend witches and wizards, which we now
the consistory on the 23d of March ; and know to have been fearfully barba- when the business was over he observed, rous and cruel; but which at the that some further continuance seemed to time were considered wise and just, be appointed for him. He then took up
a French Testament with notes, which as well as legal visitations? Why he was correcting, and asked his brethren's then visit upon Calvin what belong- opinion on some points. He suffered ed not fairly to the individual, but however for this exertion. On the 27th, to the age ?
having a new regent or tutor to propose We now hasten to the instructive for the college, he caused himself to be
carried to the senate-house, and being narrative of the closing days of this supported by his friends walked into the eminent man, in which there is a re. hall; when uncovering his head he remarkable union of the deepest piety, turned thanks to the senate for all the genuine lowliness of heart, fervent during his illness. With a faultering voice
kindness they had shewn him, especially, love for the brethren, zeal for the he then added: · I think I have entered glory of God, and anxiety to im- this bouse for the last time:' and took prove every moment of existing life, his leave, tears being shed on both sides. to the welfare of survivors. Weknow day, he was carried to church, and received
On the 2d of April, which was Easter of no case on record of a more dis. the sacrament from the hands of Beza, tinguished person conducting bim- joining in the hymn with such an expresself in a more dignified, consistent, sion of joy in bis countenance as attracted and wise manner.
It will be more 25th he sent for a notary and dictated his
the notice of the congregation. On the satisfactory to quote rather than will, which he signed, and the next day abridge; and if our extracts are caused to be read over to Beza and the long, our readers will require no
other ministers, and attested by them in
his presence." pp. 473_475. apology at our hands.
“ After having thus despatched the bu“ Amid all the sufferings under which siness of his will, Calvin sent to inform he languished for three months, we are the syndics and all the members of the told not an impatient word escaped bim. senate,' that he wished once more to adSometimes he would direct his eyes up- dress them in their hall, whither he hoped wards, and simply say, ' How long, O the next day to be carried for the purpose. Lord?' a phrase which during his health They begged him to have regard to what he had often had on his lips when he re- his health would bear, and promised to ceived tidings of the calamities of his attend him at his own house. Accordingbrethren, or reflected on the oppressions ly they all' came to him the next day of the church: or he would repeat the from the senate-house. After mutual words of David, 'I held my peace because salutations, and an apology on his part