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after a very few hours repose, resumed his meditations on the subject that had engaged his attention the preceding evening. This habit regularly continued, improved his memory, facilitated his acquisition of knowledge, expanded and strengthened all the powers of his mind. But his incessant application produced a weakness in his stomach, which was the cause of various diseases, and at length of his premature death. Attracted by the reputation of the University of Bourges, to which the talents of Alciat, an Italian lawyer, added lustre, Calwin went thither to attend his lectures, and there gained the friendship of Wolmar, who taught him Greek, and for whom he had such an esteem, as afterwards to dedicate to him his Commentary on 2d Corinthians. He remained at the University till the sudden death of his father recalled him to his native country ; but during his residence, he preached more than once at Lignieres, a village in the neighbourhood. He soon after visited Paris, where, in 1533, he wrote his Commentary on Seneca de Clementia, an author whom he read and illustrated with great delight. In a few months he became acquainted with the principal Protestants in Paris, who at their private meetings earnestly besought him to give himself wholly to the Lord, and to them in the work of the ministry. He yielded to their entreaties; but Paris was not destined to be the scene of his labours. For, having urged Nicolas Cop, rector of the University, boldly to preach the truth before the doctors of the
Sorbonne, when Cop thereby excited the resentment of his learned audience, and being cited to appear before their parliament, consulted his safety by flight, the officers who were sent to apprehend him, not finding him, forcibly entered Calvin’s house, and seized his letters, among which there were many from the friends of the Reformation, which had almost involved them in destruction. But this threatened storm was prevented by the prudent intercession of the queen of Navarre, the only sister of the French king, a woman of extraordinary powers, and warmly attached to the Protestant cause. Calvin, to escape the cruel designs of his enemies, left Paris, and took refuge at Saintonge, where, at the request of a friend, he published some short religious addresses, and dispersed them among the people. In 1534, he returned to Paris, whither he seems to have been directed by Providence, that he might check, for a season at least, the zeal of Servetus, who was disseminating his Antitrinitarian heresies in that city. Undaunted by his exposure to the malice of his adversaries, Calvin would have held a public conference with Servetus, but this heretic, after having agreed to it, shrunk from the interview. This year a dark cloud hung over the interests of the Reformation in France, raised by the indiscreet zeal of some of its adherents. “They had affixed to the gates of the Louvre, and other public places, papers containing indecent reflections on the doctrines and rites of the Popish church. Six of the persens concerned in this rash action were discovered and seized". The king, in order to avert the judgments which it was supposed their blasphemies might draw down upon the nation, appointed a solemn procession. The holy sacrament was carried through the city in great pomp ; Francis walked uncovered before it, bearing a torch in his hand ; the princes of the blood supported the canopy over it ; the nobles marched in order behind. In the presence of this numerous assembly, the king, accustomed to express himself on every subject in strong and animated language, declared that if one of his hands were infected with heresy, he would cut it off with the other, and would not spare even his own children, if found guilty of that crime. As a dreadful proof of his being in earnest, the six unhappy persons were publicly burned before the procession was finished, with circumstances of the most shocking barbarity attending their execution.”f Calvin retired to Orleans, whence, accompanied by his old Saintonge friend, he proceeded to Basil, where he studied Hebrew ; and though anxious to be concealed, felt himself constrained, on the following account, to publish his Institutions of the Christian Religion. The Protestant princes of Germany, with whom Francis, under a pretended regard for their religious tenets, had made an alliance, having in the most pointed terms expressed their indignation at lis suspicions, not to say treach* According to Beza, in his life of Calvin, the number was eight.
; Robertson's Charles V. Book 6:.
erous and inhuman conduct, to exculpate himself, and preserve their friendship, which he wished to employ against his rival Charles V. he affirmed that he had punished only some fanatical and seditious Anabaptists, whom he knew the Protestants as well, as the Papists abhorred. . This false and unprovoked insult, Calvin judged it necessary to contradict and repel ; and with this design, in 1535, published his Institutions, to which he prefixed a preface addressed to Francis, which in force of argument, energy of expression, and elegance of latinity, has seldom been equalled, and never excelled. After visiting the duchess of Ferrara, daughter of Louis XII. of France, a princess of eminent piety, who received and entertained him with every mark of esteem, he returned to the neighbourhood of Paris, but finding the country a scene of confusion and danger, he settled his pecuniary affairs, and, accompanied by Anthony his only brother, resolved to reside at Basil or Strasburg. The war on the frontiers of France and Germany made them travel by the way of Geneva, whither he was thus, unintentionally on his part, led by the hand of Providence. Farell and Viret, who a few years before had introduced the gospel into Geneva, earnestly importuned him to become their associate in the ministry. He was with difficulty persuaded, not indeed till Farell had ventured in the name of the Almighty to denounce a curse against him if he should refuse. He yielded at length to the solicitation of the presbytery and
magistrates, by whose suffrage, with the concurrence of the people, he was chosen to be their Minister and Professor of Divinity in the year 1536. Fully prepared by his long course of study, by his ardour of mind and habits of devotion, for the faithful exercise of the ministerial functions, he commenced his public labours by composing a concise and simple Formula of Christian Doctrine, to which he added a short Catechism, for the use of the church at Geneva, then scarcely emancipated from antichristian bondage. Persuaded that some form of ecclesiastical government was absolutely necessary for maintaining the unity and order of the church, and preferring the Presbyterian, as being not only the most simple in itself, the best calculated for the impartial administration of discipline, as well as removed at once from the imperiousness of Episcopacy, and the irregularity of Anabaptism ; * but as, in their opinion, the most agreeable to the intimations of scripture, Calvin, Farell, and Viret, resolved to establish it at Geneva. Though opposed both by public violence and private malignity, they succeeded; and after the people had solemnly abjured Popery, on the 20th of July, 1537, they took an oath of adherence to certain articles of doctrine and discipline,
* The Anabaptists of that time, or Mennonites, held opinions subversive at once of Christian truth and social order. They employed arms to propagate their system, and were the cause not only of commotions, but of bloodshed throughout the Provinces of the German empire. See Mosheim, Cent. 16. § 3. pt. 2.
which also received the sanction of the Senate. Besides his own church, Calvin took on himself the care of believers, wherever they dwelt, and, by his correspondence, administered to them the instruction, reproof, or consolation, which their conduct or their circumstances required. The conformity of multitudes to the Romish forms of communion, while they secretly embraced the doctrines of the Reformed church, about this period particularly, called forth his zeal for the truth, and was the occasion of his writing two masterly and elegant Epistles, in which he exhorted the people to renounce their idolatrous communion, and the authority of their priests, whose conduct he reprobated as flagitious and detestable. His attention was, in the following year, occupied by dissensions in his own city, which he in vain endeavoured to heal. When a whole state embraced the religious system of the Reformers, though all became by profession Protestants, multitudes, it is obvious, would retain much of their original prejudice and error. At Geneva, accordingly, though all professed the true religion, many continued in the practice of those impurities to which they had been addicted when their consciences were under the guidance of the priests of Rome. Political discussions concerning the war then raging in Savoy, were also the means of producing variance and animosities among the rich and the noble, and consequently tended to injure, the cause of religion. Farell, Calvin, and Corald, his colleague, beheld with deep con
cern this departure from the spirit of the gospel, and laboured at first by the arts of gentleness and persuasion, to bring back their fellow citizens to a sense of their duty. ' When these means were unsuccessful, they had recourse to the established discipline of the church, threatened the refractory with the sentence of excommunication, and openly declared that they could not dispense the Lord's supper to persons who had broken the bonds of charity, peace, and unity, and who resisted the ecclesiastical jurisdiction to which they had sworn subjection. These divisions were increased by another cause: the church at Geneva had used common bread for the sacrament, and abolished all holy days, while the Protestants at Berne had retained the use of wafers. In this they were confirmed by the synod of Lausanne, which also appointed the
Genevese to observe the same custom. Calvin and his colleagues appealed to a synod which was to meet at Zurich.
The newly elected syndics" of Geneva, being leaders of the most numerous faction, taking advantage of this appeal, represented Calvin and his two col
leagues as enemies to the peace of the church ; and having assembled the people in a tumultuous manner, commanded these
faithful men to leave the city within two days, because they
refused to administer the ordilance of the supper. When
this sentence was intimated to
• The syndics were the chief magistrates of Geneva, annually elected by the votes of the community.
Calvin, he said, “Verily, if I had served men, I would have had a sorry reward ; but it is well that I have served Him, who does not forget a single promise that he makes to his servants.” This event might seem to threaten the subversion of the Reformation at Geneva ; but it was overruled by Providence for promoting the interests of the gospel in other places, for improving the talents of the exiled ministers, and even for purifying the corruptions, and rectifying the disorders of the Genevan church. Obeying this unchristian edict, these three venerable pastors retired to Zurich, where a synod of the Swiss churches being convened, the church of Berne was requested to use all its influence to procure the re-admission of these faithful men to their charges at Geneva. The attempt was ineffectual ; and Calvin, having left Zurich, went first to Basil, and then to Strasburg, where, by the unanimous request of the Senate and ministers, he was called to the theological chair, with the appointment of a competent salary. There, he not only. taught divinity with universal applause, but with the consent of the Senate, modelled the church after the Genevan form. In his exile, he was not unmindful of his former charge ; but kept up a constant correspondence with them, exhorting them to return to the purity and unity of the faith. By these epistolary labours, he succeeded in quieting the commotions which the decree of the synod of Lausanne concerning the use of wafers in the sacrament had excited, and in preventing the influence of
Sadolet, the bishop of Carpentras, (a city of Dauphiny) who exerted all his powers of eloquence to bring back his dear friends, as he styled the Senate and people of Geneva, to the Romish communion. 3These letters breathe a spirit of erdent affection for his beloved flock, and inculcate on them the important duties of self-examination, humility, and repentance, on account of their spiritual declension; of love to their pastors, and of a tolerant disposition towards those who differed from them in matters of inferior importance. Their dissensions he represents as marks of divine judgment against their sins, and uniformly prays that they might be led by the Spirit of truth into the love and practice of Christian virtue. While at Strasburg, in 1540, he published an enlarged edition of his Institutions, and a short but comprehensive Treatise on
the Lord's Supper, which was of singular use to the church at
that time, when the Lutheran
and Popish doctrines on this
point were the subject of frequent discussion. During this period, he was the means of converting several Anabaptists, some of whom afterwards became bright ornaments of the Protestant cause. In 1541, he was called to assist at two diets held by the authority of the emperor Charles V. at Worms and Ratisbon, for the purpose of accommodating matters between the Protestants and their adversaries. There he gained the friendship of Melanchton, whose gentleness and modesty made him an advocate for reconciliation, but whose timidity inade him often shrink. from that opposition, which Luther carried on with such vehemence and success, against the tenets and practices of Rome.
To be continued.