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which God had imposed on him, to purge the church of such errors as were then rife in her. Wherefore, although he had been formerly accustomed to frequent ecclesiastical assemblies, yet, in the year 1588, in the synod of Breste (which is a town on the borders of Lithuania) he disputed with greater earnestness and fruit, than before, touching the death and sacrifice of Christ, touching our justification, touching the corrupted nature of man, and, finally, with the Davidians, and Budneists, touching the invocation of Jesus Christ. This was the year, wherein the care and charge of the church at Luclavicia was committed to Petrus Stoinius, son of Petrus Statorius of Thornville; whose family, having heretofore been naturalised into the nobility of our na. tion, hath, even at this day, some men surviving, who have been ina vested with great honours, in our own country. He, being no less sharp in judgment, than ready in speech, being once admitted into the friendship of Socinus, yielded willingly to his opinion. A little before, also, he had privately drawn many of the chief ones into his opinion, and there was daily an accession made of such men as complied with them. Nevertheless, certain men of very great authority still stood off, as, Niemojevius and Czechovicius, together with the greatest part of the ancient ministers. The report is, that Securinius was the first that adventured openly to maintain the tenets of Socinus, to which he had assented; not long after, others followed : which party was exceedingly strengthened by the accession of the three Lujenecii, Andreas, Stanislaus, and Christophorus; who, being brethren of noble descent, and born to very great hopes, and brought up partly in the King's court, and partly in the society of the greatest peers, were, by a sacred instinct, transported from the midst of the allurements of this life to the care of religion. These men, as they had, by a most inflamed zeal, trodden under foot all the impediments of piety, so, with an equal candour and greatness of mind, they subscribed to the known truth.
And now others of the pastors came in a vie to the party, especially the juniors, who were less retarded with the prejudice of inveterate opinions and authority; and that, by reason of an accident very notable for the newness thereof, which gave a memorable proof, how great the force of the truth is. Amidst a great jarring of opinions, this was a laudable agreement of that church, That those men contended only with arguments, and not with hatred: and, though they detested one another's opinion, yet did they not condemn one another; and therefore, keeping mutual tolerance intire, they oftentimes disputed very eagerly; and this was the chief work of their synods.
Wherefore, anno, 1585, in the synod of Lublin, the opinion of Socinus, touching the seventh chapter of the Romans, was exceedingly agitated. There were some that defended it; but as great a number of pastors that opposed it: One whereof, named Nicolaus Zitinius, being willed by others of the same party to explain that chapter contrary to the mind of Socinus, and having, to that purpose, stoutly managed the matter, falling in his discourse upon those words, wherewith the apostle giveth thanks to God for his freedom, stood like a man amazed. And by and by, What is that freedom ? saith he. What is that benefit, which drew from the apostle so great thanks? Was it, that he was of necessity detained in so great a servitude of sin? Certainly, such a thing as this can, at no hand, gain approbation with me. I therefore, saith he, in like manner give very great thanks to the Father of Lights, in that he would have the light of his truth arise unto me, who am now freed from error. Afterwards, entering upon a contrary way of explaining, he accurately disputed for the orthodox opinion. When they, whose cause he had undertaken, being amazed, did rebuke him: his answer was, that he could not resist the judgment of a convinced mind. This business was of great moment for the propagation of the truth; nor did their endeavours less conduce thereunto, who had lifted up the standard unto others to embrace it. Amongst them the eloquence of the foresaid Petrus Stoinius did excel. That elegant tongue only had God bestowed on those churches, equal to the wit of Socinus, and able to deliver, in a popular manner, his subtle senses, that were above the ruder sort, and to commend them unto all by his flexanimous speech. Him, therefore, as the chief interpreter of his mind, did Socinus make use of, to the notable advantage of God's church. And, indeed, certain things happened, which did inforce a stricter union with him. Socinus, sojourning at Cracovia, began, long since, to be environed with such dangers on every side, as are, for the most part, wont to accompany the faithful servants of Christ. How great an indignity was there offered to him by that insolent soldier Ver necus, he himself signifieth in a certain letter ? But above all, after the printing of his book, Touching the Saviour, the adversaries again began to shew the rancour of their hatred. Whereupon, in the year 1598, the scholars, having stirred up the dregs of the rabble, took Socinus, being then sick and minding the recovery of his health, and pulling him out of his chamber half naked, drag bim in a contumelious manner through the market, and the most noted streets, the greatest part, in the mean time, crying out, to have him brought to execution. At length, having been grievously handled in that furious rout, he was, with much ado, rescued out of the hands of the raging multitude, by Martinus Vadovica, professor of Cracovia. The plundering of his goods and houshold stuff, together with other things liable to spoil, did not so much grieve him, as the irreparable loss of certain writings, concerning which, he often did profess, that he would redeem it with the expence of his life. Then perished together a notable labour of his against atheists, which he had undertaken to refute the ingenious devices of a certain great man. But when, to so barbarous an example of cruelty, threats were also added, he departed from Cracovia to Luclavicia, unto a certain village, famous for his last habitation and death, and distant about nine miles from Cracovia; where having, for certain years, used the table and house of a nobleman, named Abrahamus Blonscius, he lived a neighbour to Stoinius. Both, therefore, affording mutual help near at hand, in chacing away the relicks of errors, had now brought almost that whole church to an unanimous consent in all opinions; for even Niemojevius himself having, in most things, already given assent 10 Socinus, condemned his own mistakes with such ingenuity, as can never sufficiently be extolled.
Czechovicius only could not be removed from his opinion: who, as the better part prevailed, conniving, though with much ado, at other things, a little after began to make a stir about the opinion, concern. ing baptism, which nevertheless being suddenly, according to the wish of Socinus, laid asleep, did afterwards vanish of its own accord. Hav. ing thus fully purged the church from errors, as if his life had been prolonged hitherto for this purpose only, he was at the end of winter, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, taken away at Luclavicia, by a death not so untimely to himself, as sad to his followers. His last words at his death were these; namely, That he no less full of envy and troubles, than of days, did, with a joyful and undaunted hope, incline to the period of his appointed time, which shewed to him both a discharge from his sorrows, and a reward of his labours.
Petrus Stoinius, who had been the associate of his life and labours, was also the praiser, and in the year following, the companion of his funeral. For, as if he had already ended the appointed task of his life, he followed Socinus, being hardly forty years old.
Having passed over the race of Socinus's life, through which we have made a short cut, it remaineth, that we stop a while in considering what he did and performed.
No man in our memory did better deserve of all the Christian world, but chiefly of all the Polonian churches. For first, by setting out so many works, he opened the genuine meaning of the Holy Scriptures in innumerable places.
Next, he only shewed how to confirm with solid arguments, and skilfully to defend, from subtle cavils and sophisms, those opinions touching the person of God and Christ, which be found already rife in Poland. After that he happily extinguished some impious, other prophane opinions, whose deadly poison did by stealth insinuate itself into the bosom of the church. No man did more vigorously quell Judaizers. He also exploded the opinion of the Chiliasts, and many other fanatick dreams besides. As for the errors, received from the reformed churches, which did, in a great number, as yet reign in that church, he did, with a marvellous felicity, root them out. Such were that of jus. tification, that of appeasing the wrath of God, that of predestination, that of the servitude of the will, that of original sin, that of the Lord's supper and baptism, together with other misconstrued doctrines. Finally, having taken away pernicious errors, that he might not also leave any fopperies in the church, he exterminated very many superstitions about indifferent things; of which sort was the over-much affectation of mean clothing, and the eschewing of magistracy, and refusing to prosecute ones own right, even without a desire of revenge, and what other like spots there were, caused by the inconsiderate zeal of their first fervor.
Having explained the order of his life, and his actions, it remaineth that we add a few things concerning the habit of his mind and body. To relate the praises of his wit and judgment is a superfluous labour, inasmuch as there are so many monunients thereof extant. As for his learning, the more pertinaciously he hid it, the more impatiently it breaketh out. It was somewhat late, but more solid. Nor are there wanting, in his writings, the footsteps of a happy memory also. I can.
not pass by one proof thereof, which he gave in his disputation with Christianus Francken. This fellow, in the session of the synod of Chmelnica, desiring to shew a proof of his learning and wit, did, in a more arrogant manner than was meet, challenge those pastors to dispute, slighting the mean learning of every one. And that he might with very plenty, puzzle and overwhelm him that was to dispute, having beforehand provided himself, he together proposed fifty arguments, against the adoration of Christ. This matter troubled some, and they, though the church had so often rejected Socinus, did yet enjoin him to make an answer. He, attentively hearing the man, who had on a sudden entered upon an unjust way of arguing, and did, with one breath almost, pour out so many prepared shafts, was admonished to take in writing, at least, the heads of the reasons, to which an answer was to be returned. But he, in confidence of his memory, slighted the assistance of his pen, and patiently heard the man uttering those reasons of his, as long as he pleased; and by and by, in the same order, repeating the long series of his arguments, gave such a solid answer to each of them, that the adversary had hardly any thing to mutter against him. Whereupon having professed that he was unskilled and unprepared, he went away confounded, to the admiration of all. And, because we have touched the endowments of his nature, if any man be curious to know the figure of his body also, let him know that he wanted not a form answerable to his disposition, being of such a stature, as exceeded not the just size, yet was nearer to tallness. The habit of his body was somewhat slender, yet within measure; in his countenance, the dignity of his high forehead and masculine beauty of his eyes did cast a glance. Nor did the comeliness and grace of his look diminish the vigour and majesty thereof. He was somewhat sparing of meat and sleep, and abstinent of all pleasures, without affectation; only, in the conservation of his health, he seemed scrupulous, and oftentimes over-diligent; yet was he, for the most part, of a prosperous health, but that he was sometimes troubled with the pains of the stone, and with the cholick. Moreover, being grown somewhat old, he complained of the dimness of his sight, contracted with over-mych watching; the genius of his life was gentle and innocent. There was a marvellous simplicity in his manners, which was so tempered with gravity, that he was free from all superciliousness.
Whence it came to pass, that you would sooner reverence him, than you could fear him. He was very affable, giving honour to every one exceedingly; and would you desire to reprove any thing in him, there was nothing nearer to discommendation, than the over-much debasement of himself.
The clothing of his body was modest, but yet neat and spruce; and, though he was at a remote distance from bravery, yet was he less averse from slight ornaments. He was officious towards his friends, and diligent in all parts of his life. He had so won the affection of the princes, in whose service he spent part of his life, that neither could long absence extinguish the desire of him, nor manifest offence obliterate the favour to him. Having shewed all manner of officiousness towards his uncles, brethren, and male kindred, he chiefly regarded and reverenced Lælius. Amongst his female-kindred, besides his grandmother Camilla, a most choice matron, he exceedingly loved his aunt Porcia, and his sister Phyllis, and that according to their deserts. The former of which twain, being, whilst she lived, an example of most commende able chastity, did by her discretion, and incredible gentleness of manners, so gain the affection of her husband, Lælius Beccius, a man of rank and quality, that he would often say with tears, that he was unworthy of such and so great a wife. The latter, by the sanctity of her manners and discipline in governing the house, had so approved herself to her husband Cornelius Marsilius, a great nobleman, that, at her death, she left behind her an immortal desire of her company. And, forasmuch, as we are long since slipped from the endowments of nature, 10 those which he acquired by his own industry, we must not pass over in silence some of his virtues, whereby he was eminent above many. I cannot easily say, whether there was more fire, or wit, in so vehement a disposition, so prone to choler had nature framed him, before he had allayed those violent motions with reason. Nevertheless, he did so break and tame his cholerick temper, that the mildness, which afterwards shined forth in him, seemed to very many to be the praise of nature, not of industry. The commendation of his patience likewise is enhanced, as by the indignity of his fortune and injuries, so also by his delicale, and consequently touchy disposition. No evil is wont to happen unto such persons, without an exquisite resentment; nor is it so much to be wondered at, that oftentimes a larger wit is capable of more sorrow.
But he in this fight also appeared conqueror, of his fortune and nature, after he had, with a Christian greatness of mind, borne and undergone so many calamities from strangers, so many injuries from his couns trymen, perils from enemies, ingratitude from friends, envy from the learned, hatred from the ignorant, infamy from all, poverty from fortune, in fine, a continual repulse, not without ignominy from that very church which he had chiefly beautified. I have almost done an injury to fortune, in seeming to have ascribed unto her the cause of his poverty. But I have not now accused her fault, but intimated her condition; which Socinus might, perhaps, by fortune's means, have escaped, would either his conscience, or a certain generosity of mind, have permitted him. Certainly he never sought after the fame of holiness by beggary. Nevertheless, as often as he was able to sustain his condition with the smallest means, he could not be brought to take such gifts as were freely offered him. Yea, he did of his own accord, expend his means on the poor. Nor was he only conversant in every kind of alms, but in every kind of liberality also; so as you may thereby understand that his charity was inflamed with the promiscuous love of all men, Likewise he published certain books at his own charges, that he might omit nothing for the accomplishment of his ardent zeal to promote divive truth, which he had undertaken to propagate, what with so many writings, what with so many letters, what with so many private and publick disputations, what with so many informations of them, who were in all places the interpreters of his mind; what with so many long journies, most of them from the utmost border of Silesia, to the midst of Lithuania; what with the loss of health, fame, and fortunes; what VOL, VI.