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derful man. A full drawn pic- papal yoke. It was something ture of him would be a valuable too, that the dominant clergy, the present to the literary and the regular canons above all, had, christian world. His vivtues by their depraved manners, inwould afford a strong spur to curred the hatred of the best of imitation, while his imperfections their fellow citizens ; while the would remain a most instructive interdict of the archbishop of caution. But he, who shall un- Vienne, in the year 1527, exas. dertake this task, must have a perated them more and more, complete acquaintance with the and the detection of priestly impolitical state of Geneva at that posture opened the eyes of period; with the arts and in- many, trigues of the court of Rome and In 1532, Farell daringly stept her partizans at the dawn of the forward in Geneva, and preached Reformation, and with all the ob- the gospel doctrine, convincing stacles which the first Reformers many of its truth. This bold, had to surinount.
intrepid preacher was not awed The Reformation of Geneva, by danger. In Basil and Wirbeing inseparably connected with temberg he had before encounthe history of Calvin, cannot be tered barsh and violent treatpassed in silence. A concise ment; but there, as well as in account of it will spread light on Geneva, his labours were crownsome dark spots in the following ed with success. sketch.
Farell was followed, 1534, by The Reformation was begun one of his disciples, Ant. Froin Geneva long before' Calvin's ment, who, under the cloak of a residence in that city. But the schoolmaster, spread the seeds obstacles, which prevented or de- of the Reformation far and wide. layed its progress, were many But after awhile the violence of and powerful; among wbich the soldiery, and the increasing must be mentioned the ignorance, tumult of the people, induced superstition, bigotry, and domi- him to leave the city. neering spirit of the higher and After his retreat, more rigid lower clergy; and the turbulent laws were enacted against the state of the city arising partly meetings of the Reformed. But from various factions watching all these proved too weak to one another with a furious zeal, check the impetuous ardour of partly from the imminent danger the Reformers. They were yet, which menaced their liberty and however, compelled to hold their independence from the dukes of assemblies in secret, in which the Savoy, and partly from their alli- Lord's Supper was first adminisance with the Swiss Cantons, tered by Guerin. They all opposwho opposed the Reformation ed themselves vigorously to the with violence.
scandalous superstitions, which It was, indeed, something, that had, for ages, defaced the church the cauton of Berne had seceded of Christ, though it must be acfrom the church of Rome, es- knowledged that, in the manner perised openly the Reformed of their opposition, they somecause, and encouraged its neigh- times went beyond due bounds. bours and allies to throw otf the From the year 1538, a inore solo sd foundation was laid for the where the images. Farell thun. Reformation in Geneva, and the dered from the pulpit, even in minds of the inhabitants at large the churches exclusively reserva became prepared to give it a cor- ed to the Catholics, till those who dial reception.
yet remained were removed by a Viret soon joined Farell and decree of the Senate, and all the Froment. Their preaching was monasteries suppressed, and apunremitted, and the number of propriated to secular uses. А believers increased day by day. confession of faith, composed by This opportunity was too favour. Farell, was adopted, and sancable to be neglected by the Sen- tioned with an oath, which, for ate of Berne, who had been slan- its native simplicity, as Ruchat dered for favouring the Reform- observes, has been highly and tion by Furbit, a Dominican deservedly recommended. monk and doctor of the Sarbon- But what use did the Reform. ne. The Senate demanded the ed make of this glorious victory? punishment of Furbit. He was Did they obey the command of actually imprisoned. The irri- their divine Master, to do co oin. tated clergy could not brook thaters, as tkey would that others one of their body should be sub- should do to them? No. They jected to the judicature of lay- showed no symptoms of his men. They were countenanced meekness. They treaied the by the Senate of Fribourg ; but Catholics with uncommon harsh. the more powerful menaces of ness, and proved too often, that Berne prevailed with the Senate they were more eager to imitate, of Geneva. After a public dis- than to abhor their example. putation, Furbit was again im- The mass was abolished, the prisoned, from which he was images in the church proscribafterwards enlarged at the inter- ed, and the refractory punished cession of the king of France. with imprisonment and exile.
At length the Reformation was With the same intemperate zeal sanctioned by the Senate in a they went on reforming the solemn decree of Aug. 27, 1535. churches in the country, till the Farell, Viret, and Froment had civil magistrate interposed, and continued, under the protection notwithstanding the cries of of the mission of Berne, the irre- Farell, “that the work of God ligious instructions, and claimed ought not to be obstructed,” an open toleration, till one of the obtained a month's time for churches in the suburbs was the dissenters to reflect maturely seized by the populace with the on a topic so serious. connivance of the Senate. Here But in this reprehensible point Farell preached the first serinon, Farell was not alone. Nor was 1 March, 1534.
he so guilty, as in more favourBut what wisdom can avail, able circumstances he might apwhere intemperate zeal dictates, pear to us. He was unquestionand when the populace is the ably a worthy man; a man of chosen instrument for the execu- eminent abilities, and genuine tion of its fury and its whims? piety. His blemish was the The multitude, inflamed by Far- blemish of all the Reformers. ell's ardent sermons, broke every Even Melanchton was not free.
He admonished the Senate of study of dialectics, the barbarous Venice of the errors of Servetus, logic of the schools. because he had heard that his. His father originally intended book was then in circulation. him for the church, for which he Melanchton procured the death appeared to be peculiarly fitted, by of two Socinians, and approved his early seriousness of disposition, the condemnation of Servetus. gravity of manners, and abhorMoreover it ought not to be rence of vice, which he sharply reomitted, as it must influence our proved in his companions. With judgment respecting Farells and this view, in 1521, a benefice was Calvin's transactions, that at procured for him in the cathe. Geneva religion and politics dral church of Noyon, and in were uncommonly blended to. 1527, a parochial curacy in the gether; that the Roman Catho. neighbouring village of Pont l'E. lics had become dangerous citi. vesque. But becoming acquainted zens, through their connexions about this time with Peter Olive. with the bishop and dukes of tan, a Protestant, he imbibed Savoy, and that the safety of the from him the principles of the Republic was often endangered Reformed religion, which dis. by them.
gusted him with the supersti. Having given this brief histo- tious errors of Popery ; and his ry of the state of Geneva previ- father beginning to think that ously to the time when Calvin the profession of law would be began to have influence there, both more honourable and more we shall now turn our atten. lucrative, in compliance with his tion to the character and useful- desire, he determined to relin. ness of that extraordinary man. quish theological pursuits.
John Calvin, the son of Ger- In consequence of this deter. ard Chauvin (latinised Calvinus) mination, he went to Orleans, and of Joanna Le Franc, was and there, under the tutorage of born 10th July, 1509, at Noyon, Peter de l'Etoille, undoubtedly in Picardy, a province of France. the most eminent civilian of his His father being a man of tal- time, entered with such ardour ents and probity was highly es- on his new studies, as soon en. teemed by his fellow citizens, abled him occasionally to supply and particularly by a noble family, his master's chair. He was in. under whose roof Jolin received deed more like a teacher than a the first rudiments of education, scholar ; and when he left the From his native city he was sent University, as a testimony of apto Paris, where he made uncom. probation and high respect, he mon proficiency in the Latin lan, received an unanimous and gra. guage under Maturinus Corderi. tuitous offer of a doctor's de. us, one of the most distinguish, gree. Mean while, he did not ed teachers of the age, He af- neglect sacred learning in pri. terwards removed to the college vate ; but even in this made of Montague, then under the di, such attainments as to excite the rection of a learned Spaniard ; admiration of all the friends of and there leaving his fellow stu: pure and undefiled religion in dents far behind him in classical that city. He seldom slept till attainments, he commenced the the night was far advanced, and after a very few hours repose, re. Sorbonne, when cop thereby sumed his meditations on the sub- excited the resentment of his ject that had engaged his attention learned audience, and being cited the preceding evening. This to appear before their parliament, habit regularly continued, im- consulted his safety by flight, proved his memory, facilitated the officers who were sent to his acquisition of knowledge, apprehend him, not finding bim, expanded and strengthened all forcibly entered Calvin's house, the powers of his mind. But and seized his letters, among his incessant application produc- which there were many from ed a weakness in his stomach, the friends of the Reformation, which was the cause of various which had almost involved them diseases, and at length of his in destruction. But this threatpremature death.
ened storm was prevented by the Attracted by the reputation of prudent intercession of the the University of Bourges, to queen of Navarre, the only sis. which the talents of Alciat, an ter of the French king, a woItalian lawyer, added lustre, Cal- man of extraordinary powers, vin went thither to attend bis and warmly attached to the Prolectures, and there gained the testant cause. friendship of Wolmar, who Calvin, to escape the cruel taught bim Greek, and for whom designs of his enemies, left Par. he had such an esteem, as after- is, and took refuge at Saintonge, wards to dedicate to him his where, at the request of a friend, Commentary on 2d Corinthians. he published some short relig. He remained at the University ious addresses, and dispersed till the sudden death of his fath- them among the people.
In er recalled him to his native 1534, he returned to Paris, country ; but during his resi- whither he seems to have been dence, he preached more than directed by Providence, that he once at Lignieres, a village in might check, for a season at the neighbourhood. He soon least, the zeal of Servetus, who after visited Paris, where, in was disseminating his Antitrini. 1533, he wrote his Commentary tarian heresies in that city. Unon Seneca de Clementia, an au- daunted by his exposure to the thor whom he read and illustrat- malice of his adversaries, Calvin ed with great delight. In a few would have held a public confermonths he became acquainted ence with Serveius, but this her. with the principal Protestants in etic, after having agreed to it, Paris, who at their private meet- shrunk from the interview. ings earnestly besought him to This year a dark cloud hung give himself wholly to the Lord, over the interests of the Reforand to them in the work of the mation in France, raised by the ministry. He yielded to their indiscreet zeal of some of its adentreaties; but Paris was not herents. “ They had affixed to destined to be the scene of his the gates of the Louvre, and labours. For, having urged other public places, papers conNicolas Cop, rector of the Uni- taining indecent reflections on versity, boldly to preach the the doctrines and rites of the truth before the doctors of the Popish church. Six of the perbons concerned in this rash erous and inhuman conduct, to action were discovered and seiz- exculpate himself, and preserve ed * The king, in order to their friendship, which he wish. avert the judgments which it was ed to employ against his rival supposed their blasphemies Charles V. he affirmed that he might draw down upon the na- had punished only some fanatical tion, appointed a solemn proces- and seditious Anabaptists, whom sion. The holy sacrament was he knew the Protestants as well, carried through the city in as the Papists abhorred. great pomp ; Francis walked This false and unprovoked in. uncovered before it, bearing a sult, Calvin judged it necessary torch in his hand; the princes to contradict and repel ; and of the blood supported the cano- with this design, in 1555, pubo py over it ; the nobles marched lished his Institutions, to which in order behind. In the pres- he prefixed a preface addressed ence of this numerous assembly, to Francis, which in force of arthe king, accustomed to express gument, energy of expression, himself on every subject in and elegance of latinity, has selstrong and animated language, dom been equalled, and never declared that if one of his hands excelled. were infected with heresy, he After visiting the duchess of would cut it off with the other, Ferrara, daughter of Louis XII. and would not spare even his of France, a princess of eminent own children, if found guilty of piety, who received and enter. that crime. As a dreadful proof tained him with every mark of of his being in earnest, the six esteem, he returned to the unhappy persons were publicly neighbourhood of Paris, but burned before the procession finding the country a scene of was finished, with circumstances confusion and danger, he settled of the most shocking barbarity his pecuniary affairs, and, acattending their execution.”+ companied by Anthony his only
Calvin retired to Orleans, brother, resolved to reside at whence, accompanied by his old Basil or Strasburg. The war
. Saintonge friend, he proceeded on the frontiers of France and to Basil, where he studied He. Germany made them travel by brew; and though anxious to be the way of Geneva, whither he concealed, felt himself constrain- was thus, unintentionally on his ed, on the following account, to part, led by the hand of Provi. publish his Institutions of the dence. Farell and Viret, who a Christian Religion. The Prot- few years before had introduced estant princes of Germany, the gospel into Geneva, earnestwith whom Francis, under a ly importuned him to become pretended regard for their relig- their associate in the ministry. ious tenets, had made an alliance, He was with difficulty persuadhaving in the most pointed terms ed, not indeed till Farell had expressed their indignation at ventured in the name of the liis suspicions, not to say treach- Almighty to denounce a curse • According to Beza, in his life of He yielded at length to the soli,
against him if he should refuse. Calvin, the number was eight.
i Robertson's Charles V. Book 6: citation of the presbytery and