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Biographia Evangelica.

JOHN CAL V I N,

THE EVANGELIC REFORMER.

THIS eminent Reformer was born, on the tenth of

July, 1509, at Noyon, à city of trance, in the territory of Soissons, fifty-eight miles N. E. of Paris. His parents were Gerhard Calvin and Jane Francke, who enjoyed a decent fortune, and bestowed on him a liberal education. They intended him for the service of the church, and sent him from the grammar-school to the college of La Marche in Paris, where he was instructed in the grounds of literature by Maturinus Corderius, who was one of the best grammarians and schoolmasters that could be desired; for he understood the Latin tongue very well, was a man of worth, and diligently applied himself to his function; being as careful to form his scholars to wisdom, as to good Latin Calvin afterwards dedicated to him his commentary upon the first epistle to the Thessalonians. He was removed from his tuition, and placed under the care of Hispanus, a Spanish master, in Montague college, where he studied logic and divinity.

As Calvin was designed for the church, his father early obtained for him a benefice in the cathedral of Noyon. Those who report that Calvin was a canon there, are mistaken : The benefice was not a canonicate, but a chapel called de la Gesine, to which he was preferred on the twentyfirst of May, 1521. He was presented to the cure of Marteville on the twenty-seventh of September, 1527; which, on the fifth of July, 1529, he exchanged for the cure of Pont l'Eveque, a village near Noyon, where his father was born. But we must observe, that Calvin was VOL. II.

never

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never in priest's orders ; nor any farther an ecclesiastic than by simple tonsure.

Calvin was engaged by Robert Olivetan to study religion in its source, which made him resolve to renounce all superstitions; especially as his father had altered his mind, and chose rather to make him an advocate than a divine. Olivetan was his kinsman, and intended to bring him over to the doctrine of the Reformers: So that after Calvin had finished his humanity studies at Paris, he was sent to Orleans, where he studied the civil law under the direction of Peter d' l'Etoile, who was president in the parliament of Paris, and called it in Latin Petrus Stella. From thence he was sent to Bourges, to perfect himself in that study under Andrew Alciat, a Milanese, and a great Civilian, who was invited from Milan by Francis I. to promote the knowledge of the civil law in the university of Bourges, where the fame of his abilities drew from all parts a great number of students. He mixed a great deal of literature with the explication of the laws, and happily banished that barbarous language, which had till then prevailed in the lectures and writings of the Civilians. For this he is highly extolled by Thuanus ; and he afterwards wrote a lively description of the abuses of a monastic life.

Calvin made great progress in the civil law; and pursued his private studies in the holy Scriptures with equal success. He was incited to the latter by Melchior Wolmar, who was professor of Greek at Bourges, and secretly a Lutheran. Wolmar made Calvin a master of the Greek language; and Calvin afterwards dedicated to him his comment upon the second epistle to the Corinthians; as he had done that upon the Thessalonians to his Latin master Corderius.

While Calvin was studying the civil law at Bourges, he preached several sermons in a neighbouring town called Liveria : But his father died in 1582: on which account he returned to Paris, in the twenty-third year of his age, with a resolution to make divinity his principal study. Soon after he came back to Paris, he wrote a commentary upon Seneca's treatise, De Clementia. After residing a few months at Paris, Calvin became acquainted with all those who professed the reformed religion ; and particularly with Stephen Forgeus, an eminent merchant, who afterwards sealed the truth with his blood. Francis I. was equally desirous with the pope to abolish the pragmatic sanction made by Charles VII. composed of the degrees and canons of the council of Bale, which restored the ancient free

dom

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