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« greater inconvenience ; because every later endeavoured r to be certain degrees more removed from conformity < with the church of Rome, than the rest had been:
Whereupon grew marvellous great dissimilitudes; and, " by reason thereof jealousies, heart-burnings, jars, and « discords among them; which notwithstanding might s have been easily prevented, if the orders that each church in did think fit and convenient for itself, had not been so • peremptorily established , under that high commanding <form which tendered them to the people, as things ever<lastingly required by the law of that Lord of Lords, r against whose statutes there is no exception to be taken. « For by this mean it came to pass, that one church could 6 not but accuse and condemn another of disobedience to
the will of Christ, in those things where manifest dif= ference was between them: Whereas the same orders " allowed, but established in a more wary and suspense
manner, as being to stand in force till GOD should “ give the opportunity of some general conference, what "might be best for them afterwards to do; this had both * prevented all occasion of just dislike which others might "take, and reserved a greater liberty unto the authors « themselves of entering into a farther consultation afterrwards; which, though never so necessary, they could < not easily now admit, without some fear of derogation
from their credit; and therefore that which once they
had done, they became for ever after resolute to main« rain. Calvin, therefore, and the other two his associates, < stiflly refusing to administer the holy communion to such
who would not quietly, without contradiction and mur(mur, submit themselves unto the orders which their so. • lemn oath had bound them to obey, were, in that quarrel, banished the town.'
The Syndics of Geneva summoned the people in 1538 ; and Calvin, Farel, and Courant, presented themselves before the council, offering to make good their confession of faith. The Syndics favoured the discontented party, and were catholics in their hearts. The council, under pretence of preserving the liberties and privileges of the city; and because Calvin and his friends would not conform to the custom of Bern in celebrating the communion, made an order to enjoin those three members to leave the city in three days. When this decree was brought to Calvin, he baid!, « Truly, if I had served men, I should have had an sé all reward : But it is well that I have served him, who
i and had a French himp
« doth always perform to his servants what he hath once « promised.” .
Calvin had no maintenance from the city, and lived at his own expence. He went to Basil, and from thence to Strasburgh, where Bucer and Capito gave him every mark of their esteem. He was also caressed by Hedio, and other learned men, who procured him permission from the magistrates to set up a French church, of which he became the pastor, and had a competent maintenance allowed him there. He was also made professor of divinity, which frustrated the expectation of the see of Rome; as Calvin settled in a new place, and a new church was erected, for the former, subverted.
While Calvin was absent from Geneva, cardinal Sadolet wrote an eloquent letter to the inhabitants of that city, to exhort them to return into the bosom of the Romish church, Calvin answered that letter in 1539 ; in which he manifested his affection for the church of Geneva, and disappointed the views which the bishop of Carpentras had entertained in his fine artful letter to that state.
So far would the popes and the ecclesiastics have been from abandoning their beloved interests, founded upon ignorance and superstition, that a bloody inquisition would have been established, not only in Italy and Spain, but in all Christian countries, which would have smothered and extinguished for ever those lights which then began to sparkle. Lutheranism gained such strength and stability, that it prevented the tyranny of an inquisition in Germany, and the Reformation of Calvin secured the liberty of other countries.
Peter Castellan, great almoner of France under Francis I. was so scandalized at the corruptions which he observed in the court of Rome, that he could not think, or speak of them without indignation. He pushed the matter so far, that he believed religion was but a mere farce at Rome, which they made use of to deceive the world, to preserve dominion. Calvin has not said much more of it; Calvin, says Bayle, who has been so much insulted, and so often called an egregious calumniator, for having made use of these words regarding the popes and cardinals : « The « first article of their sacred theology is, that there is no « God: The second, that all that is written, and preached,
of Jesus Christ, is but falsehood and idle talk : The “ third, that all that is contained in scripture concerning “ eternal life, and the resurrection of the body, are fables," Castellan said much the same; for when he was
describing the wanton lusts, avarice, and rapaciousness, of the Roman pontiffs ; their contempt of religion; the pride, luxury, and laziness of the cardinals, their riotous feastings, and other vices, which he had observed in the court of Rome, while he was there with the bishop of Auxerre the French ambassador, he would be moved with so much indignation, that not only the colour in his face, but the very motions and gestures of his body would be changed: Insomuch, that he would often say, he was fully persuaded that the popes themselves, the supreme heads of religion, contaminated with so many vices of their own, and those about them, did not sincerely, and from their hearts, worship Christ.
Luther, Bucer, Calvin, and other bright stars which shone in the reformed church, were to enlighten this gloom, The divines of Strasburgh desired Calvin to assist at the diet the emperor had called at Worms and Ratisbon in 1541, to see if it was possible to reconcile the differences in religion. He appeared there with Bucer, and conferred with Melancthon, who called him his divine. The time was now come for establishing the church at Geneva, by recalling Calvin. The Syndics who had promoted the decree of banishment were dead or banished ; and the people were not before so willing to be rid of their learned pastor, as now importunate to obtain him again from them who had given him entertainment, and were unwilling to part with him, if irresistible solicitations had not been used.
One of the town ministers, who saw in what manner the people were inclined for the recalling of Calvin, gave him notice of their affection in this sort "The senate r of two hundred being assembled, they all desire Calvin. « The next day a general convocation; they all cry, we ( will have Calvin, that good and learned man, the mi. ( nister of Christ.' When Calvin understood this, he praised God, and judged it was the call of heaven. He said, It is marvellous in our eyes : for the stone which the builders refused, was made the head of the corner. In his absence he had persuaded them, with whom he was able to prevail, that though he more approved of common bread to be used in the eucharist ; yet they should rather accept the other, than cause any trouble in the church about it.
The people saw that the name of Calvin increased every day greater abroad ; and that, with his fame, their infamy was spread, who had ejected him with such rashness and
folly. Besides, it was not unlikely, (says Hooker) but " that his credit in the world might many ways stand the < poor town in great stead : As the truth is, their minister's · foreign estimation hath been the best stake in their hedge. < But whatever secret respects were likely to move them, r. for contenting of their minds, Calvin returned, as it had been another Tully, to his own home.'
He re-entered Geneva, (leaving Brulius to succeed him in the French court at Strasburgh) on the thirteenth of September, 1541, to the infinite satisfaction of the people and magistracy; and the first thing he did, was to establish a form of discipline, and a consistorial jurisdiction, with power to exercise canonical censures and punishments, even to excommunication exclusive. This displeased many, who urged, that it was restoring the Roman tyranny: However, the thing was executed, and this new canon passed into a law, in a general assembly of the people, on the twentieth of November, 1541.
He rightly considered how gross a thing it was for men of his quality, wise and grave men, to live with such a multitude, and to be tenants at will under them, as their ministers, both himself and others, had been. For the remedy of this inconvenience, he gave them plainly to understand, that if he became their teacher again, they must be content to admit a complete form of discipline, which both they, and also their pastors, should be solemnly sworn to observe for ever after. Of which discipline the principal parts were these: A standing ecclesiastical court to be established; perpetual judges in that court to be their ministers, others of the people annually chosen, twice so many in number as they, to be judges together with them in the same court: These two sorts to have the care of all men's manners, power of determining all kind of ecclesiastical causes, and authority to convent, controul, and punish, as far as with excommunication, whoever they should think worthy; none, either small or great, excepted. This device, (says Hooker) I I see not how the wisest, at that time living, could have < bettered, if we duly consider what the state of Geneva « did then require. For their bishop and his clergy being « departed from them, to choose in his room any other « bishop had been a thing altogether impossible. And for < their ministers to seek that themselves alone might have 6 coercive power over the whole church, would perhaps « have been hardly construed at that time. But when so • frank an offer was made, that for every one minister,
< there should be two of the people to sit and give voice
in the ecclesiastical consistory, what inconvenience could < they easily find, which themselves might not be able • always to remedy? They were brought to so streight
an issue, that of two things they must choose one ; "namely, whether they would, to their endless disgrace, ( with ridiculous lightness, dismiss him, whose restitu• tion they had in so impotent a manner desired ; or else
condescend into that demand, wherein he was resolute (either to have it, or to leave them? They thought it « better to be somewhat hardly yoked at home, than dis(credited for ever abroad : Wherefore these orders were con all sides assented to; with no less alacrity of mind,
than cities unable to hold out longer, are wont to shew ( when they take conditions, such as it liketh him to • offer them, which hath them in the narrow streights of r advantage.'
The city of Geneva is situated on the river Rhone, at the west end of the lake Lemain, seventy miles south-west of Bern, and sixty miles north-east of Lyons in France. It is about two miles in circumference, and contains about thirty thousand inhabitants. The Republic of Geneva, exclusive of the city, is but of small extent, not contain. ing above eleven parishes. The city of Geneva is considerable for its situation, as well as its commerce; it being the key, and the most flourishing city of Switzerland. Doctor Burnet says, “ It is surprising to see the learning • that is here, not only among the professors of it, but (the very magistrates and trading citizens are well versed < in the Latin-tongue, mighty well acquainted with his• tory, and generally men of good sense. They have an university ; but the language of the common people is the Savoyard, or a very bad dialect of the French tongue : 'Though people of condition speak French in greater purity. Their bishop was formerly their sovereign : But when they became a Republic, the legislative authority was placed in a council of two hundred, and a senate of twenty-five, who have the executive power, or adminis. tration of the government. The territories of France and Savoy come up to the very walls of Geneva; and they must have been reduced under the dominion of one or the other, if they had not been protected by their allies, the cantons of Friburg, Bern, and Zurick, against the attacks of both.
Both the clergy and laity of Geneva engaged themselves a to a perpetual observance of the new institution made by