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the Sabbath ; to which he gave his answer in his book « Of Scandals,” dedicated to Laurence Normendius, who was his intimate friend.
Calvin, in his writings, every where declares, when he treats of the cause of sin, that the name of GOD ought not to be mentioned : Because the nature of GOD is perfectly righteous and just. "How rank a calumny is o it, then, to charge a man who hath so well deserved of " the church of GOD, with making GOD the au('thor of sin: He teaches, on all occasions, that nothing
can be without the will of GOD. He says, the wicked actions of men are so ruled by the secret judge. ment of GOD, as that he is no ways accessary to them. · The sum of what he teaches is, that GOD, in a wonderful manner, and by ways unknown to us, directs all things to whatever end he pleases. But why GOD wills what seems to us not suitable to his nature, he acknowledges to be incomprehensible: And therefore denies that it should be over-curiously and boldly searched into; because the judgınents of GOD are " a vast abyss, and mysteries beyond our reach, which rought to be adored with awful reverence. But still he
keeps to this principle; that, though the reason of his
counsel be unknown to us, the praise of righteousness is • ever to be given to GOD; because his will is the su
preme rule of equity. Let Calvin himself be heard . against the abuse which wicked men may make (for none but wicked men will attempt such an execrable business) of the doctrine of predestination. « In all our inquiries, .. “ (says he in his Institutes,) into predestination ; let us “ never fail to begin with effectual calling.” Again; « There are some who go on securely in sin, alledging, " that if they are of the number of the elect, their vices « will not hinder them from going to heaven. Such « abominable language as this is not the holy bleating of « Christ's sheep, but fædus porcorum grunnitus, the im“ pure grunting of swine. For we learn from St Paul, “ that we are elected to this very end, even to holiness, " and blamelessness of life. Now, if sanctity of life is ~ the very end, scope, and drift of election itself; it will “ follow, that the doctrine of election should awaken and “ spur us on to sanctification, instead of furnishing us . “ with a false plea for idleness.”
In 1550, Galearius Caracciola, marquis of Vico, in the kingdom of Naples, left his estate and family, and withdrew to Geneva, on account of religion. Before his ar
ival, some his conversa carmbracing open of pl
rival, some person's spread a report, that he came as a spy : But his conversation gave sufficient proof of the contrary. Bolsec, a Carmelite, who had left the order, and, under pretence of embracing the Protestant religion, had applied himself to the profession of physic and divinity, took occasion to preach up free-will, and that predestination was out of works foreseen. He charged Calvin with making GOD the author of sin, and by that means contributing to the condemnation of the wicked : As if GOD had been a Jupiter, or a tyrant ; alledging farther, that St Augustine was forcibly drawn in to be a patron of this doctrine, though he was not of that opinion, of which he warned them to take heed, as it was a new and dangerous doctrine, and of which he charged Laurentius Valla to be the author. Calvin was present at this meeting, where he heard Bolsec discourse, with admirable patience; and, after he had said as much as he could, Calvin presented himself, and answered most ingeniously to every article for the space of an hour. Besides many places which he cited out of the holy scripture, he quoted so many passages out of St Augustine, as would make a man believe he had studied no other author : So that every one admired it, and shut up all, with this saying, “ Would to GOD that he [meaning Bolsec] who “ hath so much cited St Augustine, had seen more of him « than his covering.” Farel, who was then at Geneva, made a distinct oration to confirm what Calvin had said before him ; and, to shew that they were to blame who charged them with error, Bolsec was thereupon committed to prison, where Calvin endeavoured to convince him of his error, as well by personal conference, as by letters. Soon after, by the consent of the churches of Switzerland, he was banished the city, for sedition and pelagianism. It is reported, that ten years after he recanted, in a full synod at Orleans ; yet wrote a book of Calvin's life, whicrein he very much injured his reputation. All this was the mere effect of malice, and fell by its own impotence. The great Du Moulin observes upon this occasion, that not one of Calvin's innumerable enemies ever carped at the purity of his life, but this profligate physician, whom Calvin had procured to be banished from Geneva for his wickedness and impieties. The reproach of such a man was an honour to Calvin, and especially upon such an account: For, as Milton truly says,
Of soine to be disprais’d is no small praise.
The great Thuanus, in his admirable history, though a Papist, mentions him with decency and candour ; · Calvin
(says he,) was endued with great acuteness and force I of genius, and with a wonderful faculty of eloquence ; (a very celebrated divine among the Protestants.'
Philibert Bertelier, register of the inferior court of justice at Geneva, had been suspended from the sacrament by the presbytery, on account of his vicious life : But he applied to the senate to be absolved. This was opposed, in the name of the presbytery, by Calvin, who shewed, that the Christian magistrate ought to preserve, not to destroy, the ecclesiastical constitution. Bertelier was always Calvin's enemy, because he had often reprimanded and censured him for his vicious and scandalous life, and had strenuously opposed his wicked and pernicious designs. This appears by Calvin's letters to Viret, and to Bullinger, in the months of September and November, 1553; in which he cries him down as a bad and audacious man. Beza also represents the wicked qualities of Bertelier, in Calvin's life. The clamour which was raised against the ministers, as if, in some respects, they had invaded the rights of the sovereignty, was the reason why the council of two hundred ordered, that the final judgment of causes of excommunication should belong to the senate, and that the senate might absolve the excommunicated, as they should think fit. By virtue of this decree, the senate granted letters of absolution to Bertelier, which were sealed with the seal of the republic. The sacrament was to be administered within two days. When Calvin came to hear of what had passed, he soon résolved what to do, and preached against the contempt of the sacrament. He raised his voice, lifted up his hands, and said, that he would imitate St Chrysostom; that he would not oppose force to force, but that he would rather suffer himself to be massacred, than that his hands should present the holy mysteries to those who had been judged unworthy of them. This was a thunderbolt, which confounded the faction of Bertelier; so that it was not thought fit that he should present himself to the communion. The next day after the sacrament, Calvin, accompanied by his consistory, desired leave of the senate, and of the council of two hundred, to speak to the people, about this matter, as it concerned the abrogation of a law made by the people. This made so great an impression on their minds, that it was resolved the Swiss Cantons should be consulted about it; and that the decree of the two hundred should be suspended; but that none should say the ancient regulations had been infringed. By this means the consistory obtained a complete victory over the senate, and the council of two hundred.
Calvin dispatched letters to some principal pastors in the Helvetic cities; craving earnestly at their hands to respect this affair as a thing whereon the whole state of religion and piety in that church so much depended, that the cause of GOD, and all good men, were inevitably certain to be trampled under foot, unless those cities, by their good means, might be brought to give sentence with the ministers of Geneva, when the cau e should be brought before them; and so to give it, that it might effectually contain two things; the one, an absolute approbation of the discipline of Geneva, as consonant to the word of God, without any cautions or qualifications; the other, an earnest admonition not to innovate or change the same. His vehement request here. in, as touching both points, was satisfied. For though the Helvetian churches never observed that discipline ; yet they returned proper answers to the three questions stated by the senate of Geneva: First, after what manner, by God's commandment, according to the scripture, and unspotted religion, cxcommunication should be exercised ? Secondly, whether it may not be exercised some other way than by the consistory ? Thirdly, what the use of their churches was to do in this case ? The Swiss pastors answered, that they had heard of those consistorial laws, and acknowledged them to be godly ordinances, drawing towards the prescript of the word of God; for which cause, they did not think it good for the church of Geneva, by innovation to change the same, but rather to keep them as they were. "Which answer, (says the judicious Hook« er,) although not answering to the former demands, but « respecting what Calvin judged requisite for them to an• swer, was accepted without any farther reply; inasmuch r as they plainly saw, that where stomach doth strive with « wit, the match is not equal ; and so the heat of their < former contentions began to slake.
One of the greatest uses which may be drawn from reading, is to learn the weaknesses of the heart of man, and the ill effects of prejudices in points of religion. No less a person than the great cardinal Richelieu, has produced an accusation against Calvin, on the credit of Bertelier, than which none was ever worse contrived, and worse proved ; though it has been adopted, and conveyed from book to book. Bertelier pretended, that the republic of Geneva had sent him to Noyon, with orders to make
an an exact inquiry there into Calvin's life and character ; and that he found Çalvin had been convicted of sodomy; but that, at the bishop's request, the punishment of fire was commuted into that of being branded with the Flowerde-luce. He boasted to have an act, signed by a notary, which certified the truth of the process and condemnation. Bolsec affirms, that he had seen this act; and this is the ground of that horrid accusation. Neither Bertelier, nor Bolsec, are to be credited. If Bertelier's act had not been suppositious, there would have been at Noyon, authen.tic and public testimonies of the trial and punishment in question, and they would have been published as soon as the Romish religion began to suffer by Calvin's means. Bertelier had no party against him in Geneva more inexorable than Calvin, who held him in abhorrence, on ac-, count of his vices. Bertelier was accused of sedition and conspiracy against the state and church : But he ran away, and, not appearing to answer for himself, was condemned, as being attainted and convicted of those crimes, to lose his head, by a sentence pronounced against him, the sixth of August, 1555. No envoy or deputy was ever sent from Geneva upon public business, who was not in a higher station than that of Bertelier ; besides, there were some considerable persons at Noyon, who retired to Geneva, as well as Calvin : By whose means it was very easy to re-, ceive all the information which could have been desired, without going farther. If what Bertelier said was true, he would have had his paper when he fled from Geneva : But it is plain he had not the commission he boasted of, after that time. But can any one believe, that, before the year 1555, when those who were called heretics durst not shew themselves for fear of being burnt, a deputy from Geneva should go boldly to Noyon, to inform himself of Calvin's life? Who will believe, that if Bertelier had an authentic act of Calvin's infamy in 1554, he would have kept it-so close, that the public should have no knowledge of it before 1557 ? Was it not a piece which the clergy of France would have bought for its weight in gold ? But why • (says Bayle,) do I lose time in confuting such a ridicu• lous romance ? Nothing surprises me more, than to see so - so great a person as cardinal de Richelieu, depend on this • piece of Bertelier; and allege, as his principal reason, " that the republic of Geneva did not undertake to shew < the falsehood of this piece. The truth is, this cardinal made all imaginable enquiry into the pretended proceedings against Calvin at Noyon, and that he discovered