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day. Henry IV. of France, was the son of this queen. He was the first prince of the blood, and chief of the house of Bourbon, when he succeeded Henry III. in whom the line of Valois beca..e extinct. This prince was born a Calvinist, which religion he really loved, without being a bigot: But he found it impossible, notwithstanding aji his victories and virtues, to get posscssion of his kingdom without abandoning Calvinism. After his conversion to the Romanists, gratitude would not permit him to seck the destruction of the Huguenots, to whom he was indebted for his crown : But if he had been inclined to make the attempt, it is more than probable that he would have miscarried. He therefore cherished, and protected the Protestants.
So far it has been thought necessary to give a concise account of the family of Navarre, which protected Calvin, and promoted the work of the Reformation.
When Calvin retired to Xaintonge, he got the friendship of Lewis du Tillet, canon of Angoulesme, at whose request he composed some short Christian exhortations, which were read as homilies in some parishes, to accustom the people gradually to search after the truth. He went from Angoulesme to Poitiers, where he got new disciples, to whom he administered the sacrament in caves and grote toes. He paid Stapulensis a visit at Nerac in Gascony, and returned to Paris in 1534, at the time that Roussel and Coraldus were banished that city, and orders were issued for apprehending the Reformers. Servetus was then at Paris, where he dispersed his books against the Trinity; in which he was opposed by Calvin, who agreed to engage in a dispute with him ; but Servetus would not appear at the appointed conference.
Francis I. was accused of having shewn too much indulgence to the Reformers: But Mezerai has refuted this accusation. Davila laid the charge in these words : « The
belief of Calvin began to spread in the reign of this 1 king, whether he allowed it, or took no notice of it.' The French historian convicts this Italian of forgetfulness cr partiality: "What! says he, to make six or seven (severe edicts to stifle it, to convoke the clergy several "times, to assemble a provincial council, to be continu(ally sending ambassadors to all the princes in Christendom to have a general one called ; to burn heretics by dozens, to send them to the gallies by hundreds, and "to banish them by thousands : Can this be said to allow, or take no notice of it? Are these bare resolutions, or
o real performances ?' Another French writer says, that
this king burnt a great many Lutherans ; and spared (none that he could discover : Yet he took Geneva under
his protection ;' which was the metropolis of the reformed, and their mother church. This is one of the most common scenes of the craft or cunning of the world. Sovereign princes, in all ages, have played thus with religion ; and they play this game still; for they persecuţe at home, a religion which they support abroad. You must not infer from hence, that they have no religion : For the inference would be false; they are often religious even to bigotry. What then can be the reason of this ? They have a greater regard for the temporal interest of their dominions, than for the kingdom of Jesus Christ. "I do not, (says Bayle,) except the pope himself.' Nor indeed, need he.
This persecution made Calvin resolve to quit France as soon as he had published a treatise at Orleans concerning the Psychopannychia, against those who believe the soul sleeps, after leaving the body, to the day of judgment, He chose Basil for the place of his retreat, where he was accompanied by his brother Anthony Calvin, and Lewis du Tillot. He coon contracted a particular friendship with Grynæus and Capito, with whom he studied Hebrew. He was not greedy of praise ; yet was obliged to publish his « Christian Institution,” which he dedicated to Francis I. This work contributed greatly to his reputation; and his dedicatory epistic is one of those prefatory pieces so much admired like Casaubon's preface to Polybius, and the dedication of Thuanus. It was dated from Basil, the first of August, 1536 ; and the whole was intended as the specimen of a very large work. For Francis I. by his cruel executions, had greatly disgusted the German princes, who had espoused the gospel, and whose friendship he courted; therefore, he contrived this only cunning expedient to declare to them, that he had only proceeded against Anabaptists, who set up their enthusiasm against the word of GOD, and contemned all magistracy. • Cal. “vin was not able to bear this reflection cast upon the true • religion, and took occasion to print that book; in my r opinion, (says Beza) an incomparable one.' The author afterwards retouched his « Christian Institution,” and rendered it so excellent in Latin, that it was admired even by Scaliger. The work was divided into four books, and contained eighty chapters. It was first printed at Basil in 1535; but the preface was dated from thence the first of August, 1536, and it was afterwards translated into almost all the European languages.
When Calvin had published this book, he made a journey into Italy, to wait on the duchess of Ferrara, the daughter of Lewis XII. She was a princess of exemplary piety, and a favourer of the Reformation. Calvin met with a very gracious reception from her : But the duke of Ferrara would not suffer him to continue long with his duchess; and he returned into France, to settle his affairs in that kingdom, from whence he prepared to set out for Strasburgh, or Basil, accompanied by Anthony Calvin, the only brother he had living.
The war had left no other passage, but through the duke of Savoy's dominions, which obliged them to take that course. This seemed a particular direction of Providence, that designed him for Geneva, where he was kindly entertained by William Farel, who detained him there, as it were, by an order from above. Farel was a Frenchman, and a Reformer, who, like Calvin, fled from his native country, to avoid the persecution of the Papists. He received the hand of fellowship from Zuinglius, Oecolampadius, Bucer, and Capito, among whom he greatly distinguished himself by his zeal for the Reformation. He disputed against Popery in Geneva, from whence he was obliged to retire by the violence of the great vicar and other ecclesiastics : But he was recalled there in 1534, by the inhabitants, who had renounced the Romish church; and he was the principal instrument of the entire suppression of popery, which happened in that city the next year.
Farel was a man of a truly heroic spirit, and used a great many arguments to prevail with Calvin to stay and assist him at Geneva, rather than proceed any farther. Calvin was unwilling to continue there, till Farel said to him, '- Behold, I declare to you, in the name of Almighty
God, that unless you will here become fellow-labourer " in the work of the Lord, his curse will be upon you,
for seeking yourself rather than Christ.' Peter Viret seconded Farel, and Calvin then submitted to the judgement of the presbytery and magistrates ; by whose suffrages, together with the consent of the people, he was chosen preacher, and divinity professor. He complied with the latter, and would have declined the former; but he was obliged to undertake both functions. Calvin after, wards called Farel his «s fellow-labourer, to whom the " Genevese owed even themselves; that he was the father
“ of their liberty, and the founder of their church.” This year was remarkable for a stricter league between Bern and Geneva; as also for the establishment of the gospel at Lausanne, where a free disputation was held between the Papists and Protestants, at which Calvin was present.
In 1537, Calvin successfully opposed the Anabaptists in a public conference, and confuted Peter Caroli, who had accused him and his brethren, of holding particular opinions concerning the Trinity. He also wrote two letters into France, to confirm the Protestants in their faith: One of them, directed to Nicholas Cheminus, was an exhortation to avoid idolatry; and the other was to Gerald Roussel, lately made bishop of Oleron, against the popish priesthood. He made all the people solemnly swear to a form of faith, and abjure popery. He also drew up a catechism, which he caused to be taught in Geneva ; and he endea. voured to reconcile the principal families which had been divided into several factions.
Hooker has given the full character of Calvin, as head of the Genevan discipline. "A founder it had, whom for
mine own part, I think incomparably the wisest man « that ever the French church did enjoy, since it enjoyed
him. His bringing up was in the study of the civil law. · Divine knowledge he gathered not by hearing or read• ing so much, as by teaching others : For though thou.
sands were debtors to him, as touching knowledge in « that kind ; yet he to none, but only to God, the au<thor of that blessed fountain, the book of life; and of the admirabie dexterity of wit, together with the helps
of other learning, which were his guides ; till being s occasioned to leave France, he fell at the length upon
Geneva, which city the bishop and clergy thereof had oa little before forsaken, as some do affirm; being of « likelihood frighted with the people's sudden attempt, • for the abolishment of the Popish religion. At the « coming of Calvin thither, the form of their civil regi(ment was popular, as it continueth to this day ; veither king, nor duke, nor nobleman, of any authority or power over them ; but officers chosen by the people, yearly out of themselves, to order all things with public consent. For spiritual government they had no laws at ali agreed upon; but did what the pastors of their souls by persuasion could win them unto. Calvin considered how dangerous it was, that the whole .estate of that church should hang still on so slender a thread, as the liking of an ignorant multitude, if it have power to
change < change whatsoever itself liketh. Wherefore taking unto s him two of the other ministers for more countenance of • the action, albeit the rest were all against it, they moved " and persuaded the people to bind themselves by solemn
oath, first, never to admit the papacy amongst them " again; and, secondly, to live in obedience unto such or
ders, concerning the exercise of their religion, and the <form of their ecclesiastical government, as those their I true and faithful ministers oi God's word, had, agree<ably to Scripture, set down to that end and purpose.' Hence it appears, how extremely false and unjust the cr. clamations of the Papists against Calvin are, that he subverted the government, and turned the state of Geneva into confusion; whereas the truth is, the bishop of Geneva, who, like some other prince-bishops in Germany, claimed the office of ruler, was expelled long before Calvin's arrival; and as the government was modelled into its democratic form, previous to his residence, he did not believe that he had any divine authority to alter the civil constitution, if it had ever been in his power.
This reformation of doctrine's had not removed that corruption of nianners which had prevailed in Geneva; nor that factious spirit which had so much divided the principal families. Therefore Calvin, assisted by his colleagues Farel and Caroldus, declared, that as all their remonstrances had proved ineffectual, they could not celebrate the holy sacrament while those disorders continued. They also agreed, that they would no longer submit to the constitutions that the synod of Bern had made ; and they desired to be heard in the synod which was held at Zurick.
The church of Geneva made use of ieavened bread in the communion : They had removed the baptismal fonts out of the churches; and abolished all festivals except Sundays. But the churches of the canton of Bern disapproved of these three things; and, by an act made in the synod of Lausanne, required that the use of unleavened bread, the baptismal fonts, and the festivals should be reestablished in Geneva. These were the regulations with which Calvin refused to comply. It was the manner of those times, says Hooker, that every particular church did that within itself, which some few of their own thought good, by whom the rest were all directed. Such num“bers of churches then being, though free within them
selves, yet smail, comnion conference before-hand might • have eased them of much after-trouble. But it bred a