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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 persecute 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 epistle 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. ; Calvin was not able to bear this reflection cast upon the true religion, and took occasion to print that book; in my 6 opinion, (says Beza) an incomparable one. The au. thor 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 Xn. 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 o 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 “ 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 endeavoured 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 author of that blessed fountain, the book of life, and of
the admirable dexterity of wit, together -with the helps o of other learning, which were his guides ; till being
occasioned to leave France, he fell at the length upon « Geneva, which city the bishop and clergy thereof had ca 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 regioment was popular, as it continueth to this day; neither • 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 all 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 harg 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 o 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
true and faithful ministers of God's word, had, agree! ably to Scripture, set down to that end and purpose.' Hence it appears, how extremely false and unjust the exclamations of the Papists against Calvin are, that he subverted the government, and turned the state of Geneva into confusion; whereas tie 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 doctrines had not removed that, corruption of manners 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 leavened 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 unleayened 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 numbers of churches then being, though free within themselves, yet small, common conference before-hand might have eased them of much after-trouble. But it bred a
s greater inconvenience; because every later endeavoured < to be certain degrees more removed from conformity r 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 < have been easily prevented, if the orders that each church • 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 ever6 lastingly required by the law of that Lord of Lords, • against whose statutes there is no exception to be taken. < For by this mean it came to pass, that one church could
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 after• wards; 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 main6 tain. Calvin, therefore, and the other two his associates,
stiffly 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 said, " Truly, if I had served men, I should have had an Hy ill reward ; But it is well that I have served him, who