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prehended at Geneva till August ly express the atrocity of such 13th. It is thus more than impieties, and exhort our senate probable, that he was five or six to severity ; those of Schaffhausweeks, at least, at Geneva, as his en are of the same opinion. The safety was every inoment en- letter from the ministers of Bern dangered while he remained is confirmed by another from within reach of Popish violence. the senate, a circumstance which He besides declined returning to greatly encourages our council. Vienne, when the Council de He
condemned without manded him, preferring the hesitation or controversy. Tochance of a more lenient sentence morrow he will be brought to froin the reformed church. But punishment. We have attemptthe principles of toleration were ed to get the manner of his death then unknown; even the Proto altered, but in vain."* This estants retained a portion of the letter, though written in the full persecuting spirit of Rome ; and confidence of friendship, conthe constitution of Geneva, in tains no appearance either of particular, not only permitted, enmity against Servelus, or of but required the punishment of joy at his condemnation, but a heretics. So closely connected simple statement of facts, which were the civil and ecclesiastical prove, that the right of punishlaws, that sedition and heresying heretics with death was the were convertible terms at Gene
common sentimentofChristians: va. In 1536, accordingly, all who and instead of being marked by did not submit to the discipline expressions of cruelty, it rather of the church, were subjected to gives a favourable view of Calcivil excommunication, being de- vin's mildness. In another letprived of their rights of citizen- ter, this feature is still niore apship. In 1558, also, Gentilis parent. Convinced of the justescaped death, only by a recanta
ness of the accusations brought tion of his errors.
against Servetus, he saw that the The sentence denounced a- law of the state could not be gainst Servetus, was not the ef- suspended, yet wished the punfect of momentary heat among ishment annexed to his crime by the people, or of personal enmi- the law, to be mitigated.f ty in Calvin, but the result of The intolerance, therefore, solemn deliberation, and of the of the age, not the cruelty of unanimous advice of the reform- Calvin, (says Sennebier, whose ed churches. In a letter to Fare apology for this reformer merits el, Calvin writes thus : “ The the fuller credit from their being messenger has returned from the Swiss.- They declare with one
• Calvini Epistol. p. 72. col. 1. consent, that Servetus has re
oper. tom. ix. - The letters from the newed those impious errors with churches of Bazil and Schaffhausen, which Satan formerly disturbed and from the ministers and senate of the church, and that he is a Bern, are in the same collection, p. monster not to be endured. The 72–74.
† Spero capitale saltem fore judi. people of Basil are cordial in the
cium ; pæne vero atrocitatem remitti matier ; those of Zurich are the cupio. Calv. Epist. p. 70. col. 1. oper. most vchement, for they strong. tom. ix.
different theological city. Let us remember, that sentiments) dictated the sen- Calvin, and all the magistrates tence, October 27, that Servetus of Geneva, in the year 1553, should be burnt alive. Castalio were born and bred up in the alone had the courage to write a church of Rome. This is the dissertation against the punish- best apology that can be made ment of heretics, which, though for them.”+ he was at Basil, he thought it After this period, Calvin's life necessary for his own safety to was comparatively quiet and publish under the feigned name peaceful. The disputes concernof Bellius. But Servetus per- ingdiscipline were sometimes insisted to defend his opinions in deed revived, and the senate for blasphemous language : the laws a season took the power of exof the times could not be viola- communication into their own ted; and, therefore, the endeav- hands, but tranquillity was soon ours of some to satisfy them again restored. The number of selves with his banishment, and strangers gradually increased in of Calvin to render his punish- Geneva, and the English who ment less cruel, had no effect. took resuge there, from the perIt is certain, Calvin deplored secution of Queen Mary, were Servetus' fate ; and the disputes allowed to found a church, with in prison were managed with their own liturgy and ecclesiastimuch greater moderation on his cal goverment, as the Italians. side, than on that of the pannel. had done in 1551 : but when Calvin's situation was peculiarly Elizabeth ascended the throne, delicate; Roman Catholics accus- and revived the Protestant reed him of dangerous theologi- ligion, they thanked the magis. cal errors. Their eyes were trates for their protection, and fixed upon
him ; and had he re- returned to their own country. mained an indifferent spectator In 1556 Calvin was seized of the process against Servetus, with a quartan ague, which gave they would have pronounced him a shock to his constitution, al. a favourer of his opinions. Add ready debilitated and worn out to this, had Servetus escaped, his with his incessant labours, apxiegross and abusive charges against ty, and study, from the effects of Calvin would have appeared well- which he never wholly recoverfounded ; and Calvin's adversa-' ed: but the flame of life was not ries would have availed them- yet extinguished, its ardour again selves of that advantage, for ruin- revived, and he lived to publish ing his influence."* To con- his commentary on Isaiah, and clude, “ if the Roman Catholics the last edition of his Institutions had never put any person to in French and Latin ; and to death for the sake of religion, prepare for the press his annotaServetus had never been con- tions on the five books of Moses, demned to die in any Protestant containing his ingenious harmo
ny of the law. After several Sepnebier's Hist. Liter. de Gene. ve, quoted and abridged by Dr. Er
of decliving health, during
years skine.-Sketches of Ch. Hist. Vol. II. No. xi. in which article the substance + Memoirs of Literature, Vol. 1. p. of the above vindication is to be found. 138.
which he remitted none of those faithful discharge of my duty ; labours which bodily strength al- and unless the unmeasurable lowed bim to continue, on the bounty of God had been present, 6th of February, 1564, he preach- all my study would have been ed his last sermon. For ten vain and transient ; for which years together he had abstained causes I witness and declare, from animal food at dinner, as that I hope for no other security the only certain preventive of vi- of my salvation than this, that olent headachs, to which he had seeing God is the Father of merlong been subject. When his cy, he may shew himself such a ague left him, he was seized with l'ather to me, who acknowledge the gout in his right limb; then myself a miserable sinner.” with the cholic, and last of all He wished to meet with the with the stone. Yet, under this senators once more in public ; complication of disorders, he but on account of his state of never uttered a word expressive health, they rather waited on of murinuring or impatience ; him. He then addressed them only lifting up his eyes to heaven, in words of gratitude, admonihe used to say, “ How long tion, and consolation : “ WhethLord,” an expression to which he er your affairs be prosperous or was accustomed, when be heard adverse, let this be always before of any calamities, befalling the your eyes, that God alone can church of Christ. On the 27th establish kingdoms and cities, of March, he was carried in his and that he requires mortals to chair to the senate, when he worship him in that character. presented to them a new rector I exhort the aged not to envy for the academy; he then un- the young, who may have recovered his head, and thanked ceived from the Lord more them for all the kindness they splendid talents than themselves; had shown him, particularly in and the young I warn against his sickness : “ For I feel (said vanity and pride, beseeching he) this is the last time that I them to be modest in their behashall come into this place.” viour." Afterwards, he set be
On the 2d of April, being Eas. fore them the great danger of ter-clay, he was carried to the error in doctrine, as leading to church, and received the sacra- corruptions in practice ; and conment from the hands of Beza, cluded with a solemn prayer for his colleague, both in the minis- every blessing that might protry and the academy. He made mote their individual happiness, his will on the 25th, in which he and the best interests of the comdeclared his firm adherence to monwealth. They departed in the doctrine of salvation by the tears, as from a last interview cross of Christ, as the only with their common father. foundation of all his hopes of On the 28th, he spoke to the pardon and eternal life. " Alas! ministers of Geneva, of the grace (says be) my study and my zeal which he had received to be faith(if worthy of that name) have ful in his trust; encouraged them been so languid and remiss, that to stand fast in the same grace, I confess innumerable things and bade them farewel, with ma. have been wanting in me to the dy tears and fervent prayers to God in their behalf. Being in- did mourn as a dove.” Once formed that his old friend and also he was heard to say, “Lord, fellow-labourer, Farel, though thy hand is heavy on me, but sickly, was on his way, from I am abundantly satisfied beNeufchatel, to see him before cause it is thy hand.” He conhis death, he thus wrote to him: tinued in life till the 27th of * Farewel, my best, and most May, towards the evening of upright brother ; since God is which day, he quietly breathed pleased to continue you longer in out his spirit into the hands of the world than me, live mindful his Saviour and his God. of our connexion, which was Thus lived, and thus died, profitable to the church of God, John Calvin, justly styled, the and the fruit of which is await- terror of Rome, and the aposing us in heaven. I would not, tle, not of Geneva only, but of that you would fatigue yourself the reformed churches. The for my sake. I with difficulty day following his death, the breathe, and daily expect that my whole city was in the deepest respiration will cease. It is affliction. Every one lamented enough that I live and die to over their illustrious citizen ; Christ, who is gain to his own, the church deplored the decease both in life and death ; again of their faithful pastor ; the acadfarewel. May 11, 1564.
emy mourned the loss of their Farel, however, accomplished renowned teacher; in a word, all bis journey, saw Calvin, renew- wept at being deprived of him, ed with him that friendship whom, next to God, they regardwhich even death cannot dissolve, ed as their common parent and but which will be cemented with benefactor. His body was atthe perfection of bliss in the tended to the grave, by the senaheavenly world, and returned tors, the ministers, the professagain to Neufchatel. After ibis, ors, the students, and almost the Calvin spent his remaining days whole city ; and laid in a com almost wholly in prayer, which mon cemetry, without any exhis difficulty in breathing pre- traordinary pomp, or parade. vented from being articulate ; According to his own request, but the frequent elevation of his no monument was erected to his eyes, and the serenity of his memory : a plain stone only, countenance bespoke the comfort without any inscription, was laid of his mind, and the solemnity on his grave. This called forth of his employment.
a few verses from Beza, of which sometimes heard to use the the following are a translation ; words of David, “ Lord, I open- and which, though not free from ed not my mouth, because thou the partiality of friendship, are didst it:' and of Isaiah, “I worthy to be preserved.
Why in this humble and unnotic'd tomb
'Twas Modesty, bis constant friend on earth,
Happy the grassy spot that marks his worth,
Calvin's stature was of the God*.” He has been accused of middle size, his complexion ambition. Yes, says Beza, and dark, his eye bright and penetra- he aimed at establishing a new ting. His dress was plain with papacy, for he preferred this out being mean ; his diet simple manner of life, this republic, and and sparing. But his mind was in fine, this church, which may be what distinguished him from the well called a warehouse of pover. bulk of mankind. His original ty, to every other situation and talents were great, and his pro- place. He laboured to accumugressive acquirements astonish- late wealth. Yes ! for his whole ing. His mind was acute, and effects, notwithstanding his lidiscerned almost intuitively, the brary was sold very dear, scarce connexions of reasoning, and amounted to 300 crowns, so that the relation of one subject to his own words may be justly another. His judgment was sol- used : “ If I cannot in my lifeid and perspicacious ; his mem- time persuade some people, that ory at once quick and retentive. I am not avaricious, my death His learning was so extensive will convince them.”+ The and profound, that even Scaliger, senate could testify, that though whose parsimony of praise is his salary was very small, he was well known, affirmed, that he so far from being dissatisfied was not only one of the most ex- with it, that he persisted in refusalted characters that the world ing to have it increased. His had seen since the days of the love to the truth was in vincible ; apostles, but that at the age of his diligence in acquiring it unatwenty-two, he was the most bated by public duty, or private learned man in Europe. His ar distress ; his anxiety to make it dour was invincible, and though known to others was discovered be, perhaps, discovered less when bodily strength had failed courage in his conduct than Lų. him, and ceased only with the ther, he was equally bold in his spark of life. In his sermons writings. His temper was nate and speeches, his manner was urally irritable, and it must be grave and commanding; he adacknowledged, that it sometimes dressed the understanding of his Murried him into intemperance audience more than their affecof language. But, as he advan- tions, and convinced them by the ced in life, grace asserted its power of reasoning, rather than power over nature, and rendered by the graces of persuasion. him comparatively gentle and When Farel spoke, it was, like forbearing. Of this we have a thunder, rousing, awful, overremarkable proof, in his express- powering : Viret, like Nestor, ions concerning Luther, who was calm, and gently persuasive : had called him by many strong Calvin ultered sentences in aland unbecoming names, on ac- most as many words, such was count of his rejecting the doc- the strength and terseness of trine of consubstantiation : “ If his language. Like a true ser: Luther should even call me a devil, so much do I revere him,
* Epist. ad Bullinger. Op. tom. ir that I should always own him tó p. 239. col. 2.
+ Prefat. ad Comment in Psico, be an illustrious servant of Oper. tom. iä.