Imágenes de páginas

most powerful kings of Europe, Ferdinand of Spain, and Henry 2 of France. The republic of Geneva would, perhaps, have been destroyed this year, had not the plans of the papists, who abused the unsuspecting disposition of Henry, been providentially prevented. Henry undoubtedly enacted the most severe laws against the protestants, and imprisoned some of the senators, who contended only for mildness in religious affairs, until a general council should be convened. The first step proposed to be taken for the destruction of Geneva was the restoring of the territory of Savoy to its former governor the duke. Calvin, though feeble in body, steadily continued his labours in Geneva, confirmed the churches most severely afflicted by such a trial, together with all the brethren, and never ceased during this eventful period, to solicit aid from the Lord with unremitted and importunate supplications. But, behold ! in the midst of this terror, whose powerful influence extended in all directions, both near and remote, the King of France, in preparing for the celebration of the nuptials which confirmed the peace, received a mortal wound in a tournament, inflicted by the hand of the prefect of the royal guards, to whom the king had a short time before given orders to arrest those senators who pleaded for mild treatment in religious transactions. The following conduct of Cardinal Lorrain showed his wish to appear desirous to expiate the untimely fate of King Henry, by causing Annes du Bourge to undergo the most unjust death on the 21st of December, a counsellor of the most extensive learning, a senator of the most unshaken integrity, and of the most distinguished holiness, who at last suffered as a martyr for Christ.

Geneva, however, by the peculiar favour of God, during that very period,- ,-a circumstance almost beyond the bounds of credibility, as if the Lord had again repeatedly caused a most shining light to arise from the midst of the thickest darkness, —was inspired with such confidence, that in the very year, and almost moment, when those powerful princes were conspiring for its destruction, the inhabitants, encouraged by Calvin, erected splendid buildings for a public seminary. Eight masters for youth, and several public professors of Hebrew and Greek, philosophy and divinity, adorned this college. It was dedicated in a solemn-manner, before a full assembly of the people, in the first church of that city, to the most high and holy God, where the laws which related to the object of this nost useful and pious institution, and its perpetual confirmation, were for the first time read and published.

In the following year Calvin was invidiously accused by some, of having excited certain leaders against Francis 2nd, heir of the kingdom of France, in the disastrous tumults which took place between the papists and protestants at Amboise. Calvin, however, I know for a certainty, had never been made acquainted with this insurrection, and he always openly disapproved, in conversation, as well as by letters sent to his friends, of such violent attempts on the part of the reformed.

Francis Stancarus, of Mantua, as if Italy was doomed to be ruinous to the religious prosperity of Poland, began this year to propagate the opinion, that “Christ was Mediator only according to the flesh,”' and to accuse all those of Arianism

“ Christ was Mediator in his divine nature," as if the supporters of this doctrine made the Son inferior to the Father.

Melancthon, Peter Martyr, and others, refuted, with much solidity of reasoning, this opinion, and calum. nious-view of Christ's mediatorial character. On the application of the Poles, Calvin also at that time exposed in a very brief, but nervous manner, the fallacy of that error. He at the same time foresaw on this occasion, what afterwards actually happened, that some inexperienced writers on this controversy, if they were not very circumspect, would, from a zeal to refute Stancarus, be in danger of vindicating the heresy of the Tritheists, and he expressly guarded them against Blandrata, and his followers, who had adopted this

who said,

view. He was desirous to induce them to maintain the belief that Christ was Mediator in both natures, without multiplying his divinity. This advice, however, had no effect on such as were determined on ruin.

At this time also the Christian brethren, commonly called Waldenses of Bohemia, proposed certain questions to Calvin by two of their number sent to visit him. He satisfied their scruples, as was meet and right, in a kind manner,

and exhorted them to enter into a close union with the other churches. At the same time many of the French reformers, after the death of Queen Mary, took refuge in England, relying upon the striking piety and humanity of her most serene highness Queen Elizabeth. The emigrants, with the consent of Edmund Grindal, Bishop of London, requested a minister should be sent from Geneva, for the purpose of establishing a French church there; and Nicholas Gallar was appointed to go to London for that purpose.

At the conclusion of the year 1560, Francis Second, King of France, died very suddenly, and at the very moment when in the midst of general despair, the protestants of that kingdom looked only to God for help.

Scarcely had Charles the 9th, yet a child, commenced his reign, when letters, written in his name, were brought to Geneva by a herald, in which he complained, that persons, sent from that city, were exciting disturbances in his kingdom. He requested their immediate recal, stating, that he would not pass over such a very just ground for revenge, if they refused to comply. Calvin, summoned by the senate, in his own name, and that of his colleagues, returned as answer, that at the request of the French churches, they had advised and exhorted men of tried faith, and unimpeachable life and conversation, and on whose qualifications for such a purpose they relied, to be in readiness to assist their country, when soliciting the aid of their own people in the sacred cause of establishing a pure church. In undertaking this measure, they had not intended to excite disturbances in the

state, but to teach the gospel of peace; and they were prepared, if any other accusation were alleged against them, to answer their opponents in the presence of the king himself. This business proceeded no further. Calvin and myself answered this year a work written by Tileman Heshusius, a most light and unreasonable author. Calvin afterwards rofuted the blasphemies then published at Lyons by Valentine Gentilis, against the creed of St. Athanasius. Calvin, in the dedication of his Lectures on the prophet Daniel to the French churches, declares, as in a prophetic voice, that tempestuous and severe trials were hanging over their heads. At this very time a conference between the Romish prelates and the reformed ministers was held at Poissy, when Beza, in this august assembly of the realm, presented to King Charles 9th the confession of faith approved by the French churches, and many promised themselves the speedy subversion of popery. During this session Francis Baldwin, afterwards denominated Changeling, because he had altered his religious sentiments at least three, if not four, times, and who before the last melancholy disaster that befel the French churches on the 24th of August, 1572, as appeared from the testimony of men of the greatest virtue and piety, was very desirous even then to be united with the protestants, and letters to this effect, written by the good Baldwin himself, were produced at the synod. He, being suborned by Cardinal Lorrain, and reconciled to the King of Navarre by base intrigues, offered a book to sale in the palace, published either by himself, or more probably by Cassander, who assumed the name pious and moderate, which was worse than the Interim of Charles the 5th, because, under the mask of moderation, it defended all the corruptions of popery. Calvin, being informed by Beza of this circumstance, published a refutation of this work, to which soon after some additions were made, that disclosed

every one the character and intention of Baldwin. This answer of Calvin, and another by Beza, excited the indignation of the lawyer, who continued, during the remainder of


his life, to attack Calvin in the most vile manner.

He died, and at the same time ceased railing, in the year 1574, equally odious to God, to papists, and protestants, who had been so frequently deceived by him, in the act either of carrying on a certain law-suit in Paris, or pining away with envy, when he saw another person chosen in preference to himself, for the purpose of accompanying Henry the 3rd on his journey into Poland. In the year 1562, the French churches not only enjoyed peace, but toleration, sanctioned on certain terms by the royal edict itself. The King of Navarre was afterwards, by the artifices of the papists, suborned, when the Duke of Guise sounded the trumpet, perpetrated the horrid massacre at Vassy, and commenced, under such auspices, that civil war which continued during twelve years to involve wretched France in the horrors of one general conflagration. Language can convey no idea of the number and extent of cares on account of the afflictions of the church, which grieved Calvin's mind, whose bodily infirmities were likewise so much increased, that it might even then be easily foreseen he was hastily advancing to a better state of existence. He, still, however continued to comfort and encourage such as suffered under affliction, and to preach, and deliver lectures on divinity. Calvin, this year, in the name of the Prince of Conde, and of all the pious, presented a very beautiful confession of faith to the states of the empire, then assembled at Franckfort, as an answer to the calumnies which had been circulated in Germany, concerning the reformers.

It affords us satisfaction-to mention, in this place, a circumstance that deserves to be stated. On the 19th of December, which was the Sabbath, the north wind having been unusually high for two days, Oalvin (although- cona fined to bed by the gout) said, in the hearing of a nitmber of friends, “I know not indeed what it means; I thought I heard last night a very loud sound of drums used in war, and I could not divest myself of the opinion that it was a reality. I entreat you let us pray, for some event of

« AnteriorContinuar »