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LIFE OF CALVIN.
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CHARACTER OF CALVIN.
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John CALVIN, Cauvin, or Chauvin, was born at Noyon, a celebrated city in Picardy, or the country adjoining, on the 10th of July, 1509. His father Gerard Calvin, and his mother Jeanne Franc, were in respectable circumstances, and of virtuous unblemished character. His father possessed a considerable share of judgment, and of skill in giving advice, and was therefore beloved by many of the nobility in that part of the country; on which account his son, though at the expense of the father, received a very liberal education with the children of the Mommors, a family of the first rank in that place.
He afterwards accompanied them to Paris for the purpose of prosecuting his studies, where he had for his tutor, in the College de la Marche, Mathurin Cordier, distinguished for learning and strict integrity. He had always been esteemed in a great number of the schools of France as an excellent teacher of youth, and died at Geneva, September 8th, 1564, (the same year with Calvin), aged 85, in the discharge of his professional duties as instructor of the youth of that city. (a)
Calvin was removed from the College de la Marche to that of Montaigu, and had for his tutor a Spaniard of no small attainments in learning, who cultivated with so much success the talents of his pupil, naturally very acute, as to advance him from the grammar class, in consequence of surpassing his
schoolfellows in this branch of education, to the study of logic, and of other, as they are termed, liberal arts. His father had from the beginning destined Calvin for the study of divinity, which he considered to be congenial with the bent of his son's inclination, because even in his tender years he was in a surprising manner devoted to religion, and a stern reprover of all the vices of his companions. Some Catholics, whose tes timony cannot be doubted, acquainted me with this fact many years after Calvin had attained great celebrity.
His father, therefore, as he had destined his son for divinity, obtained from the Bishop of Noyon a benefice in the Cathedral church, as it is termed, of that city, and afterwards the parochial cure of the village Pont l'Eveque, the birthplace of Gerard Calvin the father, from whence he had subsequently removed to the neighbouring city of Noyon. It is certain that John Calvin delivered some sermons at Pont l'Eveque to the people before he left France, or received under the papal hierarchy orders in any other way than by tonsure. This plan was interrupted by a change in the mind of both, for the father thought the law opened a surer road to riches and honours, and the son, being instructed in the pure religion by one of his relations, Robert d'Olivet, to whom the French church is indebted for a translation of the Bible from Hebrew, printed at Neuchatel, devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures, and becoming disgusted with the superstitions of the church of Rome, began to detach him. self from every sacred office in her communion. (6)
Calvin went therefore to Orleans for the purpose of prosecuting his studies in civil law, which was taught by Peter de l'Etoile, the most distinguished of all the French civilians ; and his progress in a short time was so surprising that, as he frequently supplied the chairs of the professors themselves, he was esteemed a teacher rather than a scholar. The degree of Doctor, free of expense, was offered him when on the point of leaving, with the unanimous and most flattering testimony of all the professors to his merits, and his claims upon
the University. In the midst of his other labours, he made so great a progress in the study of the Scriptures, which he at the same time diligently prosecuted, that all those who were zealous to be instructed in the reformed religion, frequently applied to him for information, and were struck with deep admiration of the extent of his erudition, and of the ardour of his pursuits. Some of his surviving associates and fellowstudents assert, that he was accustomed at this period of his life, after taking a very frugal supper, to pursue his lucubrations till midnight, and employ his morning hours in bed reviewing, and as it were, digesting the studies of the preceding night; nor did he easily allow any interruption to this train of meditation. These long-continued watchings assisted him indeed in attaining solid erudition, and improving an excellent memory, but there is every reason for thinking that in return he contracted a weakness of the digestive organs, productive of various diseases, and finally even of an untimely death.
Calvin determined to attend the lectures of Andrew Alciat, the first civilian without doubt of the age, who in consequence of accepting an invitation from Italy to the University of Bourges, settled there, and much increased its celebrity by his talents. During his residence at this city Calvin formed an intimate friendship, on account of his religion and learn. ing, with Melchior Wolmar, a native of Rothweil in Germany, and at that time public professor of Greek in Bourges. It affords me very great pleasure to speak of this distinguished scholar, because he was my sole preceptor from childhood to mature age; nor can I ever sufficiently praise his learning, piety, and other virtues, but especially his admirable skill in the instruction of youth. By his advice and assistance Calvin attained an acquaintance with Greek literature, and was desirous to acknowledge the remembrance of his obligation to all future ages, by dedicating to Wolmar his Commentaries on the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians. While Calvin pursued his professional studies he never neglected the holy