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the name, but he retained all the absurdity of the thing. He rejected the word transubstantiation, but insisted strenuously on a consubstantiation--that is, the bread and wine were not changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, but the body and blood of Christ were really and actually present in the elements of bread and wine, and were therefore literally eaten and drank by the communicants !* And with respect to Calvin, it is manifest, that the leading, and to me at least, the most hateful feature in all the multiform character of popery adhered to him through life-I mean the spirit of persecution. Holding, as I do, many doctrinal sentiments in common with Calvin, I am prompted to speak my opinion of him with the less reserve. I regard him as a man whom the Creator had endued with transcendent talents, and have no doubt that he knew what « flesh and blood could never reveal to him." He seems to have been blessed with an extraordinary insight into the economy of human redemption, as revealed in the sacred writings, and his vast and capacious mind took a comprehensive grasp of a system which angels contemplate with wonder and amazement, and in which they study the manifold wisdom of God. No mere man, probably, ever surpassed Calvin, in his indefatigable labours, according to the measure of his bodily strength, in making known to others the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus, both from the pulpit and the press; and his bitterest enemies cannot deny that the
* It is not intended by this remark, to insinuate any disparagement to the character of this great reformer, of whose laborious exertions in the cause of truth and virtue no one can entertain a higher opinion than myself. His praise is in all the churches, and will be handed down to the latest posterity with increased lustre. Let me further add, that, what appears to me the most amiable and interesting part of his character seems to be the least generally known among us in the present day. To explain my meaning, I shall here quote a passage from the writings of one of his contemporaries, who, in a letter to Philip Melancthon, thus describes him :
“ I cannot sufficiently admire the extraordinary cheerfulness, constancy, faith, and hope of this man, in these trying and vexatious times. He continually nourishes these good affections, by a very diligent study of the word of God. Then, not a day passes in which he does not occupy in prayer at least three of his very best hours. I once happened to hear him at prayer. Gracious God! What spirit and what faith there was in his language! He petitions God with as much reverence as if he were actually in the divine presence, and yet with as firm a hope and confidence, as he would address a father and a friend.
“ I know," says he,“ thou art our Father and our God; therefore I am sure thou wilt bring to nought the persecutors of thy children. For, shouldst thon fail to do this, thine own cause, being connected with ours,' would be en. dangered. It is entirely thine own concern; we, by thy providence, have been compelled to take a part. Thou, therefore, wilt be our defence.”
“ Whilst I was listening to Luther praying in this manner at a dis. tance, my soul seemed on fire within me, to hear the man address God so like a friend, and yet with so much gravity and reverence; and also to hear him, in the course of his prayer, insisting on the promises cortained in the Psalms, as if he were eertain his petitions would be granted."-Cælest, I. 275, Com. de Luth. LXIX. 8.
progress of the Reformation was wonderfully accelerated by his means.
Yet with all these excellencies, Calvin was a persecutor! He had yet to learn, or at least how to practise, that simple lesson of the kingdom of heaven, whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do
ye even so unto them.” Calvin could never comprehend, how another man could have as great a right to think wrong, as he himself had to think right! And that it is the sole prerogative of the King of Zion to punish his enemies and the corrupters of his truth. Upon this point his judgment was perverted by the principles of his education, and unhappily for bis own character and the cause of truth, his conduct was founded upon this erroneous judgment. His behaviour throughout the whole affair of Servetus, is too well known to need any explanation in this place; but I conceive it to be the imperious duty of every friend to toleration and the rights of conscience, to express their marked abhorrence of this part of the cha
racter of Calvin. And more especially is it the duty of those, thé similarity of whose theological creed to that which he contended for, hath subjected them to the imputation of being his followers. As an obscure, and humble individual of that class, I strenuously deprecate every attempt to palliate the enormity of Calvin's conduct in the instance referred to, by pleading, as many have done, that Socinus was as bitter a persecutor as himself : for until it be made apparent to my understanding how two blacks constitute one white, I must regard such pleas as extremely ill-judged. The truth is, and it ought to be avowed, that the conduct of Calvin admits of no apology! It was a violent outrage upon the laws of humanity as well as upon the laws of God, and has fixed a stigma upon the character of that otherwise great man, which will never be obliterated. But let not the enemies of the truth, from this take occasion, as they too often have done, to identify the spirit of persecution with the doctrines which Calvin held. His conduct, in this particular, has drawn tears of lamentation and regret from the eyes of thousands, since his time, on account of the reproach it has brought upon the way of truth, " causing it to be evil spoken of," and it will continue to suffuse with all the consciousness of shame, the cheeks of thousands yet unborn.
History of the Waldenses from the end of the fifteenth to the
middle of the sixteenth century; and more especially of the proceedings against them in the South of France. A. D. 1500-1550.
The history of Modern Europe does not present us with a more interesting period than the commencement of the sixteenth century, the era at which we are now arrived. The sanguinary proceedings that had been carried on against the Waldenses in the southern provinces of France, towards the close of the former century, had apparently exhausted the malice of the court of Rome; the heretics, for the moment at least, were driven from public view; and the state of the Catholic church was more than usually tranquil. The empire and the priesthood, which for several centuries had been constantly in arms against each other, had depopulated Italy, Germany, and almost every other country in Europe, but the contest ended in the triumph of the church. The Roman pontiffs, says a late writer, have always possessed an advantage over the other sovereigns of Europe, from the singular union of ecclesiastical and temporal power in the same person; two engines which long experience had taught them to use with a dexterity equal to that with which the heroes of antiquity availed themselves by turns of the shield and the spear. When schemes of ambition and aggrandizement were to be pursued, the Pope, as a temporal prince, could enter into alliances, raise supplies, and furnish his contingent of troops so as effectually to carry on an offensive war; but no sooner was he endangered by defeat, and alarmed for the safety of his own government, than he
resorted for shelter to his pontifical robes, and loudly called upon all Christendom- to defend from violation the head of the holy church. These characters were successively assumed with great address and advantage; and although some difficulties might occasionally arise in the exercise of them, yet the world has been sufficiently indulgent to their situation; nor has even the shedding of christian blood been thought an invincible objection to the conferring on a deceased pontiff the honor of adoration, and placing him in the highest order of sainthood conferred by the church.*
At the opening of the sixteenth century the pontifical chair was filled by Alexander VI. who died in 1503, after a reign of eleven years, leaving behind him a memory, says Voltaire, more odious than the Neros or Caligulas, because a greater degree of guilt, arose from the sanctity of his character. He was succeeded by Julius II. who after a military but successful reign of a few years gave place to the celebrated Leo X. in whose pontificate Luther commenced hostilities with the papacy, threw off his allegiance to the See of Rome, and entered upon his career of reform. A. D. 1517.
To enter upon any thing like a circumstantial detail of the history of the Reformation, would not only demand much more space than can be allotted to it in the
present undertaking, but would also, in a great measure, be to depart from my leading object. Nor, indeed, is such a narrative called for by the public exigence. Any deficiency of that kind which may be experienced by the readers of the present work may be readily supplied by consulting the authors mentioned below,t whose writings
Roscoe's Life and Pontificate of Leo X. Vol. I. ch. i. The reference is to the case of Saint Leo IX.
† Milner's History of the Christian Church, Vol. IV. and V. Sleidan's History of the Reformation. Robertson's History of Charles V. &c. &c.