HISTORY of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH*
CALVIN IN GERMANY. FROM 1538–1541.
§ 85. Calvin in Strassburg.
I. Calvin’s correspondence from 1538–1541 in Opera, vols. X. and XI.; Herminjard, Vols. V. and VI.; Bonnet-Constable, Vol. I. 63 sqq. Beza: Vita Calv., in Op. XXI. 128 sq.—Ann. Calv., Op. XXI. 226–285. Contains extracts from the Archives du chapitre de St. Thomas de Strasbourg.
II. Alf. Erichson: L’Église française de Strasbourg au XVIe siècle, d’après des documents inédits. Strasb. 1885. Comp. also his other works on the History of the Reformation in the Alsace.—C. A. Cornelius: Die Rückkehr Calvin’s nach Genf. München, 1889.—E. Doumergue (Prof. of the Prot. Faculty of Montauban): Essai sur l’histoire du Culte Réformé principalement au XIXe Siècle. Paris, 1890. Ch. I., Calvin à Strasbourg, treats of the worship in the first French Reformed Church, the model of the churches of France.—Eduard Stricker: Johannes Calvin als erster Pfarrer der reformirten Gemeinde zu Strassburg. Nach urkundlichen Quellen. Strassburg (Heitz & Mündel), 1890 (65 pp.). In commemoration of the centenary of the church edifice of the French Reformed congregation (built in 1790) by its present pastor.
III. Henry, I. ch. X.—Stähelin, I. 168–283.—Kampschulte, I. 320–368.—Merle D’Aubigné, bk. XI. chs. XV.–XVII. (vol. VI. 543–609).
Calvin felt so discouraged by his recent experience that he was disinclined to assume another public office, and Conrault approved of this purpose. He therefore refused the first invitation of Bucer to come to Strassburg, the more so as his friend Farel was not included. But he yielded at last to repeated solicitations, mindful of the example of the prophet Jonah. Farel gave his hearty assent.
Strassburg496 was since 1254 a free imperial city of Germany, famous for one of the finest Gothic cathedrals, large commerce, and literary enterprise. Some of the first editions of the Bible were printed there. By its geographical situation, a few miles west of the Upper Rhine, it formed a connecting link between Germany, France, and Switzerland, as also between Lutheranism and Zwinglianism. It offered a hospitable home to a steady flow of persecuted Protestants from France, who called Strassburg the New Jerusalem. The citizens had accepted the Reformation in 1523 in the spirit of evangelical union between the two leading types of Protestantism. Bucer, Capito, Hedio, Niger, Matthias Zell, Sturm, and others, labored there harmoniously together. Strassburg was the Wittenberg of South-western Germany, and in friendly alliance with Zürich and Geneva.
Martin Bucer, the chief Reformer of the city, was the embodiment of a generous and comprehensive catholicity, and gave it expression in the Tetrapolitan Confession, which was presented at the diet of Augsburg in 1530.497 He afterwards brought about, in the same irenic spirit, the Wittenberg Concordia (1536), which was to harmonize the Lutheran and Zwinglian theories on the Lord’s Supper, but conceded too much to Luther (even the participation of the body and blood of Christ by unworthy communicants), and therefore was rejected by Bullinger and the Swiss Churches. He wrote to Bern in June, 1540, that next to Wittenberg no city in Germany was so friendly to the gospel and so large-hearted in spirit as Strassburg. He ended his labors in the Anglican Church as professor of theology in the University of Cambridge in 1551. Six years after his death his body was dug up, chained upright to a stake and burned, under Queen Mary; but his tomb was rebuilt and his memory honorably restored under Queen Elizabeth. His colleague Fagius shared the same fate.
The Zürichers, in a letter to Calvin, call Strassburg "the Antioch of the Reformation;" Capito, "the refuge of exiled brethren;" the Roman Catholic historian, Florimond de Raemond, "the retreat and rendezvous of Lutherans and Zwinglians under the control of Bucer, and the receptacle of those that were banished from France."498 Among the distinguished early refugees from France were Francis Lambert, Farel, Le Févre, Roussel, and Michel d’Arande. Unfortunately, Strassburg did not long occupy this noble position, but became a battlefield of bitter sectarian strife and, for some time, the home of a narrow Lutheran orthodoxy. The city was conquered by Louis XIV. and annexed to Roman Catholic France in 1681, to the detriment of her Protestant character, but was reconquered by Emperor William I. and incorporated with united Germany as the capital of Alsace and Lorraine in 1870. The university was newly organized and better equipped than ever before.499
Calvin arrived at Strassburg in the first days of September, 1538.500 He spent there three years in useful labors. He was received with open arms by Bucer, Capito, Hedio, Sturm, and Niger, the leading men in the Church, and appointed by the Council professor of theology, with a moderate salary. He soon felt at home, and in the next summer bought the citizenship, and joined the guild of the tailors.501
The sojourn of Calvin in this city was a fruitful episode in his life, and an education for more successful work in Geneva. His views were enlarged and deepened. He gained valuable experience. He came in contact with the Lutheran Church and its leaders. He learned to understand and appreciate them, but was unfavorably impressed with the want of discipline and the slavish dependence of the clergy upon the secular rulers. He labored indefatigably and successfully as professor, pastor, and author. He informed Farel (April 20, 1539) that, when the messenger called for copy of his book (the second edition of the Institutes), he had to read fifty pages, then to teach and to preach, to write four letters, to adjust some quarrels, and was interrupted by visitors more than ten times.502
It is in the fitness of things that three learned professors of the University of Strassburg, who lived during the French and German régime, and were equally at home in the language and theology of both nations, should give to the world the last and best edition of Calvin’s works.
Calvin’s economic condition during these three years was very humble. It is a shame for the congregation and the city government that they allowed such a man to struggle for his daily bread. For the first five months he received no pay at all, only free board in the house of a liberal friend. His countrymen were poor, but might have done something. He informed Farel, in April, 1539, that of his many friends in France, not one had offered him a copper, except Louis Du Tillet, who hoped to induce him to return. Hence he declined.503 The city paid him a very meagre salary of fifty-two guilders (about two hundred marks) for his professorial duties from May, 1539.504 His books were not profitable. When the Swiss heard of his embarrassment, they wished to come to his aid, and Fabri sent ten ducats to Farel for Calvin.505 But he preferred to sell his greatest treasure—the library—which he had left in Geneva, and to take students as boarders (pensionnaires). He trusted to God for the future.506
With all his poverty he was happy in his independence, the society of congenial friends, and his large field of usefulness.
§ 86. The Church of the Strangers in Strassburg.
Calvin combined the offices of pastor and professor of theology in Strassburg, as he had done in Geneva. The former activity kept him in contact with his French countrymen; the latter extended his influence among the scholars in Germany.
He organized the first Protestant congregation of French refugees, which served as a model for the Reformed Churches of Geneva and France.
The number of refugees amounted at that time to about four hundred.507 Most of them belonged to the "little French Church."508 His first sermon was delivered in the Church of St. Nicholas, and attracted a large crowd of Frenchmen and Germans.509 He preached four times a week (twice on Sunday), and held Bible classes. He trained deacons to assist him, especially in the care of the poor, whom he had much at heart. The names of the first two were Nicholas Parent, who afterwards became pastor at Neuchâtel, and Claude de Fer or Féray (Claudius Feraeus), a French Hellenist, who had fled to Strassburg, taught Greek, and died of the pestilence in 1541, to the great grief of Calvin.
He introduced his favorite discipline, and as he was not interfered with by the magistracy he had better success than at Geneva during his first sojourn. "No house," he says, "no society, can exist without order and discipline, much less the Church." He laid as much stress upon it as Luther did upon doctrine, and he regarded it as the best safeguard of sound doctrine and Christian life. He excluded a student who had neglected public worship for a month and fallen into gross immorality, from the communion table, and would not admit him till he professed repentance.510
Not a few of the younger members, however, objected to excommunication as a popish institution. But he distinguished between the yoke of Christ and the tyranny of the pope. He persevered and succeeded. "I have conflicts," he wrote to Farel, "severe conflicts, but they are a good school for me."
He converted many Anabaptists, who were wisely tolerated in the territory of Strassburg, and brought to him from the city and country their children for baptism. He was consulted by the magistrates on all important questions touching religion. He conscientiously attended to pastoral care, and took a kindly interest in every member of his flock. In this way he built up in a short time a prosperous church, which commanded the respect and admiration of the community of Strassburg.511
Unfortunately, this Church of the Strangers lasted only about twenty-five years, and was extinguished by the flames of sectarian bigotry, though not till after many copies had been made from it as a model. An exclusive Lutheranism, under the lead of Marbach, obtained the ascendency in Strassburg, and treated the Calvinistic Christians as dangerous heretics. When Calvin passed through the city on his way to Frankfort, in August, 1556, he was indeed honorably received by John Sturm and the students, who respectfully rose to their feet in his presence, but he was not allowed to preach to his own congregation, because he did not believe in the dogma of consubstantiation. A few years later the Reformed worship was altogether forbidden by order of the Council, Aug. 19, 1563.512
§ 87. The Liturgy of Calvin.
I. La forme des prieres et chantzs ecclesiastiques, avec la maniere d’administrer les sacremens et consacrer le marriage, selon la coutume de l’Eglise ancienne, a.d. 1542. In Opera, VI. 161–210 (from a copy at Stuttgart; the title is given in the old spelling without accents). Later editions (1543, 1545, 1562, etc.) add: "la visitation des malades," and "comme on l’observe à Genève." An earlier edition of eighteen Psalms appeared at Strassburg, 1539. (See Douen, Clément Marot, I. 300 sqq.) An edition of the liturgy with the Psalms was printed at Strassburg, Feb. 15, 1542. (See Douen, l.c. 305, and 342 sqq.) A copy of an enlarged Strassburg ed. of 1545, entitled La forme des prieres et chantzs ecclesiastiques, was preserved in the Public Library at Strassburg till Aug. 24, 1870, when it was burnt at the siege of the city in the Franco-German War (Douen, I. 451 sq.).
II. Ch. d’Héricault: Ouvres de Marot. Paris, 1867.—Felix Bovet: Histoire du psautier des églises réformées. Neuchâtel, 1872.—O. Douen: Clément Marot et le Psautier Huguenot. Étude historique, littéraire, musicale et bibliographique; contenant les mélodies primitives des Psaumes, etc. Paris (à’imprimerie national), 1878 sq. 2 vols. royal 8vo. A magnificent work published at the expense of the French Republic on the recommendation of the Institute. The second volume contains the harmonies of Goudimel.
Farel published at Neuchâtel in 1533, and introduced at Geneva in 1537, the first French Reformed liturgy, which includes, in the regular Sunday service, a general prayer, the Lord’s Prayer (before sermon), the Decalogue, confession of sins, repetition of the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, a final exhortation and benediction.513 It resembled the German liturgy of Bern, which was published in 1529, and which Calvin caused to be translated into French by his friend Morelet.514 Of Farel’s liturgy only the form of marriage survived. The rest was reconstructed and improved by Calvin in the liturgy which he first introduced in Strassburg, and with some modifications in Geneva after his return.
Calvin’s liturgy was published twice in 1542. It was introduced at Lausanne in the same year, and gradually passed into other Reformed Churches.
Calvin built his form of worship on the foundation of Zwingli and Farel, and the services already in use in the Swiss Reformed Churches. Like his predecessors, he had no sympathy whatever with the Roman Catholic ceremonialism, which was overloaded with unscriptural traditions and superstitions. We may add that he had no taste for the artistic, symbolical, and ornamental features in worship. He rejected the mass, all the sacraments, except two, the saints’ days, nearly all church festivals, except Sunday, images, relics, processions, and the whole pomp and circumstance of a gaudy worship which appeals to the senses and imagination rather than the intellect and the conscience, and tends to distract the mind with the outward show instead of concentrating it upon the contemplation of the saving truth of the gospel.
He substituted in its place that simple and spiritual mode of worship which is well adapted for intelligent devotion, if it be animated by the quickening presence and power of the Spirit of God, but becomes jejune, barren, cold, and chilly if that power is waiting. He made the sermon the central part of worship, and substituted instruction and edification in the vernacular for the reading of the mass in Latin. He magnified the pulpit, as the throne of the preacher, above the altar of the sacrificing priest. He opened the inexhaustible fountain of free prayer in public worship, with its endless possibilities of application to varying circumstances and wants; he restored to the Church, like Luther, the inestimable blessing of congregational singing, which is the true popular liturgy, and more effective than the reading of written forms of prayer.
The order of public worship in Calvin’s congregation at Strassburg was as follows: —
The service began with an invocation,515 a confession of sin and a brief absolution.516 hen followed reading of the Scriptures, singing, and a free prayer. The whole congregation, male and female, joined in chanting the Psalms, and thus took an active part in public worship, while formerly they were but passive listeners or spectators. This was in accordance with the Protestant doctrine of the general priesthood of believers.517 The sermon came next, and after it a long general prayer and the Lord’s Prayer. The service closed with singing and the benediction.518
The same order is substantially observed in the French Reformed Churches. Calvin prepared also liturgical forms for baptism and the holy communion. A form for marriage and the visitation of the sick had been previously composed by Farel. The combination of the liturgical and extemporaneous features continue in the Reformed Churches of the Continent. In the Presbyterian churches of Scotland and most of the Dissenting churches of England, and their descendants in America, the liturgical element was gradually ruled out by free prayer; while the Anglican Church pursued the opposite course.
Baptism was always performed before the congregation at the close of the public service, and in the simplest manner, according to the institution of Christ; without the traditional ceremony of exorcism, and the use of salt, spittle, and burning candles, because these are not commanded in the Scriptures, nourish superstition, and divert the attention from the spiritual substance of the ordinance to outward forms. Calvin regarded immersion as the primitive form of baptism, but pouring and sprinkling as equally valid.519
The communion was celebrated once a month in a simple but very solemn manner by the whole congregation. Calvin required the communicants to give him previous notice of their intention, that they might receive instruction, warning, or comfort, according to their need. Unworthy applicants were excluded.
The introduction of the Psalter in the vernacular was a most important feature, and the beginning of a long and heroic chapter in the history of worship and Christian life. The Psalter occupies the same important place in the Reformed Church as the hymnal in the Lutheran. It was the source of comfort and strength to the Huguenot Church of the Desert, and to the Presbyterian Covenanters of Scotland, in the days of bitter trial and persecution. Calvin, himself prepared metrical versions of Psalms 25, 36, 43, 46,520 91, 113, 120, 138, 142, together with a metrical version of the Song of Simeon and the Ten Commandments.521 He afterwards used the superior version of Clément Marot, the greatest French poet of that age, who was the poet of the court, and the psalmist of the Church (1497–1544). Calvin met him first at the court of the Duchess of Ferrara (1536), whither he had fled, and afterwards at Geneva (1542), where he encouraged him to continue his metrical translation of the Psalms. Marot’s Psalter first appeared at Paris, 1541, and contained thirty Psalms, together with metrical versions of the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, the Creed, and the Decalogue. Several editions, with fifty Psalms, were printed at Geneva in 1543, one at Strassburg in 1545. Later editions were enlarged with the translations of Beza. The popularity and usefulness of his and Beza’s Psalter were greatly enhanced by the rich melodies of Claude Goudimel (1510–1572), who joined the Reformed Church in 1562, and died a martyr at Lyons in the night of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. He devoted his musical genius to the Reformation. His tunes are based in part on popular songs, and breathe the simple and earnest spirit of the Reformed cultus. Some of them have found a place among the chorals of the Lutheran Church.
§ 88. Calvin as Theological Teacher and Author.
The Reformers of Strassburg, aided by leading laymen, as Jacob Sturm and John Sturm, provided for better elementary and higher education, and founded schools which attracted pupils from France as early as 1525. Gérard Roussel, one of the earliest of the refugees, speaks very highly of them in a letter to the bishop of Meaux.522 A Protestant college (gymnasium), with a theological department, was established March 22, 1538, and placed under the direction of John Sturm, one of the ablest pedagogues of his times. It was the nucleus of a university which continued German down to the French Revolution, was then half Frenchified, and is now again German in language and methods of teaching. The first teachers in that college were Bucer for the New Testament, Capito for the Old, Hedio for history and theology, Herlin for mathematics, and Jacob Bedrot or Pedrotus for Greek.523 A converted Jew taught Hebrew.
Calvin was appointed assistant professor of theology in January, 1539.524 He lectured on the Gospel of John, the Epistle to the Romans, and other books of the Bible. Many students came from Switzerland and France to hear him, who afterwards returned as evangelists. He speaks of several students in his correspondence with satisfaction. In some cases he was disappointed. He presided over public disputations. He refuted in 1539 a certain Robertus Moshamus, Dean of Passau, in a disputation on the merits of good works, and achieved a signal victory to the great delight of the scholars of the city.525
But he had also an unpleasant dispute with that worthless theological turncoat, Peter Caroli, who appeared at Strassburg in October, 1539, as a troubler in Israel, as he had done before at Lausanne, and sought to prejudice even Bucer and Capito against Calvin on the subject of the Trinity.526
With all his professional duties he found leisure for important literary work, which had been interrupted at Geneva. He prepared a thorough revision of his Institutes, which superseded the first, and a commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, which opened the series of his invaluable exegetical works. Both were published at Strassburg by the famous printer Wendelin Rihel in 1539. He had been preceded, in the commentary on Romans, by Melanchthon, Bucer, Bullinger, but he easily surpassed them all. He also wrote, in French, a popular treatise on the Lord’s Supper, in which he pointed out a via media between the realism of Luther and the spiritualism of Zwingli. Both parties, he says towards the close, have failed and departed from the truth in their passionate zeal, but this should not blind us to the great benefits which God through Luther and Zwingli has bestowed upon mankind. If we are not ungrateful and forgetful of what we owe to them, we shall be well able to pardon that and much more, without blaming them. We must hope for a reconciliation of the two parties.
At the Diet of Regensburg in 1541 he had, with the other Protestant delegates, to subscribe the Augsburg Confession. He could do so honestly, understanding it, as he said expressly, in the sense of the author who, in the year before, had published a revised edition with an important change in the 10th Article (on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper).527
Of his masterly answer to Sadolet we shall speak separately.
His many letters from that period prove his constant and faithful attention to the duties of friendship. In his letters to Farel he pours out his heart, and makes him partaker of his troubles and joys, and familiar with public events and private affairs even to little details. Farel could not stand a long separation and paid him two brief visits in 1539 and 1540.
§ 89. Calvin at the Colloquies of Frankfurt, Worms, and Regensburg.
Calvin: Letters from Worms, Regensburg, and Strassburg, in Opera, XI., and Herminjard, vols. VI. and VII. His report on the Diet at Regensburg (Les Actes de la journée impériale en la cité de Regenspourg), in Opera, V. 509–684.—Melanchthon: Report on the Colloquy at Worms, in Latin, and the Acts of the Colloquy at Regensburg, in German, 1542.
See his Epistolae, ed. Bretschneider, IV. 33–78, and pp. 728 sqq.—Sturm: Antipappus.—Sleidan: De Statu Eccles. et Reipublicae Carolo V. Caesare, Lib. XIII.
Henry, Vol. I. ch. XVII.—Dyer, pp. 105 sqq.—Stähelin, I. 229–254. Kampschulte, I. 328–342.—Stricker, pp. 27 sqq.—Ludwig Pastor (Rom. Cath.): Die kirchlichen Reunionsbestrebungen während der Regierung Karls V. Aus den Quellen dargestellt. Freiburg-i.-B., 1879 (507 pp.). He notices Calvin’s influence, pp. 194, 196, 212, 230, 245, 258, 266, 484, but apparently without having read his correspondence, which is one of the chief sources; he only refers to Kampschulte.
Calvin was employed, with Bucer, Capito, and Sturm, as one of the commissioners of the city and Church of Strassburg, on several public colloquies, which were held during his sojourn in Germany for the healing of the split caused by the Reformation. The emperor Charles V. was anxious, from political motives, to reconcile the Protestant princes to the Roman Church, and to secure their aid against the Turks. The leading theological spirits in these conferences were Melanchthon on the Lutheran, and Julius Pflug on the Roman Catholic side. They aimed to secure the reunion of the Church by mutual concessions on minor differences of doctrine and discipline. But the conferences shared the fate of all compromises. Luther and Calvin would not yield an inch to the pope, while the extreme men of the papal party, like Eck, were as unwilling to make any concession to Protestantism. A fuller account belongs to the ecclesiastical history of Germany.
Calvin, being a foreigner and a Frenchman, ignorant of the German language, acted a subordinate part, though he commanded the respect of both parties for his ability and learning, in which he was not inferior to any. Having no faith in compromises, or in the sincerity of the emperor, he helped to defeat rather than to promote the pacific object of these conferences. He favored an alliance between the Lutheran princes of the Smalkaldian League with Francis I., who, as the rival of Charles V., was inclined to such an alliance. He was encouraged in this line of policy by Queen Marguerite, who corresponded with him at that time through his friend Sleidan, the statesman and historian.528 He did succeed in securing, after repeated efforts, a petition of the Lutheran princes assembled at Regensburg to the French king in behalf of the persecuted Protestants in France (May 23, 1541).529 But he had no more confidence in Francis I. than in Charles V. "The king," he wrote to Farel (September, 1540), "and the emperor, while contending in cruel persecution of the godly, both endeavor to gain the favor of the Roman idol."530 He placed his trust in God, and in a close alliance of the Lutheran princes among themselves and with the Protestants in France and Switzerland.
He was a shrewd observer of the religious and political movements, and judged correctly of the situation and the principal actors. Nothing escaped his attention. He kept Farel at Neuchâtel informed even about minor incidents.
Calvin attended the first colloquy at Frankfurt in February, 1539, in a private capacity, for the purpose of making the personal acquaintance of Melanchthon and pleading the cause of his persecuted brethren in France, whom he had more at heart than German politics.
The Colloquy was prorogued to Hagenau in June, 1540, but did not get over the preliminaries.
A more important Colloquy was held at Worms in November of the same year. In that ancient city Luther had made his ever memorable declaration in favor of the liberty of conscience, which in spite of the pope’s protest had become an irrepressible power. Calvin appeared at this time in the capacity of a commissioner both of Strassburg and the dukes of Lüneburg. He went reluctantly, being just then in ill health and feeling unequal to the task. But he gathered strength on the spot, and braced up the courage of Melanchthon who, as the spokesman of the Lutheran theologians, showed less disposition to yield than on former occasions. He took a prominent part in the discussion. He defeated Dean Robert Mosham of Passau in a second disputation, and earned on that occasion from Melanchthon, and the Lutheran theologians who were present, the distinctive title "the Theologian" by eminence.531
He also wrote at Worms, for his private solace, not for publication, an epic poem in sixty-one distichs (one hundred and twenty-two lines), which celebrates the triumph of Christ and the defeat of his enemies (Eck, Cochlaeus, Nausea, Pelargus) after their apparent and temporary victory.532 He was not a poetic genius, but by study he made up the defects of nature.533
The Colloquy of Worms, after having hardly begun, was broken off in January, 1541, to be resumed at the approaching Diet of Regensburg (Ratisbon) in presence of the emperor on his return.
The Diet at Regensburg was opened April 5, 1541. Calvin appeared again as a delegate of Strassburg and at the special request of Melanchthon, but reluctantly and with little hope of success. He felt that he was ill suited for such work, and would only waste time.534 After long and vexatious delays in the arrival of the deputies, the theological Colloquy was opened and conducted on the Roman Catholic side by Dr. John Eck, professor at Ingolstadt (who had disputed with Luther at Leipzig and promulgated the papal bull of excommunication), Julius Pflug, canon of Mainz (afterwards bishop of Naumburg), and John Gropper, canon and professor of canon law at Cologne; on the Protestant side by Melanchthon of Wittenberg, Bucer of Strassburg, and Pistorius of Nidda in Hesse. Granvella presided in the name of the emperor; Cardinal Contarini, an enlightened and well-disposed prelate, who was inclined to evangelical views and favored a moderate reformation, acted as legate of Pope Paul III., who sent, however, at the same time the intolerant Bishop Morone as a special nuncio. Calvin could see no difference between the two legates, except that Morone would like to subdue the Protestants with bloodshed, Contarini without bloodshed. He was urged to seek an interview with Contarini, but refused. He speaks favorably of Pflug and Gropper, but contemptuously of Eck, the stentorian mouthpiece of the papal party, whom he regarded as an impudent babbler and vain sophist.535 The French king was represented by Du Veil, whom Calvin calls a "busy blockhead." There were present also a good many bishops, the princes of the German States, and delegates of the imperial cities. The emperor, in an earnest speech, exhorted the divines, through an interpreter, to lay aside private feelings and to study only the truth, the glory of God, the good of the Church, and the peace of the empire.
The Colloquy passed slightly over the doctrines of original sin and the slavery of the will, where the Protestants were protected by the authority of St. Augustin. The Catholics agreed to the evangelical view of justification by faith (without the Lutheran sola), and conceded the eucharistic cup to the laity, but the parties split on the doctrine of the power of the Church and the real presence. Calvin was especially consulted on the last point, and gave a decided judgment in Latin against transubstantiation, which he rejected as a scholastic fiction, and against the adoration of the wafer which he declared to be idolatrous.536 He was displeased with the submissiveness of Melanchthon and Bucer, although he did not doubt the sincerity of their motives. He loved truth and consistency more than peace and unity. "Philip," he wrote to Farel (May 12, 1541),537 "and Bucer have drawn up ambiguous and varnished formulas concerning transubstantiation, to try whether they could satisfy the opposite party by giving them nothing.538 I cannot agree to this device, although they have reasonable grounds for doing so; for they hope that in a short time they would begin to see more clearly if the matter of doctrine be left open; therefore they rather wish to skip over it, and do not dread that equivocation (flexiloquation) than which nothing can be more hurtful. I can assure you, however, that both are animated with the best intentions, and have no other object in view than to promote the kingdom of Christ; only in their method of proceeding they accommodate themselves too much to the times .... These things I deplore in private to yourself, my dear Farel; see, therefore, that they are not made public. One thing I am thankful for, that there is no one who is fighting now more earnestly against the wafer-god,539 as he calls it, than Brentz."540 All the negotiations failed at last by the combined opposition of the extreme men of both parties.541
The emperor closed the Diet on the 28th of July, and promised to use his influence with the pope to convene a General Council for the settlement of the theological questions.542
Calvin had left Regensburg as soon as he found a chance, about the middle of June, much to the regret of Bucer and Melanchthon, who wished to retain him.543
His sojourn there was embittered by the ravages of the pestilence in Strassburg, which carried away his beloved deacon, Claude Féray (Feraeus), his friends Bedrotus and Capito, one of his boarders, Louis de Richebourg (Claude’s pupil), and the sons of Oecolampadius, Zwingli, and Hedio. He was thrown into a state of extreme anxiety and depression, which he revealed to Farel in a melancholy letter of March 29, 1541.544 "My dear friend Claude, whom I singularly esteemed," he writes, "has been carried off by the plague. Louis (de Richebourg) followed three days afterwards. My house was in a state of sad desolation. My brother (Antoine) had gone with Charles (de Richebourg) to a neighboring village; my wife had betaken herself to my brother’s; and the youngest of Claude’s scholars [probably Malherbe of Normandy] is lying sick in bed. To the bitterness of grief there was added a very anxious concern for those who survived. Day and night my wife is constantly present to my thoughts, in need of advice, seeing that she is deprived of her husband.545 ... These events have produced in me so much sadness that it seems as if they would utterly upset the mind and depress the spirit. You cannot believe the grief which consumes me on account of the death of my dear friend Claude." Then he pays a touching tribute to Féray, who had lived in his house and stuck closer to him than a brother. But the most precious fruit of this sore affliction is his letter of comfort to the distressed father of Louis de Richebourg, which we shall quote in another connection.546
§ 90. Calvin and Melanchthon.
The correspondence between Calvin (14 letters) and Melanchthon (8 letters), and several letters of Calvin to Farel from Strassburg and Regensburg.
Henry, Vol. I. chs. XII. and XVII,—Stähelin, I. 237–254.—Merle D’Aubigné, bk. XI. ch. XIX. (vol. VII. 18–22, in Cates’ translation).
One of the important advantages which his sojourn at Strassburg brought to Calvin and to the evangelical Church was his friendship with Melanchthon. It has a typical significance for the relationship of the Lutheran and Reformed Confessions, and therefore deserves special consideration.
They became first acquainted by correspondence through Bucer in October, 1538. Melanchthon brought Calvin at once into a friendly contact with Luther, who read with great pleasure Calvin’s answer to Sadolet (perhaps also his Institutes), and sent his salutations to him at Strassburg.547
Luther never saw Calvin, and probably knew little or nothing of the Reformation in Geneva. His own work was then nearly finished, and he was longing for rest. It is very fortunate, however, that while his mind was incurably poisoned against Zwingli and Zürich, he never came into hostile conflict with Calvin and Geneva, but sent him before his departure a fraternal greeting from a respectful distance. His conduct foreshadows the attitude of the Lutheran Church and theology towards Calvin, who had the highest regard for Luther, and enjoyed in turn the esteem of Lutheran divines in proportion as he was known.
Melanchthon was twelve years older than Calvin, as Luther was thirteen years older than Melanchthon. Calvin, therefore, might have sustained to Melanchthon the relation of a pupil to a teacher. He sought his friendship, and he always treated him with reverential affection.548 In the dedication of his commentary on Daniel, he describes Melanchthon as "a man who, on account of his incomparable skill in the most excellent branches of knowledge, his piety, and other virtues, is worthy of the admiration of all ages." But while Melanchthon was under the overawing influence of the personality of Luther, the Reformer of Geneva was quite independent of Melanchthon, and so far could meet him on equal terms. Melanchthon, in sincere humility and utter freedom from jealousy, even acknowledged the superiority of his younger friend as a theologian and disciplinarian, and called him emphatically "the theologian."
They had many points of contact. Both were men of uncommon precocity; both excelled, above their contemporaries, in humanistic culture and polished style; both devoted all their learning to the renovation of the Church; they were equally conscientious and unselfish; they agreed in the root of their piety, and in all essential doctrines; they deplored the divisions in the Protestant ranks, and heartily desired unity and harmony consistent with truth.
But they were differently constituted. Melanchthon was modest, gentle, sensitive, feminine, irenic, elastic, temporizing, always open to new light; Calvin, though by nature as modest, bashful, and irritable, was in principle and conviction firm, unyielding, fearless of consequences, and opposed to all compromises. They differed also on minor points of doctrine and discipline. Melanchthon, from a conscientious love of truth and peace, and from regard for the demands of practical common sense, had independently changed his views on two important doctrines. He abandoned the Lutheran dogma of a corporal and ubiquitous presence in the eucharist, and approached the theory of Calvin; and he substituted for his earlier fatalistic view of a divine foreordination of evil as well as good the synergistic scheme which ascribes conversion to the co-operation of three causes: the Spirit of God, the Word of God, and the will of man. He conceded to man the freedom of either accepting or rejecting the Gospel salvation, yet without giving any merit to him for accepting the free gift; and on this point he dissented from Calvin’s more rigorous and logical system.549
The sincere and lasting friendship of these two great and good men is therefore all the more remarkable and valuable as a testimony that a deep spiritual union and harmony may co-exist with theological differences.550
Calvin and Melanchthon met at Frankfurt, Worms, and Regensburg under trying circumstances. Melanchthon felt discouraged about the prospects of Protestantism. He deplored the confusion which followed the abolition of the episcopal supervision, the want of discipline, the rapacity of the princes, the bigotry of the theologians. He had allowed himself, with Luther and Bucer, to give his conditional assent to the scandalous bigamy of Philip of Hesse (May, 1540), which was the darkest blot in the history of the German Reformation, and worse than the successive polygamy of Henry VIII. His conscience was so much troubled about his own weakness that, at Weimar, on his way to the Colloquies at Hagenau and Worms, he was brought to the brink of the grave, and would have died if Luther had not prayed him out of the jaws of the king of terrors. What a contrast between Melanchthon at Worms in 1540, and Luther at Worms in 1521! At the Diet of Regensburg, in 1541, he felt no better. His son was sick, and he dreamed that he had died. He read disaster and war in the stars. His letters to intimate friends are full of grief and anxious forebodings. "I am devoured by a desire for a better life," he wrote to one of them. He was oppressed by a sense of the responsibility that rested upon him as the spokesman and leader of the Reformation in the declining years of Luther, who had been formerly his inspiration and strength. It is natural that in this condition of mind he looked for a new support, and this he found in Calvin. We can thus easily understand his wish to die in his arms. But Calvin himself, though more calm and composed in regard to public affairs, was, as we have seen, deeply distressed at Regensburg by news of the ravages of the pestilence among his friends at Strassburg, besides being harassed by multiplying petitions to return to Geneva. These troubles and afflictions brought their hearts nearer to each other.
In their first personal interview at Frankfurt on the Main, in February, 1539, they at once became intimate, and freely discussed the burning questions of the day, relating to doctrine, discipline, and worship.551
As to doctrine, Calvin had previously sent to Melanchthon a summary, in twelve articles, on the crucial topic of the real presence. To these Melanchthon assented without dispute,552 but confessed that he had no hope of satisfying those who obstinately insisted on a more gross and palpable presence.553 Yet he was anxious that the present agreement, such as it was, might be cherished until at length the Lord shall lead both sides into the unity of his own truth. This is no doubt the reason why he himself refrained from such a full and unequivocal public expression of his own view as might lead to a rupture in the Lutheran Church. He went as far as he deemed it prudent by modifying the tenth article of the Augsburg Confession, and omitting the anti-Zwinglian clause (1540).
As to ecclesiastical discipline, Melanchthon deplored the want of it in Germany, but could see no prospect of improvement, till the people would learn to distinguish the yoke of Christ from the papal tyranny.
As to worship, Calvin frankly expressed his objection to many ceremonies, which seemed to him to border too closely on Judaism.554 He was opposed to chanting in Latin, to pictures and candles in churches, to exorcism in baptism, and the like. Melanchthon was reluctant to discuss this point, but admitted that there was an excess of trifling or unnecessary Roman Catholic rites retained in deference to the judgment of the Canonists, and expressed the hope that some of them would be abandoned by degrees.
After the Colloquy at Regensburg the two Reformers saw each other no more, but continued to correspond as far as their time and multiplicity of duties would permit. The correspondence of friendship is apt to diminish with the increase of age and cares. Several letters are preserved, and are most creditable to both parties.555
The first letter of Calvin after that Colloquy, is dated Feb. 16, 1543, and is a lengthy answer to a message from Melanchthon.556
"You see," he writes, "to what a lazy fellow you have intrusted your letter. It was full four months before he delivered it to me, and then crushed and rumpled with much rough usage. But although it has reached me somewhat late, I set a great value upon the acquisition .... Would, indeed, as you observe, that we could oftener converse together were it only by letters. To you that would be no advantage; but to me, nothing in this world could be more desirable than to take solace in the mild and gentle spirit of your correspondence. You can scarce believe with what a load of business I am here burdened and incessantly hurried along; but in the midst of these distractions there are two things which most of all annoy me. My chief regret is, that there does not appear to be the amount of fruit that one may reasonably expect from the labor bestowed; the other is, because I am so far removed from yourself and a few others, and therefore am deprived of that sort of comfort and consolation which would prove a special help to me.
"But since we cannot have even so much at our own choice, that each at his own discretion might pick out the corner of the vineyard where he might serve Christ, we must remain at that post which He Himself has allotted to each. This comfort we have at least, of which no far distant separation can deprive us,—I mean, that resting content with this fellowship which Christ has consecrated with his own blood, and has also confirmed and sealed by his blessed Spirit in our hearts,—while we live on the earth, we may cheer each other with that blessed hope to which your letter calls us that in heaven above we shall dwell forever where we shall rejoice in love and in continuance of our friendship."557
There can be no nobler expression of Christian friendship.
In the same letter Calvin informs Melanchthon that he had dedicated to him his "Defence of the Orthodox Doctrine on the Slavery and Deliverance of the Human Will against the Calumnies of Albert Pighius," which he had urged Calvin to write, and which appeared in February, 1543.558 After some modest account of his labors in Geneva, and judicious reflections on the condition of the Church in Germany, he thus concludes: —
"Adieu, O man of most eminent accomplishments, and ever to be remembered by me and honored in the Lord! May the Lord long preserve you in safety to the glory of his name and the edification of the Church. I wonder what can be the reason why you keep your Daniel a sealed book at home.559 Neither can I suffer myself quietly, without remonstrance, to be deprived of the benefit of its perusal. I beg you to salute Dr. Martin reverently in my name. We have here with us at present Bernardino of Siena, an eminent and excellent man, who has occasioned no little stir in Italy by his secession. He has requested me that I would greet you in his name. Once more adieu, along with your family, whom may the Lord continually preserve."
On the 11th of May following, Melanchthon thanked Calvin for the dedication, saying: 560 I am much affected by your kindness, and I thank you that you have been pleased to give evidence of your love for me to all the world, by placing my name at the beginning of your remarkable book, where all the world will see it." He gives due praise to the force and eloquence with which he refuted Pighius, and, confessing his own inferiority as a writer, encourages him to continue to exercise his splendid talents for the edification and encouragement of the Church. Yet, while inferior as a logician and polemic, he, after all, had a deeper insight into the mystery of predestination and free will, although unable to solve it. He gently hints to his friend that he looked too much to one side of the problem of divine sovereignty and human liberty, and says in substance: —
"As regards the question treated in your book, the question of predestination, I had in Tübingen a learned friend, Franciscus Stadianus, who used to say, I hold both to be true that all things happen according to divine foreordination, and yet according to their own laws, although he could not harmonize the two. I maintain the proposition that God is not the author of sin, and therefore cannot will it. David was by his own will carried into transgression.561 He might have retained the Holy Spirit. In this conflict there is some margin for free will .... Let us accuse our own will if we fall, and not find the cause in God. He will help and aid those who fight in earnest. Movnon qevlhson, says Basilius, kai; qeo;" proapanta'. God promises and gives help to those who are willing to receive it. So says the Word of God, and in this let us abide. I am far from prescribing to you, the most learned and experienced man in all things that belong to piety. I know that in general you agree with my view. I only suggest that this mode of expression is better adapted for practical use."562
In a letter to Camerarius, 1552, Melanchthon expresses his dissatisfaction with the manner in which Calvin emphasized the doctrine of predestination, and attempted to force the Swiss churches to accept it in the Consensus Genevensis.563
Calvin made another attempt in 1554 to gain him to his view, but in vain.564 On one point, however, he could agree to a certain modification; for he laid stress on the spontaneity of the will, and rejected Luther’s paradoxes, and his comparison of the natural man to a dead statue.
It is greatly to the credit of Calvin that, notwithstanding his sensitiveness and intolerance against the opponents of his favorite dogma, he respected the judgment of the most eminent Lutheran divine, and gave signal proof of it by publishing a French translation of the improved edition of Melanchthon’s Theological Commonplaces in 1546, with a commendatory preface of his own,565 in which he says that the book was a brief summary of all things necessary for a Christian to know on the way of salvation, stated in the simplest manner by the profoundly learned author. He does not conceal the difference of views on the subject of free will, and says that Melanchthon seems to concede to man some share in his salvation; yet in such a manner that God’s grace is not in any way diminished, and no ground is left to us for boasting.
This is the only example of a Reformer republishing and recommending the work of another Reformer, which was the only formidable rival of his own chief work on the same subject (the Institutes), and differed from it in several points.566
The revival of the unfortunate eucharistic controversy by Luther in 1545, and the equally unfortunate controversy caused by the imperial Interim in 1548, tried the friendship of the Reformers to the uttermost. Calvin respectfully, yet frankly, expressed his regret at the indecision and want of courage displayed by Melanchthon from fear of Luther and love of peace.
When Luther came out a year before his death with his most violent and abusive book against the "Sacramentarians,"567 which deeply grieved Melanchthon and roused the just indignation of the Zwinglians, Calvin wrote to Melanchthon (June 28, 1545): 568—
"Would that the fellow-feeling which enables me to condole with you, and to sympathize in your heaviness, might also impart the power in some degree at least to lighten your sorrow. If the matter stands as the Zürichers say it does, then they have just occasion for their writing .... Your Pericles allows himself to be carried beyond all bounds with his love of thunder, especially seeing that his own cause is by no means the better of the two .... We all of us acknowledge that we are much indebted to him. But in the Church we always must be upon our guard, lest we pay too great a deference to men. It is all over with her when a single individual has more authority than all the rest .... Where there is so much division and separation as we now see, it is indeed no easy matter to still the troubled waters, and bring about composure .... You will say he [Luther] has a vehement disposition and ungovernable impetuosity; as if that very vehemence did not break forth with all the greater violence when all show themselves alike indulgent to him, and allow him to have his way unquestioned. If this specimen of overbearing tyranny has sprung forth already as the early blossom in the springtide of a reviving Church, what must we expect in a short time, when affairs have fallen into a far worse condition? Let us, therefore, bewail the calamity of the Church and not devour our grief in silence, but venture boldly to groan for freedom .... You have studiously endeavored, by your kindly method of instruction, to recall the minds of men from strife and contention. I applaud your prudence and moderation. But while you dread, as you would some hidden rock, to meddle with this question from fear of giving offence, you are leaving in perplexity and suspense very many persons who require from you somewhat of a more certain sound, on which they can repose .... Perhaps it is now the will of God to open the way for a full and satisfactory declaration of your own mind, that those who look up to your authority may not be brought to a stand, and kept in a state of perpetual doubt and hesitation ....
"In the mean time let us run the race set before us with deliberate courage. I return you very many thanks for your reply, and for the extraordinary kindness which Claude assures me had been shown to him by you.569 I can form a conjecture what you would have been to myself, from your having given so kind and courteous a reception to my friend. I do not cease to offer my chief thanks to God, who has vouchsafed to us that agreement in opinion upon the whole of that question [on the real presence]; for although there is a slight difference in certain particulars, we are very well agreed upon the general question itself."
When after the defeat of the Protestants in the Smalkaldian War, Melanchthon accepted the Leipzig Interim with the humiliating condition of conformity to the Roman ritual, which the German emperor imposed upon them, Calvin was still more dissatisfied with his old friend. He sided, in this case, with the Lutheran non-conformists who, under the lead of Matthias Flacius, resisted the Interim, and were put under the ban of the empire. He wrote to Melanchthon, June 18, 1550, the following letter of remonstrance:570—
"The ancient satirist [Juvenal, I. 79] once said, —
’Si natura negat, facit indignatio versum.’
"It is at present far otherwise with me. So little does my present grief aid me in speaking, that it rather renders me almost entirely speechless .... I would have you suppose me to be groaning rather than speaking. It is too well known, from their mocking and jests, how much the enemies of Christ were rejoicing over your contests with the theologians of Magdeburg.571 ... If no blame attaches to you in this matter, my dear Philip, it would be but the dictate of prudence and justice to devise means of curing, or at least mitigating, the evil. Yet, forgive me if I do not consider you altogether free from blame .... In openly admonishing you, I am discharging the duty of a true friend; and if I employ a little more severity than usual, do not think that it is owing to any diminution of my old affection and esteem for you .... I know that nothing gives you greater pleasure than open candor .... This is the sum of your defence: that, provided purity of doctrine be retained, externals should not be pertinaciously contended for .... But you extend the distinction of non-essentials too far. You are aware that the Papists have corrupted the worship of God in a thousand ways. Several of those things which you consider indifferent are obviously repugnant to the Word of God .... You ought not to have made such large concessions to the Papists .... At the time when circumcision was yet lawful, do you not see that Paul, because crafty and malicious fowlers were laying snares for the liberty of believers, pertinaciously refused to concede to them a ceremony at the first instituted by God? He boasts that he did not yield to them,—no, not for an hour,—that the truth of God might remain intact among the Gentiles (Gal. 2:5) .... I remind you of what I once said to you, that we consider our ink too precious if we hesitate to bear testimony in writing to those things which so many of the flock are daily sealing with their blood .... The trepidation of a general is more dishonorable than the flight of a whole herd of private soldiers .... You alone, by only giving way a little, will cause more complaints and sighs than would a hundred ordinary individuals by open desertion. And, although I am fully persuaded that the fear of death never compelled you in the very least to swerve from the right path, yet I am apprehensive that it is just possible that another species of fear may have proved too much for your courage. For I know how much you are horrified at the charge of rude severity. But we should remember that reputation must not be accounted by the servants of Christ as of more value than life. We are no better than Paul was, who remained fearlessly on his way through ’evil and good report.’ ... You know why I am so vehement. I had rather die with you a hundred times than see you survive the doctrines surrendered by you ....
"Pardon me for loading your breast with these miserable though ineffectual groans. Adieu, most illustrious sir, and ever worthy of my hearty regard. May the Lord continue to guide you by his Spirit, and sustain you by his might. May his protection guard you. Amen."
We have here a repetition of the scene between Paul and Peter at Antioch, concerning the rite of circumcision; and while we admire the frankness and boldness of Paul and Calvin in rebuking an elder brother, and standing up for principle, we must also admire the meekness and humility of Peter and Melanchthon in bearing the censure.
Melanchthon himself, after a brief interruption, reopened the correspondence in the old friendly spirit, during the disturbances of war between Elector Maurice and the Emperor Charles, which made an end of the controversy about the Adiaphora.
"How often," wrote Melanchthon, Oct. 1, 1552,572 "would I have written to you, reverend sir and dearest brother, if I could find more trustworthy letter-carriers. For I would like to converse with you about many most important matters, because I esteem your judgment very highly and know the candor and purity of your soul.573 I am now living as in a wasp’s nest;574 but perhaps I shall soon be called from this mortal life to a brighter companionship in heaven. If I live longer, I have to expect new exiles; if so, I am determined to turn to you. The studies are now broken up by pestilence and war. How often do I mourn and sigh over the causes of this fury among princes."
In a lengthy and interesting answer Calvin says:575 "Nothing could have come to me more seasonably at this time than your letter, which I received two months after its despatch."576 He assures him that it was no little consolation to him in his sore trials at Geneva to be assured of the continuance of his affection, which, he was told, had been interrupted by the letter of remonstrance above referred to. "I have learned the more gladly that our friendship remains safe, which assuredly, as it grew out of a heartfelt love of piety, ought to remain forever sacred and inviolable."
In the unfortunate affair of Servetus, Melanchthon fully approved Calvin’s conduct (1554).577 But during the eucharistic controversy excited by Westphal, he kept an ominous silence, which produced a coolness between them. In a letter of Aug. 3, 1557, Calvin complains that for three years he had not heard from him, but expresses satisfaction that he still entertained the same affection, and closes with the wish that he maybe permitted "to enjoy on earth a most delightful interview with you, and feel some alleviation of my grief by deploring along with you the evils which we cannot remedy."578
That wish was not granted. In a letter of Nov. 19, 1558,579 he gives him, while still suffering from a quartan ague, a minute account of his malady, of the remedies of the doctors, of the formidable coalition of the kings of France and Spain against Geneva, and concludes with these words:
"Let us cultivate with sincerity a fraternal affection towards each other, the ties of which no wiles of the devil shall ever burst asunder .... By no slight shall my mind ever be alienated from that holy friendship and respect which I have vowed to you .... Farewell, most illustrious light and distinguished doctor of the Church. May the Lord always govern you by his Spirit, preserve you long in safety, increase your store of blessings. In your tum, diligently commend us to the protection of God, as you see us exposed to the jaws of the wolf. My colleagues and an innumerable crowd of pious men salute you."
On the 19th of April, 1560, Melanchthon was delivered from "the fury of the theologians" and all his troubles. A year after his death Calvin, who had to fight the battle of faith four years longer, during the renewed fury of the eucharistic controversy with the fanatical Heshusius, addressed this touching appeal to his sainted friend in heaven: —
"O Philip Melanchthon! I appeal to thee who now livest with Christ in the bosom of God, and there art waiting for us till we shall be gathered with thee to that blessed rest. A hundred times, when worn out with labors and oppressed with so many troubles, didst thou repose thy head familiarly on my breast and say, ’Would that I could die in this bosom!’ Since then I have a thousand times wished that it had been granted to us to live together; for certainly thou wouldst thus have had more courage for the inevitable contest, and been stronger to despise envy, and to count as nothing all accusations. In this manner, also, the malice of many would have been restrained who, from thy gentleness which they call weakness, gathered audacity for their attacks."580
Who, in view of this friendship which was stronger than death, can charge Calvin with want of heart and tender affection?
§ 91. Calvin and Sadolet. The Vindication of the Reformation.
Sadoleti: Epistola ad Genevenses (Cal. Apr., i.e. March 18, 1539).—Calvini: Responsio ad Sadoletum (Sept. 1, 1539), Argentorati ap. Wendelinum Richelium excusa. In Calv. Opera, vol. V. 385–416. Calvin translated it into French, 1540 (republished at Geneva, 1860). English translation of both by Henry Beveridge in John Calvin’s Tracts relate to the Reformation, Edinburgh (Calvin Translation Society), 1844, pp. 3–68.—Beza, Vita C., Opera, XXI. 129.
Henry, Vol. I. ch. XI.—Dyer, 102 sq.—Stähelin, I. 291–304.—Kampschulte, I. 354 sq. (only a brief but important notice).—Merle D’Aubigné, bk. XI. ch. XVI., and vol. VI. 570–594.
"Another evil, of a more dangerous kind, arose in the year 1539, and was at once extinguished by the diligence of Calvin. The bishop of Carpentras, at that time, was James Sadolet, a man of great eloquence, but he perverted it chiefly in suppressing the light of truth. He had been appointed a cardinal for no other reason than in order that his moral respectability might serve to put a kind of gloss on false religion. Observing his opportunity in the circumstances which had occurred, and thinking that he would easily ensnare the flock when deprived of its distinguished pastors, he sent, under the pretext of neighborhood (for the city of Carpentras is in Dauphiny, which again bounds on Savoy), a letter to his so-styled ’most Beloved Senate, Council, and People of Geneva,’ omitting nothing which might tend to bring them both into the lap of the Romish Harlot,581 There was nobody at that time in Geneva capable of writing an answer, and it is, therefore, not unlikely, that, had the letter not been written in a foreign tongue (Latin), it would, in the existing state of affairs, have done great mischief to the city. But Calvin, having read it at Strasbourg, forgot all his injuries, and forthwith answered it with so much truth and eloquence, that Sadolet immediately gave up the whole affair as desperate."
This is Beza’s account of that important and interesting controversy which occurred in the German period of Calvin’s life, and left a permanent impression on history.
The interregnum in Geneva furnished an excellent opportunity for Pierre de la Baume, who had been made a cardinal, to recover his lost bishopric. In this respect he only followed the example of dispossessed princes. He brought about, with the help of the pope, a consultation of the bishops of the neighboring dioceses of Lyons, Vienne, Lausanne, Besançon, Turin, Langres, and Carpentras. The meeting was held at Lyons under the presidency of the cardinal of Tournon, then archbishop of Lyons, and known as a bigoted persecutor of the Waldenses. Jean Philippe, the chief author of the banishment of Calvin, aided in the scheme. The bishop of Carpentras, a town on the borders of Savoy, was selected for the execution. A better choice could not have been made.
Jacopo Sadoleto (born at Modena, 1477, died at Rome, 1547) was one of the secretaries of Pope Leo X., bishop of Carpentras in Dauphiny since 1517, secretary of Clement VII. in 1523, a cardinal since 1536. He was frequently employed in diplomatic peace negotiations between the pope, the king of France, and the emperor of Germany. He had a high reputation as a scholar, a poet, and a gentleman of irreproachable character and devout piety. He best represents the Italian Renaissance in its leaning towards a moderate semi-evangelical reform within the Catholic Church. He was an admirer of Erasmus and Melanchthon, and one of the founders of the Oratory at Rome for purposes of mutual edification. He acted, like Contarini, as a mediator between the Roman and Protestant parties, but did not please either. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, he expressed opinions on divine grace and free-will which gave offence in Rome and in Spain. His colleague, Cardinal Bembo, warned him against the study of St. Paul, lest it might spoil his classical style. Sadolet prevented the spread of Calvinism in his diocese, but was opposed to violent persecution. He kindly received the fugitive Waldenses after the terrible massacre of Mérindol and Cabrières, in 1545, and besought the clemency of Francis I. in their behalf. He was grieved and disgusted with the nepotism of Pope Paul III., and declined the appointment to preside over the Council of Trent as papal delegate, on the score of extreme poverty.
This highly respectable dignitary of the papal hierarchy made a very able and earnest effort to win back the orphan Church of Geneva to the sheepfold of Rome. He thereby came involuntarily into a literary conflict with Calvin, in which he was utterly defeated. Fresh from a visit to the pope, he addressed a letter of some twenty or more octavo pages "to his dearly beloved Brethren, the Magistrates, Senate, and Citizens of Geneva." It is written in elegant Latin, and with persuasive eloquence, of which he was a consummate master.
He assumes the air of authority as a cardinal and papal legate, and begins with an apostolic greeting: "Very dear Brethren in Christ,—Peace to you and with us, that is, with the Catholic Church, the mother of all, both of us and you, love and concord from God, the Father Almighty, and from his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, together with the Holy Spirit, perfect Unity in Trinity; to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever." He flatters the Genevese by praising their noble city, the order and form of their republic, the worth of their citizens, and especially their "hospitality to strangers and foreigners," but he casts suspicion on the character and motives of the Reformers. This uncharitable and ungentlemanly reflection mars the beauty and dignity of his address, and weakened its effect upon the citizens of Geneva who, whatever were their religious views, had no doubt about the honesty and earnestness of Farel, Viret, and Calvin.
After this introduction Sadolet gives a very plausible exposition of the principle of the Catholic doctrines, but ignores the Bible. He admits that man is saved by faith alone, but adds the necessity of good works. He then asks the Genevese to decide, "Whether it be more expedient for their salvation to believe and follow what the Catholic Church has approved with general consent for more than fifteen hundred years, or innovations introduced within these twenty-five years by crafty men." He then adduces the stock arguments of antiquity, universality, unity, and inerrancy, while the Protestants were already broken up into warring sects a manifest indication of falsehood. For "truth," he says, "is always one, while error is varied and multiform; that which is straight is simple, that which is crooked has many turns. Can any one who confesses Christ, fail to perceive that such teaching of the holy Church is the proper work of Satan, and not of God? What does God demand of us? What does Christ enjoin? That we be all one in him."
He closes with an earnest exhortation, and assures the Genevese: "Whatever I possibly can do, although it is very little, still if I have in me any talent, skill, authority, industry, I offer them all to you and your interests, and will regard it as a great favor to myself should you be able to reap any fruit and advantage from my labor and assistance in things human and divine."
The Council of Geneva politely acknowledged the receipt of the cardinal’s letter with thanks for the compliments paid to the Genevese, and promised a full reply in due time. This was March 27. On the next day a number of citizens, under the lead of François Chamois, entered a protest against the ordinance by which the Confession of Faith had been adopted, July 29, 1537, and asked to be released from the oath. The Romanists took courage. No one could be found in Geneva who was able to answer the cardinal’s letter, and silence might be construed into consent.
Calvin received a copy of the appeal through Sulzer, a minister of Bern, wrote an answer of more than twice its length in six days, and despatched it to Geneva in time to neutralize the mischief (Sept. 1). Though not mentioned by name, he was indirectly assailed by the cardinal as the chief among those who had been denounced as misleaders and disturbers of the peace of Geneva. He therefore felt it his duty to take up the pen in defence of the Reformation.
He begins by paying a just tribute to the cardinal for his excellent learning and admirable eloquence, which raised him to a place among the first scholars of the age. Nor did he impeach his motives. "I will give you credit," he says, "for having written to the Genevese with the purest intention as becomes one of your learning, prudence, and gravity, and for having in good faith advised them to the course which you believed to be to their interest and safety." He was, therefore, reluctant to oppose him, and he did so only under an imperative sense of duty. We let him speak for himself.582
"I profess to be one of those whom, with so much enmity, you assail and stigmatize. For though religion was already established, and the form of the Church corrected, before I was invited to Geneva, yet having not only approved by my suffrage, but studied as much as in me lay to preserve and confirm what had been done by Viret and Farel, I cannot separate my case from theirs. Still, if you had attacked me in my private character, I could easily have forgiven the attack in consideration of your learning, and in honor of letters. But when I see that my ministry, which I feel assured is supported and sanctioned by a call from God, is wounded through my side, it would be perfidy, not patience, were I here to be silent and connive.
"In that Church I have held the office, first of Doctor, and then of Pastor. In my own right I maintain that, in undertaking these offices, I had a legitimate vocation. How faithfully and religiously I have performed them, there is no occasion for now showing at length. Perspicuity, erudition, prudence, ability, or even industry, I will not claim for myself, but that I certainly labored with the sincerity which became me in the work of the Lord, I can in conscience appeal to Christ, my Judge, and all his angels, while all good men bear clear testimony in my favor. This ministry, therefore, when it shall appear to have been of God (as it certainly shall appear after the cause has been heard), were I in silence to allow you to tear and defame, who would not condemn such silence as treachery ? Every person, therefore, now sees that the strongest obligations of duty—obligations which I cannot evade—constrain me to meet your accusations, if I would not with manifest perfidy desert and betray a cause with which the Lord has intrusted me. For though I am for the present relieved of the charge of the Church of Geneva, that circumstance ought not to prevent me from embracing it with paternal affection—God, when he gave it to me in charge, having bound me to be faithful forever."
He repels with modest dignity the frivolous charge of having embraced the cause of the Reformation from disappointed ambition.
"I am unwilling to speak of myself, but since you do not permit me to be altogether silent, I will say what I can consistently with modesty. Had I wished to consult my own interest, I would never have left your party. I will not, indeed, boast that there the road to preferment had been easy to me. I never desired it, and I could never bring my mind to catch at it; although I certainly know not a few of my own age who have crept up to some eminence—among them some whom I might have equalled, and others outstripped. This only I will be contented to say, it would not have been difficult for me to reach the summit of my wishes, viz., the enjoyment of literary ease with something of a free and honorable station. Therefore, I have no fear that any one not possessed of shameless effrontery will object to me, that out of the kingdom of the pope I sought for any personal advantage which was not there ready to my hand."
The Reformer follows the cardinal’s letter step by step, and defeats him at every point. He answers his assertions with facts and arguments. He destroys, like a cobweb, his beautiful picture of an ideal Catholicism by a description of the actual papacy of those days, with its abuses and corruptions, which were the real cause of the Reformation. He gives a very dark account, indeed, but it is fully confirmed by what is authentically known of the lives of such popes as Alexander VI. and Leo X., by the invectives of Savonarola, by the observations of Erasmus and Luther on their experience in Rome, by such impartial witnesses as Machiavelli, who says that religion was almost destroyed in Italy owing to the bad example set by the popes, and even by the testimony of an exceptionally good and pious pope, Adrian VI., who, with all his abhorrence of the Lutheran heresy, officially confessed the absolute necessity of a moral reform in the head and members of the hierarchy.
"We deny not," says Calvin, "that those over whom you preside are churches of Christ, but we maintain that the Roman pontiff, with his whole herd of pseudo-bishops, who have seized upon the pastor’s office, are ravening wolves, whose only study has hitherto been to scatter and trample upon the kingdom of Christ, filling it with ruin and devastation. Nor are we the first to make the complaint. With what vehemence does Bernard thunder against Eugenius and all the bishops of his own age? Yet how much more tolerable was its condition than now?
"For iniquity has reached its height, and now those shadowy prelates, by whom you think the Church stands or perishes, and by whom we say that she has been cruelly torn and mutilated, and brought to the very brink of destruction, can bear neither their vices nor the cure of them. Destroyed the Church would have been, had not God, with singular goodness, prevented. For in all places where the tyranny of the Roman pontiff prevails, you scarcely see as many stray and tattered vestiges as will enable you to perceive that these Churches he half buried. Nor should you think this absurd, since Paul tells you that Antichrist would have his seat in no other place than in the midst of God’s sanctuary (2 Thess. 2:4) ....
"But whatever the character of the men, still, you say, it is written, ’What they tell you, do.’ No doubt, if they sit in the chair of Moses. But when, from the chair of verity, they intoxicate the people with folly, it is written, ’Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees’ (Matt. 12:6) ....
"Let your pontiff boast as he may of the succession of Peter: even if he should make good his title to it, he will establish nothing more than that obedience is due to him from the Christian people so long as he himself maintains his fidelity to Christ, and does not deviate from the purity of the gospel … . A prophet should be judged by the congregation (1 Cor. 14:29). Whoever exempts himself from this must first expunge his name from the list of the prophets ....
"As to your assertion, that our only aim in shaking off this tyrannical yoke was to set ourselves free for unbridled licentiousness after (so help us!) casting away all thoughts of future life, let judgment be given after comparing our conduct with yours. We abound, indeed, in numerous faults; too often do we sin and fall. Still, though truth would, modesty will not, permit me to boast how far we excel you in every respect, unless, perchance, you except Rome, that famous abode of sanctity, which having burst asunder the cords of pure discipline, and trodden all honor under foot, has so overflowed with all kinds of iniquity, that scarcely anything so abominable has ever been before."
At the close of his letter, Sadolet had cited the Reformers as criminals before the judgment-seat of God, in an imaginary confession to the effect that they had been actuated by base motives of pride and disappointed ambition in their assaults upon the holy Church and the vicegerent of Christ, and become guilty of "great seditions and schisms."
Calvin takes up the challenge by a counter-confession, which introduces us into the very heart of the great religious struggle of the sixteenth century, and is perhaps the ablest vindication of the Reformation to be found in the controversial literature of that time. He puts that movement on the ground of the Word of God against the commandments of men, and justifies it by the protests of the Hebrew prophets against the corruptions of the Levitical priesthood, and Christ’s fearful denunciations of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who nailed the Saviour to the cross. The same confession contains also an incidental account of the spiritual experience and conversion of the author, who speaks for himself as well as his colleagues. We give it in full.
"Consider now what serious answer you are to make for yourself and your party. Our cause, as it is supported by the truth of God, will be at no loss for a complete defence. I am not speaking of our persons; their safety will be found not in defence, but in humble confession and suppliant deprecation. But in so far as our ministry is concerned, there is none of us who will not be able thus to speak: —
" ’O Lord, I have, indeed, experienced how difficult and grievous it was to bear the invidious accusations with which I was harassed on the earth; but with the same confidence with which I then appealed to Thy tribunal, I now appear before Thee, because I know that in Thy judgment truth always reigns—that truth by whose assurance supported I first ventured to attempt—with whose assistance provided I was able to accomplish whatever I have achieved in Thy Church.
" ’They charged me with two of the worst of crimes—heresy and schism. And the heresy was, that I dared to protest against dogmas which they received. But what could I have done? I heard from Thy mouth that there was no other light of truth which could direct our souls into the way of life, than that which was kindled by Thy Word. I heard that whatever human minds of themselves conceive concerning Thy Majesty, the worship of Thy Deity, and the mysteries of Thy religion, was vanity. I heard that their introducing into the Church instead of Thy Word, doctrines sprung from the human brain, was sacrilegious presumption.
" ’But when I turned my eyes towards men, I saw very different principles prevailing. Those who were regarded as the leaders of faith, neither understood Thy Word, nor greatly cared for it. They only drove unhappy people to and fro with strange doctrines, and deluded them with I know not what follies. Among the people themselves, the highest veneration paid to Thy Word was to revere it at a distance, as a thing inaccessible, and abstain from all investigation of it.
" 'Owing to this supine state of the pastors, and this stupidity of the people, every place was filled with pernicious errors, falsehoods, and superstition. They, indeed, called Thee the only God, but it was while transferring to others the glory which thou hast claimed for Thy Majesty. They figured and had for themselves as many gods as they had saints, whom they chose to worship. Thy Christ was indeed worshipped as God, and retained the name of Saviour; but where He ought to have been honored, He was left almost without honor. For, spoiled of His own virtue, He passed unnoticed among the crowd of saints, like one of the meanest of them. There was none who duly considered that one sacrifice which He offered on the cross, and by which He reconciled us to Thyself—none who ever dreamed of thinking of His eternal priesthood, and the intercession depending upon it—none who trusted in His righteousness only. That confident hope of salvation which is both enjoined by Thy Word, and founded upon it, had almost vanished. Nay, it was received as a kind of oracle, that it was foolish arrogance, and, as they termed it, presumption for any one trusting to Thy goodness, and the righteousness of Thy Son, to entertain a sure and unfaltering hope of salvation.
" ’Not a few profane opinions plucked up by the roots the first principles of that doctrine which Thou hast delivered to us in Thy Word. The true meaning of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, also, was corrupted by numerous falsehoods. And then, when all, with no small insult to Thy mercy, put confidence in good works, when by good works they strove to merit Thy favor, to procure justification, to expiate their sins, and make satisfaction to Thee (each of these things obliterating and making void the virtue of Christ’s cross), they were yet altogether ignorant wherein good works consisted. For, just as if they were not at all instructed in righteousness by Thy law, they had fabricated for themselves many useless frivolities, as a means of procuring Thy favor, and on these they so plumed themselves, that, in comparison of them, they almost contemned the standard of true righteousness which Thy law recommended,—to such a degree had human desires, after usurping the ascendancy, derogated, if not from the belief, at least from the authority, of Thy precepts therein contained.
" ’That I might perceive these things, Thou, O Lord, didst shine upon me with the brightness of Thy Spirit; that I might comprehend how impious and noxious they were, Thou didst bear before me the torch of Thy Word; that I might abominate them as they deserved, Thou didst stimulate my soul.
" ’But in rendering an account of my doctrine, Thou seest (what my own conscience declares) that it was not my intention to stray beyond those limits which I saw had been fixed by all Thy servants. Whatever I felt assured that I had learned from Thy mouth, I desired to dispense faithfully to the Church. Assuredly, the thing at which I chiefly aimed, and for which I most diligently labored, was, that the glory of Thy goodness and justice, after dispersing the mists by which it was formerly obscured, might shine forth conspicuous, that the virtue and blessings of Thy Christ (all glosses being wiped away) might be fully displayed. For I thought it impious to leave in obscurity things which we were born to ponder and meditate. Nor did I think that truths, whose magnitude no language can express, were to be maliciously or falsely declared.
" ’I hesitated not to dwell at greater length on topics on which the salvation of my hearers depended. For the oracle could never deceive which declares (John 17:3): "This is eternal life to know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent."
" ’As to the charge of forsaking the Church, which they were wont to bring against me, there is nothing of which my conscience accuses me, unless, indeed, he is to be considered a deserter, who, seeing the soldiers routed and scattered, and abandoning the ranks, raises the leader’s standard, and recalls them to their posts. For thus, O Lord, were all thy servants dispersed, so that they could not, by any possibility, hear the command, but had almost forgotten their leader, and their service, and their military oath. In order to bring them together, when thus scattered, I raised not a foreign standard, but that noble banner of Thine which we must follow, if we would be classed among Thy people. Then I was assailed by those who, when they ought to have kept others in their ranks, had led them astray, and when I determined not to desist, opposed me with violence. On this grievous tumults arose, and the contest blazed and issued in disruption.
" ’With whom the blame rests it is for Thee, O Lord, to decide. Always, both by word and deed, have I protested how eager I was for unity. Mine, however, was a unity of the Church, which should begin with Thee and end in Thee. For as oft as Thou didst recommend to us peace and concord, Thou, at the same time, didst show that Thou wert the only bond for preserving it.
" ’But if I desired to be at peace with those who boasted of being the heads of the Church and pillars of faith, I believed to purchase it with the denial of Thy truth. I thought that anything was to be endured sooner than stoop to such nefarious compact. For Thy Anointed Himself hath declared, that though heaven and earth should be confounded, yet Thy Word must endure forever (Matt. 24:35).
" ’Nor did I think that I dissented from Thy Church because I was at war with those leaders; for Thou hast forewarned me, both by Thy Son, and by the apostles, that that place would be occupied by persons to whom I ought by no means to consent. Christ had predicted not of strangers, but of men who should give themselves out for pastors, that they would be ravenous wolves and false prophets, and had, at the same time, cautioned me to beware of them. Where Christ ordered me to beware, was I to lend my aid? And the apostles declared that there would be no enemies of Thy Church more pestilential than those from within who should conceal themselves under the title of pastors (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 2:18).
" ’Why should I have hesitated to separate myself from persons whom they forewarned me to hold as enemies? I had before my eyes the examples of Thy prophets, who I saw had a similar contest with the priests and false prophets of their day, though these were undoubtedly the rulers of the Church among the Israelitish people. But Thy prophets are not regarded as schismatics, because, when they wished to revive religion, which had fallen into decay, they desisted not, although opposed with the utmost violence. They still remained in the unity of the Church, though they were doomed to perdition by wicked priests, and deemed unworthy of a place among men, not to say saints.
" ’Confirmed by their example, I, too, persisted. Though denounced as a deserter of the Church, and threatened, I was in no respect deterred or induced to proceed less firmly and boldly in opposing those, who, in the character of pastors, wasted Thy Church with a more than impious tyranny. My conscience told me how strong the zeal was with which I burned for the unity of Thy Church, provided Thy truth were made the bond of concord. As the commotions which followed were not excited by me, so there is no ground for imputing them to me. Thou, O Lord, knowest, and the fact itself has testified to men, that the only thing I asked was, that all controversies should be decided by Thy Word, that thus both parties might unite with one mind to establish Thy kingdom; and I declined not to restore peace to the Church at the expense of my head, if I were found to have been unnecessarily the cause of tumult.
" ’But what did our opponents? Did they not instantly, and like madmen fly to fires, swords, and gibbets? Did they not decide that their only security, was in arms and cruelty? Did they not instigate all ranks to the same fury? Did they not spurn at all methods of pacification? To this it is owing that a matter, which might at one time have been settled amicably, has blazed into such a contest. But although, amidst the great confusion, the judgments of men were various, I am freed from all fear, now that we stand at Thy tribunal, where equity, combined with truth, cannot but decide in favor of innocence.’
"Such, Sadolet, is our pleading, not the fictitious one which you, in order to aggravate our case, were pleased to devise, but that the perfect truth of which is known to the good even now, and will be made manifest to all creatures on that day. Nor will those who, instructed by our preaching, have adhered to our cause, be at loss what to say for themselves, since each will be ready with this defence: —
" ’I, O Lord, as I had been educated from a boy, always professed the Christian faith. But at first I had no other reason for my faith than that which then everywhere prevailed. Thy Word, which ought to have shone on all Thy people like a lamp, was taken away, or at least suppressed as to us. And lest any one should long for greater light, an idea had been instilled into the minds of all, that the investigation of that hidden celestial philosophy was better delegated to a few, whom the others might consult as oracles—that the highest knowledge befitting plebeian minds was to subdue themselves into obedience to the Church. Then, the rudiments in which I had been instructed were of a kind which could neither properly train me to the legitimate worship of Thy Deity, nor pave the way for me to a sure hope of salvation, nor train me aright for the duties of the Christian life. I had learned, indeed, to worship Thee only as my God, but as the true method of worshipping was altogether unknown to me, I stumbled at the very threshold. I believed, as I had been taught, that I was redeemed by the death of Thy Son from the liability to eternal death, but the redemption I thought of was one whose virtue could never reach me. I anticipated a future resurrection, but hated to think of it, as being an event most dreadful. And this feeling not only had dominion over me in private, but was derived from the doctrine which was then uniformly delivered to the people by their Christian teachers.
" ’They, indeed, preached of Thy clemency towards men, but confined it to those who should show themselves deserving of it. They, moreover, placed this desert in the righteousness of works, so that he only was received into Thy favor who reconciled himself to Thee by works. Nor, meanwhile, did they disguise the fact that we are miserable sinners, that we often fall through infirmity of the flesh, and that to all, therefore, Thy mercy behoved to be the common haven of salvation; but the method of obtaining it, which they pointed out, was by making satisfaction to Thee for offences. Then the satisfaction enjoined was, first, after confessing all our sins to a priest, suppliantly to ask pardon and absolution; and, secondly, by good to efface from Thy remembrance our bad actions. Lastly, in order to supply what was still wanting, we were to add sacrifices and solemn expiations. Then, because Thou wert a stern judge and strict avenger of iniquity, they showed how dreadful Thy presence must be. Hence they bade us flee first to the saints, that by their intercession Thou mightest be rendered exorable and propitious to us.
" ’When, however, I had performed all these things, though I had some intervals of quiet, I was still far off from true peace of conscience; for, whenever I descended into myself, or raised my mind to Thee, extreme terror seized me—terror which no expiations or satisfactions could cure. And the more closely I examined myself, the sharper the stings with which my conscience was pricked, so that the only solace which remained to me was to delude myself by obliviousness. Still, as nothing better offered, I continued the course which I had begun, when, lo! a very different form of doctrine started up, not one which led us away from the Christian profession, but one which brought it back to its fountain-head, and, as it were, clearing away the dross, restored it to its original purity.
" ’Offended by the novelty, I lent an unwilling ear, and at first, I confess, strenuously and passionately resisted; for (such is the firmness or effrontery with which it is natural to men to persist in the course which they have once undertaken) it was with the greatest difficulty I was induced to confess that I had all my life long been in ignorance and error. One thing, in particular, made me averse to those new teachers, viz. reverence for the Church.
" ’But when once I opened my ears, and allowed myself to be taught, I perceived that this fear of derogating from the majesty of the Church was groundless. For they reminded me how great the difference is between schism from the Church, and studying to correct the faults by which the Church herself was contaminated. They spoke nobly of the Church, and showed the greatest desire to cultivate unity. And lest it should seem they quibbled on the term Church, they showed it was no new thing for Antichrists to preside there in place of pastors. Of this they produced not a few examples, from which it appeared they aimed at nothing but the edification of the Church, and in that respect were similarly circumstanced with many of Christ’s servants whom we ourselves included in the catalogue of saints.
" ’For inveighing more freely against the Roman Pontiff, who was reverenced as the Vicegerent of Christ, the Successor of Peter, and the Head of the Church, they excused themselves thus: Such titles as those are empty bugbears, by which the eyes of the pious ought not to be so blinded as not to venture to look at them and sift the reality. It was when the world was plunged in ignorance and sloth, as in a deep sleep, that the pope had risen to such an eminence; certainly neither appointed head of the Church by the Word of God, nor ordained by a legitimate act of the Church, but of his own accord, self-elected. Moreover, the tyranny which he let loose against the people of God was not to be endured, if we wished to have the kingdom of Christ amongst us in safety.
" ’And they wanted not most powerful arguments to confirm all their positions. First, they clearly disposed of everything that was then commonly adduced to establish the primacy of the pope. When they had taken away all these props, they also, by the Word of God, tumbled him from his lofty height. On the whole, they make it clear and palpable, to learned and unlearned, that the true order of the Church had then perished,—that the keys under which the discipline of the Church is comprehended had been altered very much for the worse; that Christian liberty had fallen,—in short, that the kingdom of Christ was prostrated when this primacy was reared up. They told me, moreover, as a means of pricking my conscience, that I could not safely connive at these things as if they concerned me not; that so far art Thou from patronizing any voluntary error, that even he who is led astray by mere ignorance does not err with impunity. This they proved by the testimony of Thy Son (Matt. 15:14): "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
" ’My mind being now prepared for serious attention, I at length perceived, as if light had broken in upon me, in what a stye of error I had wallowed, and how much pollution and impurity I had thereby contracted. Being exceedingly alarmed at the misery into which I had fallen, and much more at that which threatened me in the view of eternal death, I, as in duty bound, made it my first business to betake myself to Thy way, condemning my past life, not without groans and tears.
" ’And now, O Lord, what remains to a wretch like me, but, instead of defence, earnestly to supplicate Thee not to judge according to its deserts that fearful abandonment of Thy Word, from which, in Thy wondrous goodness, Thou hast at last delivered me.’
"Now, Sadolet, if you please, compare this pleading with that which you have put into the mouth of your plebeian. It will be strange if you hesitate which of the two you ought to prefer. For the safety of that man hangs by a thread whose defence turns wholly on this—that he has constantly adhered to the religion handed down to him from his forefathers. At this rate, Jews and Turks and Saracens would escape the judgment of God.
"Away, then, with this vain quibbling at a tribunal which will be erected, not to approve the authority of man, but to condemn all flesh of vanity and falsehood, and vindicate the truth of God only."
Calvin descends to repel with just indignation the groundless charge of avarice and greed which Sadolet was not ashamed to cast upon the Reformers, who might have easily reached the dignity and wealth of bishops and cardinals, but who preferred to live and die in poverty for the sake of their sacred convictions.
"Would not," he asked, "the shortest road to riches and honors have been to accept the terms which were offered at the very first? How much would your pontiff then have paid to many for their silence? How much would he pay for it even at the present day? If they were actuated in the least degree by avarice, why do they cut off all hope of improving their fortune, and prefer to be thus perpetually wretched, rather than enrich themselves without difficulty and in a moment?
"But ambition, forsooth, withholds them! What ground you had for this other insinuation I see not, since those who first engaged in this cause could expect nothing else than to be spurned by the whole world, and those who afterwards adhered to it, exposed themselves knowingly and willingly to endless insults and revilings from every quarter."
He then answers to "the most serious charge of all:" that the Reformers had "dismembered the Spouse of Christ," while in fact they attempted, to present her as a chaste virgin of Christ," and, "seeing her polluted by base seducers, to recall her to conjugal fidelity," after having been defiled by the idolatry of image-worship and numberless superstitions. Peace and unity can only be found in Christ and his truth. He concludes with the wish: —
"May the Lord grant, Sadolet, that you and all your party may at length perceive that the only true bond of Church unity is Christ the Lord, who has reconciled us to God the Father, and will gather us out of our present dispersion into the fellowship of His body, that so, through His one Word and Spirit, we may grow together into one heart and one soul."
Such is a summary of that remarkable Answer—a masterpiece of dignified and gentlemanly theological controversy. There is scarcely a parallel to it in the literature of that age, which teems with uncharitable abuse and coarse invective. Melanchthon might have equalled it in courtesy and good taste, but not in adroitness and force. No wonder that the old lion of Wittenberg was delighted with this triumphant vindication of the evangelical Reformation by a young Frenchman, who was to carry on the conflict which he himself had begun twenty years before by his Theses and his heroic stand at the Diet of Worms. "This answer," said Luther to Cruciger, who had met Calvin at the Colloquies in Worms and Regensburg, "has hand and foot, and I rejoice that God raises up men who will give the last blow to popery, and finish the war against Antichrist which I began."583
The Answer made a deep and lasting impression. It was widely circulated, with Sadolet’s Letter, in manuscript, printed in Latin, first at Strassburg, translated into French, and published in both languages by the Council of Geneva at the expense of the city (1540). The prelates who had met at Lyons lost courage; the papal party in Geneva gave up all hope of restoring the mass. Three years afterwards Cardinal Pierre de la Baume died—the last bishop of Geneva.
§ 92. Calvin’s Marriage and Home Life.
Calvin’s Letters to Farel and Viret quoted below.
Jules Bonnet: Idelette de Bure, femme de Calvin. In the "Bulletin de la Société de l’histoire du protestantisme français." Quatrième année. Paris, 1856. pp. 636–646.—D. Lenoir, ibid. 1860. p. 26. (A brief note.)
Henry, I. 407 sqq.—Dyer, 99 sqq.—Stähelin, I. 272 sqq.—Merle d’Aubigné, bk. XI. ch. XVII, (vol. VI. 601–608).—Stricker, l.c. 42–50. (Kampschulte is silent on this topic.)
The most important event in Calvin’s private life during his sojourn in Germany was his marriage, which took place early in August, 1540.584 He expresses his views on marriage in his comments on Ephesians 5:28–33. "It is a thing against nature," he remarks, "that any one should not love his wife, for God has ordained marriage in order that two may be made one person—a result which, certainly, no other alliance can bring about. When Moses says that a man shall leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife, he shows that a man ought to prefer marriage to every other union, as being the holiest of all. It reflects our union with Christ, who infuses his very life unto us; for we are flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone. This is a great mystery, the dignity of which cannot be expressed in words."
He himself was in no hurry to get married, and put it off till he was over thirty. He rather boasted that people could not charge him with having assailed Rome, as the Greeks besieged Troy, for the sake of a woman. What led him first to think of it, was the sense of loneliness and the need of proper care, that he might be able the better to serve the Church. He had a housekeeper, with her son, a woman of violent temper who sorely tried his patience. At one time she abused his brother so violently that he left the house, and then she ran away, leaving her son behind. The disturbance made him sick.585
He was often urged by his friend Farel (who himself found no time to think of marrying till his old age), and by Bucer, to take a wife, that he might enjoy the comforts of a well-ordered home. He first mentions the subject in a letter to Farel, from Strassburg, May 19, 1539, in which he says: "I am none of those insane lovers who, when once smitten with the fine figure of a woman, embrace also her faults. This only is the beauty which allures me, if she be chaste, obliging, not fastidious, economical, patient, and careful for my health.586 Therefore, if you think well of it, set out immediately, lest some one else [Bucer?] gets the start of you. But if you think otherwise we will let it pass." It seems Farel could not find a person that combined all these qualities, and the matter was dropped for several months.
In Feb. 6, 1540, Calvin, in a letter to the same friend, touched again upon the subject of matrimony, but only incidentally, as if it were a subordinate matter. After informing him about his trouble with Caroli, his discussion with Hermann, an Anabaptist, the good understanding of Charles V. and Francis I., and the alarm of the Protestant princes of Germany, he goes on to say: "Nevertheless, in the midst of such commotions as these, I am so much at my ease as to have the audacity to think of taking a wife. A certain damsel of noble rank has been proposed to me,587 and with a fortune above my condition. Two considerations deterred me from that connection—because she did not understand our language, and because I feared she might be too mindful of her family and education."588
He sent his brother for another lady, who was highly recommended to him. He expected to get married March 10, and invited Farel to celebrate the wedding. But this project also failed, and he thought of abandoning all further attempts.
At last he married a member of his congregation, Idelette de Bure, the widow of Jean Stordeur (or Storder) of Liège,589 a prominent Anabaptist whom he had converted to the orthodox faith,590 and who had died of the pestilence in the previous February. She was probably the daughter of Lambert de Bure who, with six of his fellow-citizens, had been deprived of his property and banished forever, after having been legally convicted of heresy in 1533.591 She was the mother of several children, poor, and in feeble health. She lived in retirement, devoted to the education of her children, and enjoyed the esteem of her friends for her good qualities of head and heart. Calvin visited her frequently as pastor, and was attracted by her quiet, modest, gentle character. He found in her what he desired—firm faith, devoted love, and domestic helpfulness. He calls her "the excellent companion of my life," "the ever-faithful assistant of my ministry," and a "rare woman."592 Beza speaks of her as "a grave and honorable lady."593
Calvin lived in happy wedlock, but only for nine years. His wife was taken from him at Geneva, after a protracted illness, early in April, 1549. He felt the loss very deeply, and found comfort only in his work. He turned from the coffin to his study table, and resumed the duties of his office with quiet resignation and conscientious fidelity as if nothing had happened. He remained a widower the remaining fifteen years of his life. "My wife, a woman of rare qualities," he wrote, "died a year and a half ago, and I have now willingly chosen to lead a solitary life."
We know much less of Calvin’s domestic life than of Luther’s. He was always reticent concerning himself and his private affairs, while Luther was very frank and demonstrative. In selecting their wives neither of the Reformers had any regard to the charms of beauty and wealth which attract most lovers, nor even to intellectual endowment; they looked only to moral worth and domestic virtue. Luther married at the age of forty-one, Calvin at the age of thirty-one. Luther married a Catholic ex-nun, after having vainly recommended her to his friend Amsdorf, whom she proudly refused, looking to higher distinction. He married her under a sudden impulse, to the consternation of his friends, in the midst of the disturbances of the Peasants’ War, that he might please his father, tease the pope, and vex the devil. Calvin married, like Zwingli, a Protestant widow with several children; he married from esteem rather than affection, after due reflection and the solicitation of friends.
Katherine Luther cut a prominent figure in her husband’s personal history and correspondence, and survived him several years, which she spent in poverty and affliction. Idelette de Bure lived in modest retirement, and died in peace fifteen years before Calvin. Luther submitted as "a willing servant" to the rule of his "Lord Kathe," but he loved her dearly, played with his children in childlike simplicity, addressed to her his last letters, and expressed his estimate of domestic happiness in the beautiful sentence: "The greatest gift of God to man is a pious, kindly, God-fearing, domestic wife."594
Luther’s home life was enlivened and cheered by humor, poetry, and song; Calvin’s was sober, quiet, controlled by the fear of God, and regulated by a sense of duty, but none the less happy. Nothing can be more unjust than the charge that Calvin was cold and unsympathetic.595
His whole correspondence proves the reverse. His letters on the death of his wife to his dearest friends reveal a deep fountain of tenderness and affection. To Farel he wrote, April 2, 1549:—596
"Intelligence of my wife’s death has perhaps reached you before now. I do what I can to keep myself from being overwhelmed with grief. My friends also leave nothing undone that may administer relief to my mental suffering. When your brother left, her life was all but despaired of. When the brethren were assembled on Tuesday, they thought it best that we should join together in prayer. This was done. When Abel, in the name of the rest, exhorted her to faith and patience, she briefly (for she was now greatly worn) stated her frame of mind. I afterwards added an exhortation, which seemed to me appropriate to the occasion. And then, as she had made no allusion to her children, I, fearing that, restrained by modesty, she might be feeling an anxiety concerning them, which would cause her greater suffering than the disease itself, declared in the presence of the brethren, that I should henceforth care for them as if they were my own. She replied, ’I have already committed them to the Lord.’ When I replied, that that was not to hinder me from doing my duty, she immediately answered, ’If the Lord shall care for them, I know they will be commended to you.’ Her magnanimity was so great, that she seemed to have already left the world. About the sixth hour of the day, on which she yielded up her soul to the Lord, our brother Bourgouin addressed some pious words to her, and while he wag doing so, she spoke aloud, so that all saw that her heart was raised far above the world. For these were her words: ’O glorious resurrection! O God of Abraham, and of all our fathers, in thee have the faithful trusted during so many past ages, and none of them have trusted in vain. I also will hope.’ These short sentences were rather ejaculated than distinctly spoken. This did not come from the suggestion of others, but from her own reflections, so that she made it obvious in few words what were her own meditations. I had to go out at six o’clock. Having been removed to another apartment after seven, she immediately began to decline. When she felt her voice suddenly failing her she said: ’Let us pray; let us pray. All pray for me.’ I had now returned. She was unable to speak, and her mind seemed to be troubled. I, having spoken a few words about the love of Christ, the hope of eternal life, concerning our married life, and her departure, engaged in prayer. In full possession of her mind, she both heard the prayer, and attended to it. Before eight she expired, so calmly, that those present could scarcely distinguish between her life and her death. I at present control my sorrow so that my duties may not be interfered with. But in the meanwhile the Lord has sent other trials upon me, Adieu, brother, and very excellent friend. May the Lord Jesus strengthen you by His Spirit; and may He support me also under this heavy affliction, which would certainly have overcome me, had not He, who raises up the prostrate, strengthens the weak, and refreshes the weary, stretched forth His hand from heaven to me. Salute all the brethren and your whole family.
To Viret he wrote a few days later, April 7, 1549, as follows: —
"Although the death of my wife has been exceedingly painful to me, yet I subdue my grief as well as I can. Friends, also, are earnest in their duty to me. It might be wished, indeed, that they could profit me and themselves more; yet one can scarcely say how much I am supported by their attentions. But you know well enough how tender, or rather soft, my mind is. Had not a powerful self-control, therefore, been vouchsafed to me, I could not have borne up so long. And truly mine is no common source of grief. I have been bereaved of the best companion of my life, of one who, had it been so ordered, would not only have been the willing sharer of my exile and poverty, but even of my death.597 During her life she was the faithful helper of my ministry.
"From her I never experienced the slightest hindrance. She was never troublesome to me throughout the entire course of her illness; she was more anxious about her children than about herself. As I feared these private cares might annoy her to no purpose, I took occasion, on the third day before her death to mention that I would not fail in discharging my duty to her children. Taking up the matter immediately, she said, ’I have already committed them to God.’ When I said that that was not to prevent me from caring for them, she replied, ’I know you will not neglect what you know has been committed to God.’ Lately, also, when a certain woman insisted that she should talk with me regarding these matters, I, for the first time, heard her give the following brief answer: ’Assuredly the principal thing is that they live a pious and holy life. My husband is not to be urged to instruct them in religious knowledge and in the fear of God. If they be pious, I am sure he will gladly be a father to them; but if not, they do not deserve that I should ask for aught in their behalf.’ This nobleness of mind will weigh more with me than a hundred recommendations. Many thanks for your friendly consolation.
"Adieu, most excellent and honest brother. May the Lord Jesus watch over and direct yourself and your wife. Present my best wishes to her and to the brethren."
In reply to this letter, Viret wrote to Calvin, April 10, 1549: —
"Wonderfully and incredibly have I been refreshed, not by empty rumors alone, but especially by numerous messengers who have informed me how you, with a heart so broken and lacerated, have attended to all your duties even better than hitherto, ... and that, above all, at a time when grief was so fresh, and on that account all the more severe, might have prostrated your mind. Go on then as you have begun, ... and I pray God most earnestly, that you may be enabled to do so, and that you may receive daily greater comfort and be strengthened more and more."
Calvin’s character shines in the same favorable light at the loss of his only son who died in infancy (1542). He thanked Viret and his wife (he always sends greetings to Viret’s wife and daughter) for their tender sympathy with him in this bereavement, stating that Idelette would write herself also but for her grief. "The Lord," he says, "has dealt us a severe blow in taking from us our infant son; but it is our Father who knows what is best for his children."598 He found compensation for his want of offspring in the multitude of his spiritual children. "God has given me a little son, and taken him away; but I have myriads of children in the whole Christian world."599
Of Calvin’s deep sympathy with his friends in domestic affliction we have a most striking testimony in a private letter which was never intended for publication. It is the best proof of his extraordinary fidelity as a pastor. While he was in attendance at Ratisbon, the pestilence carried away, among other friends, Louis de Richebourg, who together with his older brother, Charles, lived in his house at Strassburg as a student and pensionnaire, under the tutorship of Claude Féray, Calvin’s dearly beloved assistant. On hearing the sad intelligence, early in April, 1541, he wrote to his father—a gentleman from Normandy, probably the lord of the village de Richebourg between Rouen and Beauvais, but otherwise unknown to us—a long letter of condolence and comfort, from which we give the following extracts:600 —
"Ratisbon (Month of April), 1541.
"When I first received the intelligence of the death of Claude and of your son Louis, I was so utterly overpowered (tout esperdu et confus en mon esprit) that for many days I was fit for nothing but to weep; and although I was somehow upheld before the Lord by those aids wherewith He sustains our souls in affliction, yet among men I was almost a nonentity; so far at least as regards my discharge of duty, I appeared to myself quite as unfit for it as if I had been half dead (un homme demi-mort). On the one hand, I was sadly grieved that a most excellent and faithful friend [Claude Féray] had been snatched away from me—a friend with whom I was so familiar, that none could be more closely united than we were; on the other hand, there arose another cause of grief, when I saw the young man, your son, taken away in the very flower of his age, a youth of most excellent promise, whom I loved as a son, because, on his part, he showed that respectful affection toward me as he would to another father.
"To this grievous sorrow was still added the heavy and distressing anxiety we experienced about those whom the Lord had spared to us. I heard that the whole household were scattered here and there. The danger of Malherbe601 caused me very great misery, as well as the cause of it, and warned me also as to the rest. I considered that it could not be otherwise but that my wife must be very much dismayed. Your Charles,602 I assure you, was continually recurring to my thoughts; for in proportion as he was endowed with that goodness of disposition which had always appeared in him towards his brother as well as his preceptor, it never occurred to me to doubt but that he would be steeped in sorrow and soaked in tears. One single consideration somewhat relieved me, that he had my brother along with him, who, I hoped, would prove no small comfort in this calamity; even that, however, I could not reckon upon, when at the same time I recollected that both were in jeopardy, and neither of them were yet beyond the reach of danger. Thus, until the letter arrived which informed me that Malherbe was out of danger, and that Charles and my brother, together with my wife and the others, were safe,603 I would have been all but utterly cast down, unless, as I have already mentioned, my heart was refreshed in prayer and private meditations, which are suggested by His Word ....
"The son whom the Lord had lent you for a season, He has taken away. There is no ground, therefore, for those silly and wicked complaints of foolish men: O blind death! O hard fate! O implacable daughters of Destiny! O cruel fortune! The Lord who had lodged him here for a season, at this stage of his career has called him away. What the Lord has done, we must, at the same time, consider has not been done rashly, nor by chance, neither from having been impelled from without, but by that determinate counsel, whereby He not only foresees, decrees, and executes nothing but what is just and upright in itself, but also nothing but what is good and wholesome for us. Where justice and good judgment reign paramount, there it is impious to remonstrate. When, however, our advantage is bound up with that goodness, how great would be the degree of ingratitude not to acquiesce, with a calm and well-ordered temper of mind, in whatever is the wish of our Father ....
"It is God who has sought back from you your son, whom He had committed to you to be educated, on the condition that he might always be His own. And, therefore, He took him away, because it was both of advantage to him to leave this world, and by this bereavement to humble you, or to make trial of your patience. If you do not understand the advantage of this, without delay, first of all, setting aside every other object of consideration, ask of God that He may show you. Should it be His will to exercise you still farther, by concealing it from you, submit to that will, that you may become wiser than the weakness of thine own understanding can ever attain to.
"In what regards your son, if you bethink yourself how difficult it is, in this most deplorable age to maintain an upright course through life, you will judge him to be blessed, who, before encountering so many coming dangers which already were hovering over him, and to be encountered in his day and generation, was so early delivered from them all. He is like one who has set sail upon a stormy and tempestuous sea, and before he has been carried out into the deeps, gets in safety to the secure haven. Nor, indeed, is long life to be reckoned so great a benefit of God, that we can lose anything, when separated only for the space of a few years, we are introduced to a life which is far better. Now, certainly, because the Lord Himself, who is the Father of us all, had willed that Louis should be put among the children as a son of His adoption, He bestowed this benefit upon you, out of the multitude of His mercies, that you might reap the excellent fruit of your careful education before his death; whence also you might know your interest in the blessings that belonged to you, ’I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed.’
"From his earliest boyhood, so far as his years allowed, Louis was grounded in the best studies, and had already made such a competent proficiency and progress, that we entertained great hope of him for the future. His manners and behavior had met with the approval of all good men. If at any time he fell into error, he not only patiently suffered the word of admonition, but also that of reproof, and proved himself teachable and obedient, and willing to hearken to advice … That, however, which we rate most highly in him was, that he had imbibed so largely the principles of piety, that he had not merely a correct and true understanding of religion, but had also been faithfully imbued with the unfeigned fear and reverence of God.
"This exceeding kindness of God toward your offspring ought with good reason to prevail more effectually with you in soothing the bitterness of death, than death itself have power to inflict grief upon you.
"With reference to my own feelings, if your sons had never come hither at all, I should never have been grieved on account of the death of Claude and Louis. Never, however, shall this most crushing sorrow, which I suffer on account of both, so overcome me, as to reflect with grief upon that day on which they were driven hither by the hand of God to us, rather than led by any settled purpose of their own, when that friendship commenced which has not only continued undiminished to the last, but which, from day to day, was rather increased and confirmed. Whatever, therefore, may have been the kind or model of education they were in search of, I rejoice that they lived under the same roof with me. And since it was appointed them to die, I rejoice also that they died under my roof, where they rendered back their souls to God more composedly, and in greater circumstances of quiet, than if they had happened to die in those places where they would have experienced greater annoyance from the importunity of those by whom they ought to have been assisted, than from death itself. On the contrary, it was in the midst of pious exhortations, and while calling upon the name of the Lord, that these sainted spirits fled from the communion of their brethren here to the bosom of Christ. Nor would I desire now to be free from all sorrow at the cost of never having known them. Their memory will ever be sacred to me to the end of my days, and I am persuaded that it will also be sweet and comforting.
"But what advantage, you will say, is it to me to have had a son of so much promise, since he has been torn away from me in the first flower of his youth? As if, forsooth, Christ had not merited, by His death, the supreme dominion over the living and the dead! And if we belong to Him (as we ought), why may He not exercise over us the power of life and of death? However brief, therefore, either in your opinion or in mine, the life of your son may have been, it ought to satisfy us that he has finished the course which the Lord had marked out for him.
"Moreover, we may not reckon him to have perished in the flower of his age, who had grown ripe in the sight of the Lord. For I consider all to have arrived at maturity who are summoned away by death; unless, perhaps, one would contend with Him, as if He can snatch away any one before his time. This, indeed, holds true of every one; but in regard to Louis, it is yet more certain on another and more peculiar ground. For he had arrived at that age, when, by true evidences, he could prove himself a member of the body of Christ: having put forth this fruit, he was taken from us and transplanted. Yes, instead of this transient and vanishing shadow of life, he has regained the real immortality of being.
"Nor can you consider yourself to have lost him, whom you will recover in the blessed resurrection in the kingdom of God. For they had both so lived and so died, that I cannot doubt but they are now with the Lord. Let us, therefore, press forward toward this goal which they have reached. There can be no doubt but that Christ will bind together both them and us in the same inseparable society, in that incomparable participation of His own glory. Beware, therefore, that you do not lament your son as lost, whom you acknowledge to be preserved by the Lord, that he may remain yours forever, who, at the pleasure of His own will, lent him to you only for a season ....
"Neither do I insist upon your laying aside all grief. Nor, in the school of Christ, do we learn any such philosophy as requires us to put off that common humanity with which God has endowed us, that, being men, we should be tamed into stones.604 These considerations reach only so far as this, that you do set bounds, and, as it were, temper even your most reasonable sadness, that, having shed those tears which were due to nature and to fatherly affection, you by no means give way to senseless wailing. Nor do I by any means interfere because I am distrustful of your prudence, firmness, or high-mindedness; but only lest I might here be wanting, and come short in my duty to you.
"Moreover, I have requested Melanchthon and Bucer that they would also add their letters to mine, because I entertained the hope that it would not be unacceptable that they too should afford some evidence of their good-will toward you.
"Adieu, most distinguished sir, and my much-respected in the Lord. May Christ the Lord keep you and your family, and direct you all with His own Spirit, until you may arrive where Louis and Claude have gone before."
* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.
496 Or Strasbourg in French. Argentoratum was a Roman military station in the time of Augustus.
497 See vol. VI. 571 and 718.
498 "C’était le réceptacle des bannis de la France." Hist. de la naissance de l’herésie, p. 838.
499 It will take some time before the irritating question of language and nationality can be settled. When last in Strassburg, I asked, first, a shopkeeper whether the people speak more French or German, and received the prompt and emphatic answer: "On parle toujours français àStrasbourg." The next person, in answer to the same question, replied: "Man spricht mehr deutsch." At last, a market-woman told the truth: "Man spricht dietsch." The Alsatian dialect prevails at home, the French in society, the high German in the university, among the government officials and soldiers.
500 Not at the end of September, as Stähelin has it. See Stricker, p. 11, note, where he shows that Calvin preached his first sermon at Strassburg on the 8th of September.
501 July 30, 1539. Some historians err in stating that the citizenship was presented to him. See Stricker, 44, and Annal. XXI. fol. 250: "Uff den 30 tag Julij Anno 39 ist Johannes Calvinus uff unser Herren der statt Straszburg Saal erschinnen, und sich angeben lut der Ordnung und will dienen mit den schnydern."
502 Herminjard, V. 286 sq.; Opera, X., Pars II. 337.
503 "Cum innumeros aliquando amicos in Gallia habuerim, nemo fuit qui assent mihi obtulerit; et tamen si fecissent, poterant frui gratuita beneficentiae jactantia: nihil enim illis constitisset offerre quod acceptassem. Exciderat mihi Ludovicus [Du Tillet]; ille unus fuit qui obtulit; sed ipse quoque suam largitionem nimis magno venditabat: siquidem me tantum non ad recantandum hortabatur." Herminjard, V. 291 sq. See the letter of Du Tillet from Paris, Oct. 20, 1538, in which he offers him to furnish "assez àtoute vostre necessité" (ibid. p. 107).
504 May 1, 1539: "Joannes Calvinus so ein gelährter frommer Gesell sein soll und zu Zeiten auch in Theologia lese, zudem auch zu den Reuwern französisch predige, haben die Herren ... ist beschlossen dasz man demselben nuhn fürter ein Jar lang die 52 fl. alsz ein zuhelffer geben und soll prima Maij angehen." From the Thomas-Archiv, in Annal. fol. 246.
505 "Decem coronatos." Libertet (Christophe Fabri) to Farel, May 8, 1539, in Herminjard, V. 307.
506 "It is very agreeable to me," he wrote to Farel, who had communicated to his colleagues Calvin’s wants, "I confess, that my brethren entertain such a regard for me, that they are ready to supply my wants from their own means. It could not be otherwise than that I must be greatly delighted with such a testimony of their love (quin tali amoris testimonio delecter). Nevertheless, I have determined to abstain from putting both your kindness and theirs in requisition, unless a greater necessity shall compel me. Wendelin [Wendelin Rihel], the printer, to whom I intrusted my book [the second edition of the Institutio] to be printed, will provide me with as much as will be sufficient for any extraordinary expenses. From my books which yet remain at Geneva, there will be enough to satisfy my landlord till next winter. As to the future, the Lord will provide." (Herminjard, l.c.)
507 A census of Strassburg, taken Oct. 18, 1563, enumerates one hundred Frenchmen who were citizens, thirty-five who were not citizens, and sixteen soldiers (in all 161 men), without including wives, children, and servants. From this Stricker (p. 6) infers that the foreign population numbered four hundred souls. Doumergue (l.c. p. 3) counts from five hundred to six hundred. Specklin (1536-1589), the author of a chronicle of Strassburg (edited by Rud. Reuss, Strassb. 1890), gives a much larger number, namely, fifteen hundred; but he is not very accurate, and must be corrected by the official census.
508 "Ecclesiola Gallicana," as Calvin calls it.
509 Afterwards he preached in the Klosterkirche der Reuerinnen, now called the Magdalenen Kirche.
510 Calvin to Farel, in Herminjard, V. 291.
511 Kampschulte, I. 324, thus sums up Calvin’s pastoral labors in Strassburg: Strassburg hatte in Kurzem eine blühende wohlgeordnete französische Flüchtlingsgemeinde mit Predigt und Bibelstunden, mit regelmässiger Abendmahlsfeier und Psalmengesang, insbesondere aber mit einer strenge gehandhabten Disciplin, und nicht ohne Staunen erzählten die deutschen Pastoren bald einander von den Einrichtungen und dem merkwürdigen Eifer der neuen Emigrantenkirche in Strassburg."
512 Stricker, pp. 11, 12, 64; Erichson, p. 65; Doumergue, p. 4; Calvin’s letter to Bullinger, Sept. 12, 1563 (Opera, X. 151). Under the French rule the Reformed Church was reorganized in Strassburg.
513 Republished by Baum at Strassburg, 1859. Douen, l.c. I. 346.
514 In a letter to Gaspard Megander, an influential minister at Bern (probably from Feb. 20, 1537), Calvin writes: "Libellum tuum ceremonialem a Mauro [Maurus Musaeus, Morelet de Museau], rogatu nostro, versum, cum nostro contulimus, a quo nihil penitus nisi brevitate differt." Herminjard (vol. IV. 191) adds the following note: "La liturgie usitée dans l’église genevoise était, selon toutes les vraisemblances, celle de Farel, publiée àNeuchâtel, le 29 août 1533, sous le titre suivant: ’La Manière et Fasson qu’on tient en baillant le sainct baptesme ... ès lieux que Dieu de sa grâce a visites.’ Nous avons constatéque la liturgie bernoise offre les plus grands rapports avec ’La Manière et Fasson,’ et qu’elle en diffère seulement par la brièveté."
515 "Nostre aide soit au nom de Dieu, qui a faict le Ciel et la terre. Amen." Opera, VI. 173.
516 This confession is still in use and may be favorably compared with the confession in the Anglican liturgy. It is as follows (in modern spelling):—
"Mes frères, qu’un chacun de nous se présente devant la face du Seigneur, avec confession de ses fautes et péchés, suivant de son coeur mea paroles.
"Seigneur Dieu, Père éternal et tout-puissant, nous confessons [et reconnaissons] sans feintise, devant ta Sainte Majesté, que nous sommes pauvres pécheurs, conçus et nés en iniquitéet corruption, enclins àmal faire, inutiles àtout bien, et que par notre vice, nous transgressons sans fin et sans cesse tes saints commandements. En quoi faisant, nous acquérons, par ton juste jugement, ruine et perdition sur nous.
"Toutefois, Seigneur, nous avons déplaisir en nous-mêmes, de t’avoir offensé, et condamnons nous et nos vices, avec vraie repentance, désirant que to grâce [et aide] subviennent ànotre calamité.
"Veuille donc avoir pitiéde nous, Dieu et Père très bénin, et plein de miséricorde, au nom de ton Fils Jésus-Christ, notre Seigneur; effaçant donc nos vices et macules, élargis nous et augmente de jour en jour les grâces de ton Saint-Esprit, afin que, reconnaissant de tout notre coeur notre injustice, nous soyons touches de déplaisir, qui engendre droite pénitence en nous: laquelle nous mortifiant àtous péchés produise en nous fruits de justice et innocence qui te soient agréables par ice-lui Jesus-Christ. Amen."
After this confession the Strassburg Liturgy adds a form of absolution, which was afterwards omitted:—
"Ici, dit le ministre quelques paroles de l’Écriture pour consoler les consciences, et fait l’absolution en cette manière:
"Un chacunde vous se reconnaisse vraiment pécheur, s’humiliant devant Dieu, et croie que le Pare céleste lui veut étre propice en Jésus-Christ. A tous ceux qui, en cette manière se repentent, et cherchent Jésus-Christ pour leur salut, je dénonce l’absolution au nom du Père, du Fils, et du Saint-Esprit. Amen."
517 In this respect Calvin followed the example of the Lutheran churches. Gérard Roussel, who was one of the earliest refugees at Strassburg, reported to Briçonnet, bishop of Meaux, that the singing of Psalms, translated from the Hebrew, was there a prominent feature of worship, and that "le chant des femmes, se mêlant àcelui des hommes, produit un effet ravissant." Herminjard, I. 404-408. In another letter, he speaks also of the congregational chanting of the Apostles’ Creed and the Kyrie Eleison at the communion. Ibid. I. 411-413. Doumergue, pp. 8, 9.
518 An interesting description of the Reformed worship at Strassburg, by a French student in 1545, was first published in 1885 by Erichson, p. 7, and is given by Doumergue, l.c. p. 15 sq. He speaks of daily preaching and chanting of Psalms by the whole congregation ("tant homine que femme avec un bel accord") from a tune book (un livre de musique), which each member had in his hand.
519 He says, Instit. IV. ch. XV. Par. 19: "Whether the person who is baptized be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured or sprinkled upon him, is of no importance; churches ought to be left at liberty in this respect, to act according to the difference of countries. The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient Church."
520 The same Psalm furnished the key-note to Luther’s immortal hymn, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott." Calvin’s version begins:—
" Nostre Dieu est ferme appuy,
Vertue, fortresse et seur confort,
Auquel aurons en notre ennuy,
Présent réfuge et très bon port."
521 They were printed at Strassburg, 1539, and republished, together with an original hymn (Salutation à Jesus-Christ), from an edition of 1545, in Opera, VI. 212-224.
522 Herminjard, I. 407; also Farel in a letter of June 4, 1526, to Myconius, ibid. 433 sq. On the schools in Strassburg see Roehrich, Geschichte der Reformation im Elsass, I. 253, 261-264; A. G. Strobel, Histoire du Gymnase protestant de Strasbourg, Strasb. 1838; Charles Schmidt, La vie et les travaux de Jean Sturm, Strasb. 1855 (quoted by Herminjard); and R. Zöpffel, Johann Sturm, der erste Rektor der Strassburger Akademie, Strassburg, 1887.
523 Pedrotus (Padrut), whose name often occurs in Calvin’s letters, was a native of Pludenz in Vorarlberg, and famous as editor and expounder of ancient classics, hence also called Jacobus Graecus. Capito recommended him very highly in a letter to Blaarer, Nov. 26, 1625, in Herminjard, I. 440, note 16. He died of the pestilence at Strassburg, 1541.
524 Calvin to Farel, January, 1539 (Herminjard, V. 230): "Nuper ad publicam professionem invitus a Capitone protractus sum. Ita quotidie aut lego aut concionor." He preached four times, and lectured three times. The salary of 52 guilders for one year was to commence the first of May. It is mentioned in Annal. 246, by Herminjard, V. 231, note 19, and by Stricker, 22.
525 He defeated him again at Worms in the presence of Melanchthon. Jacob Sturm, Antipappi, as quoted in Herminjard, VII. 20, note 6.
526 "Ter desertor, ter transfuga, ter proditor utriusque partes," he is called by Calvin. See on this unimportant episode Stricker, pp. 30-39.
527 Calvin’s letter to Martin Schalling, a minister at Regensburg, March, 1557, in Opera, XVI. 430: "Nec vero Augustanam Confessionem repudio, cui pridem volens ac libens subscripsi sicut eam autor ipse interpretatus est." His colleagues, Bucer and Capito, understood the Augsburg Confession in the same irenic spirit.
528 Herminjard, VII, 198 sqq.; Opera, XI. 62 sqq.
529 Herminjard, VII. 126-128; Opera, XI. Ep. 311, p. 220. Comp. Epp. 302, 307, 309. Calvin was not satisfied with the success."Quantum ad fratres attinet," he wrote to Farel (July 6, 1541), "qui ob evangelium laborant, non feci quod volui." Melanchthon incurred the displeasure of the emperor for favoring the French Protestants. Herminjard, VII. 179, note 16.
530 "Nihil hic novi audimus, nisi quod Rex et Caesar, certatim in pios saeviendo, idolum Romanum sibi demereri student." Herminjard, VI. 316, comp. note 8.
531 Beza (Opera, vol. XXI. 130): "Calvinus ... Domino Philippo Melanchthoni et Gaspari Crucigero beatae memoriae imprimis gratus, adeo ut eum ille saepe ’Theologum’ cognominaverit, hic vero privatum de coena cum eo colloquium habuerit eiusque cognitam sententiam diserte comprobarit." The Report of the Strassburger Kirchenordnung, II. 140, as quoted by Stricker (p. 28, note), says: "Auff welchem Colloquio auch Philippus [Melanchthon], Cruciger und andere furneme Theologi Kundtschafft mit Calvino gemacht, dass sie ihn, per Excellentiam, ’den Theologum’ genannt." Papire Masson (in Vita Calv., as quoted by Herminjard, VII. 26): "Wormatiam missus a civibus excercuit excellentis ingenii vires tanto applausu theologorum Germania, ut judicio Melanchthonis et reliquorum si ngulari privilegio Theologicognomen adeptus sit." A theologian in that eminently theological age meant a great deal more than a doctor of divinity nowadays.
532 Epinicion ad Christum, in Opera, V. 423-428. Dyer (p. 106), Kampschulte (I. 333), Henry (I. ch. XVIII), and even Merle d’Aubigné (VII. 23), were mistaken in calling this Song of Victory the only poem of Calvin (I. 333). He wrote also metrical versions of a number of Psalms, and a lyric hymn to Christ. See Opera, VI. 212-224.
533 As he says himself in the concluding lines:—
"Quod natura negat, studii pius efficit ardor,
Ut coner laudes, Christe, sonare tuas."
He gave the manuscript to a few friends, but did not permit it to be printed till the court of Toulouse, four years afterwards, put the poem in the list of forbidden books, and caused many inquiries after it. Otherwise he would have allowed it to be forgotten. See his preface in Opera, V. 422.
534 "Invitissimus," he wrote to Farel (Feb. 19, 1541, in Herminjard, VII. 26), "Ratisponam trahor: tum quia ipsam profectionem mihi molestissimam prospicio fore: tum quod valde timeo ne diuturna mora futura sit, ut solent saepe numero comitia ad decimum mensem producere: tum quod minime idoneus mihi ad tales actiones videor, quidquid alii judicent. Sed Deum sequar, qui novit cur mihi hanc necessitatem imponat."
535 See his judgment of these persons in the letter to Farel, April 24, 1541, in Herminjard, VII. 89. Of Eck he says: "Nemini dubium est quin Davus ille [referring to the impudent slave in the ancient drama] sua importunitate sit omnia turbaturus." In a letter of May 12 he reports that Eck was struck by apoplexy (May 10), but recovered, adding: "Nondum meretur mundus ista bestia liberari." (Herminjard, VII. 116 sq.) Eck died Feb. 16, 1543. Franz Burckhard, the Saxon Chancellor, gave, in a letter to Pontanus, April 22, 1541, a similar estimate of Pflug, Gropper, and Eck, and calls the last an "ebrius sophista, qui pluris facit Bacchum quam ullam religionem " (Mel. Epist. IV. 185). Mosellanus described Eck, as he appeared at the disputation in Leipzig, as "a big-bodied, broad-shouldered, stout-hearted, and impudent man, who looked more like a town-crier than a theologian." Melanchthon thought that "no pious person could listen without disgust to the sophisms and vain subtleties of that talking mountebank."
536 Calvin to Farel. May 11, 1541, in Herminjard, VII. 111 sq.
537 Herminjard, VII. 115.
538 These formulas are printed in Melanchthon’s Epistolae, IV. 262-264.
539 Or, in-breaded God, impanatus Deus.
540 The leading Lutheran divine of Württemberg, who attended the Colloquy.
541 The popular wit described the failure of the Colloquy in the line: "Sie pflügen (Pflug, Plough), eggen (Eck), graben (Grobber), putzen (Bucer or Butzer), und backen (Pistorius, whose German name was Becker), und richten nichts aus." Corp. Reform. IV. 335.
542 Calvin wrote to Viret from Strassburg, Aug. 13, 1541 (Herminjard, VII. 218) "Finis comitiorum talis fuit qualem ego fore semper divinavi. Tota enim pacificationis actio in fumum abiit, cum ad concilium universale rejecta est, vel saltem nationale, si illud brevi obtineri nequeat. Quid enim hoc aliud est quam frustrari?"
543 Letter to Farel from Strassburg, early in July, 1541, in Herminjard, VII. 176. He gives in this letter an account of the later disputes at Regensburg on confession and absolution, the invocation of saints, and the primacy of the pope.
544 Herminjard, VII. 65 sqq.; Opera, XI. 174 sqq.
545 "Mihi dies ac noctes animo obversatur uxor, consilii inops, quia capite suo caret.’
546 See below, Par. 92, p. 421.
547 In a letter to Bucer, Oct. 14, 1539: "Salutabis Dn. Joannem Sturmium et Joannem Calvinum reverenter, quorum libellos cum singulari voluptate legi. Sadoleto optarem ut crederet Deum esse creatorem hominum extra Italiam." De Wette, V. 211; and Herminjard, VI. 73 (comp. note 6). Calvin refers to this compliment in a letter to Farel, Nov. 20, 1539 (in Herminjard, VI. 130). He also quotes, from a lost letter of Melanchthon, the words: "Lutherus et Pomeranus [Bugenhagen] Calvinum et Sturmium jusserunt salutari. Calvinus magnam gratiam iniit." (Ibid. p. 131.) Luther is reported to have expressed also a favorable judgment on Calvin’s tract on the Lord’s Supper, published at Strassburg, 1541, in French. See vol. VI. 660.
548 In a letter of 11 Cal. Maii, 1544 (Opera, XI. 698), he addresses him as "ornatissime vir, fidelissime Christi minister, et amice mihi semper honorande. Dominus te semper spiritu suo regat, diuque nobis et ecclesiae suae incolumem conservet."
549 On these changes see the biographies of Melanchthon by Galle, Carl Schmidt, and Herrlinger; Gieseler’s Church History; and Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom, I. 261 sqq.
550 Merle d’Aubigné (VII. 19) thinks that "esteem was uppermost in Melanchthon, and affection in Calvin;" that "on the one side the friendship was founded more on reflection (réfléchi), on the other it was more spontaneous;" but "on both sides it was the product of their noble and beautiful qualities."
551 Calvin wrote to Farel, after his return to Strassburg, at the end of March, 1539: "Cum Philippo fuit mihi multis de rebus colloquium."
552 "Sine controversia ipse assentitur." Calvin adds: "de ipso (Mel.) nihil dubita, quin penitus nobiscum sentiat." Herminjard, V. 269. In a previous letter to Farel, October, 1538 (in Herminjard, V. 146 and note 24), he informed Farel that he had sent twelve articles of agreement with a letter to Melanchthon from Strassburg. The articles are lost, but may yet be recovered.
553 "Sed fatetur, esse in illa parte nonnullos qui crassius aliquid requirant: atque id tanta pervicacia, ne dicam tyrannide, ut diu in periculo fuerit, quod eum videbant a suo sensu nonnihil alienum." Herminjard, V. 269. Those men who outluthered Luther, were not satisfied with the words of institution, simpliciter, but demanded such scholastic terms as substantialiter, essentialiter, corporaliter, quantitative, ubiquitaliter, carnaliter. When Matthaeus Zell, preacher in the Minster at Strassburg, told Melanchthon (in 1536) that he abhorred these terms as diabolical additions, Melanchthon assented. See Roehrich Mittheilungen aus der Geschichte der evang. Kirche des Elsasses, III. 133, as quoted by Stähelin, I. 169.
554 Letter to Farel, April, 1539 (Herminjard, V. 292): "Nuper Philippo in faciem non dissimulavi, quin mihi admodum illa ceremoniarum copia displiceret. Videri enim mihi formam quam tenent non procul esse a Judaismo."
555 In Calvin’s Opera there are fourteen letters of his to Melanchthon.
556 Letters of John Calvin by Dr. Jules Bonnet, translated from the original Latin and French by Constable, vol. I. 349. In Calvin’s Opera, XI. 515. The original copy is in Simler’s Collection in the City Library of Zürich.
557 "Hoc saltem nobis nullo regionum longinquitas eripiet, quin hac conjunctione, quam Christus sanguine suo consecratam Spiritu quoque suo in cordibus nostris sanxit, contenti, dum vivimus in terra sustineamur beato illa spe, ad quam nos literae tum revocant:in coelis nos simul perpetuo victuros, ubi amore amicitiaque nostra fruemur."
558 "Defensio sanae et orthodoxae doctrina de servitute et liberations humani arbitrii adversus calumnias Alberti Pighii Campensis. Opera, VI. 225-404.
559 Melanchthon’s Commentary on Daniel appeared in the same year at Wittenberg and Leipzig.
560 Opera, vol. XI. 539-542. Also in Corp. Reform. V. 107.
561 This is a direct contradiction to the assertion in the first edition of his Loci (1521), and his commentary on the Romans (1524), that God does all things not permissive, but potenter, and that he foreordained and wrought the adultery of David, and the treason of Judas, as well as the vocation of Paul. He so understood the Epistle to the Romans. In December, 1525, Luther expressed the same views in his book against Erasmus, which he never recalled, but pronounced one of his best books (1537).
562 "Ad usum accommodata."
563 Mel. Opera, in the Corpus Reformatorum, VII. 390.
564 Opera, XV. 215-217. Dated 6 Calendas Septembris.
565 The preface is reprinted in his Opera, vol. IX. 847-850.
566 Henry justly remarks (I. 376): "So free were these rare men of ambition, love of glory, and littleness of spirit, that they thought of nothing but the salvation of the world. Calvin wanted France to love Melanchthon as much as he did, and to be converted to Christ through him." Comp. Stähelin, I. 244.
567 His "Short Confession on the Lord’s Supper." See this History, vol. VI. 654 sqq.
568 Bonnet-Constable, I. 442-444; Opera, XII. 98-100.
569 Claude de Senarcleus, a friend of Calvin, returned from Wittenberg with an album full of pious inscriptions of leading Lutheran divines, which is preserved in the Town Library of Geneva. Bonnet, l.c. I. 444.
570 Opera, XIII. 593 sqq.
571 The zealous Lutherans at Magdeburg which stood out a long siege by the army of the Elector Maurice.
572 Opera, XIV. 368; Corp. Ref., VII. 1085.
573 "Quia et judicium tuum magni facio,et scio integritatem animi et candorem in te summum esse."
574 w}sper o[no" ejn sfhkivai".
575 Bonnet-Constable, II. Opera, XIV. 416-418.
576 Nowadays a letter from Wittenberg will reach Geneva in less than two days.
577 See below, § 139, pp. 706 sqq.
578 Opera, XVI. 556-558.
579 Opera, XVII. 384-386.
580 Opera, IX. 461.
581 "In Romanae illius meretricis gremium," a frequent polemical designation of the Roman Church, derived from a misinterpretation of the apocalyptic harlot which means heathen Rome (Rev. 17:5).
582 In the following extracts I make use of the translation of Henry Beveridge, with a few slight changes.
583 See vol. VI, 659. Kampschulte’s impartial judgment on the Answer to Sadolet is worth quoting (I. 354): "Es ist in Wahrheit eine der glänzendsten Streitschriften, die je aus seiner Feder geflossen, und auch wer seine Anschauungen nicht theilt, wird ihm in diesem Streite die Palme zuerkennen müssen …. Er entwickelt in der Vortheidigung des neuen Glaubenssystems eine Kraft der Rede, eine Gewandtheit der Beweisführung und eine Fülle der Gedanken, welche die rhetorischen, sentimentalen, oft auch inhaltsarmen Phrasen des Gegners um so mehr in ihrer Schwäche zeigen. Den Glanzpunkt der Schrift Calvin’s bildet aber vielleicht seine eigene Vertheidigung. Mit Recht durfte er den versteckten Angriffen des Cardinals gegenüber auf sein vergangenes Leben hinweisen, um den Beweis zu liefern, dass nicht die Aussicht auf irdischen Gewinn oder äussere Ehren, sondern seine ernste Ueberzeugung seine Schritte geleitet, dass er erst nach schweren Kämpfen von der katholischen Kirche sich losgesagt. Diese Schrift war es, welche auch Luther’s Herz für den wälschen Rivalen erwärmte. Damals konnte Melanchthon nach Strassburg melden, dass Calvin in Wittenberg ’hoch in Gnaden stehe.’ "
584 The precise day is not known. Before Aug. 17 he was a married man, and received congratulations and greetings to his wife from Libertet (Opera, XI. Ep. 234, fol. 77). Merle d’Aubigné wrongly puts his marriage at the end of August; Bonnet and Stähelin, in September.
585 He tells the story to Farel, September, 1540, shortly after his marriage. Opera, XI. Ep. 238 (fol. 83 sq.), and Herminjard, VI. 313.
586 "Haec sola est quae me illectat pulchritudo, si pudica est, si morigera, si non fastuosa, si parca, si patiens, si spes est de mea valetudine fore solicitam." Herminjard, V. 314.
587 Probably by Bucer. She was of a patrician family of Strassburg, and her brother a great admirer of Calvin and anxious for the match.
588 Herminjard, VI. 167 sq. It seems that the lady had no disposition to learn French, and asked time for consideration.
589 Not of "une petite ville de la Gueldre," as Bonnet states (l.c., p. 639). Beza calls him "Storder Leodinensis."
590 Florimond de Raemond: "Calvin épousa la veuve de Jean Lestordeur, natif de Liège, de religion anabaptiste; il l’a changée àson opinion: elle était appelée Idelette de Bure."
591 According to Lenoir of Liège, in "Bulletin," etc., 1860, p. 26.
592 "Optima socio vitae;" "fida ministerii me iadjutrix" (letter to Viret, April 7, 1549); "singularis exempli femina," etc.
593 Vita Calv. (Opera, XXI. 130): "Viduam Idelletam nomine, gravem honestamque feminam, Calvinus ex Buceri consilio uxorem duxit."
594 "Die Welt hat nach Gottes Wort keinen lieblicheren Schatz auf Erden, denn den heiligen Ehestand. Gottes höchste Gabe ist ein fromm, freundlich, gottesfürchtig und häuslich Gemahl haben, mit der du friedlich lebest, der du darfst alle dein Gut, ja dein Leib und Leben vertrauen, mit der du Kinderlein zeugest." See Köstlin, Luther’s Leben, p. 578, and Schaff, History of the Chr. Church, VI. §§ 77 and 78, pp. 454 sqq.
595 "Calvin," says J. Bonnet, in his sketch of Idelette de Bure (l.c., p. 637) "fut grand sans cesser d’être bon; il unit les qualités du coeur aux dons du génie; il ressentit et il inspira les plus pures amitiés; il connut, enfin, les félicita domestiques dans une union trop courte, dont le mystère, àdemi révélépar sa correspondance, répand un jour mélancolique et doux sur sa vie."—"There was in Calvin," says Merle d’Aubigné (VI. 602) "a lofty intellect, a sublime genius, but also that love of kindred, those affections of the heart, which complete the great man."
596 Opera, Ep. 1171 (fol. 228). The letter is wrongly dated April 11 by Henry and Bonnet (II. 203), who mistook 11 for Roman figures.
597 Quae si quid accidisset durius, non exilii tantum ac inopiae voluntaria comes, sed mortis quoque futura erat." Opera, VIII. Ep. 1173 (fol. 230).
598 Aug. 19, 1542, at the close. Opera, XI. 430.
599 "Dederat mihi Deus filiolum, abstulit; hoc quoque recenset [Balduin or Baudouin, a jurisconsult] inter probra liberis me carere. Atqui mihi filiorum sunt myriades in toto orbe Christiano." (Responsio ad Balduini Convitia, Geneva, 1561.) Roman writers speak of the sterility of his marriage as a reproach and judgment. Audin corrects them, but adds (ch. XIX.) that Calvin "shed no tears" over the loss of his son, and that "God did not permit him to become a father a second time!" Bonnet asserts (l.c. 643) that Calvin had two other children, a daughter and a son, who died likewise in infancy, and refers to a letter of Calvin to Viret of 1544; but this is a mistake, for Calvin, long after the death of his wife, speaks only of one infant son (filiolus), and Colladon, in his biography, says (Opera, XXI. 61) that Idelette de Bure had one son from him (elle eut un fils de lui).
600 The letter was written in French and translated into Latin by Beza in his edition of Calvini Epistolae, Genevae, 1575, p. 280 (under the wrong date of 1540). See Opera, XI. 188 sqq.; Herminjard, VII. 66-73; Bonnet-Constable, I. 222-229. I have used Constable’s translation after comparing it with the French original. The concluding part, however, is only extant in Beza’s Latin version.
601 Probably the youngest of Féray’s pupils, a native of Normandy. Herminjard, VII. 55, note 6.
602 The older son of M. de Richebourg.
603 "Charles et mon frèrè, avec ma femme et les autres se portoyent bien." This explains why Calvin did not hurry back to Strassburg earlier than he did.
604 "Neque hanc philosophiam discimus in schola Christi, ut eam quam nobis indidit humanitatem exuendo, ex hominibus lapides fiamus." This shows how far Calvin was from heathen stoicism.