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same crimes as his master, he is not worthy of any one's regard. All this may be dissembled, as it has been by himself and others; but it is no invention resting on individual hear-say, but founded on the ocular testimony of contemporaries, which no one can hear without pity and horror. Truth however requires that I should inform the reader, that I find no trace of the famous branding in the writings of Monsieur Desmay, although he made diligent search for it on the spot. I wish his silence may be deemed sufficient to subvert the affirmations, so opposite and so public, of others, who wrote more than forty and fifty years before him. Perhaps M. Desmay might have examined the registers of the chapter, and not of the city. Besides, eighty years had elapsed since the judgment given against Calvin; and it is generally asserted, that his friends had taken good care to erase the proceedings from the records of the city *."
This is indeed a serious and heavy charge; and, although we do not derive those tenets which as Protestants we hold, in opposition to the errors of Popery, from human authority, nor in that point of view conceive it of vital importance, whether the imputations cast on the early Reformers are founded in truth or built on error, we still deem it but justice to the memory of those pious and truly eminent men, to rescue their names from the stigma of reproach; and, where the means are within our reach, to shew the arts by which an antiscriptural religion and an intolerant church are upheld amidst the increasing light of the nineteenth century.
In order to acquire a more thorough knowledge of the originating cause of this imputation on the character of Calvin, it will be requisite to search a little into the history of the chief promoters of it, Berthelier and Bolsec; and perhaps we shall find, that the confident assertions of • Discuss. Amicale, tom. i. pp. 88-92.
the Gallican prelate rest upon a foundation so unstable, that, had he been aware of it, it is to be hoped that he would have been ashamed of propagating such defamation. Berthelier, the original inventor of this ill-constructed fiction, had the minor station of registrar in one of the inferior courts at Geneva. His profligate course of life had frequently drawn on him, first the friendlyadmonitions, and, these proving ineffectual, eventually the public animadversions, of Calvin ; who, in concurrence with the other ministers, excluded him from participating in the Lord's supper, as unworthy to appear in the congregation of the faithful. Mortified, but not humbled by this disgrace, he caballed with others of a similar character, who had equal reasons to dislike the strict discipline of the Reformed Church. These men, however, proceeded farther than perhaps they at first intended; and, eventually forming a treasonable conspiracy against the state, they were obliged to flee their country. Berthelier, although he had escaped beyond the reach of justice, was tried and condemned to decapitation, should he ever be found in the Genevese territories*.
This then is the man whom the Senate of an independent and proud Republic employ in a public mission to France for so runs the story-in the year 1551†, a period marked for the fierceness of its persecution against the disciples, as they were termed, of Calvin; and therefore chosen in their wisdom as an opportune time to expect, on the part of this Catholic country, an open recognition of a Protestant embassy! But this is not the only difficulty to be contended with. The embassage of Berthelier, must have been prior to the year 1552, as he was at
This was in the reign of Henry II. who, two years previously, witnessed subjects at Paris.-L'Esprit de la Ligue, the burning of some of his Protestant tome i. p. 15.
that period à proscribed fugitive, and not likely, it is presumed, to fill so important a station. He had consequently in his possession an authentic proof of Calvin's criminality, at the very time when the Reformer was publicly exposing his own vices before his fellow-citizens; and yet it seems he was gifted with the uncommon forbearance of not pro. ducing it, to the utter confusion of his adversary. But is such forbearance possible? Is it in human nature to suppose that a man of his character, exposed to public shame and contumely, would not have turned round on the person who was thus instrumental in subjecting him to so severe a mortification: and divert the tide of indignation, as he might easily have done, from himself, to the severe but hypocritical Mentor, as Calvin would certainly have appeared, if there was ground for this imputation?-But if the circumstances connected with the personage who extracted the records from the court of justice at Noyon, throw so much doubt on the authenticity of the document, there are others connected with the city itself which turn these doubts into certainty. Noyon derived a celebrity from being the birth-place of the greatest heresiarch of his day, whose very name was wormwood to all good Catholics and loyal subjects. It does not however appear, that his errors had much infected his fellowcitizens: it seems indeed that they wished to demonstrate the contrary, by the excessive joy they evinced in the year 1551, on a casual report of his death, which they considered as an especial act of Divine goodness, and for which they offered up public thanksgiving. And yet we are to suppose (according to the bishop's account), that the devoted Catholics of this good city never published the history of their townsman's delinquency! That no zealous ecclesiastic was to be found in its well-endowed cathedral who would do his church that good service,
to expose to public scorn the man who was making such fearful inroads on its sacred borders. The clergy of France, says the learned Bayle (and he says truly), would have bought such an authentic work at its weight in gold: it would have been inestimably valuable at that period of heated controversy. But it did not make its appearance until six years afterwards; and was then made public, as we shall presently see, by one utterly unworthy of credit.
Jerome Bolsec, a Carmelite friar at Paris, became a nominal convert to the Reformed faith, on his expulsion from his conventual fraternity; and sought refuge in the court of the excellent and pious Renée Duchess of Ferrara, the usual resort at that period of those whom religious animosity had driven from France. Here however he did not long remain; and we may not perhaps uncharitably suppose, that some inconsistency in his conduct deprived him of the countenance of one ever ready to succour the persecuted people of God. From thence he proceeded to Geneva, and resumed his former occupation of preaching. In the course of his minsterial labours, however, he advanced opinions tending so directly to Pelagianism, that Calvin felt called upon to interfere; and, finding private admonition and discussion ineffectual, he publicly reprehended his departure from the truth. This circumstance naturally excited the ire of the ex-Carmelite, who connected himself with those who for various causes were opposed to the Reformer; and, as in the case of Berthelier, was drawn into treasonable practices against the state; for which, as well as for his heterodox opinions, he was, with some of his accomplices, sentenced to perpetual banishment from the Genevese territories. On this he ventured to France, and for a time continued in the Reformed communion, but was eventually expelled, as an apo
state, by a general synod of ministers at Lyons".
Thus freed from the yoke of heresy, he re-entered the fold of the church, wherein his future life fully justified the opinion formed of him at Geneva and Lyonst. It was after these events, and with a mind thus prejudiced, that Bolsec wrote his Life of Calvin; a work which would have long since sunk into deserved oblivion, but for the calumnious imputations it contains, and which have been brought forward, from time to time, by little scrupulous controversialists, as grave and potent charges against the memory of that eminent man. It were needless to point out the wellfounded reasons for regarding with suspicion the assertions of a man like Bolsec. His evidence indeed may be deemed inadmissible, since the supposed extracts from the court at Noyon were never seen by any one but himself; the only authority he adduces being that of Berthelier, which is, as we have shewn, of an equally questionable character. But perhaps the most conclusive evidence against the biographical labours of the Carmelite, is the light in which his work has been viewed by some of the ablest and most hostile writers of the Romish Church. Maimbourg, in his History of Calvinism, necessarily entered largely into the merits and demerits of the founder of this heretical defection from the truth. He mentions indeed his life by Bolsec, but speaks of it as more re
Bayle, art. Bolsec; Middleton's Evang. Biog. vol. ii. pp. 38, 39. Drelincourt, in his defence of Calvin, gives an authenticated copy of the act of his condemnation, signed by the Syndics of Geneva. The crimes alleged are, Pelagianism and sedition.-Defense de Calvin, p. 150. Bayle.
"Ubi contra quam sperarat ecclesias affligi animadvertit, repetita medicina ad hostes evangelii manifesta defectione (uxore quoque Canonicis Augustodunensibus prostituta) transivit. Unde nunc etiam quibus potest maledictis veritatem proscindit."-Beza, in Vita Calvini. apud Bayle, art. Bolsec.
sembling a satire than a history*. Varillas, in his History of Heresy, never once notices the worthy friar, although he alludes to some reports against the character of Calvin in other authors t. But the most hostile and determined opponent of the Reformed faith was Florimond de Remond‡. Although educated in its truths, he afterwards abjured them; and, as is usual in such cases, he made every effort to throw discredit and odium on the cause he deserted. What a fine field in which to expatiate on the evils of heresy would this imputation on Calvin have been; and how certainly would such a man have availed himself of it, were there any shadow of evidence to support it; but he declined any reference to Bolsec's book, as unworthy of credit §. To these we may add the name of Papyre Masson, a contemporary biographer of Calvin; who would gladly have availed himself of so powerful a plea, to give a keener edge to those weapons of controversy, which he wielded against the Reformers and their abettors ||.
There is, however, one author worthy of note, who has not been so scrupulous, Cardinal Richelieu. While we admit this, we may remark, that it does not appear from his mode of procedure, as if his Eminence placed much dependance on the verity of the imputation. When he composed his "Treatise for the Conversion of those who had separated from the Church," he possessed nearly regal power in France. Why then did he not order (as he might easily have done) the judi
cial records of Noyon to be submitted to his inspection, and publish in his own mighty name, and with all the array of legal evidence, the shame of the Reformer? Simply, because he could not. The fact is, according to Monsieur Drelincourt, that the cardinal prime minister did exert himself on this occasion; and it was only on the total failure of more worthy evidence, that he condescended to avail himself of this unfrocked and profligate friar.
Such then were the origin and progress of this unfounded imputation. There cannot surely remain a doubt, on even the most prejudiced mind, as to the thorough insufficiency of the evidence by which it is supported; nor the least hesitation in attributing it to the vindictive feelings of its primary inventors. That it should have been advanced, and gravely too, in the present day, when detection is so very easy; affords indeed a remarkable instance of the facility with which men are inclined to take up any idle tale of slander, which, in their idea, may help forward a favoured cause or party; and ought to be a lesson to controversialists, even for their own sake, to weigh well the evidence on which their facts rest, and not risk the credit of the cause they advocate by alleging in its support what can only tend to its refutation.
I fear, sir, I have trespassed too much on your space by this detail. But I thought it necessary-if entered on at all-to pursue this revived slander through its devious mazes, and shall feel truly thankful if my humble labours can in any way tend to confute so false a stigma on the memory of one of the most able, holy, and eminent instruments raised up by the providence of God to free mankind from the yoke of a blind and degrading superstition.
It cannot fail to strike the serious mind, in perusing these abortive attempts to detract from the good name of those honoured instruments of God; how clearly and how highly
their characters shine, when truth unravels the intricate mazes of that sophistry which seeks to slander and defame them. We rest not indeed, as before remarked, the great. cause of the Reformation on individual merit: it originates in a far higher and holier source, and can derive no aid from unassisted man. But we wish to mark the all-pervading influence of that Spirit which prepares the heart, and opens the mind to the perception of Divine truth, as unfolded in the volume of inspiration, to trace its gradual enfranchisement from the chains of error, and its noble efforts to disseminate those truths which have spoken peace and happiness to itself among the perishing sinners of our
Such was Calvin. Bigotry may revile or ignorance misrepresent him, but his name will be held in estimation by every sincere lover of pure evangelical religion; and such will join in devout acknowledgments to the Giver of all good, to whom alone be the glory and the praise.
Permit me, sir, in conclusion, slightly to advert to another point, not irrelevant I trust to the subject on which I have ventured to address you, without presuming to more information than that which the daily occurrence of passing events affords. I think it will not be deemed adventurous to assert that the "ark of our covenant is exposed to many dangers. What then is the duty of those who profess to venerate it as, under God, the great bulwark of the Reformation? Is it not to "let their light shine before men," to afford a convincing evidence that their faith is not an empty name; that Protestantism is not the mere badge of party, the designating mark in the arena of worldly politics, but a religion derived from the only source of truth, the word of God, and founded on that Rock of ages which nothing can shake? And is it not especially their duty to be instant in prayer and fervent in supplication to the Throne of Grace, that the Lord
would mercifully look down upon his Sion, and bless the efforts now making to enlighten those who are "sitting in the darkness and shadow of death, being fast bound in misery and iron."
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
THE religious public must feel indebted to ATTORNATUS for the information he communicates, on the subject of Charitable Bequests, in your Number for March last. I conceive, however, that the form of bequest he recommends, as well as most of those adopted by the several benevolent institutions of the day, is, in one respect, materially deficient.
In directing that the sum left to a charity shall be paid out of such part only of the personal estate as shall not consist of mortgages or chattels real, the testator only provides for that which the law itself would insist on.
Suppose the case of a bequest to a charity by a person possessed of a valuable landed property, freehold or leasehold, and of large sums of money invested on mortgage security, but whose chattels personal are inconsiderable, adequate how ever to pay the charitable legacy if applied in the first instance to that purpose: but as the chattels personal are the primary and natural fund for the payment of debts, funeral expenses, and general legacies, the executor may very probably in discharging these, either from inadvert ence, or want of benevolent feeling, exhaust the effects which are alone applicable to the payment of the charitable legacy. Nor would he be compellable, even in a court of equity, to marshal or arrange the assets in favour of the charitable legatee; that is, to throw the debts and general legacies on the real estate and chattels real, to the exemption of the chattels personal, unless there is a direction to this effect in the will.
The subjoined form, I conceive,
meets such a case; and as it was drawn by a conveyancer of the first eminence, it may be safely relied on. By inserting it in your widely extended publication, it may be the means of preventing, in some instances at least, the defeat of the pious intentions of benevolent individuals, who, without injustice either to creditors or relatives, might wish to promote the cause of religion, by testamentary dispositions. I may just remark, that if the testator's property consists principally of real estate, as distinguished from leaseholds, and other chattels real, it may be well that the will should also contain a general charge upon the realty, of so much of the debts, funeral and other expenses, and legacies, as the personalty will not extend to pay.
I give and bequeath the legacy to the treasurer
or sum of
[or trustees] for the time being,
of a certain charitable institution called by the name of in trust to be applied to the uses and purposes of that institution. And I direct that the receipt of the said treasurer [or trustees] shall be an absolute discharge for the said legacy. And I also direct that such part of my personal estate as is by law applicable to the payment of a charitable legacy, shall in the first place, and before answering any other purpose whatever, be applied in or towards the payment of the aforesaid charitable legacy.
I. D. L.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. I HAVE observed, at p. 150 of your Number for March, a letter from L. R., who is desirous a search should be made at Geneva for a Latin correspondence, supposed to have taken place between Calvin and Cranmer, on the subject of baptism; in order as he says, to "settle at once all controversies