« AnteriorContinuar »
Church of England Magazine.
MEMOIRS OF THE REFORMERS.
possessed considerable talents and (Continued from page 88. ] active research ; was acquainted To the same period in the life of with civil law, which he studied at Calvin, in which the profligacy of Toulouse; but was more immediBerthelier was punished with excom- ately devoted to the faculty of memunication, is to be referred the dicine, in which he was so sagacious capital sentence passed on the un- that he nearly anticipated Dr. Harhappy Servetus for the crime of vey in his theory of the circulation heresy ;-an event of greater noto- of the blood. He discovered also rięty, and which authors and dis- much subtilty in metaphysical inputants unfriendly to the memory of quiries, which proved his snare; for Calvin have so frequently and perti- he was too bold and unscriptural in naciously urged to his disadvantage, his speculations, and too arrogant that it is imperative to state the facts in their defence. When young, he of the case succinctly and clearly, composed his first anti-trinitarian and to ascertain the kind and degree work, and used as much caution of blame attaching to one who bore as possible in its publication. He so prominent a part in the history of placed the manuscript in the hands the Reformation*.
of Conrad Rouss, a bookseller of Michael Servetus was born, in Basle, who sent it to Hagenau to 1509, at Villanueva, in the king- be printed; and it was published dom of Arragon, in Spain. He at Strasburg and Francfort, under
the title of “ Seven Books against
Trinitarian Error." Ecolampadius * It will not be expected, that reference obtained one of the first copies that should be made to the numerous writers pro and con on this interesting subject, came into Switzerland, and wrote which, if handled at large, would compose his sentiments on it to Bucer, a volume of no ordinary size. A state. August 5th, 1531. " I saw this ment, which, it is trusted, is the result of week our friends of Berne, who deexamination of the best authorities, will satisfy the candid reader. The dispute on sired to be remembered to you and Calvin's
conduct in the affair of Servetus Capito. They were much distressed was revived in 1818, in the Zurich Gazette, at the publication called “ De Triin consequence of a Genevese mob, encou- nitatis Erroribus,” which some of raged by a Socinian party, insulting some Calvinists in public worship. The
them have seen. papers
Let me beg of were collected and published in an able you to tell Luther, that it was printpamphlet, entitled, Widerlegung einiger ed out of this country, and without in Orell's Gazette of Zurich concerning our knowledge. For, to mention the Calvinists of Geneva, by B. von
one particular, it is an impudent Lerber, of Berne.)
thing to affirm, as the author does, APRIL 1825.
that the Lutherans do not under- three questions: 1. Whether the stand the doctrine of justification. Man Jesus, who was crucified, was But the man, whether he be a Pho the Son of God; and what is the tinian or of any other sect, evidently foundation of that Sonship? 2. fancies that he knows better than Whether the kingdom of Christ be any body else.
Our church will in men ; and when a man may be be very ill spoken of, unless our said to enter into it, or be regenedivines make a point of protesting rated ? 3. Whether the baptism against him. I beseech you espe- that Christ instituted ought to be cially to keep a watchful eye over received in faith, even as his supper it, and to take the opportunity of is; and to what purpose
these were discountenancing it on the part of instituted under the new covenant ? our communion, in
any address The answers returned by our Rewhich you may be sending to the former to these queries so much Emperor. We know not how such displeased the subtle Spaniard, that a monster crept in among us. He he conceived against him an unalwrests all passages of Scripture to terable aversion. prove, that the Son is not co-eter- At length he printed privately, at nal and consubstantial with the Vienne in Dauphiny, his “ChristiFather, and that the Man Christ is anity Restored;" in which he prothe Son of God.”
fessed to give the primitive and It is no wonder that (Ecolam- genuine doctrine of the church, padius was so much alarmed. Con- concerning the knowledge of God, cerning the person of the Saviour, Christian faith, justification, regeneServetus declared, 66 Christ
ration, baptism, and the Lord's suppræformed in the Divine Mind: he per. Though this work appeared was a certain mode of being him- under the name of Villanovanus, self there ; which mode God dis- the magistracy of Vienne issued orposed of in himself, that he might ders for his apprehension, on which make himself known to us,--that is, he made his escape to Geneva. by describing the image of Jesus Sentence, however, was pronounced Christ in himself." This he called,' against him as a heretic, to be burnt "the face of God, and the Word made alive, if he could be seized, and, in flesh ;” and asserted, that the three the mean time, his effigy and five Divine Persons were a chimæra, bales of his books were consumed and metaphysical gods. In 1532, by fire in the public market-place. he sent out another work, entitled, Among the charges brought against * Two Books of Dialogues on the our Reformer it was said, that he Trinity.” It was after the publica- had persuaded the arrest of Servetion of his second writing that he tus at Vienne; but Calvin, in one left Germany for Paris, where he of his treatises, ridicules the idea of was admitted Doctor of Medicine, his coalescing with Romanists for and became acquainted with Calvin, such a purpose. “ A report,” says who opposed his tenets. About ten he, “is current that I endeavoured years afterwards, he corrected the to have Servetus seized in a popish proofs of a Latin Bible by Pagninus territory; and many observe that at Lyons; adding a preface and it was not wisely done to expose notes, under the name of Villano- him to the mortal enemies of the vanus, and introducing into the lat. faith, as if I had thrown him into ter much objectionable doctrine re- the jaws of wolves; but I would lating to Christ. Calvin kept up a ask, how comes it to pass that there correspondence with him for some should be, all of a sudden, such a time, in the hope of reclaiming him familiarity between me and the from his errors. Servetus proposed guardians of the Papacy? Can it
be credited that there should be refers to the work in question, dissuch a free epistolary correspond- covers his judgment of it, and of ence between those who are as op- the punishment due to its author ; posite as Christ and Belial ?”
but it as plainly appears, that he was Senebier, in his literary history of so far from engaging him to come Geneva, has argued this point so to Geneva, that he would not proreasonably and impartially, that mise to leave him unmolested, but it can scarcely fail of rebutting rather warns him of what he might the malicious insinuation. “ But fear if he ventured into that city. Calvin is charged with abusing the It is evident, then, that, if Calvin confidence of Servetus; with dis- endeavoured to keep Servetus from patching to Vienne the letters that Geneva, that he might avoid the he had received from him, as well punishment with which he threatas the work entitled Christianity ened him, he would not have thought Restored, of which Servetus had of inflicting it on him elsewhere, made him a present. I maintain which would have been attended that this accusation is incredible. with considerable difficulty, if not Can it be believed, that Calvin, absolutely impossible. whose name was execrated in Ro- It is supposed, that Servetus inman-Catholic countries, could ex- tended to pass on into Italy, He pect from their magistrates any at stayed, however, several weeks at tention to his complaints, or any Geneva ;. encouraged, as it should regard to his letters ?
seem, by some of the magistrates posing that he had been capable of who were enemies to Calvin, and conduct at once so absurd and atro. had the rashness to defend his opicious, is it conceivable that he nions in the most offensive manner; would have been silent for seven giving Calvin' the lie above fifty years ; that he would not rather times in one discourse, and as often have prosecuted Servetus ; that he calling him a wicked wretch, and would not have sent, wherever Ser comparing him to Simon Magus. vetus resided, the letters he had re- This conduct was calculated to ceived, and the work he possessed ? irritate that part of the government It may, however, be demonstrated, which was friendly to Calvin, and that seven years had then elapsed which at that time formed a consince they had been in correspond- siderable majority. Spon says, “The ence; and the famous . letter of Council could no longer endure bis Calvin, which Uttembogaert saw in impudence, and therefore comınitted the library of the King of France, him to prison.” shews that he was at that time as As the law of Geneva required well aware of his character as he that the accuser and the accused might have been afterwards, and should enter the prison together, that he had seen the celebrated Calvin directed the process, to be work of which I have spoken :-'Ser- made by Nicholas de la Fontaine, vetus lately wrote to me, and ac- his secretary, and a student in thecompanied his letter with a large ology. Calvin confesses that this volume of his : mad fancies, with a was done with his knowledge. De hectoring boast that I should see la Fontaine made himself a prisoner, amazing and unheard-of things; requiring the detention of Servetus, that, if I pleased, he would come who was brought to the bar for the hither : but I was unwilling to com- first time on the 14th of August promise my good faith ; for, if he 1553, when forty articles, extracted should come, my authority would from his writings, were exhibited be exercised in preventing him from against him, of which he was found departing alive. This letter is dated guilty. Then, according to form, in February 1546. Calvin therein an officer, called the Lieutenant
general, undertook the process at as those of Berne; and the Senate the instance of the Procureur-gene- of the latter have also sent a letter, ral, and the student was liberated. which has had great influence on
The principal accusations were, Cæsar, an odd kind of man, 1. That he had declared, in his pretended to be indisposed for three “ Commentary on Ptolemy," that days, but at length came to court, it was wrong and rash for the Bible and, with a view to the acquittal of to celebrate the fertility of Canaan, the prisoner, had the effrontery to whilst it was uncultivated and bar- propose, that the cause should be
2. That he had used the removed to the Council of Two most impious comparisons with re- Hundred. Nevertheless he has been ference to one God in three persons. condemned without any dispute, 3. That the essence of the Divinity and will be executed to-morrow. was common to all creatures, even We have tried to obtain a commuto the inanimate.
4. That man tation of punishment, but in vain. had a free-will to do good or evil, I will tell you, when I see you, why but was not accountable for his the judges have not granted our actions before he was twenty years request. of age. 5. That it was sufficient On the following morning one of to believe that Christ was the Son the Syndics, named D'Arlord, read of God, without laying hold of his the horrible sentence, which conpromises; all men, both Jews and demned him to be bound and led to Gentiles, being justified by their the Champel without the city, there good works. Servetus presented a to be fastened to a stake and burned petition on the 22d of August, in alive, together with his book. Serwhich he pleaded for religious to- vetus sent for Calvin, who with two leration; to which the Procureur- magistrates visited him in prison, general replied after eight days. and begged his pardon. Calvin The Council of Vienne claimed told him, that he never thought of Servetus, who, being left at liberty revenging himself for any personal to return to his former judges, pre- injuries that he had received; but ferred the chance of a more favour- observed, that he had laboured, able judgment at Geneva, to the even to the hazard of his life, for certainty of suffering the capital the space of sixteen years, to repunishment pronounced against him claim him from his errors ; that he at Vienne.
had communicated with him by The case of the accused and con- private letters with mildness, and victed heretic was submitted, at continued to treat him as a friend, Calvin's instigation, to the Helvetic till he found that he bitterly inChurches. On the 26th of October veighed against him, even to madhe communicated to Farel, at Neuf- ness, because he had been free in chatel, the result of this appeal. his reproofs. He exhorted him to “ The messenger is returned from seek forgiveness of God, for denying Switzerland. They all unanimously his existence in three persons. But declare, that Servetus has revived when he perceived that his admothe impious errors with which Satan nitions made no impression, he left formerly disturbed the church, and him, declaring that, according to that he is a monster not to be tole- the injunction of St. Paul, he must rated. The Basilians are the most withdraw from a heretic, who was moderate; the Zurichers the most condemned by his own conscience. violent--for they forcibly describe The unhappy man was then prethe atrocity of his impieties, and pared for execution. It is by no exhort our Senate to severity. The means creditable to Farel, that he divines of Schafhausen have sub- took the pains to go to Geneva, to scribed to their judgment, as well be present at this cruel scene, and even conducted the prisoner to the than can be paralleled in any writstake, though Calvin resolved not ings of Calvin; and that there is histo sanction the proceeding. Ser- torical injustice and party malevovetus trembled at the prospect of lence in the prominence which is his suffering, but was collected given to the single fact of the burnenough to make a speech, in which ing of Servetus by a large class of he avowed his adherence to his for authors who are unfriendly to Calmer sentiments *.
vinistic sentiment. Those writers who, from tender- During the dispute relating to ness to the memory of our Reformer, Berthelier, Calvin had been deeply consider him as disapproving the wounded by the conduct of some capital punishment of Servetus, leading characters, who shewed' illargue like men who injure their own will toward the Consistory; and cause by attempting to prove too therefore he took occasion to preach much. It seems, indeed, that he on the subject of the departure of thought, under all the circum- Paul from the church of Ephesus; stances, he ought to suffer death. declaring, that, for himself, he would He says, in writing to Farel (Ep. by no means appear to act in op152, p. 120), Spero, capitale position to the government, which saltem fore judicium; pæna vero had thought proper to pass a decree atrocitatem remitti cupio: I trust in favour of Bertheliei, and exhortthat he will not escape a capital sen- ing the people to continue stedfast tence; but I would have no cruelty in the doctrine in which they had exercised in his punishment.” It been instructed. In conclusion, he must be allowed, however, that there said emphatically, “ Seeing, my is some ambiguity in the language; brethren, that matters have proand that it may be interpreted as ceeded to this extremity, suffer me signifying a desire, that the sentence to use the words of the Apostle, “I of the government may be capital, commend you to God and the word from regard to existing law, con- of his grace!”. As this quotation formity to the judgment of the Can- was understood to imply that he tons, and the sake of example, but was meditating a resignation of his that he desired nevertheless to have charge, it caused a great alarm his life spared. If it be understood among those who were attached to in the very worst sense, the advo- his ministry, and led to a reversal cates of Calvin are still justified in of the decree. Farel was indignant, asserting, that of all the parties con- however, at the manner in which cerned he was the least to blame; his friend had been treated, and, that he believed Servetus would ob- thinking that his age and services tain a more liberal hearing at Geneva gave him authority, censured the than elsewhere, knowing that his Genevese most severely in a public
was already prejudged in discourse for their factious spirit. France, Spain, and Italy; that such Offended at his boldness, the mamen as Ecolampadius, Bucer, Bul- gistrates insisted that he should
aplinger, and Melancthon, who were pear before them and answer for the most moderate of the Reformers, his conduct. The preacher came have all expressed themselves in from Neufchatel, whither he had more bitter terms upon the subject gone after his sermon, to obey the
summons; but some of the more * Calvini fidelis Expositio Errorum Ser- discreet citizens advised Perrin to veti, p. 827; Tract. Theol. p. 836; Se- beware of injuring a venerable nebier, Hist. Litt. de Genev. tom. ii. Art. Calvin; Allwoerden, Hist. Serveti, pastor, who had rendered essential $ 48. p. 105; Lubienjecius, Hist. Reform. benefit to the Republic; which so Polon. l. ii. c. 5.
intimidated him and his party, that