Life Of John Calvin -- By: R. D. C. Robbins

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 002:8 (Nov 1845)
Article: Life Of John Calvin
Author: R. D. C. Robbins


Life Of John Calvin

R. D. C. Robbins

Calvin’s Return To Geneva

Whilst Calvin was occupied with his various labors at Strasburg a change was effected in Geneva. After the banishment of their ministers, the people seem to have been left, for a time, to their own chosen way. Disorder reigned both in the Church and in the State. But God in kindness sent chastisements upon them. Those who had been most forward in opposing the restraints of their guides, received the just reward of their mis-

deeds. Within two years, one of the four syndics who were leaders of the faction in 1538, was executed for murder, a second convicted of sedition, in attempting to escape by a window, fell and was instantly killed; the other two, on account of treasonable conduct while absent from the city, were prohibited from returning. These disorders and changes prepared the way for the recall of the exiles. Calvin’s declaration in his letter to Sadolet, “That he could not cease to love, as his own soul, the church of Geneva,” which God had entrusted to him, and other expressions of regard, as well as his growing popularity abroad and the consequent disgrace of the Genevans, for having banished him,1 caused them to especially desire his return. Hooker says, “they were not before so willing to be rid of their learned pastor, as now importunate to obtain him again from them who had given him entertainment, and who were loth to part with him, had not unresistible earnestness been used.”2

The first letter to Calvin, requesting his return, was received just as the embassy was about to leave Strasburg for the imperial diet at Worms. Calvin showed it to Bucer and his fellow laborers at Strasburg, and they answered it. After admonishing the Genevans for their previous treatment of their preachers and commending them for the course they were now taking, they say: “The desire for your salvation, even at the expense of his greatest exertions and life itself, has ever ruled in Calvin’s breast. What he will now do, he, as well as we, is unable to say. Tomorrow or the following day he goes with us to Worms, where his presence is needed. We advise that you send for Farel and Viret.”3 The people of Neufchatel wholly refused to part with Farel, and the Genevans repeated their request for Calvin’s return, while he was at Worms. But the magistrates of Strasburg, learning that he was again invited to go to Geneva, wrote to their representatives, Bucer, Capito and Sturm, to use their influence to retain him at Strasburg. But the Genevans were not yet discouraged. Th...

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