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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 002:7 (Aug 1845)
Article: Life Of John Calvin.
Author: R. D. C. Robbins

Life Of John Calvin.

R. D. C. Robbins

[Based chiefly on a Life of Calvin by P. Henry of Berlin.]

Librarian Theological Seminary, Andover, Mass. [Continued from p. 356, No. VI.]

The Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Many suppose that Francis I. in the earlier part of his reign, favored the reformed doctrines from conviction. Beza says: “This king was not like his successors; he was possessed of acute discrimination, and not a little judgment in distinguishing between the true and the false; he was a patron of learned men and not personally opposed to us.” The same author supposes, that he was on the point of acceding publicly to the reformed tenets in 1534.1 But the historian Robertson is probably not far from right, when he says, that ‘his apparent willingness to hear the truth was a mere political mask, not the result of conviction.’2 Whatever the king’s real feelings may have been, he for a time lost the reputation of a good Catholic. His league with the apostate Henry VIII, his attack upon the emperor Charles, who made great pretension to zeal for the defence of the Romish faith, just as he was preparing for an expedition against Tunis, and his reception of the envoy of Solyman, contributed to this suspicion of his sincerity.3 But he was not long in finding an occasion for retrieving his reputation. The Sorbonne in 1534 forbade the protestant preachers, Girard Roux, Coraud and Berthaud, to hold public assemblies; and when they afterwards turned their attention to private instruction, they were kept in close custody.4

The Christians were, however, too decided in their belief to be thus thwarted. They determined, if their mouths must be shut, to appeal to the people by other means. Accordingly, a man named Feret, son of the apothecary of the king, was sent to Neufchatel to obtain a short summary of the reformed tenets. He re-

turned with manifestos against the mass and the pope, afterwards called Placards, which were scattered in every direction, and even put up in the king’s palace at Blois. The intemperate zeal thus manifested is sincerely to be regretted; for, although these documents contained truth, the spirit exhibited in them, was not approved even by Coraud and his companions, who were temperate in their zeal. In consequence of them the martyr-fires burned with a brighter glow. The police were the obedient subjects of the furious king. The bloody Morin was indefatigable in inventing and applying new and frig...

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