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Church of England Magazine.
MEMOIRS OF THE REFORMERS.
tion, indeed, have testified to his The zeal of party spirit, the mis- merits, from a judicious Hooker representation of malice, and the to a discriminating Horsley. But ignorance of prejudice, have pro- every sciolist, who has sneered at duced the same results in the his- his memory, has too often found a tory of churches as of nations, correspondent feeling in the breast Names, claiming especial re- of his readers or hearers. It is verence in the Christian world, not the office of biography to unhave been abused to the sanction dertake the defence of any system of errors by injudicious friends, held by the subjects of her laor loaded with unmerited invective bours; but it is a pleasing duty to by bigoted enemies. While, from seek to dispel the mist of prejuthe joint operation of all these dice, and show the excellent of causes, an effect has' followed, the earth in their proper colours. that can never be sufficiently de- Calvin ranks among the first men plored by lovers of truth and jus- of his day for wisdom, erudition, tice; and which has so confused the piety, and integrity. Every canwritings of certain authors hy ver- did Arminian must make this acbal inaccuracies and misapplied knowledgment. On the doctrines terms, that their meaning has been of predestination, election, and altogether absurd, or only to be reprobation, which have in a more elicited by those readers, whose particular manner been associated previous acquaintance with the with his name, he spoke and wrote subject under discussion has ena- less strongly than many of his bled them to qualify errors and contemporaries and successors; correct mistakes.
they bear by no means a promiThus in Italian history the ap- nent part in his works; and as an pellations of Guelph and Ghibelin, apologist and commentator, he is and in English those of Whig and distinguished for the practical tenTory, have not been used with dency of his observations. He less discrimination by civil writers, withal approved of a reformed than have those of Calvinist, Pu- Episcopacy, defended the ancient ritan, Methodist, and the like, by rite of Confirmation, and remonecclesiastical authors. Few terms strated against the proceedings of have been more misapplied than those who opposed the Protestant that of Calvinist. By a species of Hierarchy of England. Even inliterary injustice, the great Re- fidels have been constrained to reformer of Geneva has been made spect his great talent. “ Calvin," to bear a load of undeserved says D'Alembert, “who with jusodium. Divines of good informa- tice enjoyed high reputation, was
a scholar of the first order. He to be more profitable than that of wrote in Latin as well as is pos- divinity, as by his personal consible in a dead language, and in viction of unjustifiable practices in French with a purity which was that communion, in which he had extraordinary for his time. This only received what was called the purity, which is to the present day simple tonsure of an ecclesiastic t. admired by our skilful critics, ren- He had a relation named Oliveders his writings greatly superior tan, who was attached to the docto almost all of the same age; trines of the Reformation ; a pious as the works of Messieurs de Port and sensible man, of whom little Royal are still distinguished on the is known but that he translated the same account, from the barbarous Bible into French, and for his rerhapsodies of their opponents and ward was poisoned at Rome the contemporaries *."
year after its publication. It was He was born at Noyon on the through the advice of this person, border of Picardy, July 10, 1509. that Calvin paid diligent attention His parents were Gerard Calvin to the perusal of Holy Scripture, and Jane Frank, of good cha- as the pure spring of saving knowracter, and competent estate. The ledge. So that, though he put on former was secretary to the bishop, the gown of the advocate, he did and much 'esteemed by his su- not neglect the duties of the clerperiors for his solid judgment. gyman. While he studied civil After sending his son John, des- law under Pierre de l'Etoile, pretined to render the family name so sident of the parliament of Paris, illustrious, to a provincial gram- at Orleans, he embraced every opmar school, he removed him to the portunity of spreading religious inFrench capital, where he prose- formation, and, according to the cuted his studies, first at the aca- testimony of Varillas, succeeded demy of La Marche under Cor- in turning many to a clearer faith. derius, and next at that of Mon- His manner at this period was to tague under Hispanus, who were read till midnight, and to ruminate both qualified to foster the rising on the subject of his lecture when genius of their pupil. Profiting he awoke the next morning; but by their instruction, he outstripped he accustomed himself to such his competitors, and soon pro- spareness in diet, that he is supceeded from common logic to the posed to have injured
his conliberal arts. If his father wished stitution. him to engage in the sacred office, From Orleans he removed to that desire would be strengthened Bourges, to which city he was atby the religious impressions which tracted, with many students of the he discovered. The chapelry de day, by the fame of Alciati, a la Gesine was obtained for him in Milanese, and an eminent civilian, Noyon cathedral; afterwards the whom the French court had invited cure of Marteville; which he soon to read lectures, and who is menexchanged for Pont L'Eveque, tioned with approbation by Thuthe birth-place of his father, in anus, for his enlargement of mind, which he preached for some time; in improving the method and rebut he was never admitted into fining the language of his particuthe order of priests in the Romish lar science. But Providence had church. This issue was prevented, higher designs in view for young as well by a change in the mind of Calvin. He became warmly athis parent, who now began to con
tached to Wolmar, professor of sider the study of the law as likely
of Beza, Vita Calvini, p. 51. Bayle, v. * Encyclopedie, Art. Gener. ii. pp. 554, 260. Dupin, cent. xvi.