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absolutely ALONE, in the whole protestant world, in asserting the divine institution of prelacy (if indeed, she, as a church, does assert it, which many of her own most respectable sons have denied); that every other protestant church on earth has formally disclaimed this doctrine, and pronounced the distinction between bishops and Presbyters to be a mere human invention ; and, consequently, that the doctrine of the jure divino prelatists, is so far from being the general doctrine of the reformed churches, that it never has been, and is not now, received, by more than a very small portiona mere handful of the Protestant world.

I repeat once more—the Bible is the statúte book of the church of Christ; and by this book alone, must the question before us be finally decided. But, so far as human opinion, fortified by all the considerations of talents, learning and piety, is of any value, the doctrine of Presbyterian parity stands on the most elevated and triumphant ground.

LETTER VII.

THE TESTIMONY OF CALVIN.

CHRISTIAN BRETHREN,

It has fallen to the lot of few individuals to be more mistaken and misrepresented than the venerable Calvin. His great talents, his profound learning, his fervent piety, his stupendous labours, his astonishing self-denial, and his sublime disinterestedness, have all been insufficient to protect him from the grossest abuse. His personal character, his theological opinions, and the form of ecclesiastical government which he preferred, have each, in turn, been the objects of accusation and slander. Had these unfair statements been either always the same, or consistent with themselves, it would not have been wonderful to find them making sonie impression on persons who had no access to sources of correct information. But when scarecly any two of these statements can be reconciled with each other; and when the most of them are expressly contradicted by authentic documents, it is truly a matter of wonder that they should be favourably received by any who have the least claim to the character of learning or impartiality. This wonder, however, exists. We can hardly open a controversial work from the pen of any of our episcopal brethren, without finding more or less obloquy directed against the illustrious Reformer of Geneva.

Dr. Bowden and Mr. How have indulged themselves in this obloquy in a manner, and to an extent, which appears to me to deinand animadversion. And as they lay so much stress on the supposed concessions of Calvin in favour of episcopacy; and, at

act of the presbytery. Nor will it in the least degree serve the cause of my opponents to contend that the ecclesiastical system of Geneva was, afterwards, new modelled and improved by Calvin. Be it so. Still it is certain that the leading principles of Presbyterian polity, viz. the doctrine of ministerial parity, and the government of the church by presbyteries, were received and in use, before the public ministry of Calvin commenced, or any of his writings had appeared.

Dr. Henry More, in his Divine Dialogues, p. 82. speaking of the reformation of Geneva, says,—“As for Calvin, the charge of “ rebellion upon him is, that he expelled the bishop of Geneva, « who was the chief magistrate of that city, and changed the go

vernment, and so carried on the reformation. But this is a mere “ calumny against Calvin, and without all ground; for not so much 6 as that is true, that Calvin was one of the first planters of the 66 reformation at Geneva; and much less that he, or any other re“ formers expelled the bishop out of that city. It was Farel, Vi"ret, and Froment, that, by their preaching, converted Geneva, “ in the bishop's absence, who fled away eight months before, be“ing hated by the citizens for the rape of a virgin, and many 4 adulteries with their wives."

That Dr. Bowden and Mr. How should be unacquainted with all this, is truly surprising ! I know, indeed, that it is expecting too much to suppose that these gentlemen will take the trouble to investigate more than one side of this controversy. But when their own favourite writers might have informed them of all the facts above stated, it is rather singular that they should have yet to learn them.

Another allegation of these gentlemen is, that Calvin, in the early part of his public life, thought very favourably of diocesan episcopacy, and even believed and acknowledged its apostolic origin. That afterwards, when he had undertaken to erect a church on a different model, and especially when he had the prospect of attaining great distinction in the Presbyterian establishment of Geneva, he began to alter his views and his language ; but that, even after he had fairly embarked in support of Presbyterian principles, he rather defended himself by the plea of necessity than divine auphority. Nay, Mr. How declares, that Calvin, in rearing the church of Geneva, acknowledged that he was departing from the

primitive discipline ; that he considered prelacy as an apostolic institution; and that he expressed a decided preference in favour of this form of government : But adds, “ I deny not that Calvin “and Beza held, afterwards, a language more presbyterial. At “ length, indeed, schism, and the pride of sect, either changed their “ sentiments, or perverted their principles. In fact, the conduct of “ these men, in relation to the ministry of the christian church, « presents one of the most melancholy examples of the prevalence “ of pride over virtue, and of the unhappy influence of schism, in « blinding and infatuating the mind, that the history of human “ frailty has ever recorded.” Letters, p. 62—75. Dr. Bowden, is equally positive in asserting, that Calvin believed and acknowledged the apostolic origin of episcopacy; and that he justified himself in departing from it only on the ground of necessity. In fact, by subscribing and referring to Dr. Hobart's statement of the case, in his Apology for Apostolic Order, p. 91–117, the reverend professor has gone the whole length of Mr. Hovo.

When I read assertions of this kind, I cannot help recollecting, in a well known and popular fictitious history, a certain chapter which bears the following title—“ An humble attempt to prove « that an author will write the better for having some knowledge " of the subject on which he writes.” If I had the least apprehension that these gentlemen had ever perused the works of Calvin, or really knew what he has left on record upon this subject, such a representation, so frequently and confidently made, would excite feelings more unfavourable than those of astonishment. But as I have no such apprehension, and feel perfectly persuaded that the perusal of a few detached passages, sorms the sum total of their acquaintance with Calvin's writings, I cannot find in my heart to apply a severe epithet to a misrepresentation so total concerning the history of his language and opinions.

The truth is that the earliest of Calvin's writings contain some of the strongest declarations in favour of Presbyterian principles that are to be found in all his works. His Institutions, his first theological work, were published in 1536, before he had ever seen Geneva ; before he ever thought of settling there; and when he was so far from aspiring to pre-eminence in any Presbyterian establishment, that he does not appear to have had in view the pastoral office in any church. Now it is certain that this work is as

act of the presbytery. Nor will it in the least degree serve the cause of my opponents to contend that the ecclesiastical system of Geneva was, afterwards, new modelled and improved by Calvin. Be it so. Still it is certain that the leading principles of Presbyterian polity, viz. the doctrine of ministerial parity, and the government of the church by presbyteries, were received and in use, before the public ministry of Calvin commenced, or any of his writings had appeared.

Dr. Henry More, in his Divine Dialogues, p. 82. speaking of the reformation of Geneva, says,—“As for Calvin, the charge of “ rebellion upon him is, that he expelled the bishop of Geneva, « who was the chief magistrate of that city, and changed the go“ vernment, and so carried on the reformation. But this is a mere “ calumny against Calvin, and without all ground; for not so much 6 as that is true, that Calvin was one of the first planters of the 6 reformation at Geneva; and much less that he, or any other re“ formers expelled the bishop out of that city. It was Farel, Vi6 ret, and Froment, that, by their preaching, converted Geneva, “ in the bishop's absence, who fled away eight months before, be« ing hated by the citizens for the rape of a virgin, and many " adulteries with their wives."

That Dr. Bowden and Mr. How should be unacquainted with all this, is truly surprising ! I know, indeed, that it is expecting too much to suppose that these gentlemen will take the trouble to investigate more than one side of this controversy. But when their own favourite writers might have informed them of all the facts above stated, it is rather singular that they should have yet to learn them.

Another allegation of these gentlemen is, that Calvin, in the early part of his public life, thought very favourably of diocesan episcopacy, and even believed and acknowledged its apostolic origin. That afterwards, when he had undertaken to erect a church on a different model, and especially when he had the prospect of attaining great distinction in the Presbyterian establishment of Geneva, he began to alter his views and his language ; but that, even after he had fairly embarked in support of Presbyterian principles, he rather defended himself by the plea of necessity than divine auzhority. Nay, Mr. How declares, that Calvin, in rearing the church of Geneva, acknowledged that he was departing from the

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