Page images
PDF
EPUB

his legal studies now appeared. He wife lived, (she was taken from him sat down to the work as if he had in April, 1549) these inconveniences been a practised councillor, learned were less felt, as she relieved him in the law, and he produced such an of all anxiety respecting household improved digest,or code, that Montes- affairs. The Council, too, evinced quieu said: “The Genevese ought to kind consideration when they fixed bless the moment of the birth of the remuneration for his services. Calvin, and that of his arrival within The following item appears in their their walls." Nor was this the only records :-"Salary of Master John manner in which his services were Calvin, who is a man of great learnrequired. He was always at the calling, and favourable to the restoration of of the Council. If there was a waver- the Christian Church, and is exposed ing between justice and mercy in the to heavy expenses from strangers who case of a convicted criminal;if some come this way–whereupon it was refugee had entered the city, and it resolved that he should have for was doubtful whether he should be

wages, yearly, five hundred florins, allowed to remain ;-if there were dis- twelve measures of wheat, and two putes with neighbouring cantons ; casks of wine." The pecuniary por-if ambassadors were to be sent to tion of the salary would be now equal foreign powers ;—if there were tu- to about one hundred and twenty mults orriots;—if famineor the plague pounds sterling, and was probably desolated the country,—“Master John regarded as a handsome income in Calvin " was sent for, and his opinion those days. or advice, always received with the His correspondence was immense. greatest respect, was generally fol- Letters poured in upon him from all lowed, as pointing out the safest and places, asking information or counsel most honourable course of procedure. on all manner of topics.

The conThe constant arrival of travellers cern which he felt for the welfare of and refugees at Geneva occasioned the churches of Europe, and espeanother and very serious demand on cially his sympathy with sufferers for Calvin's time. Some repaired to the conscience sake, impelled him to adcity that they might enjoy the benefit dress to them letters of consolation of his preaching or lectures. Many or caution, which were often of admore were driven to it by persecu- mirable use to those to whom they tion ;-- from Germany, in the time were sent. Many of his replies to of the Interim—from France during applications for advice from various the terrible scenes of the reigns of parts of France were treated as auFrancis I. and Henry II.—from Thoritative decisions, and embodied England after the death of Edward in the permanent laws of the French VI.—from Italy, fleeing from the Protestant Church. A large collecPope,—from Spain, to escape the tion of his letters has been published, Inquisition. All these sought Cal- and many more, it is said, still revin's house, and found sympathy, main in the archives of Geneva. generous hospitality, and such in

They are distinguished by Christian struction, direction, or help, as their affection, boldness in maintaining several cases required. The intru- truth, or reproving evil, and great sions on domestic privacy were in- sagacity. So laborious was this corcessant, and he was often compelled respondence, coupled as it was with to make up for the interruptions of the fact that his pen was never idle, the day, by spending great part of some publication or other being genethe night in study. While his good rally in hand—that the help of an

amanuensis became necessary, and from food for thirty-six hours in sucit was furnished him at the public cession.” There are frequent refercharge.

ences to his ailments in his letters; As an author, Calvin was con- they were often written or dictated tinually before the public. Scarcely in bed. During the last two years a year passed without the issue of he suffered greatly. Asthma, gout, some treatise, or commentary on colic and other diseases attacked him, Scripture. Whatever form of error and kept him in constant pain. His presented itself during his life, last sermon was preached on the an exposure and an antidote were sixth of February, 1564. But though quickly supplied. His “ Institutes" he was unable to occupy the pulpit were subjected to perpetual revision. any longer, he could not be prevailed He translated the work into French on to desist from labour. When his in 1545 (it was originally written in brethren entreated him to spare himLatin), and continued to correct and self, and to suspend dictation and enlarge it till 1559, when it received writing, for a time, he replied, “What? his last touches, and assumed the would you have the Lord find me form in which it now appears.

His idle?"-on Easter Sunday, the 2nd Commentaries included the Penta- of April, he attended the Church for teuch, Joshua, Job, the Psalms, the the last time. “He received the Prophets, and all the books of the Lord's Supper,” Beza states, “from New Testament, with the exception my hand, and sung the hymn along of the Apocalypse. They were ex- with the others, though with tremupository discourses, delivered in his lous voice, yet with a look in which Church, and many of them taken joy was not obscurely indicated in down in shorthand by zealous friends, his dying countenance.” From that of whose notes the author availed time he gradually declined. The himself in preparing for the press. Council waited on him in a body on It is presumed that to this circum- the 27th of April, and received his stance may be referred much of parting admonitions. Next day his the freshness and point by which colleagues in the ministry assembled the Commentaries are distinguished. in his room for the same purpose. They combine the freedom of oral Those interviewswere sad and solemn, discourse with the precision of care- and many tears were shed. But he fully written compositions.

lingered on longer than had been In these labours the great man expected.

interval to his wore himself out. His constitution, death,” says Beza," he spent in feeble from the first, sunk under the almost constant prayer. His utterunnatural pressure, and he was borne ance, indeed, was much impeded, to the grave before he had completed but his eyes, which to the very last his fifty-fifth year. All his life long, were clear and sparkling, he raised after he became a public man, he was

toward Heaven with an expression subject to neuralgic pains in the head, of countenance in which the ardour and derangement of the digestive of the supplicant was fully disorgans, to counteract which, he had played !” At length, "the weary recourse to fasting. “For the last wheels of life stood still," and John ten years," Beza says,

Calvin (such is the simple entry in dined, taking no food at all till sup- the Register Book of the Consistory) per,” and sometimes he “abstained "went to God, May 27th, 1564."

« The

“ he never

THOUGHTS SUGGESTED BY SOME OF THE SIGNS OF

THE TIMES.

It is beyond doubt that the unex- points which statesmen and theoampled prosperity with which God logians find to be difficult to dispose has blessed this nation of late, has of; whilst the constant seething of been connected with the removal of incongruous elements in the Church those restraints and taxes which an at home-pleasantly called "the unwise legislation had imposed upon United Church of England and Irecommerce. No statesman would land,”—has gradually unsettled the think of reverting to the obsolete bases upon which its zealous friends policy even of the last generation, were accustomed to build their arand much less to the political maxims guments in its support. It is beof olden times; and if there were to coming every day more certain that be found such a re-actionist, an in- the relations of the Church and the dignant nation would instantly dis- State in this country must be settled pose of his pretensions to share in anew. the government. The consequence With such convictions, we should of these things is, that the ground hail with sincere pleasure any indihas been gradually cleared for the cations on the part of Mernbers of discussion and re-adjustment of ques- the Legislature, of a careful preparations which have been by consent of tion for the inevitable discussion all parties in the State, set aside as which must soon arise ; and with so difficult in themselves, or so com- equal regret do we observe any plicated in their relations, that they proofs which are obtruded upon us demand the best statesmanship and of utter unfitness on their part to tranquil times to deal with them. take an intelligent share in it. When And as Parliament wisely proceeds Mr. Gladstone published his work in removing from the statute-book “ The State in its relations with everything which cripples commer- the Church," some five-and-twenty cial enterprise, the public mind will years ago, everyone who read it felt be prepared to entertain questions of that he had laboriously striven to public policy which under other master his subject, and that he was circumstances would not have easily duly impressed with the gravity of gained a hearing.

the matter under his review. ChurchEvery one in and out of Parlia- men and Nonconformists ment admits that Ecclesiastical equally ready to applaud the questions are daily becoming more thoughtfulness with which so young urgent, and that they demand a a member of the House of Comcalm and thoughtful review by the mons had entertained one of the members of both Houses, as well as gravest problems of statesinanship. well as by the nation at large. The The book showed that whenever he extension of the Anglican Episcopacy might take part in an ecclesiastical to the colonies and other dependen- debate in the House of Commons, cies of the Crown, and the attempts he would be entitled to a respectful made to introduce it into other hearing, because of his general accountries—such as the Sandwich Is- quaintance with the subject; and lands, Central Africa, and the Orange the book further gave proof of such River Free States--have raised many loyalty to truth when apprehended

on

were

by his subtle mind, as would as- that charming and candid writer! suredly lead him, if so persuaded, to Prodigious! Is not such a profoundly a re-construction, sooner or later, of learned writer “a second Daniel his theory. There were a few san- come to judgment ?”

And ought guine men who indulged the hope not all England to listen in solemn that under the influence of such an silence to such a noble lord ? example, other men of conspicuous But what we wish our readers to ability belonging to the two great observe is, that this young nobleman parties in the State, would have is a type of the average statesmanthoroughly studied the question, and ship of the House of Commons, and made themselves ready for an in- may be fairly taken as above the telligent handling of it. But these

average of his class in society. And hopes have been sadly blighted, and we are very anxious that they should as if to warn all Englishmen of the take into serious consideration the small modicum of knowledge and fact, that it is by such men as Lord ability which can pretend to legis- Robert Montagu the religious future late upon the union of Church and of the nation will, so far as ParliaState, we have been invited by Lord ment can determine it, be settled. Robert Montagu to consider his Are we then as Christians owing alaccount of “Four Experiments” upon legiance to Christ, prepared to admit it.

such statements as the following to It would have been a new thing be true? under the sun, if this son of a duke had shown himself competent to

“ This is the very essence of a statesman's discuss his self-chosen theme with

business—to operate upon every man, and

couch his inner eye." the learning, the thoroughness, and the candour which it demands. His

Of course then, “a statesman” sees early habits and training necessarily clearly; for no one would trust a unfitted him to do so. He imbibed

doctor suffering from amaurosis to prejudices against the “vulgar Dis

couch a patient suffering from catasenters," almost with his mother's

ract. Lord Robert is “a statesman” milk, and grew up amidst the com

by profession; and of course as he placent beliefs of his ancestral Tory- protests that it is his business “to ism that “whatever is, is best.” Such operate upon every man,” he sees young gentlemen usually associate clearly. Let us judge for ourselves, with men of their own class, and

before we sit down in the chair, and try to fortify themselves in the con

allow him to begin upon us. viction that “they are the people, and wisdom shall die with them. “The Bible does not contain doctrines. As a matter of fact, they generally If it did rehearse doctrines, then it is a succeed in entrenching themselves work of supererogation to make out docto their own satisfaction, and cer

trines outside the Bible and put them into

books. Divines pretend to draw their doctainly this Lord Robert must have

trines and theologies from the Bible. If they done so to his heart's content. Yet found them there all ready made, it would let him have due praise for what he be far more sensible to leave the Bible alone has done. He has actually read

to tell its own story. Surely God's word is Edwards' “Gangrana,” to learn what

better spoke than theologian's paragraphs.

The Bible, however, gives no intellectual sort of people the Nonconform

conceptions of God or of anything else." ists are, and he has collected a few sentences from Baxter, and “Thou bringest certain strange Owen, and Bishop Hall, to confirm things to our ears,” Lord Robert, "we

no

would know, therefore, what these what is called “edification. Its object is things mean!” Let us listen again. not to satisfy the cravings of a selfish

anxiety about a future gain, apart from “ Understanding and argument have secular amelioration,' or the common good nothing to do with godliness ; for they of all. It is an association for putting breed polemical rancour and party differ- down evil generally. ences. Most of the bitterness and blood- “It must not, however, be regarded as an shed in the world have come from theolo- association within the State. It is not a gians and their detestable churches built clique or party; quite the contrary. The upon doctrines. The object and aim of a idea of a church shuts out all partisanship. National Church, on the other hand, is not For this association or society is the nation to appeal to man's understandings, but to itself; the Church is the State. raise their moral condition; not to give

“ The first aim of the sectaries is 'edifieveryone a creed, but to sharpen his sense cation.' Each of them seeks the 'edificaof right, and purify his feelings; not to tion' of himself; all he cares for is to teach him doctrines, but to awaken in him saye his soul.' This is a selfish, isothe sense of the personal presence of a God lating, dividing motive. Their is alienawho is ready to help and to guide him. . . tion and hatred bound up with it. If we repudiate the National Church, then " The right of private judgment is an unity is impossible, unless we accept the euphemism which is used to denote the Roman form, and acknowledge a visible in- right of private opinion carried to its ut. fallible authority.”

most limits. This term implies an utter

want of judgment, for judgment is an Perhaps this young lord has never

universal thing. It should be called the read “His Majesty's Declaration," right of individual opinion. The prefixed to the Thirty-nine Articles – whole congregation follows a popular min" That the Articles of the Church of ister, and holds whatever opinions he

chooses to assert.

None of these England .. do contain THE TRUE

think for themselves; none form any judgDOCTRINES of the Church of England ment. If they did really judge, they would agreeable to God's word; which we more call that judgment 'private,' do therefore ratify and confirm, re

than a man would call truth or reason a quiring all our loving subjects to

possession peculiar to himself. The claim continue in the uniform profession honesty and hypocrisy, or else it means

of 'private judgment' is therefore disTHEREOF, and prohibiting the least nothing but a self-willed determination to difference from the said Articles ; hold peculiar opinions." which to that end we command to

We could multiply similar illusbe now printed, and this our declara

trations of the calm wisdom with tion to be published therewith :"—and which Lord Robert treats this great in that case he may have been unaware of the contradiction between question; but we have given suffi

cient to show his claims as “a stateshis statements and the facts of the

upon our confidence.

We decase as it originally stood. But what

cline to be operated upon by him, then are we to think of his fitness to

and should think it as wise to trust pronounce upon such matters? We

ourselves in the hands of a blind shall presently have somewhat to say monomaniac for the recovery of imabout the teaching of the Anglican paired vision, as to admit the preEstablishment; but meanwhile let us string together a few pearls taken tensions of this young lord to be a almost at random from his lordship’s is but on a par with his information

statesman.” His arrogance of manner pages.

and his uncharitableness. We hope "According to the Anglican theory, the that years may bring him wisdom; Church and the State are only two views but he has yet to learn that "if a of the same thing. That is to say, the

man think himself to be something Church of England is truly a National Church.

when he is nothing,” according to St. "The Church is not an institution for Paul, he “deceiveth himself," and, as

man

« EelmineJätka »