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THE SYMBOLIC BOOKS OF THE REFORMED
THE Reformed Church, in the largest extent of that expression, comprises all the religious communities, which have separated from the Church of Rome. In this sense, it is often used by English writers but, having been used by the French protestants to describe their church, it afterwards became the appellation of all the calvinistical churches on the continent. In this sense it is used in the present pages. They will give some account, I. of the Helvetic, II. Tetrapolitan, III. Heidelburgh, IV. Gallic, V. and Belgic Confession of Faith, and VI. of the canons at the Synod of Dort.
The Helvetic Confession.
THE founder of the reformed church was Ulric Zuingle, a man of great learning and acuteness of mind.
It was his opinion, that Luther's scheme of reformation fell very short of the extent to which it ought to have been carried. Under the impression we have mentioned, and with a view, as he termed
it, of restoring the church to its original purity, Zuingle sought to abolish many doctrines and rites of the roman-catholic church, which Luther had retained. In some points of doctrine, he also differed from Luther, and his opinion on the real presence made a complete separation between them. Luther, as we have repeatedly mentioned, held that, together with the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ were really present in the eucharist. Zuingle held, that the bread and wine were only signs and symbols of the absent body and blood of Christ; so that the eucharistic rite was merely a pious and solemn ceremony, to bring it to the remembrance of the faithful. The opinions of Zuingle were adopted in Switzerland, and several neighbouring nations. They gave rise to the most violent animosities between the favourers of them, and the disciples of Luther. Frequent advances to peace were made by the zuinglians: Luther uniformly rejected them with sternness. He declared an union to be impossible: he called them "ministers of Satan." When they entreated him to consider them as brothers, "What fraternity," he exclaimed, "do you ask with me, if you persist in your belief?" On one occasion, the ingenuity of Bucer enabled him to frame a creed, which each party, construing the words in his own sense, might sign. This effected a temporary truce; but the division soon broke out with fresh animosity: "Happy," exclaimed Luther, "is the
man, who has not been of the council of the Sacraentarians; who has not walked in the ways of the Zuinglians."
There are several Confessions of the Helvetic faith.
The first is entitled "The Confession of Faith of the inhabitants of Bâsle." The first edition of it was printed, in 1530, at Bâsle, in the German language. The second, is called "the Summary and general Confession of Faith of the Helvetian churches: Ecclesiarum per Helvetiam, Confessio Fidei summaria et generalis." It was printed at Bâsle, in 1536, and presented to the council of Trent. The third, which is principally considered and generally styled "the Helvetic Confession of Faith," is the " Confessio et Expositio simplex orthodoxæ fidei et dogmatum catholicorum sinceræ religionis Christianæ, concorditer ab ecclesiæ ministris, qui sunt in Helvetia, Tiguri, Berni, Scaphuşii, Gangalli, Curiæ-Rhætorum, et apud confederatos, Mylhusii, item et Biennæ quibus adjunxerunt se et Genevensis ecclesiæ ministri, editæ." It was composed in 1566, by Bullinger, under the particular direction of the Elector Palatine. Some writers have asserted, that the Elector was its real author. With the exception of Bâsle, it was adopted by all the Helvetic and Rhætian cities, which had embraced the reformation. The divines of Bâsle refused to sign it; not because they objected to the doctrine which it contained,
but because, in their opinion, their previous subscription of their own creed, in 1530, rendered it It is greatly esteemed by all the reformed churches, and is particularly curious, from its generally expressing the Zuinglian creed, before it was newly modelled by Calvin. It is the first of the confessions in the Sylloge Confessionum, printed at the Clarendon press.
The Tetrapolitan Confession.
THIS Confession was signed by the four cities of Strasburgh, Constance, Memmingen, and Lindau ; and is supposed to have been written by Bucer. It was first published in the German language, in 1531, at Strasburgh. It was also published at Strasburgh in Latin, in the same year. In some instances, particularly in respect to the eucharistic sacrifice, it conforms to the doctrine of Zuingle; for though, in the tenth article, it may be thought to express the doctrines of Luther on the real presence, this seems explained away in the apology, which accompanies the Latin translation. It was presented to the emperor at the Diet of Augsburgh, and, by his direction, a confutation of it was immediately published. A curious account of this confession is to be found in Schelhornius's Amanitates Literariæ, tom. 6. p. 305. The title of the Latin edition is,
in Comitiis Aug. 1530 per legatos civitatum Argentorati, Constantiæ, Memminga, et Lindania exhibitæ, 4to."
The Confession of Faith, or Catechism of
THE intervention of Calvin gave a new aspect to the creed and religious institutions of the Reformed. The church of Geneva being placed under his direction, he conceived one of the boldest projects that ever entered into the mind of an obscure individual. He undertook to new model the religious creed of the reformed church; to give it strength and consistency; and to render the church of Geneva the mistress and mother of all the protestant churches. His learning, eloquence, nd talents for business, soon attracted general notice; and while the fervor of his zeal, the austerity of his manners, and the devotional cast of his writings, attracted the multitude, the elegance of his compositions, and his insinuating style, captivated the gentleman and the scholar. By degrees, his fame reached every part of Europe; and, having prevailed on the senate of Geneva to found an academy, and place it under his direction, and having filled it with men, eminent throughout Europe, for their learning and talents, it became the general resort of persons, who leaned to the