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sprung up in that church, and produced troubles of a more deplorable kind, than any that happened in our community. This odious sect, which assumed the denominations of libertines and spiritual brethren and sisters, arose in Flanders, was headed by Pockesius, Ruffus, and Quintin, got a certain footing in France, through the favour and protection of Margaret, queen of Navarre, and sister to Francis I. and found patrons in several of the reformed churches.' Their doctrine, as far as it can be known by the writings of Calvin and its other antagonists, for these fanatics published no account of their tenets that is come to my knowledge, amounted to the following propositions; “ That the Deity was the sole operating cause in the mind of man, and the immediate author of all human actions; that, consequently, the distinctions of good and evil, that had been established with respect to these actions, were false and groundless, and that men could not, properly speaking, commit sin; that religion consisted in the union of the spirit, or rational soul, with the Supreme Being; that all those who had attained this happy union, by sublime contemplation and elevation of mind, were then allowed to indulge, without exception or restraint, their appetites and passions; that all their actions and pursuits were then perfectly innocent; and that, after the death of the body, they were to be united to the Deity.” These extravagant tenets resemble, in such a striking manner, the opinions of the beghards, or brethren of the free spirit, that it appears to me, beyond all doubt, that the libertines, or spirituals now under consideration, were no more than a remnant of that ancient sect. The place of their origin confirms this hypothesis; since it is well known, that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Flanders almost swarmed with licentious fanatics of this kind. XXXIX. We must not confound, as is frequently done,
with these fanatics, another kind of libertines and with whom Calvin had to combat, and who gave him
much trouble and perplexity during the whole course of his life and ministry, I mean the libertines of Genera. These were rather a cabal of rakes than a sect
I s Why all these comparisons ? Our author seeins, on some occasions, to tinge his historical relation with the spirit of party.
See Calvini “Instructio advcrsus fanaticam et furiosam sectam Libertinorum, qui se Spirituoles vocant, in Tractibus ejus Theologicis."
of fanatics. For they made no pretences to any religious system, but pleaded only for the liberty of leading voluptuous and immoral lives. This cabal was composed of a certain number of licentious citizens, who could not bear the severe discipline of Calvin, who punished with rigour not only dissolute manners, but also whatever carried the aspect of irreligion and impiety. This irregular troop stood forth in defence of the licentiousness and dissipation that had reigned in their city before the reformation, pleaded for the continuance of those brothels, banquetings, and other entertainments of a sensual kind, which the regulations of Calvin were designed to 'abolish, and employed all the bitterness of reproach and invective, all the resources of fraud and violence, all the powers of faction, to accomplish their purpose. In this turbulent cabal there were several persons, who were not only notorious for their dissolute and scandalous manner of living, but also for their atheistical impiety and contempt of all religion. Of this odious class was Gruet, who attacked Calvin with the utmost animosity and fury, calling him bishop asculanensis, the new pope, and branding him with other contumelious denominations of a like nature. This Gruet denied the divinity of the Christian religion, the immortality of the soul, the difference between moral good and evil, and rejected, with disdain, the doctrines that are held the most sacred among Christians; for which impieties he was at last brought before the civil tribunals, in the year 1550, and was condemned to death."
XL. The opposition that was made to Calvin did not end here. He had contests of another kind to sustain against those who could not relish his Calvin's disc theological system, and more especially, his me- silio; lancholy and discouraging doctrine in relation to eternal and absolute decrees. These adversaries felt, by a disagreeable experience, the warmth and violence of his haughty temper, and that impatience of contradiction that arose from an over jealous concern for his honour, or rather for his unrivalled supremacy. He would not suffer them to remain at Geneva; nay, in the heat of the controversy, being carried away by the impetuosity of his passions, he accused them of crimes, from which they have been fully absolved by the impartial judgment of unprejudiced posterity,' Among these victims of Calvin's unlimited power and excessive zeal, we may reckon Sebastian Castalio, master of the public school at Geneva, who, though not exempt from failings," was nevertheless a man of probity, and was also remarkable for the extent of his learning, and the elegance of his taste. As this learned man could not approve of all the measures that were followed, nor indeed of all the opinions that were entertained by Calvin and his colleagues, and particularly that of absolute and unconditional predestination, he was deposed from his office in the year 1544, and banished the city. The magistrates of Basil received nevertheless this ingenious exile, and gave him the Greek professorship in their university, XLI. A like fate happened to Jerom Bolsec, a French
u Spon's Histoire de Geneve, tom. ii. p. 44, in the notes of the editor, in the edition in 12mo. published at Geneva in 1730.
w Id. tom. ii. p. 47, in the notes.
monk of the Carmelite order, who, though much with Bolsec, inferior to Castalio in genius and learning, was nevertheless judged worthy of esteem, on account of the motive that brought him to Geneva; for it was a conviction of the excellence of the protestant religion that engaged him to abandon the monastic retreats of superstition, and to repair to this city, where he followed the profession of physic. His imprudence however was great, and was the principal cause of the misfortunes that befell him. It led him, in the year 1551, to lift up his voice in the full congregation, after the conclusion of divine worship, and to declaim, in the most indecent manner, against the doctrine of absolute decrees ; for which he was cast into prison, and soon after, sent into banishment. He then returned to the place of his nativity, and to the communion of Rome, and published the most bitter and slanderous libels, in which the reputation, conduct, and morals of Calvin and Beza
x At this day, we may venture to speak thus freely of the rash decision of Calvin, since even the doctors of Geneva, as well as those of the other reformed churches, ingenuously acknowledge, that the eminent talents and excellent qualities of that great man were accompanied with great defects, for which, however, they plead indulgence, in consideration of his services and virtues. See the notes to Spon's Histoire de Geneve, tom. ii. p. 110, as also the preface to Calvin's Letters to Jaques de Bourgogne, p. 19.
is y See Bayle's Dictionary, at the article Castalio, in which the merit and demerit of that learned man seem to be impartially and accurately examined.
z See Uytenbogard's Ecclesiastical History, written in Dutch, part ii. p. 70–73, where that author endeavours to defend the innocence of Castalio. See also Colomesii Italia Orientalis, p. 99. Bayle's Dict. tom. i. p. 792.
the pleasuloved Bolsec that he ended by the
were cruelly attacked. From this treatment of Bolsec arose the misunderstanding between Calvin and Jaques de Bourgogne, a man illustrious by his descent from the dukes of Burgundy, who was Calvin's great patron and intimate friend, and who had settled at Geneva with no other view than to enjoy the pleasure of conversing with him. Jaques de Bourgogne had employed Bolsec as his physician, and was so well satisfied with his services, that he endeavoured to support him, and to prevent his being ruined by the enmity and authority of Calvin. This incensed the latter to such a degree, that he turned the force of his resentment against this illustrious nobleman, who, to avoid his vengeance, removed from Geneva, and passed the remainder of his days in a rural retreat.
Xll. Bernardin Ochinus, a native of Sienna, and before his conversion, general of the order of Capuchins, and with was, in the year 1543, banished from Switzerland, Ochinu in consequence of a sentence passed upon him by the Helvetic church. This proselyte, who was a man of a fertile imagination, and a lively and subtile turn of mind, had been invited to Zurich as pastor of the Italian church established in that city. But the freedom, or rather the licentiousness of his sentiments, exposed him justly to the displeasure of those who had been his patrons and protectors. For, among many other opinions very different from those that were commonly received, he maintained that the law, which confined a husband to one wife, was susceptible of exceptions in certain cases. In his writings also he propagated several notions that were repugnant to the theological system of the Helvetic doctors, and pushed his inquiries into many subjects of importance with a boldness and freedom that were by no means suitable to the genius and spirit of the age in which he lived. Some have however undertaken his defence, and have alleged in his behalf, that the errors he maintained at the time of his banishment, when worn out with age, and oppressed with poverty, he was rather an object of compassion, than of resentment, were not of such a heinous nature as to justify so severe a punishment. However that may have been,
a See Bayle's Diction. at the article Bolsec. Spon's Hist. de Geneve, tom. ii. p. 55, in the notes. Biblioth. Raisonnee, tom. xxxii. p. 446, tom. sxxiv. p. 409.
b See 'Lettres de Calvin a Jaques de Bourgogne,' preface, p. 8. 'La Bibliotheque Raisonnee,' tom. xxxiv. p. 444, tom. xxxiv. p. 406.
versy between the cburcb of England and
spirit of manimosity betwee or if, on the or
do not but sy in Eng between contror
this unfortunate exile retired into Poland, where he embraced the communion of the antitrinitarians and anabaptists,' and ended his days in the year 1564. XLIII. It is remarkable enough, that those very doctors,
who animadverted with such severity upon all The contro those who dared to dissent from any part of their
of theological system, thought proper nevertheless to tbe puritans. behave with the greatest circumspection, and the most pacific spirit of mildness, in a long controversy that was carried on with such animosity between the puritans and the abettors of episcopacy in England. For if, on the one hand, they could not but stand well affected to the puritans, who were steadfast defenders of the discipline and sentiments of the Helvetic church; so, on the other, they were connected with the episcopal doctors by the bonds of Christian communion and fraternal love. In this critical situation, their whole thoughts were turned toward reconciliation and peace; and they exhorted their brethren, the puritans, to put on a spirit of meekness and forbearance toward the episcopal church, and not to break the bonds of charity and communion with its rulers or its members. Such was the gentle spirit of the doctors in Switzerland toward the church of England, notwithstanding the severe treatment the greatest part of the reformed had received from that church, which constantly insisted on the divine origin of its government and discipline, and scarcely allowed the other reformed communities the privileges, or even the denomination of a true church. This moderation of the Helvetic doctors was the dictate of prudence. They did not think it expedient to contend with a generous
c Boverii Annales Capucinorum. Together with a book, entitled La guerre Seraphique, ou Histoire des perils qu'a couru la barbe des Capuchins, livr. ii. p. 147, livr. iii. p. 190, 230. Observationes Halenses, Latina, tom. iv. Observ. xx. p. 406; tom. v. Observ. i. p. 3. Bayle's Diction. at the article Ochin. Christ. Sandii Biblioth. Antitrinitar. p. 4. Niceron, Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire des hommes illustres, tom. xix. p. 166.
spa Ochinus did not leave the accusation of his adversaries without a reply ; he published in Italian, Five books of Apology for his character and conduct, which were printed, together with a Latin translation of them, by Seb. Castalio, without the date of the year. The Geneva edition of this apology bears date 1554, and is in 8vo. There is a German edition in 4to. published, according to Vogtius, Catal. lib. rar. p. 430, in the year 1556. That copy in the Jena library bears date 1559. See Mylius's Memor. Acad. Jenens. C. 6, p. 432. Beza, in his letter to Dudithius, insults the memory of Ochinus, and pretends to justify the severity with which he was treated, in such a taunting and uncharitable manner, as does him little credit. See his Epist. Theolog. Genevæ, 1575, in 12mo. epist. i. p. 10, and ep. 81. What the writers of the Romish church have laid to the charge of Ochinus, may be seen in the life of cardinal Commendoni, written by Gratiani, bishop of Amelia, and published in a French translation by the eloquent Flechier, bishop of Nismes, B. 2, C. 9, p. 138-149. N.