תמונות בעמוד

The proceedings of Faustus

under the name of anabaptists, because they admitted to baptism adult persons only, and also rebaptized those that joined them from other Christian churches."

xi. The dexterity and perseverance of Faustus Socinus gave a new face to the sect of the unitarians, of which he became the zealous and industrious pa- Socinus. tron. He was a man of true genius, but of little learning; firm in his purposes, and steady in his measures; much inferior in knowledge to his uncle Lælius, while he surpassed him greatly in courage and resolution. This eminent sectary, after having wandered through several countries of Europe, settled, in the year 1579, among the unitarians in Poland, and at his arrival there suffered many vexations and much opposition from a considerable number of persons, who looked upon some of his tenets as highly erroneous. And indeed it is evident, that the religious system of Faustus Socinus, which he is said to have drawn from the papers of his uncle Lælius, was much less remarkable for its simplicity than that of the unitarians. He triumphed however at last, over all the difficulties that had been laid in his way, by the power of his eloquence, the spirit and address that reigned in his compositions, the elegance and gentleness of his manners, the favour and protection of the nobility, which he had acquired by his happy talents and accomplishments, and also by some lucky hits of fortune that favoured his enterprises. By seizing the occasions when it was prudent to yield, and improving the moments that demanded bold resistance and firm reso. lution, he stemmed dexterously and courageously the torrent of opposition, and beheld the unitarians submitting to his doctrine, which they had before treated with indignation and contempt. They, in effect, laid aside all feuds and controversies, and formed themselves into one community under his superintendency and direction.

b This the Unitarians acknowledge, in the Preface of their Catechism, as we have observed above ; and it is confirmed by the writer of the Epistola de Vita Andr. Wissowatii, which is subjoined to the Bibliotheca Antitrin, of Sandius. This writer tells us, that his sect were distinguished by the denominations of anabaptists and Arians; but that all other Christian communities and individuals in Poland were promiscuously call chrzesciani, from the word chrzest, which signifies baptism.

c See Bayle's Dictionary, at the article Socinus, tom ix p: 2741. Sandii Biblioth. Antitrin. p. 64. Sam. Przypcopii Vita Socini, which is prefixed to the works of Soci

Lamy, Ilistoire du Socinianisme, part i. chap. xxiv. p. 101, part ii. chap. xxii. p. 375, &c. VOL. III,



The unitarian

ged by Socihus.

xi. Thus did Socinus introduce a considerable change

into the ancient unitarian system, which before population starts his time was ill digested, ill expressed, and

chargeable in many places with ambiguity and incoherence. He disguised its inconsistencies, gave it an air of connexion, method, and elegance, and defended it with much more dexterity and art than had ever been discovered by its former patrons." And accordingly the affairs of the unitarians put on a new face. Under the auspicious protection of such a spirited and insinuating chief, the little flock that had hitherto been destitute of strength, resolution, and courage, grew apace, and, all of a sudden, arose to a high degree of credit and influence. Its number was augmented by proselytes of all ranks and orders. Of these, some were distinguished by their nobility, others by their opulence, others by their address, and many by their learning and eloquence. All these contributed, in one way or another, to increase the lustre, and to advance the interests of this rising community, and to support it against the multitude of adversaries, which its remarkable prosperity and success had raised up against it from all quarters; the rich maintained it by their liberality, the powerful by their patronage and protection, and the learned by their writings. But now the system of the unitarians, being thus changed and new modelled, required a new confession of faith to make known its principles, and give a clear and full account of its present state. The ancient Catechism, which was no more than a rude and incoherent sketch, was therefore laid aside, and a new form of doctrine was drawn up by Socinus himself. This form was corrected by some, augmented by others, and revised by all the Socinian doctors of any note; and, having thus acquired a competent degree of accuracy and perfection, was published under the title of the Catechism of Racow, and is still considered as the Confession of Faith of the whole sect. An unexpected circumstance crowned all the fortunate events that had happened to this sect, and seemed to leave them nothing further to desire; and this was the zealous protection of Jacobus a Sienno, to whom Racow belonged. This new patron, separating himself from the reformed church, in the year 1600, embraced the doctrine and communion of the Socinians, and about two years after erected, in his own city, which he declared their metropolis, a public school, designed as a seminary for their church, to form its ministers and pastors."

d Hence it appears that the modern Unitarians are very properly called Socinians. For certainly the formation and establishment of that sect were entirely owing to the labours of Lælius and Faustus Socinus. The former indeed, who was naturally timorous and irresolute, died at Zurich, in the year 1562, in the communion of the reformed church, and seemed unwilling to expose himself to danger, or to sacrifice his repose, by founding a new sect, that is, by appearing professedly and openly in this enterprise. Beside, many circumstances concur to render it highly probable, that he did not finish the religious system of which he had formed the plan, but died, on the contrary, in a state of uncertainty and doubt with respect to several points of no small importance. But, notwithstanding all this he contributed much to the institution of the sect now under consideration. For he collected the materials that Faustus asterward digested and employed with such dexterity and success. He secretly and imperceptibly excited doubts and scruples in the minds of many, concerning several doctrines generally received among Christians; and, by several arguments against the divinity of Christ, which he left behind him committed to writing, he so far seduced, even after his death, the Arians in Poland, that they embraced the communion and sentiments of those, who looked upon Christ as a mere man, created immediately like Adam, by God himself. What Lælius had thus begun, Faustus carried on with vigour, and finished with success. It is indeed difficult, nay, scarcely possible, to determine precisely, what materials he received from his uncle, and wbåt tenets he added himself; that he added several is plain enough. This difficulty arises from hence, that there are few writings of Lælius extant, and of those that bear his name, some undoubtedly belong to other authors. We learn however, from Faustus himself, that the doctrine he propagated, with respect to the person of Christ, was, at least the greatest part of it, broached by his Uncle Lælius.

XII. From Poland, the doctrine of Socinius made its way into Transylvania, in the year 1563, and that principally by the credit and influence of Eation of George Blandrata, a celebrated physician, whom havetrani Sigismund, at that time sovereign of the country, had invited to his court, in order to the restoration of his health. Blandrata was a man of uncommon address, had a deep knowledge of men and things, and was particularly acquainted with the manners, transactions, and intrigues of courts. He had brought with him a Socinian minister, whose name was Francis David, who seconded his efforts with such zeal, that, by their united solicitations and labours, they engaged the prince, and the greatest part of the nobility, in their cause, infected almost the whole province with their errors, and obtained, for the ministers and members of their communion, the privilege of professing and propagating their doctrines in a public manner. The Batori indeed, who were afterward chosen dukes of Transylvania, were by no means prejudiced in favour of the Socinians ; but that sect was grown so powerful by its num

The propa


e See Wissowatii Narratio de Separatione Unitariorum a Reformatis, p. 214. Lubieniecius, Histor. Reformator. Polon. lib. iii. c. xii. p. 249.

bers and its influence, that they could not, in prudence, attempt to suppress it.' Such also was the case with the successors of the Batori ; they desired ardently to extirpate this society, but never could bring this desire into execution; so that to this day the Socinians profess their religion publicly in this province, and indeed in it alone; and relying on the protection of the laws, and the faith of certain treatises that have been made with them, have their churches and seminaries of learning, and hold their ecclesiastical and religious assemblies, though exposed to perpetual dangers and snares from the vigilance of their adversaries. About the same time the Socinians endeavoured to form settlements in Hungary" and Austria ;' but these attempts were defeated by the united and zealous opposition both of the Roman catholic and reformed churches.

XIV. No sooner had the Socinians obtained a solid and lu Holland happy settlement at Racow, but the dictates of and England. zeal and ambition suggested to them views of a still more extensive nature. Encouraged by the protection of men in power, and the suffrages of men of learning and genius, they began to lay several plans for the enlargement of their community, and meditated nothing less than the propagation of their doctrine through all the states of Europe. The first step they took toward the execution of this purpose, was the publication of a considerable number of books, of which some were designed to illustrate and defend their theological system, and others to explain, or rather to pervert, the sacred writings into a conformity with their peculiar tenets. These books, which were composed by the most subtile and artful doctors of the sect, were printed at Racow, and dispersed with the utmost industry and zeal through different countries." They also sent missionaries to several places toward the conclusion of this century, as appears evident from authentic records, in order to make proselytes, and to erect new congregations. These missionaries semed every way qualified to gain credit to the cause in which they had embarked, as some of them were distinguished by the lustre of their birth, and others by the extent of their learning, and the power of their eloquence; and yet, notwithstanding these uncommon advantages, they failed, almost every where, in their attempts. A small congregation was founded at Dantzic, which subsisted, for some time, in a clandestine manner, and then gradually dwindled to nothing.' The first attempts to promote the cause of Socinianism in Holland, were made by a person whose name was Erasmus Johannis." After him Christopher Ostorod, and Andrew Voidiovius, who were the main pillars of the sect, used their utmost endeavours to gain disciples and followers in that country; nor were their labours wholly unsuccessful, though the zeal of the clergy, and the vigilance of the magistrates, prevented their forming any regular assemblies, and thus effectually checked their progress," and hindered their party from acquiring any considerable degree of strength and stability. Socinianism did not meet with a better reception in Britain than in Holland. It was introduced into Germany by Adam Neuser, and other emissaries, who infected the palatinate with its errors, having entered into a league with the Transylvanians, at the critical period when the affairs of the Unitarians, in Poland, carried a dubious and unpromising aspect. But this pernicious league was soon detected, and the schemes of its authors entirely blasted and disconcerted ; upon which Neuser went into Turkey, and enlisted among the Janizaries.”

f See Sandii Biblioth. Antitrinitar. p. 28 and 55. Pauli Debrezeni Historia Ecclesia Reformatæ in Hungaria, p. 147. Mart. Schmeizelii De Slatu Eccles. Lutheranæ in Transylvania, p. 55. Lamy, Hist. du Socinianisme, part i. chap. xiii. p. 46. Salig, Histor. Aug. Confessionis, vol. ii. lib. vi. cap. vii. p. 847.

& Gustav. Georg. Zeltneri Historia Crypto Socinismi Altorfini, cap. ii. p. 357, 359. h Debrezeni Histor. Eccles. Reform. in Hungaria, p. 169. i Henr. Spondani Continuat. Annal. Baronii, ail A. 1568, n. xxiv. p. 704. k A considerable number of these books were republished together, in the year 1656, in one great collection, consisting of six volumes in folio, under the title of Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum. There are indeed in this collection many pieces wanting, which were composed by the most eminent leaders of the sect; but what is there published is nevertheless sufficient to give the attentive reader a clear idea of the doctrine of the Socinians, and of the nature of their institution as a religious conmunity.

I Gustav. Georg. Zeltneri Hist. Crypto Socinismi Altorfini, p. 199. m Sandius, Bibliotheca Antilrinit. p. 87.

LPn Brandt, in his History of the Reformation of the Netherlands, tells us, that Ostorod and Voidiovius were banished, and that their books were condemned to be burnt publicly by the hands of the common hangman. Accordingly the pile was raised, the executioner approached, and the multitude was assembled, but the books did not appear. The magistrates, who were curious to peruse their contents, had quietly divided them among themselves and their friends.

o Zeltnerus, Hist. Crypto Socinismi, &c. p. 31 and 178.

p Burch Gott. Struvii, Hist. Eccles. Palat. cap. viii. O liii. p. 214. Alting. Hist. Eccles. Palat. in Miegii Monum. Palat. p. 266-337. La Croze, Dissertations Historiques, tom. i. p. 101, 127, compared with Bern. Raupachius, his Presbyterologia Austriaca, p. 113, where there is an account of John Matthæus, who was concerned in these troubles.

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