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stantiation, and the sacrifice of the mass. How admirably do
If we compare what Calvin delivers upon presdestination, with
of the want of free-will in man, we shall easily conceive that Bolsec had great reason to reproach him with making God the author of sin ;-a blasphemy which, horrible as it is, is equally the crime of Luther. What alone, in the ideas of these two champions of protestantism, constitutes the difference between the reprobate and the elect, is simply this,--that God does not impute their sins to the latter, but does so with regard to the former. Is it then consistent with the divine justice to impute to men, the sins which they have it not in their power to avoid ; or to damn some, and save others, precisely because it is his pleasure ? Calvin's abuse of several passages of scrip-. ture, in order to establish this execrable doctrine, itself demonstrates the absurdity of the maxim—that scripture alone is the rule of our belief.
The inamissibility of justice, and the inutility of good works in order to salvation, taught by this reformer and by the Lutheran divines, also involve the most pernicious consequences. They are diametrically opposite to the most formal testimonies of holy scripture, and solely calculated to excite in christians a senseless presumption, and a marked contempt for all the works of piety. That Calvin's, doctrine relative to the eucharist is absolutely unintelligible, even Mosheim and his translator are forced to acknowledge. The Calvinists themselves seem, in general, now aware of the inconvenience, or rather the absurdity of their master's system: hardly have they retained one single dogma in its original purity: some they have altered ; others they have softened and found it necessary to modify, They have almost with one accord preferred the sentiment of Zuinglius respecting the Lord's supper; and with him consider it merely as a figure. On predestination vast numbers have adopted the system of Arminius. (See his article.)
Catholic controversialists have combated with success the various tenets of Calvinism, even in its most palliated form. They have demonstrated the formal opposition of its doctrines to scriptural authority, to the most ancient and perpetual trađition of the church, and to the truths which every christian, as such, is bound to admit. Calvin and his associates accused the Roman church of adulterating the religion established by Jesus Christ, and taught by his apostles. The reverse has been proved a thousand times in the fullest evidence. They themselves were the innovators : not one solitary sect throughout the universe before the pretended reform professed Calvinism, or the religion of protestants; they are alike detested and proscribed, in societies which have been separated from the
church of Rome more than fourteen hundred years. Deism and Socinianism are, exclusively, their undoubted offspring. (See Socinianism.)
Calvinism-from its first establishment at Geneva, has there constantly maintained its ground : and, of the thirteen Swiss cantons, six profess the Calvinistic doctrine. Till the year 1572 it was the dominant religion in Holland; since that period, the republic through motives of policy has tolerated all persuasions, although rigid Calvinism is still the established religion of the state. In England it has been gradually upon the decline ever since the reign of Elizabeth, notwithstanding the lawless efforts of the Puritans or Presbyterians—to promote its interests. When the church of England had discarded in great measure its original fanaticism, the Calvinists were classed among the non-conformists, and were simply tolerated. In Scotland and in Prussia Calvinism is yet in all its purity. In certain districts of Germany it is mixed with Lutheranism, and was tolerated in France till the revocation of the edict of Nantes by order of Lewis XIV.
Doubtless it will be asked, how a system so devoid of reason, a system calculated to make the most virtuous minds despair, and to confirm sinners in their wicked course; to hold up the Deity as a tyrant, rather than an amiable master; has, nevertheless, found its votaries almost in every department throughout Europe. What we are about to say in order to account for this phenomenon in France, may be remarked, with due proportion, of the other European districts. At the commencement of the sixteenth century a reform of morals, and, in some instances, of discipline too, was certainly much wanted. The councils of Constance and Basle had laboured hard to procure it, as well in regard of the head, as of the members of the church; but, unfortunately, without the desired success. With the actual state of things, all were discontent, and every circumstance announced an approaching revolution.
At the close of the fifteenth century, Alexander VI. had scandalized the church by his infamous excesses and ambition. His successor Julius II. more intent
upon warfare and conquest than attentive to the government of the faithful, was a mortal enemy to France, and was hated in proportion. Leo X. who succeeded him, had not too much pontifical virtue, and but little zeal for reform. In a word, it was easy to foresee that the general discontent, and the abuses of the times, would quickly occasion : revolt against the papal authority itself.
Hence it is not surprising, that the emissaries of Luther and his fellow reformers found every where disciples eager of seduction.-To declaim immoderately against the pope,—against the clergy both secular and regular; and to censure with much heat and pretended zeal religious abuses-was an expedient
which never failed to obtain attention. The practice of confession, fasting, works of satisfaction; the observance of vows, attendance at the public service, and the maintenance of the ministers of religion--were now become a hardship no longer to be borne ; and an opportunity now presented itself of throwing off the yoke. The poison spread so rapidly among all ranks and conditions of life, that those whom it had tainted were themselves astonished at their numbers. The books of Luther, Melancthon, Carlostadius and Zuinglius, and those of other reformers, lighted up the torch of fanaticism throughout the kingdom. It mattered little what principles were embraced, provided a change of religion were effected. Calvin's famous work determined the choice in favor of Calvinism.
The disaffection of the people towards the actual government in France, had not been less favorable to the revolution in question than were the abuses in the ecclesiastical polity. Francis II. a feeble and inactive prince, left the administration of affairs to the Duke of Guise. The grandees jealous of this rival authority, espoused in opposition the Calvinistic cause, and formed the conspiracy of Amboise in concert with that party; which, though eventually defeated, did not fail to raise more ene. mies to government by the punishment itself of the conspirators, and thus to hatch new projects of revolt.
Upon the accession of Charles IX. to the throne, it was his wish to reconcile the two parties; and with this view he accorded a general amnesty for the past. But an unfortunate though accidental tumult at Vassi, in which several Calvinists lost their lives, was made the pretext of a civil war ; and it was prosecuted by both parties--with all the fury that fanaticism could inspire; till at length the protestants dictated to their lawful sovereign the terms of peace. A king thus reduced to treat with his own rebel subjects, does not easily pardon the affront; and Charles IX. conceived the rueful project of ridding himself by assassination of the Huguenot chiefs. The populace thus habituated to carnage, stopt not here, but proceeded in the work of blood till some thousands had been immolated to their fury. This nefarious act of treachery was followed by another civil war ; which Henry III. at length terminated by a treaty still more favourable than the former to the cause of Calvinism. The discontented catholics, in their turn, formed a league which they very improperly denominated sacred ; and now became as untractable as the Huguenots themselves. Henry IV. who had been educated in the principles of the reformation, after a long and doubtful contest with the Leaguers, was at length universally acknowledged as lawful sovereign, and granted to the Calvinists a new edict of pacification similar to the preceding ones, termed the pacification of Nantes. In the reign of Lewis XIII. the protestants again flew to arms; but were unsuccessful, and
beheld their places of security ceded to them by Henry IV. dismantled and in ruins. Lewis XIV. more puissant and despotie than his predecessors, revoked the edict of Nantes in 1685; and, from that epoch down to the late revolution, the Calvinists have not been allowed the public exercise of their religion.
This narrative, short and uncircumstantial as it is, may suffice to give a tolerable idea of the lamentable evils which a pretended reform of the catholic religion caused to France ;-a reform which, far from purifying faith and morals, has revived, as we have already noticed, å multitude of erroneous doctrines proscribed in the different ages of the church ; a reform—whose principles overturn the very basis of morality centered in the liberty of man ;-throw tender consciences into despair, and the wicked into a fatal security ;-do away every motive of practical virtue, and from their very birth, have inspired their fanatic votaries with a sovereign contempt, alike of civil and ecclesiastic subordination. Recovered at length from their ancient bigotry, the bulk of Calvinistic doctors easily admit, that the Romish church which they thought proper to abandon, holds no fundamental error, either in its doctrine, its morality, or its form of worship; and that a good catholic may work out his salvation in the profession of his own religion. - Why then, may we be allowed to ask, was all Europe involved during the lapse of more than an entire century in anarchy and disorder, for its destruction and the establishment of Calvinism in its place? The tumult and confusion consequent upon its introduction into France, (and the same may be generally asserted with truth in regard of other nations) are fairly deducible from the avowed maxims of the chief reformers. In 1520, before any edict had been issued against Luther, he asserted in his book on Christian Liberty, that the christian owes subjection to no man; and inveighed in terms of the utmost virulence and disrespect against all crowned heads and sovereigns indiscriminately. This was a prelude to the wars of the conquering Anabaptists. In his public Theses he maintained it to be a sacred duty to dethrone alike, both popes and emperors who should espouse their cause.
In his treatise, On the Common Treasury, he countenanced the rifling of churches, of monasteries, and of bishoprics ; and deemed in the ordinary course of things--that the gospel should occasion tumult, and be ushered in with blood. Such was the spirit which accompanied his turbulent emissaries into France.
Calvin inculcated in his writings the charitable task of exter minating—the bigoted miscreants, as he termed them, who should dare to oppose the reformation. Lettres de Calvin a Mons. du Poët et Fidelis Expositio, &c. Ought any government whatever to extend the benefit of religious toleration to such mutinous aud violent characters as these ?° Their sectarists were faithful imitators of their masters. Bayle, who lived in the midst
die- of Calvinists, and was perfectly acquainted with their character, notie in his Avis aux Refugiés, in 1690, reproaches them with having and , carried the licentiousness of envenomed satire to an excess here
tofore without example; with having from their very birth disseminated over France defamatory libels, a species of composi
tion till then almost entirely unknown in that extensive kingdom. pre
He reminds them of the edicts which their extreme audacity had extorted from the magistrates against them, in order to repress the unprincipled malignity with which their frantic ministers-with the bible in their hand--were wont to calumniate the living and the dead. This their unchristian demeanour he contrasts--with that moderation and edifying patience which the catholics in England under similar, though much more trying circumstances, had exhibited-to the admiration of all
Christendom. tic " There is no barrier of public tranquillity,” continues Bayle,
“ which you have not burst in sunder; no tye calculated to ensure obedience to the legislature, which you have not dissolved. 7.. Thus have you verified the apprehensions conceived of you at your first appearance, and have fully justified the remark—that whoever disregards the authority of the church, will soon renounce submission to the civil powers; and after equalizing the pastors with their flock, will presently disclaim all su
periority of the magistrate over private individuals.” In a word, alt this deistical writer, whom no one will suspect of partiality to
the church of Rome, makes it appear, that even the heathens of taught a doctrine more pure than was their's, regarding obedi. of ence due to the laws of our country; and he refutes with much
energy and argument, the flimsy apologies by which they sought to palliate their unwarrantable propensity to rebellion, He had
already shewn (response a la lettre d'un refugié) that the Cald
vinists were, and always had been, much more intolerant than the catholios,-a fact which they themselves had proved both by their intemperate writings and their conduct; and that it is an invariable principle with them, that no king has a right to reign who is not strictly orthodox in their own distorted sense of the word. He tells them—that they themselves had compelled Lewis XIV. to revoke the edict of Nantes, and that in so doing, at the very most he had only followed the example of the states of Holland, who were in the habit of violating every treaty entered into with catholics. He had demonstrated, that in every protestant country the law was more intolerant and severe against catholicism, than were those of France against the Calvinists.
Their lamentations upon the pretended persecution raised against them, he deems ridiculous; and he declares to them, that their demeanour is a complete justification of that severity, with which they have been treated. (Euvres de Bayle, tom. 2, p. 544.)