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stringent regulations had been passed by the vote of the whole people; they had voluntary pledged themselves to their observance; and although some of the regulations were very annoying, yet they did not oppress the conscience; they simply bore hard upon some sins which they thought ought not to be considered as crimes against the state, and upon some amusements and recreations, which they considered perfectly innocent. Nevertheless, ve by no means think that Calvin adopted the best method of reforming the life and manners of the people; and there seems to us, something small, in a great man like Calvin, laying down minute laws and petty details, about the number of puddings lawful to be eaten, the length of ladies' curls, and the amount of finery to be used at marriages. He nearly went as far as Clement of Alexandria, who described what a christian lady's dress should be, even to the colour of her shoes, and who prohibited gravy or sauce for the table, but allowed sweetmeats and honey-cakes to such as had a taste for confectionery. Now, a wise teacher in all such matters only inculcates great principles. Respecting many of these things, the great apostle would have said :-“Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” But that was a text which Calvin never understood; he wanted them all to be persuaded in his mind. And Calvin's mistake has been a common one. We are all prone to forget that there are many evils which governments cannot cure; laws that meddle with private matters, only irritate and provoke opposition. We have read a story of a “petty German despot, who, having heard that an old woman of seventy had never been beyond the precincts of her native city, thought he should like to have it to say, that one who had lived to be a very old woman, had never been beyond the limits of the city, and therefore decreed, that she should never be permitted to do so. And it is said, that the poor old lady so laid to heart the loss of that liberty which she had voluntary lived without all her life, that she died in a few days." Now human nature is marvellously like that old woman; we don't like compulsion ; ve are jealous of any interference with our personal liberty. Probably it would be better for many of us if we rose at six in the morning instead of eight, but if the government attempted to compel us to do is. very likely we should lie till ten. Possibly, it was a good thing that all the citizens of Geneva should be home by nine o'clock in the evening, but it was unwise to make a law to that effect It might be set that the people should read no novels, and not eat too many puddings; that young ladies should not wear long curls, and that marriages should be very plain; but it was not well to order these things by law, and imprison those who disobeyed. Well has Archbishop Whatley said, that “a government which begins by attempting more than it ought, will generally in the end accomplish less than it ought; for any law wbich cannot be enforced, or which is excessively galling and vexatious, has a tendency to produce contempt or hatred, or a mixture of both, for all laws, and to teach men to evade or resist them." Now this was just the effect produced by Calvin's stringent regulations; many of the citizens hated both him and his laws, and were continually plotting against him. By his severity in these little external matters, Le prejudiced them against those great truths he had to teach. And it is always so; the reaction from a Pharisee, with his broad phylactery and long face, with his washing of pots and tithing of herbs, is sure to be a Sadducee, who rejects the great and the small altogether. Ultra-strictness will always give rise to laxity. The mistake Calvin made at Genera, mas precisely the great mistake the Puritans made in England—who indeed may be called Calvin's lineal descendants. Devout, stern, and God-fearing themselves, they resolved to make other people.so too, or
they would make them very miserable. They forbade all public amusements; knocked down the May-poles on the village green, and turned Christmas-day into a fast-day. In the spirit of Calvin, they solemnly resolved in parliament, “that no person shall be employed, but such as the House shall be satisfied of his real godliness.” But to know this was rather a difficult matter. “But it was easy," as Macaulay says, "to know whether he had a plain dress, lank hair, no starch in his linen, no gay furniture in his house; whether he talked through his nose, and showed the whites of his eyes; whether he named his children Assurance, Tribulation, and Mahershalah-hash-baz; whether he expounded hard scriptures to his troop of dragoons, and talked in a committee of ways and means about seeking the Lord.” All this was very easy, but it decided nothing as to the man's godliness. And this excessive strictness in outward matters, that had no moral element in them, produced in time a violent reaction, as it always will do. “ Wide will wear, but tight will tear," is a good old proverb. “A garment which confines too much the motions of the limbs, will be likely to burst, and thus to afford no covering to the limbs at all.” In our efforts to procure a reformation of manners as well as every other reformation-we must remember, that it is quite possible to make more haste then good speed. We must not forget that wise apothegm, which says, “ The shortest way home is often the longest way round.” We have no faith in easy methods and short cuts, to great moral and social reforms; therefore, while on the whole, we are glad to see Calvin triumph over the libertine party, yet we think he made a great mistake in proposing such stringent regulations, and enacting such a severe moral code. He had but little of that enlightment and wisdom, which led John Milton to say :-"Were I the chooser, a dram of well-doing should be preferred
before many times as much the forcible hindrance of evil-doing."'*
But besides the difficulties with the libertine party, Calvin had others equally great of a theological nature. He was now engaged in an angry controversy with Pighius, the tutor of Charles V., on“ The Freedom of the Will," and then with Bolsec on “Predestination." These are subjects that have perplexed not only theologians, but philosophers, in every age ; and they are as far as ever from being settled, i. e. as philosopbical questions. Whichever side we take, we meet with difficulties which we cannot remore. And the efforts which some men have made to get rid of these difficul. ties, remind us of the Irishman's method for getting rid of some useless cart-loads of earth, “Let us dig a hole and bury it!” said he. Very good advice ; only it leaves another heap, equally great to be buried. John Locke confessed that he could not reconcile God's foreknowledge, and man's free agency; but he believed in both. And what Locke could not do, we may be excused attempting. Mr. Mansel, one of the deepest thinkers of our times, has well said that this difficulty is “but a special form of the fundamental mystery of the co-existence of the Infinite and the Finite," and, therefore, it will always baffle our comprehension.
But the most unhappy of all Calvin's controversies was that with Michael Servetus. Calvin's treatment of this man has left the greatest stain upon his character. Servetus was a learned Spaniard, and born in the same year as Calvin. His intellect was acute and speculative. He was a sound linguist, and deeply versed in law, medicine, and theology. As a physician he acquired a very high reputation. Indeed, he all but discovered the circulation of the blood : at
* To give a connected view of Calvin's struggle with the libertine party, we have slightly violated the order of time. A part of what has been related did not occur till after Calvin's conflict with Servetus.
least, he discovered that it was the lungs where the venous blood is changed into arterial blood. He speculated as boldly in theology as in medicine, and published works impugning some of the doctrines held to be orthodox. It is difficult to say exactly what his opinions were. He was not a Pantheist, and yet some of his teachings lean in that direction. His heresies chiefly refer to the doctrine of the Trinity. He denied the distinction of persons in the Godhead. He said he believed Christ to be the Son of the Eterpal God, but not the eternal Son of God. He had hinted at some of these opinions in works which he had published, and had corresponded with Calvin, among other theologians, respecting them. At length while following his profession as physician at Vienna, he wrote a work called “ The Restitution of Christianity," in which he fully expressed his peculiar views. The manuscript of this work he sent to Calvin, and wished to visit Geneva, to privately discuss some of these theological questions with him. Shortly after receiving this manuscript, Calvin wrote to Farel, his most intimate friend, when he referred to the matter, in these words :-“ Servetus wrote to me lately, and accompanied his letter with a long volume of his insanities; he offers to come hither, if I will allow him. But I am unwilling to give any pledge; for if he does come, and my authority be of any avail, I will never suffer him to depart alive." He also expressed a similar determination in a letter to his friend Viret. And this emphatic declaration may fairly be considered the key to Calvin's future proceedings. Servetus, at length, printed the book, but without author or printer's name. A friend of Calvin's at Geneva, named William Trie, became acquainted with the character of the book, and having learnt from some source that it was written by Servetus, and printed at Vienna he wrote to a Catholic relative of his, living at Lyons, informing him of the fact, and asked why the catholic authorities did not