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Such were the concessions Henry was willing to make for the purpose of obtaining peace abroad, that he might turn his arms against his own subjects. Philip, if equally zealous, was certainly too prudent to exhibit his eagerness so clearly to his opponent. The interests of France had been sacrificed to the bigotry of her monarch and the selfishness of his advisers. When the terms of the agreement were made known, they awakened in every true Frenchman's breast a feeling of shame and disgust.[679] Henry himself manifested embar[Pg 324]rassment when attempting to justify his course.[680] Abroad the improbable tidings were received with incredulity.[681]

Was there a secret treaty for the extermination of the Protestants?

The treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis contained but one article on the subject of religion—that which bound the monarchs of Spain and France to put forth their united exertions for securing a "holy universal council." But common report had it that the omission of more detailed reference to the subject lying so near to the heart of both kings was fully compensated by a secret treaty taken up exclusively with this subject.[682] That treaty was represented as developing a plan which contemplated nothing less than the entire and violent destruction of heresy by the united efforts of their Catholic and Very Christian Majesties. By a single concerted massacre of all dissidents, the whole of Europe was to be brought back to its allegiance to the see of St. Peter.[683] Unfortunately, the secret treaty, if it ever existed, has never come to light; nor have we the testimony of a single person who pretends to have seen it, or to be acquainted with its contents. Indeed, the circumstances of the case seem to render such a[Pg 325] united effort as the conjectural treaty supposes either Quixotic or superfluous—

Quixotic, if the two monarchs, without the concurrence of the empire, whose crown had passed from Charles, not to his son Philip, but to his brother Ferdinand, should institute a scheme for a general crusade against the professors of the doctrines that had already gained a firm foothold in one-half of Germany, in Great Britain, and the Scandinavian lands of Northern Europe; superfluous, if it respected only the dominions of the high contracting powers. For the purpose of Henry was no less clearly and repeatedly proclaimed than that of Philip. No subject of either crown could ignore at whom the first blow would be struck, after the pressure of the foreign war had been removed.[684] Nor, in the execution of their plans, could either monarch imagine himself to stand in need of the assistance of his royal brother; for it was not an open war to be carried on, but as yet a struggle with persons, numerous without doubt, but, nevertheless, suspected rather than convicted of heresy, and discovered, for the most part, only by diligent search.bible society, bible society, bible society,

The Prince of Orange learns Henry's and Philip's designs.

But, if we have reason to think that the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis was accompanied by no secret and formal stipulations having reference to a combined assault upon Protestantism, we at least know that the negotiations it occasioned gave rise to a singular disclosure of the policy of Philip the Second in the Netherlands—a policy which he deemed applicable to Christendom entire. Among the ambassadors of Philip and the hostages for the execution of the treaty was William of Orange, the future deliverer of the United Provinces. Henry, supposing that the nobleman to whom so honorable a trust had been committed enjoyed the[Pg 326] confidence of his master to an equal extent with the Duke of Alva, his colleague, imprudently broached the subject of the suppression of heresy.

The prince wisely encouraged the misapprehension, in order to avoid incurring the contempt in which he would have been held had the discovery been made that Philip had not taken him into his confidence. Henry, waxing earnest on the theme, revealed the intention of Philip and Alva to establish in the Netherlands "a worse than Spanish Inquisition." Thus much the prince himself published to the world.[685] The learned President De Thou adds that Philip's subsequent design was to join his arms to those of France, to make a joint attack upon the "new sectaries."[686] This is not altogether impossible. But the plan was general and vague. Its execution was still in the distant future. Its details were probably but little elaborated. If, outside of the dominions of the two monarchs, any points of attack were proposed with distinctness, they were the free city of Strasbourg, the Canton of Berne with its dependency, the Pays de Vaud—but, above all, Geneva.

Danger menacing the city of Geneva.

That small republic, insignificant in size, but powerful through the influence of its teachers and the books with which its presses teemed, was the eyesore of Roman Catholic France. It was the home of French refugees for religion's sake; and the strictest laws could not check the stream of money that flowed thither for their support. It was the nursery of the reformed doctrines; and the death penalty was ineffectual to cut off intercourse, or to dam up the flood of Calvinistic books which it poured over the kingdom.[Pg 327]

Calvin himself and his friends momentarily expected the blow to fall upon their devoted heads.[687] But the same hand that so often in the eventful history of Geneva interposed in its behalf, by a signal occurrence warded off the stroke.

A joint expedition against Geneva proposed by Henry,
but declined by the Duke of Alva.

The apprehensions of the Genevese were well founded. In June, 1559, and but a few days before the date of Calvin's letter, Philip the Second made the offer to the French king, through the Duke of Alva, then in Paris, to aid him in exterminating the Protestants of France. Henry declined for the moment to avail himself of the assistance, which he regarded as unnecessary; but he sent the Constable Montmorency to propose that both monarchs should make a joint expedition against Geneva, and declared himself ready to employ all his forces in the pious undertaking. It may surprise us to learn that the prudent duke in turn rejected the crusade against the Protestant citadel.

Even Philip and his equally bigoted agents could close their ears to the call to become the instruments in the extirpation of heresy. While they could see neither reason nor religion in the temporizing policy occasionally manifested by other Roman Catholic sovereigns in their dealings with Protestant subjects, Philip and Alva never suffered their hatred of schism to be so uncompromising as to interfere with what they considered a material interest of the state. Unfortunately for Philip, the quarrel of Geneva would inevitably be espoused by the Bernese and the inhabitants of the other Protestant cantons of Switzerland; and it was certainly undesirable to provoke the enmity of a powerful body of freemen, situated in dangerous proximity to the "Franche Comté"—the remnant of Burgundy still in Spanish hands.

It was no less imprudent, in view of future contingencies, to render still more difficult the passage from his Catholic Majesty's dominions in Northern Italy to the Netherlands. So Alva, as he himself reports to his master, rejected the constable's proposition, contenting himself with a few empty[Pg 328] phrases respecting the great profit that would flow to the cause of God and of royalty from an exclusion of Roman Catholic subjects from that pestilent city on the shores of Lake Leman.[688]

Parliament suspected of heretical leanings.

Henry had deemed the progress of the reformed doctrines in France so formidable[689] as to dictate the necessity of making peace with Philip, even upon humiliating terms. But where should he begin the savage work for which he had made such sacrifices? His spiritual advisers pointed to the courts of justice, which they accused of being lukewarm, and even infected with heresy. For years they had been dwelling upon the same theme. In 1556 the Sorbonne had denounced the parliament itself as altogether heretical;[690] and, although Henry showed[Pg 329] some indignation at the suggestion, and sarcastically asked whether the theologians aspired to become the supreme judges of the kingdom, it was notorious, two years later, that they had succeeded in sowing in his breast a general distrust respecting the orthodoxy of the entire body.[691] Nor was the suspicion groundless.

Chosen from among the most highly educated of French jurisconsults, belonging to a court upon which high prerogatives had been conferred, holding for life a post of enviable distinction, and regarded as the supreme guardians of law and equity, it was in accordance with the very nature of things that the counsellors of the Parisian parliament should so far participate in the progress of ideas in the sixteenth century as to begin to look with abhorrence upon the bloody task imposed on them by the royal edicts. Into what profession would liberal views gain an earlier admission than that of the appointed expositors of the rules of right?

Some recent occurrences not only seemed to demonstrate the fact that the principles of clemency had penetrated into the halls of parliament, but pointed out the very chamber which was most influenced by them. In the Tournelle, or criminal chamber of parliament—before which those accused of Protestantism most naturally came—under the presidency of Séguier,[692][Pg 330] the majority of the counsellors had recently conducted a trial of four youths, on a charge of "Lutheranism," in so skilful a manner as to avoid asking any question the answer to which might compromise the prisoners. And when the bigots insisted on propounding a crucial inquiry, and elicited a decided expression of Protestant sentiments, some of the judges showed unmistakable sympathy, and the chamber, to save appearances in some slight degree, condemned them to leave the country within a fortnight, instead of instantly confirming the sentence of death which had been pronounced against three of their number by the inferior courts.[693] Other "Christaudins" had been sent to their bishops for trial, although their guilt was patent to all.[694] In fine, the Cardinal of Lorraine laid to the account of parliament the spread of the new doctrines throughout France.[695]

The Mercuriale.

In order to discover the truth of the charges, a convocation of the members of all the chambers was ordered for the last Wednesday of April, Such a gathering for inquiry into the sentiments and morals of the judges was called, from the day of the week on which it was held, a Mercuriale.[696] The object of the convocation was announced by the[Pg 331] royal procureur-general, Bourdin, to be the establishment of an understanding between the "Grand' chambre" and the "Tournelle"—the former of which relentlessly condemned the "Lutherans" to the flames, while the latter, to the great scandal of justice, had let off several with simple banishment. The wily adversary of the "new doctrines," therefore, called upon the judges to express their opinions respecting the best method of effecting a return to uniformity. The snare was not laid in vain. For in the free declaration of sentiment, in which the members according to custom indulged, several judges were bold enough to call for the assembling of the Œcumenical Council promised by the lately ratified treaty of peace, as the sole method of extirpating error, and to propose meanwhile the suspension of the capital penalties ordained by the royal edicts.[697]

At his admission into parliament each judge had taken an oath to maintain inviolable secrecy in reference to the deliberations of the court. This was rightly supposed to relate in particular to the expressions of opinion before any formal decision. Nevertheless, the king was at once acquainted by the First President, Le Maistre, and by Minard, one of the presidents à mortier, with the entire proceedings of the Mercuriale. He was told that the "Lutheranism" of certain judges was now manifest. They had spoken in abominable terms of the mass, of the ecclesiastical ordinances, and of prevailing abuses. It would be the ruin of the church if such daring were suffered to pass by unrebuked.[698]

The representation of these enormities inflamed Henry's anger. His courtiers took good care not to suffer it to cool. What if, emboldened by impunity, the Protestants, of whose rapid growth in all parts of France such startling reports were brought to him, should attempt to carry out the plan that was talked of among them, and seize the opportunity of the wedding festivities solemnly to present to his Majesty, by the hands of one of the nobles, the confession of faith of their churches? What punishment of the audacious agent employed would remove[Pg 332] from the minds of the orthodox foreign princes present at court the sinister impression that heresy had struck deep root in the realm of the Very Christian King?[699]

Henry goes in person to listen to the deliberations, June 10, 1559.

If a candid gentleman of the bed-chamber, like Vieilleville, privately urged Henry to reject the advice of prelates in secular matters, and respectfully decline the assumption of the post of theologian or inquisitor-general of the faith, his remonstrances were overborne by the suggestions of Diana and the Guises, who hoped to reap a rich harvest from new confiscations.[700] The king was entreated to go in person to listen to the discussions in parliament. Early on the morning of the tenth of June, his chamber was visited by a host of ecclesiastics—among them four cardinals, two archbishops, two bishops, and several doctors of the Sorbonne, with De Mouchy, the inquisitor, at their head. They urged him to follow out their suggestion, and were so successful in overcoming his reluctance that, as a contemporary wrote, he thought himself consigned to perdition if he failed to go.[701][Pg 333]

Parliament meets in the Augustinian monastery.

The magnificent hall of the royal palace on the island of the "Cité," in which parliament was accustomed to meet, was in course of preparation for the festivities that were to accompany the marriages of Elizabeth, Henry's daughter, with Philip the Second of Spain, and of his only sister, Margaret, with the Duke of Savoy. Parliament was consequently sitting in the monastery of the Augustinian friars on the southern bank of the Seine.[702] Thither Henry proceeded in state with a retinue of noblemen, and accompanied by the archers of his body-guard. Taking his seat upon the elevated throne prepared for him, with the constable, the Guises, and the princes that had attended him, on his right and left, Henry made to the judges a short address indicative of his purpose to take advantage of the peace in order to labor for the re-establishment of the faith, and of his desire to obtain the advice of his supreme court.[703] When the king had concluded, Bertrand, Cardinal Archbishop of Sens and Keeper of the Seals, announced the command of his Majesty that the consideration of the religious questions undertaken in the Mercuriale should be resumed.

Fearlessness of the counsellors.
Anne du Bourg.

[Pg 335]

[Pg 334]

The counsellors could be in no doubt respecting the motives of this solemn and unusual audience; yet they entered upon the discussion with the utmost fearlessness.[704] Claude Viole boldly recommended the convocation of an œcumenical council. Du Faur declaimed against the flagrant abuses of the church. While admitting that the trouble of the kingdom arose from diversity in religion, he pointed out the necessity of a careful scrutiny into the true authors of those troubles, lest the accuser of others should himself be met with a retort similar to that of the ancient prophet to King Ahab—"It is thou that troublest Israel."[705]

But Anne du Bourg, a nephew of a late Chancellor of France, and a learned and eloquent speaker, committed himself still further to the cause of liberty and truth. He gave thanks to Almighty God for having brought Henry to listen to the decision of so worthy a matter, and entreated the monarch to give it his attention, as the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ, which ought to be upheld by kings. He advocated a suspension of all persecution against those who were stigmatized as heretics, until the assembling of a council; and warned his hearers that it was a thing of no slight importance to condemn to death those who, in the midst of the flames, called on the name of the Saviour of men.[706] Another counsellor advocated the granting to all the "Lutherans" of the kingdom a term of six months, within which they might recant their errors, and at its close might withdraw from France. But there were others who recommended the employment of severe measures; and the first president recalled with approval the example of Philip Augustus, who, in one day, had burned six hundred heretics, and the fate of the Waldenses, suffocated in the houses and caves in which they had taken refuge.[707]

Henry is displeased, and orders the arrest of two of the counsellors.

At the conclusion of the deliberation, Henry summoned to him the noblemen who had accompanied him, and, after having consulted them, angrily declared his great displeasure at the discovery that many of his judges had departed from the faith, and his determination to inflict upon them an exemplary punishment. Then turning to Montmorency, he ordered him to arrest two of the counsellors that had spoken in his presence—Louis du Faur and Anne du Bourg. The constable at once obeyed, and gave them over into the custody of Gabriel, Count Montgomery, captain of the Scottish body-guard. Three other judges soon shared their rigorous imprisonment in the Bastile,[708] and as many more escaped only by flight. It was, however, with the boldness of Du Bourg that Henry was chiefly enraged. He swore that he would see him burned with his own eyes.[709]

The first National Synod, May, 1559.

But, whilst the enemies of the Reformation were devising new schemes of persecution, and were preparing to strike a blow at the more tolerant sentiments which had stolen into the breasts of the very judges of parliament, its friends took a step that was at once indicative of its progress and dictated by its necessities. A few days before Henry was persuaded to call for a continuation of the discussion commenced at the "Mercuriale"—on the twenty-sixth of May[710]—the first National Synod of the French Protestants convened in the city of Paris. It was a small assemblage in comparison with some others on the list of these national councils extending down for about a century, and its sessions were held with the utmost secrecy in a house in the Faubourg St. Germain. But it performed for French Protestantism the two important[Pg 336] services of giving an authoritative statement of its system of doctrine, and of establishing the principles of its form of government. 

The confession of faith was full and explicit, as well on the points in which the Protestant and the Roman churches agreed, as respecting the distinctive tenets of the reformed. The "diabolical imaginations" of Servetus were equally condemned with the gross abuses of monastic vows, pilgrimages, celibacy, auricular confession, and indulgences. The pure observance of the sacraments was established, as well against their corrupt and superstitious use in the papal church, as against the "fantastic sacramentarians" who rejected them entirely. Nor need we be surprised to find the warrant of magistrates to interfere in behalf of the truth formally recognized. The right of the individual conscience was a right for the most part ignored by thinking men on both sides during the sixteenth century—covered and hidden by the fallacious application of the principle of universal obligation to the inflexible law of right and of God. The lesson of liberty based upon order was learned only in the school of long and severe persecution. Even after thirty-seven or eight years of violent suffering, the Protestant church of France admitted as an article in her creed, that "God has placed the sword in the hand of magistrates to repress the sins committed not only against the second table of God's commandments, but also against the first!"[711]

Ecclesiastical discipline adopted.

The "Ecclesiastical Discipline" laid the foundation of the organization of the Protestants in France. Thoroughly democratic and representative in its character, it instituted, or rather recognized, a court—the consistory—in each particular congregation, with its popular element in the superintendents (surveillants) or elders, who sat with the pastors to adjudicate upon the inferior and local concerns of the members. It provided for the more direct participation of the people in the control of affairs by making the offices of elder and deacon elective, and not perpetual. It provided a court of[Pg 337] appeal in the provincial colloques or synods, to be held at least twice a year, in which each church was to be represented by its pastor and elder. Above all stood the National Synod, the ultimate ecclesiastical authority. The constitution strove to preclude the establishment of a hierarchy, by declaring all churches and ministers equal, and to secure correctness of teaching, not only by requiring the ministers to sign the confession, but by providing for the deposition of those who had lapsed from the faith.

Thus it was that, in the midst of a monarchy surpassed by none for its arbitrary and tyrannical administration, and not many hundred paces from the squares where for a generation the eyes of the public had been periodically feasted with the sight of human sacrifices offered up in the name of religion, the founders of the Huguenot church framed the plan of an ecclesiastical republic, in which the elements of popular representation and decisive authority in an ultimate tribunal, the embodiment of the judgment of the entire church, were perhaps more completely realized than they had ever before been since the times of the early Christians.[712] The few ministers that had met in an upper room, at the hazard of their lives, to vindicate the profession of faith of their persecuted co-religionists, and to sketch the plan of their churchly edifice, as noiselessly retraced their steps to the congregations committed to their charge. But they had planted the seed of a mighty tree which would stand the blasts of many a tempest—always buffeted by the winds, and bearing the scars of many a conflict with the elements—but proudly pre-eminent, and firm as the rock around which its sturdy roots were wound.

Marriages and festivities of the court.

Henry had sworn to behold with his own eyes the punishment of Anne du Bourg. But the grateful sight was not in store for him. From the Mercuriale and the persecution of[Pg 338] heretics he turned his attention to the celebration of the marriages which were to cement the indissoluble peace that had at length been concluded between the kingdoms of France and Spain. The most splendid preparations were made for the entertainment of the brilliant train of noblemen who came to represent the dignity of the crown of Spain, and to claim the destined bride of Philip. The "Hôtel des Tournelles"—a favorite palace of more than one king of France—was magnificently decorated; for in its great hall the nuptials were appointed to be celebrated. In the broad street of Saint Antoine, in front of this palace, the lists were erected, and the beauty and nobility of France viewed, from the windows on either side, the contest of the most distinguished knights, and applauded their feats of daring and skill. A few paces farther, and just inside the moat, stood a frowning pile, whose sombre and repulsive front might have struck a beholder as being as much out of place as the skeleton at the feast—the ill-omened Bastile.[713] Five prisoners, immured for their conscientious boldness in its gloomy dungeons, and awaiting a terrible fate, distinctly heard, day after day, as the tourney continued, the inspiriting notes of the clarion and hautboy, deepening by contrast the horrors of their situation.[714] There was the same incongruity between the king's pursuit of pleasure and his ferocity. From the festivities, it is said, he turned aside to order Montgomery to proceed, the very moment the tourney was over, to the Pays de Caux—a hot-bed of the "Lutheran" heresy—to destroy with the sword the resisting, to put out the eyes of the suspected, and to torture and burn the guilty.[715] It was believed, moreover, that he himself would then proceed to the southern parts of France, and set on foot a rigorous persecution of the Protestants, with whom those regions swarmed.[716][Pg 339]

The nuptial torches burned not less bright for the gloom overhanging the despised and abominated Lutherans. But in an instant, as by the touch of a magician's wand, they were turned into the funereal tapers of Henry the Second.[717]

The tournament, June 30, 1559.
Henry mortally wounded by Montgomery's lance.
His death.

On the thirtieth of June,[718] when the sports of the day were about ending, the gay monarch must needs re-enter the lists in person, and break another lance in honor of Diana of Poitiers, whose colors he wore. The queen had indeed begged him to avoid, for that day at least, the dangerous pastime; she had been terrified, so she said, by one of those strangely vivid dreams that wear, after the event, so much of the guise of prophetic sight.[719] But Henry made light of her fears, and closed his ears to her warning. His choice of an antagonist fell upon Montgomery, captain of his Scottish archers; and although the latter begged leave to decline the perilous honor, the king refused to excuse him.[720] At the appointed signal, the knights rode rapidly to the rude encounter. But Henry's visor was not proof against the lance of[Pg 340] Montgomery, and either broke or was unclasped in the shock. The lance itself was splintered by the blow, and the piece which Montgomery, in his surprise and fright, had neglected instantly to lower, entering above the monarch's eye, penetrated far toward the brain.[721] Rescued from falling, but covered with blood, the wounded prince was hastily stripped of his armor, amid the loud lamentations of the horror-stricken spectators, and borne into the magnificent saloon of the Palais des Tournelles. Here, after lingering a few days, he died on the tenth of July.

It was a month, to the hour, since Henry's visit to parliament.[722]

The body was laid out in state in the very room appointed for the nuptial balls. A splendidly wrought tapestry representing the conversion of St. Paul hung near the remains, but the words, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" embroidered upon it, admitted too pointed an application, and the cloth was soon put out of sight.[723] The public, however, needed no such[Pg 341] pictorial reminder. The persecutor had been stopped as suddenly in his career of blood as the young Pharisee near Damascus. But it may be doubted whether the eyes with which he had sworn to see Anne du Bourg burned beheld such a vision of glory as blinded the future apostle's vision. It is more than probable, indeed, that Henry never spoke after receiving the fatal wound;[724] although the report obtained that, as he was carried from the unfortunate tilting-ground, he turned his bleeding face toward the prison in which the parliament counsellors were languishing, and expressed fear lest he had wronged them—a suggestion which the Cardinal of Lorraine hastened to answer by representing it as a temptation of the Prince of Evil.[725]


"La Façon de Genève"—the Huguenot service.

The charge of having prayed, or administered the sacrament of Baptism or of the Lord's Supper, or taken part in the celebration of Marriage, "according to the fashion of Geneva," so frequently appears in the documents of the[Pg 342] first century after the establishment of the Reformation in France as the chief offence of its early adherents and martyrs, that it is worth while to examine in some detail the model of worship that has exerted so important an influence upon the practice of the Huguenots and their descendants down to the present time.

While discarding the cumbrous ceremonial of the Roman Church, on the ground that it was not only overloaded with superfluous ornament, but too fatally disfigured by irrational, superstitious, or impious observances to be susceptible of correction or adaptation to the wants of their infant congregations, the founders of the reformed churches of the continent did not leave the inexperienced ministers to whose care these congregations were confided altogether without a guide in the conduct of divine worship. Esteeming a written account of the manner in which the public services were customarily performed to be the safest directory for the use of the young or ill-equipped, as well as the surest means of silencing the shameless calumnies of their malignant opponents, they early framed liturgies, not to be imposed as obligatory forms, but rather to serve an important end in securing an orderly conformity in the general arrangement followed in their churches.

Farel's "Manière et fasson," 1533.

The earliest of these liturgical compositions appears to have been a small and thin volume of eighty-seven pages, which, as we learn from the colophon, was "printed by Pierre de Wingle at Neufchâtel, on the twenty-ninth day of August in the year 1533;" that is to say, on the same press which, about a twelvemonth later, sent forth the famous "Placards" against the mass, and a year afterward the Protestant version of the Bible, translated into French by Olivetanus. It is entitled "La Manière et fasson qu'on tient ès lieux que Dieu de sa grace a visités." It was undoubtedly composed by Guillaume Farel, and, like all the other tracts of that vigorous and popular reformer, it has become extremely rare. Indeed, the work was altogether unknown until a single copy, the only one thus far discovered, was found by Professor Baum, of Strasbourg, in the Library of Zurich.[726]

What lends additional interest to the liturgy of Farel, is the circumstance that it is at the same time, as the modern editor remarks, "the earliest Confession of Faith of the Reformed Churches, their first apology in answer to the atrocious, absurd and lying accusations which the hatred of their enemies, especially among the clergy, had invented at will, or had borrowed from pagan calumnies against the Christians of the first centuries." "Do they not exclaim," writes Farel in his preface, "that those accursed dogs of heretics who would uphold this new law live like beasts, renouncing everything, maintaining neither law nor faith, abjuring all the sacraments; that[Pg 343] they reject Baptism, and make light of the Holy Table of our Lord; that they despise the Virgin Mary and the saints, and observe no marriage." To remove the prejudice thus engendered from the minds of the ignorant, is the chief design of the writer, who accordingly appeals at each step for his warrant to the Holy Scriptures, and entreats the reader to have no regard for the antiquity of the abuses he combats, or for the reputation of their advocates, but simply to examine for himself what "our good Saviour Jesus has instituted and commanded." The offices are five in number; for Baptism, Marriage, the Lord's Supper, Preaching, and the Visitation of the Sick; but to a certain extent, and particularly in the last-mentioned office, they are little more than a series of directions for the orderly conduct of worship. In other cases the service is very fully written out.

Calvin's liturgy, 1542.

Nine years after the publication of this very simple liturgy of Farel, appeared the first edition of the liturgy of Geneva, composed by Calvin, or the "Prayers after the fashion of Geneva," as they were usually designated by contemporary Roman Catholic writers. Until recently the first edition was supposed to have been published in 1543, but Professor Felix Bovet, of Neufchâtel, has been so fortunate as to find a copy in the Royal Library of Stuttgart, bearing the date of 1542. This is probably the solitary remaining specimen of the original impression.[727] Although without name of place, it was doubtless printed in Geneva. The title is: "La Forme des Prières et Chantz Ecclésiastiques, avec la Manière d'administrer les Sacremens et consacrer le Marriage, selon la coustume de l'Eglise Ancienne. M.DXLII."

The following brief sketch will perhaps convey a sufficient idea of the form "which is ordinarily used" for the public worship of the morning of the Lord's day.

A brief invocation ("Our help be in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth") is followed by an exhortation addressed to the congregation ("My brethren, let each one of you present himself before the face of the Lord with confession of his faults and sins, following in his heart my words"). The Confession, which is the most beautiful and characteristic part of the liturgy, comes next. Used by Théodore de Bèze and his companions at the Colloquy of Poissy, with wonderful impressiveness, as preparatory to that reformer's grand vindication of the creed of the Protestants of France, it has been imagined by many that it was composed by him for this occasion. But it had already constituted a part of the public devotions of the French and Swiss Protestants for eighteen or twenty years. 

A Psalm was then sung, and a prayer offered "to implore God for the grace of His Holy Spirit, to the end[Pg 344] that His Word may be faithfully expounded to the honor of His Name and the edification of the church, and may be received with such humility and obedience as are becoming." The form is "at the discretion of the minister." After the sermon comes a longer prayer for all persons in authority; for Christian pastors; for the enlightenment of the ignorant and the edification of those who have been brought to the truth; for the comfort of the afflicted and distressed;[728] closing with supplications for temporal and spiritual blessings in behalf of those present. The service was concluded by the form of benediction, Numbers, vi. 24-26.

Colladon, in his life of the reformer, tells us that Calvin "collected (recueillit), for the use of the church of Geneva, the form of ecclesiastical prayers, with the manner of administering the sacraments and celebrating marriage, and a notice for the visitation of the sick, as they are now placed with the Psalms." (Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss, vi., pp. xvii., xviii.) And Calvin himself, in his farewell address to his fellow-ministers (April 28, 1564), as taken down from memory by Pinaut, observed: "As to the prayers for Sunday, I took the form of Strasbourg, and borrowed the greater part of it." (Adieux de Calvin, Bonnet, Lettres françaises, ii. 578.) 

The Strasbourg liturgy to which Calvin here refers was one which he had himself composed for the use of the French refugee church of Strasbourg, when acting as its pastor, during his exile from Geneva (1538-1541). The earliest edition known to be extant is that of which a single copy exists in the collection of M. Gaiffe, and of which M. O. Douen has for the first time given an account in his "Clément Marot et le Psautier huguenot," Paris, 1878, i. 334-339. This Strasbourg liturgy of 1542 (the pseudo-Roman edition already referred to, p. 275), like that of 1545 (which Professors Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss described in their edition of Calvin's works, vi. 174, 175), contains some striking variations from the Geneva forms. In particular, immediately after the "Confession of Sins," it inserts these words: "Here the Minister recites some word of Scripture to comfort consciences, and then pronounces the absolution as follows:

"Let each one of you recognize himself to be truly a sinner, humbling himself before God, and believe that our Heavenly Father will be gracious unto him in Jesus Christ.

"To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, I declare the absolution of their sins, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

It was this Strasbourg liturgy of Calvin that was in the hands of the framers of the English "Book of Common Prayer," and from this they derived the introductory portion of the daily service. "According to the first book of Edward VI., that service began with the Lord's Prayer. The foreign reformers consulted recommended the insertion of some preliminary forms;[Pg 345] and hence the origin of the Sentences, the Exhortation, the Confession, and the Absolution. These elements were borrowed, not from any ancient formulary, but from a ritual drawn up by Calvin for the church at Strasbourg." (C. W. Baird, Eutaxia, or the Presbyterian Liturgies: Historical Sketches, New York, 1855, p. 190.)

The origin of only one of the minor offices of the Geneva liturgy can be distinctly traced to another and older source. The form for the celebration of marriage is taken bodily from the "Manière et Fasson" of Farel, with the omission of two or three unimportant sentences, and the alteration of a very few words—a trifling change, dictated in each case by Calvin's keener literary taste. The form for baptism, Calvin tells us expressly, was somewhat roughly drafted by himself at Strasbourg, when the children of Anabaptists were brought to him for baptism from distances of five or ten leagues around. (Adieux de Calvin, Bonnet, ii. 578.)

The liturgy of Geneva, composed with rapidity under the pressure of the times, but with the skill and fine literary finish that are wont to characterize even the most hurried of Calvin's productions, has maintained its position undisputed to the present time, being the oldest of existing forms of worship in the reformed churches. The gradual change in the French language since the date of its composition has rendered necessary some modernizing of the style both of the prayers and of the accompanying psalms. These modifications, much more radical in the case of the metrical psalms, took place in the eighteenth century, and commended themselves so fully to the good sense of all French-speaking Protestants as soon to be everywhere adopted. 

The MS. records of the French church in New York (folio 45) contain, under date of March 6, 1763, a resolution unanimously adopted in a meeting of the heads of families and communicants, to change "la vielle version des Pseaumes de David qui est en uzage parmy nous, et de prandre et introduire dans notre Eglize les Pseaumes de la plus nouvelle version qui est en uzage dans les Eglises de Genève, Suisse et Hollande." The liturgy has always been printed at the end of the psalter, and the change of the one involved that of the other. It has been noted above that the "Confession of Sins" was the most characteristic part of Calvin's liturgy. In fact, the initial words of this confession, "Seigneur Dieu, Père Éternel et Toutpuissant," came to stand in the minds of the Roman Catholics who heard them for the entire Protestant service. Bernard Palissy accordingly tells us (Recepte Véritable, 1563, Bulletin, i. 93) that a favorite expression of the Roman Catholics from Taillebourg, when committing all sorts of excesses against the Protestants of Saintes, was: "Agimus a gagné Père Éternel!" As Agimus was the first word of the customary grace said at meals by devout Roman Catholics—"Agimus tibi gratias, omnipotens Deus," etc.—this apparently enigmatical expression was only a profane formula to celebrate the triumph of the Roman over the reformed church. See Bulletin, xii. 247 and 469.  7th day adventist theology,7th day adventist theology,7th day adventist theology, university seventh day adventist church, adventist website, online bible study degree, biblical studies online, online biblical studies, biblical studies, bible studies online, onlinebible, bible videos, the bible online, the end is near, 7th day adventist theology, university seventh day adventist church, adventist website, online bible study degree, biblical studies online, online biblical studies, biblical studies, bible studies online, onlinebible, bible videos, the bible online, the end is near,    


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Sex in the Bible

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Steps to Christ book

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The light of the world

The lost pages of christianity

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World revolution

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