conjunction with the clergy—that order should be observed in the admission of preachers—and that only the clergy should officiate in ordination by the laying on of hands. It was proposed also, as conducive to the welfare of the church, that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper should be administered more frequently, at least once every month, and that congregational singing of psalms should be practised in the churches. On these terms the synod interceded with the Genevese to restore their pastors; but through the opposition of some of the Bernese (especially Peter Kuntz, the pastor of that city) this was frustrated, and a second edict of banishment was the only response.
Calvin and Farel betook themselves, under these circumstances, to Basel, where they soon after separated, Farel to go to Neuchâtel and Calvin to Strassburg. At the latter place Calvin resided till the autumn of 1541, occupying himself partly in literary exertions, partly as a preacher and especially an organizer in the French church, and partly as a lecturer on theology. These years were not the least valuable in his experience. In 1539 he attended Charles V.’s conference on Christian reunion at Frankfort as the companion of Bucer, and in the following year he appeared at Hagenau and Worms, as the delegate from the city of Strassburg. He was present also at the diet at Regensburg, where he deepened his acquaintance with Melanchthon, and formed with him a friendship which lasted through life. He also did something to relieve the persecuted Protestants of France. It is to this period of his life that we owe a revised and enlarged form of his Institutes, his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, and his Tract on the Lord’s Supper. Notwithstanding his manifold engagements, he found time to attend to the tenderer affections; for it was during his residence at Strassburg that he married, in August 1540, Idelette de Bure, the widow of one Jean Stordeur of Liége, whom he had converted from Anabaptism. In her Calvin found, to use his own words, “the excellent companion of his life,” a “precious help” to him amid his manifold labours and frequent infirmities. She died in 1549, to the great grief of her husband, who never ceased to mourn her loss. Their only child Jacques, born on the 28th of July 1542, lived only a few days.
During Calvin’s absence disorder and irreligion had prevailed in Geneva. An attempt was made by Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto (1477-1547), bishop of Carpentras, to take advantage of this so as to restore the papal supremacy in that district; but this design Calvin, at the request of the Bernese authorities, who had been consulted by those of Geneva, completely frustrated, by writing such a reply to the letter which the bishop had addressed to the Genevese, as constrained him to desist from all further efforts. The letter had more than a local or temporary reference. It was a popular yet thoroughgoing defence of the whole Protestant position, perhaps the best apologia for the Reformation that was ever written. He seems also to have kept up his connexion with Geneva by addressing letters of counsel and comfort to the faithful there who continued to regard him with affection. It was whilst he was still at Strassburg that there appeared at Geneva a translation of the Bible into French, bearing Calvin’s name, but in reality only revised and corrected by him from the version of Olivétan. Meanwhile the way was opening for his return. Those who had driven him from the city gradually lost power and office. Farel worked unceasingly for his recall. After much hesitation, for Strassburg had strong claims, he yielded and returned to Geneva, where he was received with the utmost enthusiasm (September 13, 1541). He entered upon his work with a firm determination to carry out those reforms which he had originally purposed, and to set up in all its integrity that form of church polity which he had carefully matured during his residence at Strassburg. He now became the sole directive spirit in the church at Geneva. Farel was retained by the Neuchâtelois, and Viret, soon after Calvin’s return, removed to Lausanne. His duties were thus rendered exceedingly onerous, and his labour became excessive. Besides preaching every day in each alternate week, he taught theology three days in the week, attended weekly meetings of his consistory, read the Scriptures once a week in the congregation, carried on an extensive correspondence on a multiplicity of subjects, prepared commentaries on the books of Scripture, and was engaged repeatedly in controversy with the opponents of his opinions. “I have not time,” he writes to a friend, “to look out of my house at the blessed sun, and if things continue thus I shall forget what sort of appearance it has. When I have settled my usual business, I have so many letters to write, so many questions to answer, that many a night is spent without any offering of sleep being brought to nature.”
It is only necessary here to sketch the leading events of Calvin’s life after his return to Geneva. He recodified the Genevan laws and constitution, and was the leading spirit in the negotiations with Bern that issued in the treaty of February 1544. Of the controversies in which he embarked, one of the most important was that in which he defended his doctrine concerning predestination and election. His first antagonist on this head was Albert Pighius, a Romanist, who, resuming the controversy between Erasmus and Luther on the freedom of the will, violently attacked Calvin for the views he had expressed on that subject. Calvin replied to him in a work published in 1543, in which he defends his own opinions at length, both by general reasonings and by an appeal to both Scripture and the Fathers, especially Augustine. So potent were his reasonings that Pighius, though owing nothing to the gentleness or courtesy of Calvin, was led to embrace his views. A still more vexatious and protracted controversy on the same subject arose in 1551. Jerome Hermes Bolsec, a Carmelite friar, having renounced Romanism, had fled from France to Veigy, a village near Geneva, where he practised as a physician. Being a zealous opponent of predestinarian views, he expressed his criticisms of Calvin’s teaching on the subject in one of the public conferences held each Friday. Calvin replied with much vehemence, and brought the matter before the civil authorities. The council were at a loss which course to take; not that they doubted which of the disputants was right, for they all held by the views of Calvin, but they were unable to determine to what extent and in which way Bolsec should be punished for his heresy. The question was submitted to the churches at Basel, Bern, Zürich and Neuchâtel, but they also, to Calvin’s disappointment, were divided in their judgment, some counselling severity, others gentle measures. In the end Bolsec was banished from Geneva; he ultimately rejoined the Roman communion and in 1577 avenged himself by a particularly slanderous biography of Calvin. Another painful controversy was that with Sébastien Castellio (1515-1563), a teacher in the Genevan school and a scholar of real distinction. He wished to enter the preaching ministry but was excluded by Calvin’s influence because he had criticized the inspiration of the Song of Solomon and the Genevan interpretation of the clause “he descended into hell.” The bitterness thus aroused developed into life-long enmity. During all this time also the less strict party in the city and in the council did not cease to harry the reformer.
But the most memorable of all the controversies in which Calvin was engaged was that into which he was brought in 1553 with Michael Servetus (q.v.). After many wanderings, and after having been condemned to death for heresy at Vienne, whence he was fortunate enough to make his escape, Servetus arrived in August 1553 at Geneva on his way to Naples. He was recognized in church and soon after, at Calvin’s instigation, arrested. The charge of blasphemy was founded on certain statements in a book published by him in 1553, entitled Christianismi Restitutio, in which he animadverted on the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and advanced sentiments strongly savouring of Pantheism. The story of his trial is told elsewhere (see art. Servetus), but it must be noted here that the struggle was something more than a doctrinal one. The cause of Servetus was taken up by Calvin’s Genevan foes headed by Philibert Berthelier, and became a test of the relative strength of the rival forces and of the permanence of Calvin’s control. That Calvin was actuated by personal spite and animosity against Servetus himself may be open to discussion; we have his own express declaration that, after Servetus was convicted, he used no