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came a time of unspeakable trial. The Calvinists were troubled by a crusade, instituted against them on the accession of the almost imbecile Francis the Second, in 1559. Priests inflamed the populace against the Reformation, and encouraged them to show_their piety by erecting crosses and images and by extorting money. Hundreds of householders forfeited their goods; but as it has ever happened, the faith grew apace when fiercely opposed. Religion found a home in Normandy, so that the people, after the manner of the Parisians, called it Little Germany. The Protestants petitioned for leave to assemble in open day, since unfounded calumnies had sprung from their congregating at night; and as fifty thousand persons signed the document, the awakening must have been genuine and extensive. Anon, an unsuccessful conspiracy to exterminate the Guises excited false fears and brought real danger. The Genevese Reformers being suspected of complicity in the plot, were jealously regarded, and their city threatened.
On the death of Francis the Second, in 1560, the hopes of French Reformers brightened; but their elation had no deeper foundation than the political necessities of Catherine de Medicis. Calvin was delighted at seeing the principles of the New Testament so widely spread and eagerly embraced. The Protestants best loved those pastors who bore the Genevan mark, and such as were educated in the republic they doubly prized. The colleges were strongly importuned to send forth preachers, and the sudden demand obliged some to enter the field whose preparatory training was scarcely completed. Farel received letters testifying to the people's longing for the Bread of Life. Three hundred parishes, which had cast aside the mass, craved instructors, and so great was the crisis that it was computed six thousand evangelists would have been gladly welcomed.
In the last years of his life nothing sufficed to draw Calvin away from the now beloved Geneva. He was asked to settle in Paris; but the republic would not hear of his leaving. In 1561, the Reformation needed his presence at the Council of Paissy, held for the settlement of religious differences; but Beza necessarily went instead, and is said to have greatly distinguished himself. With what yearnings did Calvin now, from his lonely study, look towards his native France; and with what joy did he welcome the decree in favour of the Huguenots, which, with certain restrictions, allowed of their meeting in public assembly. Yet at the best it was weary working—now to catch a gleam of hope, anon to see the wretched priestcraft of Rome stopping the progress of everything good. Beza's experience tells how a Protestant usually fared in Paris about this time. As soon as his sermon began a clashing of bells and other unmusical arguments drowned the preacher's voice, and the most unoffending were in danger of losing their lives in a religious fray. Truth only asked for liberty and an open field, popery could only thrive when protected by tyranny.
In the midst of the troubles of France, the Queen-mother employed divers subtle arts to corrupt and win over to her ambition the leaders of opposite parties. The reformed tenets had spread till Catholics and Protestants made a show of becoming evenly balanced, when the good cause was rudely checked by King Anthony of Navarre declaring for Rome. Ever faithful to his trust, Calvin severely rebuked the renegade. The political horizon was darkened. In an affray at Vassy the troops of the Duke of Guise maimed more than a hundred persons who were assembled to celebrate the Lord's Supper. War and devastation followed. Even Beza served as an ensign till the Prince of Conde fell a prisoner into the hands of the enemy. But the event which made most noise in those days was the murder of the head of the Guises; for the assassin was not only a Calvinist, but an enthusiast who gloried in the supposed act of piety which had purged Europe of the arch-enemy of the faith. For such actions we offer no apology; nor were the Reformers responsible for whatever fanatics chose to couple with their names. As regards this unfortunate duke, while cruel and bigoted, he yet could show qualities becoming the gospel. One day a man was presented to him, charged with having murderous designs. “I will show you how much gentler my religion is than yours," said the general. "" Yours permits you to kill me without hearing; mine commands me to pardon you, convicted as you are of having sought to slay me without a cause.
e.” This may have been worldly wisdom or real religious sentiment; but had the distiction been just, as drawn between Romanism and the light from Geneva, the Reformation would have been a gigantic disaster.
Yet God so ordered events that no human power could eclipse the faith in its ascendancy. In his life-time Calvin could count six hundred martyrs to the good cause, and not one died in vain. His last days afford a remarkable example of the manner in which burning zeal can sustain a weak body. He never really recovered from the long illness already referred to; and at length his works were continued in spite of headaches and fainting sickness. Fasting for more than a day together, and at the best but taking a single meal in the twenty-four hours, were the remedies he himself prescribed. Then the gout joined itself to his other ailments, necessitating his being carried to the pulpit of St. Peter. Though unable to walk, tormented with stone, and weakened by spitting of blood, he yet toiled on to the very last, the Commentary on Joshua having been finished on his death-bed.
Of his closing days the surviving accounts are valuable as showing how much may be done by the weakest frame when the will to work is sustained by
the grace of God. Beza vainly warned his friend of the necessity of curtailing his labour. “What!” cried Calvin, “ would you have the Lord find me idle ?” Strength and voice were failing ; but his joy of heart welled up from a perennial spring. On the 10th of March, 1564, the Consistory went in a body to his house. Pale and wayworn, the pastor still sat at his table. “I thank you, my dearest brethren," he said, “ for your care of me, and I hope that in a fortnight I shall be among you for the last time." True to this arrangement, he attended the next assembly. Three days after he visited the Council-house, where he thanked God for the favours received from that body. The Council showed real solicitude for the sinking pastor by sending money, which he refused, and by ordering public prayers for his restoration. Approaching death was teaching the senators the worth of Calvin's life. His wan and emaciated appearance moved them greatly, and his words
—“ I feel this is the last time I shall appear in this place "-agitated them still more. On Easter-day he took the Supper from the hands of Beza, in the Church of St. Peter, his countenance beaming as though reflecting the light of purer worlds. Moved by a desire to address the senators, he would have gone to the Council Chamber had not these friends insisted on attending at his own house. Calvin's last address to the Council may only be spoken of as touching and noble. Three days later the pastors of the republic also came by appointment, and to them he delivered many moving words. His last letter was one written to Farel, bidding him farewell, and dissuading him from incurring the expense and inconvenience of visiting Geneva. Crowds assembled about his door, and would have pressed into the dying pastor's chamber, but for his request that they should rest satisfied with giving him their prayers. One of the last scenes of all was the annual Whitsuntide dinner, which a few days prior to his death was held in Calvin's house. On being carried from his bed and placed at table, he ate a morsel, and remarked to his guests, “This is the last time I shall meet you at table ;” and, on returning to his room, he said that the wall which separated him from them would not prevent his being present in mind. Then came earth's last stage. On the 27th of May, about eight in the evening, just after Beza had retired, Calvin's spirit quietly took its departure. He seems to have died alone, and the last struggle—too often feared more than the ills of life~in this instance exactly resembled a welcome falling into sleep.
Use the Pen.
AN EXHORTATION. BY THE EDITOR. Yo! TOUNG ministers would do well to remember that for purposes of
teaching there are two fields of usefulness open to them, and that both deserve to be cultivated. The utterance of truth with the living voice is their main business, and for many reasons this deserves their chief attention ; but the publishing of the same truth by means of the press is barely second in importance, and should be used to the full measure of each man's ability. It is a surprising thought that what is written to-day in our study may in a few weeks be read beyond the Alleghanies, and before long may lift up its voice at the Antipodes. And as space is thus overleaped, so also is time; for if the world should last another five hundred years, the author of an immortal sentence will continue still to speak from the glowing page. The press performs marvels. So noble an agency, so far reaching, so potent, so available, ought not to lie idle. Every man who addresses his fellow creatures with the voice should try his hand at pen and paper, if only for his own sake ; it will correct his style, give it more accuracy, more condensation; probably, therefore, more weight. The possibility of doing good to the souls of men is a grand incentive which needs no other to supplement it, and such a possibility beyond all question exists when warmhearted thought is expressed in telling language, and scattered broadcast in type among the masses. Young men, look to your goosequills, your Gillets, or your Waverleys, and see if you cannot write for Jesus.
“What, in the name of reason, can move an Editor to perpetrate such a paragraph as the above, when we are already bored and pestered with the immeasurable effusions of hundreds of scribblers, who are only spoilers of good foolscap ?? We admit the naturalness of the question, and we feel its force: feel it all the more because we have just now been for some hours up to our neck in a stagnant pool of printed dulness, and have almost caught a literary cramp. Look at that volume of poetry. We cannot review it; we have tried till we do not mean to try again; we fear it would worry us into a fresh attack of our ever-ready enemy-the gout. “Our brain is tired, our heart is sick.” The poems are just an everlasting ding-dong, ding-dong of commonplaces and pretty phrases, all meaning nothing at all. Do you see that volume of sermons? The good man who issues them declares that he did it in deference to the wish of his hearers (a very common excuse, by the way). He might well have prayed, "Save me from my friends." The discourses are no doubt pious, and well intended, but to print them was a blunder of the first magnitude. There is a book on Romanism, and another on Matrimony. We have read them both, and expect some day or other to be rewarded for our patient perseverance, but as yet it is numbered among those good deeds which bring no present profit to him who performs them. But indeed the list of volumes over which we have done penance is too long for rehearsal. We shudder at the recollection. We frequently wonder how we survive our sufferings in the review department; sifting a waggon load of chaff to find one solitary grain of wheat is nothing to the labour in vain which is allotted us by many authors. We pride ourselves upon our extreme gentleness in criticism, but we should soon lose all repute among our readers for this amiable virtue if we did criticise in print all the books sent to us; a considerable number of them it would be cruelty to notice, and in mercy to the authors we pass by their offspring, and say nothing where nothing good could be said. [N.B. Those gentlemen whose books are not yet noticed in our magazine will please not to write and scold us next post. Let them hope that their productions are so good that we are too fascinated to begin as yet to criticise; at any rate, let no author wear a cap unless he finds it to be a correct fit.]
All this is a digression, to show that we are not forgetful of the fact that this press-ridden nation already groans beneath tons of nonsense and platitude, and needs no addition to the enormous burden. We frankly own that if another great historical fire should do for modern literature a similar work to that which was so providentially wrought at Alexandria, we should not fret. If we saw the commencement of the blaze we should be in no hurry to arouse Captain Shaw and his men with the brass helmets, but should like to see it burn merrily on, especially if it would consume for ever all the small-beer poetry, the interpretations of prophecy, and—well-well, nineteen books out of twenty, at the least: ninety-nine out of every hundred would be a still more desirable purification.
“Yet you began by stirring up young men to write. Where is your consistency ?” Our answer is that we did not exhort anybody to write such stuff as commonly is written. On our bended knees we would say to many a man who threatens to commit authorship, we pray you do no such evil.” But we return to our first paragraph, and say again that the pen is a great means of usefulness, and it ought not to lie idle. Let a man wait till he has something to write, and let him practise himself in composition till he can express his meaning plainly and forcibly, and then let him not bury his talent. Let him revise, and revise again. Let him aim at being interesting, endeavouring to write not for the butter-shop, but for readers; and above all, let him write under the impulse of a holy zeal, burning to accomplish a real and worthy end. The columns of religious magazines and newspapers are always open to such contributions, and if the author has no other broadsheet in which to publish his thoughts, he may be well content with the pages of periodical literature. Whatever may be the faults of our reviews and other periodicals, they are undoubtedly a great institution, and might be made far more influential for the highest ends, if men of greater grace were found among their writers. It is a worthy ambition to endeavour to seize these moulders of the public mind, and make them subservient to true religion. The words of Dr. Porter, in his “ Homiletics,” may be most appropriately quoted here:
“Young men destined to act for God and the church, in this wonderful day, think on this subject. Recollect that religious magazines, and quarterly journals, and tracts of various form, will control the public sentiment of the millions who shall be your contemporaries and your successors on this stage of action for eternity. To whose management shall the vast moral machinery be intrusted, if the educated sons of the church, the rising ministry of the age, will shrink from the labour and responsibility of the mighty enterprise ? Learn to use your pen, and love to use it. And in the great contest that is to usher in the triumph of the church, let it not be said that you were too timid or indolent to bear your part.”
Good men there have been and are who could do far more service for God and his church by their pens if they would write less and write better. They flood our second-rale magazines with torrents of very watery matter; their style is slipshod to a slovenly degree; their thoughts are superficial; their illustrations hackneyed; they weary where they mean to win. Let such brethren take time to mend their pens, the world will continue to rotate upon its own axis if we do not see their names next month at the head of an article. Work must be into papers if they are to last. Easy writing is usually hard reading. The common reader may not observe the absence of honest work in a poem, sermon, or magazine article, but he manifestly feels the influence of it, for he finds the page uninteresting, and either goes to sleep over it or lays it down. Young man, earnest in spirit, if you have any power with the per, make up your mind to cultivate it. Do your best every time you compose. Never offer to God that which has cost you nothing. Do not believe that good writing is natural to you, and that you need not revise; articles will not leap out of your brain in perfect condition as the fabled Minerva sprang from the head of Jove. "Read the great authors, that you may know what English is; you will find it to be a language very rarely written nowadays, and yet the grandest of all human tongues. Write in transparent words, such as bear your meaning upon their forefront, and let them be well