Imágenes de páginas

on the cross, were merely designed to set an example of purity of life and patience in affliction to his followers. All these and other heresies, he attempted to establish, at great length, and with much subtility of reasoning. After exhibiting great indecision and adopting many plans of life, Faustus settled permanently at Racow in Poland, which became the centre of his operations. Upon the publication of his uncle's manuscripts, with such additions or alterations as he may have made in them, many embraced the heresies with which they were filled, especially among the Poles. A great many of the nobility soon became socinians. He published a manual called the Racovian Catechism, designed for the instruction of children. It does not clearly and unequivocally exhibit all his views, but like the operations of other heretics, evinces a determination to undermine the system of truth. The extent, to which the Socinian heresies have spread is truly alarming. The fate of Poland has not deterred thousands, in other nations, from embracing those blasphemies against the divinity of Messiah and the character of God, for which Jesus Christ, who rules the nations, has permitted the surrounding monarchies to rend in pieces this kingdom, that attempted to pluck the crown from his head. Never were the divine judgments more visibly inflicted upon the Israelitish empire, for its idolatries, than they have been upon Poland for her heresies. A large proportion of the reformed church in the Germanic empire, has been carried away with this destructive heresy. What has always happened in other cases may be expected in this, that those who reject the divinity of the Redeemer, should become lost to all sense, not only of genuine piety, but generally to all appearance of attention to the duties of religion. Itwas not untilshortly before the almost entire destruction of the Austrian empire by the French armies, that the Socinian heresy had become common in Germany. The Rev. Dr. John Henry Young, well known, to the Christian world, by the conspicuous part which he took in the Germanic Bible societies, and who was for

[ocr errors]

many years professor of anatomy and optics in the college of Marburgh, says in his “ Grauer Man," a work published about the beginning of the present century, that a professor of divinity, who was delivering a course of lectures on theology, concluded one set of lectures by saying that “ he hoped he had completely set aside the claims of Christ Jesus to divine honours, and that he would endeavour, in a few lectures, to clip the wings of the Holy Ghost.” Such revolting blasphemy, one would have thought, could never have entered into the heart of man, much less have escaped from the lips of any one making a profession of any thing bearing the least resemblance to Christianity. But when reported by such a man as Dr. Young, no one can doubt of its truth. Indeed, if the opinions of Socinus and his disciples were true, there would be nothing impious or even improper in it. In Prussia, where there were once five hundred ministers of the reformed church, most of them orthodox, most of them of the Genevan school, the pulpits are opened to both Socinians and Jews, who, from the sacred desk, are permitted to huřl their blasphemies against the Son of God and his atoning sacrifice. Many of the protestant clergy in Prussia and Germany are not Socinians only, but are expressly and avowedly deists, who have taken holy orders with no other view than to gain a living. What was the point at which they first began to diverge from the path of truth? Precisely that at which, the Salmurensian divines commenced their career of ruin-the doctrine of a definite aton'ement. When men once leave the path of truth, the farther they travel the more widely do they stray. Arminianism, we have seen, is the high road to deism. This might be illustrated in the character of individuals, as well as of nations and churches. More than one of those who embraced the Armininian errors in France became deists. The celebrated Grotius wrote against Socinus, and was replied to by Crellius, a distinguished Socinian writer. Grotius adopted some of the Arminian errors, and though he never avowed himself a disciple of his antagonist, yet the manner in which he attempted to explain away most of the passages,

which plainly teach the divinity of Jesus, afford strong presumption that he went over to the camp of the enemy, and some say he died a deist. Robinson, the learned and elegant translator of Saurin's sermons, first receded from the truth by embracing Arminian errors, and never halted in his career, until he adopted the Socinian creed, or rather the deistical, and wrote a large book to prove that for many hundreds of years there was in reality no church of God, and that ministers do not derive their office by succession from the apostles.

While error was spreading in Holland, by Arminius and his disciples; in France, from the Saumur; and heresy from Racow, in Poland, the school of Geneva for a great many years preserved its attachment to the system of the refor. mers, without the least deviation. The successors of Calvin and Beza, were learned, illustrious and devout men. Among the most distinguished of these for learning, industry, and piety, were the Turrettins. One of them the Rev. Benedict Turrettin, was a delegate in one of the general synods of France. Francis Turrettin, the author of the body of divinity, from which we propose to present translations, on the subject of the atonement, to our readers, was professor of theology in Geneva, and pastor of the church in that place, for many years before and until the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantz. For various erudition, great industry, zeal for the truth, and ability to support it, by scripture and reason, he never was excelled by any of the distinguished divines who were in that seminary, not even by Calvin himself. He has left four large quarto volumes, containing each about eight hundred pages, which contain a very complete vindication of the doctrines of grace, against all the most prominent errors that have plagued the church. No where will the student of theology find so masterly a refutation of all those errors, and so luminous a display of the genuine truths of the gospel, as in the writings of this great and good man. Every student of divinity should read and digest well the whole of his writings, and thus lay up for

himself a treasure of theological knowledge, upon which he may draw during all his future life.

Francis Turrettin, the grand father of the professor, was the first of the family who settled in Geneva, which place he fixed upon as his residence, on account of the excellent opportunities there presented, for improvement in Christian knowledge, as exhibited by the divines who taught in the school of Calvin. For many years, Benedict Turrettin, the father of the younger Francis, performed with extraordinary reputation, the duties of professor of theology and pastor of the church in Geneva. Francis Turrettin was born in 1623. He entered early upon his education, and visited the most celebrated schools in Germany, Holland, and France. He heard the lectures of Cappel, La Place, and Amyraut, at Saumur, but rejected the hypothesis of the latter, adhering, with undeviating firmness, to the doctrines which Calvin, and his father had taught at Geneva. In France also, he studied natural philosophy and mathematics, under the celebrated Gassendi, and became acquainted with many of the most distinguished literary men, who at that time formed a most brilliant constellation. In 1647, soon after his return to Geneva, he was ordained to the ministry, and in the year following was chosen pastor of the church. In Geneva there were many French and Italians; his family was originally from Parma, and he preached with ease and fuency, in several languages. His eloquence was of a most persuasive and irresistible character, and under his ministry the church flourished in a very high degree. In 1653, he was made professor of theology in the academy, where he was united with the celebrated Tronchinus, Antony Seger, and Philip Mæstraeht, all of whom co-operated with him in advancing the cause of truth, as taught by their predecessors, and in refuting the numerous errors and heresies which were then making great inroads upon the church. .

The work on theology of which an account has been given above, comprises the substance of the lectures which he read from the theological chair of the academy, the splendour of whose character was well supported during his

life. He was either personally acquainted with the most distinguished divines and scholars of his age, or corresponded with them, both in Latin and their native languages.

He died in 1687, at the very time when thousands of the French protestants were flying to Geneva, from the dreadful storm of persecution that had burst upon them after the revocation of the edict of Nanız.

He was succeeded in the theological professorship by his nephew Benedict Pictete, who filled, with great reputation, the honourable station to which he was advanced. His system of theology,* published in French, is substantially the same with that, of his uncle Mr. Turrettin. He did not depart from the faith of his ancestors, nor diminish the reputation of his family.

The degree of learning diffused among the people of Geneva, through the instrumentality of the academy, is almost incredible. Even the peasantry and servants spoke Latin with very considerable propriety. Sound literature and correct theological views, in Christian countries generally go hand in hand. One may and often does flourish, where the other languishes for some time. But sound theology usually elevates the literary character of a people, while heresy, by introducing immorality and a neglect of the Holy Scriptures, scarcely ever fails in the end, to degrade literature. With all the boasted improvements of Europe during the last century, the greater part of European literary men, if we except chemists, are at the present time mere smatterers compared with Calvin, Du Moulin, Grotuis, Gassendi, Amyraut, Spanheim, Turrettin, Pictete, and Owen. Geneva was the centre from which literature, as well as sound theology, dif. fused itself among all the reformed churches in Europe. What the state of orthodoxy is at present in Geneva, we have no means of very accurate information, but we do not hesitate to say, it contains more orthodoxy in proportion to the number of its inhabitants, than any other city of Europe. While Poland, on account of her heresies and blas

* We understand that the Rev. Dr. Green is now engaged in translatingthis system.


« AnteriorContinuar »