No man who knows anything will ever sneer at Calvin. He is not to be measured by common standards. He was universally regarded as the greatest light of the theological world. When we remember his transcendent abilities, his matchless labors, his unrivalled influence, his unblemished morality, his lofty piety, and soaring soul, all flippant criticism is contemptible and mean. He ranks with immortal benefactors, and needs least of all any apologies for his defects. A man who stamped his opinions on his own age and succeeding ages can be regarded only as a very extraordinary genius. A frivolous and pleasure-seeking generation may not be attracted by such an impersonation of cold intellect, and may rear no costly monument to his memory; but his work remains as the leader of the loftiest class of Christian enthusiasts that the modern world has known, and the founder of a theological system which still numbers, in spite of all the changes of human thought, some of the greatest thinkers and ablest expounders of Christian doctrine in both Europe and America. To have been the spiritual father of the Puritans for three hundred years is itself a great evidence of moral and intellectual excellence, and will link his name with some of the greatest movements that have marked our modern civilization. From Plymouth Rock to the shores of the Pacific Ocean we still see the traces of his marvellous genius, and his still more wonderful influence on the minds of men and on the schools of Christian theology; so that he will ever be regarded as the great doctor of the Protestant Church.
Henry’s Life of Calvin, translated by Stebbings; Dyer’s Life of Calvin; Beza’s Life of Calvin; Drelincourt’s Defence of Calvin; Bayle; Maimbourg’s Histoire du Calvinisine; Calvin’s Works; Ruchat; D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation; Burnet’s Reformation; Mosheim; Biographie Universelle, article on Servetus; Schlosser’s Leben Bezas; McCrie’s Life of Knox; Original Letters (Parker Society).
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THE NEW PHILOSOPHY.
It is not easy to present the life and labors of
“The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind.”