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FIRST LECTURE.



CALVINISM IN HISTORY.

A traveller from the old European Continent, disembark-,
ing on the shore of this New World, feels as the Psalmist
says, "his thoughts crowd upon him like a multitude".
Compared with the eddying waters of this new stream of
life, the old stream, in which he has moved seems, almost
frostbound and dull; and while at home the stealing phan-
tom of approaching Social Death now and then made him
shiver for the horrors of the future, here the rippling and
sparkling waves around him speak of an everhigher develop-
ment of human life to come. Here, on American ground,
he catches at once the magic spirit of Longfellow's "Ex-
celsior". Here, for the first time, he realizes how so many
divine potencies, hidden away in the bosom of mankind
from our very creation, but which our old world was in-
capable of developing, are now beginning to disclose their
inward splendour, thus promising a still richer store of
surprises for the Future.

Not that you would ask me to forget the superiority
which, in many respects, the Old World may still claim,
in your eyes, as well as in mine.

Old Europe remains even now the bearer of a longer
historical past, and therefore stand- before you as a deeper



CALVJNISM in history.



rooted tree, hiding between its leaves the more matured
fruits of life. In one word, you are yet in your Springtide,
— we are passing through our Fall; — and the harvest of
Autumn has an enchantment of its own.

But, although, on the other hand, I fully acknowledge
your privilege that (to use another simile) the train of
life travels with you so immeasureably faster than with
us, — leaving us miles and miles behind, — still we both feel
that there is not a separate life in Old Europe and another
here, but that it is one and the same current of human
existence that rolls through both continents; — a vast unin-
terrupted tide, which entered Europe from Asia, then passed
from Europe to America, and is now further developing
itself in this New World, ever moving westward.

By virtue of our common origin you may call us bone
of your bone, — we feel that you are flesh of our flesh, and
although you are outstripping us in the most discouraging
way, you will never forget that the historic cradle of
3 r our wondrous youth stood in our old Europe, and was
rocked most gently in my once so mighty Fatherland.

Moreover, besides this common parentage, there is an-
other factor which, in the face of even a wider difference,
would continue to unite your interests and ours. Far
more precious to us, even than the development of human
life, is the crown which ennobles it, and this noble crown
of life for you and for me rests in the Christian name.
That crown is our common heritage, and under the glory
of that crown we are and feel united, in the closest and
most holy brotherhood. It was not from Greece or Rome
that the regeneration of human life came forth;— that
mighty metamorphosis dates from Bethlehem and Golgotha;
and if the Reformation, in a still more special sense, claims
the love of our hearts, it is because it has dispelled the
clouds of sacerdotalism, and has unveiled again to fullest
view the glories of the cross. But, in deadly opposition
to this Christian element, against this very Christian name,



CALVINISM IN HISTORY. 3



and against its salutiferous influence in every sphere of
life, has now arisen, with such a violent intensity, the
storm of Modernism. .

In 1789 the turning point was reached.

Voltaire's mad cry "Ecrasez Pinfame" aimed at Christ
himself, and this cry it was that gave utterance to the
most hidden thought from which the French Revolution
sprang. The fanatic outcry of another philosopher -'We
no more need a God'', and the odious shibboleth "No God,
no Master", of the Convention, — these were the sacrilegi-
ous watchwords which at that time heralded the liberation
of man as an emancipation from all Divine Authority.
And if, in His impenetrable Wisdom, God employed that
revolution as a means by which to overthrow the tyranny
of the Bourbons, and to bring a judgment on the princes
who abused His nations as their footstool, nevertheless
the principle of that Revolution remains thoroughly anti-
christian, and has since eaten its way like a cancer, dis-
solving and undermining all that stood firm and consistent
before our Christian faith.

This anti-Christian power has since been strengthened '
by the richness of forms in which German Modernism un-
folded itself, thereby rendering Pantheism so generally ac-
ceptable that in Darwin's evolution — theory its idea of an
uninterrupted process has been hailed as the physiological
basis of every existing thing. And what is still more
lamentable, even in the church of Christ itself this poison-
ous toxin has forced an entrance, and under cover of a
pious mysticism or in the garment of historic clearness,
has attacked, first the sacredness of the church, after that
the Holy Scripture, and at last even the holy person of
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. No doubt therefore
but that Christianity is emperilled by great and serious
dangers. Two world-views are wrestling one with another,
in mortal combat. Modernism is bound to build a world
of its own from the data of the natural man, and to con-



CALVINISM IX HISTORY.



struct man himself from the data of nature, while, on the
other hand, all those who reverently bend the knee to
Christ and worship Him as the Son of the Living God
are bent upon saving the "Christian Heritage" for the
world at large, confident, by this heritage, to lead her up
to a still higher development. This is the struggle in Eu-
rope, this is the struggle in America, and this also, is the
struggle for principles, in which my own country is enga-
ged, and in which I myself have exhausted for nearly
forty years every energy at my disposal.

In this struggle Apologetics have advanced us no single
step. Apologetics have invariably begun by abandoning
the assailed breastwork, in order to entrench themselves
in a ravelin behind it.

Therefore, from the first, I have always said to myself:
—"If the battle is to lie fought with honour and with a
hope of victory, then principle must be arrayed against
principle ; then it must be felt that in Modernism the vast
energy of an all-embracing principle assails us, and then
it must be understood that we have to take our stand in
a principle of equally comprehensive and far-reaching power.
And this powerful principle is not to lie invented nor
formulated by ourselves, but it is to be taken and applied
as it presents itself in life, with its roots in the past, and
its branches spread over our present existence. It will
not do therefore to say that this principle is Christianity
itself. Such a general principle, taken in an absolute sense,
necessarily remains a pure abstraction, and only in its his-
torical, its farthest, and its purest revelation can it supply
us with the needed vigor for resistance; — and when thus
taken, I found and confessed, and I still hold, that this
manifestation of the Christian principle is given us in Cal-
vinism. ^ In Calvinism has my heart found rest. From
Calvinism have I drawn the inspiration, firmly and resolu-
tely to take my stand in the thick of this great conflict
of principles. And therefore, when I was invited to give



CALVINISM IX HISTORY.



the Stone Lectures here this year, I could not hesitate a
moment as to my choice of subject. Calvinism, as the
only decisive, lawful, and consistent defence for Protestant
nations against encroaching, and overwhelming Modernism,
— this of itself was bound to be my theme. Not that my
personal experience can be of interest to you, but because
it is the same conflict which engages you here, and us in
Europe, and because in such an universal struggle, the
more a testimony is based upon personal experience, the
higher its significance, and the richer its value.

Allow me therefore, in six lectures, to speak to you on
Calvinism. First on Calvinism in History, that we may
clearly understand what Calvinism is. Then on Calvinism
and Religion. Again on Calvinism as a political phenomen-
on; — After that on Calvinism as a social force, first in
Science, and then in Art. And, finally, on the hope which
in Calvinism, is laid away for the Future.



Clearness of presentation demands that in this first lec-
ture I begin by fixing the conception of Calvinism historically.
To prevent misunderstanding we must first know what we
should not, and what we should, understand by it. Start-
ing therefore from the current use of the term. I find that
this is by no means the same in different countries and
spheres of life. The name Calvinist is used in our times
most generally as a sectarian name; this is not the case in
Protestant, but in Romish countries, especially in Hungary
and France. In Hungary the Reformed Churches have a
membership of some two and one-half millions, and in both
the Romish and Jewish press her members are constantly
stigmatized by the non-official name of "Calvinists". A
derisive name applied even to those who have divested
themselves of all traces of sympathy with the taith of their
fathers. The same phenomenon presents itself in France,
especially in the Southern parts, where „Calviniste" is



CALVINISM IN HISTORY.



equally, and even more emphatically a sectarian stigma, which
does not refer to the faith or confession of the stigmatized
person, but is simply put upon every communicant of the
Reformed Churches, even though he be an atheist. George
Thiebaud, known for his anti-semitic propaganda, has at
the same time revived the anti-Calvinistic spirit in France,
and even in the Dreyfus case "Jews and Calvinists" were
arraigned by him as the two anti-national forces as prejudi-
cial to the ''esprit gaulois". This sectarian use of the
name "Calvinist" is derived from the Romish polemists,
who from the beginning were accustomed to attack by this
ominous term what seemed to them the most dangerous
form of Protestantism. This first significance however of
the name "Calvinist" is of no importance whatsoever for
the understanding and appreciation of Calvinism, because
it is purely external, and independent of all spiritual con-
fession. — Directly opposed to this is the second use
of the word Calvinism, and this I call the confessional use.
In this sense a Calvinist is represented exclusively as the
outspoken subscriber to the dogma of fore -ordination. They
who disapprove of this strong attachment to the doctrine
of- predestination cooperate with the Romish polemist, in
that by calling you "Calvinist" they represent you as a
victim of dogmatic narrowness and what is worse still as
being dangerous to the real seriousness of moral life. On
the other hand there are theologians, who from fulness
of conviction are open defenders of Predestination, and
who count it their honor to be Calvinists, but who are so
impressed with the disfavor attached to the "Calvinistic
name", that for the sake of commending their conviction,
they prefer to speak rather of Augustinianism than of Cal-
vinism. This is what Hodge did— whose studies I so deeply
appreciate. — The ecclesiastical title of some Baptists and
Methodists indicates a third use of the name Calvinist. No
less a man than Spurgeon belonged to a class of Baptists
who in England call themselves "Calvinistic Baptists", and



CALVINISM IX HI-.



the Whitfield Methodists in Wales to this day bear the name
of "Calvinistic Methodists". Thus here also it indicates a
confessional difference, but is applied as the name for special
church-denominations. Without doubt this practice would
have been most severely criticized by Calvin himself. During
his life-time no Reformed Church ever dreamed of naming
the Church of Christ after any man. The Lutherans have

done this, the Reformed Churches never But beyond

this sectarian, confessional, and ecclesiastical use of the
name "Calvinist", it serves moreover as a scientific term,
either in an historical, philosophical or political sense. His-
torically the name of Calvinism indicates the channel in
which the Reformation moved, so far as it was neither
Lutheran, Anabaptist nor Socinian. In the philosophical
sense we understand by it that system of conceptions, which
under the influence of the master-mind of Calvin raised
itself to dominance in the several spheres of life. And as a
political name Calvinism indicates that political movement
which has guaranteed the liberty of nations in constitutional
statesmanship; first in Holland; then in England; and
since the close of the last century in the United States. In
this scientific sense the name of Calvinism is especially
current among German scholars. And the fact that this
not only is the opinion of those who are themselve> ol
Calvinistic sympathies, but that also scholars who have
abandoned every confessional standard of Christianity never-
theless assign this profound significance to Calvinism, appears
from the testimony borne by three of our best men of
science, the first of whom, Dr. Robbert Fruin declares that:
"Calvinism came into the Netherlands consisting of a
logical system of Divinity, of a democratic Church-order of
its own, impelled by a severely-moral sense, and as enthu-
siastic for the moral as for the religious reformation of
mankind". Another historian, who was even more out-
spoken in his rationalistic sympathies writes: "Calvinism is
the highest form of development reached by the religious



CALVINISM IN HISTORY. 8

and political principle in the 16th century". And a third
authority acknowledges that Calvinism has liberated Swit-
zerland, the Netherlands and England, and in the Pilgrim
Fathers has provided the impulse to the prosperity of the
United States And only in this last-named, strictly-
scientific sense do I desire to speak to you on Calvinism as an
independent general tendenc} r , which from a motherprinciple
of its own has developed an independent form both for our
life and for our thought among the nations of Western Europe
and North America, and at present even in Southern Africa.
The domain of Calvinism is indeed far broader than the
narrow confessional interpretation would lead us to suppose.
The aversion to naming the Church after a man gave rise to
the fact, that though in France the Protestants were called
" Huguenots ", in the Netherlands " Beggars", in Great Britain
"Puritans" and "Presbyterians", and in North America
"Pilgrim Fathers", yet all these products of the reformation
which on 3 r our contiuent and ours bore the special Re-
formed type .... were of Calvinistic origin. But the extent
of the Calvinistic domain should not be limited to these
purer revelations. Nobody applies such an exclusive rule to
Christianit} r . Within its boundaries we embrace not only
Western Europe, but also Russia, the Balkan States, the
Armenians, and even Menelik's empire in Abyssinia. Therefore
it is but just that in the same way we should include in
the Calvinistic fold those churches also which have diverged
more or less from its purer forms. In her 39 articles the
Church of England is strictly Calvinistic, even though in
her Hierarchy and Liturgy she has abandoned the straight
paths, and has met with the serious results of this depar-
ture in Pusyism and Ritualism. The confession of the In-
dependents was equally Calvinistic, even though in their
conception of the Church, the organic structure was broken
by individualism. And if under the leadership of Wesley
most Methodists became opposed to the theological inter-
pretation of Calvinism, it is nevertheless the Calvinistic



CALVINISM IN" HISTORY.



spirit itself that created this spiritual reaction against the
petrifying church-life of the times. In a given sense there-
fore it may be said, that the entire field which in the
end was covered by the Reformation, so far as it was not
Lutheran and not Socinian, was dominated in principle by
Calvinism. Even the Baptists applied for shelter at the
tents of the Calvinists. It is the free character of Calvinism
that accounts for the rise of these several shades and dif-
ferences, and of the reactions against their excesses. By
its hierarchy Romanism is and remains uniform. Luther-
anism owes its similar unity and uniformity to the ascend-
ency of the prince, whose relation to the Church is that
of "summus episcopus" and to its "ecclesia docens". Cal-
vinism on the other hand, which sanctions no ecclesiastical
hierarchy, and no magisterial interference, could not develop
itself except in many and varied forms and deviations,
thereby of course incurring the clanger of degeneration,
provoking in its turn all kind of one-sided reactions. With
the free development of life, such as was intended by
Calvinism, the distinction could not fail to appear between
a centrum, with its fulness and purity of vitality and strength,
and the broad circumference with its threatening declen-
sions. But in that very conflict between a pure and less
pure development the steady working of its spirit was
guaranteed to Calvinism.

Thus understood Calvinism is rooted in a form of religion
which was peculiarly its own, and from this specific reli-
gious consciousness there was developed first a peculiar
theology, then a special church-order, and then a given form
for political and social life, for the interpretation of the
moral world-order, for the relation between nature and
grace, between Christianity and the world, between church
and state, and finally for art and science, and amid all
these life-utterances it remained always the self-same Cal-
vinism, in so far as simultaneouly and spontaneousl}' all
these developments sprang from its deepest life-principle.



CALVINISM IN HISTORY. lO

Hence to this extent it stands in line with those other
great complexes of human life, kwown as Paganism, Islamism,
Romanism and Protestantism, by which we distinguish four
entirely different worlds in the one collective world of human
life. And if strictly considered you should coordinate Chris-
tianity and not Protestantism with Paganism and Islamism,
it is nevertheless better to place Calvinism in line with them,
because Calvinism claims to embody the Christian idea more
purel} T and accurately than could Romanism and Lutheranism.
In the Creek world of Russia and the Balkan States the
national element is still dominant, and therefore the Christian
faith in these counties has not been able to produce a form
of life of its own from the root of its nrystical orthodoxy.
In Lutheran countries the interference of the magistrate has
prevented the free working of the spiritual principle. Hence
of Romanism only can it be said, that it has embodied its
life-thought in a world of conceptions and utterances entirely
its own. But by the side of Romanism, and in opposition
to it, Calvinism made its appearance, not merely to create
a different Church-form, but an entirely different form for
human life, to furnish human societ} r with a different
method of existence, and to populate the world of the
human heart with different ideals and conceptions.

That this had not been realised until our time, and is
now acknowledged by friend and enemy in consequence of
a better study of history, should not surprise us. This would
not have been the case, if Calvinism had entered life as a
well-constructed system, and had presented itself as an
outcome of study. But its origin came about in an en-
tirely different way. In the order of existence life is first.
And to Calvinism life itself was ever the first object
of its endeavours. There was too much to do and to
suffer to devote much time to study. What was domi-
nant was Calvinistic practice at the stake and in the field
of battle. Moreover the nations among whom Calvinism
gained the day,— such as the Swiss, the Dutch, the English



CALVINISM IN HISTORY. 11



and the Scotch— were by nature not very philosophically
predisposed. Especially at that time life among those nations
was spontaneous and void of calculation, and only later
on has Calvinism in its parts become a subject of that
special study by which historians and theologians have
traced the relation between Calvinistic phenomena and the
all-embracing unity of its principle. It can even be said
that the need of a theoretic and systematic study of so
incisive and comprehensive a phenomenon of life, only
arises, when its first vitality has been exhausted, and when
for the sake of maintaining itself in the future it is com-


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