William Henry Parr Greswell.

A view of the early Parisian Greek press; including the lives of the Stephani; notices of other contemporary Greek printers of Paris; and various particulars of the literary and ecclesiastical history of their times (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellA view of the early Parisian Greek press; including the lives of the Stephani; notices of other contemporary Greek printers of Paris; and various particulars of the literary and ecclesiastical history of their times (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 24)
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mation itself. " Nothing" (observes M. Gaillard)
" can be more impressive, or, to use his term,

Establishment of' Calvinism in Geneva. 369

" plus seduisant," than this preface. It seems
dictated by reason and humanity, and is composed
after the model of the ancient apologies for the
Christian religion. " Nothing," he adds, " can
" be more ingenious than the use which he makes
" of the fathers of the church, whether to repre-
" sent their doctrines as favourable to the refor-
" mation, or to vindicate that measure, where it
" seems to differ from them. This book of ' In-
" stitutes' has method, uniformity, and integrity :
" it forms a complete body of doctrine ; which is
" a quality perhaps not to be found either in any
" single treatise of Luther, or in the entire collec-
" tion of his writings. Calvin's ' Institutes' there-
" fore, is one of those works in which the re-
" formation exults, not without reason." The par-
liament of Paris however caused it to be publicly
burned, on the 14th Feb. 1543. Calvin's com-
mentaries on the SS. are in many particulars
highly judicious and excellent ; they are said to
have been held in great estimation by a late very
distinguished prelate of our church. His pole-
mical writings, on the one hand against the coun-
cil of Trent and the catholics ; and on the other
against the Lutherans and the different sects of
the reformation ; without possessing all the merits
of the " Institutes," have far more elegance and
moderation than those of Luther ; though Calvin
did not assuredly, on all occasions, avoid that
VOL. I. B b

370 Robertus Stephanus.

grossness of epithet, and coarseness of expression,
which are so conspicuous in the polemical writ-
ings of the age. I enlarge not upon the incon-
sistency between pretensions and practice, which
Calvin evinced, when himself in possession of
power. My purpose is neither to expose nor to
excuse that spirit of intolerance and persecution,
which writers both catholic and protestant have
attributed to him ; but which, in the preface to
his own " Institutes," he deprecates. The burn-
ing of Servetus, the beheading of Perrin, a dis-
tinguished citizen of Geneva, with whom he had
political or private dissensions, the unrelenting
persecution of Castellio, and the imprisonment
of Bolsec, both of whom had ventured to contro-
vert his favourite doctrine of predestination ; these
are facts, which history has placed on record, and
from the stain of which, his most ardent admirers
have found it difficult to redeem his character.

The neighbourhood of Geneva, and the alliance
of Francis I. with the Swiss, gave facilities to the
Calvinistic preachers to enter France, and spread
their doctrines there. When persecution became
too violent, they again took refuge at Geneva and
Berne. Calvinism soon effaced Lutheranism in
France. Many of its cities and towns, preferring
a native reformer to a foreign one, and sentiments
which on some religious points were novel, to those
which were partially antiquated, became almost

Rise and Progress of Calvinism in France. 371

entirely Calvinistic. The parliament soon turned
its zeal against this sect, which was thus univer-
sally spreading itself. Penal fires were kindled
anew. Of sixty persons, who were arrested at
Metz, fourteen were burned ; and the rest sen-
tenced to banishment : but as most of them con-
tinued to disseminate the obnoxious doctrines in
different places, we are told that nearly all at last
shared the same fate. The parliament of Bour-
deaux authorized scarce fewer executions at Agen.
Scaliger was called into question on the same ac-
count; and the parliament ordered the banish-
ment of his son's preceptor, by name Philibert
Sarrasin. At Sens, an advocate was consigned to
the flames, on the prosecution of his uncle the
archdeacon of the cathedral ; who defrayed the ex-
pense of the legal process. At Tournay, a minis-
ter named Pierre Brusly being pursued by the
magistrates, his friends let him down by night
with a rope from the rampart, with a design to
favour his escape ; but a stone detaching itself
from the wall broke his thigh. The guards,
aroused by the cries of the sufferer, seized and
brought him back; and this unfortunate person
was burned at a slow fire. Another more distin-
guished victim of the intolerance of these times,
was the well known Estienne Dolet ; but of him
I have subjoined a more distinct notice to the end
of a former section.

B b2

372 Robertus Stephanus.

The Sorbonne censured the Psalms of Marot ;
required a recantation from all those doctors, who
had shewn favour or indulgence to the obnoxious
opinions ; and opposed to Calvin a formulary of
faith, which that reformer did not fail to write
against. Such was now the vigilance of the fa-
culty, that they took upon them to admonish
those prelates who were negligent, and found
means to make their admonitions respected. The
archbishop of Sens, who had under his jurisdic-
tion six bishops, and many abbeys, yet preferred
every other occupation to the care of his church,
(thinking that the indulgence allowed to Du Prat,
his predecessor, would not be refused to himself,
as a prince of the blood,) received from the Sor-
bonne a severe reprehension : and they enjoined
him by a written mandate, to look better after his
flock, which they said his absence exposed to se-
duction. The cardinal de Bourbon was in like
manner admonished to become resident at Sens :
and it is pretended that heresy which had been
gaining ground in his diocese, was dissipated by
his presence ; but M. Gaillard presumes this hap-
pened, because he was not a persecutor.

Many of the religious orders, we are told, Au-
gustines, Cordeliers, Dominicans, drawn by scho-
lastic disputations into the very notions which the
schools pretended to refute, became dogmatizers,
innovators, and the occasions of offence. The

Rise and Progress of Calvinism in France. 373

Sorbonne reprimanded some, and censured others ;
and wrote to the General of the Augustines to look
to his order and reform it ; which was done. But
this zeal of theirs was not always so successful ;
for a Cordelier, by name Pernocel, irritated by
their censure, fled to Geneva, and became a min-
ister there. Their indiscriminating violence in-
duced them to condemn, in terms of extravagant
harshness, Claude Guilliaud, a mild and gentle in-
dividual ; who is said to have confounded them by
the excess of his submission. They entered into a
violent quarrel with Claude d'Espence, who was
perhaps the most enlightened theologian of their
order ; accusing him of despising the saints, be-
cause he had jocosely termed the Golden Legend,
" Legenda Ferrea :" though we are assured that
others had ventured upon the same pleasantry,
without having had their orthodoxy called into

The cardinal de Tournon, and the chancellor
du Poyet, alternately animated the zeal of the par-
liament and of the Sorbonne against heresy. The
first was severe, and the second harsh : so that
none regretted Tournon in his retreat, or pitied
Poyet in his disgrace. The king, warmed by the
representations of these statesmen, is said to have
compromised his own dignity, by listening to the
most petty theological debates. He had heard
that a certain cure of Paris preached against pur-

B b 3

374 Robertus Stephanus.

gatory, and refused to say mass. He undertook
to interrogate him personally; but the man, intimi-
dated by the royal presence, was unable to utter
a word. Francis therefore dismissed him with
contempt, after having enjoined him to retract.

Petrus Ramus, or de la Ramee, son of a " Char-
" bonnier" of Picardy, at first a valet in the college
of Navarre, but afterwards for his merit chosen
principal of the college de Presle, and a professor of
the college Royal, was a zealous cultivator of elo-
quence and mathematical science ; but contemned
Aristotle, and presumed to write against him.
Antoine de Govea, a Portuguese " Perepateticien,"
then established at Paris, instituted a legal process
against him for this irreverence, first at the Cha-
telet, and afterwards before the parliament. Plead-
ings were opened, and the point was undergoing
legal discussion ; but the king took upon himself
the affair, and appointed arbitrators. They de-
cided for Aristotle, and his advocate Govea. Ra-
mus was pronounced guilty of temerity and inso-
lence, for having raised his voice against the
prince of philosophers : his books were condemned,
and he was forbidden to teach. Pierre Galand re-
ports, that the king was inclined to send Ramus to
the galleys. He afterwards became a Calvinist,
(some pretend through vexation for the usage he
had thus experienced ;) arid was ultimately com-
prehended in the massacre of S. Bartholerny.

Rise and Progress of Calvinism in France. 375

We have already seen that in these interesting
times, the spirit of religious innovation became
manifest even within the confines of Italy itself.
Lelius Socinus was a native of Sienna. Faustus
Socinus was his nephew. They gave rise to an
order of dissentients from the church of Rome,
who mingling the rejection of the Trinitarian doc-
trines with their antipathy to the corruptions of
the Romish church, carried the ancient "dog-
" mata" of Arius to an extreme hitherto unprece-
dented ; giving to their Christianity a complexion
and character, very dissimilar from those of any of
the other reformed churches. Their disciples in
this doctrine were Gregorius Paulus, and Geor-
gius Blandrata, both Piedmontese ; Valentinus
Gentilis, a Calabrian ; Paulus Alciatus, a Milan-
ese, and a relative of the famous jurisconsult of
that name. These doctors, having by fear of the
inquisition been driven from Italy, sought first to
disseminate their opinions in Poland ; but expelled
also from thence, were for the most part induced
to seek an asylum in protestant Switzerland. But
even amongst the refugees from religious persecu-
tion there, the spirit of toleration had not at-
tained that height of liberality, which might as
they hoped, insure the safety of their persons, and
the free propagation of their opinions. Gentilis,
after encountering considerable danger at Geneva,
at length perished upon the scaffold at Berne. Le-

376 Robertas Stephanus.

lius Socinus narrowly escaped a like fate at Zu-
rich ; where, however, he died a natural death in
1572. Alciatus finding as it is pretended, no secu-
rity in Christendom, became a Mahometan a-
mongst the Turks. Faustus Socinus ultimately
proved the instrument of diffusing Socinianism
widely in Poland ; where he died in 1604. I find
the following recorded as the inscription upon his
tomb :

Tota jacet Babylon : destruxit tecta Lutherus,
Muros Calvinus : sed fundamenta Socinus.

Bernardus Ochinus, who was a native of Sienna,
first a Cordelier, and afterwards a Capuchin, and
general of that order, quitted Italy in 1542. He
was originally the friend and companion in flight
of Peter Martyr; and subsequently became the
president of a reformed church at Zurich ; but
falling into many objectionable opinions on the
subject of polygamy, and on other points, he was
driven from thence in 1563 ; retired into Poland,
and afterwards into Moravia ; where he died of the
plague at an advanced age. But perhaps no re-
former of the Italian schools was so conspicuous
for learning and talents, as the person whom I
have recently mentioned. The name Peter Mar-
tyr, by which he is most generally known, was
merely a baptismal name. His parents were Ste-
phanus Vermilius and Maria Fumantina, both
Florentines of distinction, whose ancestors had

Peter Martyr. 377

borne high offices in that city. At the age of six-
teen, he became a member of the college of Fiesole ;
where he greatly distinguished himself by his stu-
dies and proficiency. He was advanced to the
dignity of abbot of Spoleto; where he continued
three years. From the perusal of Bucer's Com-
mentary on the Evangelists, and that of the same
scholar on the Psalms, (which appeared under the
fictitious name of Aretius Felinus,) various works
of Erasmus, and his own study of the sacred scrip-
tures, he derived his first impressions in favour of
the reformed opinions. This inclination was in-
creased by the familiarity and conversation of Be-
riedictus Cusanus, M. Antonius Flaminius, and
Joannes Valdensis, a Spaniard. He next joined a
society of reformed at Naples ; where he openly ex-
pounded the first Epistle of S. Paul to the Corin-
thians, in a manner so offensive to the advocates
of the doctrine of purgatory, that they procured
an interdict upon his lectures. His next removal
was to Mantua; whence he was invited to take
charge of a priory and college at Lucca, where
Emanuel Tremellius was professor of the Hebrew
tongue. The result of his theological lectures
there was such, that eighteen of the members of
this college in one year forsook the church of
Rome, and joined the reformed. Such a preacher
could not long escape the vigilance and jealousy of
the papal court and party ; and Martyr found it

378 Robertas Stephanus.

necessary to withdraw from the vengeance threat-
ened against him. Departing therefore privately
from Lucca, he shortly afterwards retired into
Germany, and at length arrived in Switzerland.
Coming to Zurich, he was kindly entertained by
Bullinger, Pellicanus, Gualterus, and other dis-
tinguished persons of the same school. From Zu-
rich he departed to Basil, and from thence to
Strasburg ; where, by the influence of Bucer, he
was appointed divinity reader, and continued five

In 1547, at the instance of archbishop Cranmer
and the duke of Somerset, Peter Martyr was in-
vited by Edward VI. into England, to co-operate
in the work of the reformation there. The king
constituted him divinity lecturer at Oxford ; where
he held his celebrated disputation against Tresham
and Chadsey, on the subject of the sacrament ; and
was promoted to the dignity of doctor, and made
a canon of Christ Church. Cranmer is said to
have availed himself greatly of the councils of Pe-
ter Martyr, in the business of the reformation in
England ; and this Italian stranger cultivated the
closest intimacy with Latimer, Ridley, Poinet, and
Hooper, as well as with the illustrious statesmen
of the time, who favoured that important mea-

On the accession of queen Mary, he was sus-
pended from his functions in the university ; and

Peter Martyr. 379

shortly afterwards found it expedient to quit the
kingdom ; which he effected not without great per-
sonal danger. Having happily arrived at Stras-
burg, he renewed his connexions with his ancient
friends ; and found a great accession of scholars,
whom religious considerations had newly brought
thither. Here again he resumed his divinity read-
ings; to which he added lectures on the Aristote-
lic philosophy ; till in consequence of the death of
Pellicanus at Zurich, he was invited, and con-
sented to succeed him there.

By this time, the persecution under Queen
Mary's reign had driven many eminent divines
and scholars from England ; who also sought re-
fuge at Strasburg, Zurich, Geneva, and other
places, where protestantism found protection. The
celebrated John (afterwards bishop) Jewel, who
had formed a strict intimacy with P. Martyr in
England, now became an inmate, together with
him, in the house of Bullinger, at Zurich. Eng-
lish exiles had at this time a distinct church at
Geneva ; those of Italy had the like ; and their
church also having been deprived by death of its
president, Martyr was urgently invited to supply
his place in that city ; but in compliance with the
wishes of his friends at Zurich, declined the office.
His talents in disputation having been well tried
at Oxford, he was deputed to take an active part
in the conference at Poissy; and his letters, which

380 Robertus Stephanus.

in other respects are extremely interesting, exhibit
a very detailed account of that transaction. This
distinguished scholar and divine, whose history
stands intimately connected with that of the refor-
mation, at length terminated his mortal career at
Zurich, in the year 1562 a .

In digressing thus far into the history of contem-
porary leaders of the reformed opinions, I have at
least furnished some hints towards conjecturing
what were the probable gratifications of society at
Geneva, and the neighbouring protestant cities, in
these interesting times ; when Robert Estienne,
and other professional refugees like him, men, not
as their successors in modern times, mere traders
in literature, but themselves profoundly skilled in
critical and theological learning, enjoyed friendship
and intercourse with persons of such a description
as some of those whom I have mentioned. As to
Calvin, he continued his ministry at Geneva with
increasing influence, notwithstanding the austerity
of his discipline, which to the young and gay was
peculiarly distasteful, till the period of his decease ;

a The particulars of Peter Martyr's life and death are, at
considerable length, recorded in a funeral oration, composed
and pronounced by Josias Simlerus of Zurich, and published
with an inscription to Dr. John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury.
It may be found translated, and subjoined to the interesting
black letter translation, by Anthony Marten, of Peter Martyr's
Common Places, and other works, printed at London, 1583,
in fol.

Rise and Progress of Calvinism in France. 381

which happened May 27, 1564. Even catholic
writers feel themselves compelled to speak ho-
nourably both of his talents and disinterestedness ;
but they omit not to tell us of his atrabilarious
temperament, the unrelaxing severity of his cha-
racter, which was aggravated by constant bodily
infirmities, and his intolerance towards all who
differed in opinion from him. Finally they make
no scruple in asserting, that as Luther had been
in Germany, so Calvin was the occasion of all the
civil feuds and atrocities, that afterwards happened
in France.





IN the commencement of the year 1552, as we
have already mentioned, it is probable that Robert
Estienne removed from Paris to GENEVA : and as
he expresses himself in one of his prefaces, chose
for his retreat these mountains, within the friendly
enclosure of which he found more humanity, sim-
plicity, and piety, than amongst the theologians
of the French capital. There he began his new
typographical career by printing various theologi-
cal works : viz. some detached books of the Old
Testament, and the whole of the New Test, in
Latin and French, 8vo. with brief summaries and
expositions. He also printed In sacra quatuor
Evangelia perpetuce Buceri Annotationes, folio.
Bearing the date of this year we moreover find,
quibus Biblia a Roberto Stephano Typography

384 Rolertus Stephanus.

Regio excusa calumniose notarunt, ejusdem Ro-
berti Stephani RESPONSIO, 8vo. Oliva Robertl
Stephani. Le meme en Franpois, 8vo.

The " Responsio ad Censuras," &c. which ap-
peared as Maittaire believes, in the month of June,
is one of the scarcest productions of Robert's
press. As the introductory part contains a cir-
cumstantial narrative of his disputes with the di-
vines of Paris, I have made extensive use of it in
the preceding pages. As to the " Censurae" and
" Responsiones," Simon, in his " Histoire critique
" du Nouveau Test." ch. 39, has entered into a
minute examination of some of the most impor-
tant of them ; and his decisions are generally fa-
vourable to Robert. That by such a judge he
should be pronounced guiltless of the most grie-
vous charges urged against him, must be deemed
a strong presumptive evidence in his favour. This
learned ecclesiastic concludes his notice of the
" Censurae," in terms to the following purport :
" I have spoken at considerable length on the
" subject of those editions of the New Test, which
" were published by Robert Estienne, because his
" ' Responsio ad Censuras,' &c. which he pub-
" lished, first in Latin, and soon afterwards in
" French a , is become very rare." Father Simon's

a The French edition appeared also in 1552, and bears the
following title : " Les Censures des Theologiens de Paris, par
" lesquelles ils avoyent faulsement condamne les Bibles im-

His Impressions at Geneva. 385

work appeared Rotterod. 1693, in 4to: so that
this work, which had then become so uncommon,
and has never been reprinted, must now be consi-
dered as extremely rare.

Agreeably to the resolution which Robert had
formed, his impressions executed at Geneva con-
sist chiefly of theological and controversial trea-
tises, by Calvin, Beza, and other leading persons
of the reformed persuasion. From the period of
his emigration, we find his original symbol or
mark in the title pages of his impressions, with
this subscription only : " Oliva Roberti Stephani."
The local name " Geneva" is seldom added. Con-
radus Badius was now the occasional assistant
and participator of his labours. Robert's affinity
to the family of Badius is already known to the

1553. His impressions of this year were, La
Bible, fol. ; Catechisme par Jean Calvin, 8vo ;

'* primees par Robert Estienne, imprimeur du Roy : avec la
" response d'iceluy Robert Estienne." Traduictes de Latin en
Francois, 8vo. Underneath appears the printer's family
mark, viz. the " Olive," &c. with no note of place subscribed,
but these words only : " L'Olivier de Robert Estienne,
" M.D. IALinfne: Le XIII. de Juillet, M.D. LII." This
is a finely printed book, alternately in Roman and Italic cha-
racters. It exceeds the Latin copy in rarity. During a pe-
riod of more than thirty years, I was unable to procure even
a sight of this French edition.

386 Robertus Stephanus.

La forme des Prieres Ecclesiastiques, 8vo; De
vero verbi Dei, sacramentorum &> ecclesice minis-
terio, libri II i De adulterinis sacramentis, liber
unus ; De adulterate baptismi sacramento sanc-
torum oleorum 'iisu; De adulterata coena Do-
mini; De theatrica missce saltatione ; Author e
Petro Fireto, fol.

1554. He executed the following. Ambrosii
Calepini Dictionarium quarto c% postremo ex R.
Steph. Lot. Lingua Thesauro auctum, % torn.
fol. ; De origine, continuation, usu, authoritate
atque prcestantia ministerii verbi Dei 8 sacra-
mentorum, de controversiis ea de re in Chris-
tiano orbe excitatis, ac de earum componendarum
ration e: Author e Petro Vireto, fol. ; Exposition
continuelle sur les Evangiles, fol. ; Psalmorum
libri V. ad Hebr. veritatem traducti, 8$ a Bucero
enarrati ; Ejusdem Commentarii in librum Ju-
dicum 8% in Sophoniam, fol. ; In Genesin Com-
mentarius Calvini, fol. ; Francisci Hotomani
Commentariorum in Orationes Ciceronis primum
volumen, fol. ; Catechismus ab Immanuele Tre-
mellio Hebraice versus, 8vo. These, and the
greatest part of the other impressions by Robert
at Geneva, now very seldom present themselves to
our observation.

The same year 1554, is remarkable for the pro-

His Impressions at Geneva. 387

secution and punishment of Serve tus. Calvin
after this person's death, drew up an account of
his errors, and subjoined his own refutation of
them. The chief object of this measure was to
exculpate himself from the odium, which was al-
ready the consequence of such an intolerant trans-
action. The zeal of Theodore Beza also prompted
him to compose a treatise, in defence of the right
of the civil magistrate to punish heretics. These
two treatises, it was the lot of Robert's press to
usher into light, in this same year 1554. They
are thus intitled : Defensio orihodoxce fidei de
sacra Trinitate, contra prodigiosos errores Mi-
cliaells Serveti Hispani, ubi ostenditur haereticos
jure gladii coercendos esse, nominatim de ho-
mine hoc tarn impio juste 8% merito sumptum Ge-
neva fuisse supplicium ; per Johannem Calvinum,
8vo ; and, De Ticereticis a civili Magistratu pu-
niendis libellus Theodori Be%<e, 8vo. On this
occasion Maittaire, (Vita R. Steph. p. 81.) cites
from a work entitled Dialogus contra libellum
Calvini, &c. a story, that Robert Estienne sent
one Thomas, a servant of his, to Frankfort fair,
to procure the burning of Servetus's books, and
to prevent their sale and dispersion. I have met
with nothing besides, which tends either to corro-

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Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellA view of the early Parisian Greek press; including the lives of the Stephani; notices of other contemporary Greek printers of Paris; and various particulars of the literary and ecclesiastical history of their times (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 24)