Click to View

History of the Christian Church
Click to ViewMaster Index
Click to ViewPower Search

 Click to View




















 § 58. Literature on Calvin and the Reformation in French Switzerland.


Important documents relating to the Reformation in French Switzerland are contained in the Archives of Geneva and Bern. Many documents have been recently published by learned Genevese archaeologists, as Galiffe, father and son, Grénus, Revilliod, E. Mallet, Chaponnière, Fick, and the Society of History and Archaeology of Geneva.

The best Calvin libraries are in the University of Geneva, where his MSS. are preserved in excellent order, and in the St. Thomasstift at Strassburg. The latter was collected by Profs. Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss, the editors of Calvin's Works, during half a century, and embraces 274 publications of the Reformer (among them 36 Latin and 18 French editions of the Institutio), many rare contemporary works, and 700 modern books bearing upon Calvin and his Reformation. The Society of the History of French Protestantism in Paris (64 rue des saints pères) has a large collection of printed works.


I. Correspondence of the Swiss Reformers and their Friends.

Letters took to a large extent the place of modern newspapers and pamphlets; hence their large number and importance.

*A. S. Herminjard: Correspondance des réformateurs dans les pays de langue française, etc. Genève et Paris (Fischbacher, 33 rue de Seine), 1866-'86, 7 vols. To be continued. The most complete collection of letters of the Reformers of French Switzerland and their friends, with historical and biographical notes. The editor shows an extraordinary familiarity with the history of the French and Swiss Reformation. The first three volumes embrace the period from 1512 to 1536; vols. IV.-VII. extend from 1536 to 1642, or from the publication of Calvin's Institutes to the acceptance of the ecclesiastical ordinances at Geneva. For the following years to the death of Calvin (1564) we have the correspondence in the Strassburg-Brunswick edition of Calvin's works, vols. X.-XX. See below.


II. The History of Geneva before, during, and after the Reformation:

Jac. Spon: Histoire de la ville et de l'état de Genève. Lyon, 1680, 2 vols.: revised and enlarged by J. A. Gautier, Genève, 1730, 2 vols.

J. P. Bérenger: Histoire de Genève jusqu'en 1761. Genève. 1772, 6 vols

(Grénus) Fragments biographiques et historiques extraits des registres de Genève. Genève, 1815.

Mémoires et Documents publiés par la Société d'histoire et d'archéologie de Genève. 1840 sqq., vol. I.-XIV.

Francois Bonivard: Les chroniques de Genève. Publiés par G. Revilliod. Genève, 1867, 2 vols.

*Amédée Roget (Professor at the University of Geneva, d. Sept. 29, 1883):  Histoire du peuple de Genève depuis la réforme jusqu'à l'escalade. Genève, 1870-'83. 7 vols. From 1536 to 1567. The work was to extend to 1602, but was interrupted by the death of the author. Impartial. The best history of Geneva during the Reformation period. The author was neither a eulogist nor a detractor of Calvin.—By the same: L'église et l'état à Genève du vivant de Calvin. Genève, 1867 (pp. 91).

Jacq. Aug. Galiffe: Matériaux pour l'histoire de Genève. Genève, 1829 and '30, 2 vols. 8°; Notices généalogiques sur les familles genevoises, Genève, 1829, 4 vols.—J. B. G. Galiffe (son of the former, and Professor of the Academy of Geneva): Besançon Hugues, libérateur de Genève. Historique de la fondation de l'independance Genevoise, Genève, 1859 (pp. 330); Genève historique et archéol., Genève, 1869; Quelques pages d'histoire exacte, soit les procès criminels intentés à Genève en 1547, pour haute trahison contre noble Ami Perrin, ancien syndic, conseiller et capitaine-général de la republique, et contre son accusateur noble Laurent Meigret dit le Magnifique, Genève, 1862 (135 pp. 4°); Nouvelles pages d'histoire exacte soit le procès de Pierre Ameaux, Genève, 1863 (116 pp. 4°). The Galiffes, father and son, descended from an old Genevese family, are Protestants, but very hostile to Calvin and his institutions, chiefly from the political point of view. They maintain, on the ground of family papers and the acts of criminal processes, that Geneva was independent and free before Calvin, and that he introduced a system of despotism. "La plupart des faits racontés par le medecin Lyonnais" (Bolsec), says the elder Galiffe (Notices généalogiques, III. 547), "sont parfaitement vrais."  He judges Calvin by the modem theory of toleration which Calvin and Beza with their whole age detested. "Les véritable protestants genevois," he says, "é taient ceux qui voulaient que chacun - libre d penser ce que so raison lui inspirait, et de ne faire que ce qu'elle approuvait; mais que personne ne se permit d'attaquer la religion de son prochain, de se moquer de sa croyance, u de le scandaliser par des _onstrations malicieuses et par des fanfaronnades de su_ioriÉqui ne prouvent que la fatuiÉridicule de ceux qui se nomment les_us."  The Galiffes sympathize with Ami Perrin, François Favre, Jean Philippe, Jean Lullin, Pierre Vandel, Michael Servet, and all others who were opposed to Calvin. For a fair criticism of the works of the Galiffes, seeLaFrance Protestante, II. 767 sqq., 2d ed.


III. The Reformers Before Calvin:

*Le Chroniqueur. Recueil historique, et journal de l'Helvetie romande, en l'an 1535 et en l'an 1536. Edited by L. Vulliemin, 1835. Lausanne (Marc Duclos), 326 pp. 4°. Descriptions and reprints of documents relating to the religious condition in those two years, in the form of a contemporary journal.

Melchior Kirchhofer (of Schaffhausen, 1773-1853). Das Leben Wilhelm Farels aus den Quellen bearbeitet.  Zürich, 1831 and '33, 2 vols. (pp. 251 and 190, no index). Very good for that time. He also wrote biographies of Haller, Hofmeister, Myconius.

C. Chenevière: Farel, Froment, Viret, réformateurs relig. Genève, 1835.

H. Jaquemot: Viret, réformateur de Lausanne. Strassburg, 1856.

F. Godet (Professor and Pastor in Neuchatel): Histoire de la réformation et du refuge dans le pays de Neuchatel. Neuchatel, 1859 (209 pp.). Chiefly devoted to the labors of Farel, but carries the history down to the immigration of French refugees after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

C. Schmidt (of Strassburg): Wilhelm Farel und Peter Viret.  Nach handschriftlichen und gleichzeitigen Quellen. Elberfeld, 1860. (In vol. IX. of the "Leben und ausgewählte Schriften der Väter der reform. Kirche.")

T. Cart: Pierre Viret, le réformateur vaudois. Lausanne, 1864.

C. Junod: Farel, réformateur de la Swisse romande et réformateur de l'église de Neuchatel. Neuchatel et Paris, 1865.


IV. Works and Correspondence of John Calvin:

Joh. Calvini: Opera quae supersunt omnia, ed. G. Baum, E. Cunitz, E. Reuss, theologi Argentoratenses. Brunsvigae, 1863 sqq. (in the Corp. Reform.). So far (1892) 48 vols. 4°. The most complete and most critical edition. The three editors died before the completion of their work, but left material for the remaining volumes (vols. 45 sqq.) which are edited by Alf. Erichson.

Older Latin edd., Geneva, 1617, 7 vols. folio, and Amstelod., 1667-'71, in 9 vols. folio. Separate Latin editions of the Institutes, by Tholuck (Berlin, 1834 and '46), and of the Commentaries on Genesis by Hengstenberg (Berlin, 1838), on the Psalms (Berlin, 1830-'34), and the New Testament, except the Apocalypse (1833-'38, in 7 vols.), by Tholuck. The same books have also been separately republished in French.

An English edition of Calvin's Works, by the "Calvin Translation Society," Edinburgh, 1843-'53, in 52 vols. The Institutes have been translated by Allen (London, 1813, often reprinted by the Presbyterian Board of Publication in Philadelphia), and by Henry Beveridge (Edinburgh, 1846). German translations of his Institutes by Fr. Ad. Krummacher (1834) and by B. Spiess (the first edition of 1536, Wiesbaden, 1887), and of parts of his Comment., by C. F. L. Matthieu (1859 sqq.).

The extensive correspondence of Calvin was first edited in part by Beza and Jonvilliers (Calvin's secretary), Genevae, 1575, and other editions; then by Bretschneider (the Gotha Letters), Lips. 1835; by A. Crottet, Genève, 1850; much more completely By JULES BONNET, Lettres Françaises, Paris, 1854, 2 vols.; an English translation (from the French and Latin) by D. Constable and M. R. Gilchrist, Edinburgh and Philadelphia (Presbyterian Board of Publication), 1855 sqq., in 4 vols. (the fourth with an index), giving the letters in chronological order (till 1558). The last and best edition is by the Strassburg Professors in Calvini Opera, vol. X. Part II. to vol. XX., with ample Prolegomena on the various editions of Calvin's Letters and the manuscript sources. His letters down to 1542 are also given by Herminjard, vols. VI. and VII., quoted above.


V. Biographies of Calvin:

*Theodor Beza (d. 1605): Johannis Calvini Vita. First published with Calvin's posthumous Commentary on Joshua, in the year of his death. It is reprinted in all editions of Calvin's works, and in Tholuck's edition of Calvin's Commentary on the Gospels. In the same year Beza published a French edition under the title, L'Histoire de la vie et mort de Maistre Jean Calvin avec le testament et derniere volonté dudit Calvin: et le catalogue des livres par luy composez. Genève, 1564; second French edition, enlarged and improved by his friend and colleague, Nic. Colladon, 1565; best edition, Geneva, 1657 (very rare, 204 pp.), which has been carefully republished from a copy in the Mazarin library, with an introduction and notes by Alfred Franklin, Paris, 1869 (pp. lxi and 294). This edition should be consulted. The three biographies of Beza (two French and one Latin) are reprinted in the Brunswick edition of Calvin's Opera with a notice littéraire, Tom. XXI. pp. 6-172, to which are added the Epitaphia in lo. Calvinum scripta (Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French). There are also German, English, and Italian translations of this biography. An English translation by Francis Sibson of Trinity College, Dublin, reprinted in Philadelphia, 1836; another by Beveridge, Edinburgh, 1843.

The biography of Beza as enlarged by Colladon, though somewhat eulogistic, and especially Calvin's letters and works, and the letters of his friends who knew him best, furnish the chief material for an authentic biography.

Hierosme Hermes Bolsec: Histoire de la vie, moeurs, actes, doctrine, constance et mort de Jean Calvin, jadis ministre de Genève, dédié au Reverendissime archeuesque, conte de l'Église de Lyon, et Primat de France, Lyon, 1577 (26 chs. and 143 pp.); republished at Paris, 1582; and with an introduction and notes by L. Fr. Chastel, Lyon, 1875 (pp. xxxi and 328). I have used Chastel's edition. A Latin translation, De J. Calvini magni quondam Genevensium ministri vita, moribus, rebus gestis, studiis ac denique morte, appeared in Paris, 1577, also at Cologne, 1580; a German translation at Cologne, 1581. Bolsec was a Carmelite monk, then physician at Geneva, expelled on account of Pelagian views and opposition to Calvin, 1551; returned to the Roman Church; d. at Annecy about 1584. His book is a mean and unscrupulous libel, inspired by feelings of hatred and revenge; but some of his facts are true, and have been confirmed by the documents published by Galiffe. Bolsec wrote a similar biography of Beza: Histoire de la vie, moeurs, doctrine et déportments de Th. de Bèze dit le Spectable, 1582. A French writer says, "Ces biographies sont un tissu de calomnies qu' aucun historien sérieux, pas même le P. Maimbourg, n'a osé admettre et dont plus récemment M. Mignet a fait bonne justice."  (A. Réville in Lichtenberger's "Encycl.," II. 343.)  Comp. the article "Bolsec" in La France Protestante, 2d ed. (1879), II. 745-776.

Antibolseccus. Cleve, 1622. Of this book I find only the title.

Jacques Le Vasseur (canon and dean of the Church of Noyon): Annales de l'eglise cathédrale de Noyon. Paris, 1633, 2 vols. 4°. Contains some notices on the birth and relations of Calvin.

Jacques Desmay (R. C.): Remarques sur la vie de J. Calvin hérésiarque tirées des Registres de Noyon. Rouen, 1621 and 1657.

Charles Drelincourt (pastor at Charenton): La défense de Calvin contre l'outrage fait à sa mémoire. Genève, 1667; in German, Hanau, 1671. A refutation of the slanders of Bolsec and a posthumous book of Cardinal Richelieu on the easiest and surest method of conversion of those who separated themselves from the Roman Church. Bayle gives an epitome in his Dictionnaire.

Melchior Adam: Vita Calvini, in his Vitae Theologorum, etc. 3d ed. Francof., 1705 (Part II., Decades duae, etc., pp. 32-55). Chiefly from Beza.

Elijah Waterman (pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Bridgeport, Conn.) Memoirs of the Life and Writings of John Calvin: together with a selection of Letters written by him and other distinguished Reformers. Hartford, 1813.

Vincent Audin (R. C., 1793-1851): Histoire de la vie, des ouvrages et des doctrines de Calvin. Paris, 1841, 2 vols.; 5th ed. 1851; 6th ed. 1873. English translation by John McGill; German translation, 1843. Written like a novel, with a deceptive mixture of truth and falsehood. It is a Bolsec redivivus. Audin says that he first cast away the book of Bolsec "as a shameful libel. All testimony was against Bolsec: Catholics and Protestants equally accused him. But, after a patient study of the reformer, we are now compelled to admit, in part, the recital of the physician of Lyon. Time has declared for Bolsec; each day gives the lie to the apologists of Calvin."  He boasts of having consulted more than a thousand volumes on Calvin, but betrays his polemical bias by confessing that he "desired to prove that the refugee of Noyon was fatal to civilization, to the arts, and to civil and religious liberty."  Audin wrote in the same spirit the history of Luther (1839, 3 vols.), Henry VIII. (1847), and Leo X. (1851). His work is disowned and virtually refuted by fair-minded Catholics like Kampschulte, Cornelius, and Funk.

*Paul Henry, D. D. (pastor of a French Reformed Church in Berlin): Das Leben Johann Calvins des grossen Reformators, etc. (dedicated to Neander). Hamburg, 1835-44, 3 vols. English translation (but without the notes and appendices, and differing from the author on the case of Servetus) by Henry Stebbing, London and New York, 1851, in 2 vols. This large work marks an epoch as an industrious collection of valuable material, but is ill digested, and written with unbounded admiration for Calvin. Henry wrote also, in opposition to Audin and Galiffe, an abridged Leben Johann Calvin's. Ein Zeugniss für die Wahrheit. Hamburg and Gotha, 1846 (pp. 498).

Thomas Smyth, D. D.: Calvin and his Enemies. 1843; new ed. Philadelphia (Presbyterian Board of Publication), 1856, and again 1881. Apologetic.

Thomas H. Dyer: The Life of John Calvin. London (John Murray), 1850, pp. 560 (republished, New York, 1851). Graphic and impartial, founded upon Calvin's correspondence, Henry, and Trechsel (Antitrinitarier).

Felix Bungener: Calvin, sa vie, son oeuvre, et ses écrits. Paris, 2d ed. 1863 (pp. 468). English translation, Edinburgh, 1863.

*E. Stähelin (Reformed minister at Basel): Johannes Calvin; Leben und ausgewählte Schriften. Elberfeld, 1863, 2 vols. (in "Väter und Begründer der reform. Kirche," vol. IV. in two parts). One of the best biographies, though not as complete as Henry's, and in need of modification and additions from more recent researches.

Paul Pressel (Luth.): Johann Calvin. Ein evangelisches Lebensbild. Elberfeld, 1864 (pp. 263). For the tercentenary of Calvin's death (May 27, 1864). Based upon Stähelin, Henry, Mignet, and Bonnet's edition of Calvin's letters.

Albert Rilliet: Bibliographie de la vie de Calvin. "Correspond. litteraire."  Paris, 1864. La premier séjour de Calvin à Genève. Gen. 1878.

*Guizot (the great historian and statesman, a descendant of the Huguenots, d. at Val Richer, Sept. 12, 1874): St. Louis and Calvin. London, 1868. Comp. also his sketch in the Musée des protestants célèbres.

*F. W. Kampschulte (a liberal Roman Catholic, Professor of History at Bonn, died an Old Catholic, 1872): Joh. Calvin, seine Kirche und sein Staat in Genf. Leipzig, 1869, vol. I. (vols. II. and III. have not appeared). A most able, critical, and, for a Catholic, remarkably fair and liberal work, drawn in part from unpublished sources.—In the same spirit of fairness, Prof. Funk of Tübingen wrote an article on Calvin in the 2d ed. of Wetzer and Welte's Catholic Kirchenlexicon, II. 1727-1744.

Thomas M'Crie, D. D.: The Early Years of John Calvin. A Fragment, 1509-1536. A posthumous work, edited by William Ferguson. Edinburgh, 1880 (pp. 199). Valuable as far as it goes.

Art. "Calvin" in La France Protestante, Paris, 2d ed. vol. III. (1881), 508-639.

Abel Lefranc: La jeunesse de Calvin. Paris, 1888 (pp. 229). The author brings to light new facts on the extent of the Protestant movement at Noyon.—Comp. his Histoire de la Ville de Noyon et de ses institutions. Paris, 1888.

Annales Calviniani by the editors of the Brunswick edition of Calvin's Opera. Tom. XXI. 183-818. From 1509 to 1572. Invaluable for reference.


VI. Biographical Sketches and Essays on Special Points Connected with Calvin:

Fr. Aug. Alex. Mignet (eminent French historian and academician, 1796-1884): Mémoire sur l'établissement de la réforme et sur la constitution du Calvinisme à Genève. Paris, 1834. The same in German, Leipzig, 1843.

G. Weber: Geschichtliche Darstellung des Calvinismus im Verhältniss zum Staat in Genf und Frankreich bis zur Aufhebung des Edikts von Nantes. Heidelberg, 1836 (pp. 372).

* J. J. Herzog: Joh. Calvin, Basel, 1843; and in his Real-Encyklop.2 vol. III. 77-106.

*Jules Bonnet: Lettres de Jean Calvin, 1854; Calvin au val d'Aoste, 1861 Idelette de Bure, femme de Calvin (in "Bulletin de la société de l'histoire du Protest. français," 1856, Nos. 11 and 12); Récits du seizième siècle, Paris, 1864; Nouveaux récits, 1870; Derniers récits, 1876.

E. Renan: Jean Calvin, in É tudes d'histoire religieuse, 5th ed. Paris, 1862; English translation by O. B. Frothingham Studies of Religious History and Criticism, New York, 1864, pp. 285-297).

J. H. Albert Rilliet: Lettre à M. Merle D'Aubigné sur deux points obscurs de la vie de Calvin, Genève, 1864. Le premier sejour de Calvin a Genève, in his and Dufour's edition of Calvin's French Catechism, Genève, 1878.

Mönkeberg: Joachim Westphal and Joh. Calvin. Hamburg, 1866.

J. Köstlin: Calvin's Institutio nach Form und Inhalt.

Edmond Stern: La théorie du culte d'après Calvin. Strassburg, 1869.

James Anthony Froude: Calvinism, an Address delivered to the Students of St. Andrews, March 17, 1871 (in his Short Studies on Great Subjects, Second Series, New York, 1873, pp. 9-53).

Principal William Cunningham (Free Church of Scotland, d. 1861): The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformers. Edinburgh, 1862.

Principal John Tulloch (of the Established Church of Scotland, d. 1885): Leaders of the Reformation. Edinburgh, 1859; 3d ed. 1883.

Philip Schaff: John Calvin, in the "Bibliotheca Sacra," Andover, 1857, pp. 125-146, and in Creeds of Christendom (New York, 1877), I. 421-471.

A. A. Hodge (d. at Princeton, 1885): Calvinism, in Johnson's "Universal Cyclopaedia" (New York, 1875 sqq.), vol. I. pp. 727-734; new ed. 1886, vol. I. 676-683.

Lyman H. Atwater: Calvinism in Doctrine and Life, in the, "Presbyterian Quarterly and Princeton Review," New York, January, 1875, pp. 73-106.

Dardier and Jundt: Calvin, in Lichtenberger's "Encyclopédie des sciences religieuses," Tom. II. 529-557. (Paris, 1877.)

P. Lobstein: Die Ethik Calvins in ihren Grundzügen. Strassburg, 1877.

W. Lindsay Alexander: Calvin, in "Encycl. Brit.," 9th ed. vol. IV. 714 sqq.

Pierre Vaucher: Calvin et les Genevois. Gen. 1880.

A. Pierson: Studien over Joh. Kalvijn. Haarlem, 1881-'83.

J. M. Usteri: Calvin's Sacraments und Tauflehre. 1884.

B. Fontana: Documenti dell' archivio Vaticano e dell' Estense, circa il soggiorno di Calv. a Ferrara. Rom. 1885. E. Comba in "Revisita Christ.," 1885, IV.-VII.

C. A. Cornelius (liberal Catholic): Die Verbannung Calvins aus Genf. im J. 1536. München, 1886. Die Rückkehr Calvins nach Genf. I. Die Guillermins (pp. 62); II. Die Artichauds; III. Die Berufung (pp. 102). München, 1888 and 1889. Separate print from the "Abhandlungen der K. bayer. Akademie der Wissenschaften," XIX. Bd. II. Abth. Cornelius, a friend of Döllinger, agrees in his high estimate of Calvin with Kampschulte, but dwells chiefly on the political troubles of Geneva during Calvin's absence (with large quotations from Herminjard's collection of letters), and stops with Calvin's return, September, 1540.

Charles W. Shields: Calvin's Doctrine on Infant Salvation, in the "Presb. and Ref. Review," New York, 1890, pp. 634-651. Tries to show that Calvin taught universal infant salvation(?).

Ed. Stricker: Johann Calvin als erster Pfarrer der reformirten Gemeinde zu Strassburg. Nach urkundlichen Quellen. Strassburg, 1890 (vi and 66 pp.).—In connection with Calvin's sojourn at Strassburg may also be consulted, R. Reuss: Histoire de l'église de Strassbourg, 1880; and A. Erichson: L'église française de Strassbourg au XVIme siècle, 1886.

E. Doumergue (Professor of Church History at Montauban): Essai sur l'histoire du culte réformé principalement au XVIe et au XlXe siècle. Paris, 1890. The first part, pp. 1-116, treats of Calvin's Liturgies and labors for church poetry and music.


The literature on Servetus will be given below, in the section on Calvin and Servetus.


VII. Histories of the Reformation in French Switzerland:

Abr. Ruchat (Professor of Theology in the Academy of Lausanne, d. 1750): Histoire de la réformation de la Suisse. Genève, 1727 sq., 6 vols.; new ed. with appendices, by Prof. L. Vulliemin, Nyon, 1835-'38, 7 vols. Comes down to 1566. Strongly anti-Romish and devoted to Bern, diffuse and inelegant in style, but full of matter, "un recueil de savantes dissertations, un extrait de documents" (Dardier, in Lichtenberger's "Encyclop.," XI. 345).—An English abridgment in one volume by J. Collinson: History of the Reformation in Switzerland by Ruchat. London, 1845. Goes to 1537.

Dan. Gerdes (1698-1767): Introductio in Historiam Evangelii seculo XVI. passim per Europam renovati doctrinaeque Reformatae; accedunt varia monumenta pietatis atque rei literariae. Groningae, 1744-'52, 4 vols. Contains pictures of the Reformers and interesting documents. Parts of vols. I., II., and IV. treat of the Swiss Reformation.

C. B. Hundeshagen (Professor in Bern, afterwards in Heidelberg and Bonn; d. 1872): Die Conflicte des Zwinglianismus, Lutherthums und Calvinismus in der Bernischen Landeskirche von 1532-1558. Nach meist ungedruckten Quellen. Bern, 1842.

*J. Gaberel (ancien pasteur): Histoire de l'église de Genève depuis le commencement de la réforme jusqu'en 1815. Genève, 1855-63, 3 vols.

P. Charpenne: Histoire de la réformation et des réformateurs de Genève. Paris, 1861.

Fleury: Histoire de l'église de Genève. Genève, 1880. 2 vols.

The works of Amad. Roget, quoted sub II.

*Merle D'Aubigné (Professor of Church History in the Free Church Theological Seminary at Geneva): Histoire de la réformation en Europe au temps du Calvin. Paris, 1863-'78. English translation in several editions, the best by Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1863-'78, 8 vols.; American edition by Carter, New York, 1870-'79, 8 vols. The second division of Merle's work on the Reformation. The last three volumes were edited after his death (Oct. 21, 1872) by Duchemin and Binder, and translated by William L. R. Cates. The work gives the history of the Reformation in Geneva down to 1542, and of the other Reformed Churches to the middle of the sixteenth century. It is, therefore, incomplete, but, as far as it goes, the most extensive, eloquent, and dramatic history of the Reformation by an enthusiastic partisan of the Reformers, especially Calvin, in full sympathy with their position and faith, except on the union of Church and State and the persecution of heretics. The first division, which is devoted to the Lutheran Reformation till 1530, had an extraordinary circulation in England and America. Ranke, with his calm, judicial temperament, wondered that such a book could be written in the nineteenth century. (See Preface to vol. VII. p. vi, note.)

Étienne Chastel (Professor of Church History in the University of Geneva, d. 1882): Histoire du Christianisme. Paris, 1882, 5 vols. Tom. IV. 66 sqq. treats of the Swiss Reformation.

G. P. Fisher: The Reformation. New York, 1873, ch. VII. pp. 192-241.

Philippe Godet (son of Frederic, the commentator): Histoire littéraire de la Suisse française. Neuchâtel and Paris, 1890. Ch. II. 51-112 treats of the Reformers (Farel, Viret, Froment, Calvin, and Beza).

Virgile Rossel: Histoire littéraire de la Suisse romande. Genève (H. Georg), 1890, 2 vols. The first vol. Des origines jusqu'au XVIIIme siècle.

The Histories of the Reformation in France usually give also an account of the labors of Farel, Calvin, and Beza; e.g. the first volume of Gottlob von Polenz: Geschichte des französischen Calvinismus (Gotha, 1857 sqq.).


 § 59. The Condition of French Switzerland before the Reformation.


The losses of the Reformation in German Switzerland were more than made up by the gains in French Switzerland; that is, in the three Cantons, Vaud, Neuchàtel, and Geneva.332  Protestantism moved westward. Calvin continued, improved, and completed the work of Zwingli, and gave it a wider significance. Geneva took the place of Zürich, and surpassed in influence the city of Zwingli and the city of Luther. It became "the Protestant Rome," from which proceeded the ideas and impulses for the Reformed Churches of France, Holland, England, and Scotland. The city of Calvin has long since departed from his rigorous creed and theocratic discipline, and will never return to them; but the evangelical faith still lives there in renewed vigor; and among cities of the same size there is none that occupies a more important and influential position in theological and religious activity as well as literary and social culture, and as a convenient centre for the settlement of international questions, than Geneva.

The Reformation of French Switzerland cannot be separated from that of France. The inhabitants of the two countries are of the same Celtic or Gallic stock mixed with Germanic (Frank and Burgundian) blood. The first evangelists of Western Switzerland were Frenchmen who had to flee from their native soil. They became in turn, through their pupils, the founders of the Reformed Church of France. The Reformed Churches of the two countries are one in spirit. After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many Huguenots found an asylum in Geneva, Vaud, and Neuchâtel. The French Swiss combine the best traits of the French character with Swiss solidity and love of freedom. They are ever ready to lend a helping hand to their brethren across the frontier, and they form at the same time a connecting link between them and the Protestants of the German tongue. Their excellent educational institutions attract students from abroad and train teachers for other countries.

The territory of the French Cantons, which embraces 1665 square miles, was in the sixteenth century under the protection of the Swiss Confederacy.

Vaud was conquered by Bern from the Duke of Savoy, and ruled by bailiffs till 1798.333

The principality of Neuchâtel and Valangin concluded a co-burghery with Freiburg, 1290, with Bern, 1307, and with Solothurn, 1324. In 1707 the principality passed to King Frederick I. of Prussia, who confirmed the rights and liberties of the country and its old alliance with Switzerland. The connection with Prussia continued till 1857, when it was dissolved by free consent.334

Geneva was originally governed by a bishop and a count, who divided the spiritual and secular government between them. Duke Charles III. of Savoy tried to subdue the city with the aid of an unworthy and servile bishop, Pierre de la Baume, whom he had appointed from his own family with the consent of Pope Leo X.335  But a patriotic party, under the lead of Philibert Berthelier, Besançon Hugues, and François Bonivard (Byron's "Prisoner of Chillon") opposed the attempt and began a struggle for independence, which lasted several years, and resembles on a small scale the heroic struggle of Switzerland against foreign oppression. The patriots, on account of their alliance with the Swiss, were called Eidgenossen,—a German word for (Swiss) Confederates, which degenerated by mispronunciation into Eignots and Huguenots, and passed afterwards from Geneva to France as a nickname for Protestants.336  The party of the Duke of Savoy and the bishop were nicknamed Mamelukes or slaves. The patriots gained the victory with the aid of the German Swiss. On Feb. 20, 1526, Bern and Freiburg concluded an alliance with Geneva, and pledged their armed aid for the protection of her independence. The citizens of Geneva ratified the Swiss alliance by an overwhelming majority, who shouted, "The Swiss and liberty!"  The bishop appealed in vain to the pope and the emperor, and left Geneva for St. Claude. But he had to accept the situation, and continued to rule ten years longer (till 1536).337

This political movement, of which Berthelier is the chief hero, had no connection with the Reformation, but prepared the way for it, and was followed by the evangelical labors of Farel and Viret, and the organization of the Reformed Church under Calvin. During the war of emancipation there grew up an opposition to the Roman Church and the clergy of Geneva, which sided with Savoy and was very corrupt, even according to the testimonies of Roman Catholic writers, such as Bishop Antoine Champion, Bonivard, the Soeur de Jussie, and Francis of Sales. Reports of the Lutheran and Zwinglian reformation nursed the opposition. Freiburg (Fribourg) remained Roman Catholic338 and broke the alliance with Geneva; but Bern strengthened the alliance and secured for Geneva political freedom from Savoy and religious freedom from Rome.




For the understanding of the geography and history of the Swiss Confederacy, the following facts should be considered in connection with the map facing p. 1.


1. The original Confederacy of the Three Forest Cantons (Urcantone, Waldstätte), Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden, from Aug. 1, 1291 (the date of the renewal of an older covenant of 1244) to 1332. Victory at Morgarten over Duke Leopold of Austria, Nov. 15, 1315. (After 1352 the number of Forest Cantons was five, including Luzern and Zug.)

2. The Confederacy of the Eight Cantons (Orte) from 1353 to 1481.

Luzern joined the Forest Cantons in 1332 (thenceforward the Confederacy was called the Bund der Vier Waldstätte, to which in 1352 was added Zug as the Fifth Forest Canton; hence the Fünf Orte or Five Cantons).


Zürich   joined   1351.

Glarus joined   1352.

Zug      "           1352

Bern     "           1353.


Victories over the Austrians at Sempach, July 9, 1386 (Arnold von Winkelried), and Näfels, April 9, 1388. Battle against the Dauphin of France (Louis XI.) Aug. 26, 1444, at St. Jacob near Basel (the Thermopylae of the Swiss), and victories over Charles the Bold of Burgundy, at Grandson, June 22, 1476, and Nancy, Jan. 5, 1477.

3. The Confederacy of the Thirteen Cantons, 1513-1798.


Freiburg           joined   1481.

Schaffhausen    joined   1501

Solothurn          "           1481

Appenzell         "           1513

Basel    "           1501.


4. The Confederation under the French Directory, 1798-1802. Vaud, with the help of France, made herself independent of Bern, 1798. Valtellina Chiavenna, and Bormio were lost to the Grisons and attached to the Cisalpine Republic by Napoleon, 1797. Neuchâtel separated from Switzerland.

5. The Confederation of Nineteen Cantons from 1803-1813, under the influence of Napoleon as "Mediator."

6. Modern Switzerland of Twenty-Two Cantons from the Congress of Vienna, 1815, to date.

The new Cantons are: Ticino, Valais, St. Gall, Aargau, Thurgau, Grisons, Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel. They were formerly dependent on, and protected by, or freely associated with, the Thirteen Can


 § 60. William Farel (1489-1565).


Letters of Farel and to Farel in Herminjard, beginning with vol. I. 193, and in the Strassburg edition of Calvin's correspondence, Opera, X.-XX.

Biographies by Beza (Icones, 1580, with a picture); Melchior Adam (Decades duae, 57-61); *Kirchhofer (1833, 2 vols.); Verheiden (Imagines et Elogia, 1725, p. 86 sq., with picture); Chenevière (1835); Junod (1865). Merle D'Aubigné gives a very minute but broken account of Farel's earlier labors, especially in Geneva (vols. III., IV., V., books 5, 6, and 9) . See also Ruchat, F. Godet, and other works mentioned in § 58, and art. "Farel" in La France Protestante, tome VI. 886-416 (1888).


Two years after the political emancipation of Geneva from the yoke of Savoy, Bern embraced the Protestant Reformation (1528), and at once exerted her political and moral influence for the introduction of the new religion into the neighboring French territory over which she had acquired control. She found three evangelists ready for this work,—one a native of Vaud, and two fugitive Frenchmen. The city of Freiburg, the Duke of Savoy, Charles V., and the pope endeavored to prevent the progress of heresy, but in vain.

The pioneer of Protestantism in Western Switzerland is William Farel. He was a travelling evangelist, always in motion, incessant in labors, a man full of faith and fire, as bold and fearless as Luther and far more radical, but without his genius. He is called the Elijah of the French Reformation, and "the scourge of the priests."  Once an ardent papist, he became as ardent a Protestant, and looked hereafter only at the dark side, the prevailing corruptions and abuses of Romanism. He hated the pope as the veritable Antichrist, the mass as idolatry, pictures and relics as heathen idols which must be destroyed like the idols of the Canaanites. Without a regular ordination, he felt himself divinely called, like a prophet of old, to break down idolatry and to clear the way for the spiritual worship of God according to his own revealed word. He was a born fighter; he came, not to bring peace, but the sword. He had to deal with priests who carried firearms and clubs under their frocks, and he fought them with the sword of the word and the spirit. Once he was fired at, but the gun burst, and, turning round, he said, "I am not afraid of your shots."  He never used violence himself, except in language. He had an indomitable will and power of endurance. Persecution and violence only stimulated him to greater exertions. His outward appearance was not prepossessing: he was small and feeble, with a pale but sunburnt face, narrow forehead, red and ill-combed beard, fiery eyes, and an expressive mouth.

Farel had some of the best qualities of an orator: a sonorous and stentorian voice, appropriate gesture, fluency of speech, and intense earnestness, which always commands attention and often produces conviction. His contemporaries speak of the thunders of his eloquence and of his transporting prayers. "Tua illa fulgura," writes Calvin. "Nemo tonuit fortius," says Beza. His sermons were extemporized, and have not come down to us. Their power lay in the oral delivery. We may compare him to Whitefield, who was likewise a travelling evangelist, endowed with the magnetism of living oratory. In Beza's opinion, Calvin was the most learned, Farel the most forcible, Viret the most gentle preacher of that age.339

The chief defect of Farel was his want of moderation and discretion. He was an iconoclast. His violence provoked unnecessary opposition, and often did more harm than good. Oecolampadius praised his zeal, but besought him to be also moderate and gentle. "Your mission," he wrote to him, "is to evangelize, not to curse. Prove yourself to be an evangelist, not a tyrannical legislator. Men want to be led, not driven."  Zwingli, shortly before his death, exhorted him not to expose himself rashly, but to reserve himself for the further service of the Lord.

Farel's work was destructive rather than constructive. He could pull down, but not build up. He was a conqueror, but not an organizer of his conquests; a man of action, not a man of letters; an intrepid preacher, not a theologian. He felt his defects, and handed his work over to the mighty genius of his younger friend Calvin. In the spirit of genuine humility and self-denial, he was willing to decrease that Calvin might increase. This is the finest trait in his character.340

Guillaume Farel, the oldest of seven children of a poor but noble family, was born in the year 1489 (five years after Luther and Zwingli, twenty years before Calvin) at Gap, a small town in the alps of Dauphiné in the south-east of France, where the religious views of the Waldenses were once widely spread. He inherited the blind faith of his parents, and doubted nothing. He made with them, as he remembered in his old age, a pilgrimage to a wonder-working cross which was believed to be taken from the cross of our Lord. He shared in the superstitious veneration of pictures and relics, and bowed before the authority of monks and priests. He was, as he said, more popish than popery.

At the same time he had a great thirst for knowledge, and was sent to school at Paris. Here he studied the ancient languages (even Hebrew), philosophy, and theology. His principal teacher, Jacques Le Fèvre d'Étaples (Faber Stapulensis, 1455-1536), the pioneer of the Reformation in France and translator of the Scriptures, introduced him into the knowledge of Paul's Epistles and the doctrine of justification by faith, and prophetically told him, already in 1512: "My son, God will renew the world, and you will witness it."341  Farel acquired the degree of Master of Arts (January, 1517), and was appointed teacher at the college of Cardinal Le Moine.

The influence of Le Fèvre and the study of the Bible brought him gradually to the conviction that salvation can be found only in Christ, that the word of God is the only rule of faith, and that the Roman traditions and rites are inventions of man. He was amazed that he could find in the New Testament no trace of the pope, of the hierarchy, of indulgences, of purgatory, of the mass, of seven sacraments, of sacerdotal celibacy, of the worship of Mary and the saints. Le Fèvre, being charged with heresy by the Sorbonne, retired in 1521 to his friend William Briçonnet, bishop of Meaux, who was convinced of the necessity of a reformation within the Catholic Church, without separation from Rome.342  There he translated the New Testament into French, which was published in 1523 without his name (almost simultaneously with Luther's German New Testament.) Several of his pupils, Farel, Gérard, Roussel, Michel d'Arande, followed him to Meaux, and were authorized by Briçonnet to preach in his diocese. Margaret of Valois, sister of King Francis I. (then Duchess of Alençon, afterwards Queen of Navarre), patronized the reformers and also the freethinkers. But Farel was too radical for the mild bishop, and forbidden to preach, April 12, 1523. He went to Gap and made some converts, including four of his brothers; but the people found his doctrine "very strange," and drove him away. There was no safety for him anywhere in France, which then began seriously to persecute the Protestants.

Farel fled to Basel, and was hospitably received by Oecolampadius. At his suggestion he held a public disputation in Latin on thirteen theses, in which he asserted the perfection of the Scriptures, Christian liberty, the duty of pastors to preach the Gospel, the doctrine of justification by faith, and denounced images, fasting, celibacy, and Jewish ceremonies (Feb. 23, 1524).343  The disputation was successful, and led to the conversion of the Franciscan monk Pellican, a distinguished Greek and Hebrew scholar, who afterwards became professor at Zürich. He also delivered public lectures and sermons. Oecolampadius wrote to Luther that Farel was a match for the Sorbonne.344  Erasmus, whom Farel imprudently charged with cowardice and called a Balaam, regarded him as a dangerous disturber of the peace,345 and the Council (probably at the advice of Erasmus) expelled him from the city.

Farel now spent about a year in Strassburg with Bucer and Capito. Before he went there he made a brief visit to Zürich, Schaffhausen, and Constance, and became acquainted with Zwingli, Myconius, and Grebel. He had a letter of commendation to Luther from Oecolampadius, but it is not likely that he went to Wittenberg, since there is no allusion to it either in his or in Luther's letters. At the request of Ulrich, Duke of Würtemberg, he preached in Mömpelgard (Montbéliard), and roused a fierce opposition, which forced him soon to return to Strassburg. Here he found Le Fèvre and other friends from Meaux, whom the persecution had forced to flee.

In 1526 Farel was again in Switzerland, and settled for a while, at the advice of Haller, as school teacher under the name of Guillaume Ursinus (with reference to Bern, the city of bears), at Aigle (Ælen)346 in the Pays de Vaud on the borders of Valais, subject to Bern.

He attended the Synod in Bern, January, 1528, which decided the victory of the Reformation, and received a commission from that city to preach in all the districts under its control (March 8, 1528). He accordingly labored as a sort of missionary bishop at Murat (Murten), Lausanne, Neuchâtel, Valangin, Yverdun, Biel (Bienne), in the Münster valley, at Orbe, Avenche, St. Blaise, Grandson, and other places. He turned every stump and stone into a pulpit, every house, street, and market-place into a church; provoked the wrath of monks, priests, and bigoted women; was abused, called, "heretic" and, "devil," insulted, spit upon, and more than once threatened with death. An attempt to poison him failed. Wherever he went he stirred up all the forces of the people, and made them take sides for or against the new gospel.

His arrival in Neuchâtel (December, 1529) marks an epoch in its history. In spite of violent opposition, he succeeded in introducing the Reformation in the city and neighboring villages. He afterwards returned to Neuchâtel, where he finished his course.347  Robert Olivetan, Calvin's cousin, published the first edition of his French translation of the Bible at Neuchâtel in 1535. Farel had urged him to do this work. It is the basis of the numerous French translations made since that time.

In 1532 Farel with his friend Saunier visited the Waldenses in Piedmont at the request of Georg Morel and Peter Masson, two Waldensian preachers, who were returning from a visit to Strassburg and the Reformed Churches of Switzerland. He attended the Synod which met at Chanforans in the valley of Angrogne, Sept. 12, 1532, and resolved to adopt the doctrines of the Reformation. He advised them to establish schools. He afterwards collected money for them and sent them four teachers, one of whom was Robert Olivetan, who was at that time private tutor at Geneva. This is the beginning of the fraternal relations between the Waldenses and the Reformed Churches which continue to this day.


 § 61. Farel at Geneva. First Act of the Reformation (1535).


On their return from Piedmont, Farel and Saunier stopped at Geneva, Oct. 2, 1532. Zwingli had previously directed the attention of Farel to that city as an important field for the Reformation. Olivetan was there to receive them.

The day after their arrival the evangelists were visited by a number of distinguished citizens of the Huguenot party, among whom was Ami Perrin, one of the most ardent promoters of the Reformation, and afterwards one of the chief opponents of Calvin. They explained to them from the open Bible the Protestant doctrines, which would complete and consolidate the political freedom recently achieved. They stirred up a great commotion. The Council was alarmed, and ordered them to leave the city. Farel declared that he was no trumpet of sedition, but a preacher of the truth, for which he was ready to die. He showed credentials from Bern, which made an impression. He was also summoned to the Episcopal Council in the house of the Abbé de Beaumont, the vicar-general of the diocese. He was treated with insolence. "Come thou, filthy devil," said one of the canons, "art thou baptized?  Who invited you hither?  Who gave you authority to preach?"  Farel replied with dignity: "I have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and am not a devil. I go about preaching Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification. Whoever believes in him will be saved; unbelievers will be lost. I am sent by God as a messenger of Christ, and am bound to preach him to all who will hear me. I am ready to dispute with you, and to give an account of my faith and ministry. Elijah said to King Ahab, 'It is thou, and not I, who disturbest Israel.'  So I say, it is you and yours, who trouble the world by your traditions, your human inventions, and your dissolute lives."  The priests had no intention to enter into a discussion; they knew and confessed, "If we argue, our trade is gone."  One of the canons exclaimed: "He has blasphemed; we need no further evidence; he deserves to die."  Farel replied: "Speak the words of God, and not of Caiaphas."  Hereupon the whole assembly shouted: "Away with him to the Rhone!  Kill the Lutheran dog!"  He was reviled, beaten, and shot at. One of the syndics interposed for his protection. He was ordered by the Episcopal Council to leave Geneva within three hours.

He escaped with difficulty the fury of the priests, who pursued him with clubs. He was covered with spittle and bruises. Some Huguenots came to his defence, and accompanied him and Saunier in a boat across the lake to a place between Morges and Lausanne. At Orbe, Farel found Antoine Froment, a native of Dauphiné, and prevailed on him to go to Geneva as evangelist and a teacher of children (November, 1532); but he was also obliged to flee.

In this critical condition the Roman party, supported by Freiburg, called to their aid Guy Furbity, a learned Dominican doctor of the Sorbonne. He preached during advent, 1533, against the Protestant heresy with unmeasured violence. In Jan. 1, 1534, the bishop forbade all preaching without his permission.

Farel returned under the protection of Bern, and held a public disputation with Furbity, Jan. 29, 1534, in the presence of the Great and Small Councils and the delegates of Bern. He could not answer all his objections, but he denied the right of the Church to impose ordinances which were not authorized by the Scriptures, and defended the position that Christ was the only head of the Church. He used the occasion to explain the Protestant doctrines, and to attack the Roman hierarchy. Christ and the Holy Spirit, he said, are not with the pope, but with those whom he persecutes. The disputation lasted several days, and ended in a partial victory for Farel. Unable to argue from the Scriptures, Furbity confessed:, What I preached I cannot prove from the Bible; I have learned it from the Summa of St. Thomas"; but he repeated in the pulpit of St. Peter's his charges against the heretics, Feb. 15, and was put in prison for several years.

Farel continued to preach in private houses. On March 1, when a monk, Francis Coutelier, attacked the Reformation, he ascended the pulpit to refute him. This was his first public sermon in Geneva. The Freiburgers protested against these proceedings, and withdrew from the coburghery (April 12). The bishop pronounced the ban over the city (April 30); the Duke of Savoy threatened war. But Bern stood by Geneva, and under her powerful protection, Farel, Viret, and Froment vigorously pushed the Reformation, though not without much violence.

The priests, monks, and nuns gradually left the city, and the bishop transferred his see to Annecy, an asylum prepared by the Duke of Savoy. Sister Jeanne de Jussie, one of the nuns of St. Claire, has left us a lively and naive account of their departure to Annecy. "It was a piteous thing," she says, "to see this holy company in such a plight, so overcome with fatigue and grief that several swooned by the way. It was rainy weather, and all were obliged to walk through muddy roads, except four poor invalids who were in a carriage. There were six poor old women who had taken their vows more than sixteen years before. Two of these, who were past sixty-six, and had never seen anything of the world, fainted away repeatedly. They could not bear the wind; and when they saw the cattle in the fields, they took the cows for bears, and the long-wooled sheep for ravaging wolves. They who met them were so overcome with compassion that they could not speak a word. And though our mother, the vicaress, had supplied them all with good shoes to save their feet, the greater number could not walk in them, but hung them at their waists. And so they walked from five o'clock in the morning, when they left Geneva, till near midnight, when they got to St. Julien, which is only a little league off."  It took the nuns fifteen hours to go a short league. The next day (Aug. 29) they reached Annecy under the ringing of all the bells of the city, and found rest in the monastery of the Holy Cross. The good sister Jussie saw in the Reformation a just punishment of the unfaithful clergy. "Ah," she said, "the prelates and churchmen did not observe their vows at this time, but squandered dissolutely the ecclesiastical property, keeping women in adultery and lubricity, and awakening the anger of God, which brought divine judgment on them."348

In Aug. 27, 1535, the Great Council of Two Hundred issued an edict of the Reformation, which was followed by another, May 21, 1536. The mass was abolished and forbidden, images and relics were removed from the churches. The citizens pledged themselves by an oath to live according to the precepts of the Gospel. A school was established for the elementary religious education of the young at the Convent de Rive, under the direction of Saunier. Out of it grew, afterwards, the college and academy of Calvin. A general hospital was founded at St. Claire, and endowed with the revenues of old Catholic hospitals. The bishop's palace was converted into a prison. Four ministers and two deacons were appointed with fixed salaries payable out of the ecclesiastical revenues. Daily sermons were introduced at St. Pierre and St. Gervais; the communion after the simple solemn fashion of Zürich was, to be celebrated four times a year; baptism might be administered on any day, but only in the church, and by a minister. All shops were to be closed on Sunday. A strict discipline, which extended even to the headdress of brides, began to be introduced.

This was the first act in the history of the Reformation of Geneva. It was the work of Farel, but only preparatory to the more important work of Calvin. The people were anxious to get rid of the rule of Savoy and the bishop, but had no conception of evangelical religion, and would not submit to discipline. They mistook freedom for license. They were in danger of falling into the opposite extreme of disorder and confusion.

This was the state of things when Calvin arrived at Geneva in the summer of 1536, and was urged by Farel to assume the great task of building a new Church on the ruins of the old. Although twenty years older, he assumed willingly a subordinate position. He labored for a while as Calvin's colleague, and was banished with him from Geneva, because they demanded submission to a confession of faith and a rigorous discipline. Calvin went to Strassburg. Farel accepted a call as pastor to Neuchâtel (July, 1538), the city where he had labored before.


 § 62. The Last Labors of Farel.


For the remaining twenty-seven years of his life, Farel remained chief pastor at Neuchâtel, and built up the Protestant Church in connection with Fabri, his colleague. He tried to introduce a severe discipline, by which he offended many of the new converts, and even his friends in Bern; but Fabri favored a milder course.

From Neuchâtel Farel, following his missionary impulse, made preaching excursions to Geneva, Strassburg, and Metz, in Lorraine. At Metz he preached in the cemetery of the Dominicans, while the monks sounded all the bells to drown his voice. He accompanied Calvin to Zürich to bring about the Consensus Tigurinus with the Zwinglians (1549). He followed Servetus to the stake (Oct. 27, 1553), and exhorted him in vain to renounce his errors. He collected money for the refugees of Locarno, and sent letters of comfort to his persecuted brethren in France. He made two visits to Germany (1557) to urge upon the German princes an active intercession in behalf of the Waldenses and French Protestants, but without effect. In December, 1558, when already sixty-nine years of age, he married, against the advice of his friends, a poor maiden, who had fled with her widowed mother from France to Neuchâtel.349  Calvin was much annoyed by this indiscretion, but besought the preachers of that city to bear with patience the folly of the old bachelor.

The marriage did not cool Farel's zeal. In 1559 he visited the French refugees in Alsace and Lorraine. In November, 1561, he accepted an invitation to Gap, his birthplace, and ventured to preach in public, notwithstanding the royal prohibition, to the large number of his fellow-citizens who had become Protestants.

Shortly before his death Calvin informed him of his illness, May 2, 1564, in the last letter from his pen: "Farewell, my best and truest brother!  And since it is God's will that you remain behind me in the world, live mindful of our friendship, which as it was useful to the Church of God, so the fruit of it awaits us in heaven. Pray do not fatigue yourself on my account. It is with difficulty that I draw my breath, and I expect that every moment will be the last. It is enough that I live and die for Christ, who is the reward of his followers both in life and in death. Again, farewell with the brethren."350  Farel, notwithstanding the infirmity of old age, travelled to Geneva, and paid his friend a touching farewell visit, but returned home before his death. He wrote to Fabri: "Would I could die for him!  What a beautiful course has he happily. finished!  God grant that we may thus finish our course according to the grace that he has given us."

His last journey was a farewell visit to the Protestants at Metz, who received him with open arms, and were exceedingly comforted by his presence (May, 1565). He preached with the fire of his youth. Soon after his return to Neuchâtel, he died peacefully, Sept. 13, 1565, seventy-six years old. The friends who visited him in his last days were deeply impressed with his heroic steadfastness and hopefulness. He was poor and disinterested, like all the Reformers.351  A monument was erected to him at Neuchâtel, May 4, 1876.

The writings of Farel are polemical and practical tracts for the times, mostly in French.352


 § 63. Peter Viret and the Reformation in Lausanne.


Biographies of Viret in Beza's Icones, in Verheiden's Imagines et Elogia (with a list of his works, pp. 88-90), by Chenevière (1835), Jaquemot (1856), C. Schmidt (1860). References to him in Ruchat, Le Chroniqueur, Gaberel, Merle D'Aubigné, etc.


Farel was aided in his evangelistic efforts chiefly by Viret and Froment, who agreed with his views, but differed from his violent method.

Peter Viret, the Reformer of Lausanne, was the only native Swiss among the pioneers of Protestantism in Western Switzerland; all others were fugitive Frenchmen. He was born, 1511, at Orbe, in the Pays de Vaud, and educated for the priesthood at Paris. He acquired a considerable amount of classical and theological learning, as is evident from his writings. He passed, like Luther and Farel, through a severe mental and moral struggle for truth and peace of conscience. He renounced Romanism before he was ordained, and returned to Switzerland. He was induced by Farel in 1531 to preach at Orbe. He met with considerable success, but also with great difficulty and opposition from priests and people. He converted his parents and about two hundred persons in Orbe, to whom he administered the holy communion in 1532. He shared the labors and trials of Farel and Froment in Geneva. An attempt was made to poison them; he alone ate of the poisoned dish, but recovered, yet with a permanent injury to his health.

His chief work was done at Lausanne, where he labored as pastor, teacher, and author for twenty-two years. By order of the government of Bern a public disputation was held Oct. 1 to 10, 1536.353  Viret, Farel, Calvin, Fabri, Marcourt, and Caroli were called to defend the Reformed doctrines. Several priests and monks were present, as Drogy, Mimard, Michod, Loys, Berilly, and a French physician, Claude Blancherose. A deputy of Bern presided. The discussion was conducted in French. Farel prepared ten Theses in which he asserts the supremacy of the Bible, justification by faith alone, the high-priesthood and mediatorship of Christ, spiritual worship without ceremonies and images, the sacredness of marriage, Christian freedom in the observance or non-observance of things indifferent, such as fasts and feasts. Farel and Viret were the chief speakers. The result was the introduction of the Reformation, November 1 of the same year. Viret and Pierre Caroli were appointed preachers. Viret taught at the same time in the academy founded by Bern in 1540.

Caroli stayed only a short time. He was a native of France and a doctor of the Sorbonne, who had become nominally a Protestant, but envied Viret for his popularity, took offence at his sermons, and wantonly charged him, Farel, and Calvin, with Arianism. He was deposed as a slanderer, and at length returned to the Roman Church.354

In 1549 Beza was appointed second professor of theology at the academy, and greatly strengthened Viret's hands. Five young Frenchmen who were trained by them for the ministry, and had returned to their native land to preach the gospel, were seized at Lyons and burned, May 16, 1553, notwithstanding the intercession of the Reformed Cantons with King Henry II.

Viret attempted to introduce a strict discipline with the ban, but found as much opposition as Calvin at Geneva and Farel at Neuchâtel. Bern disapproved the ban and also the preaching of the rigorous doctrine of predestination. Beza was discouraged, and accepted a call to Geneva (September, 1558). Viret was deposed (Jan. 20, 1559). The professors of the academy and a number of preachers resigned. Viret went to Geneva and was appointed preacher of the city (March 2, 1559). His sermons were more popular and impressive than those of Calvin, and better attended.

With the permission of Geneva, he labored for a while as an evangelist, with great success, at Nismes, Montpellier, and Lyons. He presided as Moderator over the fourth national Synod of the Huguenots, August, 1563. He accepted a call from Jeanne d'Albret to an academy at Orthez, in Bearn, which she founded in 1566. There, in 1571, he died, the last of the triumvirate of the founders of the Reformed Church in French Switzerland. He was twice married, first to a lady of Orbe (1538); a second time, to a lady of Geneva (1546). He was small, sickly, and emaciated, but fervent in spirit, and untiring in labor.

Viret was an able and fruitful author, and shows an uncommon familiarity with classical and theological literature. He wrote, mostly in the form of dialogues, expositions of the Apostles' Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, a summary of Christian doctrine, polemical books against the Council of Trent, against the mass and other doctrines of Romanism, and tracts on Providence, the Sacraments, and practical religion. The most important is The Christian Instruction in the Doctrine of the Gospel and the Law, and in the true Philosophy and Theology both Natural and Supernatural (Geneva, 1564, 3 vols. fol.). His writings are exceedingly rare.355


 § 64. Antoine Froment.


A. Froment: Les actes et gestes merveilleux de la cité de Genève, nouvellement convertie à l'Evangile. Edited by G. Revilliod, Genève, 1854. A chronicle from 1532 to 1536, fresh and lively, but partial and often inac-curate. Much used by Merle D'Aubigné. Letters in Herminjard, Tom. IV.

There is no special monograph of Froment, and he is omitted in Beza's Icones and also in Verheiden's Imagines et Elogia (Hagae, 1725), probably on account of his spotted character. Sketches in La France Protest., VI. 723-733, and notices in Roget, Merle D'Aubigné, Gaberel, Polenz. A good article by Th. Schott in Herzog2, IV. 677-699, and by Roget in Lichtenberger's "Encycl.," V. 342-344. On his literary merita see Phil. Godet, Histoire litteraire de la Suisse Romande, 82 sqq.


Antoine Froment was born in 1509 in Mens, in Dauphiné, and was one of the earliest disciples of Farel, his countryman. He accompanied him in his evangelistic tours through Switzerland, and shared in his troubles, persecutions, and successes. In 1532 he went for the first time to Geneva, and opened an elementary school in which he taught religion. He advertised it by placards in these words: "A man has arrived, who in the space of one month will teach anybody, great or small, male or female, to read and write French; who does not learn it in that time need not pay anything. He will also heal many diseases without charge."  The people flocked to him; he was an able teacher, and turned his lessons into addresses and sermons.

On new year's day, in 1533, he preached his first sermon on the public place, Molard, attacked the pope, priests, and monks as false prophets (Matt. 7:15 sq.), but was interrupted by armed priests, and forced by the police to flee to a retreat. He left the city by night, in February, but returned again and again, and aided Farel, Viret, and Calvin.

Unfortunately he did not remain faithful to his calling, and fell into disgrace. He neglected his pastoral duties, kept a shop, and at last gave up the ministry. His colleagues, especially Calvin, complained bitterly of him.356  In December, 1549, he was engaged by Bonivard, the official historian of the Republic, to assist him in his Chronicle, which was completed in 1552. Then he became a public notary of Geneva (1553). He got into domestic troubles. Soon after the death of his first wife, formerly abbess of a convent, he married a second time (1561), but committed adultery with a servant, was deposed, imprisoned, and banished, 1562.

His misfortune seems to have wrought in him a beneficial change. In 1572 he was permitted on application to return to Geneva in view of his past services, and in 1574 he was reinstated as notary. He died in 1581(?). The Genevese honored his memory as one, though the least important, and the least worthy, of the four Reformers of their city. His chief work is the Chronicle mentioned above, which supplements the Chronicles of Bonivard, and Sister Jeanne de Jussie.357



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

332  La Suisse française orla Suisse romande. Vaud has 1244 square miles; Neuchâtel, 312; Geneva, 109. The first numbered, in 1889, 251,000 inhabitants; the second, 109,000; the third, 107,000.

333  See Vulliemin, Le canton de Vaud, Lausanne, 3d ed., 1885. Verdeil, Histoire du canton de Vaud, Lausanne, 1854-'57, 4 vols.

334  See the historical works on Neuchâtel by Chambrier, Matile, Boyve, Majer, Benoît.

335  Pierre de la Baume was bishop of Geneva from 1523 to 1536, became bishop of Besançon 1542, and died 1544. Bonivard (as quoted by Audin, who praises the bishops of Geneva) says of him: "He was a great dissipator of goods, in all things superfluous, esteeming it a sovereign virtue in a prelate to have his table loaded with large dishes of meat and all sorts of wines; and when there he gave himself up so completely as to exceed thirty-one courses." Audin adds (p. 116): "This shaft would have been much more pointed, had not Bonivard often seated himself at this table and drank far otherwise than became the prior of St. Victor."

336  Merle D'Aubigné, I. 119: "Until after the Reformation, this sobriquet had a purely political meaning, in no respect religious, and designated simply the friends of independence. Many years after, the enemies of the Protestants of France called them by this name, wishing to stigmatize them and impute to them a foreign, republican, and heretical origin. Such is the true etymology of the term." There are, however, two other etymologies,—one from Hugh Capet, from whom descended Henry IV., the political and military leader of the Huguenots.

337  For the details of these political struggles, which have little interest for Church history, see Merle D'Aubigné, I. 1-426; the Histories of Geneva, and Am. Roget, Les Suisses et Genève, ou l'emancipation de la communautégenevoise au XVIesiècle, Genève, 1864, 2 vols. Also Kampschulte, l.c. I. 3-90.

338  It is famous for the organ in the Church of St. Nicolas, for a suspension bridge, and a Catholic university. It is the seat of the bishop of Lausanne, and must not be confounded with Freiburg-im-Breisgau in the Grand Duchy of Baden, which is also a stronghold of Romanism.

339  Beza, in his Icones, thus describes Farel's best qualities: "Hic enim ille est qui nullis diffictultatibus fractus, nullis minis, convitiis, verberibus denique inflictis territus, Mombelgardenses, Neocomenses, Lausanenses, Aquileienses, Genevenses denique Christo lucrifecit. Fuit enim in hoc homine praeter pietatem, doctrinam, vitae innocentiam, eximiamque modestiam, singularis quaedam animi praesentia, ingenium acre, sermo vehementiae plenus, ut tonare potius quam loqui videretur: ardorque denique tantus in precando, ut audientes quasi in coelum usque subveheret." And he compares Calvin, Farel, and Viret in these verses (in 1568):—

"Gallica mirata est Calvinum ecclesia nuper,

 Quo nemo docuit doctius.

 Est quoque te nuper mirata, Farelle, tonantem,

 Quo nemo tonuit fortius.

 Et miratur adhuc funden tem mella Viretum,

 Quo nemo fatur dulcius.

 Scilicet aut tribus his servabere testibus olim,

 Aut interibis Gallia."

340  "L'homme du midi [Farel] était fait pour conquérir; l'homme du nord [Calvin] pour conserver et discipliner la conquête. Farel en eut le sentiment si distinct, qu'il s'effaça spontanément devant Calvin le jour oùil le contraignit par les 'tonnerres' de sa parole de demeurer àGenève, qui avait besoin de son génie." Philippe Godet, Hist. litter. de la Suisse française, p. 51.

341  "Mon fils, Dieu renouvellera le monde et tu en seras le témoin." Herminjard, I. 5, note. Compare the passage there quoted from Le Fèvre's work on St. Paul.

342  Herminjard (I. 3) begins his Correspondance des Réf. with a letter of Le Fèvre to Briçonnet, Dec. 15, 1512, in which he dedicated to him his Commentary on the Epistles of Paul.

343  Herminjard (I. 193-195) gives the theses from the Archives of Zürich. The first is the most characteristic: "Absolutissimam nobis praescripsit Christus vivendi regulam, cui nec addere licet, nec detrahere." OEcolampadius served as interpreter, since Farel's French pronunciation of Latin made it difficult to understand him.

344  "Nimirum instructus ad totam Sorbonicam affligendam, si non et perdendam." Letter of May 15, 1524, in Herminjard, I. 215.

345  He described him in a letter to the official of Besançon, 1524: "Nihil vidi unquam mendacius, virulentius aut seditiosius." Quite natural from his standpoint. The two characters had no points of contact.

346  In August, 1526, Bucer addressed him, "Ursinus, Ælae episcopus." Herminjard, I. 461.

347  For a graphic account of his labors in Neuchâtel, see Vuillemin's Le Chroniqueur, pp. 86 sqq., and F. Godet, Histoire de la reformation et du refuge dans le pays de Neuchâtel (1859), pp. 69-190.

348  Le commencement de l'hérésie en Gènève. Grénus, Fragments historiques, pp. 199-208; Le Chroniqueur, 147-150. Ruchat (III. 383, ed. Vulliemin) doubts the simplicity of these good sisters, and suspects them of occasional communication with the Franciscans through subterranean passages: "Il y a pourtant quelque lieu de douter si ces religieuses étaient aussi simples que la soeur de Jussi voudrait nous le faire accroire. Les chemins souterrains qu'on découvrit après leur départ sous leur couvent (et qui conduissaient àcelui des Cordeliers qui était a quelques pas de là), donnent tout lieu de soupçonner qu'elles recevaient de temps en temps des visites de ces bons frères, et qu'ainsi elles n'étaient pas tant novices dans les affaires du monde."

349  Six years afterwards he became the father of a son, his only child, who survived him three years. John Knox surpassed him in matrimonial enterprise: he married, as a widower of fifty-eight, a Scotch lass of sixteen, of royal name and blood (Margaret Stuart), who bore him three daughters, and two years after his death (1572) contracted a second marriage. If Erasmus had lived, he might have pointed to these examples in confirmation of his witticisms on the marriages of Luther and Oecolampadius.

350  Calvin, Opera, XX. 302, where this epistola is called "ultima omnium et valedictoria."

351  La France Prot., VI. 409: "Toute sa succession se monta à120 livres, preuve de son entière desintéressement." Godet, l.c, p. 185: "Calvin mourant ne laissa que 125 écus de fortune àses héritiers. Le petit trésor de Farel trouvéaprès sa mort se montait à120 livres du pays."

352  See a list of 18 in Schmidt, l.c., p. 38; a more complete one (24) in La France Protest., VI. 410-414. Herminjard, in the 7 vols. of his Correspond. des Réf, gives 107 of his letters, and 242 letters addressed to him.

353  The acts of this disputation are printed in Vulliemin's Chroniqueur en l'an 1536, No. 17, pp. 315-326. The chapter of Lausanne protested, pp. 316, 325.

354  See his letter of submission to Pope Paul III., June, 1537, in Herminjard, IV. 248 sqq.

355  C. Schmidt, in his monograph on Viret, pp. 56-71, gives a list of them with extracts. Comp. Phil. Godet, l.c. 70 sqq.

356  "Froment," says Farel, "a dégénéréen ivraie (ivresse)."

357  Michelet (Hist. de France, XI. 91): "Nul livre plus amusant que la chronique de Froment, hardi colporteur de la grâce, naif et mordant satirique que les dévotes génevoises, plaisamment dévoilées par lui, essayèrent de jeter au Rhône."

Click Your Choice