Newspaper Page Text
10 . THE PRESBYTERIA]
on his death-bed he spoke of his work as "a little labor.*' 11 is courage was undaunted. Well has Henry said of him?"He was a prophet-like figure, moulded on Old Testament lines." When Melanchthon was wavering and yielding in the Interim period, Calvin wrote to him?''Vacillation in so great a man is not to be tolerated. I would a hundred times rather die with you than see you survive a doctrine which you had betrayed." He was moulded into a type of irresistible 1... I-"'' * ^,1.v.ugi.ii i}\ meiong trials. Listen to his defiance of the Libertines: "As long as you are here you will have to obey the laws and if there were as many diadems in your houses as there are heads, God will yet know how to remain Master." And when, in 1553, dangers thickened and death frowned 011 him, on every hand, when friends were few and his power seemed broken, he said : "They want to taste my blood, although I doubt whether they would like the taste as well as their own sins. But God lives, and this faith encourages me. And if all Geneva conspired to kill me, 1 would yet cry out the word, for which they so bitterly hate me?Repent." Or think of that heroic scene, in St. Peter's, when he drove the rebellious Libertines from the Lord's table; or that other scene, when he appeared in the Great Assembly and stood forth among a bloodthirsty mob, eager for his life, with bared head and breast and calmed their passionate fury into sullen shame, by his withering cbnrp ona _ ? ?0 0 ?...u ma iiicsisuuic acicircss. Certainly he was a man built on heroic lines! Strict disciplinarian as he was, he was yet not wholly austere. Morns tells us of his habit of playing the game LaCleff with the Syndics and John Knox found him pitching cpioits in his garden with his friends. But above all other traits of character stands that of absolute conscientiousness, and it was exhibited even in the minutest details of life. All his life lonf lie hail -- : " " _ 0 ? .v. vv/nivuu wuii an irasciDie temper, which he himself called "his wild animal." Easily condoning personal insult and injury, his wrath fairly boiled over when the honor of God was at stake. Thus he flamed up against Gruet and Servetus and Balduin and the Italian coterie. He suffered under his weakness till the day of his death. In the memorable farewell address to the Council of Geneva, he said: "I own specially that I am greatly indebted to your kindness for bearing so patiently with my often unbridled impetuosity. I hope and trust that God will also forgive me the sins which I have thus committed." He knew his sin and repented of it; a sign of true greatness. One more trait in the character of Calvin must be touched. His enemies have often repeated the slander that he was utterly devoid of human sympathy. Nothing is more evidently belied by the facts in the case. Distance often "lends enchantment to the view," but one is rarely a hero to his intimates. Yet those who kiicw i_.aivin nest, loved him most tenderly. Think of Farel and Viret, of Bucer and Melanchthon, especially of Beza! How pathetically tender and solicitous for their welfare his letters show him to have been! He bore the burdens of their grief and rejoiced in their happiness. If any one doubts, let him read the letter to Farel, writtep on the occasion of the death or murder N OF THE SOUTH. February 10, 1909. of his blind Genevan colleague, Conrad, or the Introduction to the Commentary of Titus and learn how he loved Farel and Yiret. How he opened the secret doors of his soul to these bosom friends in his letters! Whoever would know Calvin, as a man, must read his correspondence. He loved his wife with an intense, though unostenta- . tious love. When she was ill. he telle VJret* , - vw . i'lj Wilt is ill, hence my thoughts are distracted." When the prevalence of the plague caused her to leave Strasburg, he writes: "She flits night ami day before my eyes, alone as she is and comfortless and without support." He calls her "Singularis exempli foemina," a unique example of h woman. We can follow the course of her chronic illness in his letters to his friends, and when at last he lost her, he writes to Yiret: "You know the tenderness, or, far rather, the weakness of my heart, and therefore you know full well that, if I had not exercised the whole force of my spirit, to soften my agony, I could not have borne it. And indeed the cause of my distress is not a trifling one. I am separated from the best of companions." And seven years later, in a letter to Richard de Yalleville, he still expressed the same grief. This man, indeed, was a man of like passions with us, a man not of "ice and granite," but a man of flesh n A l-U-J T ? i-t- " * cxiiu uiuuu. in ms correspondence lie stands before us like a warrior stripped of his armor, and willingly he shows himself to others as he is; and that man calls aloud to all who see him thus: "I am a man, and I count nothing human strange unto myself." Pres. Sein. of Ky., Louisville, Ky. "THE GLORY OF THE LORD APPEARED IN THE CLOUD." Phillips Brooks once preached a sermon from the text, "Who passing through the valley of weeping make it a well." He said there were two ways of treating sorrow. One may say, "This that I have to bear is hard, but the clouds will break, and there will come better days. Compensation is in store for me. It may not be in this world, but some time it will all be made up to me." Or he may say: "I will do just what Scripture tells me to do. I will make of my valleys of weeping well-springs of joy. 1 will turn sadness into occasions for rejoicing." The apostle says: "In everything give thanks." Assuredly we can not be thankful for everything, but in every experience that comes to us we may find some reason for giving thanks. When Jeremy Taylor's house had been plundered, all his worldly possessions squandered, his family turned out of doors, he congratulated himself that his enemies had left him "the sun and moon, a loving wife, many friends to pity and relieve, the providence of God, all the promises of the gospel, my religion, my hope of heaven and my charity toward my enemies." Can you see the glory of the Lord in the cleud??The Standard.. ? Pra; cc is the pitcher that fetched water from the brook wherewith to water the herbs; break the pitcher and it will fetch no water, and for want of water the garden will wither.?John Btinyan.