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Trie to return to the Catholic church. In answer to some of his arguments, Trie wrote to him on the 26th of February: "I cannot but wonder that you bring as an objection against us, that we have no church order and discipline. I see, praise be to God, that the blasphemer is better punished among us than in all your spiritual tribunals; and as respects doctrine, although there is more freedom here, yet it would never be endured that the name of God should be blasphemed, and impious doctrines disseminated without opposing them. I can mention an instance which in truth is a great reproach to you. A heretic is upheld among you, who richly deserves to be given to the flames, wherever he is found. I speak of a man, whom the papists as well as we condemn as a heretic; for although we differ in many points, yet we have this in common that we believe in three persons in one God, etc.- If now a man asserts that the Trinity in which we believe is a Cerberus, a monster from hell, and pours out upon it all imaginable filth,-in what consideration shall he be held among you ?- What a disgrace that those who confess, that we must worship one only God, etc., [enumerating the articles of belief among the Protestants,] are condemned to death, whilst one who looks upon Jesus Christ as an idol, destroys the very foundation of faith and collects together all the dreams of the ancient heretics; who even condemns the baptism of infants, calling it an invention of the devil, is an honor among you, and is treated as if he had never erred. — The individual of whom I speak is a Spaniard or Portuguese, by the name of Michael Servetus. This is his right name; but he is now called Villaneuve, is a physician, and has caused a work to be published at Vienne by Arnoullet.” After some other representations of the inconsistency of their course in the treatment of the books of the reformers, Trie adds to his letter the title page, contents and first four pages of the Restitutio.
This letter led to the arrest of Servetus; and because Trie happened to be at Geneva, and on friendly terms with Calvin, it has been maintained that he was the direct cause of this arrest, and furnished the leaves of Servetus' Book for this purpose; just as if they might not have been obtained except from Calvin, and were not the common topics of remark in Geneva. Calvin's own express declaration in his Refutatio, that if he had caused this accusation he would readily confess it, not counting it any disgrace to have done it, is sufficient to exculpate him, where all evidence is wanting, if indeed there was not direct testimony in his favor. The most difficult point to understand is, how Trie knew the au
Trial of Servetus in Vienne.
thor and publisher of the work, of whom he speaks. He might perhaps have heard Calvin mention the author, for he of course recognized the work at once; but how should Calvin know better than any one else where and by whom the book was printed? It seems most probable, that Servetus, who had taken such precaution to ensure privacy, had some false friend at Vienne, who had made known these facts at Geneva.
When Servetus, in consequence of the information given by Arney, was summoned before the Inquisition at Vienne, he presented himself cheerfully, and having had time in two hours to put aside the papers which would witness against him, declared that he was ready to open his house to be searched; since he had always wished to remain free from all suspicion of heresy. Whether a flat denial of the authorship of the work in question, and this declaration of attachment to the church, was quite in accordance with the pretended conviction announced in the preface, especially in the words of invocation to the Son of God, we leave for every one to decide for himself. The house was searched according to Servetus' wish, and as a matter of course nothing was found which would criminate him. Gueroult was also subjected to an examination, but from him nothing was elicited. The printers were all asked if they recognized the leaves which were sent to Arney. All denied that they knew anything of them. When the catalogue of their works, printed within two years, was demanded, not an octavo was found among them. The servants and their families in the employment of Arnoullet were Dext examined, but to no purpose. On the following day Arnoullet returned from a journey, and was instantly summoned before the judges, but sufficient evidence was not found against the Spanish physician to warrant his arrest. It was, however, thought best to go to the root of the matter, and the inquisitor Ory, who had himself come to Vienne to manage this affair, wrote to Trie, asking him for the whole work of which he had sent the first leaves; affirming that“ if there were credible grounds for it, they should see in Geneva that they in France loved the honor of God and of the faith, and were not so lax in their discipline as it had been imagined."
Trie in his answer, directed to Arney, said : When I wrote you the letter which you have given to those of whose remissness I complained, I had no expectation that the matter would go so far. My intention was only to remind you what a beautiful zeal those have, who call themselves the pillars of the church, whilst
they suffer such disorder among themselves, and persecute so cruelly the poor Christians who desire to serve God in all simplicity.-Since my private correspondence has been made public, I pray God, that this at least may serve to free the world from such defilement; yea from such a deadly pestilence. The book itself I cannot send, but I place in your hands a better proof for the conviction of this man, namely, two dozen of written leaves in which some of his heresies appear. If his printed work were shown him, he might not acknowledge it as his, but he cannot deny his manuscript. I will, however, confess to you alone that I have had great difficulty in obtaining from Mr. Calvin what I send you. Not that he does not wish to have such damnable heresies suppressed, but because it appears to him to be his duty, who bears not the sword of justice, to oppose heretics by argement, rather than by such means. But I have been so importunate with him, showing him that the reproach of being an unjust accuser would rest upon me if he did not give me his aid, that he has finally yielded, and furnished me with that which I send to you."
These leaves spoken of in this letter, as will readily be imagined, were those which were sent back to Calvin with remarks, when he directed Servetus to his Institutes for an answer to some of his questions. The contents of this letter are interesting in several respects. They show that the communication which caused the arrest of Servetus was not intended for that purpose, and that Calvin had nothing to do with it. They furthermore show his hesitation, since he was not clothed with civil authority, to employ any other means than argument for the correction of errors in belief.
The proof sent by Trie was not, however, sufficient for the detention of Servetus, since he was called Villaneuve in Vienne, and the hand-writing could be set aside by a denial on oath. Arney accordingly again wrote to Trie, to give him better proof of the facts which he had alleged. The messenger arrived late at night on the last day of March, and Trie answered the request of Arney that night, saying that the manuscript copy of the work of Servetus was in Lausanne and could not be sent, but that in the last of the letters sent, Servetus was identified by defending himself for assuming the strange name. It was finally decided, that although positive proof was not adduced that Villaneuve was the author of the work in question, and Arnoullet the publisher, yet that they should be put in prison to await their trial. After
Hypocrisy and Falsehood of Servetus.
dinner on the same day of the arrest, the tribunal was assembled in the apartment where capital sentences were pronounced in the palace of Justice. The accused person was introduced and according to the custom of the time made to take oath upon the Gospel, that he would speak only the truth. But instead of acting in accordance with his solemn promise, he spoke anything but the truth. How pitiable and base was such conduct! How unworthy the name of man and especially of Christian! How art thou fallen, thon who didst claim to be one of Michael's host !
The tribunal asked for some explanations of the remarks upon the leaves of the Institutes, and Servetus was incautious enough to give them, thus implying that he was the author. When he found that he was entrapped, and that his life was in jeopardy, he expressed doubts whether he was the author of the remarks, and renounced his views so often expressed upon baptism, professed himself a believer in the Orthodox doctrine, and subjected himself in all things to the church as to his Holy Mother.
At the second examination the next day, when Servetus perceived that his letters to Calvin were before the judges, he lost all courage and in order to free himself from the dilemma, in. vented a falsehood, which was as foolish as it was dastardly. With many tears he said: “ My Lords I will confess the truth. Five and twenty years ago when I was in Germany, there was printed at Hagenau a book of a certain Servetus, a Spaniard. I know not from whence he came. Since I corresponded with Calvin at that time, he wrote to me as Servetus, because there was a similarity in our persons, and I sustained his character. But for ten years I have not written him, and I protest before God and these Lords, that I have never published anything against the church or proclaimed doctrines counter to the Christian religion.” Several letters were then shown in which his heretical dogmas were plainly expressed. He did not disown the letters, but supposed he had expressed the thoughts which came into his mind at the time, but which were no part of his settled belief. When the examination was resumed in the afternoon of the same day, other letters were read, to which he gave substantially the same answers as before: He did not assert what was found to be heretical in them, but only what his judges and the church would approve.
So much has been said by the enemies of Calvin, in reference to his betraying trust, by giving up Servetus' letters, that we cannot forbear to enumerate two or three of the circumstances which
have a bearing upon the matter, leaving our readers to draw their own conclusions in regard to his criminality. In the first place, the letters were forced upon Calvin, after he had desired to have no more communication with Servetus, and of course were not confidential letters. In the next place, a friend of Calvin, in defending his fellow Christians whose heroic martyr-cries were wasted to Geneva on every northern breeze, had brought upon himself the unjust suspicion of preferring false charges against one, who richly deserved them; and if his charge was not sustained, reproach would fall upon the truth, and the persecutor would be armed with new courage and new instruments of torture. Ought not then his earnest solicitations that Calvin would furnish the necessary documents for substantiating his assertions, to have been heeded? Would not Calvin have been recreant to his faith, if he had left Trie unaided ? Besides, the contents of the letters, as far as they would be used at Vienne, were of pub. lic interest, and according to Calvin's convictions, of vital consequence to the church at large, and especially to the civil and religious community in Geneva. If then, by giving up the manuscripts which had been so ungraciously urged upon him, he could prevent the farther spread of impious and heretical dogmas, could he in conscience withhold them ?1
Considerable liberty had been granted to Servetus during his trial, and valuable presents, left for him by visitors who were permitted to see him in prison, show that he was not without friends in Vienne. Early the next morning after his last examination, he arose, dressed himself, and putting his dressing-gown over his other clothes, and a velvet cap upon his head, asked the jailor for the key to the garden in which he had been allowed to walk. It was readily given him, and the jailor went with the workmen
" As a good illustration of the wholesale slanders and falsehood which are but too common in speaking of Calvin, 1 quote a passage from the Speech of Lord Brougham on the Maynooth Grant, as given in the Boston Semi-Weekly Advertiser of Sat. June 28, 1845 : “ By acts of the most atrocious perfidy, by opening letters, he (Calvin) entrapped Servetus to Geneva, and there, because he suspected him of Socinian doctrines, after a mockery of a trial had him buried [burned?] alive.” We suppose that" opening letters" must have reference to the giving up of the letters, mentioned above, for we have yet to learn that there is any special atrocity or perfidy, in opening letters addressed to one's self for personal perusal. That Calvin not only did not entrap Servetus to Geneva,' but even refused to grant him his protection if he came there, has already been Furthermore, that there was something more
ore than a “mockery of a trial," and that Servetus was far enough from being buried alive, we think, will appear in the sequel.