CHAPTER III. PROGRESS OF CALVINISM
(a) In Switzerland.
Calvini Joannis, Opera quae supersunt in the Corp.
Reformatorum, vols. xxix.-lxxxvii. Doumergue, Jean Calvin, les
hommes et les choses de son temps, 1900-5. Kampschulte, Johann
Calvin, seine Kirche und sein staat in Genf, 1899. Fleury,
Histoire de l'Eglise de Geneve, 3 vols., 1880. Mignet,
Etablissement de la reforme religieuse et constition du
calvinisme a Geneve, 1877. Choisy, La theocratie a Geneve au
temps de Calvin, 1897. Cambridge Mod. History, ii., chap. xi.
(Bibliography, 769-83). For complete bibliography, see Diction.
Theologique (art. Calvin).
John Calvin, from whom the heresy takes its name, was born at Noyon in Picardy in 1509. In accordance with the wishes of his father he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Paris, where he was supported mainly from the fruits of the ecclesiastical benefices to which he had been appointed to enable him to pursue his studies. Later on he began to waver about his career in life, and without abandoning entirely his hopes of becoming an ecclesiastic he turned his attention to law in the Universities of Orleans and Bourges. In French intellectual circles of this period a certain spirit of unrest and a contempt for old views and old methods might be detected. The Renaissance ideas, so widespread on the other side of the Alps, had made their way into France, where they found favour with some of the university professors, and created a feeling of distrust and suspicion in the minds of those to whom Scholasticism was the highest ideal. Margaret of Navarre, sister of the king, showed herself the generous patron and defender of the new movement, and secured for it the sympathy and to some extent the support of Francis I. A few of the friends of the Renaissance in France were not slow to adopt the religious ideas of Luther, though not all who were suspected of heresy by the extreme champions of Scholasticism had any intention of joining in a movement directed against the defined doctrines or constitution of the Catholic Church.
As a student at Bourges, Calvin was brought into close relations with Melchior Wolmar, a German Humanist, who was strongly Lutheran in his tendencies, and through whom he became enamoured of Luther's teaching on Justification. On his return to Paris he was soon remarkable as a strong partisan of the advanced section of the university, and by his ability and determination he did much to win over the Renaissance party to the religious teaching that had become so widespread in Germany. As a result of an address delivered by Nicholas Cop, rector of the university, and of several acts of violence perpetrated in the capital by the friends of heresy Francis I. was roused to take action. Calvin, fearing death or imprisonment, made his escape from Paris to Basle (1534). Here he published his first and greatest theological treatise, Christianae Religionis Institutio, which he dedicated to the King of France (1536). The work was divided into four sections, namely, God the Creator, God the Redeemer, Grace, and the External Means for Salvation. Both in its style and in its arguments drawn from the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the theologians of the Middle Ages, it was far superior, at least for educated readers, to the best that had been produced by Luther and even to the Loci Communes of Melanchthon.