S ervet Michael, (Hispanich, Servedo,) was born in the year 1509, at Villanueva, a town of Arragon, in Spain. Sometimes he called himself Reves, a word formed by the transposition of the name Servedo or Servet, omitting the termination. He received the rudiments of his education at a monastery in his native province, after which he devoted himself to the study of the law at the University of Toulouse, which was then in deservedly high repute, as a place of education for those who were destined for the legal profession. But having heard of the breaking out of the Reformation, he betook himself to the study of the Scriptures, in the perusal of which he found many things at variance with the commonly-received faith. This discovery had such a powerful effect upon his mind, that he resolved to abandon the profession for which his friends had destined him, and devote himself to the dissemination of purer views of Christianity.
He commenced his labours in the South of France ; but finding that his efforts were not attended with the success which he had anticipated, on account of the opposition of the priesthood in that country, he resolved to proceed to Germany, where greater freedom of opinion was allowed, and where the cause of the Reformation had already made considerable progress. Having left Toulouse, therefore, where he had been resident about three years, he travelled, by way of Lyons and Geneva, to Basle, in Switzerland, intending to pass on to Strasburg the first convenient opportunity. During his stay at Basle he had several religious discussions with CEcolampadius, in which he argued against the doctrine of two natures in the person of Christ, denied that Jesus preexisted as the Son of God, and contended that the Jewish prophets uniformly spoke of the Son of God in the future tense.
An idle story was propagated by the enemies of Servet, that he visited Africa, and derived his religious notions from the Jews and Turks residing in that country. To this disposition on the part of his contemporaries, to rank him among Jews and Mahometans, Servet alludes more than once, in the course of his writings. "Some," says he, (Dialog, de Trinitate, L. ii. fol. 57,) "are scandalized at my calling Christ the prophet. Because they happen not themselves to apply to him this epithet, they fancy that all who do so are chargeable with Judaism and Mahometanism, regardless of the fact, that the Scriptures and ancient writers call him the prophet." It has been suggested that the circumstance of Servet's having been born in Spain may have given currency to the above rumour, since that country, besides containing many persons of the Jewish persuasion, lies directly opposite to the coast of Africa, where Mahometanism is the prevailing religion: but it seems more probable that the charge originated in a perversion of passages, occurring in Servet's own writings, in which he alludes familiarly to the Talmud and the Koran, speaks of the doctrine of the Trinity as affording matter for derision to the followers of Mahomet, and says that the Jews ridicule the folly of the Christians for their belief in this dogma, and are prevented by such blasphemies from acknowledging Jesus, as the Messiah promised in their Law.
Servet left Basle in 1530 or 1531 ; for he found that the doctrines which he taught were not more acceptable to the Protestants of that city, than they had been to the Catholics in the South of France. From Basle he proceeded to Strasburg, where he sought an interview with Bucer and Capito, who were then residing in that city. Capito, if we may judge from the silence of the writers who allude to this interview, saw little, or nothing to censure in the opinions of Servet ; but Bucer appears, from a passage in one of Calvin's letters, to have been completely horror-stricken when he heard them, and to have publicly declared, that the man who could hold such opinions deserved to have his bowels plucked out, and to be torn limb from limb. Servet's stay at Strasburg was short. As his usual occupations were entirely of a literary nature, and he had no knowledge of the German language, he was unable to procure a livelihood in that city, and therefore soon quitted it, and returned to Lyons.
Before this time, he had been somewhat guarded in the dissemination of his opinions; for he repeatedly declared, in his supplicatory letters to the Senate of Geneva, that his religious discussions in Germany were entirely confined to Gicolampadius, Bucer and Capito. If, however, we are to give credit to Zeltner, Spanheim and Beza, he was actively employed in diffusing his sentiments in France, as early as the year 1523. But at that time he was a boy of fourteen years of age, and it is scarcely credible that he should have commenced the office of Reformer at so early a period of life as this. Bullinger fixes the time of his first appearance, as an avowed opponent of the doctrine of the Trinity, five years later: but he also seems to have fallen into an error, for Servet's work "De Trinitatis Erroribus" was not published till 1531, before which time, all that he had advanced upon the subject was in the way either of private conversation, or correspondence with literary men. When he was about to leave Basle, he consigned the above-mentioned work to the hands of Conrad Rouss, the printer, with a view to its publication: but Rouss, not being able to elude the vigilance of the Swiss clergy, sent the manuscript to Hagenau in Alsace, where it was printed under the immediate superintendence of its author, who had removed thither from Strasburg for that purpose. It found a ready sale, and was perused and approved by immense numbers, particularly in Germany. The majority of Christians, however, as might have been anticipated, joined in its condemnation. The leaders among the reformed party in Switzerland were apprehensive that its appearance might prejudice the cause of Luther, and his associates, in the eyes of the Christian world. Œcolampade, in a letter addressed to Bucer, and written August 5th, 1531, says, "I have seen our Bernese friends this week, who desire to be remembered to you and Capito. The treatise 'De Trinitatis Erroribus,' which has been seen only by some of them, has given very great offence. I wish you would write, and tell Luther, that the book was printed out of this country, and unknown to us. For, to say the least, it was an impudent thing to charge the Lutherans with ignorance on the subject of Justification.
But that Photinian, or whatever else we may call him, fancies that no one knows anything but himself. If he is not disowned by the Divines of our Church, we shall get into very bad repute. I entreat you especially to be watchful; and if you do it nowhere else, at least apologize for our Churches in your confutation addressed to the Emperor, however this beast may have crept in among us. He perverts every thing to suit his own purpose, merely to avoid the confession, that the Son is coéternal and consubstantial with the Father ; and it is he who undertakes to prove that the man Christ is the Son of God." Servet’s book was suppressed at Ratisbon, A. D. 1532 ; and Œcolampade, in compliance with the wishes of the Magistrates of Basle, publicly denounced it as a pernicious work, in a speech delivered in the presence of the Senate. He also wrote two letters to Servet himself, in which he replied to the arguments contained in his book, and urged him to renounce his supposed errors. Servet now began to suspect, that men’s minds were not yet prepared for a full disclosure of the truth ; and in order to allay the ferment which he had excited, he published, at Hagenau, A. D. 1532, “Two Dialogues on the Trinity,” in which he strove to soften down some of the expressions, which he had used in his former work. At the beginning of these Dialogues he says, “I now retract all that I lately wrote against the received doctrine of the Trinity, not because it is false, but because it is imperfect, and composed by a child for the use of children. That my former book went forth into the world so barbarous, confused and incorrect, must be ascribed to my own inexperience, and the carelessness of my printer.” But Servet’s attempts to rectify the mistakes, to improve upon the style, and to elucidate the argunent of his fomer publication, tended only to exasperate and enflame the minds of his opponents; and passages not unfrequently occur in the theological writings of his contemporaries, in which they inveigh with great bitterness against him, and his doctrines. The Protestants of that age appear' to have been seized with a pious horror, at the thought of submitting the doctrine of the Trinity to the test of argument; and Servet, who had not only done this, but done it in a bold and uncompromising spirit, brought down upon himself the whole weight of their vengeance. They feared that the agitation of this question would prejudice the cause of the Reformation in the eyes of their Catholic brethren; and laboured, with all their might, to silence those, who had the temerity to transgress the prescribed bounds of Trinitarian orthodoxy. But the more discerning among them foresaw, that, in spite of all the efforts which were made to put down Servet, the great controversy, which he had started, would one day or other embroil the Christian world in disputes, of which it was impossible to predict the issue. Melanchthon, writing to Camerarius on this subject, Feb. 25th, 1533, expresses himself in the following terms. "You ask my opinion about Servet. I find him sufficiently acute and cunning in argument ; but I cannot allow him the praise of solidity. He seems to me to labour under a confusion of ideas, and not to have very clear notions of the matter upon which he treats. On the subject of Justification he evidently ventures beyond his depth. With respect to the Trinity, you know I was always apprehensive that these things would sooner or later break out. Good God! What tragedies will this question excite among posterity,—whether the Logos is an hypostasis, and whether the Holy Spirit is an hypostasis? I satisfy myself with those words of Scripture, which command us to invoke Christ, which is to attribute to him the honour of divinity, and is full of consolation."
Servet remained at Lyons between two and three years, and seems to have supported himself there as a corrector of the press. From Lyons he removed to Paris, where he took up the profession of Medicine, to which he devoted himself with such assiduity, under the direction of Silvius, Fernel, and other eminent Professors, that he was soon enabled to take his Doctor's degree. It was during his residence at Paris, that he first became personally known to Calvin, with whom he was anxious to hold a religious discussion: but his own inclination being probably overruled by the advice of his friends, the discussion never took place. This was in the year 1534. It appears, however, that he had returned to Lyons in the year following, where he was employed in superintending the publication of an edition of "Ptolemy's Geography." In the Preface to this work, he speaks of having visited Italy, and being acquainted with the Italian language. This journey into Italy has been entirely overlooked by many of his biographers; and is not even mentioned by De la Roche, whose account of him is, on the whole, drawn up with great accuracy. Servet himself alludes to it, not only in the Preface to his edition of Ptolemy, as has been already observed, but in his "Christianismi Restitutio," where he says, that he has "seen with his own eyes, in the streets of Rome, the Pope treading upon the necks of Princes, and receiving homage from all the people upon their bended knees." According to Calvin, this journey into Italy took place in the year of Servet's death. But this is evidently a mistake. It must have been at least as early as the year 1535. The most probable opinion is, that it occurred about the beginning of 1530, when, in the dress of a Dominican Friar, he is said to have witnessed the coronation of Charles V.
In 1537, he gave to the world his first medical treatise, entitled, "Ratio Syruporum," under the name of Michael Villanovanus. Of this treatise Anthony Van der Linden, the author of a work "De Medicis Scriptis," speaks in the highest terms, styling its author "Galeni interpres doctissimus, et Medicus excellentissimus."
At this time, no notice had been taken, by Luther, of Servet's writings against the doctrine of the Trinity. Even when professedly treating upon that subject, he maintained the most profound silence respecting Servet: nor did he make the most distant allusion to him, in his Commentary on the Proem of John's Gospel, where he has spared neither heresies, nor heretics. At length, however, he made mention of him in the year 1539; and classed him, together with Campanus, among the enemies of the Gospel. Different reasons have been assigned, to account for Luther's silence on a subject, which appeared at least to call for some incidental notice. His own mind, it has been supposed, was still wavering. His silence also has been attributed to a feeling of contempt for Servet. But the most natural solution of the difficulty appears to be, that Luther was restrained from intermeddling with so delicate a subject, by the advice of his friend Melanchthon, lest it should be a means of hastening on that grand controversy, which the latter so much dreaded to encounter, and which he expected would be the occasion of so much persecution and bloodshed. The die, however, was cast. Servet's controversial writings were already disseminated far and wide; and that prudence, which had before dictated silence, now seemed to call for active interference.
The very same year that witnessed Luther's attack upon Campanus and Servet, produced a similar attack from the pen of Melanchthon, who wrote to the Senate of Venice a letter of complaint on the subject of Servet's work "De Trinitatis Erroribus," which was widely circulated in that part of Italy, and which he denounced, as a most heretical and dangerous book. From the study of this book, it is not improbable that Lelio Socin, the father of the Italian Unitarians, received his first impressions of the erroneousness of the doctrine of the Trinity. Of this, however, we shall probably have occasion to say more hereafter.
In the year 1540, Servet was practising as a physician at Charlieu, a town in the south of France; and two or three years later we find him at Vienne, superintending the publication of a Folio edition of Pagnini's Bible. This Bible was printed by Hugh de la Porte at Lyons, and bore the following title. "Biblia Sacra ex Sanctis Pagnini Translatione, sed ad Hebraicae Linguae ainussim ita recognita, et Scholiis illustrata, ut plane nova Editio videri possit." Servet wrote a Preface to it, and added a few notes. Calvin calls them impertinent and impious notes ; and says that Servet obtained the sum of five hundred livres for writing them. Servet supposed, as appears from the Preface, that all the prophecies of the Old Testament, which are usually thought to relate to Christ, were literally fulfilled in some other person, and were applied to him only in a figurative, or spiritual sense. His notes are principally confined to the Psalms, and the Books of the Prophets; but there are a few also upon the Historical Books. The latter generally give a clearer explanation of the Hebrew words; and sometimes, though very seldom, contain historical remarks. It is not till he comes to the Psalms, that he begins to unfold his opinion respecting the passages, usually applied to Jesus Christ. Of the second Psalm he says, that it treats of David's liberation from his enemies. ("Ad diem Resurrectionis Christi vocem 'hodie' [v. 7] refert Paulus, sicut in die qua evasit ab hoste, dicitur David hodie natus, et hodie denuo factus Rex.") He explains the twenty-second of David's flight over rocks and precipices, which lacerated his hands and feet. (" Fugiente Davide per abrupta instar quadrupedis, manus ejus et pedes perforabantur. Unde et Hebraei legunt 'quasi Leonis manus meae et pedes mei.'" Ps. xxii. 16.) The prophecy in Isaiah vii. 14, he applies to the birth of Hezekiah. (" Ostendit ad literam ipsam Abiam praesentem et parituram Ezechiam.") And he makes a similar application of the word "Emmanuel," in Isaiah viii. 10. (" Quia nobiscum Dens.—Quia 'Immanuel,' id est quia Deus est cum Ezechia contra Assyrios.")
These notes gave great offence both to Protestants and Catholics, and the edition was condemned in the Expurgatory Indexes of Quiroga and Sottomaior. Yet Protestants and Catholics of great eminence have since adopted the very same principle of interpretation. Grotius maintained that the predictions of Isaiah related, in their primary and literal sense, to the times and circumstances of the Jewish people, but that they respected the Messiah, in a secondary and allegorical sense. Simon advocated the same opinion. But Father Baltus, the Jesuit, denounces this, as a Socinian mode of expounding the prophecies. We are nevertheless indebted to Dr. George Benson, a learned Unitarian writer of the last century, for one of the ablest treatises ever published on the other side of the question. (An Essay concerning the Unity of Sense ; to shew that no Text of Scripture has more than one single Sense.—This Essay was originally prefixed to Dr. Benson's Paraphrase on Paul's Epistles; and was afterwards reprinted in the 4th Vol. of Watson's Theol. Tracts, pp. 481—513.) After replying to all the arguments alleged in favour of a double sense, Dr. B. comes to the conclusion, that "no text of Scripture has more than one meaning;" and, what is perhaps still more remarkable, Dr. J. Pye Smith, the highest authority among the English Calvinists of the present day, adopts the very principle of interpretation, which Calvin himself alleged as one of the greatest aggravations of Servet's offence against orthodoxy. (The Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, &c, by John Pye Smith, D.D., 2nd Ed. London, 1829, Vol. I. Book ii. Ch. iv. Sect xix.; Vol. II. Book iii. Chap. i. pp. 23, 24).
"It is well known," says Allwoerden, "that Calvin, in his charges against Servet, included his edition of Pagninus's Bible, and particularly his annotation on Isaiah liii." (Hist. Mich. Serveti, p. 167.) The following is the passage to which allusion is here made. "Quis credidit auditui nostro, &c. Incredibilis res de Cyro, et magnum etiam mysterium, quod sub humilibus Historiae typis lateant Christi arcana sublimia. Ibidem. Vulneratm est propter prarvaricationes nostras. Quasi exigentibus populi peccatis interfectum Cyrum deflet Propheta, eo quod postea sub Cambyse multo deterius habuerint, impedita tunc et diruta Templi sedificatione jam inchoata, Daniel ix. Fuitque haec a Deo data occasio praedicandi passionem Christi, cui soli convenit horum verborum sublimitas et Veritas."
Soon after Servet began to practise as a Physician, he met with his former friend and pupil, Peter Palmier, Archbishop of Vienne, who strongly urged him to settle at that place, and offered him an apartment in his own house. This proposal Servet was induced to accept ; and here he continued to live, in good practice, and upon the most friendly terms with his patron, till his repose was destroyed by the machinations of his arch enemy. It was not till after a period of thirteen years, spent in the greatest harmony, in the society, and under the roof of a Catholic Prelate, that Calvin was able to mature the plan, which he had formed for the destruction of Servet. "Calvin," says Daniel Chamier, of Dauphiny, "not only professed a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, but defended it with the greatest constancy, while the Papists were slumbering, among whom, as long as Servet lived, he lived in safety: but at length he was made by Calvin to feel the force of truth, and when he came to Geneva, was visited with a holy severity by the pious Magistrates of that city." Calvin kept up a long correspondence with him, and endeavoured, as he says in his " Fidelis Expositio," for the space of sixteen years, to reclaim him from his errors ; and Servet consulted Calvin on several points, and sent him the three following questions, to which he asked for as many separate answers. "I. An homo Jesus crucifixus sit Filius Dei; et quae sit hujus filiationis ratio? II. An Regnum Christi sit in hominibus; quando quis ingrediatur, et quando regeneretur? III. An Baptismus Christi debeat in fide fieri, sicut Coena; et quorsum hac instituta sint fcedere novo?" To these questions Calvin replied, as he was requested to do; but Servet was not satisfied with his answers, and in a subsequent letter assigned reasons for disagreeing with him in opinion. This excited the severe displeasure of Calvin, who was not accustomed to have his dicta disputed. Accordingly he wrote, as he admits, an angry reply to Servet ; and Servet defended himself in a spirited, and somewhat intemperate manner. From this time, according to Calvin, commenced a dislike to him, on the part of Servet, which often vented itself in bitter imprecations. But Calvin, among whose good qualities that of Christian meekness was not conspicuous, repaid the abuse of Servet with interest.
Bolsec informs us, that, as much as seven years before the death of Servet, Calvin declared in a letter to Peter Viret, that if he should ever come to Geneva, he would not allow him to return from it alive ; and Varillas affirms, that there is at Paris an original letter of Calvin to Farel, written in 1546, which was never printed, and that these words are to be found in it. "Servet has lately written to me, and sent me at the same time a large book, stuffed with idle fancies, and full of arrogance. He says I shall find in it admirable things, and such as have been hitherto unheard of. He offers to come hither, if I like it: but I will not engage my word ; for if he comes, and if any regard be had to my authority, I will not allow him to escape with his life."
Grotius alludes to this letter, as being at Paris, in Calvin's own hand-writing. ("Extat ipsius Lutetias manus.") The cause of its being written was the determination of Servet to publish a third work against the Trinity. In the year 1546, he sent to Calvin a manuscript copy of this work, requesting him to give his opinion as to its merits. It has been supposed that this manuscript contained the original draught of the "Christianismi Restitutio." But Calvin was so much incensed at the freedom which Servet had taken in some of his remarks, that he ever afterwards inveighed against him with the greatest bitterness; and came, as we have seen above, to the deliberate determination of plotting his destruction.
This determination could not be carried into effect at once ; nor would Calvin, perhaps, have been able to accomplish it at all, had not Servet, in his zeal for the truth, and his indignation against error, ventured upon the publication of the "Christianismi Restitutio." His avowed object in the composition of this book was to bring back the Christian world to what he conceived to be the primitive standard of faith; and it was for this reason that he entitled it "The Restoration of Christianity." It consists of seven parts. The first and last of these are particularly devoted to the doctrine of the Trinity ; and the fifth contains a series of thirty letters addressed to Calvin on doctrinal subjects. No author's name is given in the titlepage ; but M. S. V., the initial letters of Michael Servet Villanovanus, are placed, together with the date, [1553,] at the end of the work. It was no sooner published, than the most strenuous efforts were made, both by Catholics and Protestants, to suppress it ; and with such effect, that not more than two copies are now known to exist. A fac-simile of it was published in 1791 ; but copies of this are almost as seldom to be met with as the original.
It was in the "Christianismi Restitutio" that Servet promulgated his discovery of the circulation of the blood. This discovery he beautifully unfolds in a passage, which is too long to be transferred to the present biographical sketch ; and from which, therefore, the following brief, and necessarily imperfect extracts only are taken. "Cor est primum vivens, fons caloris, in medio corpore. Ab hepate sumit liquorem vitse, quasi materiam et eum vice versa vivificat." "Vitalis spiritus in sinistro cordis ventriculo suam originem habet, juvantibus maxime pulmonibus ad ipsius generationem." "Ille itaque spiritus vitalis a sinistro cordis ventriculo, in arterias totius corporis deinde transfunditur."
Calvin, who was always on the watch for something by which he might criminate Servet, soon gave out, that this work was written by him ; and availing himself of the assistance of one William Trie, a native of Lyons, who was at that time residing at Geneva, he caused Servet to be apprehended, and thrown into prison, on a charge of heresy. Some of the friends and disciples of Calvin have attempted to free him from this odious imputation, and he has himself represented it as a calumny: but the fact, that Servet was imprisoned at the sole instigation of Calvin, is too well established to admit of dispute. Abundant proofs of it may be found in the accounts of De la Roche, Allwoerden, Mosheim, Bock and Trechsel.
Servet had adopted the name of Villanovanus at least twenty years before the publication of his "Christianismi Restitutio;" and it was scarcely known that Villanovanus and Servet were the same person, till Calvin, with studied malignity, wrote to his friends to inform them, that "Servet was lurking in France under a feigned name." In order to prove this identity, William Trie was furnished by Calvin with some of Servet's original letters, which were transmitted to Vienne ; and the evidence supplied by them being conclusive of the fact, Servet was apprehended, and committed to prison without delay. But having so long, and so reputably exercised his profession of a Physician in that town, M. De la Court, Vice-bailiff and Judge of Dauphiny, gave orders to his gaoler to treat him with kindness, and permitted all his friends who wished it to have access to him. After undergoing three separate examinations, in the last of which he acknowledged himself the author of the letters to Calvin, he saw that his life was in jeopardy ; and availing himself of a suitable opportunity, effected his escape. His intention now was to settle as a Physician at Naples, where his countryman, Signor John Valdez, had already sown the seeds of the Reformation. But he was induced, by some strange fatality, to go by way of Geneva; and Calvin, who had heard of his escape from Vienne, and of the probability of his passing through Geneva on his way into Italy, was on the watch for him, and caused him to be apprehended soon after his arrival.
He entered Geneva on foot, having walked from a place called Le Luyset, where he had spent the previous night ; and probably thinking that a pedestrian would attract less notice, than a person travelling on horseback, or in a carriage. He took up his abode for the day at the Rose Inn, and meant to have hired a boat on the day following, in his way to Zurich. But Calvin having learned that he was in the city, made the chief Syndic acquainted with the fact, and caused him to be apprehended, and committed to prison. It is uncertain on what day of the month this happened; but a report got abroad, that it was on the Lord'sday, and that Servet was apprehended at Church, during the time of sermon. It appears, however, from his own confession, that he did not leave his inn, for fear of being recognized.
The laws of Geneva forbade that any one should be imprisoned, unless his accuser were imprisoned with him. Calvin, therefore, prevailed upon one Nicholas de la Fontaine, a native of the Isle of France, to undertake the office of prosecutor. In what relation this man stood to Calvin has never been clearly ascertained. Some say that he was a cook in a gentleman's family. Others are of opinion that he was Calvin's own cook. De la Roche conjectures that he united, in his own person, the two characters of a student and a domestic. But whatever was the precise relation in which he stood to Calvin, it is evident, from a petition which Servet presented to the Magistrates of Geneva, that Calvin was, in some sense, his master.
This man, on the 14th of August, 1553, brought a formal accusation against Servet, comprising no less than thirty-eight separate charges, to each of which he urged the Senate to demand a distinct answer. The thirty-seventh set forth, that Servet, in a printed book, had defamed the doctrine preached by Calvin, and decried and calumniated it in every possible way, contrary to a decree, passed on the 9th of November in the preceding year, which had pronounced that doctrine sacred and inviolable. When Servet had briefly replied to the charges exhibited against him, his accuser produced a copy of the "Christianismi Restitutio," and likewise the manuscript work, which Servet had sent to Calvin about six years before, and to which allusion has already been made. Of both these Servet acknowledged himself to be the author. His prosecutor then laid before the Senate copies of "Ptolemy's Geography," and "Pagninus's Bible," which had been edited by Servet ; and demanded, whether he was the writer of the notes contained in those two works: to which Servet replied in the affirmative. The accuser and accused were then both remanded to prison; but the former was discharged on the fourth day, Calvin's own brother giving bail for his appearance, whenever he should be called upon by the proper authorities.
On the 15th of August, (which was the second day of the preliminary examination,) Servet was again brought to the bar, and again replied to the interrogatories of his accuser; answering some in the affirmative, and others in the negative, as on the preceding day.
On the third day, (August 16th,) La Fontaine entered into court, accompanied by M. Germain Colladon ; and passages were produced from the writings of Servet, in confirmation of the charges alleged against him. But when they had gone through the first eleven Articles, the court adjourned to the following day. In the mean time La Fontaine presented a petition to the Judges, in which he besought them to demand from Servet a distinct, categorical answer to each separate article; and requested, that if, on examination, they should be satisfied of his guilt, and think it right to prosecute him by their Attorney, they would issue a declaration to that effect.
The next day, (August 17th,) La Fontaine and Colladon referred to two letters of CEcolampadius, and two passages in the writings of Melanchthon, for the purpose of proving that Servet had been condemned in Germany; to which he replied, that CScolampadius and Melanchthon had indeed written against him, but that no definitive sentence had been pronounced. On the third Article, a passage was produced from Servet's Preface to "Ptolemy's Geography," containing an alleged calumny against Moses, respecting the fertility of Palestine; and other passages from his Notes on Isaiah vii., viii., and liii. On the sixth Article, passages were quoted from the "Christianismi Restitutio," (fol. 22 to 36,) in which he calls the Trinity a Cerberus, a dream of St. Augustine, and an invention of the Devil; and believers in it, Tritheists. On the same day his accusers brought forward several passages from his printed books, and manuscripts, containing alleged heretical expressions; and upon the thirty-seventh Article, they produced a manuscript letter of Servet to M. Abel Pepin, a Minister of Geneva, written more than six years before his apprehension, and a copy of Calvin's "Institutions," the margin of which was covered with notes in Servet's own hand-writing. To such of these Articles as appeared to him to require special notice, he replied; and on the same day he admitted, that his printer had sent several copies of the " Christianismi Restitutio" to Frankfort.
On the 21st of August, his accusers produced in court a letter of Balthasar Arnollet, the printer of his "Christianismi Restitutio." This letter was written on the preceding 14th of July, and addressed to James Bertet, at Chatillon. The writer informs his friend, that Gueroult, who had corrected the press, when the above work was printed, concealed from him the errors which it contained; and even expressed a wish to translate it into French. Arnollet further requests Bertet to go to Frankfort, stop the sale of the copies which were lying there, and cause them to be destroyed. When this letter had been read, Calvin entered the court, attended by all the Ministers of Geneva; and after a long discussion with Servet respecting the opinions of the Fathers, he and his brother Ministers retired. Calvin had brought with him copies of the writings of Tertullian and Irenaeus, and the Epistles of Ignatius, the use of which, after he had left the court, was allowed to Servet. The accused was also furnished with pen, ink and paper, to draw up a petition, which he presented to his Judges on the day following.
On the 23rd of August, Servet was brought to the bar, and interrogated by the Procureur General, who exhibited thirty new Articles against him, relating chiefly to his personal history.
On the 28th of the same month, the Lieutenant brought in thirty-eight Articles, about which he desired that the prisoner might be examined. These Articles were subjoined to a long preamble of the Procureur General, the design of which was to shew, that Servet ought to be put to death.
On the last day of the month of August, the Syndic and Council of Geneva received a letter from the Vice-BailifT, and the King's Attorney at Vienne, dated the 26th of the same month, thanking them for their vigilance in apprehending Servet, and for detaining him as their prisoner; and requesting them to send him back to Vienne, in order that they might carry into execution their sentence against him. This day was chiefly employed in interrogating Servet on matters arising out of the subject of this letter.
On the 1st of September, he was asked to mention the names of those who were in debt to him in France, but declined. On the same day Calvin again made his appearance in court; and was commanded by the Judges to extract several propositions, word for word, from Servet's book; to which Servet was required to return a written reply in Latin.
The Council having asked the advice of the Cantons of Zurich, Berne, Basle, and SchafFhausen, the Magistrates of each of these Cantons sent in a written reply, in which they recommended that a severe example should be made of Servet, in order to deter others from the propagation of similar dangerous heresies. The letter from Basle was written last, and bore date October the 12th; but it does not appear that the members of the Council had made up their minds as to the nature of Servet's punishment, till the 23rd of that month. He was at length condemned, on the 26th of October, to be burnt to death before a slow fire ; and on that day Calvin (Ep. 161) wrote to his friend Farel of Neufchatel as follows. "The messenger has returned from the Swiss. They all with one consent declare, that Servet has now revived the impious errors, by which Satan formerly disturbed the Church, and that he is a monster not to be endured. Those of Basle are discreet. Those of Zurich are the most earnest of all ; for they describe in emphatical terms the heinousness of his impiety, and exhort our Senate to use severity. Those of Schaffhausen approve. The letter of the Bernese Ministers, which is also to the purpose, is accompanied by one from the Senate, by which our Magistrates have been not a little encouraged. Caesar, who is a comical mean, after feigning illness for three days, came into court at length, in orderto acquit that wretch ; for he was not ashamed to propose, that the matter should be referred to the Council of Two Hundred. He has been condemned, however, without dispute. His execution will take place to morrow. We have endeavoured to change the kind of death, but to no purpose. Why we failed, I will tell you when I see you." The person called "Caesar," in the above extract, was Amadeus Gorreus, or Perrin, one of the Magistrates of Geneva, who wished to befriend Servet, and in conjunction with a few other members of the Senate, made a desperate effort to save his life. Had the case been referred, as Gorreus proposed, to the Council of Two Hundred, Servet would probably have escaped with his life: but the Magistrates decreed that it should be otherwise.
The execution took place, as Calvin announced, the day after his letter was written ; and Farel, was present at it. But the distance was too great for him to have received this letter before he left Neufchatel ; and to have acted upon the information which it contained. Some other friend, therefore, knowing his appetite for heretical blood, had probably conveyed to him earlier intelligence of the decision of the Magistrates; and he hastened to witness the execution.
Soon after the apprehension of Servet, Calvin had expressed a hope, in a letter to Farel, (Ep. 152,) written Aug. the 20th, that he would be adjudged guilty of the capital offence, but that some less barbarous kind of death would be substituted for the punishment usually inflicted upon heretics. ("Spero capitale saltern fore judicium; pcense vero atrocitatem remitti cupio.") Farel replied to this letter (Ep. 155) on the 8th of September, and the following is an extract from his answer. "It is a wonderful dispensation of God, in the case of Servet, that he should come thither, Would that he may repent, though late. It will indeed be a mighty thing, if he dies a true penitent, undergoing only one death, who deserves to die ten thousand times over ; and if he strives to edify all present, who has made it his business to pervert many both dead and living, as well as those who are yet unborn. The Judges will be very cruel, very unjust to Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness, and real enemies of the Church, if they are not moved by the horrible blasphemies, with which so vile a heretick assails the Divine Majesty, and has endeavoured to undermine the Gospel of Christ, and to corrupt all the Churches. But I hope that God will cause those, who receive praise for inflicting just punishments on the perpetrators of theft and sacrilege, to act in this case so as to merit applause, by taking away the life of one, who has so long obstinately persisted in his heresies, and brought so many to destruction. In wishing for a less barbarous kind of punishment, you perform a friendly office to a man who has been your greatest enemy. But I beg that you will act in such a manner, that no one may dare rashly to promulgate new doctrines, and unsettle all things with impunity, for so long a time as this man has done."
The conclusion of the sentence passed upon Servet was as follows. "Having God, and his Holy Scripture before our eyes, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by this our definitive sentence, which we here give in writing, we condemn thee, Michael Servet, to be bound, and carried to the Lieu de Champel, and there to be tied to a stake, and burnt alive with thy book, written with thine own hand, and printed, till thy body is reduced to ashes: and thus shalt thou end thy days, to serve as a warning to others, who are disposed to act in the same manner. And we command you, our Lieutenant, to cause our present sentence to be carried into effect." The officer charged with this commission was not slow in executing it ; and a bloodier page does not stain the annals of martyrdom, than that in which this horrible transaction is recorded. On the morning of the 27th of October, 1553, the day after the above sentence was passed, Farel visited Servet in prison, and strenuously urged him to recant: but Servet, in reply to Farel’s repeated solicitations, implored him to produce one solitary passage of Scripture, in which it is stated, that Christ was called "the Son of God," before his birth of the Virgin Mary ; and though he was fully alive to the awful situation in which he stood, and knew that he would be shortly summoned into the presence of his final Judge, neither threats nor enticements could prevail upon him to retract, or to admit that Christ is the Eternal God. When he was led to the place of execution, he repeatedly cried out, “O God! save my soul! O Jesus, Son of the Eternal God! have pity on me !" As soon as he came in sight of the Lieu de Champel, he prostrated himself on the earth, and continued for some time in fervent prayer to God. While he was thus employed, Farel, addressing himself to the people, who had flocked together in great crowds to witness the execution, said, “ Behold the power of Satan, when he has taken possession of his intended victim! This is a learned man ; and a similar fate might have been yours.” Servet now rose from the earth, and Farel urged him to address the assembled multitude, probably in the delusive hope, that he might be induced, at the last moment, to retract. But Servet still continued to invoke the name of the Almighty ; and when Farel persisted in urging him to speak, he asked him, what he could say different from what he had already said? Farel then inquired of Servet, whether he had no wife or children, whom he intended to remember in his will. But Servet, who was an unmarried man, and whose property had been seized upon by his persecutors, and confiscated, was silent. Farel now urged him to invoke the Eternal Son of God, which he repeatedly refused to do. "Yet," says one of his biographers, "he advanced nothing in defence of his doctrine, but suffered himself to be led away to punishment." This silence Calvin alleges, as a proof of Servet's obstinacy ; or, as he himself phrases it, "of his beastly stupidity."
The pile consisted of wooden billets, intermingled with green oaken faggots, still in leaf. Servet was fastened to the trunk of a tree fixed in the earth, his feet reaching to the ground ; and a crown of straw and leaves, sprinkled over with brimstone, was placed upon his head. His body was bound to the stake with an iron chain, and a coarse twisted rope was loosely thrown round his neck. His book was then fastened to his thigh; and he requested the executioner to put him out of his misery as speedily as possible. The pile was then lighted, and he cried out in so piteous a tone, as to excite the deep and earnest sympathy of the spectators. When he had suffered for some time, a few of them, from feelings of compassion, and with a view to put an end to his misery, supplied the fire with a quantity of fresh fuel, while the unhappy man kept exclaiming," Jesus, thou Son of the Eternal God! have pity on me!"
"At length," says a manuscript account, "he expired, after about half an hour's suffering." Peter Hyperphrogenus, however, testifies, that the sufferings of Servet were greatly protracted, in consequence of a strong breeze springing up, which scattered the flames; and that, at last, there was scarcely sufficient fuel left, to enable the executioner to carry the sentence into effect. He adds, likewise, that Servet was writhing about in the fire between two and three hours; and that he began at length to exclaim, "Wretched me! whom the devouring flames have not power to destroy!"
Minus Celsus relates, that the constancy of Servet, in the midst of the fire, induced many to go over to his opinions; and Calvin makes it an express subject of complaint, that there were many persons in Italy, who cherished, and revered his memory. Some writers have stepped forward, in our own day, and defended the part, which Calvin took, in the prosecution of Servet. Among other recent apologists of the stern Genevese Reformer, M. Albert Rilliet, and the Rev. W. K. Tweedie stand conspicuous; but their arguments have been ably and triumphantly refuted by a well-known writer, in the "Christian Reformer" for January, 1847 (pp. 1—21).
Perhaps the most systematic attempt to screen Calvin from the odium, which his malignant and cruel treatment of Servet has so deservedly brought upon him, is that of Dr. Paul Henry, of Berlin, who, in his work on "The Life and Times of John Calvin," of which Dr. H. Stebbing has recently favoured the public with an English translation, enters largely into the subject, and does not hesitate to stand forward as the advocate of " the great Reformer," and to avow his conviction, that this constitutes the crowning act of his life. "Many of Calvin's friends," says he, (Vol. II. p. 160,) "would fain have seen this period of his history wholly obliterated ; and there are others, who could conceive the idea of writing his life, without entering into any particular account of the affair of Servet. I do not agree with them. It is here that Calvin appears in his real character; and a nearer consideration of the proceeding,—examined, that is, from the point of view furnished by the age when it took place,—will completely exonerate him from blame."
Nothing can be further from the intention of the present writer, than to dispute the assertion, "that Calvin," as regards the part which he took in this transaction, "appears in his real character:" but it was the character, be it observed, of a persecutor of the first class, without one humane or redeeming quality, to divest it of its criminality, or palliate its enormity. The defence rests mainly upon the legal and theological feeling of the age ; but upon this principle, there is no atrocity, recorded in the annals of persecution, which may not be justified. It will, therefore, be a satisfaction to every reader of unperverted mind to be informed, that the Translator disclaims all participation in the feeling, which dictated this defence; and expresses his disapprobation of Calvin's conduct towards Servet, in the following unqualified terms. "Anxious as he has been honestly to preserve the sharpest features of the original, the Translator may be permitted, he trusts, to guard himself against the chance of misrepresentation as to his own views or opinions. He begs then that it may be understood, that it is chiefly on account of its historical value that he has desired to make this work known to English readers. He has a most sincere respect for the piety and eminent talents of the author; but neither his regard for Dr. Henry, nor his profound admiration of Calvin, in the general features of his character, and sublime zeal, has altered his views on the subjects to which he has here more especial cause to refer. Dr. Henry has defended Calvin, in the case of Servet, with admirable ability; but the Translator believes still, as he has ever believed, that when men enjoy so large a measure of light and wisdom as Calvin possessed, they cannot be justified, if guilty of persecution, because they lived in times when wicked and vulgar minds warred against the rights of human conscience. If Calvin had prayed to be set free from the bondage which made him a persecutor, his otherwise spotless reputation would have been unstained by the one blot which disfigures it. Persecution is opposed to the essential principles of Christianity. Nothing can justify it, under any form or pretence whatsoever, as long as the Gospel is acknowledged to be divine." (Translator's Preface, pp. vi, vii.)
It is unnecessary to add a single word to this well-merited censure, from the pen of one of Calvin's most ardent admirers ; for, while ample justice is done to his general character, and to his efforts in behalf of what he deemed Christian truth, his conduct as a persecutor is placed in its true light, and shewn to be utterly inconsistent with the spirit of that religion, of which, but for his reckless conduct in this instance, he might have been regarded, by the enemies, no less than the friends of his theological system, as one of the brightest ornaments. But all, whose natural feelings are not perverted by sectarian zeal, will join with Gibbon in denouncing the conduct of a man, who, under the guise of religion, could violate every principle of honour and humanity; and avail himself of the influence, which he derived from his office as a Christian Minister, and his high position as a Christian Reformer, to devise, if not to perpetrate, one of the foulest murders recorded in the history of persecution. "I am more deeply scandalized," says the author of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," (Chap, liv.) "at the single execution of Servet, than at the hecatombs which have blazed in the Auto da Fes of Spain and Portugal. 1. The zeal of Calvin seems to have been envenomed by personal malice, and perhaps envy. He accused his adversary before their common enemies, the Judges of Vienne, and betrayed, for his destruction, the sacred trust of a private correspondence. 2.The deed of cruelty was not varnished by the pretence of danger to the Church or State. In his passage through Geneva, Servet was a harmless stranger, who neither preached, nor printed, nor made proselytes. 3. A Catholic inquisitor yields the same obedience which he requires, but Calvin violated the golden rule of doing as he would be done by."
Sandius, in his account of the writings of Servet, assigns the first place to a Dialogue in Spanish, entitled, "Desiderius Peregrinus," "The Treasure of the Soul," or "The Treasure of the Christian Soul." This pious, but mystical little work, has been translated from the Spanish into the Italian, French, German, Dutch and Latin ; and published again and again in almost every country of Europe. Its real author was a Spanish Monk, of the Order of St. Jerome ; and it is difficult to imagine any other reason, why it should have been fathered upon Servet, than the circumstance of its having first appeared in Spanish, which was his native language.
Of the genuine writings of Servet, the following account, it is hoped, will not prove unacceptable to the reader, although it has been anticipated, in some measure, by the former part of the present Article.
1. On the Errors of the Trinity, Seven Books, by Michael Servet, alias Reves, a Spaniard of Aragon. 1531, 8vo. The Latin title of this work is as follows. "De Trinitatis Erroribus Libri Septem: per Michaelem Serveto, alias Reves, ab Aragonia Hispanum. Anno MDxxxi." It was published at Hagenau, in Alsace, as appears from Servet's own confession. The composition is barbarous and uncouth, being very different, in this respect, from his treatise on Syrups, and his notes on Ptolemy's Geography, both of which have been commended for the elegance of their Latinity. When it was known that such a work was in existence, no efforts were spared, by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, to prevent it from getting into circulation. According to Peter Adolphus Boysen, many copies were burnt at Frankfort ; and others, which found their way to Ratisbon, were carefully collected, and destroyed by John Quintana, Secretary and Confessor to the Emperor Charles V. Grotius had access to a copy at Rotterdam, supposed to have been the one in manuscript, seen by Christopher Sandius, and taken from a printed copy, once in the possession of Peter Medmannys, and afterwards the property of John Pesser. Paris possessed only two copies, one of which was mutilated. Melanchthon had seen the work, as appears from a letter addressed by him to Joachim Camerarius (Ep. l40); and it has been supposed, but without sufficient authority, that Micraelius had access to it. Schelhorn informs us, that there was a copy in the library of Prince Eugene; another in that of the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel ; and a third in the possession of John Williehn Petersen. He adds, that the contributors to the “Berlin Heave-Offerings" had access to one, if not two copies. Allwoerden denies, that the rarity of this work is so great as many learned men have supposed ; and tells his readers, that he himself had seen, at different times, upwards of twenty copies. He admits, that the Confessor of Charles V. suppressed all the copies, which he could meet with at Ratisbon ; but says, that we have the evidence of no author of repute, that these copies were committed to the flames, and that the mistake has arisen from confounding the Work “De Trinitatis Erroribus" with the “Christianismi Restitutio,” which was burnt at Vienne and Frankfort, in compliance with the request of Calvin. Nothing is more certain, however, than that very few persons have had the good fortune to obtain a sight of this rare work. Dr. Drunmond, in the Preface to his spirited and excellent little book, entitled, “ The Life of Michael Servet,” states, that he has seen a manuscript quarto volume, written in two different hands, and containing the “Seven Books on the Errors of the Trinity," and the "Two Books of Dialogues" on the same subject. This volume appears, from a printed inscription on the inside of the cover, to have formerly belonged to a Physician of Frankfort on the Maine. It was presented to the Rev. John Montgomery, (nephew of the Rev. Dr. Montgomery, of Dunmurry,) when a student in Glasgow ; and was by him kindly entrusted, for a season, to the care of Dr. Drummond, from whom this description of it is borrowed. Abstracts of the contents of the "Seven Books on the Errors of the Trinity" may be seen in Van Seelen's "Selecta Litteraria" (pp. 60—65); Trechsel's "Michael Servet und seine Vorganger" (S. 67—98); and Henry's "Life and Times of John Calvin," translated by Stebbing (Vol. II. pp. 168— 170). The chief aim of the work is to shew, First, that the historical Christ of the New Testament is the man Christ Jesus ; or that Jesus of Nazareth, a true man, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary, is the Christ of God, or the Messiah promised to the fathers: Secondly, that he is the Son of God ; by which is meant, that his body has a real participation of the substance of God, being begotten of the Holy Ghost, on which account he is the proper, true and natural Son of God, whereas we are only sons of God by adoption:—and Thirdly, that he is God ; not that One and Most High, who alone is God the Father, yet substantially, because in him is the godhead bodily. Servet lays down two fundamental principles ; First, that the divine nature is incapable of division; and Secondly, that it can become known to us only by its dispositions, or manifestations. Reasoning from these two principles, he infers, that neither the Logos, nor the Holy Spirit, is a person really distinct from the Father, but only a kind of revelation of the divine nature. Theologians have experienced no small difficulty, ill their attempts to analyse the opinions of Servet, and give them some definite form. Walchius regarded him as a favourer of Sabellianism ; and Beza, in the Preface to his account of Valentine Gentilis, intimates, that in Servet alone we meet with a union of the opinions of Paul of Samosata, Arius and Eutyches, and even of those of Marcion and Apollinaris. It is now becoming the fashion, to charge him with undisguised Pantheism ; and to represent him as the herald, or precursor of Spinoza. But this is to do him a manifest injustice. The truth is, that, in attempting to develop his views, he stumbled upon dialectical difficulties, of which he had not a due appreciation. Imperceptibly to himself, his philosophical speculations led him into inconsistencies; but his Christian piety, and Christian feeling, which never deserted him, placed him at an immeasurable distance from Spinoza. He was a Pantheist in the same sense in which Paul was a Pantheist. He believed, with the great Apostle of the Gentiles, that "there is One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all" (Eph. iv. 6); and his attempt to give expansion and development to this sublime sentiment of the Apostle, and to shew its incompatibility with the received doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, was the occasion of that implacable hostility, with which Calvin pursued him. A Dutch translation of the work " On the Errors of the Trinity," by Renier Telle, or Regner Vitellius, was published in 4to., A.D. 1620. The translator professed himself a Calvinist, but was in reality an Arminian. His version is accurate and faithful, and often conveys the meaning more plainly than the original itself. When the sense is more than ordinarily obscure, short explanatory notes are added in the margin.
2. Two Books of Dialogues concerning the Trinity. On the Justification of Christ's Kingdom, Four brief Chapters: by Michael Servet, alias Reves, a Spaniard of Aragon. 1532, 8vo. The Latin title, which it may be a satisfaction to some readers to see, is as follows. "Dialogorum de Trinitate Libri Duo. De Justitia Regni Christi, Capitula Quatnor: per Michael Serveto, alias Reves, ab Aragonia Hispanum. Anno MDxxxii." In these Dialogues Michael and Petrucio are the speakers; and the Four Capitula treat, 1, On Paul's Doctrine of Justification; 2, On the Kingdom of Christ; 3, On the Law compared with the Gospel; and 4, On Charity. Servet retracts, in this work, what he had advanced on the subject of the Trinity in the former one; but he tells the reader, that his reason for so doing is a conviction, that what he had said was imperfect, not that it was false. This he attributes in part to his own want of skill in composition, and in part to the carelessness of his printer. The sentiments of both treatises are identical; but in the "Dialogues," more is said about the Logos, and less about the Father, than in the work " On the Errors of the Trinity." The writer's views on the subject of Justification are said to hold an intermediate place, between those of the Lutherans, and those of the Catholics. Trechsel has given an abstract of the contents of this second work of Servet, in his "Michael Servet und Seine Vorganger" (S. 103—109).
3. Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria's Eight Books of Geography, from the Translation of Bilibaldus Pirckheymer, now for the first Time revised according to the ancient Greek Copies, by Michael Villanovanus, &c. Lyons, Melchior and Caspar Trechsel, 1535, Fol. In the Preface to this work, Servet, after giving a brief account of Ptolemy, and asserting his superiority as a geographer to Strabo, Pliny and Pomponius Mela, goes on to say, that he has spared no pains, in endeavouring to amend the text of his author ; and by the aid of manuscripts, and a careful perusal of the works of preceding writers, has succeeded in restoring the true reading of several thousand passages. The text of Ptolemy is enriched by explanatory notes, the style of which is more classical than that of Servet's two preceding works on the Trinity. The volume is also illustrated by maps and wood-cuts. It was on certain expressions occurring in this work, that Calvin grounded his charge against Servet, of representing Moses as an impostor, and as bringing contempt upon the Jewish religion. The offensive passage had been expunged in the second edition, published in 1542 ; but this availed Servet nothing on his trial. Allwoerden gives an extended analysis of the work in his "History of Servet," (pp. 158—166,) including the passage above mentioned.
4. The whole Nature and Use of Syrups diligently unfolded, after the example of Galen, &c. Paris, Simon Colinseus, 1537, 8vo. Allwoerden made frequent inquiries after this book, but was never able to obtain a sight of it. A copy of it is said to be preserved in the Royal Library at Kbnigsberg. Servet published it under the name of Michael Villanovanus. A second edition appeared at Venice, in 1545; and a third at Lyons, in 1546. The following notice of it, and of the cause which led to its publication, is from the pen of Dr. Henry. "In the science of medicine Servet agreed with the Greek Physicians, in opposition to the Arabian. The controversy between these two parties was one of the topics of the day. Champier, a Physician, and the friend of Servet, at Lyons, attributed, in a writing for Leonh. Fuchs, false views to the former, and accused him of inclining rather to the Arabian system. This produced an answer from Servet, and as whatever he did he did with talent, a very excellent work, on the use of Syrups, with a review of the Galenists and Averroists, appeared, from his pen, at Paris in 1537. This work, as well as the notes on Ptolemaeus, was written in Latin, and so excellently, that Mosheim ventures the conjecture, that he intentionally employed a negligent style in his theological writings, it being a principle with him that, in matters of religion, language should always be humble." (Life and Times of Calvin, Vol. II. Chap. iv. pp. 174, 175.)
5. The Holy Bible according to the Translation of Sanctes Pagninus, but so revised after the Hebrew, and illustrated with Scholia, as to appear a manifestly new Edition. Lyons, Hugh de la Porte, 1542, Fol. At the end of the volume are the words, "Excudebat Chaspar Trechsel." This Bible is extremely rare. Copies of it are sometimes to be met with in France ; but they fetch very high prices. Calvin, in his accusation against Servet, alludes to it, and particularly to the note on Isaiah liii. It is evident, from the Preface, that Servet thought all the prophecies of the Old Testament had a literal and historical sense, and received their fulfilment before the time of the Christian dispensation ; and that they could be applied to Christ only in a mystical sense. Servet has supplied few notes on the Historical Books ; but in the Psalms and Books of the Prophets his annotations are numerous. These gave great offence, not only to Calvin, but to the Divines of the Catholic Church. Allwoerden has inserted a long and interesting account of this edition of the Bible, with extracts from the Expurgatory Indexes of Sotomaior and Quiroga, in his "Historia M. Serveti," pp. 167—176. The reader may also consult Masch's edition of Le Long's "Bibliotheca Sacra, Hal. 1783," 4to., P. ii. Vol. III. Cap. iii. Sect. i. § xxiv. pp. 477, 478.
6. The Restitution of Christianity. A Call to the Christian World to the primitive Principles of the Apostolic Church: or a Treatise wherein the Knowledge of God, of the Christian Faith, of our Justification, Regeneration, Baptism, of Eating the Lord’s Supper, are perfectly restored ; to the Deliverance of the heavenly Kingdom from the Slavery of impious Babylon, and the utter Destruction of Antichrist with his Followers. 1553, 8vo. This is the Rev. Dr. Drummond's translation of the title of Servet’s celebrated Latin work,-“ Christianismi Restitutio : totius Ecclesizc Apostoliczc ad sua Limina Vocatio, in integrum restituta Cognitione Dei, Fidei Christi, Justificationis nostrae, Regenerationis, Baptismi et Coenae Domini Manducationis: restituto denique nobis Regno ccelesti, Babylonis impiae Captivitate soluta, et Antichristo cum suis penirus destructo, Kai MDLIII". The work extends over 734 pages, and on the last page are the letters M.S.V., and the date 1553. This exceedingly scarce book is the one, which led to the martyrdom of its author, and which was bound to his thigh, when he suffered at the stake. It issued from the press in the month of January, 1553. Five bales of copies were sent to Lyons, and five to Chatillon. A still larger supply was forwarded to Frankfort, and others were sent to Geneva. Many copies were burnt at Vienne. A servant man of Robert Stephens, named Thomas, was dispatched to Frankfort, for the express purpose of seizing, and causing to be destroyed, the copies which had been sent thither ; and few, if any of the supply which had been forwarded to that city, escaped the flames. Out of the whole impression, consisting of a thousand copies, not more than five or six are supposed to have been rescued from destruction. One of these formerly belonged to the Unitarians of Clausenburg, in Transylvania. It was procured by Daniel Mark Szent-Ivani, during a visit to England, between the years 1660 and 1668: and was the parent of several manuscript copies, of which the following account, by the learned Samuel Crellius, has been made public, in a letter addressed by the Rev. Frederick Adrian Vander Kemp to the Rev. Jedidiah Morse, D.D., January 15th, 1808, and inserted, with several others, relating to the history of Servet, in the Fifth Volume of the Monthly Repository. This account of Crellius's was taken, by the author of the above-mentioned letter, as he himself informs us, from a manuscript copy of the one in the Royal Library at Gottingen, made by the Rev. J. J. Stapfer, of Bern, in 1775.
"The noble and Rev. Andrew Lachowski a Moscorow, a Polish Knight, and Minister of the Polish Unitarian Church at Clausenburg, formerly made this copy of the 'Restitutio Christianismi' at Clausenburg, in Transylvania, for my father, Christopher Crellius, then living in that part of Prussia, called Brandenburg, from a printed copy of Servet's Book, which D. Mark Szent-Ivani, afterwards Superintendent of the Unitarian Churches in Transylvania, procured in England, when he was travelling in that country, between the years 1660 and 1670. Returning thence into Transylvania, through the March of Brandenburg, he lent this printed Book of Servet to John Preussius, Minister of the Unitarian Church in the March, and afterwards my father-in-law; which Preussius partly transcribed himself for his own use, and caused to be transcribed in part by Jeremiah Felbinger, and in part by another person. Before the copy written out by Preussius came into the library of that very learned gentleman, Andrew Erasmus a Seidel, Councillor of the King of Prussia, I restored from that copy, by my son's hand, the last octernion but one in this copy of mine, transcribed by Lachowski, which had been lost through the negligence of a friend in Prussia, before the Book was bound. But Preussius's copy does not everywhere in the margin exhibit the pages of Servet's printed Book. That printed Book might, perhaps, even yet, be found at Clausenburg, in Transylvania, among the Unitarians."
"I wrote this at Konigswald, Feb. 19th, 1719."
"After I had written the above, I met with a letter, which Peter Adams, the travelling companion of D. Mark Szent-Ivani, had addressed to John Preussius, on his return to Clausenburg ; from which I ascertained, that the journey above mentioned took place between the years 1660 and 1668, not 1670.
"The manuscript copy, given by me to Seidelius, is now in the possession of the celebrated Mathurin Veyssiere La Croze, Aulic Councillor, and Librarian to the King of Prussia ; not obtained from 'Samuel Crellius,' as a late 'History of Servet,' published under the auspices of the illustrious Mosheim, states, but from the library of the deceased Seidelius." [The "History of Servet" here alluded to, is Allwoerden's; and the passage occurs at p. 181.]
"I made this additional memorandum at Amsterdam, July, 1728."
"P.S. I afterwards learnt, in the year 1735, from the illustrious Stephen Agh, then a student of the Unitarian Church in Transylvania, now a Professor in the Gymnasium at Clausenburg, that the printed copy of Servet's work was not found among the Transylvanian Unitarians: for when, on the occupation of Transylvania by the Emperor Leopold, both their Churches at Clausenburg were taken from them by the Roman Catholics, the danger being imminent, they, improvidently secure, neglected to remove their library in time from the greater Church, where it was placed, which was therefore taken possession of by the Jesuits. M. V. La Croze had given his manuscript copy to John Christopher Wolf, Preacher at Hamburgh, from which place he subsequently went to Offenbach; and after his death, when his books were sold by auction at Frankfort on the Maine, P. De Hondt, bookseller at the Hague, obtained this copy, which I saw in his possession, and knew to be the very one, which I had formerly presented to Seidelius."
"I make this additional memorandum at Amsterdam, July, 1745."
"I received a letter, however, from the above named illustrious Stephen Agh, Dec. 30th, 1745, written at Clausenburg, and containing the following statement. 'When we lost those two Churches, we did not, with the Churches, lose also the books of the celebrated D. M. Szent-Ivani; for they were not at that time taken to the place adjoining the Cathedral, in which many books of our Church were preserved, and those works of Servet, about which I wrote, but more especially the Restitutio Christianismi, I have not found in the Catalogue of his books. If, however, by any chance, I shall hereafter find them, either in the libraries of our Church, or elsewhere,' &c.
"Thus, all hope has not vanished, that a printed copy of the Restitutio Christianismi may still be found in Transylvania.
"The manuscript copy, which Peter De Hondt had obtained at Frankfort on the Maine, as we have said above, was sold at the Hague in the very last summer, A.D. 1745, at an auction of his books, for eighty-six Dutch florins. Hartig, a bookseller of Amsterdam, bought it. Peter De Hondt had lent this copy of his to some one to read. A copy of it, made by him, was introduced into a book auction at Amsterdam about two years since, and cost the purchaser more than a hundred Dutch florins."
"I make this additional memorandum January 27th,
From these detached remarks of Samuel Crellius, which, owing to their having been made at different times, and in two cases after long intervals, are not so clear and connected as might have been wished, and from other information supplied by the writer of the letters to Dr. Jedidiah Morse, the inference may be drawn, that there are presumptively existing at least four manuscript copies of the " Christianismi Restitutio," which owe their origin, either directly or indirectly, to the printed copy, procured by Daniel Mark Szent-Ivani, during his visit to this country:—1. That of Crellius, copied by the Rev. Andrew Lachowski; 2. That copied by the Rev. John Preussius and others, and now in the Royal Library at Gottingen; 3. That clandestinely made from De Hondt's copy; and 4. That copied from the Gottingen MS. by the Rev. J. J. Stapfer, of Bern. Bock states, that the library of the celebrated Jablonski, Professor of Divinity in the University of Frankfort on the Oder, once contained an elegant manuscript copy of the "Christianismi Restitutio," in folio, made at Clausenburg, in Transylvania; but whether this was one of those already mentioned, or some independent copy, does not appear.
A printed copy of this celebrated work is said to have been secreted by Colladon, one of Servet's Judges. After passing through the library of the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, this copy came into the possession of Dr. Richard Mead, the celebrated Physician, (Sigmund's unnoticed Theories of Servet, p. 22,) who made a present of it to M. De Boze, Secretary to the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres at Paris, an office which he held for thirty-seven years. In the "Authentic Memoirs of Richard Mead, M.D.," which are a translation from the "Eloge" upon him in the " Journal Brittanique" of 1754, conducted by the elder Maty, the following passage occurs in reference to this copy. "His reputation not only as a Physician, but as a Scholar, was so universally established, that he corresponded with all the principal Literati in Europe. Mr. De Boze, whose loss the learned world lament no less than the Academy to which he did so much honor, kept up the strictest correspondence with the Doctor. He frequently received from him some valuable piece for the cabinet of the King of France, and never failed of making him a return of the same kind. The scarce and perhaps the only copy of Servet's last book, passed from the shelves of our English worthy to those of his friend abroad, in exchange for a thousand presents he had received from him." (Pp. 55, 56.) This copy is now at Paris, and is the one consulted by M. Emile Saisset, in drawing up a series of articles on Servet, lately published in the "Revue des Deux Mondes." That writer says, "Our Royal Library fortunately possesses one of the only two copies of the Restitution du Christianisme which it is said have escaped destruction. It is a curious circumstance that this is the identical copy of which Colladon made use when he arranged with Calvin the proceedings against Michael Servet. It still bears in its margin the damning marks which that penetrating and inflexible theologian inscribed upon it. It was snatched from the flames by some unknown hand, and we can observe in its blackened leaves the marks of fire. It is from the pages of this volume, full of tragical mementoes,—by means of these lines, in parts half effaced by the rust of age, in parts obliterated and reduced to ashes by the flames,—that we have attempted to extract the buried thoughts of the sacrificed author." (Christian Reformer, N. S. Vol. IV. p. 271.)
A third printed copy of the "Christianismi Restitutio" once existed at Basle; but Father Simon informs us, that this was transferred to Dublin. Gerard a Mastricht mentions a fourth copy, which he had seen, and examined, in the public library at Duysburgh ; but Theodore Hase says, that, in his time, this was no longer to be found. The only copy now known to exist, beside the one in the National Library at Paris, is in the Imperial Library at Vienna ; and it is not improbable that this is the one, which formerly belonged to Daniel Mark Szent-Ivani, and which disappeared from his library in so mysterious a manner, on the occupation of Transylvania by the Emperor Leopold. Reprints of this scarce work, purporting to be copies of the original edition, are sometimes to be met with in Catalogues ; and written copies of it also are occasionally seen in England, as well as on the continent. One of these was made for Dr. More, Bishop of Ely, from the printed copy in the Library of the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel; and M. Souverain, author of “ Le Platonisme devoilé," had access to another. The original manuscript, written by Servet's own hand, once belonged to Caelius Horatius Curio. It afterwards found its way into the library of M. Du Fay, with the rest of whose books it was sold at Paris, in 1725. The purchaser was the Comt De Hoym, Polish Ambassador at the French Court, who bought it for a hundred and seventy six livres. It was afterwards the property of M. Gaignat, and was sold, with the rest of that gentleman’s library, in 1769. What next became of it, and whether it is now in existence, the present writer has not been able to ascertain. It was in a very tattered, and mutilated state, when in the possession of M. Gaignat. For an account of the contents of the “Christianismi Restitutio,” the reader may consult Sandius's “ Bibliotheca Antitrinitariorum” (pp. 14-, 15); the Monthly Repository for 1810, (Vol. V.,) pp. 526-528 ; and Trechse1's “Michael Servet und seine Vorgiinger," S. 119-14-4. Peter Palmer, a London bookseller, projected an edition of the Works of Servet in 4to., 1723, but was prevented from carrying his design into execution, by the interference of the ecclesiastical and civil powers. At the instance of Dr. Gibson, Bishop of London, John Kent, messenger of the press, and William Squire, messenger in ordinary, seized the whole impression, before it was completed; and a very few copies escaped destruction.
(Vidend. Sandii B. A. pp. 6—15. Sock, Hist. Ant. T. II. pp. 321 —395. Trechsel, Michael Servet und seine Vorganger, passim. Allwoerden, Hist. Michaelis Served, passim. M. De la Roche, Biblioth. Anglaise, T. II. P. i. Art. vii. Jac. O. Chaufepie, Diet. Hist. et Crit. T. IV. pp. 219—245. D'Artigny, Nouv. Memoires de Critique et de Litterateur, 1749, T. II. Art. 11. Calvini Epp. Hanov. 1597, 12mo. N. 152.155,156. 161. Calvini Fidelis Expositio Errorum Mich. Serveti, [published among Calvin's Tracts,] Geneva, 1576, pp. 703. 836.(Ecolampadii et Zuinylii Epp. Bas. 1592, 4to. L. i. p. 83; L. iv. p. 801, Epp. 1, 2. Melanchth. Epp. Lond. 1642, L. iv. Ep. 140, p. 708. Histoire de 1'Heresie. Paris, 4to. pp. 350, 351. Grotii Append. ad Commentat. de Antichristo. Opp. T. III. p. 503. Mon. Rep. Vol. V. (1810) pp. 105. 163. 222. 277. 328. 377. 430. 525; Vol. X. (1815) p. 695. Authentic Memoirs of the Life of Richard Mead, M.D., London, 1755, 8vo. 1. c. The unnoticed Theories of Servet, A Dissertation addressed to the Medical Society at Stockholm: by Qeorge Sigmund, M. D., &c. London, 1826, 8vo. Apology for Dr. Michael Servet, &c., by Richard Wright. Wisbeach, 1806, 8vo. The Life of Michael Servet, &c., by William Hamilton Drummond, D.D. London, 1848, 12mo. The Life and Times of John Calvin the great Reformer: translated from the German of Paul Henry, D.D., by Henry Stebbing, D.D., F.R.S., &c. London, 1849, 8vo. Vol. II. Pt. iii. Chap. iv. v. Christian Reformer, N. S., Vol. III. (1847) pp. 1 —21; Vol. IV. (1848) pp. 264—276. 321—333. Vogt, Catal. Historico-Crit. Librorum Rariorum, pp. 622—624. Jo. Henr. a Seelen, Selecta Litteraria, Ed. ii. LubecK, 1726,12mo. N.ii.pp.52—76. Schelhornii Aracen. Lit T. IX. pp. 723, 724, etc.)
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