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Download The John Calvin Biography Collection I. (6 Vols) 1.0

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Calvinism Presbyterian History Biography Renaissance (1400-1650)

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Biography Collection I - Calvin

This collection consists of six [public domain] biographies by six different authors about the great French Reformer John Calvin. These include: The Early Years of John Calvin, The Life of John Calvin, Calvin and Servetus, Calvin and His Enemies, Calvin and the Swiss Reformation, and John Calvin and the Genevan Reformation.



John Calvin

A Fragment


by the

Rev. Thomas M‘Crie, D.D.

author of the “lives of knox and melville;” “history of the reformation in spain and italy,” etc

edited by

William Ferguson

of kinmundy


Chapter I.
Birth to Close of Secular Studies: 1509–1532

Chapter II.
Till Driven From France: 1533–1536

Chapter III.
Sketch of The History of Geneva: 500–1536

Chapter IV.
Geneva: 1536



Life Of John Calvin

compiled from

Authentic sources, and particularly

form his correspondence

by Thomas H. Dyer



Chapter I

Introduction—Calvin’s Birth and Childhood—His Education—Conversion to Protestantism—State of Religion in France—The Sorbonne—Alarm inspired by the Reformation—Persecutions—Margaret de Valois—The Reuchlinists and Erasmus—Calvin’s first Essays as a Reformer—Flight from Paris—Returns to meet Servetus—The Placards—Calvin flies to Basle—First Edition of the “Institutes”—Visits Ferrara—His Arrival at Geneva

Chapter II

Some Account of Geneva—Farel’s Arrival there—Sketch of Farel’s Life—His Labors at Geneva and Expulsion from that City—Froment succeeds him—Disturbances—Return of the Bishop—Guy Furbify—Dissolution of the Monasteries—Reformation established—Genevese Constitution—Calvin joins Farel—Disputation of Lausanne—Anabaptists—Caroli—Accuses Calvin of Arianism—Caroli’s Banishment and Apostasy—Calvin and Farel’s Orthodoxy suspected—Their Scheme of Discipline—Manners of the Genevese—They revolt against the Discipline—French Intrigues—Synod of Lausanne—Inflexibility of Farel and Calvin—Their Banishment form Geneva—They appeal to the Synod of Zurich—Berne intercedes for them

Chapter III

Calvin proceeds to Basle—Accepts a Ministry at Strasburgh—Writes to the Church of Geneva—Attends a Diet at Frankfort—His pecuniary Difficulties—His Marriage—Literary Labors at Strasburgh—Caroli again—Diets of Hagenau and Worms—Diet of Ratisbon—State of Parties at Geneva—The new Pastors despised—Disorders—Negotiations for Calvin’s Restoration—He reluctantly returns to Geneva

Chapter IV

Calvin visits Neufchâtel—His Reception at Geneva—State of the Church there—Farel invited—Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Polity—Church and State—The Consistory—Service of the Church—Presbyterianism—Calvin’s Idea of the Priesthood—Method of upholding it—Practical Discipline—His Scheme not perfected—Calvin’s Civil Legislation—Rigor of his Laws

Chapter V

Plague and Famine at Geneva—Calvin answers the Sorbonne—Replies to Pighius—Melancthon’s Opinions on Free Will—Calvin’s Tract on Relics—Farel at Metz—Caroli’s Machinations—Sebastian Castellio—Calvin’s Tract “De Reformandâ Ecclesiâ”—His remarks on the Pope’s Letter to the Emperor—Tracts against the Anabaptists and Libertines—The Queen of Navarre offended—Luther and the Swiss Church—Calvin’s Opinion of Luther—Luther’s Violence—Calvin’s Tracts against the Nicodemites

Chapter VI

Another Pestilence—Conspiracy to spread the Plague—Persecution of the Waldenses—The Libertines, or Patriots—Number and Privileges of the Refugees—Case of Pierre Ameaux—Calvin’s Despotism—Priestcraft—Struggles with the Libertines—Ami Perrin—Calvin menaced—Affair of Gruet—Perrin imprisoned—Disturbances—Perrin disgraced—Attempts at Accommodation—Calvin embroiled with the Council—Perrin restored and elected Syndic

Chapter VII

Work against the Council of Trent—Tract against judicial Astrology—The Interim—Melancthon’s Concessions—Calvin blames Melancthon—Death of Calvin’s Wife—Beza’s Arrival at Geneva—The Zurich Consensus—Lælius Socinus—Fêtes abolished at Geneva—Calvin’s Tract De Scandalis

Chapter VIII

St. Augustin and Pelagius—Predestination—Case of Bolsec—Calvin’s Account of his Tenets—Bolsec indicted—The Swiss Churches consulted—Bolsec’s Life in danger—Bullinger’s Advice to Calvin—Letter of the Bernese Ministers—M. de Fallais patronizes Bolsec—Calvin’s Tract on Predestination—Calvin and the English Church—Affair of Dr. Hooper—Cranmer’s Principles and Projects of Union—Calvin’s Letter to him—Misconceives Cranmer’s Situation

Chapter IX

Account of Servetus—His Book against the Trinity—His Medical Studies—Settles at Vienne—His Correspondence with Calvin—Broken off by the latter—Publishes his “Restoration of Christianity”—Is denounced by Trie, and apprehended at Vienne—Calvin furnishes Evidence against him—Further Proceedings—Examination at Vienne—Escapes from Prison, and is burned in Effigy

Chapter X

Servetus arrives at Geneva—Is arrested and indicted—His Trial—Is claimed by the French Authorities—His Insolence—Opinions of Bullinger, Farel, and others, on his Case—Brings a counter Accusation against Calvin—The Swiss Churches consulted—Their Replies—Servetus condemned and executed—His Character—General Indignation against Calvin—Calvin’s Book on the Punishment of Heretics—Grounds of his Defense—Justified by Melancthon and others—Calvin and the French Inquisition—Inquiry into his Motives—His Defense unsatisfactory—Replies to his Book

Chapter XI

Affair of Berthelier—Calvin refuses to administer the Lord’s Supper—Question of Excommunication—Truce with the Libertines—Libel upon Calvin—His Unpopularity—Disputes with the Bernese Clergy—Calvin visits Berne—Banishment of Bolsec—Further Struggles with the Libertines—The Consistory’s power of Excommunication confirmed—Question of Citizenship—Riots—The Libertines discomfited—Sentence upon them

Chapter XII

Controversy with the Lutherans—Attacks of Westphal—Calvin answers him—Calvin’s Violence—Urges Melancthon to declare himself—Mission of Farel and Beza—Their Disingenuousness—Bullinger Offended—The Marian Exiles—“Troubles of Frankfort”—Lutheran Persecutions—Calvin visits Frankfort—Return of the Marian Exiles

Chapter XIII

Revival of the Predestinarian Controversy—Calvin’s Treatment of Castellio—Italian Antitrinitarians—Gribaldo—Biandrata—Alciati—Gentile—Schools founded at Geneva—Dissensions in the Pays de Vaud—Viret and others banished—Farel’s intemperate Zeal—Viret, Beza, and others, repair to Geneva—Farel’s Marriage—Calvin’s Illness—His Intercourse with England—Correspondence with Knox

Chapter XIV

State of Religion in France—Persecution of the Protestants—Conspiracy of Amboise—Progress of Calvinism in France—Danger and Escape of Condé—Demand for Genevese Preachers—The Triumvirate—Conference of Poissy—The Queen favors the Huguenots—They preach in public—Edict of January—Apostasy of King Anthony—Massacre of Vassy—Beza remonstrates—Religious Wars—Battle of Dreux—Assassination of Guise—Peace of Orleans

Chapter XV

Controversy with Baudouin—Tract against De Saconay—Answer to Hesshus—Calvin’s last Illness—Interview with the Council—Exhortation to the Minister—His Death—Will—Beza’s Character of Calvin—Another Estimate—His Literary Merits—Conclusion

Calvin and Servetus

The Reformer’s Share

in the

Trial of Michael Servetus

historically ascertained

from the french: with notes and additions

by the

Rev. W. K. Tweedie


Chap. I. Sketch of the Life of Calvin
Chap. II. Sketch of the Life of Servetus
Chap. III. Servetus at Geneva—State of Parties there
Chap IV. Areestment of Servetus—First Judicial Proceedings against Him
Chap V. The Council of Geneva becomes the Prosecutor of Servetus
Chap VI. Written Discussion between Servetus and Calvin—Debates upon Excommunication between the Reformer and the Council
Chap. VII. The Council consults the Swiss Churches—Their Replies—The Sentence and Death of Servetus

Calvin And His Enemies

A Memoir

of the

Life, Character, and Principles



by the

Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D.



Chapter I.
Introductory Remarks

Chapter II.
Calvin was the most eminent of all the Reformers, and remarkable for his courage

Chapter III.
The Genius and Works of Calvin

Chapter IV.
Calvin vindicated from the charge of ambition, and his true greatness and wonderful influence shown

Chapter V.
Calvin vindicated from the charge of illiberality, intolerance, and persecution

Chapter VI.
Calvin vindicated from the charge of a want of natural affection and friendship

Chapter VII.
The obligations which we owe to Calvin, as American citizens and Christians, illustrated

Chapter VIII.
The closing scenes of Calvin’s Life

Chapter IX.
A supplementary vindication of the Ordination of Calvin


I. The case of Servetus
Who are Calvin’s Revilers?
II. The Will of John Calvin
III. The views of Calvin on Prelacy, vindicated by the Rev. Samuel Miller, D. D.
IV. Testimonials to Calvin
V. Origin of the calumny that Calvin wished to abrogate the Lord’s day
Melancthon’s approbation of the course of Calvin towards Servetus
The Testimony of a Unitarian
Temptation of John Calvin
Calvin’s Ordination
Calvin’s Mission to Brazil
VI. Calvin’s Wife


and the

Swiss Reformation:

By John Scott, M. A.


Chapter I
The Swiss people—Early History of Zwingle—Commencement of Reformation—Coadjutors of Zwingle

Chapter II
Mercenary warfare—Opposition to the Reformation—Writings of Zwingle—Progress of the Reformation

Chapter III
Disputations of Zuric—Progress of Reformation—Martyrdoms of Hottinger and the Wirths—Writings of Zwingle—Translation of the Scriptures

Chapter IV
Progress of Reformation in different Cantons—Disputation of Baden—Persecutions—Anabaptists

Chapter V
Disputation of Berne—Reformation of that Canton—and of Basle—Erasmus—Soleure—Treaty of Arau—Conference of Marpurg—Anabaptists

Chapter VI
Reformation of French Switzerland—Farel—Proceedings in the Cantons—Civil War—Death of Zwingle—and of Œcolampadius—Consequences

Chapter VII
Epistles of Zwingle and Œcolampadius—Works of Zwingle

Chapter VIII
Progress of Reformation in French Switzerland—Its state in the Cantons—Synod of Berne—Helvetic Confession—Death of Haller

Chapter IX
History of Geneva—Reformation established—Independence achieved and secured—Reformation of the adjoining territory, and of the Pays de Vaud

Chapter X
History of Calvin

Chapter XI
History of Calvin continued


John Calvin


The Genevan Reformation:

A Sketch


Thomas Cary Johnson



Chapter I
General Statement.—Divisions of Calvin’s Life.—Origin of the Genevan Reformation.—Its Progress,

Chapter II
Calvin’s Childhood and Youth: The Period of His Training under the Parental Roof and in Schools till His Sudden Conversion in 1532 and Determination to the Service of Christianity.—Birth and Parentage.—His Education.—His Conversion and Further Education.—His First Literary Venture.—Determination to the Service of Christianity,

Chapter III
The Period of Calvin’s Elaboration of the Doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, Embodied Chiefly in His Immortal Institutes, 1532–1541.—Open Break with the Church of Rome.—A Wandering Evangelist in France, 1533–’34.—In Exile in Basle: The Production of the Institutes.—Travelling in Italy and France under the Name of Charles d’ Espeville, 1535–1536.—The Reformation in Geneva Prior to Calvin’s Coming, 1532–1536.—Calvin’s First Period in Geneva, 1536–1538.—Calvin in Strasburg.—Still the Head of the Genevan Church, 1538–1541,

Chapter IV
The Period of His Establishment and Defense of, as Scriptural, of an Order of Ecclesiastical Polity, Corresponding to His System of Faith, Which is Known as Presbyterianism, 1541–1549.—Calvin’s Labors in this Period.—Distinctive Principles of Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Polity.—His Struggles with the Patriots and Libertines in Behalf of Discipline.—The Death of His Wife in 1549,

Chapter V
The Period of Calvin’s Great Controversies Waged with the Purpose of Advancing Union Amongst Bodies of Evangelical Christians and Maintaining the Truth of His System, 1549–1564.—Calvin’s Labors and Achievements, 1549–1564.—The Agreement with the Zurichers on the Lord’s Supper: An Instance of Calvin’s Irenical Efforts.—The Controversy with Servetus, an Illustration of Calvin’s Honor to God’s Word as He Understood and to the Unity of the Church.—Calvin’s Death.—Some of His Characteristics,

Chapter VI
The Influence of John Calvin.—Not Perpetuated by Imposing Tomb.—His Influence on Civil and Religious Liberty.—The Conserving Power of Calvinism in Protestant Church Life.—Conclusion,

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