Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/543

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527
MICHAEL SERVETUS.

lodged at the Rose Inn, intending to go by boat to Lausanne on his way to Zurich. Calvin, however, learned that he was in the town, and he immediately informed the first syndic, and caused him to be apprehended; and here he was kept while proceedings were being taken against him, from August 14th to October 27th.

The people of Geneva, in the year 1553, were, and had been for several years, divided into two hostile parties, struggling desperately with each other for the supremacy. The austerity and tyranny of Calvin had aroused against him many opponents, and it seemed now as if these were on the point of attaining the ends for which they had been so long striving. Calvin's earliest attempts at ruling the Genevese had soon met with failure. He had first settled in Geneva in 1536, but so unpopular had he become in two years that he and his colleague, Farel, were formally banished from the city. Passing from Basle to Strasburg, he had taken up his residence in the latter city as Professor of Theology. But after two years, in response to a deputation which came and besought his return to Geneva, he consented to go* back, and in September, 1541, he took up his old position under greater advantages than before. He then laid before the Council the draft of his ordinances respecting church discipline, and these were at once accepted. A consistory was formed, composed for the most part of clergymen, with the addition of a few laymen, "to watch over the support of the pure doctrine and of morals."

The tribunal called everybody, without exception, to account for his slightest words or actions, and referred cases, where ecclesiastical censure was not sufficient, to the Council. Thus Calvin had made himself director of the conduct as well as of the opinion of the Genevese. His spirit governed exclusively in the Council as in the Consistory, and no one could hope to succeed who set himself in opposition to Calvin.

Twelve years of such bondage, however, had not been borne by the Genevese without indication of discontent and dissatisfaction. The Council declared that clergymen could no longer be admitted to its meetings, although they had not been previously excluded; men who were under the consistorial ban for some infringement of discipline were chosen as councilors, and even open hostility was shown to Calvin, who wrote: "The accumulated rancor of their hearts breaks out from time to time; so that when I show myself in the street, the curs are hounded on me."

To the great misfortune of Servetus it was at such a time as this that he arrived in Geneva. His case became the subject of dispute over which the two factions fought one of their bitterest struggles; and although Calvin had declared some years before that if the Spaniard ever came to that city he should not escape