History of the rise of the huguenots

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The tournament, June 30, 1559. Henry mortally wounded by Montgomery's
lance. His death.

On the thirtieth of June,2 when the sports of the day were about

ending, the gay monarch must needs re-enter the lists in person, and

break another lance in honor of Diana of Poitiers, whose colors he wore.

The queen had indeed begged him to avoid, for that day at least, the

dangerous pastime; she had been terrified, so she said, by one of those

strangely vivid dreams that wear, after the event, so much of the guise

of prophetic sight.3 But Henry made light of her fears, and closed

his ears to her warning. His choice of an antagonist fell upon

Montgomery, captain of his Scottish archers; and although the latter

begged leave to decline the perilous honor, the king refused to excuse

him.4 At the appointed signal, the knights rode rapidly to the rude

encounter. But Henry's visor was not proof against the lance of

1 "Paix blasmable, dont les flambeaux de joye furent les

torches funèbres du roy Henry II." Mém. de Tavannes, ii. 242.

2 "The last of this present." Throkmorton to Council, June

30 and July 1, 1559. Forbes, State Papers, i. 151. So in a subsequent

letter, relating a message to him from the constable on July 1st, he

speaks of "the mischaunce happened the daie before to the king." Ibid.,

i. 154.

3 Hist. ecclés., i. 123, 124. Catharine de' Medici's dream,

in which the Huguenots saw a parallel to that of Pilate's wife, was not

a fabrication of theirs. According to her daughter Margaret, Catharine

had many such visions on the eve of important events. "Mesme la nuict

devant la misérable course de lice, elle songea comme elle voyoit le

feu Roy mon père blessé à l'œil, comme il fust; et estant esveillée,

elle le supplia plusieurs fois de ne vouloir point courir ce jour, et

vouloir se contenter de voir le plaisir du tournoi, sans en vouloir

estre. Mais l'inévitable destin ne permit tant de bien à ce royaume,

qu'il put recevoir cet utile conseil." Mémoires de Marguerite de Valois

(edition of French Hist. Soc.), 42.

4 Pierre de Lestoile, 14.

Montgomery, and either broke or was unclasped in the shock. The lance

itself was splintered by the blow, and the piece which Montgomery, in

his surprise and fright, had neglected instantly to lower, entering

above the monarch's eye, penetrated far toward the brain.1 Rescued

from falling, but covered with blood, the wounded prince was hastily

stripped of his armor, amid the loud lamentations of the horror-stricken

spectators, and borne into the magnificent saloon of the Palais des

Tournelles. Here, after lingering a few days, he died on the tenth of July.

It was a month, to the hour, since Henry's visit to parliament.2

The body was laid out in state in the very room appointed for the

nuptial balls. A splendidly wrought tapestry representing the conversion

of St. Paul hung near the remains, but the words, "Saul, Saul, why

persecutest thou me?" embroidered upon it, admitted too pointed an

application, and the cloth was soon put out of sight.3 The public,

however, needed no such

1 Lettere di Principi, iii. 196, apud Ranke, Civil Wars and

Monarchy in France in the 16th and 17th centuries, Am. tr., p. 167. Sir

Nicholas Throkmorton, who alone of the diplomatic corps was an

eye-witness, thus describes the scene in a letter written the same

evening: "Wherat it happened, that the King, after he had ronne a good

many courses very well and faire, meeting with yong Monsieur de Lorges,

capitaine of the scottishe garde, received at the said de Lorge his

hands such a counterbuff, as, the blow first lighting upon the King's

head, and taking away the pannage which was fastened to his hedpece with

yron, he dyd break his staff withall; and so with the rest of the staff

hitting the King upon the face gave him such a counterbuff, as he drove

a splinte right over his eye on his right side: the force of which

stroke was so vehement, and the paine he had withall so great, as he was

moch astonished, and had great ado (with reling to and from) to kepe

himself on horseback; and his horse in like manner dyd somwhat yeld.

Wherupon with all expedition he was unarmed in the field, even against

the place where I stode.... I noted him to be very weake, and to have the sens of all
his lymmes almost benommed; for being caryed away, as he lay along, nothing
covered but his face, he moved nether hand nor fote, but laye as one amased."
Letter to the Council, June 30 and July 1, 1559, Forbes, State Papers, i. 151.

2 Discours de la mort du Roy Henry II., in fine. Recueil

des choses mémorables, and Mém. de Condé, i. 216.

3 Hist. ecclés., i. 123, 124. The singular coincidence is

no invention of the Protestants. It is confirmed by a contemporary

pamphlet by the "king-at-arms of Dauphiny" (Paris, 1559), Le Trespas et

Ordre des Obseques, ... de feu de tresheureuse memoire le Roy Henry

deuxieme, etc., which says: "La dicte salle, ensemble lesdicts

théatres, estoient tendus tout autour d'une tapisserie d'or et de soie à

grandes figures, des actes des apostres." (Reprint of Cimber et Danjou, iii. 317.)

pictorial reminder. The persecutor had been stopped as suddenly in his career

of blood as the young Pharisee near Damascus. But it may be doubted whether
the eyes with which he had sworn to see Anne du Bourg burned beheld such
a vision of glory as blinded the future apostle's vision. It is more than probable,
indeed, that Henry never spoke after receiving the fatal wound;1 although
the report obtained that, as he was carried from the unfortunate tilting-ground,
he turned his bleeding face toward the prison in which the parliament

counsellors were languishing, and expressed fear lest he had wronged

them--a suggestion which the Cardinal of Lorraine hastened to answer by

representing it as a temptation of the Prince of Evil.2

"La Façon de Genève"--the Huguenot service.
The charge of having prayed, or administered the sacrament of

Baptism or of the Lord's Supper, or taken part in the celebration

of Marriage, "according to the fashion of Geneva," so frequently

appears in the documents of the

1 De Thou, ii. 674. Yet Francis II., in the preamble to the

commission as lieutenant-general given to Guise, March 17, 1560, seems

incidentally to vouch for the contrary: "Voire de telle sorte que

nostredit seigneur et père, à son décez, ne nous auroit rien tant

recommandé, que d'user à nosdits subjets de toutes gracieusetez," etc.

Recueil de choses mém., 20. Card. Santa Croce speaks of him as "ita ex

vulnere concussus, ut primo die sensum fere omnem amiserit." De

civilibus Galliæ dissentionibus commentaria (Martene et Durand, Ampliss.

Collectio), v. 1438, 1439.

2 Discours de la mort du Roy Henry II., Recueil des choses

mém., in initio, and Mém. de Condé, i. 213-216; La Planche, 202; La

Place, Commentaires, etc., 20; J. de Serres, De statu rel., etc. (1570),

i., fol. 18; Hist. ecclés., i. 123; De Thou, ii. 674; Davila (Cottrell's

tr.), p. 11; Santa Croce, v. 1438, etc. It is characteristic that so

important a date as that of the fatal tournament should be differently

stated; La Place, the Hist. ecclés., and De Thou making it June 29th.

The confusion is increased by subsequent writers. Motley (Rise of the

Dutch Republic, i. 204) making Henry die on the 10th of July of the

wound inflicted eleven days before, and Prescott (Philip the Second,

i. 295) representing him as lingering ten days and dying on the

ninth of July.

first century after the establishment of the Reformation in France as the
chief offence of its early adherents and martyrs, that it is worth while to
examine in some detail the model of worship that has exerted so important

an influence upon the practice of the Huguenots and their

descendants down to the present time.

While discarding the cumbrous ceremonial of the Roman Church, on

the ground that it was not only overloaded with superfluous

ornament, but too fatally disfigured by irrational, superstitious,

or impious observances to be susceptible of correction or

adaptation to the wants of their infant congregations, the founders

of the reformed churches of the continent did not leave the

inexperienced ministers to whose care these congregations were

confided altogether without a guide in the conduct of divine

worship. Esteeming a written account of the manner in which the

public services were customarily performed to be the safest

directory for the use of the young or ill-equipped, as well as the

surest means of silencing the shameless calumnies of their

malignant opponents, they early framed liturgies, not to be imposed

as obligatory forms, but rather to serve an important end in

securing an orderly conformity in the general arrangement followed

in their churches.
Farel's "Manière et fasson," 1533.

The earliest of these liturgical compositions appears to have been

a small and thin volume of eighty-seven pages, which, as we learn

from the colophon, was "printed by Pierre de Wingle at Neufchâtel,

on the twenty-ninth day of August in the year 1533;" that is to

say, on the same press which, about a twelvemonth later, sent forth

the famous "Placards" against the mass, and a year afterward the

Protestant version of the Bible, translated into French by

Olivetanus. It is entitled "La Manière et fasson qu'on tient ès

lieux que Dieu de sa grace a visités." It was undoubtedly composed

by Guillaume Farel, and, like all the other tracts of that vigorous

and popular reformer, it has become extremely rare. Indeed, the

work was altogether unknown until a single copy, the only one thus

far discovered, was found by Professor Baum, of Strasbourg, in the

Library of Zurich.1

What lends additional interest to the liturgy of Farel, is the

circumstance that it is at the same time, as the modern editor remarks, "the earliest
Confession of Faith of the Reformed Churches, their first apology in answer to
the atrocious, absurd and lying accusations which the hatred of their enemies, especially

among the clergy, had invented at will, or had borrowed from pagan

calumnies against the Christians of the first centuries." "Do they not exclaim," writes
Farel in his preface, "that those accursed dogs of heretics who would uphold
this new law live like beasts, renouncing everything, maintaining neither law
nor faith, abjuring all the sacraments; that

1 Professor Baum published the "Manière et Fasson," on the occasion of the Tercentenary of the French Reformed Church, in 1859, in an elegantly printed pamphlet, itself a fac-simile of the
original in all respects, except the use of Roman in place of Gothic letters. This

pamphlet in turn is out of print, and it is to Professor Baum's kindness

that I am indebted for the copy of which I have made use.

they reject Baptism, and make light of the Holy Table of our Lord; that they despise

the Virgin Mary and the saints, and observe no marriage." To remove the prejudice
thus engendered from the minds of the ignorant, is the chief design of the writer,
who accordingly appeals at each step for his warrant to the Holy Scriptures, and
entreats the reader to have no regard for the antiquity of the abuses he combats,
or for the reputation of their advocates, but simply to examine for himself what
"our good Saviour Jesus has instituted and commanded." The offices are five

in number; for Baptism, Marriage, the Lord's Supper, Preaching, and

the Visitation of the Sick; but to a certain extent, and

particularly in the last-mentioned office, they are little more

than a series of directions for the orderly conduct of worship. In

other cases the service is very fully written out.

Calvin's liturgy, 1542.

Nine years after the publication of this very simple liturgy of

Farel, appeared the first edition of the liturgy of Geneva,

composed by Calvin, or the "Prayers after the fashion of Geneva,"

as they were usually designated by contemporary Roman Catholic

writers. Until recently the first edition was supposed to have been

published in 1543, but Professor Felix Bovet, of Neufchâtel, has

been so fortunate as to find a copy in the Royal Library of

Stuttgart, bearing the date of 1542. This is probably the solitary

remaining specimen of the original impression.1 Although

without name of place, it was doubtless printed in Geneva. The

title is: "La Forme des Prières et Chantz Ecclésiastiques, avec la

Manière d'administrer les Sacremens et consacrer le Marriage, selon

la coustume de l'Eglise Ancienne. M.DXLII."

The following brief sketch will perhaps convey a sufficient idea of the form
"which is ordinarily used" for the public worship of the morning of the Lord's day.

A brief invocation ("Our help be in the name of the Lord who made

heaven and earth") is followed by an exhortation addressed to the

congregation ("My brethren, let each one of you present himself

before the face of the Lord with confession of his faults and sins,

following in his heart my words"). The Confession, which is the

most beautiful and characteristic part of the liturgy, comes next.

Used by Théodore de Bèze and his companions at the Colloquy of

Poissy, with wonderful impressiveness, as preparatory to that

reformer's grand vindication of the creed of the Protestants of

France, it has been imagined by many that it was composed by him

for this occasion. But it had already constituted a part of the

public devotions of the French and Swiss Protestants for eighteen

or twenty years. A Psalm was then sung, and a prayer offered "to

implore God for the grace of His Holy Spirit, to the end
1 Printed with marginal notes giving all modifications in

other early editions in Joh. Calvini Opera (Baum, Cunitz, et Reuss),

1867, v. 164-223--a work which is the result of almost incredible labor

and research. In February, 1868, the distinguished senior editor wrote

to me: "Nous avons dejà maintenant copié de notre main et collationné à

Neufchâtel, à Genève et autres endroits, quelque chose comme six mille

pièces, lettres et consilia et autres calviniana."

that His Word may be faithfully expounded to the honor of His Name and the

edification of the church, and may be received with such humility

and obedience as are becoming." The form is "at the discretion of

the minister." After the sermon comes a longer prayer for all

persons in authority; for Christian pastors; for the enlightenment

of the ignorant and the edification of those who have been brought

to the truth; for the comfort of the afflicted and distressed;1 closing with

supplications for temporal and spiritual blessings in behalf of those present.
The service was concluded by the form of benediction, Numbers, vi. 24-26.

Colladon, in his life of the reformer, tells us that Calvin

"collected (recueillit), for the use of the church of Geneva, the

form of ecclesiastical prayers, with the manner of administering

the sacraments and celebrating marriage, and a notice for the

visitation of the sick, as they are now placed with the Psalms."

(Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss, vi., pp. xvii., xviii.) And Calvin

himself, in his farewell address to his fellow-ministers (April 28,

1564), as taken down from memory by Pinaut, observed: "As to the

prayers for Sunday, I took the form of Strasbourg, and borrowed the

greater part of it." (Adieux de Calvin, Bonnet, Lettres françaises,

ii. 578.) The Strasbourg liturgy to which Calvin here refers was

one which he had himself composed for the use of the French refugee

church of Strasbourg, when acting as its pastor, during his exile

from Geneva (1538-1541). The earliest edition known to be extant is

that of which a single copy exists in the collection of M. Gaiffe,

and of which M. O. Douen has for the first time given an account in

his "Clément Marot et le Psautier huguenot," Paris, 1878, i.

334-339. This Strasbourg liturgy of 1542 (the pseudo-Roman

edition already referred to, p. 275), like that of 1545 (which

Professors Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss described in their edition of

Calvin's works, vi. 174, 175), contains some striking variations

from the Geneva forms. In particular, immediately after the

"Confession of Sins," it inserts these words: "Here the Minister

recites some word of Scripture to comfort consciences, and then

pronounces the absolution as follows:

"Let each one of you recognize himself to be truly a sinner,

humbling himself before God, and believe that our Heavenly Father

will be gracious unto him in Jesus Christ.

"To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their

salvation, I declare the absolution of their sins, in the name of

the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

It was this Strasbourg liturgy of Calvin that was in the hands of

the framers of the English "Book of Common Prayer," and from this

they derived the introductory portion of the daily service.

"According to the first book of Edward VI., that service began with

the Lord's Prayer. The foreign reformers consulted recommended the

insertion of some preliminary forms;

1 The beautiful petitions for "all our poor brethren who are dispersed under
the tyranny of Antichrist," and for prisoners and those persecuted by the
enemies of the Gospel, were not in the original edition, but appear in that
of 1558. Calv. Opera, Baum, Cunitz and Reuss, vi. 177, note.

and hence the origin of the Sentences, the Exhortation, the Confession,

and the Absolution. These elements were borrowed, not from any
ancient formulary, but from a ritual drawn up by Calvin for the church
at Strasbourg." (C. W. Baird, Eutaxia, or the Presbyterian Liturgies:
Historical Sketches, New York, 1855, p. 190.)

The origin of only one of the minor offices of the Geneva liturgy

can be distinctly traced to another and older source. The form for

the celebration of marriage is taken bodily from the "Manière et

Fasson" of Farel, with the omission of two or three unimportant

sentences, and the alteration of a very few words--a trifling

change, dictated in each case by Calvin's keener literary taste.

The form for baptism, Calvin tells us expressly, was somewhat

roughly drafted by himself at Strasbourg, when the children of

Anabaptists were brought to him for baptism from distances of five

or ten leagues around. (Adieux de Calvin, Bonnet, ii. 578.)

The liturgy of Geneva, composed with rapidity under the pressure of

the times, but with the skill and fine literary finish that are

wont to characterize even the most hurried of Calvin's productions,

has maintained its position undisputed to the present time, being

the oldest of existing forms of worship in the reformed churches.

The gradual change in the French language since the date of its

composition has rendered necessary some modernizing of the style

both of the prayers and of the accompanying psalms. These

modifications, much more radical in the case of the metrical

psalms, took place in the eighteenth century, and commended

themselves so fully to the good sense of all French-speaking

Protestants as soon to be everywhere adopted. The MS. records of

the French church in New York (folio 45) contain, under date of

March 6, 1763, a resolution unanimously adopted in a meeting of the

heads of families and communicants, to change "la vielle version

des Pseaumes de David qui est en uzage parmy nous, et de prandre et

introduire dans notre Eglize les Pseaumes de la plus nouvelle

version qui est en uzage dans les Eglises de Genève, Suisse et

Hollande." The liturgy has always been printed at the end of the

psalter, and the change of the one involved that of the other. It

has been noted above that the "Confession of Sins" was the most

characteristic part of Calvin's liturgy. In fact, the initial words

of this confession, "Seigneur Dieu, Père Éternel et

Toutpuissant," came to stand in the minds of the Roman Catholics

who heard them for the entire Protestant service. Bernard Palissy

accordingly tells us (Recepte Véritable, 1563, Bulletin, i. 93)

that a favorite expression of the Roman Catholics from Taillebourg,

when committing all sorts of excesses against the Protestants of

Saintes, was: "Agimus a gagné Père Éternel!" As Agimus was

the first word of the customary grace said at meals by devout Roman

Catholics--"Agimus tibi gratias, omnipotens Deus," etc.--this

apparently enigmatical expression was only a profane formula to

celebrate the triumph of the Roman over the reformed church. See

Bulletin, xii. 247 and 469.


The victims breathe more freely. Epigrams on the death of Henry.

The plans carefully matured by Henry for the suppression of the reformed

doctrines were disarranged by his sudden death. The expected victims of

the Spanish Inquisition, which he was to have established in France,

breathed more freely. It was not wonderful that the "Calvinists,"

according to an unfriendly historian, preached of the late monarch's

fate as miraculous, and magnified it to their advantage;1 for they

saw in it an interposition of the Almighty in their behalf, as signal as

any illustrating the Jewish annals. Epigrams of no little merit were

composed on the event, and were widely circulated. One likened the lance

of Montgomery to the stone from David's sling, which became "the

unexpected salvation of the saints."2 In another, Henry is the

soldier who pierces the Crucified through the side of those whom He

styles His members; but the impious weapon--such is Heaven's avenging

decree--shall be stained with the murderer's own blood.3 These

verses, and others like them, obtaining great currency, offended the

ears of the late king's favorites and of the devoted adherents of the

Roman Catholic Church, who ceased not for years to pour forth

lamentations over the untimely

1 Davila, p. 20.

2 "Lancea sanctorum tunc inopina salus." Epigram apud Le Laboureur, Additions aux mém.
de Castelnau, i. 276.

3 Sic cruce detractum fixit tua lancea Christum,

Per latus illorum quos sua membra vocat.

At Deus omnipotens, Christi justissimus ultor,

Sanguine, dixit, erit lancea tincta tuo. Ib., ubi supra.

death of Henry the Second, and the ill-starred peace with which it was so
closely connected.1
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