Martin Luther and Calvin
TO oppose the Church of Rome in their idea of Prayers addressed to the Saints, Luther denied the immortality of the soul. He said it expired with the body, but that God revived both. So that, according to his opinion, no one could enter into the visible presence of God till this operation had taken place. The Romish Church holding a contrary opinion, he treated as impious what it inculcates concerning the immortality of the soul. These are dreadful shifts for men who pretend to act by an impulse of the Divinity!
Calvin was originally named Cauvin. His stipend, as minister at Geneva, was as miserable as the income of a Welch curate. He was subject to eleven different maladies, which, continually afflicting him, irritated his dispositions. He had, indeed, so much acerbity in his temper, that he became unsupportable to those who were near him. It was this that occasioned many Germans to say—“that they preferred being in hell with Beza, to being in paradise with Calvin.” Every day he taught theology, preached, and held various conferences; yet, in spite of all his occupations, he contrived to leave behind him, as an author, nine ponderous folios! He died at Geneva, in 1594, aged fifty-five. He was a learned man; but he has caused a world of woe. He strove ambitiously to overturn every thing. He was cruel and vindictive: he occasioned the persecution of Michael Servetus, who was so cruelly put to death in the name of a Christian Religion, and by the hands of men who profess Evangelical gentleness; and all this for a difference about the Trinity!