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he used many words, which shewed his mind was very much dejected, being above all things sensible of the reproofs he had received for it. So that I thought myself obliged to write to bim now and then, to clear his mind of those needless scruples, and of such an unreasonable and dangerous vexation, and to exhort him to apply himself to his study with chearfulness, and a resolution to do better for the time to come. It is therefore highly probable that his melancholy has been heightened by those cloudy thoughts, and likewise by the poverty and want of many things, into which he fell soon after, and whereof he complained to me in his letters, so far as to mention the temptations under which his mind was almost ready to sink. To this I may add the nature of his studies bent upon the Old Testament, on which he writ to me, that he was drawing up a concordance. However, though those things were not the true cause of his illness, you know, gentlemen, that there is a sort of melancholy, in which the physicians acknowledge Señor ti, which is neither a crime nor a divine punishment, but a great misfortune. Certainly, that which he lies under, is very deplorable; but, gentlemen, I think I may say that, though nature is the instrument of God's Providence, yet all accidents ought not to be looked upon as punishments, or signs of a wicked life, nor the madness of that poor wretch as a formal chastisement for his error; there being so many reasons to believe that it proceeds from the disorder of the brain, and from melancholy. His madness seems to be only an exorbitant fit of melancholy, which being allayed by remedies, he appears now in his former state: And, though he errs only in the single point, for which he is prosecuted, there is no reason to infer from it, that he speaks in cold blood, and with a sound mind. For it is the property of that sort of melancholy, to bave but one object, leaving the mind free in all other things, as you know better than 1. There are some who speak upon any subject with great learning and sedateness, and have but one grain of madness, which they discover only by intervals, to those who hit upon it. I am the more willing to compare that unfortunate man to them, because, in that very thing, wherein he pretends to be wise, he appears most ridiculous : for he says what he would be ashamed of out of his fit, though he were no Christian; since he denies, as I hear, what the very Heathens and Jews acknowledge. And therefore it is not a heresy, but a blasphemy, which proceeds from a mind rather distempered than perverted. His usual frights and horrors are, in my opinion, a certain sign of it; and there is no reason to ascribe them to a divine judgment, and to infer from thence that he is a reprobate. After all, gentlemen, it is certain he imposes upon you, when he tells you that he believed, eight or ten years ago, what he believes now : For, since that time, he has not only given all manner of proofs of his Christianity, but also brought over to the reformed religion his eldest brother, who lives honestly among us ; and he has endeavoured to work the same effect upon his father, to whom he has writ many letters, several of which I have opened ; wherein he expressed a great zeal, and a wonderful love for Jesus Christ, and the Christian truths, that are taught in our churches. And, in order to bring over his relations to our religion, he writ to them, that he was ready to die for it, if God required it of him. Nay, when he was ada. mitted into the ministry, he acquainted me with it, in a letter from Geneva, dated the twenty-ninth of November; being used to call me, as he did then, his dear ghostly Father, whom God had been pleased to make use of, in order to bring him to the knowledge of the true religion: And he desired me to acquaint his relations with it, being fully resolved for the future to lead a better life, and to perform his duty to the utmost of his power. And therefore, gentlemen, and most honoured brethren, I think he ought not to be believed in what he says, during such a disorder of his mind; and I hope, that, if you allow him some time to recover from his phrensy, as I understand you do, he will no longer blaspheme, and God will give you comfort after your labour and patience. To that end, I wish none may have access to him, but such as are familiarly acquainted with him, or for whom he has a particular respect and veneration, and by whom he may be gently used ; lest his mind be exasperated by too many visitants, or by an unscasonable, though just severity.
•Gentlemen, give me leave to tell you, that it seems highly necessary, for the edification of the church, that this affair should be managed with great prudence. If you make an example of him, it will, doubtless, prove extremely prejudicial. I intreat you to consider the great scandal it will occasion, far and near, and what might be said against the office and profession of a man converted from Popery, who has learned to judaize among us, in the most famous academies, conversing every day with several pastors. Besides, Judaism being no dangerous sect, it does not seem necessary to prevent the ill consequences of it by a publick punishment; nay, perhaps every body would not approve of it. There are some extraordinary crimes, for which when the guilty person is to be punished, it is not done in publick; and the proceedings are suppressed, to clear the present age from such an infamy, and to leave no marks of it to posterity. However, there is no need of being too hasty in a thing, that may be done as well in time, and when a delay cannot be prejudicial, but rather useful. Servetus had a long time allowed him for his amendment, though he had dogmatised above twenty years in cold blood, and in several places, both by word of mouth, and in written and printed books, about things much more subtle and dangerous; and yet, gentlemen, you know the various discourses, that were occasioned by his execution. I do not say this, because I find fault with it; on the contrary, I think such pernicious errors could not be better suppressed, than by committing the author to the flames, But this man cannot be compared to Servctus, I pray God to give him a better end. And I beseech you, gentlemen and most honoured brethren, not to grow weary in this work of your great charity, wherein he will direct you to use such remedies, as are necessary to reclaim that unfortunate man, and to preserve the church from such an infamy. This is the design of this letter, which I humbly beseech you not to be offended with ; otherwise I should be sorry to have writ it, excepting the wishes I have just now made, and my further prayers to God, that he would plentifully bless you and your holy labours, increase your church, and ever keep you under his protection, I beg of you
the continuance of your benevolence, being, with great sincerity, Gentlemen,
Your most humble, most obedient,
FERRY. Metz, March 30, 1632,
M. Mestrezat, a learned divine of the church of Paris, writ two leto ters to M. Chabrey, his brother-in-law, and minister of Geneva; wherein I find two passages, that deserve likewise to be imparted to the publiek. M. Mestrezat thought Anthoine had been a monk. His first letter is dated from Paris, March 12, 1632.
I am troubled for you (says he, in that letter) about your Antitrinitarian, The writings of our predecessors, de puniendis Hæreticis, have not been very edifying, and prove very prejudicial to us, in the countries where the magistrates are our enemies. It is true, the enormity of that man, his blasphemies, his profession of Christianity, and his ministry, aggravate his crime. May God Almighty direct your magistrates in the matter! If every body had the same thoughts of monks, as I have, none of them should ever be admitted into the holy ministry. I pray God to remove, by the efficacy of his word, the scandal occasioned by that profligate man, and to keep you under his pro tection.'
The second letter of M. Mestrezat is only dated March 30, 1632, but it was likewise written from Paris. The following passage is to be found in it:
• As to what concerns your Jewish monk, and revolted minister, the most judicious persons in this town wish he may be confined to a perpetual imprisonment, and not be allowed to see any body, but such as are qualified to reclaim him. They are very much afraid of the consequences of a publick execution, lest it should be inferred from it, by our adversaries in these parts, that words spoken against the Pope (the pretended Vicar of Jesus Christ) or against the Host of the Mass, are likewise blasphemies against Christ, and ought to be punished in the same manner; for they talk in the same strain, and all supreme magis, trates are judges of consequences, in their jurisdictions.'
Whilst Nicholas Anthoine was a prisoner, he presented three petitions to the Council. The first is dated March 11, 1632, and begins thus : In the name of the great God of Heaven, who is the mighty God of Israel: His holy name be blessed for ever.' Amen. He beseeches the Council to get some papers concerning his faith restored to him, which he had delivered to a divine, who asked for them in their name; that he may revise, correct, and finish them, before any thing be inferred from them. And then he adds: Enguerez vous de ma vie, &c. That is, 'Enquire into my life ; I have always endeavoured to live in the fear of God, and to seek and follow the right way to salvation, God discovers his secret to those who honour him. What I do is only to give an account of my faith, to the glory of God, and for the salva, tion of my soul. God knows my heart, and is a witness to my integ. rity and innocence. Do not draw innocent blood upon your heads, nor upon your families, and your city; and God, in whose hands we all are, will bless you, if you love his holy ways. I beseech him with all my soul to bless you, and to touch your hearts, that you inay be moved with pity and compassion towards me, the poor and afflicted servant of the Lord, &c.
Anthoine presented his second petition the next day, March 12; which I shall insert at length.
In the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
Magnificent and most Honoured Lords,
What I am going to represent to you is not with an intent to avoid death. According to God, I do not deserve it; for 1 fear him, I love him, and bless him, and will bless and worship his holy, glorious, and adorable name to my last breath. Nevertheless, according to your laws and belief, and what is commonly objected to me, you will think I justly deserve it. If God would be pleased to do it, he would shew his great wonders, by delivering me; not for my sake, who am a poor and miserable sinner, but to glorify his great and adorable name, and that all the earth might know, that he is the Almighty God, who reigns in the world. I invoke his holy name, and implore his grace and mercy. Whosoever puts his trust in the Lord shall never be ashamed, Why should we be afraid of men i God is above all, and nothing comes to pass without his permission.
Magnificent and most honoured Lords ; Since two things are commonly objected to me, 1. That I have strayed from the way to salvation. 2. That, though I were in the right way to salvation, yet, having such a belief, I should not have embraced the office of minister, nor come into your city to give you offence; by your leave, I shall endeavour to answer those two points in a few words.
* As to the first point, I believe I am in the way to truth and salvation, and shall persevere in it, till I am shewed the contrary by good reasons taken from the Old Testament. I worship one only God; I endeavour to follow the law, to the best of my power; I will fear, love, and bless the holy name of God to the end of my life.
"As to the second point, your Lordships must know, that the people of Israel refused to admit me among them, and told me that I might live every where, and among all nations, in the fear of God, without discovering my opinions. I have endured a thousan d hardships in my way to Venice, and in that city, where I have been, ior some time, in a very miserable condition; and I came away more afflicted still, and more miserable ; nevertheless, I always put my trust in the Lord. I could not resolve to live among the Papists, for I had sworn to do it no more, having a great abhorrence for their idolatry. Besides, I was afraid of being charged with inconstancy. Nay, had I been discovered among them, they would have been more cruel to me, than your Lordships use to be towards those, who are not accused of any crime, but only prosecuted for religion. I have embraced the ministry, because I thought I was sufficiently qualified for it ; because I was far in years; because I was willing to keep house, and, perhaps, to marry in time; and I had no mind to discover myself at that time. How many are married, and perhaps have quite another belief than yours, and yet will not leave and forsake their children upon such an account! As for what is said, that I have scandalised you and your city by my strange proceedings, it was through a disordered mind; it is not I; I do not know who it was : God knows it; and therefore, I think, I deserve to be pardoned in that respect, since it was not I, but a terrible, dreadful, and supernatural power, as the whole town may witness, and no body will be offended at it. Rather than come and surrender myself into your hands, of my own motion, I had rather have fled to the remotest part of the world.
'Magnificent and most honoured Lords; Have a care you do not draw innocent blood upon your heads, and your families, and city, by puts ting me to death; for, perhaps, you know not the wonders of God, the mighty God of Israel, and why he has so miraculously transported me into this town. If the beginning of it has been miraculous, perhaps the end will be more miraculous still, I shall never be ashamed, be cause the Lord is my trust and refuge. Let the holy name of the Lord, the great God of Israel, be for ever blessed and glorified by all men, and in all places.
Magnificent and most honoured Lords; If you think I deserve to be put to death, and if the Lord God is pleased it should be so, his will be done. If you release me, you will release an innocent soul, which fears the God of heaven. I pray God with all my heart, that he would be pleased to pour his most holy blessings upon you, and to move your hearts, if it be his good will; being,
Magnificent and most honoured Lords,
N. ANTHOINE. Geneva, March 12, 1632.
On the Eleventh of April, Anthoine was brought to his tryal, and, besides several other things, which I have already mentioned, he declared that he was a Jew, beseeching God to grant him, that he might die for the Jewish religion ; that he believed there had been such a man as Jesus Christ, but he knew not whether he bad been crucified ; that he did not believe him to be God, nor the Son of God, nor the Messias, since there is but one God, without any distinction of persons, and the time of the Messias was not come yet; that he rejected the New Testament, because he found many contradictions in it, and because it did not agree with the Old ; that he got himself admitted into the ministry, because the Jews told him he might outwardly profess any religion, without endangering his salvation, and because he wanted a livelihood ; that, when he took the usual oaths, it was with a mental reservation to what was true and reasonable ; that, being so far en