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[294]

The Purtian principle and John Brown (1859).

Delivered in Music Hall before the Twenty-eighth Congregational Society, December 18, 1859.

Thank God for John Calvin. To be sure, he burned Servetus; but the Puritans, or at least their immediate descendants, hung the witches; George Washington held slaves; and wherever you go up and down history, you find men, not angels. Of course you find imperfect men, but you find great men; men who have marked their own age, and moulded the succeeding; men to whose might of ability, and to whose disinterested suffering for those about them, the succeeding generations owe the larger share of their blessings; men whose lips and lives God has made the channel through which his choicest gifts come to their fellow-beings. John Calvin was one of these,--perhaps the profoundest intellect of his day, certainly one of the largest statesmen of his generation. His was the statesman-like mind that organized Puritanism, that put ideas into the shape of institutions, and in that way organized victory, when, under Loyola, Catholicism, availing itself of the shrewdest and keenest machinery, made its reaction assault upon the new idea of the Protestant religion. If in that struggle, Western Europe came out victorious, we owe it more to the statesmanship of Calvin, than to the large German heart of Luther. We owe to Calvin — at least,

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