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Biography of John Calvin


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Calvin, John. Born in Noyon, France, in 1509. Calvin was educated at the colleges of La Marche and Montaigu, Paris. Held some livings but, preferring the law, he did not proceed to priest's orders. While studying law at Bourges he learned Greek and, on reading the New Testament, became a Protestant. Calvin moved to Paris and wrote a commentary on Seneca's "De Clementia" but, forced by persecution to leave France, took refuge in Basel. His "Institutes of the Christian Religion" appeared in 1536. In conjunction with Farel, Calvin attempted to establish a kind of theocracy at Geneva, but they were expelled by the council in 1538 and retired to Zurich. Passing on to Strasburg, Calvin became pastor to the French refugees, married, and published his "Romans." In 1541, Calvin was invited back to Geneva. The theocratic government was resumed, and here he labored until his death. Calvin did more than any other man towards formulating the doctrines of the Reformed Church. The opinions on predestination and election called "Calvinistic," are rather those of his disciples than his own. Died 1564.