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A Biographical Sketch of Francis Turretin
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A Biographical Sketch of Francis Turretin
by James R. Wilson
The following biography was originally published as an introduction to a short extract of Turrettin's Institutio Theologiae Elencticae titled The Atonement of Christ, translated into english by James R. Wilson (published in 1859 by the Board of Publication of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church). It is now in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed. This material was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink.
The family of the Turretins, or Turrettini, as it is still written and pronounced in Geneva, is of Italian origin. It belonged to the ancient nobility of Lusea, and appears to have given a number of gonfalonieri and anziani to that republic. One of these gonfalonieri, or chief magistrates, was Regulus Turretin, who about the year 1547 became the father of Francis, afterwards distinguished as the first Protestant member of the family. For the sake of his new faith, Francis renounced his home and prospects, and became a voluntary exile. After being driven from place to place by adverse fortune, he finally settled in Geneva, where in 1627 he received citizenship, and in 1628 was made one of the Sixty. Soon after he died, leaving behind him a large sum for public charities, a blameless reputation, and a number of children, the oldest of whom was the father of our author.
com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/ftbio. long continued to be prominent in the little republic. When his father found himself dying. of which Peter du Moulin was moderator. and contributed much to the theological celebrity of Geneva. No man of his day was more honoured.htm 2/5 . His family. was prominent in the Synod of Dort and the Convention of Saumur. met with Falcar. whose biblical labours are well known. Another celebrated instructor of Turretin was Frederick Spanheim. men whose learning. he enjoyed the advantage of eminent instructors. at the latter of which he so succeeded in pouring oil on the waters of controversy. Next he visited Saumur. the excellent Colonel Tronchin. and seems to have been remarkable for the eagerness with which he attempted diversified branches of study. Father Paul. where to this day it has its representatives. and in which the great Synod of Charenton was held. "This child is marked with God's seal:" Hic sigillo Dei obsignatus est. Drelincourt. where he resided under the roof of the immortal Daille. Salmasius. Heinsius. one of whom. He even went as far homepage. and Blondel. In Holland he enjoyed the lectures of such men as Polyander. with faltering lips.mac. originally from Provence. Amyrauld. He was a celebrated pastor and professor of theology. and Capellus. his learning. From his earliest years young Turretin gave tokens of genius. a centre of learning and theology. one of the most learned men of his age. and Pope Gregory XV died. There he heard Placaeus. equally known by his voluminous works and by the record of his death. the same year in which Mornay du Plessy. to be brought to his bedside. also a member of the Synod of Dort and a noble defender of the truth. although worsted in his unfortunate controversy with Milton. He had six children. November 9 1588. Albertini. that the Queen of France thanked him repeatedly.25/05/12 A Biographical Sketch of Francis Turretin Benedict Turrettini was born at Zurich. the little city on the Loire. is known far and wide among evangelical Christians. and his eloquence. In 1620 he assisted at the Synod of Ales. he caused Francis. Another instructor of Turretin was Theodore Tronchin. are fully presented in the Theses Salmurienses. the linguist. Hoornbeek. and Golius. At Utrecht he became acquainted with that prodigy of her age. his love of union. and died in March 1631. He was born in 1623. and said. his resolution. Pictet speaks of him as the glory of his church and school. and pursued physical and astronomical studies under Gassendi. another Italian Protestant. but his career was cut short just as he was entering middle life. Anna Maria Schureman. of whom the third in order was Francis Turretin. He was noted for his piety. Upon devoting himself to the study of theology. the saintly Rivet. Diodati. In 1645 he proceeded to Paris. then. famous for its Protestant university. where he maintained theses in the schools with great eclat. He lived to a venerable age. The most noted of these was John Diodati. and long after. his gentleness. subtlty and peculiar views in theology. then eight years old. Voet. Trigland. After finishing his curriculum at home Turretin went to Leyden. Francis greatly distinguished himself in his academic course. who sat in the chair of Calvin and Beza.
Passing through Basle. The people of Geneva were unable to bear the expense of fortifying their walls. In 1650. In the same year he issued his great work on Theology. his disquisitions concerning the satisfaction of Christ. In the year 1664 he published against the Papists and in vindication of the Reformed. and assumed the theological chair in 1653. and finally did so only in compliance with numerous letters from the learned in all parts of Reformed Christendom.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/ftbio. On his way home. which were received with great applause. It is said that he was very reluctant to give this work to the press. and two years afterwards. In 1674 he published his sermons. the solidity of his matter. and the majestic gracefulness of his eloquence. he became a pastor of the church of Geneva. the seat of a Protestant university. Earnest but fruitless efforts were made to detain him. as now. He accepted the invitation. his hospitality. Turretin was called to supply his place as pastor. His eloquence was of the most persuasive and irresistible character. After his return he renewed his labours with redoubled zeal. and remained at Leyden about a year. the chair of Philosophy was several times offered to him by the government. and preacher to the Italian congregation. such a service being required by the great number of refugees from Italy who sought an asylum in Geneva. Institutio Theologiae Elencticae. Socinianism. while with many tears he besought sinners to be reconciled to Christ. being complimented by the authorities with a gold chain and medal. After the death of Aaron Morus at Leyden. Pictet celebrates his benignity. Returning home in 1648. but the Genevese would not endure his absence longer. homepage. and Arminianism. In the year 1661 he was summoned to a new service. his care of the widow and the orphan. From the pulpit he thundered against prevailing immoralities. At the latter place he first met Claude. then. In Holland he obtained great distinction. and preached before the vast Protestant assembly there.htm 3/5 . daily inflicting severe blows upon Popery. His father had been sent by them on a similar errand forty years before.mac. Turretin was called to fill his place. his pity to the poor. and deputed Turretin as their commissioner for this purpose. As a public teacher he was faithful and undaunted. that immense popularity attended him. The venerable Tronchin having outlived his capacity for public service. and on other important points. he passed through Paris and Charenton. of which Pictet speaks with singular admiration. both at Leyden and the Hague. he was received with honour by Wetstein and others of the great men of the university there. He complied with the call. In 1687 he published on the necessity of secession from Rome. such were the flow of his discourse. they therefore appealed for aid to the States-General of Holland.25/05/12 A Biographical Sketch of Francis Turretin south as to Montauban. When he began to preach. and his edifying discourse. where Carolus and Garissol were at that time flourishing.
but said that the severity of his pain did not suffer him to pray as he would. at the age of sixty-four years. some of those who stood by reminded him of his last sermon. and committed the solemn care of the Church. writers of the age upon natural religion and the external defences of Christianity. He became a preacher of unusual power. which secured perusal and applause beyond the pale of Calvinistic bodies. His charges and exhortations were numerous. viz. hundreds of churches were demolished. His countenance was expressive rather of triumph than of death. and his copious and classical diction gave a charm to his writings. and so died without a struggle. daughter of John de Masse. It is not necessary to dwell upon the character of Francis Turretin as a theologian. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace. he was his superior in elegance. as if impatient. John Alfonso Turretin. and Protestantism was driven from the kingdom. On the 24th of September. Michel Turretin Pastor and Professor. with homepage. humility. To Professor Pictet he expressed his readiness to die. lord of Sauvet. Dr.htm 4/5 . he declared his faith and hope. Inferior to his father in vigour. rebuke me not in thine anger. held successively the chairs of Ecclesiastical History and of Theology in Geneva. in consequence of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 1687. if he ever should be called to it. His intellect admirably fitted and trained for perceiving and stating the real principles involved in theological questions. as his agony increased. Turretin's later years were embittered by the distresses of his Reformed brethren in Piedmont and France. He repeated many passages of Scripture. on the words. Four children were the fruit of this union. of whom only one survived. and. the love of truth. yet he knew in whom he had believed. which is evinced in the characteristic moderation of his opinions. he may be said to have had a happy old age. Under every head he begins with the Status Quaestionis. To this primary excellence he added an admirable judgment. among them the words from the 38th Psalm-" O Lord. he was suddenly seized with violent pains. he cried. that there is no writer who has higher claims as an authority as to what that doctrine is. bene docet. In the latter country." which he had a few days before expounded to the Italian congregation. and charity. and was one of the greatest. in 1685. When. pi bene distinguit. who was born in 1671.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/ftbio. Upon his only son he solemnly enjoined four things: the care of the Church. His adherence to the received doctrine of the Reformed Church is so uniform and strict. Eamus. eamus! Shortly after he slumbered. and the general soundness of his arguments. and ordained to the ministry about the year 1694.mac. so that he was a remarkable illustration of the maxim.. whose ancestors had held the Marquisate of Saluzzo. To his relative. being scarcely ever ill except from a few attacks of acute disease. But for these distresses of a sympathetic soul.25/05/12 A Biographical Sketch of Francis Turretin In 1669 Turretin was married to Isabella. His method is simple and logical. His distinguishing excellence is perspicuity and discrimination.
com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/ftbio. which are well worthy of reproduction here: -.htm 5/5 . ÿÿÿ homepage.com/ink). than cart-loads of religious journals. method. 1848. concludes his article with these sentences. (July.com -.com (connect and write as @mac. would do more for a masculine theology and an energetic pulpit. in the perspicuous pages of Turretin. and unity to all the otherwise scattered and heterogeneous acquisitions of the year. in support of the position which he advocates. and that he did so to give consistency.25/05/12 A Biographical Sketch of Francis Turretin discriminating accuracy. frees the subject in hand from all adventitious matter. and occasional sermons.when I connect them I get a lot of junk mail). or answers to objections. To this series of arguments succeeds the Fontes Solutionum. We entertain no doubt that a similar practice with regard to the equally logical and more commanding system of Turretin. and brings out the precise point to be considered. which often furnish examples of as pithy and discriminating replies as are anywhere to be met with. The writer in the Princeton Review.markers.) from whom the present sketch has been extracted." This article was made available on the internet via REFORMATION INK (www. epitomes from the German. which the student will not find settled. Refer any correspondence to Shane Rosenthal: ReformationInk at mac.mac. Justice Washington to read through the whole of Blackstone's Commentaries once a year. There is scarcely a question which American divines have been discussing as discoveries. or at least considered."We were once told by Chief Justice Ewing [of New Jersey] that it was the uniform practice of Mr. Then follow his arguments in numerical order. each distinct and in logical succession.