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No . II . John Campanus is said to have been the first avowed advocate of the Unitarian doctrine among the Reformed . He was a native of Juliers , and settled at Witteroberg , A . D . 1528 . At first he professed himself a follower of Luther ; but differing from the great Reformer on the subjects of the Eucharist and the Trinity , he separated from him at the end of two years , and , according to Moreri , formed a sect of his own . This statement of Moreri ' s ,
however , is not strictly true ; for Campanus , as Mosheim observes , was not so far encouraged by the number of his followers , or the indulgence o $ his adversaries , as to be in a condition to form a regular sect . He is said U > have taught that the Son was inferior to the Father , and that the Holy Ghost was not a distinct person ; and the first article of the Augsburg Confession is supposed to have been framed with a direct reference to these opinions , which Campanus was engaged in propagating at Wittemberg at the very time that the Diet was sitting at Augsburg . Melancthon , who was no less distinguished by the mildness of his disposition than by his great learning ,
was the author of this Confession , which he contrived to draw up in terms as little offensive to the Roman Catholics as a regard to truth and consistency would admit . On its completion , it was submitted to the inspection of some Popish divines , by the order of Charles V . ; and after they had scrutinized its contents , and objected to some of its articles , Melancthon revised it , softening down some of its expressions , expunging others , and giving to the rest the mildest and most favourable construction which they would bear . Such indeed was the anxiety displayed by the Reformed party , on this occa ^ sion , to smooth down the differences which existed between them and their
Roman Catholic brethren , that they seem almost to have lost sight of the grounds upon which they had seceded from the Church of Rome , and to have been inveigled into concessions at utter variance with the true Protestant principle . In accordance with this time-serving spirit , the doctrine taught by Campanus was openly condemned , and a formal censure pronounced upon all who were friendly to its dissemination . The majority of those who have written commentaries upon the Confession of Augsburg
supp ose that , in the words Damnant Samosatenianos Neotericos , Servetus and his . followers are the persons denounced ; and this opinion is favoured by ancient and respectable testimonies . In an anonymous edition of the Augsburg Confession , published at Rostoch as early as the year 1562 , the following observation is subjoined by way of note upon the words Veteres et Neotericos : " Michael Servetus , of Arragon in Spain , who was burnt at Geneva , in Savoy , Oct . 17 , 1553 , has revived in our age the heresy of Paul of Samosata , by his writings , published in Germany and France . " Melanctbon himself also , in a conference held at Worms , A . D . 1540 , addresses Eccius
to this effect : ' There is no controversy concerning the first article , in which it is evident that our churches have faithfully defended the commonly received doctrine , against Servetus and others . " There are nevertheless good reasons for supposing that Melancthon , with all his caution , has here fallen into a slight anachronism ; for at the time that the Confession was drawn up , Servetus ' s opinions had not been openly promulgated in Germany . It seems probable , therefore , that the doctrine in question was that taught by Campanus , who was actively employed in disseminating it at Wittemberg , before Servetus had published any thing on the subject of the Trinity , and
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BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF EMINENT CONTINENTAL UNITARIANS , r
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), May 2, 1831, page 326, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2597/page/38/