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highest honour, into so wicked and abominable a crime • as I cannot so much as mention without horror; though
it serves you in your cells for jest and sport, must you ( not be detested by all good men.” Audebert died in 1599; and his epitaph, in the church of the Holy Cross at Orleans, says, that he was ennobled, with all his posterity, and knighted by Henry III. for his virtue only. • Such an authentic piece alone (says a learned minister),
seems to me capable of putting an end to the abominable 6 calumny which has hitherto been charged on the memory
of that excellent and religious man.' He meant Beza, of whom he wrote a small Latin apology.
Beza was of opinion, that the equality of pastors is of divine right, and that the ecclesiastical hierarchy is a fundamental corruption, meaning undoubtedly the perverted system of the church of Rome; for it appears (says Mr Strype) that afterwards Beza and Sadeel, in the name of « the church of Geneva, professed, in a letter written to
our archbishop Whitgift, their respect, honour, and ap« probation of the church of England, by way of contra• diction to some persons, who, under sanction of the Geneva form, attempted to overthrow its constitution.'
He fled to Geneva with his intended bride, and arrived there the twenty-fourth of October, 1548. He was accompanied by John Crispin, a particular friend. But Beza went to see Melchior Wolmar, at Tubingen ; and the following year, he accepted the professorship of the Greek tongue at Lausanne, a city in the canton of Bern. He then married Claudia Denossa, with whom he lived forty years lovingly and honourably: For she was a lady of great merit, diligent, frugal, and particularly careful of her hus. band.
Beza soon became very famous for his Latin compositions, and particularly for his excellent Translation of the Psalms of David in verse. And he wrote a Treatise of the Rights that Magistrates have to punish Heretics. The last was upon the occasion of Michael Servetus, whom the senate of Geneva had ordered to be burnt.
He published several other books at Lausanne, particuJarly, « A short Explanation of Christianity; an Answer to Joachim Westphalus concerning the Lord's Supper; Two Dialogues on the same subject against Heshusius ; and an answer to Castalio concerning the Doctrine of Predestination.” Beza, at this time, had not tempered his fire, and moderated his gay disposition, which made him let fall many railleries in his works : It is true, he called
them pious railleries; but they exposed him to the censure of his adversaries,
Beza went frequently to Geneva, to visit Calvin, during the vocations. Calvin was delighted with his poetry; but exhorted him to dedicate his talents to the service of the church ; and particularly advised him to finish what Marot had begun. Beza followed this advice, and translated into French verse, the hundred Psalms, which remained undone by Marot. The Translation of the remainder of David's Psalış shews what Beza could do ; though he was not so happily succeeded as Clement Marot in his fifty. This Translation was made into French.
During the nine years that Beza continued at Lausanne, he would not confine himself to Greek lectures. He read some also in French on the New Testament, which were for the instruction and consolation of several refugees of both sexes, who lived at Lausanne : But they have been considered as the seeds of his Latin translation of the New Testament, with notes, which he first published in 1556: A second edition was published ten years after, and dedicated to Elizabeth queen of England : The fifth edition came out.in 1528, which he dedicated again to the same queen by a new epistle, and suppressed the first wherein he had largely explained his method and design. He revised this worķ several times, and made many corrections in it, for which he has been cruelly reproached. It was said, that many at Cambridge disregarded religion, being induced by Beza to believe that the New Testament was corrupt; as they had been, by Edward Livilejus, that the Old one was very much so. But no man, who is senşible of the difficulty of such a work, will think it strange, that Beza should make some alterations in each edition.
Calvin had a thorough knowledge of men, and intended Beza for his successor. He often commissioned him to confer with the Lutherans, and at last invited him to Geneva. Before Beza quitted the professorship which he exercised at Lausanne, he made a journey into Germany, in the character of a deputy, and had the pleasure of conferring with Melancthon as he passed through Frankfort in 1557, when he went with Farel and John Budæus to the court of the elector palatine, the landgrave of Hesse, and the duke of Wirtemberg, to desire the intercession of those princes for the vallies of Piedmont, which were then in the possession of the French king.
Beza taught Greek about ten years at Lausanne, and returned and settled at Geneva in 1559. His enemies gave
out that he was expelled the former city; and Reboul, that satyrical writer, who was beheaded at Rome for his Pasquinades, says it was because Beza got his maid with child. This is false : If it had been true, it would have been known at Geneva as well as at Lausanne ; and he would not have gone away honourably, as he tells his preceptor Wolmar. He would not have come every year, as he did, to Lausanne, and have been so well received : They shewed him so much respect, that they used to go out and meet him, as their public memoirs testify. Beza himself says, “ that he returned from Lausanne to Geneva, « that he might dedicate himself wholly to divinity." Viret, and other learned men, also went to Geneva, for certain reasons which it was not thought proper to declare; but we may conjecture, that it was owing solely to consistorial or academic factions.
Beza strongly attached himself to Calvin at Geneva, where he soon became his colleague in the church, and university. He succeeded Claudius Pontanus as minister ; · and composed his Confession of Faith in Latin, which he had formerly wrote in French, to justify himself to his father, and with a view of converting the old man. He published this Latin confession in 1560, dedicated to Wolmar.
The Guises had invaded the royal authority under the reign of Francis II. to the prejudice of the princes of the blood. Beza was sent to Nerac, at the instigation of some great persons of the kingdom, to convert Anthony of Bourbon, king of Navarre, and to confer with him about matters of consequence. That king signified, both by letters and deputies to the senate of Geneva, that he desired Beza should assist at the conference of Poissi, to which the senate readily consented. No better choice could have been made for the good of the cause ; and Beza went to the conference that was held there in 1561. The king of Navarre had been engaged in behalf of the Protestant: by Jane d'Albret's wife. She had received the chief sectaries of Luther, who were come into France, in hatred of Julius II. which furnished Ferdinand of Arragon with a pretence to seize upon Navarre. Q. Catharine of Medicis sometimes cruelly persecuted the Protestants, and sometimes favoured them; for she made all things subservient to her passion for dominion.
There were then at the French court several ambassadors from the German princes, who came to congratulate Charles IX. upon his accession. The king of Navarre began to
take measures with them to engage the Protestant princes to defend and promote the pure doctrine of the Reformation. The ambassadors represented to him, on the part of their masters, that he ought to establish, and cause to be received, the doctrine, which was according to the confes. sion of Augsburg, composed in part of that of Luther, and not of Calvin, which was according to the confession of the Switzers. The prince replied, that, this latter
being already established in France, it must be suffered ( to continue in the state it was in : That it was of small • import, whether the doctrine of Luther or Calvin was « followed, since they were both equally opposite to the
pope in all things, and differed from each other but in
very few points : And that the two confessions ought to • be considered as containing the same doctrine, since • they were equally contrary to the common enemy, the pope.'
The continual disputes, subsisting among the French subjects about religion, at last determined the bishops to appoint a conference between the French subjects and the Protestant ministers.' It was held at Poissi, where the princes, the cardinals, and the greatest lords of the kingdom assisted, and the king himself presided. It was opened on the ninth of September, 1561. The chancellor De l'Hospital declared, that the king's intention in assembling them was, to discover, from their sentiments, a remedy for the disorders which arose in his kingdom on the subject of religion; that they should therefore endeavour to correct such things as required it; and that they should not separate, till they had put an end to all differences by a sincere reconciliation. The chancellor, in his harangue, made no scruple to give the title of National Council to this conference; and compared it to the provincial synods of Orleans, Arles, and Aix, which the emperor Charlemagne ad caused to be held.
This conference continued near two months : Great disputes arose upon the contested points : And a secretary was always present to take down minutes of every thing that was said or done. The Protestant doctors, and particularly Beza, spoke with great freedom. He had a ready wit, and much learning : He knew the world, and spoke well. His speech was heard with great attention, till he touched upon the real presence, when an expression which he made use of caused a murmuring. The expression was this : “ We say, that the body of Jesus Christ is as far “ from the bread and wine, as the highest heaven is re
“ mote from the earth.” It is surprizing, that such a grave historian as Mezerai durst say, that this proposition of Beza was passionate and offensive ; that Beza was ashamed of it himself; that it strangely offended the ears of the Catholics; and that the prelates trembled with horror at ir. Mezerai might think these tremblings reasonable ; but he made himself ridiculous by it; for it is the same thing to say, 'the body of Jesus Christ is not
present in the holy sacrament;' and to say, it is at a very great distance from it.' Bayle observes, that this single expression, though many others as contrary and repugnant to the doctrine of the church of Romé had
been said by him, was the cause that the prelates began < to stir, and to murmur. Some cried out, blasphemavit; « others arose to be gone, not being able to do any thing
worse, because of the king's presence. The cardinal « De Tournon, dean of the cardinals, who was seated in « the chief place, required of the king and the queen,
that silence might be imposed on Beza ; or that he, and • his whole company, might be permitted to retire. Nei
ther the king nor any of the princes, stirred; and
audience was given to proceed. Silence being made, « Beza said ; “ I desire you, sirs, to hear the conclusion, “ which will satisfy you:” And then he returned to his
discourse, which he continued to the end.' Nothing will better discover the weakness of the human mind. An old cardinal, and many bishops, are scandalized, are going away, and cry out blasphemy: For what? Because they heard a minister say, that Jesus Christ is not corporeally present in the symbols of the bread and wine of the eucharist. Can there be a worse grounded, or more childish cause of offence? Whon people teach, that the body of Jesus Christ is present but in one place at one time, and that it is always seated in Paradise at the right hand of GOD, they plainly maintain, that it is as remote from the sacrament of the eucharist, as Paradise is from the earth. Now the prelates of the conference at Poissi could not be ignorant, that the Protestants taught, that the humanity of Jesus Christ is always in heaven, at the right hand of GOD; and that it can be present but in one place at one time; and they could not expect that Beza would neglect to explain the doctrine of his persuasion: Therefore, they should not have been offended with this expression ; or else they went to the assembly wit! this opinion, that the Protestant ministers would betray their cause, and only endeavour to deceive their king. Catha