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rine de Medicis said, in her letter to M. de Rennes, ambassador of France at the emperor's court, that • Beza, • speaking of the sacrament, forgot himself, in a com• parison, so absurd and offensive to the ears of all the s assistants, that she was near silencing him, and sending • all the ministers away, without suffering them to proceed
In the remaining part of this conference, Beza behaved like a man of great capacity, and never suffered himself to be surprized by the artifices of the cardinal of Lorrain. But they at last separated, without coming to any conclusion; the catholics not being disposed to make concessions in any
article. In the course of one of the debates, a doctor of the Sorbonne, irritated at the strength of his adversary's arguments, pointed with his finger to Beza, and said in a threatening manner, · If we could but once catch thee * within the walls of the Sorbonne, thou shouldest not get out again.'-A lively argument truly !
Beza did not return to Geneva when the conference was ended; for, being a Frenchman, Catharine de Medicis would have him stay in his own country. He preached frequently before the queen of Navarre, the prince of Conde, and in the suburbs of Paris. The king of Navarre, though of the religion of the Protestants, declared himself against them, to preserve the title of viceroy : But the prince of Conde, the Coligny's, and several others, being discontented at the absolute government of the triumvirate, and incensed by the ill treatment of the Protestants, whose doctrine they had embraced, retired from court, and began to make the protestants take up arms in their own defence. The pope, the emperor, the king of Spain, and the catholic Swiss cantons, entered into a league against the prince of Conde, and undertook to prevent the Protestant princes from raising troops to succour his party. This league made very strong impressions upon the minds of the people in France, Germany, and all the northern nations, where they were so highly disposed in favour of the Protestants, that they furnished them with one hundred thousand crowns to carry on the war; and the prince of Conde obtained leave to raise troops among all the Protestant princes.
The prince took Orleans, Roan, Lyons, and several other places, in 1562, without effusion of blood, except Tours, which was taken by assault. The victorious soldiers kroke open the churches, and pulled down the images
and statues of the saints : But the vessels of gold and silver, and the sacred ornaments, which were very numerous, were saved. The king of Navarre took Roan, but was mortally wounded at the siege, and died when he was no more than twenty-five years of age. Some hours before his death he received the sacrament, according to the ancient custom of the church; but he declared, that if GOD was pleased to restore him to his health, he would publicly embrace the confession of Augsburg.
Beza attended the prince of Conde during this civil war, and was at the battle of Dreux, in 1562, as a minister. The fortune of this engagement was very uncommon; for the generals of both parts were taken prisoners. The constable Montmorency was carried to Orleans; and the prince of Conde to the camp of the king's troops : After which, the duke of Guise commanded the Royalists, and Coligny commanded the Protestants. Claudius de Xaintes reproached Beza for being in arms : But Beza answered him, that he was present at the battle in the habit of his order, not armed ; nor could he be justly charged with the slaughter of one man, or with flight.
During the imprisonment of the prince of Conde, Beza always kept with admiral Coligny, and did not return to Geneva, till after the peace of 1563. The duke of Guise was pistoled before Orleans by Poltrot, a Protestant gentleman, who was taken, and brought before the queen. He was interrogated in her presence, and answered like a madman ; sometimes declaring that he had committed this action at the solicitation of Coligny, Soubize, and Beza ; at other times denying this ; and again saying things contradictory to both these. The duke of Guise was esteemed one of the greatest men of his time ; and his party accused Beza of having a hand in the murder. The
great and universally acknowledged probity of admiral Coligny did not suffer the public to believe he had any concern in so detestable an action, nor even that he had the least knowledge of it: But the princes of the house of Guise were of another opinion; and looked upon him as the author of the murder. Poltrot was condemned to be torn in pieces by four horses.
Before the execution he was put to the rack, and denied that Coligny, Soubize, and Beza were privy to his crime. The constable Montmorency, and the prince of Conde, were afterwards both killed in battle.-Coligny was assassinated, and the Protestants were massacred throughout all France.
When Beza returned to Geneva, he succeeded Calvin. He wrote an apology for his Latin translation of the New Testament, which had been censured by Sebastian Castalio, whom Beza charges with openly endeavouring, in a preface on the perversion of the sacred books, to destroy the sufficiently evident authority of the divine word. Sainte Aldegonde wrote to Beza, that there was a new • kind of enthusiasts, who from the German theology, trans
lated into Latin by Castalio, from Taulerus a crazy monk, • and from the ravings of other heretics both ancient and • modern, patch together those rhapsodies which are so « very agreeable, not only to the superstitious and ignorant « vulgar, but to men of moderate learning and no contemp
tible piety, that they all press to the books of these men, as to some hidden treasure. It would be tedious to • reckon up all their wild notions; nor can you * rant of most of them, who have often been obliged to encounter these monsters, among whom I reckon Castalio not the least considerable.' Beza was persuaded, that Castalio had translated that book into Latin; yet he would not affirm it in a public work, before he had informed himself whether it could be possible to produce good proofs of it, if Castalio should deny it. A wise precaution; for Castalio denied, before the ministers of Basil, that he had any share in that book.
Nicholas Beza, who was bailiff of Vezelai, fled to Geneva, on account of his religion, in 1568, and died there soon after of the plague, at the house of Theodore Beza, his brother by the father's side. Theodore took a journey to Vezelai, to settle the affairs of the family of the deceased. He endeavoured to persuade a sister which he had in a nunnery, to forsake the church of Rome : But she was an old nun, very obstinate in her religion, and would not listen to his remonstrances.
On Beza's return to Geneva from Vezelai, he attacked Brentius, and James Andreas, upon their doctrine of ubiquity. He also attacked the errors of Flaccius Illyricus ; and wrote his book De Divortiis & Repudiis, against Ochinus, who had written in favour of polygamy. He answered Selnecerus and Pappus. He turned the Psalms of David into all sorts of Latin verses, and translated the Canticles into lyric verse. He published a treatise of the sacrament; and some sermons on the passion of Christ.
The religious war in France destroyed many thousands on both sides, and Beza returned again to that kingdom
in 1571, to assist at the national synod of Rochelle, of which he was elected moderator. The Papists broke the peace of 1568, by the massacre of Paris in 1571, which was called the massacre of St Bartholomew. Above thirty thousand Protestants were murdered ; and the king of Navarre, with the young prince of Conde, the only two persons saved, were compelled to abjure the Reformed religion. This horrid business, commonly called the wedding of Paris, has been scandalously represented by Gabriel Naude as a master-piece in policy. But all the Europeans looked upon this action with the utmost abhorrence ; saying, that, in the accounts of the most barbarous nations, there was not an example of such horrid cruelty.
The Hugonots recommenced the war with great animosity; and Beza, in 1572, assisted at the synod of Nismes, where he opposed the faction of John Morel, who designed to introduce a new discipline. The royal army besieged Rochelle, which was so gallantly defended by the Protestants, that peace was granted them in 1578.
The fifth civil war began the next year, when Charles IX. died, and was succeeded by his brother, Henry III. The prince of Conde at that time sent for Beza to Strasburg, that he might carry on a negotiation with prince John Casimir, administrator of the palatinate ; which shews, it was well known, that Beza understood other things besides lectures and books. He succeeded so well, that Casimir brought an army from Germany to assist the Hugonots, who obtained a peace upon more advantageous terms than any of the former.
Beza returned to Geneva, where James Arminius was sent in 1582, to perfect his studies, at the expence of the magistrates of Amsterdam. He chiefly followed the lectures of Beza, who at that time expounded the epistle to the Romans. Arminius was afterwards professor of divinity at Leyden ; and formed a separate sect, which was condemned in a national synod; for he opposed Beza as a Supralapsarian ; and acknowledged no other election, but that which was grounded on the obedience of sinners to the call of GOD by Jesus Christ, or, in other words, that there is really no such thing as election at all, in which he agreed with the Papists, Pelagians, and other heretics.
Beza wrote his De cena Domini, against Harchius ; and afterwards continued quietly at Geneva till 1586, in which time there had been three other civil wars in France about
religion. religion. The duke of Guise, and his brother the cara dinal, were assassinated by order of the king, who, in 1589, was stabbed in his turn by James Clement, a monk, and died of the wound. The line of Valois ended in this prince, who was succeeded by Henry IV. a Protestant of the Bourbon branch, and king of Navarre.
Some gentlemen had left France for religion, and fled to Montbelliard, in the Franche-Comte. The count of that country, in compliance with the desire of these refugees, desired the canton of Bern to name deputies, to confer with the divines of Wirtemberg; and he also desired the republic of Geneva to send Beza to the conference. Beza and Anthony la Faye, came as deputies from Geneva; Musculus, and Huberus, were the Swiss deputies; and James Andreas, and Luke Osiander, were the chief deputies of Wirtemberg. The dispute was left to Beza and Andreas. The former would have the dispute managed syllogistically; but he was obliged to yield to the desires of his adversary, who would not be confined to such rules. Andreas used a long and declamatory way of speaking, which obliged Beza to do the same ; and the dispute was not cleared up, though it lasted many days. Each party boasted to have gained the victory, and published an account accordingly. This conference was held more for political than theological reasons. The count of Montbelliard had been an Ubiquitarian, till he heard Beza's sermons aud lectures, when he altered his opinion, and gave protection to the refugees : But his aim in holding this conference was to clear himself from the suspicion of Calvinism, that the emperor might favour his succession to the duchy of Wirtemberg.
Beza lost his wife in 1588, but this domestic affliction did not prevent him from going to the synod at Bern, where the doctrine of Samuel Huberus, concerning our justification, which, he said, consisted in an inherent quality, was condemned. Beza grieved for his wife, who has been praised for several good qualities, and chiefly for her conjugal affection ; he was now near seventy; yet, the same year, he was married again to a widow, who survived him. The name of this second wife was Catha
rine de la Plane, who also took care of him as long as he I lived.
The inconveniences of old age began to come upon him in 1597, and obliged him to speak but seldom in public. In that year a report was spread throughout Italy, Germany, and Holland, that Beza had renounced