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History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII: Modern Christianity. The Swiss Reformation.
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§ 169. Beza at Geneva.


In 1558 the city of Geneva established a high school, and Beza was called, at Calvin’s suggestion, to the Greek professorship. Much to the regret of Viret and his colleagues, he accepted. He was influenced by various considerations, the chief of which were his desire to escape from the trouble caused by Viret’s establishment of the Genevan church discipline, which had led to a falling out with Bern, Lausanne’s ruler, and from the embarrassments still resulting from his well-meant attempts at union among the Protestants, and probably still more by his desire to labor at the side of Calvin, whom he so greatly revered and whose doctrines he so vigorously and honestly defended. He was honorably dismissed to Geneva and warmly commended to the confidence of the brethren there. When on June 5, 1559, the Academy was opened, he was installed as rector. Thus, in his fortieth year, he entered upon his final place of residence and upon his final labors. Henceforward he was inseparable from the work of Calvin, and however far and frequently he might go from Geneva, it was there that he left his heart.

On Calvin’s nomination, Beza was admitted to citizenship at Geneva, and shortly afterwards (March 17, 1559) he succeeded to the pastorate of one of the city churches.12851285    Pierre Viret had followed him to Geneva, Jan. 13, 1559, and was one of his colleagues in ecclesiastical service. But each new labor imposed upon him only demonstrated his capacity and zeal. The Academy and the congregation flourished under his assiduous care, and Calvin found his new ally simply invaluable. There was soon a fresh call upon his diplomacy. Anne Du Bourg, president of the Parliament of Paris, boldly avowed his Protestantism before Henry II., and was arrested. When the news reached Calvin, he despatched Beza to the Elector Palatine, Frederick III., to interest this powerful prince. The result of his mission was a call on Du Bourg from the Elector to become professor of law in his university at Heidelberg. But the intervention availed nothing. Du Bourg was tried, and executed Dec. 23, 1559.

Shortly after his return, Beza was sent forth again, July 20, 1560. The occasion was, however, quite different. The Prince de Condé, shorn of his power by the Guises, had fled to Nérac. He desired to attach to the Protestant party his brother, Antoine de Bourbon-Vendôme, king of Navarre. Calvin had already, by letter, made some impression on the irresolute and fickle king, but Condé induced his brother to send for Beza, who, with his eloquence and his courtly bearing, quite captivated the king, who declared that he would never hear the mass again, but would do all he could to advance the Protestant cause. His zeal was, however, of very short duration; for no sooner did his brother, the cardinal of Bourbon, arrive, than he and his queen, Jeanne d’Albret, who afterwards was a sincere convert to Protestantism, heard mass in the convent of the Cordeliers at Nérac. Beza, seeing that Antoine would not hold out, but was certain to fall into the power of the Catholic party, quietly left him, Oct. 17, and after many dangers reached Geneva early in November. The journey had taken three weeks, and had, for the most part, to be performed at night.12861286    Baum, II. 122. Unfortunately Beza’s account of it is lost.



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