Life And Character Of Theodore Beza -- By: R. D. C. Robbins

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 007:27 (Jul 1850)
Article: Life And Character Of Theodore Beza
Author: R. D. C. Robbins


Life And Character Of Theodore Beza1

R. D. C. Robbins

The Lineage And Childhood Of Beza

In a wild and mountainous part of Burgundy, a province in the eastern part of France, on the declivity of a mountain at the foot of which flows the river Eure, lies the small town of Vezelay. At a lit—

tie distance out of the village, a stone cross may be seen, marking the spot where the “holy St. Bernard,” by his fervid appeals and miracles, roused Louis VII. of France and many of his vassals to undertake the rescue of the holy sepulchre from infidel hands. Here too, forty-five years later, Philip Augustus of France and the Lion-hearted Richard of England, took upon themselves the sign of the cross as leaders of the new crusade to the Holy Land.

Among the noble families of Burgundy, in an early age, was that of de Bèze. And although in the disturbed state of the province which ensued, the castle of the Bezas was demolished, their property wasted, and their privileges taken from them, yet they could not long be kept in a state of subordination. Industry and tact brought wealth, and this was judiciously devoted to the elevation of their fallen family and the improvement of the neighborhood. At the time of the contest between Francis I. and Charles (V.) of Spain, Peter de Bèze had the command of a castle that overlooked the town of Vezelay before designated, and the adjoining region. His wife, Maria Bourdelot, also of noble origin, was distinguished for the activity, zeal, and tenderness with which she performed the duties of wife and mother. Three daughters and two sons already demanded the care and solicitude of these parents, before the birth of Theodore de Bèze, June 24, 1519, more commonly designated among us Beza, who is the subject of the present narrative. As the young Theodore was rather delicate, he seems to have been the object of peculiar care, even during the short time of his stay under the paternal roof.2 But he was hardly out of the nurse’s arms before his uncle, Nicholas de Bèze, a member of the parliament of Paris, who was visiting at Vezelay, pleased with the child, determined to take him back with him to Paris, and rear him as his own offspring. His mother after long refusal, was rather constrained than persuaded to give up her child to his uncle. She could not send the loved one away from the paternal roof, but herself accompanied him to his new home.

The few short years which remained for the mother on earth, were so spent as to indicate, that it was with no empty show of filial piety, nor with the mere partiality of a child, that Beza when he ha...

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