Bolsec, Jerome

, a writer, whose whole merit was inventing abominable lies and absurdities against the first reformers in the sixteenth century; and, by this means supplying popish missionaries with matter of invective against them, he was often quoted, and became respected. He was a Carmelite of Paris, who, having preached somewhat freely in St. Bartholomew’s church, forsook hiaonier, and fled into Italy, where he set up for a physician, and married; but soon after committed some crime, for which he was driven away. He set up afterwards in Geneva as a physician; but not succeeding in that protession, he studied divinity. At first he dogmatized privately on the mystery of predestination, according to the principles of Pelagius; and afterwards had the boldness to make a public discourse against the received opinion. Upon this, Calvin went to see him, and censured him mildly. Then he sent for him to his house, and endeavoured to reclaim him from his error; but this did not hinder Bolsec from delivering in public an insulting discourse against the decree of eternal predestination. Calvin was among his auditors; but, hiding himself in the crowd, was not seen by Bolsec, which made him the bolder. As soon as Bolsec had ended his sermon, Calvin stood up, and confuted all he had been saying. “He answered, overset, and confounded him,” says Beza, “with so many testimonies from the word of God, with so many passages, chiefly from St. Augustine in short, with so many solid arguments, that every body was miserably ashamed for him, except the brazen-faced monk himself.” On this, a magistrate who was present in that assembly, sent him to prison. The cause was discussed very fully, and at last, with the advice of the Swiss churches, the senate of Geneva declared Bolsec convicted of sedition and Pelagian ism; and as such, in 1551, banished him from the territory of the republic, on pain of being whipped if he should return thither. He retired into a neighbouring place, which depended on the canton of Bern, and raised a great deal of disturbance there, by accusing Calvin of making God the author of sin. Calvin, to prevent the impressions which such complaints might make upon the gentlemen of Bern, caused himself to be deputed to them, and pleaded his cause before them. He was so fortunate, that though he could not get a | determination upon his doctrine, whether it was true or false, yet Bolsec was ordered to quit the country.

He returned to France, and applied himself to the Protestants; first at Paris, afterwards at Orleans. He shewed a great desire to be promoted to the ministry, and to be reconciled to the church of Geneva; but the persecution that arose against the Protestants, made him resolve to take up his first religion, and the practice of physic. He went and settled at Autun, and prostituted his wife to the canons of that place; and to ingratiate himself the more with the Papists, exerted a most flaming zeal against the reformed. He changed his habitation often: he lived at Lyons in 1582, as appears by the title of a book, which he caused to be printed then at Paris against Beza, and died there in the same year. The book just mentioned is entitled “The history of the life, doctrine, and behaviour of Theodorus Beza, called the spectable and great minister of Geneva.” This was preceded by the “History of the life, actions, doctrine, constancy, and death of John Calvin, heretofore minister of Geneva,” which was printed at Lyons, in 1577. Both these histories are altogether unworthy of credit, as well because they are written by an author full of resentment, as because they contain facts notoriously false. 1


Gen. Dict.—Mosheim.—Moreri. Beza’s life of Calvin.—Saxii Onomast.