Saturday, February 9, 2008

Who is Galeacius?

In John Flavel's Mystery of Providence he makes mention of a Galeacius (p.52). Galeacius was of noble birth and was converted out of "Popery". John Calvin tells the story in his commentary on Corinthians (p.11-14):

"I may say much rather than Jacob — Few and evil have my days been; yet in these few days of mine something have I seen, more have I read, more have I heard; yet never saw I, heard I, or read I any example (all things laid together) more nearly seconding the examples of Moses than this of the most renowned Marquesse Galeacius. Moses was the adopted son of a king’s daughter; Galeacius the natural son and heir apparent to a Marquesse; Moses a courtier in the court of Pharoah, Galeacius in the court of the emperor Charles the Fifth; Moses by adoption a kin to a Queen, Galeacius by marriage to a Duke, by blood son to a Marquesse, nephew to a Pope; Moses in possibility of a kingdom, he in possession of a Marquesdome; Moses in his youth brought up in the heathenism of Egypt, Galeacius schooled in the superstition of Popery; Moses at last saw the truth and embraced it, so did Galeacius; Moses openly fell from the heathenism of Egypt, so did Galeacius from the superstition of Popery. But all this is nothing to that which they both suffered for their conscience. What Moses suffered Saint Paul tells us — ‘Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, and chose rather to suffer adversities with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the rebuke of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.’ Nay, Moses had rather be a base brick maker amongst the oppressed Israelites, being true Christians, than to be the son of a king’s daughter in the court of Pharaoh amongst idolaters. In like case noble Galeacius, when he was come to years and knowledge of Christ, refused to be called son and heir to a Marquesse, cup-bearer to an Emperor, nephew to a Pope, and chose rather to suffer affliction, persecution, banishment, loss of lands, livings, wife, children, honors and preferments, than to enjoy the sinful pleasures of Italy for a season, esteeming the rebuke of Christ greater riches than the honors of a Marquesdome without Christ, and therefore, seeing he must either want Christ or want them, he despoiled himself of all these to gain Christ. So excellent was the fact of Moses, and so heroical, that the Holy Ghost vouchsafes it remembrance both in the Old and New Testament, that so the Church in all ages might know it and admire it, and doth chronicle it in the epistle to the Hebrews almost two thousand years after it was done. If God himself did so to Moses, shall not God’s Church be careful to commend to posterity this second Moses, whose love to Christ Jesus was so zealous, and so inflamed by the heavenly fire of God’s Spirit, that no earthly temptations could either quench or abate it; but to win Christ, and to enjoy Him in the liberty of His Word and Sacraments, he delicately contemned the honors and pleasures of the Marquesdome of Vicum — Vicum, one of the paradises of Naples, Naples, the paradise of Italy — Italy of Europe — Europe of the earth; yet all these paradises were nothing to him in comparison of attaining the celestial paradise, there to live with Jesus Christ...."

On his refusing to do so, “sentence was passed against him, and he was deprived of all the property which he inherited from his mother.” “In the following year... an offer was made to him in the name of his uncle now Pope Paul IV. that, he should have a protection against the Inquisition, provided he would take up his residence within the Venetian States; a proposal to which neither his safety nor the dictates of his conscience would permit him to accede.” He went repeatedly to Italy, and had interviews with his aged father, but was refused the privilege of seeing his wife and family, until about six years after he had quitted Naples. His wife, Victoria, then wrote to him, earnestly requesting an interview with him, and fixing the place of meeting. This she did on two different occasions, but in both instances, on his arrival at the appointed place, after a fatiguing and dangerous journey, he had the disappointment of finding that she did not make her appearance. At length, impatient of delay, he went once more to Italy, and at his father’s house had an interview with Victoria, when he entreated her to accompany him to Geneva, “promising that no restraint should be laid on her conscience, and that she should be at liberty to practice her religion under his roof. After many protestations of affection, she finally replied, that she could not reside out of Italy, nor in a place where any other religion than that of the Church of Rome was professed, and farther, that she could not live with him as her husband so long as he was infected with heresy.” The scene at their final parting was peculiarly tender. “Bursting into tears, and embracing her husband, Victoria besought him not to leave her a widow, and her babies fatherless. The children joined in the entreaties of their mother, and the eldest daughter, a fine girl of thirteen, grasping his knees, refused to part with him. How he disengaged himself, he knew not; for the first thing which brought him to recollection was the noise made by the sailors on reaching the opposite shore of the Gulf.” (of Venice.) “He used often to relate to his intimate friends, that the parting scene continued long to haunt his mind; and that not only in dreams, but also in reveries into which he fell during the day; he thought he heard the angry voice of his father, saw Victoria in tears, and felt his daughter dragging at his heels.” (HT: CCEL)

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