If you need assurance who would you rather listen to; Theodore Beza or John Calvin? Or neither?
In order to resist this second [temptation], it is necessary to know if we have this faith or not. The means is to ascend (monter) from the effects (effets) to a knowledge of the cause (cause) which produces them. Now, the effects (effets) that Jesus Christ produces in us, when we have apprehended him by faith, are two. In the first place, there is the testimony that the Holy Spirit gives to our spirit, that we are children of God . . . . Secondly, . . . when by faith Jesus Christ has given himself to us eternally in order to dwell in us, his virtue produces and reveals there his powers, which are known in Scripture by the word “regeneration” . . . . This regeneration has three parts . . . . The power of Jesus Christ coming to take possession of us produces three effects (effets) in us: the mortification of this corruption which Scripture calls the old man, his burial, and finally, the resurrection of the new man . . . . To know this regeneration it is necessary to come to its fruits. Thus, . . . the man, being set free from sin . . . begins to do what we call good works (4.13).
[Good works] make us more and more certain of our salvation, not as causes of it, but as testimonies and effects (effets) of the cause (cause), that is, our faith . . . . Since good works are for us sure testimonies of our faith, it follows that they also make us certain of our eternal election . . . . So then, when Satan puts us in doubt about our election, it is not necessary to first go and search for the decision of the eternal plan (conseil) of God; his majesty would dazzle us. But, on the contrary, it is necessary to begin with the sanctification which one experiences in oneself, and to climb higher (monter plus haut). Since our sanctification, from which proceeds good works, is a sure effect (effet) of faith, or rather of Jesus Christ is necessarily called and elected by God to salvation, . . . it follows that sanctification with its fruits is the first step (le premeier degre) by which we begin to ascend (monter) all the way to the first and true cause (la premier . . . vraye cause) of our salvation, that is, our eternal and gratuitous election (4.19).
— Theodore Beza quoted from his, “Confession de la Foy (1558),” in “Adaptations of Calvinism in Reformation Europe,” 64-5 ed. Matt P. Holt
Rest now my weary souls! Look to the decree and find rest. 🙂
How can anyone read this, and say, “yep, this is pure ‘Gospel’ truth?” Let me just say, with all of my attitude in-tact, that I realize folks like Beza & co. were just working with the theological tools they had (they didn’t know any better). What’s your excuse? Have you paid attention to the kind of spirituality that this kind of stuff produced in the ensuing years following?
Contrast Beza with Calvin (and by the way, Beza was Calvin’s successor at Geneva):
Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
— John Calvin, Inst., 3.2.7.
The contrast between these two is rather striking, especially since Beza and Calvin were compatriots.