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acter of a solitary man, who disdained to be counted with the reformers. Erasmus was assailed from every quarter. He was a greater heretic than Luther! He was an apostate and Berquin was his follower! Erasmus' books should be used to burn Berquin!
Astonishment took hold of Erasmus. Was this the result of all his trimming, his half-way policy, his courting all parties, and even his hostility to Luther? Better be a thorough reformer. He would not lay down his pen. He would turn the point of it against the worst of all his foes, those in his rear, whom he had imagined to be friends. He fell upon the whole pack of those who were hounding him to death. He wrote to the Sorbonne, charging Beda and his fellows with a conspiracy, and with betraying the soldier who was fighting in their interest. He complained to the parliament, that Beda and Sutor were allowed to attack him from behind while, at the order of the emperor, the pope and the princes, he was leading on the charge against "these Lutherans." He appealed to the captive king, touching upon a tender point, and warning him that his descendants would suffer from the Sorbonne, for its doctors '' aspire to tyranny even over princes.'' This prophecy was to be fulfilled in the very next age, when the house of Valois was put under the ban of the priests. He invoked the protection of Charles V., saying, "Certain persons, who, under the pretence of religion, wish to establish their own gluttony and despotism, are raising a horrible outcry against me. I am fighting under your banners and those of Jesus Christ. May your wisdom and power restore peace to the Christian world.''
Thus was this prince of the pen drawn away from the war against the reformers, and enlisted against the persecutors. His appeals were heard by the king and emperor. The danger was averted, for those who had attacked this one man found that the great powers of the world were leagued on his side. The vultures thought their prey was in their talons, but now they must drop it and turn their eyes to another quarter. We shall see them again in Lorraine, the country of the Chrises, who are rising into terrible power.
Where was the Duchess Margaret all this time? The nation knew that she was toiling for the deliverance of the captive king. He was a sick prisoner at Madrid. She made a heroic journey thither; found him—a dying man, pale, worn, and helpless; was the agent of restoring him to life, and of securing his liberty early in 1526. The reformers knew where her heart was, and they had reason to bless God for her voice and her hand. She was in Spain when she heard of the fierce movement going on against "her brethren, the reformers." She poured into her brother's ear the most earnest entreaties for those who were in exile or in prisons. Words were not enough; she must show her love by her works. The thought of poor starving exiles, who knew not where to lay their heads, haunted her imagination while in the splendid palaces of Spain. She sent four thousand pieces of gold to be distributed among the sufferers.
She was too noble, too generous, too patriotic, and was doing too much for the nation, to be attacked by those who had grasped the sceptre and the sword in order to wage war upon the best men in the kingdom. But there was one person on whom they might wreak vengeance—Margaret's secretary, Clement Marot. They threw him into prison, and he consoled himself by composing little poems. They did not dream that his poems would one day stir all France, when his version of the Psalms should be in the mouth of every Huguenot, and sung in the palace of the king.
Let us see how it fares with the two young gentlemen who fled from Metz after the burning of Leclerc. Peter Toussaint was often talked of in the mansion of the Cardinal of Lorraine. The many who met there with Peter's uncle, the dean, deplored the sad fate of the young prebendary, who had promised so fair. He had been led away by those heretics, Chatelain and Leclerc! "He is at Basle," they would say, with deep pity, "in the house of (Ecolampadius, living with one of the leaders of this heresy!'' The lamentable thing was that he could not see what an error he had committed, and what evils were shadowing his path.
They wrote to him as earnestly as if they thought him exposed to eternal death. These letters pained him, because he knew they were prompted by sincere but mistaken affection. One of his relatives, probably the dean, urged him to remove to Paris, to Metz, or to any other place in the world, where he would be far away from the reformers. This relative supposed that Peter felt exceedingly indebted to him, and would at once comply with his request, but, when he found his efforts useless, his love changed into violent hatred.
These men were so determined to win back the young Toussaint to the Komish Church, that they went to his mother, who was "under the power of the monks," and wrought upon her mind. The priests crowded around her, frightening and persuading her that her son had committed crimes that they could not mention without shuddering. She wrote a touching letter to her son, "full of weeping," (said he,) in which she set forth her misery in heart-rending language. "0 wretched mother! O unnatural son! cursed be the breast that cherished thee! . . ."
The unhappy Toussaint was almost distracted. What should he do? He could not return to France. To go to any of the German cities would only add to the sorrow of his relatives. (Ecolainpadius advised a middle course. "Leave my house," said he. "Live with some one who is not attached to the reformation.'' He went, with a sad heart, and made his home with an ignorant and obscure priest—one whose religion might have satisfied his relatives. It was a change that cost him much self-denial. He never saw his host, save at meals, and then they were constantly discussing matters of faith. As soon as the meal was over the debate was postponed until the next meeting, and Toussaint retired to his lonely room, where he carefully studied the word of Grod. "The Lord is my witness," said he, '' that in this valley of tears I have but one desire—that of seeing Christ's kingdom extended."
One event greatly cheered his heart. He persuaded the Chevalier Esch to return to Metz and encourage the trembling converts in that city. They were in peril. The Chevalier obtained some books from Farel, who was still at Montbeliard, and, traversing the forests, reached Metz early in 1525. The priests knew why he came, and watched all his movements.
It seems that in June of 1525 Toussaint and Farel made a journey to Metz,* intending to take a firm stand in that field. They requested a hearing before their lordships, The Thirteen; this being refused they appealed to the highest civil authority. But it was discovered by them that the agents of Beda were on the ground. They had exposed themselves to a masked battery. Plans were already laid for seizing and casting them into prison. Seeing the danger they quickly left the city and travelled all
*So D'Aubigne. Hist, of the Reformation, vol. iii., bk. xii., ch. xiv. No little difficulty has been found in harmonizing all the dates in reference to these two men, especially this visit of Toussaint, and his sojourn at Paris, where he was imprisoned, as stated hereafter.
night, lest they should be overtaken. It was a timely escape, for the heresy-hunters were sweeping down upon Lorraine.
The Chevalier Esch had not been able to escape the eyes and suspicions of the priests in Metz. They discovered that he kept up a communication with the gospel Christians; and this was enough. They arrested him and threw him into a prison at Pont-a-Mousson, about five miles above Metz, on the banks of the Moselle. Others were seized in the neighbouring parishes. Among them was the pastor, Schuch, of St. Hypolyte. A guard of brutal men brought him to trial, and the judge heaped abuse upon him. The pastor made no reply to these epithets, but, holding in his hands a Bible, all covered with notes, he meekly, and with great power, faced the inquisitors with the truth. They were amazed and enraged, and, tearing from him his Bible ulike mad dogs," says the chronicler, "unable to bite his doctrine, they burned it in their convent." He was afterwards sent to the stake, where he continued to recite a passage until the smoke and flames stifled his voice.
The refugees could not receive letters from their friends, nor write to them, without exposing some hidden believer to danger. An intercepted letter might betray him. One man, however, dared to carry tidings from France to Basle, by sewing a letter, which bore no signature, in his doublet. He escaped the bands of detectives, and laid before the exiles the sad account of what was going on in the kingdom. At Paris, Meaux, Metz, Lyons, everywhere that any trace of the Christians could be found, there was persecution to the death. "It is frightful," Toussaint wrote to Farel, '' to hear of the cruelties inflicted.''
Yet these strong-hearted exiles and their persecuted friends kept up their courage. The gates of hell should not prevail against the true church of God. '' In vain were all the parlia