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wrote to his friend, "My soul has awakened from its slumber. I must preach the gospel. Jesus Christ must be restored to this city, whence he has been exiled so long. '' The timid young preacher rushed," as Zwingle described it, "into the midst of the savage bears, who, grinding their teeth, sought to devour him."
The cause gained strength as the years passed, and Haller declared, in confident hope,—"Unless God's anger be turned against us, it is not possible for the word of God to be banished from the city, for the Bernese "are hungering after it."
The Bernese had certain districts in B.oman Switzerland, where the people spoke the French language, and a French missionary was needed. Farel was the man to carry the gospel into these new regions, and Haller gave him the most urgent invitation. What should Farel do? France was shut; no one opened its gates; not a word yet from thence inviting him to return. France had rejected him. Switzerland was open; a voice was calling him thither; it must be the voice of God, who took Paul away from the Asia in which he proposed to labour, and sent him over into Macedonia. He could not hesitate. He left Strasburg on foot in December, grieved as he cast an eye toward his native land that now disowned Jier son, but cheered as the prospects of success in new regions rose upon his vision. He was on the road when the messenger of Toussaint and Roussel arrived at Strasburg. It was too late. His friends sent the letters on to Berne; but even there they did not overtake him. In his zeal he had made haste to enter upon his new field. In a little Alpine village he had fully settled down, when he received the invitation of the lords of La Marche. Might he \iot even then return? Should he put aside the call of the lords of Berne, and the call of God's providence, and obey the voice of the young princes? In his soul there was a fierce struggle. He was only a lowly school-master in a little village of the Alps. In France he might be a reformer in a great field, using princes in pushing on the good work, perhaps enlisting the king, and making the throne, the court, the capital, a centre of power on the side of the gospel. If this invitation had only reached him at Strasburg! But, no! It was too late. The hand of God had drawn him away for some purpose yet to be disclosed. He will remain at the humble desk in his little school, and have an experience which invites our further attention.
Thus France lost the reformer whom many Christians thought had been raised up for her deliverance. But God had wisely planned these events. Farel would have been a powerful evangelist; but he was too much a soldier and too little a scholar for that great nation. He was a general who could urge forward a movement against error, but not the guide who could lead men to the full system of truth contained in the Bible. A greater than Farel was about to appear, who would combine all the excellencies of his predecessors in the French reformation. He was then a student of seventeen, in the college of La Marche, at Paris, working his way, as Farel had done, into the clear light of the gospel. His was that great name—John Calvin. Farel knew him not; but it was yet to be the work of this Alpine school-master to lay the foundation in Roman Switzerland, to open the gates of Geneva, and be the forerunner of Calvin, whose voice should shake the world and roll on through the centuries.
"0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." "The steps of a good man are ordered Dy the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." What was true of Jeremiah and David was to be true of William Farel, who had passed the delicate turning-point in his eventful life.
THE ALPINE SCHOOL-MASTER.
ON the banks of the "Great Water," a narrow stream that falls in thunder from the rugged glaciers of the Diablerets, lies the small town of Aigle, * (^Elen,) about ten miles from Villeneuve, at the upper end of Lake Leman. A rail-road now passes through it, and, from the cars, at this point, one may see the sublime Dent du Midi rising on the south, and the proud Dent de Morcles on the north, both crowned with snow; and between them, a quiet, smiling valley, whose picture will not soon fade from his memory. There the laurel blooms beside the most exquisite grapes; and, yet, hanging almost above them, are vast glaciers, near to which, in summer, the shepherds lead their flocks for pasture. If this be his first gate of entrance, the traveller begins to think that he is amid the grandeur of Switzerland.
To this small town, in December, 1526, a man was making his way, on foot and in the rain. He wished to conceal his name, for he was one whom persecution had made an exile from France. He was of middle stature, with red beard, quick eyes, fearless face, and the step of a native mountaineer. If he met any of the villagers, he was likely to give them the whole road, and speak kindly to them in purer French than they employed; but, if he met a haughty priest, he was ready to claim his full share of the path, and look back at him with indignation after he had passed. The wonder is that he did not tear down some of the crosses along the way, and dash in pieces the images that exacted devotion from the superstitious traveller.
* The old Latin Aquilea, now containing about 1650 inhabitants.
♦With him walked a single friend. Night closed around them, and the rain fell heavy and cold. They lost their path, a very dangerous thing for Alpine travellers on whom the snow might be falling before morning. Drenched and chilled, they sat down almost in despair. "Ah!" said the chief one, "God, by showing me my helplessness in these little things, has willed to teach me how weak I am in the greatest, without Jesus Christ."
"It is no little thing to be lost," we imagine the other replying. "We shall perish if we stay here."
'' Let us perish then trying to find our way.'' Then rising, they bent forward on their dark journey, feeling for stepping places among the rocks, plunging through bogs, wadrng through the waters, crossing vineyards, fields, hills, forests and valleys, and, at length, dripping with rain and covered with mud, they reached the village of Aigle.
In this desolate night the exile received a new baptism. His natural energy was somewhat softened. He was so subdued that he felt more timidity than he needed, and anxious to be wise, he overstepped his mark. He assumed a new name, hoping, as he afterwards said, '' by pious frauds to circumvent the old serpent that was hissing around him." He represented himself to be a school-master—Ursinus—and he waited for a door to be opened that he might appear as a reformer.
He looked about upon the people, and saw ignorance and degradation as the fruits of Romanism. The priests fleeced the