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flocks, and then left them to be pastured by curates who played the hireling, and only confirmed the people in their rudeness and turbulence. The best way to bring the priests into watchfulness was to teach the villagers the gospel. Awaken thought among them, and the jealous clergy would rush to the spot to smother it. He cared not, however, how far they kept away from the field.
Ursinus gathered the children and began his work with no fixed salary. His modest lessons were mingled with new and strange doctrines. His scholars wondered when he told them of the good book and the great God who gave it; the true cross and the Lord of glory who died upon it. They had something to believe, to tell, to expand their minds and elevate their souls. The teacher was encouraged; by feeding the Saviour's lambs, he would soon have sheep to feed.
When the day's work was done, Master Ursinus left the school-room and the primers, and took refuge in his poorly furnished lodging-place. It became a palace, for the Bible was the light thereof. He applied himself, with absorbing interest, to the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, and the few works of learned theologians that he had brought with him. The debate between Luther and Zwingle was still going on. He examined anew the entire ground on which they wrestled, and asked to which of these champions he should attach himself. The case was decided; he clung to the Zurich reformer.
Master Ursinus went a step farther in his work. He cautiously set about teaching the parents as wTell as the children. He showed them that purgatory was a mere invention, there was no such place. Then he exposed the delusion practised in the invocation of the saints. "As for the pope, he is nothing," said he, "or almost nothing in these parts; and as for the priests, if they annoy the people with that nonsense, which Erasmus knows so well how to turn into ridicule, that is enough for them."
Thus he went on teaching in a quiet ~way for some months. A flock gathered around him, loving the good man, who did more for them than any one had dreamed of doing before. If they were puzzled by the thought that one so great should come among them in their out of the way corner, it was all explained by his simple goodness of heart. And he told them of Him who condescended from heaven to earth; from the throne to a manger; from the crown to the cross; and they understood and believed. He thought the looked-for moment had come, and he might tell them who he was, and what was his mission.
"I am William Farel, minister of God," said he one day. The villagers thought none the more nor any the less of him for that. It was to them like any other unheard-of name. But the priests and magistrates were in amazement and terror. They had heard of William Farel. They now saw among them that very man whose name had already become so fearful. They dared not do anything but let him have his way. Nor did he consult with flesh and blood. He had quietly taken the tower; now he would take the town by a bold movement. He ascended the pulpit, and openly preached Jesus Christ to the astonished multitude. The work of Ursinus * was over; Farel was himself again.
The council of Berne, in the month of March, commissioned Farel to explain the Holy Scriptures to the people of Aigle and its neighbourhood, and to preach until the incumbent of the benefices, Nicolas Yon Diesbach, should appoint a suitable minister, a thing that Nicolas was not likely to do. At the same time a fresh order was issued against the immorality of the clergy and laity, and measures were taken to punish offenders. This new order was galling to the priests, who had lived so long in the freest and loosest way that they could not bear to be restrained. They saw that Farel would have the law on his side, and become bolder than before in attacking the general vices and superstitions. The rich and lazy incumbents, with the poor and ignorant curates, were the first to cry out. "If this man continues preaching," they said one to another, "it is all over with our benefices and our church.''
* Ursinus from ursa, the bear; an allusion to the fact that he came as a Bernese. Whether he went from Basle to Berne and then conferred with Haller and the lords of that city does not appear. It seems that he took no commission with him; if so, he did not show it, or thought that the gospel preacher needed no other commission than that of Christ.
The civil power also opposed this first preaching of the pure gospel in these regions. The bailiff of Aigle, and Jacques de Roverea, the governor of the four parishes, Aigle, Bex, Ollon, and the Ormond valleys, felt proud of their "brief authority." They would not support their Bernese lords, nor accept the minister they had sent. They took the side of the priests, and said,—"The emperor is about to declare war against all innovators. A great army will shortly arrive from Spain, and assist the Arch-duke Ferdinand."
Farel stood firm, and fearlessly went on in his work, avoiding to excite opposition by imprudent vehemence, or by exposing too many of the errors of Romanism. He boldly declared the truth, having patience with the rude and ignorant people. This enraged the bailiff and the governor. They forbade "the heretic" to give any kind of instruction, whether as minister or school-master. Thus they hoped to starve him out or send him away. But they did not know their man, nor their excellencies of Berne. Great was the displeasure of the Bernese lords when they learned what had been done. They sent a new decree, dated July 3d, and ordered it to be posted on the doors of all the churches in the four parishes. The people read that "all the officers of the state must allow the very learned William Farel to preach publicly the doctrines of the Lord."
This new proclamation was the signal for a revolt. On the 25th of July great crowds assembled at Aigle, at Bex, at Ollon, and in the Ormonds, crying out,—"No more submission to Berne! Down with Farel!'' From words they soon proceeded to riots. At Aigle they were headed by the fiery bailiff, and they tore down the edict, and prepared to fall upon the reformed people. Farel was soon summoned by his friends, who resolved to defend him. The firm countenances of the Christian converts checked the rioters, and they dispersed. Farel left the town for a few days, and, like a general who flanks an enemy, he entered upon a new movement.
The traveller, who comes from Geneva in a steamer to Lausanne, will expect to find the beautifully situated capital of Vaud repay him for his visit. He may be puzzled by its crooked streets and wearied with its three hills, but he will be interested in its history and its antiquities, especially in the cathedral, founded about the year one thousand. If Farel's voice of thunder could have been heard therein, he would have started up a nest of as dissolute canons and priests as all Home could furnish. Although they had a bishop over them, they were drunk at the inns, they gambled in public, they fought in the churches, they kept the vilest company, they were fathers without being husbands, and sent their children out to beg bread; they disguised themselves as soldiers, and came down from the cathedral-hill
at night, roamed the streets with swords in their hands, and surprised, wounded, and sometimes even killed worthy citizens. Yet they were "ministers of the Virgin," whose image drew hosts of pilgrims to the great church. There was a power in that city which aimed to keep the whole country at the feet of the pope. Even the trumpet-voice of Farel could not have prevailed in the streets of Lausanne. He knew it, and did not propose thus to storm the strong-hold.
A more quiet way showed itself. The bishop had a chaplain named Natalis (laleotto, a man of elevated rank and the most polished manners. He was fond of learning and of learned men, but yet very zealous about fasts and the rites of the church. Farel thought that, if this man could be gained over to the gospel, Lausanne, "slumbering at the foot of its steeples," and amid the noise of its monks, would perhaps awaken, and all the country with it. True, he had denounced Farel's zeal against fasts and formalities, as absolutely immoral; but yet there was some hope that a man of his intelligence and character might be won to a purer faith.
Farel wrote to Natalis. He modestly introduced himself and gave some account of his former struggles, and the means by which he had found the true light. He urged the gospel upon the chaplain, and entreated him to use well his talents, to warn the wicked, to lose no time in publishing the praises of God, and to "preach Christ as our great pattern, both in speaking and acting." Then he referred to the evils which were best known, and which none could deny. "Alas! alas! religion in now little better than an empty mockery, since people who think only of their appetites are the kings of the church." But Natalis made no reply.
Again Farel wrote, urging upon him "that we should renounce everything for Christ's sake, even our dearest friends and rela