« AnteriorContinuar »
singing-boys painfully climbed through the gorges of the Jura and took refuge in the Val de Travers, wondering if the voice of Farel should ever startle them again.
A little "miracle," such as popery often furnishes to the ignorant, occurred about this time. Two townsmen named Fauche and Sauge were going out to their vineyards. They passed by a little chapel in which the latter had set up a wooden image of St. John. The former said, "There is an image, and I shall kindle my fire with it to-morrow." So as Fauche returned he took it away and laid it down in front of his house. The next morning he put it into the fire. An awful explosion followed; the humble family were in dismay; it was a miracle caused by the anger of the saint at being burned; the priests were ready to vouch for it. The poor man made haste to return to the mass. His neighbour came to explain it, but it was in vain that Fauche protested on oath that it was only a joke. He had come at night, bored into the image (and the saint complained of no pain!) filled it with gunpowder and closed the wound. It was a very earthly thing, but Fauche would not believe one word of such reasoning. He must flee the vengeance of the saints. He took his family and settled in France. From a faith in such tricks the reformers were delivering the people by leading them back to the real miracles of the Saviour whose words, works, and death were their only hope.
What a renovating change since the day when the people carried Farel into the cathedral! If he had been the chief mover in the scenes of October third, the governor would surely have given him a full notice in his minute letter to the princess. Yet he did not name him as taking any part in the fearful movement. Nor did Farel appear in all the business of the votes. One might have said that he was not at Neufchatcl. The governor knew not of him in his report. There was something greater than Farel, the word of God. It was at work, and to its Author be the praise for the wondrous change.
Farel was held in grateful remembrance by the council and the citizens, as the chief agent in introducing the gospel. They would gladly have retained him, but he was under engagements to the Bernese authorities. He made a second visit to the Val de Ruz.
For many years an inscription was visible on one of the pillars of the cathedral. It brought to mind the memorial day, as one read,
On October 23d, 1530, Idolatry Wajs Overthrown And
REMOVED FROM THIS CHURCH BY THE CITIZENS.
MY ZOKDS OF EEHNE.
THERE is an old castle, built on a rock, that overlooks the town of Yalangin, about a league over the mountain from Neufchatel. Here lived the counts who exercised lordship over the Val de Ruz and four other valleys, which lay among the seven mountains of the Jura chain.
In this castle dwelt Williamette de Yergy, the widow of Count Claudius, and the dowager of Valangin. She was full of reverence for the pope, and of respect for the memory of her husband, at whose burial a hundred priests had chanted high mass. Then, too, many penitent young women were married, large alms were distributed, the curate of Locle was sent to Jerusalem, as a reward for his services, and the widow herself afterward made a pilgrimage for the repose of the soul of her departed lord. That she would be a bitter foe to the reformation might be well understood. It was the one thing she hated. Her zeal for popery prompted her to much fasting and solitude. Yet her long silences and gloomy devotions were sometimes followed by merry dances in her halls, when the wife of John, the knight of Gruyere, paid her a visit, and reported his threats against Farel with exquisite satisfaction. They never dreamed that this "French Luther" had his eye upon the Yal de Ruz. Williamette and her priests, and her chamberlain, Bellegarde, who even excelled her in hating the reformation, had reason to tremble.
People from the Val de Ruz had come daily to Neufchatel, where they heard the doctrines of the reformers, and they carried back to their parishes certain good news, which were certain to spread far and wide. Still, they were not likely to neglect the great Romish festival on the 15th of An gust—that of "Our Lady of the Assumption." It was a day when the villages would swarm with people.
This was the very day that Farel selected to make a descent upon the valleys. He left Neufchatel after the affair of the placards, that the people might settle their own affairs with the Bernese deputies. With him went a young Dauphinese, a relative, (as it appears,) an ardent Christian, and a man of strong, decided character—Anthony Boyve. This family has since given several pastors to the church at Neufchatel. The two missionaries climbed the mountains through the pine forest, and then descended into the valley. They were not disposed to linger about the castle, and, shunning Valangin, as it seems, they halted at the village of Boudevilliers, and proposed to preach there.
They met some persons who had heard the "great preaching" at the capital of the canton, and all of them went into the church. On all sides the people were thronging to it, to hear the praises of "Our Lady" celebrated. The priest was preparing to chant the mass, but Farel entered the pulpit and began his form of service. While the reformer was preaching Jesus Christ and his promises, the priest and his choir were chanting the missal. It was Christianity and Romanism in open competition and contrast. The awful moment came when the wafer was to be changed into the very body of the Lord; the sacred words fell from the priest's lips over the elements. The people felt the power of their old habits and their superstition, and they deserted the preacher and gathered toward the altar. The crowd was kneeling. Rome seemed triumphant.
Suddenly, a young man, who felt indignant at seeing the mass preferred to a sermon, rushed forth, through the choir and up to the altar, and snatched the host from the hands of the priest, and cried aloud, as he turned to the people,—"This is not the God whom you should worship. He is above, in heaven, in the majesty of his Father, and not, as you believe, in the hands of a priest." This man was Anthony Bo3Tve.
At first this daring act produced the desired effect. The mass and the chanting ceased; the crowd was silent and motionless in astonishment. Farel, who was still in the pulpit, took advantage of the calm, and preached Him "whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things." The people listened. But the priests and their party acted as if there was a sweeping fire in the town. They rushed into the towers and rang the alarm-bell with all their might. These means drew a crowd of new-comers, not so devotional as the rest. Farel and Boyve would have been slain on the spot had they not retired. "God delivered them."
In the evening they set out for home, by a narrow path that wound beneath the castle. They were stealing cautiously along, when suddenly, in a narrow pass, a shower of stones fell upon them, and about a score of priests, men, and women assailed them with clubs. The quaint old chronicler states "that the priests had not the gout either in their feet or arms; the ministers were so beaten that they nearly lost their lives." They
were dragged, half-dead, nearer to the castle, to afford some