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A new folly was introduced. If the bewildered pilgrims had not heard enough, they were now to see enough to cause them to suspect the morals of the priest. That they were not filled with disgust, only proves how they were steeped to the eyes in Romish superstitions. William remembered the scene to his last days, and in his book on "The true use of the cross," he thus wrote of it, so that men might know how deep the Romish priests were sunk in folly and crime. "There came up a young woman, intent on other devotion than that of the cross, carrying her infant wrapped in a cloth. Then the priest went up, took hold of the woman and child, and led them into the chapel. I may safely assert, that never did dancer take a woman and lead her out more gallantly than these two did. But such was our blindness, that neither their looks nor their gestures, appeared otherwise than good and holy.''
Immoral priests and blinded people! Such were the two elements in almost the entire Romish church of those days. There were some exceptions, but they were found among those who shook off the fetters of popery, and were labouring to reform the church. William Farel was to see some of the worst delusions and vices of Romanism, in order to prepare him for exposing them to the people whom he would point to the true cross of Jesus Christ. The family returned home, and this is the last we hear of their pilgrimages to Sainte Croix.
Crosses similar to the one thus visited are often seen in Romish countries. On a mountain-side in Switzerland a tourist once stopped in the road, before a cross set up in a little "oratory," or place for prayer, which looked somewhat like the small shelter for a watchman on the railroad. It was built of stone, with the front open, and appeared quite ancient. An image of the so-called Virgin Mary was very conspicuous. A small crucifix was fastened to the larger cross, and although the rain was falling, it did not spin around nor throw out sparks of fire, as the priest declared of uthe holy cross.'' Upon a board was an inscription, which is thus translated:
1 'Forty days' indulgence will be given to any one who will recite before this oratory one Pater Noster, one Ave Maria, and an act of contrition."
There was Romanism.
While standing there the attention of the traveller was arrested by the music of a little rill of the purest water, gliding down the mountain, and directly crossing the path. There, it was, free, full, clear as crystal, and right in the way of the pilgrim, a type of the waters of the river of life flowing unceasingly from the throne of God. There was a symbol of Protestantism, which ever sets forth the free grace of God in salvation. CHAPTEB II.
NOT BATTLES, BUT BOOKS.
YOUNG FAREL was sincere, although superstitious. He believed in Romish miracles, and wished to see whatever pretended to be one. But he was not willing that ignorance should be the mother of his devotion. He thirsted for knowledge. And if the Bible had not been a forbidden book, he must have found the truth at an early age. He knew of no such book as the word of God. He asked permission to study.
11 Study what?" we imagine his father saying.
"Whatever is taught in the best schools. I want to be something in the world."
"Be a soldier then. Put on the armour that hangs in the hall, take the rosary* for your heart, and th# sword in your hand, and enter the service of Gaston de Foix, or fight for the pope; he needs brave warriors now. Let the sword-hilt be your cross, and you may become a valorous knight before you are gray."
* The rosary of Dominic was a necklace of beads intended to insure the repetition of the "Lord's prayer" fifteen times a day, and that of "Hail Mary" one hundred and fifty times, the beads being passed through the fingers as the Jask was accomplished. This invention was thought such an honour that the Dominicans were sometimes called the Order of the Bosary.
'' I would rather be a scholar. Let me read of Caesar before I try to be like Csesar. Let knowledge be my armour and the pen be my sword. I want not battles, but books.''
'' Folly, my son! War leads to greatness. Whose name is now on every breeze that comes across thg Alps? That of our neighbour, the Chevalier Bayard, the brave knight without fear and without reproach. All Dauphiny is talking of him, since his victory in the battle of the Taro. Like him be fearless and stainless, and you will come to the honours of knighthood."
1' Such are not the honours I wish.''
"Not an honour for one to say with the Chevalier Bayard, 4 My soul is God's and my life is my country's!' Not an honour to guard a bridge against a legion of foes! and when he rebukes, profane swearing, and is told it is only a little fault, hear him say, 'Sir, that cannot be a trifling fault which is a great sin of the age.' And when a family, in whose house he lodges, offers him a large sum of money for protecting it from the pillage of soldiers, he refuses it, because he olefends it for goodness' sake, and not for gold. Be noble then, and brave as Bayard. This is your best road to glory.''
Thus the father opposed the taste for study which his son manifested, but the young man persisted in having a chance to indulge it. Nobler conflicts and victories were before him, than those of the famous Chevalier, and God had his good hand upon him. He was to be clad with "the whole armour of God," and wield "the sword of the Spirit." Long and earnestly did he plead with his father, who felt it to be a great blow to all his hopes of seeing the young noble enter upon a military career, but at last the old gentleman gave way, and began to inquire for a competent teacher.
The learned school-master was not then abroad in the land. If priests were the instructors, the education of the mind was likely to be at the expense of the morals. Young Farel would have gained little from the schools of Dauphiny, had there not been in him the strong spirit of self-help. In the text-books the wheat and the tares grew together, and the teachers could scarcely point out the difference between them, nor show the students what to gather into the garner, and what to burn in the fire. But he applied himself to his books as zealously as ever Bayard pushed on into the battle. The difficulties only fired him with ardour to overcome them, and having acquired the most of what his native province could afford, he turned his eyes to the brighter lights of the capital city.
The University of Paris had long been renowned in the Christian world. It was described as "the mother of all learning, the true lamp of the church, which never knew eclipse, that clear and polished mirror of the faith, dimmed by no cloud, and spotted by no touch.'' Thus it appeared to the devout Romanist, and thus to the young aspiring Dauphinese. To the Protestant eye of Milman, before whose clear vision marched the centuries of Latin Christianity, it rose stately in its superiority, and powerful in its independence. He says,—"If Bologna might boast her civil lawyers, Salerno her physicians, Paris might vie with these great schools in their peculiar studies, and in herself concentrated the fame of all, especially of the highest—theology. The University of Paris had its inviolahle privileges, its own endowments, government, laws, magistrates, jurisdiction; it was a state within a state, a city within a city, a church within a church. It refused to admit within its walls the sergeants of the Mayor of Paris, and the apparitors of the Bishop of Paris; it
opened its gates sullenly and reluctantly to the king's officers."