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that the young preacher was greatly instructed. As Calvin says of Lydia,—"From this tiny shoot an excellent church was to spring.''
One day she shut herself up in that room, where she had heard the call of God, and resolved to extinguish all her former glory in dress and decoration. She took "all superfluous bravery, laid aside those ornaments and trappings which had served to show her off in a vain-glorious way,'' and packed them up for sale. These and her most beautiful robes were sold. The money she gave to the poor, particularly to the evangelists of France, who were now exiles in Geneva. All her life the refugees were most welcome to her house. "Yerily," they said, "she follows the example of Dorcas, and deserves to be kept in perpetual remembrance." She did more; she spoke meekly and frankly of the precious truth wherever she went, and presented the New Testament, which Farel was sending, to many of the Genevan ladies. Her husband had been most bitter against Froment, but he began to be softened. She gently won him to the Lord. Little meetings were held in the house of the Levets, and when Froment was not present, she read and explained the Scriptures. The modest Griierin, a cap-maker, was reading his Bible day and night, and soon he cast his lot with the labourers in the vineyard.
On New Year's day the city was to pass another crisis. The councif had forbidden Froment to preach; and this made the people the more anxious to hear him. The hall was soon filled, then the stairway, then the street, and others still coming. The young preacher came, and he could not press through the crowd. What should be done? One man shouted out,—"To the Molard," and the cry became general. This was a large square, near where the Rhone pours out of the lake. Thither they went, crying,—"Preach to us the word of God." Mounting upon a little market-stall, the preacher beckoned with his hand, and there was silence. "Pray to God with me," he said, and, kneeling, the tears ran down his cheeks, while his voice rose solemnly to heaven. By that prayer, so unlike anything the people had ever heard, thousands were convinced that he sought the salvation of their souls. The text was not fortunate,— "Beware of false prophets;" but the sermon was powerful, every point being proved by the Scriptures. Various attempts were made to disturb him, until, at length, an armed band forced their way toward the stand. After much confusion Froment was carried away by his friends, and with great difficulty was saved. The school must now be given up, and preaching abandoned.
We cannot linger upon his perils—how he was almost detected in the house of Jean Chautemps and must seek another refuge, how Perrin said to him, "The law allows me to keep an honest servant unmolested in my house and I engage you,'' how he worked at the loom and none dare touch him, and how he began to visit cautiously at their homes, those who believed. Once he was detected crossing the bridge, and was so near to death, that his friends barely got him into the house of Dame Claudine, who must see her windows broken by the mob. At night Froment was advised to leave, and he departed for Yvonand to rest a while from the contests that make this the heroic period of his life. His work had not been in vain. Among other patriots Baudichon de la Maison-Neuve became a most zealous protestant, and his house and that of the Levets were the chief resorts for the little band of Christians.
Sometimes these believers had a great treat. A minister would be passing through Geneva; he must stop and preach in a private room, and the good news went here and there among them. "What is his name?" they would ask.
"Peter Maneri." .
"Where is he staying?"
"At Aime Levet's hy the bridge." And Claudine saw her rooms filled every evening while the minister stayed.
"We should have the Lord's supper," these Christians began to say one to another. It was decided, and as no minister could be obtained, they urged G-uerin to preside.
"Where shall it be celebrated?" was the next question.
"At Baudichon's house," said one. "No," said the more prudent, "not anywhere in the city, for the priests and their spies will cause a new uproar."
"I have a little walled garden near the city gate," said Adda, "and there nobody can disturb us."
On an early morning in March, as it seems, these believers quietly took their seats on the rude benches, and the Lord's table was spread in this garden, reminding them of the sacred gardens where their Saviour had agonized, or had lain in the tomb. Just when Gruerin sat down at the table the sun rose and, blessing the scene with his first rays, made it more imposing than the distant Alp of glittering snow. Never was this holy ordinance observed in a simpler manner. From the trembling hands of a layman, who felt that he was daring to do a sacred act with almost impious touch, they received the bread and the wine, and remembered the Crucified, praying for those who were afraid to meet with them, pledging their faith and their love, hoping for the day when there should be a reformed church in the city with a pastor who would feed the flock, and praising God for what they had already heard from his messengers now banished, and read in his word now hidden in their homes and their hearts. Thus was celebrated their first communion in Geneva.
This was not to be the end. The priests went about saying of these quiet believers, "They make so much of Christ that they deprive themselves of the church." Guerin and Olivetan (now in the city) held that the Romanists "made so much of the church that they deprived themselves of Christ." Here was the dividing line between the two parties. The honest Guerin was charged with the crime of having administered the Lord's supper in the garden, and he must leave the city. Hastily fleeing he went to Yvonand that he might be with Froment who had done so much to enlighten his mind.
The sad state of the true church led Olivetan to write of it, "I love thee; I have seen thee ill-treated, ill-dressed, torn, dishevelled, chilled, bruised, beaten, and disfigured. I have seen thee in such a piteous case, that men would sooner take thee for a poor slave than the daughter of the Great King, and the beloved of his only Son. Listen! thy friend calls thee; he would teach thee thy rights and give thee the watch-word, that thou mayest attain to perfect freedom." The little church at Geneva might have sat for this affecting picture. Yet these hidden ones "met every day in houses or gardens to pray to God, to sing psalms and Christian hymns, and to explain Holy Scripture.'' 23 *
FAKEL IN HIS ELEMENT,
ALL seemed lost in the storm that swept through Geneva in the year 1533. We can glance at only a few other of the sad effects. There was the banishment of Olivetan, for rising upon a bench and daring to say something after a friar had been bawling like a madman in decrying the Bible, exalting the pope and abusing the people, who sought for true liberty and the new life. All that the mild translator said was,—"Master, I desire to show you honestly from the Scripture where you have erred in your discourse." It was too much for those who dreaded fair discussion. He was pushed off the bench, saved from deadly blows by Chautemps, denied a hearing by the council, and expelled from the city. There was talk that these banishments were not enough. Farel had been driven away, but after him rose up Froment. He had been expelled, but Guerin appeared in his stead. He had been cast out, but then came Olivetan. This fourth leader had been banished, and now somebody else would suddenly take his place. The whole band must be expelled or treated with worse cruelties. There were secret plots formed in the house of the grand-vicar: an armed attack, a fight on the Molard, a plan to burn out the Huguenots, and a reign of terror. There was the restoration of the bishop-prince, Peter la