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your body. The Church wants a long life from you. Visit the poor. Grive them charities. Urge them to the stations, the confessional, and the mass."
"Ah! I am not worthy thus to imitate Christ." '' But we have work for you to do. There are poor students here, who need help, and there are rich men to aid them. We can trust you. Let us put the money in your hands, that you may dispense it among the needy.''
Farel assented, and many devout rich persons in Paris intrusted him with various sums, to be given to the poorer students. The work was faithfully performed by one who had the nicest scruples of conscience in all matters of honesty and charity.
"Cheer up your mind by reading the lives of the saints," we hear the eagle-eyed watchers saying to the still sad student.
"Were not the apostles the best of saints?" he replies. 1' Their teachings give me trouble.''
"They are too exalted for you. You are not prepared to understand them. Take first those nearer to our own age.''
"The fathers of the Church, then,—but they would not agree with the Church of our day.''
"Leave them until you have your degree of arts. Read not of those who wrote their doctrines, but of those who were poor, who made long pilgrimages, who fasted in deserts, who mortified themselves in caves, who had visions, who wrought miracles, and who left for us the merit of their good works and penances." "Show me the books. Their works may give me more light than the words of those who taught what we must not now believe."
The books were furnished, and Farel read them until his imagination was inflamed by the legends of the saints. In his heart he admired the invented stories of their zeal, their coarse fare 37
and rough burry garments, their bare-foot pilgrimages, their self-tortures, the visits paid them by angels and by the Virgin Mary, and their entire freedom from mortal sin. The most disgusting tales of their voluntary filthiness were beautiful romances of a willing humiliation. He mistook their low and idle lives for that of a high and almost heavenly existence, and began to think of living like them.
In the deep shades of a forest near Paris, was a monastery of Carthusian monks, useless on earth, but making the world serve them better than was suspected abroad, in its reverence for their supposed piety. Farel was attracted toward them. Perhaps he had heard of their brethren in the old convent of Chartreux (Cartusium,) not far from his native place. There was something romantic in its history. Bruno of Cologne had become disgusted with the evils in the church in that old city, rather than with the world, and he sought to get out of both as nearly as possible. He coveted solitude. In the wild valley of the Chartreux, not far from Grenoble, he settled himself, about the year 1084, with twelve companions. They built a monastery for their worship, but did not live in it lest they should be too much together. They built separate cells by the side of it, and each one spent his time by himself in silence, study and labour enough to keep him alive. Their order increased in numbers and influence, and several branches were established in Europe, like the one in the woods near Paris. Their rules were most severe, if we may judge from those laid down for the monastery of Camaldula, built on one of the bleakest of the Apennines. Two words expressed them, solitude and silence. All else was but an exception to the rules. They met at worship, they ate silently together on certain festivals, and they met at times to inflict each other by speechless discipline. One daily meal of bread, or vegetables, and water, was often given up, so that they might enjoy the merit of a severer fast. Money they might not touch, and no comforts were allowed in their cells. Their silence was broken only when they prayed or chanted, and when they indulged in a little talk at eventide. The recluse among them took an awful vow of perpetual silence and seclusion. His voice might be heard in lonely prayer, and three days in the year he could attend the mass of Easter week, but he must speak to no human being, save the priest, whom he called by the sound of his bell to hear his confession. Such monks might easily lose their senses, and thus imagine that they were rid of their sins.
These severe rules had a charm for young Farel, now carried away by reading the lives of the saints. He went to the forest, and was admitted to the group of gloomy cells. He looked on the inmates with reverence, and shared, for a little time, in their austerities. The benefit he received is strongly set forth in his own words, penned at a later day. "I was wholly employed, day and night, in serving the devil, after the fashion of that man of sin, the pope. I had my Pantheon in my heart, and such a troop of mediators, saviours, and gods, that I might well have passed for a papal register."
The darkness in his soul could not well grow deeper. He was sunk quite as low in Romanism as Luther when, but lately, he was on his knees creeping up Pilate's stair-case in order to gain the pope's indulgence. But Luther seemed to hear a sound in his ears, as if an angel spoke to him, as he there remembered the words, "The just shall live by faith." He started up, ashamed of his folly, and fled with all haste from the scene. It was the power of a well-read and remembered Bible. But Farel was alarmed by no such memory*of a great truth which opposed Romanism. How or when he left the Carthusians we know not, but his stay was not long. Perhaps he was attracted to Lefevre, at whose voice the morning*star was soon to arise, and chase the heavy gloom from his heart.
A STRANGE VOICE IN PARIS.
""]\/T Y dear William," said Lefevre one day when returning -L-*-*- from the mass, as he grasped the hand of his young friend, "God will renew the world, and you will see it."
"Often have you said this to me, but I do not yet fully understand your words.''
"Ah, one cannot tell what light is until it fills his eye, nor what life is until he feels it in his soul. God will soon give us both; new light by his holy truth, new life by his Holy Spirit. The word of God will take the place of the word of the church. We must give up the 'Lives of the Saints,' and read the words of the apostles.''
"But are you not going on to publish those lives? I have been delighted with the two monthly numbers now issued."
"No, no: I"began with zeal the laborious task of collecting and arranging them in the order of their names in the calendar. But I am weary of them. They disgust me. They are foolish legends at best, and many of them are the false tales of monks, who could write a life to order without any knowledge of the facts.''
"You astound me, father Lefevre."
"1 wish to, if there be no other way to keep you from having