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They were as ignorant of all these essentials of popery, as the devotees of the pope were of the simple spiritual life of the early Christians. The ancient Church was a field, sown thick with the good seed of the kingdom; but an enemy had sown tares therein. That enemy was Romanism. Both had long grown together, until the tares had choked the wheat, or overlaid it; arid now the harvest was come, and the tares must be cast away, and the wheat gathered into the store-house of the soul, so empty that men were perishing for want of that bread which came down from heaven. Thus, Farel discarded great bundles of error.
Still, Farel needed a church, where he might publicly worship God. Where could he go? Lefevre could not make one for himself and his disciple. Not yet was- there any organized Protestantism. The only hope, then, was to see Romanism reformed. Farel saw no other way but to attend the Romish churches, and there worship God in spirit, as Jesus did in the temple, where, in spite of his cleansing, there were all the errors of the Pharisees. But, what did he find there? Loud voices, long chantings, prayers in a dead language, smoke and formalities. There was the priest seen at the confessional; but, might not Christ be there, unseen, and ready £o forgive sins? There was the corrupt liturgy; but, might not a pure, unwritten litany go up from his heart, acceptably, to the Hearer of prayer? There was the outward form of godliness, without the power; but, might not he have the inward power, without the form? God was everywhere, and he, even there, would worship him in spirit and in truth. Jesus had said,—"Lo, I am with you alway;" and, under cathedral roofs, that threw back the smoke of papal censers to the cold stone floors, he would adore the Crucified, without the pretended help of a cross, or "the elevation of the host." Nor, needed he the dove on the painted window, to assure him that the Spirit, who came down at Pentecost, could enter the church, and fill his soul with something better than a '' dim religious light,'' kindle the heavenly flame in his heart, and give him the tongue of fire.
The stations had lost their charm. The images had no attraction. The altars drew not his knees to the ground. The confessional brought no sigh from his heart, nor gave him a quivering lip. Standing, one day, in a crowd that was gazing on pictures, or bowing to crosses, he lifted his eyes to heaven, and said,—"Thou, alone, art God! Thou, alone, art wise! Thou, alone, art good! Nothing must be taken away from thy holy law, and nothing added. For thou, alone, art the Lord, and thou, alone, wilt and must command."
To him, now, priests, and pope, and teachers, were mere men. Lefevre was only a man, loved and venerated still, but not standing as a mediator between him and Christ. The saints had been but men, many of them the best of the earth, yet fallen from the lofty height to which his imagination had raised them. The old Pantheon, in his heart, had crumbled to the dust. Christ was the one mediator, and G-od's word the supreme law.
These grand results were attained by slower steps than our pages have moved onward, but freedom came to the soul of Farel about the date 1520, when he was full thirty years of age. Luther was then making a powerful impression in France, notwithstanding the decisions of the Sorbonne. Let Luther have the credit of being the great workman of the sixteenth century, and the chief reformer. But we take nothing from him when we give their due to the Paris doctor and his disciple. Farel was not guided by Luther or Zwingle; * he and they were
* "I began," wrote Zwingle, "to preach the gospel in the year of grace, struggling for light and for life about the same time. Lefevre was before them all, and hence Beza hails him as the man '' who boldly began the revival of the pure religion of Jesus Christ, and as, in ancient times, the school of Isocrates sent forth the best orators, so from the lecture-room of the doctor of Etaples issued many of the best men of the age and of the church."
Although there was still in this bold teacher a tinge of the Sorbonne, yet "he is the first catholic in the reform movement, and the last of reformers in the (Roman) Catholic movement." D'Aubigne says farther, "The Reformation was not, therefore, in France a foreign importation. It was born on French soil; it germinated in Paris; it put forth its first shoots in the University itself, that second authority in Romish Christendom. Grod planted the seeds of this work in the simple hearts of a Picard and a Dauphinese, before they had begun to bud in any other country on earth. If we look only at dates we must acknowledge that, neither to Switzerland nor to Germany [Zwingle in the one and Luther in the other] belong the honour of having begun this work, although hitherto these countries alone have contended for it. This honour belongs to France.''
The wonder is that in these three countries the light should break forth so nearly at the same time, when the watchmen saw not eye to eye, nor heard each other's voice, nor laid any plans in concert. It proves that each one acted under an unseen power, who had planned the movement on an extended scale. With no communication one with the other, all struck their
1516, that is at a time when the name of Luther had never been heard in these countries. It was not from Luther that I learned the doctrine of Christ; it was from God's word. If Luther preaches Christ, he does as I do; that is all." In these words Lefevre might have joined without robbing Luther of any honour.
blows about the same time, "as in a battle all the divisions of an army begin to move about the same moment, although one has not told the other to march," for the chief commander has given the same order to each one of them. This is a proof that God chose the time the places and the men, and the great movement of the sixteenth century was the work of Glod. . Vvrhen about thirty years of age, Farel could no longer have a good conscience and remain in the Romish church. He forsook her communion, with a feeling of abhorrence toward himself and of the errors in which he had so long been enthralled. Not far from this time he was recommended by Lefevre and elected to a professorship in the celebrated college founded by Cardinal Lemoine, one of the four principal colleges of the theological faculty in Paris, equal in rank to the Sorbonne. He soon became the regent, an honour which had always been given to men of learning and eminence. He filled the office with great credit to all concerned, during the short time that a persecution was preparing, and his name was held in delightful remembrance by his colleagues and students.
A CIMCJuJE OF FJtlEJSTDS.
WHEN one maple puts forth its leaves in the early spring, we may know that the sap is in all the trees of its kind, and they will soon be in full leaf. The new life in Lefevre and Farel was soon to be manifested by other souls of their class, whom we now introduce as opponents of many evils in popery, if all of them were not yet friends of the reformation. We may know more of Farel by the company he keeps and the stirring times in which he began his career.
James Allmain, in 1512,«took a position of astonishing boldness, for one of the youngest doctors of the University. Thomas de Vio, who afterwards contended with Luther on two great moral battle-fields, Augsburg and Leipsic, had published the doctrine that the pope was the absolute monarch of the church. If Julius II. was his favourite specimen of a pope there was need of strong argument to make thinking Frenchmen believe that dogma. This man was supposed to have taken the name, Julius, with an eye to the military fame of the first of the Caesars, and was soon involved in a war with France. This pretended "vicar of Christ," assumed to imitate the Blessed One by holding down his head when the multitudes applauded him, and once a year washing the feet of twelve beggars. But he