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was as unlike our Lord as darkness is unlike the day. He was high-tempered, profane, drunken and dissolute; cruel in war, weak in peace, and ambitious to extend the temporal power of the popedom. Yet he sought to command respect by the long beard on a face of sixty, and by wearing a tiara of massive gold, covered with costly gems. Under such a fallible pope the dogma of papal infallibility was firmly established. Thus at the very time when Anti-christ put forth most strongly his three claims of spiritual dominion, temporal power and infallibility, Christ was coming again to the world.
The troops of the French king, in whose service was the Chevalier Bayard at the time, gained a victory over this papal Caesar. Louis XII., "the father of - his people," was well prepared to doubt the dogma of Cardinal de Yio's book, when it was put in his hands. He laid it before the university. To refute it seemed a bold undertaking. Allmain, a man of profound genius and unwearied application, made the daring attempt. He read his essay before the faculty of theology, showed the falsity of the cardinal's assertions, and received the greatest applause. Such courage is contagious, and a iire was kindled in the hearts of many of the students. Before long, the brothers, Arnaud and Gerard Roussel, two fellow-countrymen of Lefevre, with several others, gathered to the newly-raised standard.
A greater than these was admitted into this growing circle of generous minds, Count William, of Montbrun, the son of Cardinal Briconnet.* After the death of his wife, he had entered the Church, given his heart to study, taken orders, and was now the Bishop of Meaux. Twice he was sent on an embassy to Home, and, on his return to Paris, he was astonished * Sometimes anglicised into Brissonnet.
at what had taken place. He was expected to have much to say about the gay entertainments and festivals of "the holy city;'' but his thirst for the truth led him to more solemn and important matters. He renewed his former acquaintance with Lefevre. He passed many precious hours with him, with Farel, the two Roussels, and their friends. Illustrious as a prelate, he was, nevertheless, humble-minded, and was willing to be taught by the humblest Christian, and especially by the Lord himself.
"I am in darkness," said he, "awaiting the Divine goodness, to which I am a stranger, because of my demerits.''
"Get into your heart more of that good Bible, which I have already recommended to you,1' said Lefevre. "It will give you light. It will lead you back to the pure Christianity of the early Church."
"I have read it. But my mind is dazzled by the brilliancy of the gospel. Free grace, free pardon, the free gift of eternal life and heaven offered freely to all who will simply believe in Christ,—these amaze me. The eyes of all men are not able to receive the whole light of this great sun,''
"We need a great sun to chase away the night that rests on the world. It is the glory of Christianity that it causes our eyelids to droop before its infinite mercy."
The gentle bishop read still more eagerly, and the simple and weighty truth of salvation by faith charmed his soul. He found Christ; he found God, in Christ, reconciling sinners to their Father. "Such is the sweetness of this divine food," said he, '' that it makes the mind insatiable; the more we taste it, the more we long for it." Again, representing himself as an house, too narrow for Jesus to dwell in, he says,—"But, the dwelling enlarges according to our desire to entertain the good Guest. Faitli is the quartermaster who alone can find room for him, or, more truly, who makes us dwell in him.''
And, now, from the court of the king, comes a still greater personage, the Princess Margaret, the Esther of the palace. Let us notice her steps, as she walks softly in the dawn of that morning when Glod was renewing the world. The same '' still small voice," which had been calling Lefevre and his band out of the night into the day, has prompted her to seek the light. We must go back a little, in order to understand her position.
Louis XII. had left some bright lines in his record. He had opposed the temporal power of the pope with a conquering army. He had resisted the papal pretensions to absolute rule in the Church, and probably was glad that Allmain had expossd their fallacy. He was no friend to the infallibility of such popes as Borgia and Julius the profane. All this must have been known among the princes. It is even said that he had a coin struck with the inscription,—Perdam Bahylonis nomen,—"I will destroy Babylon.'' He knew that the Babylon of his day was Bomanism. In the year 1501 he had made a journey through Dauphiny. It was at the time when the Waldeneses were exciting a needless alarm among the priests, and Farel was a child of twelve. Some of the nobles begged the king to rid their provinces of these teachers. He was curious to learn what evil they had done, and sent his confessor, Parvi, to visit the accused. The report brought back was so favourable, that Louis said,—"They are better Christians than we are." He commanded the goods taken from them to be restored, and the papers, which gave them authority to prosecute these "better Christians," to be cast into the Bhone.
Nor was this all. About the year 1510 Louis invited the French clergy to meet him in council at Tours. He seemed to anticipate a reform, and, had it taken place during his reign, the whole of France might have become Protestant. The council declared that he had the right to wage war upon the pope, and that all popes were under the authority of the general councils. From Tours came very much to talk about in the university,—the city and the court,—and a deep impression must have been made on the mind of young Farel, who had lately come to Paris. But, what would the courtiers, the royal heir, and a certain young princess, think of all this conduct of the king?
If a wicked woman deserves to go unmentioned, then Louisa of Savoy should be treated with that silence which condemns. The less written of her profane character the purer our page. The shame is that she had great influence in the kingdom. The honour is that one of her two children, growing up in the court of Louis, was so unlike her as to merit a place in church history. No thanks to her for this, but to the truth of Grod. Her son was a prince of tall stature, striking features, and so strong a will that the king often said "That great boy will spoil all." This was Francis, the cousin of Louis. 'c His beauty, and address, his courage and love of pleasure, made him the first knight of his time. He aspired, however, at being something more; he desired to be a great and even a good king, provided everything would bend to his sovereign pleasure. Valour, a taste for letters, and a love of gallantry, are three terms that will express the character of Francis and the spirit of the age." Learjied men gathered around him, and the strange thing is, as we shall see, that he did not join with the reformers, for a tender and gentle being at his side held over him a guardian power. This gentle being was his sister, two years older than himself, and so queenly in her personal excellence that all her titles seem to add nothing to her greatness. To be Margaret of Valois, then duchess of Alen^on, then queen of Navarre, was little honour compared to that of being a fervent Chris'tian, the protector of the Protestants, the patron of young Calvin, and the devoted friend of Lefevre, who passed the seven last years of his life in the refuge of her home, and there died ,at the age of nearly a hundred years.
But she is young now, and she does not dream of these honours. Her cousin Louis spares no pains in her education; her mother's example is warning enough against the temptations that beset a princess; her brother tenderly loves her, or rather sends back a tithe of the flood that pours upon him from her own heart, and all wonder that such a bad woman as Louisa could have so good a daughter as Margaret. What is it to be the most beautiful, intelligent, witty, amiable and influential princess of her time? What is it it to be gifted with poetry, accomplished in literature and exalted in station? What is it to be esteemed by scholars, visited by ambassadors, and consulted by her king? A happiness that thousands would covet and think worthy the risk of their souls. But she is intent upon something far better. To prevent evil and to do good is her ruling passion. And when the gospel comes it is hailed as good news from heaven, as bread to the hungry soul, and as her defence against the evils of a corrupt court. Certain ladies tell her of the new doctors; they lend her the new little books; they tell her of the ancient church and the word of God; she listens, reads and believes. She walks out to breathe the fresh air of the revival morning, and catches some glimpses of the Light of the world. She talks with Lefevre, Farel and Boussel; she is struck with their pure morals, their piety and their