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out of a bad temper. Farel was set at liberty. An official account of the affair was published, so that no false reports might be circulated.
Farel, whose very nature had fire enough, was now burning with zeal. He thought it his duty to unmask the priests who had been so active in all this riotous business, and with vigour he plied the sword of the word. He had been preaching what their guardian had admitted to be the truth, and now he exposed their errors.
'How fares it with Farel's meekness?' inquired CEcolampadius of one who had come from Montbeliard, probably Anemond. The strongest testimony was borne to his faithfulness, energy, and success, although he had shown too much violence in attacking the priests for their errors concerning the mass. His gentle friend wrote him, and reminded him of the resolutions which he had formed at Basle. He advised meekness and modesty. 'Mankind must be led, not driven.'
During the winter, a friar of the order of St. Anthony came into the neighbourhood, and employed a monk to proclaim from the pulpit that he had some relics for sale. The monk gave the wares a hearty commendation. There was at Montbeliard a disciple of Luther, named John Gailing, who first preached the gospel in Wurtemburg, and was now the court-preacher to the duke. He had doubtless rendered great assistance in the work going forward, and he knew that the sale of these relics was only a trick to divert the minds of the people from the gospel. Farel and Gailing appealed to the senate to put a stop to such imposture, representing in strong terms how this traffic had destroyed souls, robbed the poor of their savings, and God of His glory. But the senate had not courage to act in the case, and declared that such
matters belonged solely to the duke. To the duke they went, asking him to send away the friar, unless he could prove from Scripture that it was right to sell relics. This gave the monk and friar a fine chance to defend themselves by that all-sufficient word by which Farel would test everything, as well as to show that the relics were genuine. But the impostors dared not accept the challenge, and made no further noise.
A report of Farel's labours and success came to the ears of the old sage Erasmus, and mightily annoyed him. He hinted to some spy in the camp at Montbeliard, that severe measures should be employed against the zealous preacher. He wrote at once to his Romish friends, that an exiled Frenchman was making a great disturbance in those regions. Farel knew of all this, but had enough to engage his attention in spreading the truth far and near. He was, at Montbeliard, ' like a general on a hill, whose piercing eye glances over the field of battle, cheering those who are actively engaged with the foe, rallying those ranks which are broken by an impetuous charge, and animating those who hang back through fear.' Behind him were Basle and Strasburg as a base of operations, whence he drew his supplies of tracts and books.
The refugees at Basle were forming a Tract and Bible Society, and raising up colporteurs to scatter the truth through France. The presses then were constantly occupied in printing French books, and these were sent to Farel, who put them into the hands of book-hawkers; and these simple-hearted men passed through the country, calling at almost every door. Anemond was a true chevalier in this good work, which was moving forward with such strength that Erasmus was enraged, and the Sorbonne in alarm. He sent to Farel all the useful books he could get; and one of his large plans was for Farel to use the pen, while he raised a fund and a force to work the presses day and night, and thus flood all France with the truth. He was anxious to see the New Testament printed in French, and widely circulated in the provinces.
The chevalier happened to be one day at the house of a friend, where his eye fell upon a new edition of Lefevre's French Testament. He was overjoyed. But how came the needed prize so near at hand? Vaugris, a merchant of Lyons, who had fled to Basle, had secured its publication in October 1524. The edition was limited. 'Lose no time in reprinting it,' said the earnest Anemond, 'for there will be a call for#a great number.'
At the urgent advice of his friends, Farel wrote several small books, among which was A Summary of what a Christian ought to know, in order to trust God and serve his Neighbour,—a work which passed through several large editions, and was widely circulated.
This same year Lyons was the centre of a movement in which Farel took a deep interest, if not an active part. The merchants Du Blet and Vaugris had taken the lead in the Reformation at this old city, where, four centuries before, Peter Waldo had preached, and by his sermons had shaken all France. Preachers were again needed, and the raging of nations was to bring them. Francis I. was leading an army against Charles v. of Spain, and passed through Lyons on the way to Pavia. Margaret the Duchess of Alengon came also, leading the spiritual soldiers of the Lord; and they halted at this point, while the other hosts went on to Italy. She caused the gospel to be publicly preached at Lyons. Her preacher, Michael D'Arande, drew large crowds to hear him, and with courage he declared a pure gospel. Anthony Papillon, a friend of Erasmus, and 'the first in France for the knowledge of the gospel,' was present to support the efforts of the duchess. Nor were these labours confined to the city. Into all the region round about, the Christians went with the good word. There was at Lyons a monk named Maigret, who had been boldly declaring the new doctrine in Dauphiny, and had been driven out by the priests. One of Farel's brothers had written to Chevalier Anemond, painting the state of things in the gloomiest colours, and asking for Farel and the knight to come to the help of their native land. Anemond thought of going, but the Lord sent more efficient workers. Maigret urged Papillon and Du Blet to repair thither, and they went.
We have not forgotten Sebville, whom we left preaching the word, 'purely, clearly, holily,' in Dauphiny. A violent storm had just broken out against him; and the monks, who were angry because Farel, Anemond, and Maigret had escaped their grasp, now called for Sebville's arrest. The friends at Grenoble felt that they could not have him taken from them. They appealed to Margaret, and she had him rescued from the fury of his persecutors.
But the mouth of Sebville was closed for a time, for he must choose between silence and a scaffold. He wrote Anemond, 'Silence is imposed upon me under pain of death.' Many gave way; but Amadeus Galbert, a cousin of Anemond, gathered a faithful band around him, and clung to the truth. These Christians met Sebville secretly at their own houses; and if there was none to preach, there were many to talk of the good word. They crept away to some retired spot; they visited some brother by night; they prayed in secret to Christ, and though often alarmed, were not arrested. The threat was, that if they dared to speak the word in public, their lot should be the stake.
Thus stood affairs when Papillon and Du Blet went to Grenoble. They may not have done much in Dauphiny, but they put Sebville upon a new mission. 'If you cannot preach at Grenoble, you can at Lyons. Lent is coming on, and there will be crowds in the city.' He went, and met with a kind reception from Margaret. It was proposed that Michael, Maigret, and Sebville should lead on the gospel army. There was to be a gospel Lent in Lyons. The rumour of it went abroad far and near. Anemond wrote in joy to Farel, 'Sebville is free, and will preach the Lent sermons.' Maigret was already preaching 'God manifest in the flesh.' The priests raged, but the duchess protected him. At last, however, they seized the bold preacher, dragged him through the streets, and cast him into prison. Vaugris left for Basle, spreading the news on the way. One thought still cheered the reformers: 'Maigret is taken, but Madame DAlengon is there: praised be God.'
The work of the spiritual army was greatly disturbed by the defeat of the royal army at Pavia in February 1525. The king was taken prisoner, and was on the way to Madrid. The Duke of Alencon had proved a coward, and he came to Lyons to die of shame and grief. All France was full of mourning, and the Romanists began to declare that this great disaster was provoked by Heaven, because the new doctrines had been tolerated in the kingdom. The 'heretics' must be expelled. 'People and Parliament, church and throne, joined hand in hand to banish the gospel.' The preachers at Lyons were dispersed. Soon after this, Du Blet sank under persecution. Papillon died in such a way that it was