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reported, even among his enemies, that he had been poisoned. Sebville, probably, did not preach his Lent sermons. Michael D'Arande was threatened with death. Margaret thus saw her plans for the spread of the gospel at Lyons end in sad disappointment. The camp was broken up, the forces scattered, and the cause seemed to be lost.
Nor was this all. Another strong force was leaving the field where there had been such great success. Farel was pulling up his stakes at Montbeliard. The defeats at Pavia and Lyons could hardly have influenced him, for he removed before these sad tidings could have put him in fear. It has been hinted that Erasmus, whose anger still burned against him, may have done much to excite a persecution too bitter for him to endure. But another reason has been given by those who lament that Farel's warlike zeal sometimes carried him too far, and brought unnecessary opposition against him.
One day, about the time of the king's defeat at Pavia, Farel was walking on the banks of a little river that runs through Montbeliard, beneath a lofty rock on which the citadel is built. It was the day of the feast of Saint Anthony; and when he came to the bridge he met a procession which was crossing it, reciting prayers, and headed by two priests bearing the pretended image of the saint. Farel suddenly found himself face to face with these superstitions, without seeking it. A violent struggle took place in his soul. His blood boiled at the sight of such a delusion practised upon the people. Should he give way? Should he hide himself? Should he gaze and be silent? He could not be a coward, and would not let his silence give consent to the imposture. He knew that he was exposing himself to the fate of Leclerc; yet he boldly advanced, grasped the image of the holy hermit from the arms of the priest, and tossed it over the bridge into the river; as bold a deed as that of the Chevalier Bayard when he stayed an army at the bridge of the Garigliano. Then, turning to the awestricken crowd, he exclaimed, 'Poor idolaters, will ye never cease from your idolatry!'
The priests stood confused and motionless. With the loss of their saint, they lost their presence of mind. Their superstitious fear seemed to rivet them to the spot. But some one cried out, 'The image is drowning!' The priests recovered from their stupor. The multitudes shouted in rage, and gazed at the image floating away. Farel let them gaze and rave; and taking advantage of their devout attention to the saint, he escaped their violence. For a time he hid himself among his friends.
The duke and his court soon left the city; and having no strong arm to defend him, Farel had an additional reason for leaving Montbeliard. In the spring he took a secret refuge at Basle. He always took an interest in the church he had left, as a minister will ever do in the flock where were gathered the first-fruits of his labours. We will meet Peter Toussaint in this field.
MOURNING AND MADNESS.
) AD tidings came to Farel at Basle. His friend, the Chevalier Anemond, was sick at Schauffhausen, where the Rhine presents one of the finest waterfalls in Europe. The chevalier had wandered from place to place to recruit his failing health. He had hoped to preach the gospel, and still cherished plans, almost romantic, for urging forward the Reformation. Farel sent him four gold crowns. A messenger came to tell him that his warmhearted compatriot was dying. Before he could set out to visit him, a letter was received from Myconius, announcing the death of the young knight, 'who was in himself an host,' and who had made many sacrifices for the truth.
Farel applied to the senate of Basle once more to sanction his return, but without success. He went to Strasburg, and for about fifteen months was engaged in preaching to a small church of French exiles. If we cast an eye upon France, we can see a reason why this brave man kept beyond her borders.
There was a loud wail throughout France over the disasters of Pavia. The king was carried away to Spain; the national power was humbled; the bravest of many a house had been slain, and ruin seemed at hand. The Romanists saw that it was their hour. They made the most of their time. They declared that heresy was in the land; it was the cause of all the troubles, and it must be crushed. The blame was thus laid upon those who were most innocent. There was a loud cry for blood.
Louisa was now the regent, the ruler, the Jezebel of the kingdom. She wrote to the Pope, and he gave orders for the introduction of the inquisition into France. This delighted the cruel Duprat, who was made a cardinal, and who was given an archbishopric, and into the bargain, a rich abbey. The Parliament thought that the king had erred in tolerating the new doctrines; and the members said to Louisa, 'Heresy has raised its head among us; and the king, by neglecting to bring the heretics to the scaffold, has drawn down the wrath of Heaven upon the nation.'
She wished to enlist the Sorbonne. They ordered Beda to return her an answer. He advised that all 'writings of heretics be prohibited by a royal proclamation; and if this means does not suffice, we must employ force against the persons of these false doctrines; for those who resist the light must be subdued by torture and by terror'
Everything was arranged for a vigorous campaign against the 'heretics.' Meaux was chosen as the first point of attack. The bishop, Briconnet, had not yet fallen so far as to return fully to Popery. But how should they manage him? It might not be wise to burn him; those in sympathy with him would only cling the more stoutly to his doctrines. But if he could be induced to recant, the effect would be better for the persecutors. There was an agent at hand to bring him to terms.
The eloquent Mazurier, whom we left among the reformers at Meaux, had been so zealous for the new-faith, that he had once broken to pieces an image of St. Francis. He was sent to prison. He was in fear of the stake. He saw that he was not with the popular party; Rome must conquer in France. He basely recanted, and became a Jesuit.
This man visited Briconnet, and endeavoured to make the bishop fall, as he himself had done. The plot succeeded. The earliest supporter of the gospel in France denied the glad tidings of grace, because he was artfully persuaded that, if he did not, he would lose his influence over the court, the Church, the nation. He was deceived with the notion that Rome would permit him to be a reformer still! He found, however, that he must labour to undo all that he had done for the gospel. He restored the invocation of the saints, and put away every sign of 'Lutheranism,' as the new doctrine was now called. Poor man! His fall is perhaps the strangest of all that occurred in those times. He died in 1533. In his will he commended his soul to the Virgin Mary, and ordered twelve hundred masses for its repose.
Such was the first triumph of the Sorbonne. It was one that went to the hearts of all his old friends, and caused them to trust less in men and more in God. But this must be speedily followed by another victory. It was not hard to decide upon the victims. It was the man who had led the bishop into the 'heresy,' and who had been so long harboured at Meaux. Beda's eye had long been upon this man, who was once a doctor of the Sor-;