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puzzled by its crooked streets, and wearied with its three hills; but he will be interested in its history and its antiquities, especially in the cathedral, founded about the year iooo. If Farel's voice of thunder could have been heard therein, he would have started up a nest of as dissolute canons and priests as all Rome could furnish. Although they had a bishop over them, they got drunk at the inns, they gambled in public, they fought in the churches, they kept the vilest company, they were fathers without being husbands, and sent their children out to beg bread; they disguised themselves as soldiers, and came down from the cathedral hill at night, roamed the streets with swords in their hands, and surprised, wounded, and sometimes even killed worthy citizens. Yet they were ' ministers of the Virgin,' whose image drew hosts of pilgrims to the great church. There was a power in that city which aimed to keep the whole country at the feet of the Pope. Even the trumpet-voice of Farel could not have prevailed in the streets of Lausanne. He knew it, and did not propose thus to storm the stronghold.
A more quiet way showed itself. The bishop had a chaplain, named Natalis Galeotto, a man of elevated rank and the most polished manners. He was fond of learning and of learned men; but yet very zealous about fasts and the rites of the Church. Farel thought that, if this man could be gained over to the gospel, Lausanne, 'slumbering at the foot of its steeples,' and amid the noise of its monks, would perhaps awaken, and all the country with it. True, he had denounced Farel's zeal against fasts and formalities as absolutely immoral; but yet there was some hope that a man of his intelligence and character might be won to a purer faith.
Farel wrote to Natalis. He modestly introduced himself, and gave some account of his former struggles, and the means by which he had found the true light. He urged the gospel upon the chaplain, and entreated him to use well his talents, to warn the wicked, to lose no time in publishing the praises of God, and to ' preach Christ as our great pattern, both in speaking and acting.' Then he referred to the evils which were best known, and which none could deny. 'Alas! alas! religion is now little better than an empty mockery, since people who think only of their appetites are the kings of the Church.' But Natalis made no reply.
Again Farel wrote, urging upon him 'that we should renounce everything for Christ's sake, even our dearest friends and relatives,' if they were in the way. 'No loss, trial, or affliction should be shunned on this account; and the Christian ought to go wherever the Lord calls him, though the whole world should rise up against him.' Farel might properly give this advice; he was following it himself. Then, perhaps referring to some late conduct of Natalis, he wrote, ' Knock, cry out with all your might, redouble your attacks upon our Lord.' But still Natalis kept silence. He would not come out of his entrenchments.
The third time Farel returned to the charge. He urged that'the manifestation of the love of God to men through Christ ought to excite every one to gratitude.' He dwelt still longer upon the doctrines which he believed, and called upon Natalis to explain his own views with the same frankness—to agree with what he considered true, and point out what was erroneous. The chaplain ordered his secretary to break the silence.
The reply showed no signs of a friendly disposition, but was full of abuse. The writer asserted his own belief in all the Romish observances, and reproached Farel for undervaluing them. To this the reformer made a calm reply. The correspondence came to an end. If it did not secure its object, it proved the union of gentleness and energy in a man too often supposed to have been made of only explosive materials. The depth of his piety was evinced by the sufferings he endured; and if his requirements from others were strict, they were no stricter than his own example enforced. For a time Lausanne was shut against him.
After this skirmish with a priest, came a face-to-face conflict with a monk. A mendicant friar, who did not dare to oppose the reformer at Aigle, crept slyly into the village of Noville, built where the Rhone pours its waters into the Lake of Geneva. The friar went into the pulpit and made his attack upon Farel. He exclaimed, 'It is the devil himself who preaches by the mouth of this minister, and all those who listen to him will be damned.' Having thus vented his feelings, he felt courageous enough to go back to Aigle. He did not, however, propose to appear there against Farel, whose powerful eloquence terrified him. There was a greater attraction than a combat with the weapons of truth. With a meek and humble look he went to beg, in behalf of his convent, a few barrels of the most delicious wine in all Switzerland!
He had not walked very far into the town before he met the minister whom Berne was resolved to keep in the field. At this sight he trembled in every limb. There was no mob of priests now in the streets to drive away the man of fiery eyes and fearful voice. Farel advanced and in a friendly tone asked:
'Did you preach against me at Noville, saying that the devil spoke through me?'
'I did,' whispered the monk in Farel's ear, not wishing to attract public attention.
'Would the devil preach the gospel, and will those who listen to it be damned?'
'Then, why have you publicly spoken against me in such terms? I request that you will point out and prove the errors which I am charged with preaching; for I would rather die than teach false doctrine to the poor people, whom Christ has redeemed by His blood. May the Lord never permit me to preach any doctrine that He does not approve!'
'I have heard say that you are a heretic, and that you mislead the people by your doctrine,' answered the priest, who would have been glad to turn away and look after the wine.
'That is not enough,' replied Farel; 'you must make good what you said in your sermon; for I am ready to stake my life in defence of my doctrine.'1
The monk now began to bluster, and said, angrily, 'What have I preached against you? Who has heard it? I am not come hither to dispute with you, but to collect alms. You ought to know best whether you have preached sound or erroneous doctrine.'
Farel then represented to him that the truth was of the utmost importance, and that he was in a place where he would be certain of meeting with justice. 'If you have spoken the truth,' said he, ' I cannot injure you. If you
1 This was no empty boast; it was a matter of conscience and true fortitude. In a later letter, Farel wrote: 'I must be prepared to suffer death if I should teach anything contrary to the doctrine of piety. I should be most worthy of any punishment whatever, if I should seduce any one from the faith and doctrine of Christ.'
are right, you should defend your sermon. If you have misled the people, you should lead them back to the true path.'
'You are the false teacher; you mislead the people,' said the friar, growing very uneasy, and starting down street as if he would shake off his undesirable companion, and ' turning now this way, now that, like a troubled conscience.' A few citizens gathered to the spot, and Farel knew them.
'You see this fine father,' said the reformer, pointing to the monk. 'He has said from the pulpit that I preach nothing but lies, and that you will perish if you listen to me.'
'Prove what I said,' cried the friar in a passion, and still trying to move away. 'Where are your witnesses?'
'The Omniscient One is my witness. Come, now prove your assertions.'
Then the monk, blushing and stammering, began to speak of the offerings of the faithful (the precious wine of Yvorne, for instance, that he came to beg!), and he said that Farel had opposed them. The crowd increased. The reformer, who only sought for an opportunity to proclaim the true worship of God, exclaimed, with his loud voice, ' It is no man's business to ordain any other way of serving God than that which He has commanded. Let us worship God alone in spirit and in truth; the true offerings are a broken and a contrite heart.'
The people looked intently upon the two actors in this scene—the monk with his wallet, and the reformer with his glistening eye. When the friar heard Farel say that there was a better worship than the holy Roman Church prescribed, he turned pale and flushed by turns, trembled, and seemed quite out of his senses. At last, raising his