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who felt it to be a great blow to all his hopes of seeing the young noble enter upon a military career; but at last the old gentleman gave way, and began to inquire for a competent teacher.
The learned schoolmaster was not then abroad in the land. If priests were the instructors, the education of the mind was likely to be at the expense of the morals. Young Farel would have gained little from the schools of Dauphiny, had there not been in him the strong spirit of self-help. In the text-books the wheat and the tares grew together, and the teachers could scarcely point out the difference between them, or show the students what to gather into the garner, and what to burn in the fire. But he applied himself to his books as zealously as ever Bayard pushed on into the battle. The difficulties only fired him with ardour to overcome them; and, having acquired the most of what his native province could afford, he turned his eyes to the brighter lights of the capital city.
The University of Paris had long been renowned in the Christian world. It was described as * the mother of all learning, the true lamp of the Church, which never knew eclipse ; that clear and polished mirror of the faith, dimmed by no cloud, and spotted by no touch.' Thus it appeared to the devout Romanist, and thus to the young aspiring Dauphinese. To the Protestant eye of Milman, before whose clear vision marched the centuries of Latin Christianity, it rose stately in its superiority, and powerful in its independence. He says, 'If Bologna might boast her civil lawyers, Salerno her physicians, Paris might vie with these great schools in their peculiar studies, and in herself concentrated the fame of all, especially of the highest—theology. The University of Paris had its inviolable privileges, its own endowments, government, laws, magistrates, jurisdiction ; it was a state within a state, a city within a city, a church within a church. It refused to admit within its walls the Serjeants of the Mayor of Paris, and the apparitors of the Bishop of Paris; it opened its gates sullenly and reluctantly to the king's officers.'
If it excelled in theology, how low must have been the standard of theological attainments! The principal department of theology was called the Sorbonne. The 'true lamp of the Church' must have been too dim for an eclipse to be possible, when its doctors * looked upon the study of Greek and Hebrew as the most deadly heresy.' They had declared to the parliament that 'religion is ruined, if you permit the study of Greek and Hebrew.' They must have agreed with the monks, who asserted that 'all heresies arose from those two languages, and particularly from the Greek.' And why this hatred to these two languages? Because in them the Bible was written. If they were studied, the Bible would be read, and the errors of their Church exposed. One of them was bold to say, 'The New Testament is a book full of serpents and thorns. Greek is a new and recently invented language, and we must be upon our guard against it . As for Hebrew, my dear brethren, it is certain that all who learn it immediately become Jews!'
But, in spite of the Sorbonne, there was in Paris a revival of learning; and the man who led the advance was a proof of the saying, 'The last shall be first.' Who had supposed that the young William Budceus, 'giving the rein to his passions, fond of the chase, and living only for his hawks, his horses, and his hounds,' would ever cherish in himself, and awaken in others, a thirst for a purer literature? Yet there was a rein upon him, held in the unseen hand of God. 'On a sudden, at the age of twenty-three, he stopped short, sold his hunting-train, and applied himself to study with the zeal he had formerly displayed in scouring the fields and forests with his dogs.' It was his honour to be the chief cause of the revival under Francis the First. So devoted was he to his studies, that he seemed to have little memory for anything else. Even on the very day of his marriage he forgot what was expected of him. The hour for the wedding came, but he did not appear. A messenger was sent to tell him that the affair could not proceed unless he was present, and he was found absorbed in writing his 'Commentaries.' But he consented to drop his pen, and be married to one who could sympathize with him in his pursuits, and aid his memory. His wife- was of great assistance to him in his studies, and used to find out and mark the various passages' suitable to his purpose. In a rare book, in the British Museum, is another anecdote about his literary devotion. One day the servants came running to him, in a great fright, crying out—
'Sir, sir, the house is on fire!'
'Why do you not tell your mistress of it?' replied Budceus, coolly. 'You know I never trouble myself about the house.'
This man, no doubt, did much to call attention to Erasmus, who, toiling up from obscure orphanage, had given all his time to learning; spent his money, when he could get any, upon Greek authors; entered a convent, but soon left it in disgust; came to Paris, and studied at the university, and was soon to bring out his edition of the Greek Testament. Budceus may have aided the influence of John Reuchlin, who had passed through the same university, and was preparing to do for the Old Testament what Erasmus was doing for the New. The art of printing came just in time for the publication of the Bible,—a proof that God was managing the forces of truth for a great reformation. Whatever the Sorbonne might think, religion was not to be ruined by the study of the sacred languages. It was to be revived and raised from the dead by the voice of Christ; borne to the hearts of men by the word of God.
William Farel, leaving home for the capital city, was going forth upon a wide, wild sea of opinions; but he was to be guided to the true landing-place, not by the university, as a public lighthouse, with its brightening lamp of literature, but by the private torch of a man, walking, in meditative mood, along the shore. This man was seeking for the pearl of great price; and, because of the deep moral darkness, he held his trembling light so carefully, that it could not fail to catch the watchful eye of the young student from the mountains of Dauphiny.
Among the learned men of the university, was one of very small stature, mean appearance, humble origin, and poor advantages in life. His name was James Lefevre, and he was born about 1445, at Etaples, a village of Picardy, the country of Calvin. His early education would have been rude and scanty, had he not depended upon his genius rather than upon his masters. He struggled up into knowledge, like one clambering a mountain to see the sun gilding the peaks of an Alpine range; and hence his nobleness of soul drew admiration from his friends, who cherished hopes of his greatness. He travelled abroad, even into Asia and Africa; became a doctor of divinity; and in 1493 a professor of the University of Paris, where Erasmus put him in the first rank of scholars. His intellect, learning, and eloquence had a wonderful attraction for all who heard him.
He soon saw work enough to be done, and earnestly assumed the task. He must reform the evil practices of the Romish Church; for he loved the church of his birth too well to see it in error. He must attack 'the barbarism then prevailing in the university,' and join in reviving the study of languages and learned antiquity. The classics must not crowd out the Bible. Philosophy must give way to religion. Therefore he began at the only point where a reformation can properly begin. He went to the heart of the Bible, so that it might go to the heart of man.
No man was more captivating in his artless, earnest, and familiar ways of teaching. Serious in the pulpit, he was genial with his students. 'He loves me exceedingly,' wrote one of them to his friend Zwingle. 'Full of candour and kindness, he often sings, prays, disputes, and laughs at the follies of the world with me.' Thus he drew a great number of disciples, from almost every country, to sit at his feet. They saw that he passed quite as much time in the churches as in his study, and were likely to imitate his devotion. Because the Church was in error, he did not abandon it; for if the ship was in a storm, and the officers drunk, there was all the better reason for every sailor to be at the post of duty and of danger. He regarded himself as a child in the Church, rather than a doctor over it; and, because willing to search, he was certain to find the truth which would save.
Lefevre was a reformer before the Reformation. He protested against error before there was any system of Protestantism. Five years must yet pass before Luther