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his inn * with presumptuous boldness.' A crowd soon filled the church, and he entered the pulpit 'without asking leave.' Scarcely had he begun to preach when all sorts of sounds were raised, from hisses to howlings, from the cry of ' dog' to that of 'devil.' 'It was a glorious noise,' says an admirer; ' you really could not have heard it thunder.' From rudeness they proceeded to rioting. They pulled Farel out of the pulpit, and would have beaten him; but that same dreaded bailiff strode in among them, and, taking Farel by the arm, escorted him to his lodging. Thus things went ofl. We give but a specimen of the rude tricks and violent efforts to prevent the reformer from preaching. The Bernese allowed the friar his liberty, after confessing his untrue assertions, provided he would preach nothing but the word of God. He left soon after for other regions. An order came from Berne, insisting that Farel should preach unmolested.
The women's league and plot against Farel prevented him from having an audience. On the next Sunday nearly all the parish took a march out of the town, and he went into the pulpit and preached to ten persons, among whom were Peter Viret, Hollard, and Romain. He left the church when the procession was returning. The clergy exulted, and called him a coward, saying openly, 'The minister who promised to refute Father Juliani cannot do it.' 'Indeed!' said the staunch bailiff of Berne; 'you have heard the monk, and now you complain that you have not heard the minister. Very good, you shall hear him. It is the will of My Lords of Berne that every father of a family shall attend his sermon, under pain of their displeasure.'
They dared not disobey, and the church was thronged. Farel rose in the pulpit, with all his energies aroused by the sight of such a congregation. He exposed the errors of Father Juliani. Day after day he set forth the truth. 'The penance which God demands is a change of heart and life.' 'The Pope's pardons take away money; but they cannot take away sin.' Of the confessional he said, 'How many souls have been cast into hell by it! how many virgins corrupted! how many widows devoured! how many orphans ruined! how many princes poisoned! how many countries wasted! . . . O Heaven, unveil these horrors! O Earth, cry out! creatures of God, weep! and do Thou, O Lord, arise!'
Still the audiences grew less, and the bailiff had the good sense not to notice the fact. But this contempt at Orbe had its compensation in the respect that came from the neighbouring villages. Message after message came from the peasantry, who urged the great preacher to visit them. He wrote to Zwingle, 'Oh, how great is the harvest! No one can describe the ardour the people feel for the gospel, and the tears I shed when I see the small number of reapers.' There was one young man among his hearers whom he loved with an affection only equal to that which was returned. The ardent, fiery, fearless, and almost rash Farel was heart to heart with the meek, timid, sensitive, and always prudent Viret. In the gospel, the Peters, and Johns, and Pauls are knitted in brotherhood by more than earthly ties. Thus it became with Farel, Viret, and Calvin.
It was told through the town, now quiet through awe of My Lords of Berne, that on May 6, 1531, a son of the good burgess, clothier and tailor, a child of the place, and a favourite of all, would preach his first sermon. Perhaps few were aware that Farel had persuaded, urged, and almost forced him to assume so solemn a duty. He was accused of being rather heretical; but he was so inoffensive that nobody would believe it. The young people wished to see their former playmate in the pulpit. Older ones wanted to hear what the son of their honoured burgess had to say. The day came, and the church was filled, many having come from a distance. All were impatiently waiting, when at last they saw the young man of only twenty years, of small stature, pale, long, and thin face, lively eyes, meek and winning expression, with his brows touched with the light of eternity. By his modesty, his eloquence, his wonderful power in handling the word of God, his persuasiveness in urging the duties of repentance and faith, his prudence in managing errors so as not to arouse bitter feelings, and by his earnestness in setting forth Christ crucified for sinners,—he kept the most worldly men hanging upon his lips. He was a prophet who had honour in his own country. That day was the greatest day, thus for, in his life. It placed him in the band of mighty reformers of errors and heralds of the truth.
A month had passed since Farel's return, when, all at once, a report filled Orbe with astonishment. It was said—and each reporter could hardly believe it—that Madame Elizabeth, wife of Lord Arnex, was converted. She had planned the women's conspiracy against Farel; she had beaten him in the street; she had a hand in filling the church with boys (marmaille, brats), who lay down and pretended to be asleep, until Farel began his sermon, and then sprang up, howling with all their lungs, and leaving the preacher alone; she had suddenly become a convert to the awful heresy! They shook their heads and smiled, and felt chagrined. Nor was this all. Lord Arnex, who had pleaded for Father Juliani, given bail for him, and despised My Lords of Berne, was also eonverted. George Grivat, too, the best musician in the town, had gone from the choir into the pulpit . Others of note—' chief women not a few'—were among the believers in the doctrines which Farel and Viret had preached.
These disciples wished to receive the Lord's Supper. Farel was sent for, and he hastened from Moral At six in the morning of Whitsunday, he announced, to a large assembly in the church, that there would be the breaking of bread in remembrance of' the breaking of Christ's body on the cross.' Eight persons came forward,—Lord Amex and his wife, Hollard and his aged mother, Cordey and his wife,- William Viret the burgess, and George Grivat, afterwards pastor at Avenches. Peter Viret was doubtless absent from the town. A white cloth was laid over a bench (for they would not use Romish tables), and on it the sacred emblems were placed. After prayer, Farel asked, ' Do you each forgive one another?'
'Yes,' was the response of the little band, never before so deeply affected. Oh that Farel would forgive them!
The bread was broken and given by the hand of the minister, the wine was touched by the lips of the penitent, and the Lord, crucified on Calvary, was glorified in little Orbe. The only interruption was made by the priests coming in, near the close of the service, and chanting the mass as loud as they could.
But these disciples were to suffer. Hollard became too rash, and went to breaking idols with all his might. One day, when Farel was preaching, he flew at an image of the Virgin and dashed it in pieces. The church began to be cleansed, and our Romish writer 'was greatly astonished at the patience of the populace.' It was through fear of My Lords of Berne. But the Friburgers almost gained the day. Taking certain priests out of prison, they put in their stead fifteen of the imagebreakers, and one of them was Lord Arnex. For three days they were kept on bread and water; the priests had enjoyed good 'bed and board;' and then they were allowed to return home.
There may be failings in men who advocate a faultless cause; but we who may have too little zeal, should be careful how we judge those who have too much. We are writing of times when the reformers had few preparatory schools for discipline, and the Romanists were not then trained into a crafty and smooth Jesuitism. Often must the whirlwind sweep through a town in advance of the 'still small voice.' If the preachers were sometimes rash, the Papists were nearly always riotous. The one class proved what they had to declare by Scripture; the other persecuted without hearing the evidence. It is not hard to perceive which deserves the greater amount of charity.