Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

was saved. The school must now be given up, and preaching abandoned.

We cannot linger upon his perils; how he was almost detected in the house of Jean Chautemps, and must seek another refuge; how Perrin said to him, 'The law allows me to keep an honest servant unmolested in my house, and I engage you ;' how he worked at the loom, and none dare touch him; and how he began to visit cautiously at their homes those who believed. Once he was detected crossing the bridge, and was so near to death, that his friends barely got him into the house of Dame Claudine, who must see her windows broken by the mob. At night Froment was advised to leave, and he departed for Yvonand, to rest a while from the contests that make this the heroic period of his life. His work had not been in vain. Among other patriots, Baudichon de la MaisonNeuve became a most zealous Protestant; and his house and that of the Levets were the chief resorts for the little band of Christians.

Sometimes these believers had a great treat. A minister would be passing through Geneva; he must stop and preach in a private room; and the good news went here and there among them.

'What is his name?' they would ask.

'Peter Maneri.'

'Where is he staying?'

< At Aime Levet's, by the bridge ;' and Claudine saw her rooms filled every evening while the minister stayed.

'We should have the Lord's Supper,' these Christians began to say one to another. It was decided; and as no minister could be obtained, they urged Guerin to preside.

< Where shall it be celebrated?' was the next question. 'At Baudichon's house,' said one.

'No,' said the more prudent; 'not anywhere in the city; for the priests and their spies will cause a new uproar.'

'I have a little walled garden near the city gate,' said Adda, 'and there nobody can disturb us.'

On an early morning in March, as it seems, these believers quietly took their seats on the rude benches, and the Lord's table was spread in this garden, reminding them of the sacred gardens where their Saviour had agonized, or had lain in the tomb. Just when Guerin sat down at the table the sun rose, and, blessing the scene with his first rays, made it more imposing than the distant Alp of glittering snow. Never was this holy ordinance observed in a simpler manner. From the trembling hands of a layman, who felt that he was daring to do a sacred act with almost impious touch, they received the bread and the wine, and remembered the Crucified, praying for those who were afraid to meet with them, pledging their faith and their love, hoping for the day when there should be a reformed church in the city, with a pastor who would feed the flock, and praising God for what they had already heard from His messengers now banished, and read in His word, now hidden in their homes and their hearts. Thus was celebrated their first communion in Geneva.

This was not to be the end. The priests went about saying of these quiet believers, 'They make so much of Christ, that they deprive themselves of the Church.' Guerin and Olivetan (now in the city) held that the Romanists 'made so much of the Church, that they deprived themselves of Christ.' Here was the dividing line between the two parties. The honest Guerin was charged with the crime of having administered the Lord's Supper in the garden, and he must leave the city. Hastily fleeing, he went to Yvonand, that he might be with Froment, who had done so much to enlighten his mind.

The sad state of the true Church led Olivetan to write of it, 'I love thee; I have seen thee ill-treated, illdressed, torn, dishevelled, chilled, bruised, beaten, and disfigured. I have seen thee in such a piteous case, that men would sooner take thee for a poor slave than the daughter of the Great King, and the beloved of His only Son. Listen! thy friend calls thee; he would teach thee thy rights, and give thee the watch-word, that thou mayest attain to perfect freedom.' The little church at Geneva might have sat for this affecting picture; yet these hidden ones 'met every day in houses, or gardens, to pray to God, to sing psalms and Christian hymns, and to explain Holy Scripture.'

CHAPTER XVII.

[graphic]

FAREL IN HIS ELEMENT.
(I533-I535-)

?LL seemed lost in the storm that swept through Geneva in the year 1533. We can glance at only a few of the sad effects. There was the banishment of Olivetan, for rising upon a' bench and daring to say something after a friar had been bawling like a madman in decrying the Bible, exalting the Pope, and abusing the people, who sought for true liberty and the new life. All that the mild translator said was, 'Master, I desire to show you honestly from the Scripture where you have erred in your discourse.' It was too much for those who dreaded fair discussion. He was pushed off the bench, saved from deadly blows by Chautemps, denied a hearing by the council, and expelled from the city. There was talk that these banishments were not enough. Farel had been driven away; but after him rose up Froment. He had been expelled; but Guerin appeared in his stead. He had been cast out; but then came Olivetan. This fourth leader had been banished; and now somebody else would suddenly take his place. The whole band must

be expelled, or treated with worse cruelties. There were secret plots formed in the house of the grand vicar; an armed attack, a fight on the Molard, a plan to burn out the Huguenots, and a reign of terror.

There was the restoration of the bishop-prince, Peter la Baume, who, six years before, had carried off a young girl to his castle, and raised a tempest that bore him away into banishment. There were all his revenges upon the innocent, some of them being thrust into prison, and some put to flight. Chautemps escaped; but his wife, the delicate, accomplished, devoted, and heroic Jaquema, must pay for it by suffering rough treatment in a narrow cell. Claudine saw her house again despoiled, and her husband fleeing for the mountains; and if he had not been overtaken, seized, and cast into a deep dungeon, she would have suffered in his stead. These are mere specimens of the persecution. There was almost everything to please the Sister Jeanne de Jussie in making up her journal, and telling how the women met to 'make war and kill the heretic wives, in order that the breed might be extirpated;' and how, with their little hatchets, and swords, and caps full of stones, 'there were full seven hundred children from twelve to fifteen years old, firmly resolved to do good service along with their mothers.' But what will she note down when Farel himself will be preaching to the nuns of St. Claire?

Yet, amid all this storm and uproar, there was a voice from My Lords of Berne. Messengers went and told them all about this madness for Popery, and this violence against their ministers. They were aroused, like a 'bear robbed of her young.' Papal Friburg should not drive out of the re-allied city the men whom Protestant Berne sent there to preach the gospel. They ' did not mince matters.' They gave the Genevan council something to s

« AnteriorContinuar »