Imágenes de páginas

entered the city. They appeared before the Genevan senate. They asked that the exiles might be admitted, their apology heard, and their sentence expunged. They pleaded the very eminent services of Farel, to whom his opposers were greatly indebted for their present liberty. They said that Calvin and Farel would now baptize at the fonts, use the unleavened bread, and allow the festivals to be prudently observed. Viret put forth all his eloquence, and the senators and citizens were moved. But it was all in vain. New charges were founded upon mere trifles and quibbles, and the senate, in a stormy assembly, renewed the decree of banishment.

Bound in heart as brothers, Farel and Calvin took their way toward the cities on the Rhine, where a Protestant could find refuge when no other place would receive him. 'Wet with the rain, and almost dead with weariness,' they entered Basle.1 Bucer sent word to Calvin to come to Strasburg; but as Farel was not invited, he chose to remain with this Boanerges, whom he loved with all tenderness. The gentle sunbeam was wedded to the lightning, by the power of that grace which unites the most diverse natures. It is a proof that Farel was not all fury and self-will, when he drew so closely to him such gentle men as Lefevre, CEcolampadius, Viret, and Calvin.

1 'We have at length reached Basle, but well soaked with the rain, and completely spent and worn out. Nor was our journey free from perils; for, in truth, one of us was almost carried away by the swollen currents. But we have experienced more tender usage from the impetuous river than from our fellow-men; for since, contrary to all right and reason, they had decided that we should travel on foot, that also has been complied with, through the mercy of the Lord, in preserving us.'—Calvin's Letters, No. xx., May 1538.

[graphic][merged small]



»iHERE lived in Basle one of the best of men, WJj named Symon Grynaeus, a schoolfellow of Melancthon, who said that he had 'a mildness of temper that was never put out, and an almost excessive bashfulness.' Beza compared him 'to the splendour of the sun, that overpowers the light of the stars.' The Papists of Spires knew his worth, for they thought it policy to attack him with such violence in 1527, that he barely escaped. He was invited to Basle, to take the place of Erasmus as a professor. When Calvin was there in 1534, he met this good man, and was captivated by his gentleness. They became most affectionate friends, and often shut themselves up in their room for study. To his house Calvin went as a very damp and chilly exile from Geneva; and there he found a cheerful fire, a sympathetic heart, and a home where he remained for many months.

In the house of Oporinus, the printer, Farel was

lodged, waiting for Providence to open some new door

to him. Toussaint wished him and Calvin to return to

Lausanne, and there labour. But in a few weeks there came a very unexpected call. Two councillors and two ministers of Neufchatel came to see him. They said their people had heard of Farel's sufferings, and their old attachment to him had revived in such strength, that they must have him among them. They could not forget how he had preached on the stone in Serriere, in their streets, and in the cathedral on the hill. They had first heard from his lips the word of God, and his weighty voice seemed yet ringing in their ears. They had prayed fervently for God to send them a chief minister, and all wanted Farel. Besides, Viret and Fabri were urgent in pressing the call upon him, and so, too, were the neighbouring churches.

At first he hesitated, for the desire to be with Calvin and to engage in study was strong. Then the church at Neufchatel was sadly in want of discipline. He might have the late experience at Geneva all over again, and be exiled in less than a year. But duty began to impress his mind; conscience lifted her voice; his soul caught the old fire; and he was himself again—bold, fearless, ready to sacrifice himself, intensely anxious to preach, and possessing an 'ambition for God's glory without bounds.' His mind was made up, and at once he set out for his parish.

Soon after his arrival mournful tidings followed him. His sister had followed him to Basle, and there she saw her son die of the plague. Calvin wrote thus, in a letter to 'Farel, the faithful preacher at Neufchatel, my beloved brother,—Your nephew, last Sabbath-day, fell sick here of the plague. His companion and the goldsmith, who bore witness to the gospel at Lyons, immediately sent to me. As I had taken something to cure my headache, I could not visit him myself. . . . Grynaeus visited him frequently. I did so as soon as my health allowed it. When our T. (Du Tailly) saw that I did not fear the danger, he insisted on sharing it with me. We spent a long time with him yesterday. When the signs of approaching death were evident, I imparted spiritual, rather than bodily, comfort. His mind seemed to wander; but he still had sufficient consciousness to call me back to his chamber, and to entreat me earnestly to pray for him. He had heard me speak much of the usefulness of prayer. Early this morning, about four o'clock, he departed to the Lord.''

There were many difficulties at Neufchatel. The ablest ministers had been sent by the Bernese lords into other cantons, and some of the old priests were in the churches,

1 In this same letter there is an unobtrusive proof of the straits of poverty through which Farel and his relatives had to pass. 'Concerning the wearing apparel and other moveables of your nephew, thus you have it: The son-in-law of the old woman (the nephew's nurse) affirms that all his clothes—which, however, were not many— were left to him, but with no appearance of truth, since he could not have done so except in the intervals of delirium. He has a sword and a shirt with Wolf. I know for certain that he had no money when he fell ill. His landlord, Wolf, thinks that the story about the legacy of the clothes is a pure fable.'

There were some debts incurred by the sickness and burial of this nephew, and the generous Farel seems not to have been able to easily pay them. He could not pay Oporin for his seven weeks' board when he left Basle. Calvin was to settle the matter; and after receiving some money on Farel's account, he wrote to him: 'I yet owe you one gold crown and a half, which I will pay as soon as possible. Here, unless I would be a burden to the brethren, I must live at my own expense. . . . My outlay on account of your nephew I have received, except about ten shillings, which Claude (probably a deacon of the French church of Strasburg) was about to send me. I mention that, lest you may think that I had received nothing.'— Calvin's letters, No. xvi., October 1558.


consuming the revenues and corrupting the people by their bad example. The reigning prince also had laid his hand upon the revenues of most of the churches, and it was a serious question how to support pastors in the different parishes. The neglect of pastoral attentions to the sick, the poor, the ignorant, and the young was disheartening. The governor had lately adopted the reform, but he still disliked Farel. This was probably George de Rive, whom we well remember.

There was also much to cheer his heart, when he recalled the day that he first crossed the lake in his little boat . Fabri had gone into the parish of Boudry and given the Papists a chance to repeat their tricks of ringing bells and shouting to drown his voice while preaching, and then fall upon and nearly kill him after the sermon was ended. But the parish finally had decided for theReformation. The young minister proved that he not only admired Farel, but took him for his model.

The shepherds and hunters of Locle often came to a little oratory, about which there was a legend which was truer, in their view, than the gospel. St. Hubert was once riding through these mountains on a hunt, when a bear met him and killed his horse. But, nothing daunted, he mounted the bear and rode safely home, to the amazement of everybody. Hubert was the hunter's patron saint, and a celebrated lover of the chase had built this oratory. The prayers offered there were probably few, and certainly very superstitious. A greater hunter was coming to Locle. John de Bely was on the way at the time of a fair, when Madame Williamette, of Valangin, had him seized and brought into the castle. She forced him to debate for two hours with her priest. 'Put him in prison,' she exclaimed; but the good-natured priest

« AnteriorContinuar »