Imágenes de páginas

complained of most was the determination of Farel not to use the stone fonts for baptism, nor unleavened bread in the Lord's Supper, nor to observe the festivals of Christmas, New Year, Annunciation, and Ascension. Berne was consulted, and decided against Farel. The Genevan senate followed in the same decision, and the Bernese began to have more and noisier friends than ever before in the city. This party now made use of the awful name of My Lords of Berne, In order to threaten and insult the ministers whom Berne had such trouble in keeping in Geneva. Troops of them went about parading the streets by night, insulting the ministers at their homes, and threatening to throw them into the Rhone. Berne had preserved the stone fonts, the unleavened bread, and the four festivals, and they would hold fast to them, for they were not able to see the principle which Farel thought was involved in them. He regarded them as relics of Popery, and feared these relics would lead back the people into the old reality. Calvin took his side, although he declared, 'Little will be said about ceremonies before the judgment-seat of God.' Councils and synods failed to restore peace. A plot was suspected against the preachers.

The aged, blind, and eloquent Courault, whom the Queen Margaret had tenderly cherished as his sight was failing, and whom the placards at Paris had sent into exile, was now at Geneva. He preached with much fire against the decision of Berne, and handled Genevan politics in too rough a way to gain his point. He was forbidden to preach, but he again entered the pulpit. He was then cast into prison, and for some time his best friends could not procure his release.

A bold step was taken by Farel and Calvin. They refused to administer the Lord's Supper with unleavened bread in a city that would not allow any proper church discipline. Easter Sunday was coming, and the sacrament was expected on that day. The council urged them to administer it; they refused, and were forbidden to enter the pulpit. They, however, went at the time, and each preached twice—Calvin at St. Peter's, and Farel at St. Gervais—without any communion. A great principle was now coming to light,—that of not allowing the state to rule the Church in matters of religion. But a great disturbance arose in the city. Some took the sword, but the reformers employed the weapons of Scripture. No blood was shed, and what was gained by Farel and Calvin could not be seen for a few years. They first must suffer for their principles.

The next morning the senate met, and passed sentence of banishment on Calvin and Farel. In three days they must leave the city. They were informed of the act, and said, 'Let it be so; it is better to serve God than man.' Courault was released and permitted to go with them. He went to Thonon, where Christopher Fabri was preaching, and he was welcomed as a father in this excellent pastor's house. Of the style of hospitality which he enjoyed, Calvin can tell us in a letter to Fabri, written after a journey through the cantons. He says, 'I could never get your wife to treat us in a plain, homely way. She repeatedly requested me to ask for whatever I chose as if it were my own. She entertained us too sumptuously. We felt just as much at home as if you had been there.' The good hostess was surely none the less kind to the aged refugee. But he could not rest even there. He must preach the faith so long unknown to him while a monk; and he was afterwards settled at Orbe, where the zealous, blind, and lovely old man gained many friends, and in a few months they wept when they laid him in the grave.1

The Lords of Berne had not dreamed that they were causing such a result as this. A violent man, named Peter Konzen, a Bernese minister residing at Geneva, had a prominent hand in the mischief, for he had misrepresented all parties. In a few weeks Farel and Calvin appeared before the Senate of Berne. The Bernese wished to undo what had been done under excitement. After many discussions and several messages to the Genevese senate, they resolved to send back the ministers, along with Viret, whose milder method might restore order. Two senators went with them; but the ministers lately exiled met with a cold refusal near the gates of Geneva. One of them thus describes it: 'We were about a mile from the city when a messenger, in great haste, met us, and stated that we were forbidden to enter. The (Bernese) messengers held us back, or we should otherwise have tranquilly pursued our journey. But this saved our lives, for we afterwards learned that an ambush had been formed outside the city, and that close to the very gates, twenty gladiators, known banditti, were lying in wait for us.'

The Bernese ambassadors and Viret went on and

1 There was a strong suspicion that Courault had been poisoned. Calvin, in a letter to Farel (Oct. 24, 1538), says, 'I am so bowed down by the death of Courault that I can set no limit to my anguish. None of my usual employments is sufficient to keep my mind from perpetually reverting to the subject. . . . My mind is chiefly burdened with that iniquitous deed, which, if my suspicions are well grounded, I must, whether I will or not, bring to light.' He laments that 'where there are so few good ministers, the Church should be thus deprived of one of its best.'

[ocr errors]

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

« AnteriorContinuar »