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JHE Waldenses in 'the holy valley,' where Farel had once been so happily entertained, were threatened with utter extermination. They sought aid from their true and tried friends in Geneva and Neufchatel. Farel and Beza set out upon a visit in their behalf. The journey would give them an opportunity to plead the cause of the churches in which the French language was used, for they were not fully recognised by the German churches. They afterwards were called by the term, The Reformed Church. John Budceus, son of William Budceus, whom we saw at Paris reviving the ancient learning, also travelled on this latter mission on a later day.1
The assistance rendered to the Waldenses by the churches from Berne to Basle, was greater than Farel expected. The cantons united in sending an embassy to the court of France, in order to stay the persecution.
1 As William Budceus [Bude] ordered in his will that his body should be buried without ceremony, some have inferred that he died in the Reformed faith. In 1549 his widow and children went to Geneva, where his descendants are still found.
gentleman had a son that he wished to have baptized by a reformed minister. He made the proposal to the church in his house, and begged them to choose a minister. They chose John de Launay, who organized the church in Paris, destined to be renowned for the number of its devoted pastors and its triumphant martyrs.
In 1557 this church asked for a new minister. Farel
must have felt it hard to refuse the call. The perils of
the capital were inviting him. But Switzerland could
not spare him. Nor could Fabri leave Neufchatel.
Gasper Carmel obtained the dangerous honour, and he
went to the city where his uncle (by marriage) had
first found that light which had been borne by him into
Switzerland, and was now to be carried back by his
relative, whom he regarded as his own son in the faith.
Thus Farel was at last represented in the heart of France;
an instance of the power of a delayed but yet widely
extended personal influence. The great stream had run
eastward and flooded the Swiss valleys with truth; but
the clouds rising from those valleys were carried back
westward, to drop refreshing rain upon the spiritual desert
that Farel had once been obliged to leave.
The church and the school of theology at Lausanne preferred the doctrines and government of Geneva to all those of Berne. This greatly offended the Bernese senate. The strife waxed warm, until, finally, Viret and the professors left the city; more than a thousand people went with them to Geneva, where they were most kindly received. Viret became one of the pastors there for two years, when he was called into France. Beza became the colleague of Calvin, and the rector of the new academy. Thus the losses of Lausanne were the gain c1 Geneva.
to wait a little for a more convenient season. Meanwhile the new bishop had a word to say, and sent for certain of the council. He inquired and learned the object of this visit, and summoned Farel and Beynon before him. The bishop set forth a councillor, named Wandelin, to express his sentiments.
'Farel, you came here formerly to sow your tares,' said the bishop's mouthpiece, 'and having been sent away by the late bishop, have refrained hitherto from repeating the attempt. We may reasonably be astonished at your daring to appear here again; but you are now advised, in a friendly way, to retire before any mischief befall you.'
'I am here, by the authority of my Lord, to preach Christ and Him crucified,' Farel replied; 'and to call this sowing tares is a grievous sin against the Saviour, and contrary to the Holy Scriptures. Besides, I have preached freely at places in this diocese, without ever being sent away, and I have taught doctrines which are the surest means of uniting people and princes, flocks and pastors, namely, obedience to Christ and to His word. If my doctrines can be proved to be false, I am ready to submit to any punishment.'
'I approve of your principles,' said Wandelin, perhaps speaking for himself rather than the bishop; 'but I must be excused from putting them in practice. Wherever you have preached you have abolished the mass, and Berne has not allowed it to be restored. It will be so here if you gain a foothold, which we will do our best to prevent.' .
Farel bade the council a respectful farewell, and, entering the streets, he saw multitudes whom the news of his arrival had brought from all quarters to hear him. But he had now the moderation of old age, and he took a friendly leave of them, planning some other mode of taking the town.
The report of Farel's visit reached the ears of the Archbishop of Besancon, who forthwith sent a grand vicar and a monk to Pruntrut, and they set themselves to work to counteract any impression that the preachers had made simply by their presence in the town. What impression, then, would their preaching make! Of course the grand vicar was ready to dispute with the ministers against their 'false, impious, and scandalous doctrines,' and he ordered a courier to be sent to him, if the heretics should dare to come again. He then took his way whence he came, no doubt thinking that he had inspired sufficient terror to make all things safe for a season.
The people of Neufchatel heard of this movement, and sent Soral, the pastor at Boudry, with letters to the Council of Pruntrut. He reached there on St. George's day, when the mayor and his deputy were absent. Some of the citizens were lounging about their doors, and courteously invited him to be their guest. He had not been long in the place when the parish priest came to him, and, with more rage than religion, accused him of sowing tares, and called him a deceiver, a teacher of error, and uttered very brave threats. A nobleman also reviled him, beat him with a club, and almost killed him.
Farel now felt that he was really invited to make a second attempt. Taking with him Beynon and Soral, he set out to hold the disputation proposed by the grand vicar. On the way they were roughly assailed by some priests, and it was in vain that they called for the man who boasted of his readiness to meet him in debate. He had the prudence not to appear. Again they returned to their homes. These attempts created a great sensation through all Burgundy. The archbishop was unusually gracious to the people of Pruntrut. He granted them indulgences, and released them from fasting. One would suppose that fasting would have been enjoined on them as a preventive of heresy. Still the people showed a partiality for Farel and the reformed doctrines. During Lent a special effort was made to confirm the people in the Romish faith, by sending a doctor of the Sorbonne to exhaust his eloquence in reviling Farel, Calvin, and Viret, as the most awful heretics.
Farel tried to bring this monk and doctor to trial. He went to Berne on a busy holiday, and stood shivering and gazed at by the citizens for an hour at the door of a senator, and at last was coolly received. The senate took steps to have the monk arraigned for slandering the preachers, but nothing further was done. When Calvin was urged to push the matter, he replied to Farel, 'It would be a strange thing were I to require justice against a monk at a distance, when I am daily reviled as a heretic before the gates of Geneva!'
'What a young man I still am!' said Calvin, at the age of forty-four. Farel must have felt quite as young even at the age of sixty-nine, for he then filled all the country with surprise at one of his so-called indiscretions. Faith and love are constantly renewing old age. He who had so long remained in single life, at last gave way to a tender sentiment. He had advised the preachers to marry, lest they should be exposed to the common charges brought against the priests, but none supposed that he would illustrate his precept by his own example. He had knitted no such ties, lest they should be broken by his violent death. But the old man thought that he