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monastery of Carthusian monks, useless on earth, but making the world serve them better than was suspected abroad, in its reverence for their supposed piety. Farel was attracted toward them. Perhaps he had heard of their brethren in the old convent of Chartreux (Cartusium), not far from his native place. There was something romantic in its history. Bruno of Cologne had become disgusted with the evils in the Church in that old city, rather than with the world, and he sought to get out of both as nearly as possible. He coveted solitude. In the wild valley of the Chartreux, not far from Grenoble, he settled himself, about the year 1084, with twelve companions. They built a monastery for their worship; but did not live in it, lest they should be too much together. They built separate cells by the side of it, and each one spent his time by himself in silence, study, and labour enough to keep him alive. Their order increased in numbers and influence; and several branches were established in Europe, like the one in the woods near Paris. Their rules were most severe, if we may judge from those laid down for the monastery of Camaldula, built on one of the bleakest of the Apennines. Two words expressed them-solitude and silence. All else was but an exception to the rules. They met at worship, they ate silently together on certain festivals, and they met at times to inflict upon each other speechless discipline. One daily meal of bread, or vegetables, and water, was often given up, so that they might enjoy the merit of a severer fast. Money they might not touch, and no comforts were allowed in their cells. Their silence was broken only when they prayed or chanted, and when they indulged in a little talk at eventide. The recluse among them took an awful vow of perpetual
bell to hear hic, whom he called us to
silence and seclusion. His voice might be heard in lonely prayer, and three days in the year he could attend the mass of Easter week; but he must speak to no human being, save the priest, whom he called by the sound of his bell to hear his confession. Such monks might easily lose their senses, and thus imagine that they were rid of their sins.
These severe rules had a charm for young Farel, now carried away by reading the lives of the saints. He went to the forest, and was admitted to the group of gloomy cells. He looked on the inmates with reverence, and shared for a little time in their austerities. The benefit he received is strongly set forth in his own words, penned at a later day: ‘I was wholly employed, day and night, in serving the devil, after the fashion of that man of sin, the Pope. I had my Pantheon in my heart, and such a troop of mediators, saviours, and gods, that I might well have passed for a papal register.
The darkness in his soul could not well grow deeper. He was sunk quite as low in Romanism as Luther when, but lately, he was on his knees creeping up Pilate's staircase in order to gain the Pope's indulgence. But Luther seemed to hear a sound in his ears, as if an angel spoke to him, as he there remembered the Fords, “The just shall live by faith.' He started up, ashamed of his folly, and fled with all haste from the scene. It was the power of a well-read and remembered Bible. But Farel was alarmed by no such memory of a great truth which opposed Romanism. How or then he left the Carthusians we know not, but his stay 725 not long. Perhaps he was attracted to Lefevre, z whose voice the morning star was soon to arise, and chase the heavy gloom from his heart..
A STRANGE VOICE IN PARIS.
(1512-1520.) GUMBY dear William,' said Lefevre one day when
AS returning from the mass, as he grasped the 9 2 hand of his young friend ; ‘God will renew
the world, and you will see it.' Often have you said this to me, but I do not yet fully understand your words.'
"Ah, one cannot tell what light is until it fills his eye, nor what life is until he feels it in his soul. God will soon give us both; new light by His holy truth, new life by His Holy Spirit. The word of God will take the place of the word of the Church. We must give up the Lives of the Saints, and read the words of the apostles.'
‘But are you not going on to publish those lives? I have been delighted with the two monthly numbers now issued.'
'No, no. I began with zeal the laborious task of collecting and arranging them in the order of their names in the calendar. But I am weary of them. They disgust me. They are foolish legends at best, and many of them are the false tales of monks, who could write a life to order, without any knowledge of the facts.'
lecting and arr. But I amends at be
'You astound me, father Lefevre." 'I wish to, if there be no other way to keep you from having anything more to do with these legends. They are puerile superstitions, and are no better than brimstone fit to kindle the fire of idolatry. They cause us to idolize the saints, and to treat our Lord with neglect. They are too paltry fables to keep us from the sublime word of
“How came you to know this so suddenly
By one of those beams of light which come from heaven through the Holy Scriptures. All at once, I was struck with the impiety of addressing prayers to the saints. Go, dear William, to the Bible.'
Lefevre had taken a long and sure step. The Reformation began in France at the moment when he laid aside the wondrous tales of the monks, and put his hand on the word of God, fully resolved to interpret all other things by it. Not the Breviary, but the Bible, should henceforth be his authority. He studied the epistles of Paul, and light beamed on his mind; life was breathed into his heart. By the press, and from the pulpit, he began to teach men, and open unto them the Scriptures.' That favourite idea, ‘God will renew the world, so often expressed to Farel, appears in his Commen"atyi on Paul's Epistles. "God, in His great mercy, Till soon revive the expiring spark in the hearts of Den, so that faith, and love, and a purer worship will
Strange doctrines were then first heard publicly in ''The first edition, if I mistake not, is that of 1512. The learned Saon says that “ James Lefevre deserves to be ranked among the est skilful commentators of the age.” We should give him higher use than this.'-D Aubigne.
Paris ; strange, because they had been lost for centuries ; and yet stranger, inasmuch as they were boldly declared in the very bosom of the Sorbonne. The roof of the university had reason to cry out in astonishment, as it re-echoed the words of Lefevre. “It is God alone,' he declared, ' who by His grace, through faith, justifies unto everlasting life. There is a righteousness of works, there is a righteousness of grace : the one cometh from man, the other from God: one is earthly, and passeth away ; the other is heavenly, and eternal : one is the shadow and the sign, the other the light and the truth : one makes sin known to us, that we may escape death; the other reveals grace, that we may obtain life.'
"What then ?' asked his hearers, as they listened to this teaching, so opposed to that of four centuries. "Has any one man ever been justified without works ?
• One! they are innumerable,' replied the zealous preacher, whose young disciples were aroused, and eager for the truth. 'How many people of disorderly lives have there been who have ardently prayed for the grace of baptism, possessing faith in Christ alone, and who, if they died the moment after, have entered into the life of the blessed, and that without works !'
'If, therefore, we are not justified by works,' said his listeners, it is in vain that we perform them.'
*Certainly not! They are not in vain. If I hold a mirror to the sun, its image is reflected : the more I polish and clear it, the brighter is the reflection ; but if we allow it to become tarnished, the splendour of the sun is dimmed. It is the same with justification in those who lead an impure life.'
" Had he said sanctification in those who fall into inconsistencies, he would have been more nearly correct.