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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 now needed a gentle comforter, and the right one was well known to him.
Madame Torel, a widow, had fled with her daughter Mary, a few years before, from Rouen, in order to escape persecution. She kept house for Farel in Neufchatel, where the daughter had ceased to be regarded as very young. His choice fell upon the daughter; and, after his hand was pledged, he wrote to Calvin, as the latter had done to him when he was about to be married to the worthy Idelette de Bures. * I am dumb with astonishment,' wrote Calvin, and then proceeded to give him all needed advice. The affair became more public in the parish than Farel expected. It was very strange, the people thought, for they had looked forward to his funeral rather than to the festivities of a wedding. They had become so accustomed to look upon the venerable missionary, daring all the dangers of the field, single-handed, that they quite forgot his bold, eccentric, and romantic nature ; nor did they fathom the depths of tenderness thit lay in solemn silence within his heart. The banns were thrice published, and, committing his betrothed to the care of a French refugee, he set out on a visit to the churches. His object was to bring the Lutherans into closer union with the reformed, and to gain help for Pruntrut. He returned and was married on the 20th of December.
These solemn men had their wit as well as their wisdom; if not, we should fail to understand their lively and cheerful natures. Calvin wrote at once to the clergv and elders of Neufchatel, pleasantly asking them to pardon this little escapade in their aged pastor, on the score of thirty-six years of faithful service. A son was bom to Farel, six years afterwards, but he did not long survive his father.
But these new ties could not keep Farel at home, and he left the fireside for the field. He was soon at Strasburg, engaging assistance for the Protestants of Metz, to whom he had given many anxious thoughts. His efforts promised to be successful in securing to them freedom of public worship. Then he was travelling again on behalf of the Waldenses. On his return he found letters from France, urging him to send back the exiled preachers to the hundreds of churches that had lately abolished the mass, and were longing for faithful pastors. The whole of France seemed on the point of becoming Protestant. As a specimen of these letters wc quote from one written by Beaulieu, then (1561) at Geneva :—
'I cannot tell you how much grace God is bestowing upon our Church (in France). There are men here from various places, as from Lyons, Nismes, Gap, Orleans, and Poitiers, anxious to obtain new labourers for these portions of the new harvest. From Tournon especially was the application made, and that in obedience to the urgent wish of the bishop. There are five hundred parishes in these parts which have discontinued the mass, but are still without ministers. The poor people are famishing, but there is no one to give them the bread of heaven. It is extraordinary how many hearers there are of Calvin's lectures; I believe there are more than a thousand daily. Viret is labouring for Nismes. I have heard men say that if from four to six thousand preachers were sent forth, places would be found for them.' The Admiral Coligny was appointed by Catharine of France to number these churches, and he reported two thousand one hundred and fifty. A glorious church was rising in France, to be almost drowned in the blood of the saints massacred on St. Bartholomew's day.
A special invitation came to Farel from Gap, his native district . Fabri went to Vienne, and he set out with a brother preacher for Dauphiny. Often had he lamented that he must live an exile from his native land, and with what emotions did he now look onward to the home of his fathers, after an absence of forty years! His relatives were not the only attraction, although that had its power. His father was dead, and so also must have been his mother. His brothers had been won to the gospel: three of them were exiles for their religion; one other, John, was as bold an expounder of the truth as himself; and a nephew, Carmel, had been preaching in Paris, where a large reformed church was gathering. His brother-in-law, the noble Honorat Riquetti, has lately been found to be 'one of the ancestors of Mirabeau,' the talented and terrible Mirabeau of the French revolution, whose family name was Riquetti. D'Aubigne says, 'There are certainly few names we might be more surprised at seeing brought together than those of Farel and Mirabeau; and yet between these two Frenchmen there were at least two points of contact—the power of their eloquence, and the boldness of their reforms.'
Farel arrived at Gap in November, and was received with joy and veneration, as the man whom God had honoured in leading thousands from darkness to light. Multitudes thronged to hear his first sermon, so that the church could not hold them, and he was heard with profound and uninterrupted attention. The councillors had requested the bishop's vicar to prevent any disturbance, and he kept his word. As Farel did not wish to be reproached for acting secretly, he went on the same Sunday to the vice-mayor, along with the king's advocate and the chief senator. He was told that all such meetings were forbidden under pain of death, and was asked by whose authority he had come. He held up the commission of his Lord, and said that since that edict had been published, such meetings had been held at Lyons and other places, and that certain ministers had preached before the king. The vice-mayor requested him to refrain from preaching until the governor and the Parliament of Grenoble had been duly informed of his intentions. Farel exhorted him to listen to the gospel, which must condemn those who opposed it, and would save all who embraced it. He was honourably conducted back to his inn, and on that evening baptized a child.
The next evening all public meetings and the use of the churches were forbidden to the reformed party. But one meeting was held on the following morning. As Farel was coming out of church, a servant of the vicemayor handed him the order in trembling haste. In the afternoon the friends met for prayer, and resolved to continue stedfast in the faith for which so many had been martyrs. They demanded of the vice-mayor a written statement of his proceedings, in order to make an appeal to the king and his cabinet.
From a dusty corner some one has lately drawn an old copy of the ' Annals of the Capuchins' of Gap. These friars gave no little space to the visit of the aged reformer, and their story is tinged with the colour of their strong prejudices. It runs, that Farel, already an old man, wishing to preach in his native province, before God summoned him from the world, went and took up his quarters in a corn-mill at the gates of his native town— they do not mean Fareau, but Gap—and then he 'dogmatized' the peasants from a French Bible which he explained 'in his own fashion.' Ere long he began to