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guided by the light of his aged friend; and no man who ever exchanged a wrecked and sinking ship for the solid, healthy land, could have been more delighted with the new appearance of all things around him. Days of languor and disgust at sea give the traveller a keen wish for the fruits of the land; and thus Farel, long soul-sick, but now having a firm footing on the shore of heavenly truth, craved and enjoyed the bread of life in the gospel. The desire for holy truth gives to it an enduring newness, for love never permits its object to seem old. 'Now,' said he, ' everything appears to me under a new aspect. The Bible has a new face, Scripture is cleared up, prophecy is opened, the apostles shed a strong light on my soul. A voice, till now unknown—the voice of Christ, my Shepherd, my Master, my Teacher—speaks to me with power. So great a change has come over me, that, instead of keeping the murderous heart of a ravening wolf, I have come back quietly, like a meek and harmless lamb, with my heart entirely withdrawn from the Pope, and wholly given to Jesus Christ.'
Drawn from the abyss of Popery, he must now go deeply into the Bible, enriching himself with its treasures. With absorbing interest he began the study of Greek and Hebrew, without neglecting his other 'studies, on which he set a just value. In order to hide the word of God in his heart, he read it daily, and God gave him increasing light and life. Now he gave the Scriptures just the meaning which was apparent in them: what conflicted with them he cast away; what agreed with them he held fast. No longer did he 'keep to the interpretation of the Church, and indeed of the Pope.' No more did he think that his ' degree in arts' must precede those degrees which the Apostle—not the Pope—Peter laid down:
'Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' 'Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherlykindness; and" to brotherly-kindness, charity.'
On the walls of many an old church in Europe one sees a dial, whose only use consists in casting a shadow that will mark the time of day. Any sort of light will give the hand a shadow. It may be that of a lamp, or of the moon. But only one light can give the right shadow. It must be sunshine, falling direct from the unclouded face of that glorious orb which rules the day. Thus it is with the Bible. We may read it in the light of its beautiful poetry and touching eloquence; in the light of science and theology; in the light of antiquity and history; in the light of commentaries and sermons; and while the darkness is driven from the intellect, the soul may derive no spiritual benefit. No mark is there, telling its advance in the circle of Christian graces. Only one light can throw a saving impression of the Bible on the soul, and that is the light of the Holy Spirit. When He shines upon the gospel page, He carries its power into the heart; and instead of mere shadows, there are burning beams. The hand of God touches the soul, and beneath every finger a new grace is started, or an old one revived. These graces are the degrees of the Christian's dial. From the time Farel had first read the Bible, trying in vain to make it agree with the teachings of the Church, the mark on his soul had gone backward ten degrees. But now, under the shining of the Spirit, he understands the word, he feels its transforming power; he believes, he rejoices, he grows. He loves the truth, and that love is a mark of his being face to face with the Comforter, and with the Sun of Righteousness, which had risen upon his heart with healing in its wings. From the study of Church history he derived great benefit; for by its facts he uprooted many an error that had grown deep in his mind. He found that, in the early centuries, the Christians prayed to God, and not to the saints. They confessed their sins to Christ, and not to a priest. They knew nothing of the mass, the consecrated wafer changed into the very body of the Lord, the stations of the way of the cross, the gazing on pictures, the worship of images, the adoration of relics, the Pope and his cardinals, the sign of the cross, the rosary, the holy water, the holy unction, the prayers for the dead, the merit which saints leave for sinners, and the doctrine of purgatory. They were as ignorant of all these essentials of Popery, as the devotees of the Pope were of the simple spiritual life of the early Christians. The ancient Church was a field sewn thick with the good seed of the kingdom; but an enemy had sown tares therein. That enemy was Romanism. Both had long grown together, until the tares had choked the wheat, or overlaid it; and now the harvest was come, and the tares must be cast away, and the wheat gathered into the storehouse of the soul, so empty that men were perishing for want of that bread which came down from heaven. Thus Farel discarded great bundles of error.
Still, Farel needed a church where he might publicly worship God. Where could he go? Lefevre could not make one for himself and his disciple. Not yet was there any organized Protestantism. The only hope, then, was to see Romanism reformed. Farel saw no other way but to attend the Romish churches, and there worship God in spirit, as Jesus did in the temple, where, in spite of His cleansing, there were all the errors of the Pharisees. But what did he find there? Loud voices, long chantings, prayers in a dead language, smoke, and formalities. There was the priest seen at the confessional; but might not Christ be there, unseen, and ready to forgive sins? There was the corrupt liturgy; but might not a pure, unwritten litany go up from his heart, acceptable to the hearer of prayer? There was the outward form of godliness, without the power; but. might not he have the inward power without the form? God was everywhere; and even there he would worship Him in spirit and in truth. Jesus had said, ' Lo, I am with you alway;' and under cathedral roofs, that threw back the smoke of papal censers to the cold stone floors, he would adore the Crucified, without the pretended help of a cross, or ' the elevation of the host.' Nor needed he the dove on the painted window to assure him that the Spirit who came down at Pentecost could enter the church, and fill his soul with something better than a 'dim religious light,' kindle the heavenly flame in his heart, and give him the tongue of fire.
The stations had lost their charm. The images had no attraction. The altars drew not his knees to the ground. The confessional brought no sigh from his heart, nor gave him a quivering lip. Standing one day in a crowd that was gazing on pictures, or bowing to crosses, he lifted his eyes to heaven, and said, 'Thou alone art God! Thou alone art wise! Thou alone art good! Nothing must be taken away from Thy holy law, and nothing added. For Thou alone art the Lord, and Thou alone wilt and must command.'
To him now, priests, and Pope, and teachers were
mere men. Lefevre was only a man, loved and venerated still, but not standing as a mediator between him and Christ. The saints had been but men, many of them the best of the earth, yet fallen from the lofty height to which his imagination had raised them. The old Pantheon in his heart had crumbled to the dust. Christ was the one Mediator, and God's word the supreme law.
These grand results were attained by slower steps than our pages have moved onward; but freedom came to the soul of Farel about the date 1520, when he was full thirty years of age. Luther was then making a powerful impression in France, notwithstanding the decisions of the Sorbonne. Let Luther have the credit of being the great workman of the sixteenth century, and the chief reformer. But we take nothing from him when we give their due to the Paris doctor and his disciple. Farel was not guided by Luther or Zwingle;' he and they were struggling for light and for life about the same time. Lefevre was before them all; and hence Beza hails him as the man 'who boldly began the revival of the pure religion of Jesus Christ; and as, in ancient times, the school of Isocrates sent forth the best orators, so from the lectureroom of the doctor of Etaples issued many of the best men of the age and of the Church.'
Although there was still in this bold teacher a tinge of the Sorbonne, yet'he is the first Catholic in the reform movement, and the last of reformers in the (Roman)
1 ' I began,' wrote Zwingle, 'to preach the gospel in the year of grace 1516, that is, at a time when the name of Luther had never been heard in these countries. It was not from Luther that I learned the doctrine of Christ; it was from God's word. If Luther preaches Christ, he does as I do; that is all.' In these words Lefevre might have joined, without robbing Luther of any honour.