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hood and taking off his cap, he flung it on the ground and trampled it under foot, and cried out, 'I wonder that the earth does not open and swallow us up.'
'Listen to him as he listened to you,' said one of the bystanders, as he took the monk by the sleeve.
The monk now ceased to stamp on his cap, and to 'bawl like one out of his wits,' and he seemed to himself already half dead with fright. Venting his wrath against him who held his sleeve, he said, 'Thou art excommunicated; and dost thou lay hands on me?' 'What!' replied the villager, 'are all excommunicated who touch thy cowl? Hast thou a different God? or art thou baptized into a different name? Art thou not to be spoken to?
The friar was silent, although furious; and the little town was in an uproar. Farel gave the poor winebeggar some good advice, whilst he also took advantage of the crowd to declare some of the most solemn truths of the gospel. It was, probably, his first chance since the cry, 'Down with Farel,' had been raised in those streets, and perhaps by those very people who now looked on amazed and confused. At length a magistrate appeared, ordered the monk and Farel to follow him, and he shut them up in prison, 'one in one tower, and one in another.'
On the Saturday morning, Farel was brought to the castle, where the court was assembled, with the monk already before them. He reminded his judges that they were sitting in God's stead, and that they should not have respect to persons or rank. He was willing to be punished if he had preached anything contrary to the word of God. He wished to obey the lawful authorities; but as for this friar, 'let him make good his charges, or if he cannot, let the people hear the gospel.' The violence of the monk was over. He was now ready to make matters up as best he could. He fell on his knees in alarm.
'My lords,' said he, 'I entreat forgiveness of you and of God. And Magister Farel,' turning to him, 'what I preached against you was grounded on false reports. I have found you to be a good man, and your doctrine good, and I am prepared to take back my words.'
'My friend and brother,' said Farel with deep emotion, 'do not ask forgiveness of me, for I am a poor sinner like other men; I put my trust in Jesus. Before I saw you I had forgiven you as well as others who have spoken against me and the gospel. I have prayed to God both for them and for you.'
One of the lords of Eerne came up at this time, and the friar, imagining that he was on the brink of martyrdom, began to wring his hands, and to turn now to the Bernese councillor, and now to the court, and then to Farel, crying, ' Pardon! pardon!'
'Ask pardon of our Saviour,' said the reformer, who begged that the monk might not be punished any further. The gospel was now defended, and that was all he wished. He hoped that neither the monk, nor any of his brethren, would henceforth say anything behind him which they could not prove before his face.
'Come to-morrow and hear the minister's sermon,' said the Bernese lord to the friar. 'If he appears to you to preach the truth, you shall confess it openly before all; if not, you will declare your opinion. Give us your hand on this promise.'
The monk held out his hand and the judges retired. But he made the best of his Saturday, and was not to be found on the Sabbath. Farel wrote the account of the affair,1 closing thus: 'Then the friar went away, and I have not seen him since, and no promises or oaths were able to make him stay.'
This was much more than a private and personal strife. It was a contest between truth and error, between Romanism and the Reformation. The future success of the gospel seemed to hinge on the triumph of the monk or of the minister. The good cause won the day. French Switzerland was to have the word of God.
The preaching of Farel brought back the priests to the parishes, for their craft was in danger. And, as if they were not enough against one lonely reformer, certain Romish agents came to their aid from Savoy and Valais. They assembled the people, they discussed measures which were dangerous and revolutionary; but they took care not to meet Farel in debating ten theses, which a large council of reformers at Berne had appointed him to defend there. He was fresh from this conference, held January 15 28, where he had met several of the distinguished divines in Zurich, Basle, and Strasburg. He was ready for the priests, being armed with an ordinance which declared 'that the return to the scriptural faith and the free use of the Bible was a right that belonged to the people, and that the churches of the cantons should follow the example of Berne.' But the agents of Rome were afraid of arguments. Their only hope was in outward resistance. Berne had no business to sanction the
1 For the benefit of the nuns of St. Clara, at Vevay, whom the monks often visited. They thus learned something more of the truth of religion from Farel's letter than they were likely to receive in any other way. After the triumph of the gospel in this region, they removed their convent to a more monkish district.
late innovations, and 'the bears' would find the world at war against them. They would treat Farel only with slander, ridicule, threats, and violence; they would set at nought the decrees of those who sent him. The proclamations were torn down from the church doors. Troops of citizens paraded the streets. The drum was beaten to rouse the populace against the reformer. Sedition and riot everywhere prevailed.
Farel knew what was threatened; but he was fearless in duty. On the first Sabbath after his return, February 16th, he went into the pulpit and began to preach, having, probably, a Bernese senator present to secure him a peaceful hearing. Riotous bands collected about the gates of the church, uttered savage yells, raised their hands in tumult, and compelled the minister to break off in his sermon. The Papal party were carrying matters too far, and their noise should be heard across the mountains. They should hear again from BerneThe senate discussed the late events, and ordered that Farel should not be molested in his preaching. Envoys came and called a meeting of the four parishes. Bex declared for the reform. Aigle, less decidedly, followed the example. Ollon left the case with the women; the peasants did not dare to maltreat Farel; they, however, excited their wives to rush upon him and beat him with their fulling-clubs. The parish of the Ormonds felt calm and proud at the foot of its glaciers, and signalized itself by resistance. The senators were patient with the ignorant people of these last two parishes, and gave them more time to decide upon their course. But, meanwhile, they must hear the word of God, and allow no one to speak from their pulpits against the late orders. And Farel must superintend the preaching.
At Ollon there was no little disorder. While Farel was preaching, one Jajod fell upon him, and roused others to join in the assault. The commission of senators were surprised at this outrage. They ordered the governor to arrest the rioters and to protect the preacher. The people must hear his side as well as that of the priests, and thus be able to come to a fair decision. Farel sent one of his helpers into the field. But the inhabitants would not hear him.
Claude, one of Farel's co-workers, went to the Ormonds. When preaching there one day, with great animation, he was suddenly disturbed by the ringing of the bells, 'whose noise was such that one might have said all hell was pulling at them.' At another time the shepherds rushed down the mountains like an avalanche, and fell upon the church, crying furiously, 'Let us only find these sacrilegious wretches who tear down our altars, and we will hang them, we will cut off their heads, we will burn them, we will throw their ashes into the "Great Water."' It is no wonder that the gospel made slow progress among mountaineers, who seemed to take their angry spirit from the storm that roared through their lofty valleys with a fury unknown to the people of the plain.
At Bex and Aigle the good work met with more rapid success. The senate was glad to know that some churches had given up the mass, removed or burned the images, and torn down the altars. The curates, still leading immoral lives, were loath to yield to the order of the senate, requiring them to give up their offices to the reformed preachers. Farel was often interrupted at Aigle, and once the pulpit was overturned. But the Bernese senators felt that th.ey must take care of a poor