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parishioners, from his pulpit, 'If I have been a good priest, I desire now to be, by God's grace, a better pastor.' These words should go everywhere. Farel recommended to him a career of labours, fatigues, and struggles in behalf of the gospel. Emer saw his parish imitate Neufchatel in giving a majority for the reform.
There was much secret work going on among the Romanists at Neufchatel. Some persons were more zealous for Popery after its downfall than they had been in the day of its power. The clergy glided into houses, and said mass to a few friends darkly gathered around a temporary altar. The priest came noiselessly to baptize a child, breathed on it, made the sign of the cross on its forehead, and sprinkled it with water of Romish consecration. They hoped to build up in secret what had been overthrown openly. At length they agreed upon a counter-revolution.
A plot was laid for the vespers of Christmas. While the Christian songs were rising to heaven, the conspirators were to rush into the church, expel the heretics, overthrow the Protestant pulpit and tables, restore the images, and celebrate the mass in triumph. But the plot came to light, as such schemes of darkness generally draw into them persons who will betray themselves. Berne was notified of the plan. She sent her deputies, who arrived on the very eve of the festival. 'You must see to this,' said they to the governor. 'If the reformed are attacked, we, their co-burghers, will protect them with all our power.' The conspirators laid down their concealed weapons, and the Christian hymns were not disturbed. Thus ended the Neufchatel vespers.
Noble Berne! sending forth her missionaries, and not allowing a hair of their heads to be touched, if they could help it, and bringing the priests of many a village and city to the terms of the people. The bear on her shield was a terror to the Romanists. But she appeared to the friends of the gospel as a protecting shepherdess and a nurturing mother.
In the middle of winter Farel crossed the mountain and entered the church of Valangin, went into the pulpit, and began to preach, just when the Countess Williamette was coming to hear the mass. She ordered his mouth to be shut; but through his lips passed a torrent of truth, carrying away the prejudices of his hearers. The aged dowager retired in haste, saying, * I do not think this is according to the old gospels; if there are any new ones that encourage it, I am quite amazed.' What the priests did, this time, we do not know, but the people of Valangin were won to the truth. The affrighted lieutenant of the place ran to Berne and made complaint to the senate, but he gained nothing. Their excellencies said coolly, 'Why should you disturb the water of the river? Let it flow freely on.'
On the slopes of the Jura mountains Farel wandered, preaching in the hamlets and gaining new triumphs. Curates and abbots resisted him with violence. At one place he was dragged out of the pulpit and driven away by insults and blows; at another he was wounded by a stone or a gun-shot. At St. Blaise the people, hissed on by the priests, fell upon him, and he escaped from their hands 'severely beaten, spitting blood, and scarcely to be recognised.' He was put into a boat by some of his friends, and conveyed to Morat, where his wounds detained him, more wearied and restless than if he had been engaged in his apostolic labours.
The report of this violence at St. Blaise reached the reformed people in Neufchatel. They felt their blood boil. They reasoned thus: If the priests and their allies bruise the body of Christ's servant (which is truly the temple of God), why should we spare their dead idols? They rushed to St. Blaise, entered the church, threw down the images, and broke up a vast amount of Popish machinery. They went to the abbey of Fontaine-Andre-, and greatly alarmed that blissful nest of quarrelsome monks, by destroying their altars and images. Even granting that these were acts of an unchristian revenge, still, it should be noticed that these image-breakers did not seek to return the wounds of Farel upon living men, but upon dead idols. Not against the priests, but against Popery, were their blows directed. There was no disposition to take vengeance upon a man, woman, or child, nor upon canon, monk, abbot, or priest. Thus the Romanists struck at the preachers of the gospel; they persecuted even unto death. Protestants aimed at great errors and pitied the people, and proved that they were more nearly like God, who hates the sin but spares the sinner.
One more glance at Valangin. It has generally been stated that Farel was there a third time during this period. But an old chronicler says it was ' the minister of Neufchatel,' and this title was never given to Farel. The minister in those days was Anthony Marcourt, a zealous Frenchman. On a great holiday he went to Valangin, and soon had a crowd about him in the streets, listening to his words. The canons were watching from their windows, and the countess and her chamberlain from their towers. They sought how to divert the people from the preacher. They dared not use brute force because of Berne. They proposed to insult the minister, and raise a tremendous laugh in the assembly. A canon and madame's coachman took two horses from the stables, and performed a piece of vile trickery which decency will not allow us to describe. But instead of a laugh, there was the most intense disgust and indignation. The schemers knew not with whom they were dealing. They overshot the mark. The infamous spectacle was scarcely over, when the multitude rushed into the church. They broke the ancient windows and the shields of the lords; they scattered the relics, tore the books, threw down the images, and turned over the altars. Then, sweeping forth like a whirlwind, they threatened the canons' houses. The dwellings were destroyed, but the canons and their pack fled wildly into the woods, and found sorrow enough for trying to raise a laugh.
Williamette de Vergy and Bellegarde, trembling behind their battlements, repented, too late, of their monstrous expedient. They saw the last offensive house sacked: they knew not what might come next. But how awful! The outraged people turn toward the castle, they ascend the hill, they draw near. Is the castle to be rifled or even demolished? Not at all, proud lady !' We come to demand justice for the outrage committed against religion and its minister,' respectfully say the delegated burghers standing at the gate. They are permitted to enter; and the affrighted countess hears their case, and orders the poor wretches, who had done her bidding, to be severely punished. Still she takes the first chance to send a messenger to Berne, declaring that 'great insults had been offered her!' Berne hears only one side of the case, orders the reformed party to pay the damages, but insists that they shall have the free exercise of their religion. The countess must submit. James Veluzat, from France, became the first reformed pastor of Valangin. In 1531 the entire principality of Neufchatel came under the power of Francis, son of the Princess Joan. He proclaimed liberty of conscience and faith in the whole canton. The sermon on the rock at Serriere had been one means of securing these great results.
And now comes another reaper into the harvest. A young Dauphinese, named Christopher Libertet Fabri, had been studying medicine at Montpelier, where he first learned the disease of his own soul and found its remedy. He still intended to go to Paris and complete his studies. Being at Lyons, he met certain friends of the truth, who told him of the wonderful events in Neufchatel and the neighbouring villages. He was so interested in these reports that he changed his mind and his route; and now we find him at Morat, inquiring for the house where Farel is lodging.
Sore from the beating at St. Blaise, 'shivering with cold, spitting blood,' and scarcely able to speak, Farel is lying at Morat. Tenderly has he been welcomed there, and carefully is he watched by the friends who tread softly about his room. A young man wishes to see him. As he is a Dauphinese, he may come. Modestly approaching the bed, he introduces himself as Christopher Fabri, and says—
'I have forsaken everything—family, prospects, and country—to fight at your side, Master William. Here I am. Do with me as seems good to you.'
'I see that we have the same faith and the same Saviour,' replies Farel, after being touched with the young man's lively affection and intense devotion. He looks upon Fabri as 'a son whom God has sent him,'