Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Bonivard at last said, 'I know the culprit.'—'Who? who is- it ?'—* St. Peter; for, as the patron of Geneva, he is unwilling that any secular prince should have any ensign of authority in the city.' This event produced a great impression, and as the authors were never known, some thought it a miracle. Many said, 'What the hand of God hath thrown down, let not hand of man set up again!'

Other Bernese laymen came to Geneva to continue the work of Ab Hofen. It was the Lenten season, and they said, in private families, 'God speaks to us of the Redeemer, and not of Lent.'

'Obey the Church,' said the Friburgers, 'or we will break off the alliance.' The Genevans thought on the subject; many of them ate meat that spring, and felt none the worse for it, however much it put the alliance in danger.

The Bernese soldiers, who had kindled their fires with the images taken from the churches, had let fall little sparks of truth, which burned and blazed in the hearts of the citizens. The Huguenots made some new signs of uneasiness; they uttered their sarcasms upon the priests in public places; they walked up and down the aisles of the churches, and talked of the needed reform. In 1530, Hugues Vandel wrote for help, and sent one letter to Farel. 'The majority in the city of Geneva,' he said, 'would like to be evangelical, but they want to be shown the way, and no one dare preach the gospel in the churches, for fear of Friburg.' Farel knew how serious was this difficulty, for stout old Berne had long been opposed by Friburg. What could be done? After much thinking, Vandel suddenly gained a bright idea, and wrote to Farel and Fabri about it. His plan was this: St. Victor was a little independent state near the walls of Geneva, and Bonivard might annex it to Berne; then a Bernese bailiff would be there, and 'a preacher who would be our great comfort.' The Huguenots could then leave the mass and go out in crowds to hear Christ preached in the church of Bonivard. The plan failed. In fact, the prior of St . Victor had scarcely the control of his own possessions. He could not collect his rents, and plots were on foot to betray him and the convent to the duke. He grew sad when reduced to four crowns a month, and that a gift from the council of Geneva. By annexing the priory to the hospital of the city, he hoped to gain his revenues. The duke would not permit this, for he must have the priory, as it would give him a footing close to the gates which were shut against him. Charles resolved to get rid of him.

Bonivard was in trouble about his priory, his poverty, his enemies; but, above all, his mother was seriously ill at the town of Seyssel, in the duke's territory. He must go and see her; the duke was glad to send him a passport. He did not see the trap; he visited his mother, and left her full of anguish for his fate. She was never to see him again. He started for Lausanne; but when on the Jorat hills, he was seized by ruffians and carried to the castle of Chillon, where he was to remain six long years. The duke's hand was apparent. The agent of this treachery was Bellegarde, who had slept with him the night before, and said in the morning, 'I am afraid something may happen to you; I will send my servant with you.' This servant led him into the ambush. Bellegarde had been the murderer of the patriot Levriere.

The brilliant existence of this Genevan Erasmus was thus suddenly ended. He was never himself again. CHAPTER XIV.

[graphic]

LA YMEN IN THE FIELD.

(i523-i532-)

sgjgHE Huguenots were demanding that the Genevans should be free; others, mostly laymen,

were coming with a little book in their hands, to say,' The truth shall make you free indeed.' One class spoke in the name of humanity, the other in the name of Christianity. The two great forces were soon at work; but they did not work unitedly. Many of these political Huguenots were still Romanists. They were afraid of the Bible. Like many now in Europe, they wished to throw off the temporal power of the Pope, but yet let the Pope have his spiritual power. The patriot Hugues hoped for a free but not a Protestant Geneva. It was the state, not the Church that he wished to see reformed. The same mind was in Bonivard, who, like Erasmus, dealt his satires upon all parties. If these Huguenots had all been athirst for the Bible, and if they had made that the corner-stone of their liberties, there would have been less battle and a speedier victory. Farel would have found the reformation already there when he entered the city. Calvin would have had far less trouble in fulfilling his mission.

Had these patriots all been Protestants, Geneva might have received her form of doctrine and polity from Wittemberg. Luther was known there in 1520. A few Huguenots had rejoiced at his resistance to the Papal power. They wished to treat the bulls of the Vatican as Luther had done—burn them. His writings seem to have found their way into the city. Bonivard says, in his chronicle, ' Luther had already given instruction at this time to many in Geneva and elsewhere.' The duke's party heard the great monk's name, and took alarm. They thought it worth while to make a splendid parade, and march out of the city with the image of St. Peter, and cry down Luther and his doctrines. The Huguenots noticed the procession of canons, priests, monks, scholars, and white clerks marching beyond the walls. 'All the priests have gone out,' said they; 'let us shut the gates and prevent them from returning.' Had they done so, it would have been nothing more than a rough joke. But they lacked the courage. The idea got wind; the startled priests and monks hurried back to their nests, and had only a good fright. There was a far better way to exclude these haters of Luther, had these Huguenots been willing to learn it. They were to have the opportunity. The Bible was coming.

The deeds of men outlast their names. We know not who were the humble missionaries that came to Geneva about the year 1524; but we know what they carried. It was Lefevre's French Testament. It was borne on the waves of that missionary movement, which was started at Basle, Montbeliard, and Lyons. Not in vain did the Chevalier Anemond oversee the printing of these Testaments and religious books; not in vain did the merchants, Vaugris and Du Blet, send them into those

[graphic]
[graphic]

CHAPTER X" LA YMEN IN THE

(iS23-iS32-)

'HE Huguenots were demr vans should be free; o' were coming with a little to say,'The truth shall r One class spoke in the name of h the name of Christianity. The tv soon at work; but they did not wl of these political Huguenots were st were afraid of the Bible. Like m they wished to throw off the tempore but yet let the Pope have his sp patriot Hugues hoped for a free b Geneva. It was the state, not the CI to see reformed. The same mind w; like Erasmus, dealt his satires upon; Huguenots had all been athirst for tl had made that the corner-stone of would have been less battle and Farel would have found the reform when he entered the city. Calvin ^ less trouble in fulfilling his mission.

tMEL

st 'ih their streams. The -ladsome of the citizens 307 books.'

se SWe-colporteurs was
--3 irith astonishment,
Sonanism, no images,
jut could find a new
a new church; and
: the Lord and His
i read with delight;
.r to make Geneva
A politics. Such
the duke's party
;le in honour of
displays was a
of the Cross.'
.' It repre-
I her Helena
!ie precious
isses were
tage. A
. of the
rought.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »