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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 they must take care of a poor dying people, who were too ignorant to banish the wolves and receive the kind shepherds sent to the flocks. They must employ their authority in securing a fair hearing for the gospel.
A new governor was appointed over the four parishes, Hans Rudolf Nageli, a man favourable to the reformed doctrine. Deputies went with him, and by their prudence and firmness great changes were quietly effected. The stormy Ormondines were at length induced to forsake their ancient superstitions, and let their altars be destroyed, their images be burned, their Romish paintings be defaced, and their depraved curates be dismissed. The preachers were found to be more attentive to the flocks than the priests, and the doctrines which they had so fiercely opposed were seen to be the pure truths of that good word which God had revealed for their salvation.
The Elijah of the Alps had received the call to return to France; but he was in his element, and would not be tempted nor even driven from the parishes of a poor and misguided people. Impetuous as the streams that broke down the mountain sides, he was still prudent as the shepherd who would have his flock to love him, and at the sound of his voice follow him up to the glaciers. For months he stood alone ; but the Bernese authorized him to secure helpers in his work. From Berne, and Basle, and France there came devoted fellow-labourers. Yet not all of them were blameless. One Christopher Ballista did him much evil. This man had been a monk at Paris, and had written to Zwingle, “I am but a Gaul, and a barbarian ; but you will find me pure as snow, without any guile, of open heart, through whose windows all the world may see.' And the world did see that the monk knew not himself. Zwingle sent him to Farel, who was calling loudly for labourers in Christ's vineyard. The fine language of the Parisian at first charmed the people. But his words were the best things about him. He had been disgusted with Popery, but not truly converted from it. He found the work too hard for one who was brought up to a soft, lazy, gluttonous life. Plain fare, rough journeys, Alpine storms, patient labours, and an ignorant, rude people were not to his liking. The people began to distrust him, and then he became, as Farel wrote, “like a furious monster, vomiting waggonloads of threats.' Thus ended the toils of Ballista.
Often did Farel's heart turn to his native land. To some one he thus wrote, with force and beauty: ‘Let us scatter the seed everywhere, and let civilised France, provoked to jealousy by this barbarous nation, embrace piety at last. Let there not be in Christ's body either fingers, or hands, or feet, or eyes, or ears, or arms existing separately and working each for itself ; but let there be only one heart which nothing can divide. . . . Alas ! the pastures of the Church are trodden under foot, and its waters are troubled! Let us set our minds to concord and peace. When the Lord shall have opened heaven, there will not be so many disputes about bread and water [an allusion to the debates about the real presence in the Lord's Supper and on baptism]. A fervent charity—that is the powerful battering-ram with which we shall beat down those proud walls, those material elements with which men would confine us.'
During most of this time Farel had lived at his own charge. On one visit to Berne he received many presents, and the senate, no doubt, gave him a salary afterwards. Important movements were going on in
e. On the senat move
the canton of Berne, but we cannot turn aside to see
this great sight. The language of that canton was German, and the history belongs to that of the GermanSwiss reformers. The work there was not much affected by the influence of Farel the Frenchman.
HE valleys now promised a cheering harvest
for their Lord, and Farel turned his eyes to another quarter. He was supported by
Berne. The cantons of Berne and Friburg held, in partnership, the parishes of Morat, Orbe, and Granson; they also had alliances with Lausanne, the capital of Vaud, and with the cantons of Neufchatel and Geneva. The Bernese senators saw that it was both their interest and their duty to have the gospel preached to as many of their allies and subjects as they could reach. They commissioned Farel to 'carry it among them, provided he could obtain the consent of the respective governments. This was granted him.
The visitor at Friburg may be shown the ancient trunk of a lime-tree, which supports a legend. The story runs, that on the day of the battle at Morat, in 1476, a young Friburger, who had fought bravely, ran home to tell the good news in the city, how Charles the Bold of Burgundy was defeated and disgraced by the loss of 15,000 men. The courier reached this spot, losing breath and blood, and falling down utterly exhausted.