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a proof as
(1549-1558.) N EOT long after Farel's return from Metz, he
paid a visit to Geneva. His garments were a proof of the persecutions he had endured,
as well as of his poverty, or his disregard of dress. The senate had given Calvin a new suit when he returned to the city, and now a similar one was voted to Farel. He seemed to suspect that it was meant to buy him off from speaking his mind, or he felt that he did not deserve it; and when he appeared before that dignified body, he admonished them to lead good lives, maintain justice, and revere the word of God. He respectfully declined the present. He also refused to accept their invitation to reside in Geneva. The suit was put in Calvin's keeping. Some time after, Calvin wrote to Farel, “The suit is at my house, until some one be found to take it. Your refusing it was all very well; but you may now very properly accept of it.' It seems that he laid aside his scruples, accepted the present, and allowed his personal appearance to be iniproved by dressing in the style of Geneva. It was still a favourite plan of Calvin to have Farel in Geneva as a co-labourer, feeling that he would be most useful in that city which owed so much to his missionary efforts. In 1545 this proposal was again laid before him. Berne was willing, but he would not consent to go unless a minister could be found to take his place at Neufchatel. Toussaint was invited, but refused to leave Montbeliard. After the death of Chaponneau, who on his death-bed and in tears ordered all his writings against Calvin to be burned, and bequeathed him a copy of Augustine's works, there was some difficulty in choosing a colleague for Farel. Some wished Anthony Marcourt; but Christopher Fabri was chosen, and Farel was delighted to have this devoted and zealous young friend to take from his weary shoulders many of the heavy burdens.
In a few months Calvin and Viret made another effort to draw Farel into their nearer fellowship. A new professor of divinity was to be appointed at Lausanne, to share the labours with Viret. No one appeared more suitable. He was congenial with Viret; he was no mean scholar in the Bible languages; he was a good expositor of the Scriptures; and the system which he had introduced at Geneva was proof that he was an excellent theologian. Calvin noticed that, as his years increased, he became more gentle and cultivated in his manners. If any one could fire the students with a love for preaching and for missionary toils, Farel was the man.
But the chief opponent to this arrangement was the senate of Berne. The senators admitted the very arduous and eminent labours of their great missionary, and rendered thanks to him for establishing the gospel in their districts and canton ; but they were not willing to have so bold and uncompromising a man in the seminary at Lausanne. They, too, were offended because Farel had not formed the church at Geneva on the model of that at Berne. Very likely, also, they were afraid that Calvin, Farel, and Viret would form a triumvirate of which they might be jealous, and Geneva might rise far superior to Berne as a powerful republic. Thus the new chair of theology was not filled by Farel. It was occupied a few years afterwards by Beza.
The old tutor of Calvin, Mathurin Cordier, was now head-master of the school at Neufchatel. He was taken from that place to teach at Lausanne. The Bernese senate advised the senate of Neufchatel to pay attention to their schools, as a wise means “for promoting the glory of God, and instructing the young in the divine word and in propriety of conduct. Certain tyrants, who undertake to suppress and extirpate the gospel, know of no better way than the abolition of the Latin schools.'
Most heartily did Farel enter into these views. He saw that darkness would again overspread the Church, unless the young men were carefully educated in science and the Holy Scriptures. He sought out young men who might be qualified for the ministry, and urged the senate to educate them, if need be, at the public expense.
The persecutions in France put the lives of two of his brothers in danger-Walter and Daniel. They were already in prison. In company with Viret he went to Berne and Basle to gain their release. They were at length set at liberty. The next year these ministers made another visit in behalf of the Waldenses, many of whom were fleeing to Geneva and other Swiss cities for refuge from relentless persecutions.
Men were constantly coming into Farel's parish who proved to be disturbers of the peace. This caused him
and Basle toy.
The next the Waldense
great trouble and sorrow. His friends advised him to be patient in his spirit and moderate in his censures. One day he exclaimed, 'I am already advanced in years, and have not vigour enough to urge those under my care who need a continual spur. In the church courts I am a novice, and stand alone. I am honoured with the title of father, it is true ; but my sons have little respect for my authority.' In writing to a neighbouring minister, he said, “I conjure you to admonish me faithfully of what you see amiss, and remember me in your prayers. Thus you will profit me, and the Church also, far more than by your commentaries, which proceed from an excessive attachment.' Those who caused most trouble were the sect called “Libertines,' who were free-thinkers, freelovers, free-livers, and mischief-makers in every possible way. They gave still greater trouble at Geneva, where some of the patriots were led into their absurdities.
Calvin was greatly annoyed by this sect, and his life was not free from danger. It was reported afar off quite frequently that he had been killed. The great council did not support him. In a letter to Viret he wrote, • Wickedness hath now reached such a pitch here that I hardly hope the Church can be upheld much longer, at least by my ministry.' And again, “If I ever needed your assistance, it is now more than ever necessary.' To Farel he wrote, “I wish you could cheer me again by coming hither. These friends came, and saw Calvin arraigned by his enemies before the senate of the republic. He was charged with having shown too little respect for the magistrates of the city in not letting them rule over the Church. The worst sentence they could find in his letters was, Our people, under pretence of Christ, want to rule without Him.' They thought this was a deadly arrow shot at them. Farel pleaded for his friend, with all his warmth and powerful eloquence, on two or three occasions. He said that the senate had not enough respect for the character and merits of Calvin, who had no equal in learning ; that they should not be so nice about what he had said of them, as he freely reproved even the greatest men, such as Luther and Melancthon ; and that they should not credit what a pack of useless men, who were the pillars at taverns, whispered about the man that was saving Geneva from Antichrist. The senators took the reproof most kindly, and ceased to be reprovers. They thanked Farel by a vote for what he had said, and there the affair rested for a time.
So interwoven is the life of Farel with that of his more distinguished friend, that we are tempted to enlarge upon the biography of Calvin. In their letters, their visits, their requests for each other's advice, and their books, there are proofs of their warmest and most firm friendship. Calvin submitted many of his manuscripts to Farel and Viret, and dedicated some of his volumes to them, that the world might know how sacred were the bands that bound them together, and how harmonious they were in all their labours. On one occasion Farel was so cast down by the troubles of his friend, that he could find no rest. He took up Calvin's new work on the Council of Trent, and was so cheered that he spent the whole night in reading it.
In 1553 Calvin made a visit to Neufchatel, for his friend Farel seemed to be lying at the point of death. The physician had said that there was little hope of his recovery. A celebrated French jurist, Charles du Moulin, had just come, anxious for a personal acquaintance with so distinguished a champion of the Reforma