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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

Once there and introduced to Farel


But

the dangers which the missioners ran were not always of their own provoking. Sometimes a crowd of women invaded the churches in which they preached, interrupted the services with shoutings, hustled and beat the preachers; sometimes when they addressed the people in the market-place the preachers and their audience were assailed with showers of stones; sometimes Farel and his companions were laid wait for and maltreated.[63] M. de Watteville, sent down by the authorities of Bern to report on disturbances, wrote to the Council of Bern that the faces of the preachers were so torn that it looked as if they had been fighting with cats, and that on one occasion the alarm-bell had been sounded against them, as was the custom for a wolf-hunt.[64]

No dangers daunted the missioners, and soon the whole of the outlying districts of Bern, Neuchatel, Soleure, and other French-speaking portions of Switzerland declared for the Reformation. The cantonal authorities frequently sent down commissioners to ascertain the wishes of the people; and when the majority of the inhabitants voted for the Evangelical religion, the church, parsonage, and stipend were given to a Protestant pastor. Many of Farel's missioners were temporarily settled in these village churches; but they were for the most part better fitted for pioneer work than for a settled pastorate. In January (9-14th) 1532, a synod of these Protestant pastors was held at Bern to deliberate on some uniform ways

of exercising their ministry to prevent disorders arising from individual caprice. Two hundred and thirty ministers were present, and Bucer was brought from Strassburg to give them guidance. His advice was greatly appreciated and followed by the delegates of the churches and the Council of Bern. The Synod in the end issued an elaborate ordinance, which included a lengthy exposition of doctrine.[65]

Sec. 3. _Farel in Geneva._

It was after this consolidation of the Reformation in Bern and its outlying provinces that Farel found himself free to turn his attention to Geneva. He had evidently been thinking for months about the possibility of evangelising the town. He had little fear of the people themselves, and he wrote to Zwingli (Oct. 1st, 1531) that were it not for the dread of Freiburg, he believed that the Genevese would welcome the Gospel.[66] The affair of the "placards" seems to have decided him to begin his mission in the city. When he was driven out he was far from abandoning the enterprise. He turned to Froment, his most trusted assistant, and sent him into Geneva.

Antoine Froment, who has the honour along with Farel of being the Reformer of Geneva, was born at Tries, near Grenoble, about 1510. He was therefore, like Farel, a native of Dauphine. Like him, also, he had gone to Paris for his education, and had become acquainted with Lefevre, who seems to have introduced him to Marguerite d'Angouleme, the Queen of Navarre,[67] as he received from her a prebend in a canonry on one of her estates. How he came to Switzerland is unknown. Once there and introduced to Farel, he became his most daring and enthusiastic disciple, and Farel prized him above all the others. They were Paul and Timothy. It was natural that Farel should entrust him with the difficult and dangerous task of preaching the Gospel in Geneva.

Farel's seizure and expulsion made it necessary to proceed with caution. Froment entered Geneva (Nov. 3rd, 1532), and began his work by intimating by public advertisement (_placard_) that he was ready to teach any one who wished to learn to read and write the French language, and that he would charge no fees if his pupils were not able to profit by his instructions. Scholars came.[68] He managed to mingle Evangelical instruction


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