Online Biblical studies Rise of the Hugenots 32

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The other demands of the bishops it seemed more practicable to grant. They required that Charles should by solemn edict order the instantaneous restitution of the churches seized by the[Pg 544] Huguenots. In spite of the earnest protest of Beza,[1175] the government (on the eighteenth of October) complied with the request.[1176] Within twenty-four hours after the receipt of this edict, all persons who had taken possession of churches were commanded, on penalty of death as rebels and felons, to vacate them, restoring whatever valuables they had removed, and replacing the images and crosses they had destroyed. At the same time the prohibition of the use of insulting language and acts was renewed, and both parties were bidden to place their arms in the hands of the local magistrates.[1177] Thus, to use Beza's language, was Christ betrayed, but at a much dearer price than that for which he was, centuries ago, sold by Judas—for sixteen millions of francs instead of the thirty pieces of silver.[1178] Having, by extorting the Edict of Restitution, succeeded in paving the way for renewed commotions, soon to culminate in open and widespread war, the prelates adjourned, with mingled satisfaction and disgust, toward the end of October, 1561.[1179]

Arrival of five German delegates.

The conference of Poissy had scarcely been definitely abandoned when five German Protestants appeared upon the scene. Three of these—Andreä, Beuerlin, and Balthasar Bidembach—had been sent by the Duke of Würtemberg; the others—Bouquin and Dilher—by the Elector Palatine. Early in the summer, the King of Navarre, anxious to strengthen himself by enlisting in his favor the Protestant princes of Germany, had expressed to them the desire, in which Catharine coincided, that some theologians[Pg 545]—learned and pious men, and inclined to peace—should be sent from beyond the Rhine to take part in the adjustment of the religious questions at the Colloquy of Poissy. The Protestant electors, the Landgrave of Hesse, and the Duke of Würtemberg, were unable, however, to agree on the instructions to be given to the envoys. 

While the duke, devotedly attached to the doctrines of Luther, was bent upon strongly recommending the adoption of the Augsburg Confession, the other princes could not acquiesce in his plan. The landgrave refused to throw additional difficulties in the way of the reformed churches of France, just emerging from a period of relentless persecution, and seeking for the public recognition of the right to worship God, for which so many martyrs had cheerfully laid down their lives. The Elector of Saxony distrusted the sincerity of the intentions of the French court. As for the Count Palatine, he himself had embraced the reformed theology, and could not be expected to urge the Huguenots to give up their own well-digested confession for one which they considered far inferior to it in all respects.[1180] 

And so it happened that, in consequence of a diversity of sentiment regarding both doctrine and policy, there was no general deputation sent to France, and the delegates of the two princes who complied with the invitation arrived at Paris after the colloquy—too late to do any harm, if not soon enough to do much good. They were courteously received by the court. The Würtembergers, in particular, were allowed frequent opportunities of explaining the merits of the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's Supper. Before their return into Germany, they were distinctly informed by Navarre that, while he recommended a closer union between the two branches of the Protestant Church, his own views accorded with those of the adherents of the Augsburg Confession; and that his only reason for delaying to subscribe to it was a fear lest this step might interfere with the execution of the union he desired to effect.[1181][Pg 546]

Why the colloquy proved a failure.

The Colloquy of Poissy had proved, so far as the objects contemplated by its originators were concerned, a complete failure. Instead of drawing the Roman Catholic and the reformed churches together, it had only widened the breach separating them. Instead of exhibiting in a clearer light the common ground on which a union might be practicable, it had rendered patent to all the antagonism which could not be cloaked by ambiguous phrases and incomplete statements of doctrine. It is certainly worth while to inquire into some of the causes of a result so unexpected to a great number of intelligent men, who had framed their anticipations upon no superficial view of the society, bible society, bible society,

Catharine's crude notion of a conference.

The crude notions of the court respecting the character which such a conference ought to assume must be regarded as one of these causes. Catharine, while extending the most gracious invitations to foreign Protestants, was herself apparently undecided how to treat the Huguenots when they should make their appearance. Even if we grant that her explanations of the object of the projected colloquy, referred to on a preceding page,[1182] received their coloring from the fact that she was supplying her ambassador in Germany with plausible representations wherewith to appease such irritated bigots as feared that the French queen intended to propose a grave discussion of the religious[Pg 547] question upon its own merits, yet the entire course of the conference exhibits her inability to comprehend the nature of a fair debate of the matters in dispute. The Huguenot ministers and delegates were obliged to petition that the prelates should not be permitted to act as their judges, and afterward to remind her of the promise she had given them to this effect. Even after the point had been nominally accorded, the most important questions respecting the conference were decided in the council, where five cardinals and three bishops had seats.[1183] Under these circumstances it is not astonishing that Lorraine assumed a tone of superiority which his relation to the debate by no means warranted

Character of the prelates.
Besides this, the character of the assembly of prelates itself precluded the possibility of an adjustment. With the exception of six or seven, so insignificant were these ecclesiastical dignitaries individually, that, as a modern historian has well remarked, not one distinguished himself sufficiently to be named by any of the writers who treat of the conference. They were, generally, the younger sons of the most distinguished families in France, and had entered the church not from devotion, but in consequence of an immemorial custom which consigned to the episcopal dignity or to a rich abbacy the youth whom an elder brother debarred from entertaining the hope of succeeding to his father's dignities and possessions. Few of them had ever seen their dioceses save on some great festival; none possessed the literary or theological training necessary to qualify them for coping with the master-minds among the Protestants. Accordingly, each bishop had to come to Poissy with one or more "theologians," doctors of the Sorbonne, to whose better judgment and superior learning he was content to defer on every disputed point. There was little probability that a body thus constituted would consent to enter into a candid consideration of the differences separating the Roman Catholic and Protestant worlds.[1184]
Influence of the papal legate.

The despondent nuncio, Viterbo.
But the single event said by an eye-witness and actor in these[Pg 548] scenes to have conduced more than any other to destroy all hope of agreement, was the arrival at court of the papal legate, Ippolito D'Este, Cardinal of Ferrara.[1185] Pope Pius IV. had long been watching the affairs of France with deep solicitude. If his legates, Tournon and Lorraine, had failed to alarm him by their reports of the progress of the "new doctrines," he could not but be troubled by the accounts which came from his nuncio in France, Sebastiano Gualtieri, Bishop of Viterbo. Gualtieri, an experienced diplomatist, learned, eloquent—and not wanting in cunning,[1186] if we may believe his successor in office—had proved himself unequal to the duties of his present position, by giving way to extreme despondency. In the gay capital of France he led a wretched life, in constant dread of future disaster, and ceaselessly uttering lugubrious prognostications. To the Pope he announced that religious matters in France were desperate; everything was rushing to ruin with ever-increasing velocity. The queen mother was unsound in the faith, although, from motives of policy, she dissembled her true sentiments. She favored a preacher, one Bouteiller, who was equally unsound; and she refused to dismiss him when admonished of her error. He begged the pontiff to recall him, so that he might not witness the funeral obsequies of the unhappy kingdom.[1187]
Anxiety of Pope Pius IV.
The Nuncio Santa Croce.

The Cardinal of Ferrara.

Pius, rendered more apprehensive by these continual tidings of evil, and displeased with much that his legates had done,[1188] could no longer delay to take decided action. Accordingly, he resolved to grant Gualtieri's request, and to send as apostolic nuncio in his place Santa Croce, Bishop of[Pg 549] Pisa, who had formerly occupied this position at Paris, but was now acting in a similar capacity in Portugal.[1189] But so grave did the conjuncture appear in the eyes of the papal court, that, at a solemn consistory held on the twenty-eighth of June, the resolution was adopted to despatch a third legate to St. Germain! The pretext of this extraordinary mission was the desire to testify more clearly than the selection of the two previously existing legates had done, to the earnestness of the solicitude felt at Rome for the interests of the Church in France.[1190] The true reason would appear to have been to correct the mistakes which the existing legates were supposed to have committed. For the delicate post of legatus a latere, no better candidate could be found than the Cardinal of Ferrara. Although a man of no high intellectual abilities, he had received a thorough training in the Macchiavellian theory of politics,[1191] and, during many years of diplomatic service, had enjoyed a fair opportunity for schooling himself in its practical workings. The son of Lucretia Borgia, the grandson of Pope Alexander the Sixth, could scarcely help being an adept at intrigue. Next to this special qualification, his highest recommendations were that he was the brother-in-law of Renée of France, and so by marriage uncle of the Duke of Guise; and that he had twelve good reasons for feeling deep concern for the steadfastness of French orthodoxy, viz.: the three archbishoprics, the one bishopric, and the eight rich abbeys which he held within the confines of Charles's dominions, deriving therefrom an income which was popularly estimated at from forty to sixty thousand crowns.[1192][Pg 550]

Master Renard turned monk.

The new legate accepted the appointment with alacrity. Not so the nuncio. It was no small trial to leave the quiet court of Lisbon—where his predecessors had been accustomed, during a short stay of a year or two, to accumulate a handsome fortune[1193]—for the turmoil of the French capital, threatened every day with the outbreak of civil war, where nothing but censure and hatred could be reaped.[1194] But Santa Croce did not hesitate long to renounce his golden prospects, and almost at the same moment that the Cardinal of Ferrara started from the banks of the Tiber, the Bishop of Pisa set forth from the gates of Lisbon. Neither legate nor nuncio, however, was in much haste to reach his destination. Ferrara could plead ill-health, Santa Croce the prostrating heat of the season.[1195] It took each of the prelates two months and a half to accomplish his journey—the legate reaching the French court on the nineteenth of September, the nuncio toward the end of the same month.[1196] The former travelled in great magnificence, with a brilliant escort of four hundred horsemen or more, and accompanied by several bishops and other persons of distinction, among whom was Lainez, the Jesuit, whose acquaintance we have already made. 

Avoiding the larger French cities where the Reformation had gained a foothold, and where, consequently, marks of popular insult were apprehended,[1197] he received a brilliant welcome at the court, the king's brother Henry, and others, riding out to greet him at his approach. The people were less cordial. His assumed devotion could not deceive those who knew him to be a devotee of pleasure.[1198] His appearance forcibly reminded them of the[Pg 551] old story of Master Fox turned hermit, and cries of "Au Renard! Au Renard!" were so loudly uttered when he was seen in the streets preceded by an attendant carrying a large silver cross, the badge of his office, that he was soon fain to discard the obnoxious emblem.[1199] This was not the only insult he was compelled to swallow. A portrait of his grandfather, Pope Alexander the Sixth, was engraved and published, with an account of his life and death, in which the moral character of Lucretia Borgia was painted in the darkest colors.[1200] It was, however, speedily suppressed by the civil authorities.

Opposition of people and chancellor.

The plenary powers which the papal commission conferred upon Ippolito d'Este created an opposition even in higher circles. He had, it is true, apprehending an unfavorable reception, taken the pains to invite the French ambassador at Venice to confer with him while he was stopping in Ferrara on his way to Paris, and had assured him that he went with the sole intention of subserving the interests of France, and would use the powers given him by the Pope no farther than Charles desired.[1201] This and reiterated assurances of the same tenor, after his arrival, did not remove the scruples of Michel de l'Hospital. 

The latter insisted that the authority which the Pope pretended to confer upon his legate was in direct contravention of the resolution of the recent States General, that ecclesiastical benefices should henceforth be at the disposition, not of the Pope, but of the prelates in their respective dioceses, and that no papal dispensations should hereafter be received. He therefore declined to give to the pontifical warrant the official ratification without which it was of no validity in the kingdom; and he was supported in his[Pg 552] refusal by the majority of the royal council. He was, however, overruled. It would be highly improper, the Cardinal of Ferrara persuaded Catharine and her advisers to believe, that a prelate allied to the royal house of France should be the first legate to be denied the customary honors. And so L'Hospital, after receiving a direct order from the king, and having had several altercations with the legate, reluctantly affixed the great seal of France, taking care to relieve himself of all responsibility by writing below it the words, Me non consentiente. This addition for the present rendered the document entirely useless, for parliament promptly refused to receive or register that which had failed to meet with the chancellor's approbation.[1202]

The legate's successful intrigues.
His excessive complaisance.

The first great aim of Ferrara was to prevent the assembly of prelates at Poissy from assuming in any degree the character of a national council by undertaking a genuine reformation of doctrine or practice, and to induce the reference of all such questions as ought there to have been discussed, to the Council of Trent.[1203] How well he succeeded was shown by the event. By purposely delaying his arrival until the assembly had convened, he avoided the defeat that he might have experienced had he been on the spot and opposed its opening.[1204] He was sufficiently early, however, to effect all that was really of moment. His manners were conciliatory and paved the way for his intrigues. Catharine was the more friendly both to him and to Santa Croce, because of the contrast between their deportment and that of Gualtieri, whom she hated for his sour disposition and boorish ways.[1205] Navarre and the princes suspected of a leaning toward Protestantism were plied with other arts. In fact, so well did the legate counterfeit liberality of sentiment, that even the Pope and his brethren of the Roman consistory seem to have become a little alarmed. For he went so[Pg 553] far, on one occasion, as to accompany the Huguenot nobles to hear the sermon of one of their ministers, greatly to the displeasure of the Pope and of Philip the Second, as well as of the Cardinal of Tournon and other bigots at the French court who could not follow the tangled thread of his tortuous policy.[1206] 

It was difficult for him to convince them that he had made this extraordinary concession simply in order to induce Antoine and his more intractable queen in their turn to attend the Roman Catholic services. Navarre was naturally the person whom legate and nuncio were most anxious to influence. For, respecting Catharine, they soon satisfied themselves that, if she was not a very ardent Romanist, she was nothing of a Protestant.[1207] The King of Navarre, however, was to be gained only by skilful and concerted diplomacy. Easy to be duped as he was, he had met with so many disappointments that he required something more than vague assurances to induce him to throw away the solid advantages derived from still being the reputed head of the Huguenots. For about this time his agents at Madrid and at Rome had been coldly received. Philip and his minister Alva excused themselves from paying any attention to his claims upon Navarre or an equivalent, until Antoine had shown more decided devotion to Catholicism than was afforded by simply attending mass, and they had made it evident that[Pg 554] armed intervention in behalf of the French adherents of the old faith was rather to be expected from the Spaniard, than any act of condescension in favor of the titular king. From Rome he had scarcely obtained more encouragement than from Madrid.[1208] Under these circumstances, it seemed that little was needed to make his alienation from Romanism complete.

Antoine of Navarre plied with suggestions.

While, therefore, the Spanish ambassador, Chantonnay, brother of Cardinal Granvelle, by his severity and his continual threats of war not only discouraged the Navarrese king, but rendered himself so hateful to the court that his presence could scarcely be endured,[1209] the papal emissaries, to whom the Venetian Barbaro lent efficient aid, allured him by brilliant hopes of a sovereignty which Philip, induced by the Pope's intercessions, would confer upon him. Convinced that the destruction of all hope of recovering Navarre from the Spanish king would instantly cause Antoine to throw himself without disguise into the arms of the Calvinists, and would thus secure the speedy triumph of the Reformation throughout all France,[1210] they even persuaded Chantonnay to abate somewhat of his insolence, and to ascribe his master's delay in satisfying Antoine's requests to Philip's belief that his suppliant was confident of being able to frighten the Spaniards into restitution.[1211] They represented to Antoine himself that his only chance of success lay in devotion to the Catholic faith. Join[Pg 555]ing arms with "those flagitious men" the Huguenots, he would arouse the hostility of almost all Christendom. The Pope, the priests, even the greater part of France, would be his enemies. In a conflict with them he could place little reliance upon troops unaccustomed to war and drawn from every quarter—none at all upon the English, who were ancient enemies, or upon the Germans, who fought for pay. Better would it be for him to secure but half his demands by peace, than to lose all by trying the fortunes of war.[1212]

How thoroughly the legate and nuncio, with the assistance of their faithful allies, the Spanish ambassador and the Guises, Montmorency and St. André, were successful in seducing the unstable King of Navarre from his allegiance to the Protestant faith, this, and the disastrous results of his defection, will be developed in a subsequent part of our history.

Contradictory counsels.
The triumvirate retire in disgust.

The edict of the eighteenth of October, for the restitution of the churches of which the Huguenots had taken possession, was by no means an exponent of the true dispositions of the court. It was rather a measure of political expediency, reluctantly adopted, to attain the double end of securing the pecuniary grant of which the government stood in pressing need, and of preventing Philip from executing the threats of invasion which Alva had but too plainly made in his interview with the French envoy extraordinary, Montbéron d'Auzances, and the ambassador, Sebastien de l'Aubespine[1213]—threats which nothing would have been more likely to convert into stern realities than the concession of the churches for[Pg 556] which the Protestants clamored. It was a measure determined upon by a royal council in which the influence of the party inclined to Protestant and liberal principles was preponderant; in which the advice of the moderate Chancellor L'Hospital was supreme; in which the plans of the Guises, of Montmorency and St. André, were set aside, to make room for those of Condé and Montluc, Bishop of Valence. It is this fact that furnishes the clue to a circumstance which at first sight seems an inexplicable paradox, namely, that almost the very day on which the intolerant resolution, compelling the Huguenots to surrender the churches, even in places where they constituted the vast majority of the population, was adopted, the members of the triumvirate, formed for the express purpose of upholding the papal church in France, left the court in disgust. 

It was scarcely to be expected that these ambitious nobles, accustomed to occupy the first rank, and to dispose of the national concerns according to their own private pleasure, should submit with good grace to the decisions of a council in which the Bourbons held the sway, and a hated chancellor's opinions were followed whom they themselves had raised to his elevated position. Much less was it natural for them to remain when the measures which the administration proposed were of enlarged toleration, instead of greater repression. Accordingly, the Duke of Guise left Saint Germain for Joinville, one of his estates on the borders of Lorraine, while his brother, the cardinal, repaired to his archbishopric of Rheims. Here, while pretending to apply himself with unheard-of diligence to his duties as a spiritual shepherd, and preaching, as was reported, rather the Lutheran than the Romish view of the eucharist, he was making bids as high as those of the duke, if of a different kind, for the favor and support of the neighboring German princes who adhered to the Confession of Augsburg. Catharine, not sorry to be rid of their presence, and "best pleased when the world was discordant," gave them a kind dismissal. The elements were less propitious. An extraordinarily severe storm that swept over St. Germain on the day of their departure gave rise to a report among the courtiers that "the devil was carrying them off." It was little suspected, quaintly remarks[Pg 557] the narrator of this incident, how soon he was going to bring them back![1214] Cardinal Tournon and Constable Montmorency followed the example of the Guises, and went into retirement.

Hopes entertained of the young king.
Charles's curiosity respecting the mass.

The prospect was at this moment as dark to the papal party as it was full of encouragement for the Huguenots and their sympathizers. Nothing but a resort to violence could avert the speedy downfall of the authority of the Roman pontiff in France. A few months more of peace, and everything might be lost.[1215] If the young king continued under the influences now surrounding him, he might become a Huguenot openly, as it was pretty well understood, by those who had the opportunity of seeing him daily and noting his words and actions, that he was already half inclined to be one now. The Queen of Navarre, the Prince of Condé, and the leading Protestants at court perceived this and could not hide their delight. One day about this time, Jeanne D'Albret drew the English ambassador apart from the courtiers waiting upon her, and, having seated him by her side, related a conversation she had within the past few days held with Charles. It is thus reported by Throkmorton in a despatch to Queen Elizabeth: "Good aunt," said the king, "I pray you tell me what[Pg 558] doth this mean, that the king, my uncle, your husband, doth every day go to mass, and you come not there, nor my cousin, your son, the Prince of Navarre? 

I answered (quoth the queen), Sire, the king, my husband doth so because you go thither, to wait upon you and obey your order and commandment. Nay, aunt (quoth he), I do neither command nor desire him to do so. But if it be naught (as I do hear say it is), he might well enough forbear to be at it, and offend me nothing at all; for if I might as well as he, and did believe of it as he doth, I would not be at it myself. The queen said, Why, sir, what do you believe of it? The king answered, The queen, my mother, Monsieur de Cipierre, and my schoolmaster doth tell me, that it is very good, and that I do there daily see God; but (said the king) I do hear by others that neither God is there nor the thing very good. And surely, aunt, to be plain with you, I would not be there myself. And therefore you may boldly continue and do as you do, and so may the king, my uncle, your husband, use the matter according to his conscience for any displeasure he shall do unto me. And, surely, aunt (quoth he), when I shall be at my own rule I mean to quit the matter! But I pray you (said the king), keep this matter to yourself, and use it so that it come not to my mother's ears."[1216]

It need not occasion surprise that the Queen of Navarre paused, in the midst of her expressions of intense gratification, to give utterance to the fear that Charles might be "too toward, too virtuous, and too good to tarry amongst them," or recalled the many similar "acts and sayings of the late King Edward of England, who did not live long."[1217]

Beza is begged to remain.

When the first intimation of the edict for the restoration of[Pg 559] the churches reached Beza, his impulse was to abandon forthwith a court where his hopes had been so cruelly disappointed, and a want of proper confidence had been displayed by his very friends among the royal counsellors. But his indignant remonstrances were met by the assurance that benevolent designs for the Reformation were concealed beneath the apparent harshness of the law, which was a necessary concession to certain circumstances. He was entreated to be of good courage and to remain. Catharine joined her solicitations to those of Condé, Admiral Coligny, and other chiefs of the Protestants. Beza reluctantly consented, and while Martyr was suffered to depart with courteous acknowledgments of his services, the Genevese was still more honorably retained at court.[1218] The new measure from which brilliant results were expected was the calling of an assembly of notables, including representatives from each of the parliaments, the princes of the blood, and members of the council, etc., which was to meet in December, and to suggest some decree on the subject of the religious question, of a provisional, if not of a permanent character.[1219]

Spanish plot to kidnap the Duke of Orleans.
The Huguenot churches in France.

About the same time, upon a rumor that the Duke of Nemours, a faithful ally of the Guises, had plotted to carry off the young Duke of Orleans, the future Henry the Third, into Spain, with the view of affording his brother-in-law Philip a specious pretext for interfering in Trench affairs,[1220] Catharine de' Medici turned to the Protestants,[Pg 560] and inquired what forces of theirs she could rely upon in the threatened contest with the Spanish, Papal, and German Roman Catholic troops. Her question elicited the significant fact that there were two thousand one hundred and fifty Huguenot churches in France, varying in size from a mere handful of believers to a community of thousands of members, embracing almost the entire population of a provincial city, and under the guidance of several pastors. In the name of these churches a petition was presented to the king, asking for places of worship, and loyally tendering life and property in his defence.[1221]

Beza secures a favorable royal order.

To restrain the impatience of so numerous a body as the Protestants, while waiting for the assembly of the notables which was to confer the full measure of liberty they desired, was the task imposed upon Beza. He was to serve as a hostage for the obedience of the reformed churches.[1222] But the sagacious theologian recognized the difficulty of the position he was called to fill. He warned the government accordingly against disappointing the hopes it aroused in the breasts of his fellow Protestants, and he urged that if they must be temporarily denied the use of the places of worship which they had occupied wherever they constituted the bulk of the population, the present rigor must be somewhat abated during the interval before their formal emancipation. After much importunity a mandate was obtained, addressed to the[Pg 561] royal officers, in which they were instructed to interpret the previous edicts with leniency, permitting different degrees of liberty, according to the various circumstances in which they were placed. In Normandy and Gascony the religious meetings might be open and unrestricted. In Paris they must be held secretly in private houses, and not more than two hundred persons could be gathered together.[1223] Everywhere, however, the Protestants were to be protected, and this was a great step gained. For those very officers, whose task it had not unfrequently been to drag the Huguenots to prison, were now constituted the guardians of their lives and property.[1224]

How to restrain Huguenot impetuosity.

Yet, how to restrain the impetuosity, how to check the demands of the multitudes recently converted to the reformed faith, how to induce them to give up the churches where whole generations of their ancestors had worshipped before them, and in which they believed that they had the clearest right of property, and hand them over to a mere handful of ignorant or interested persons who would not listen to reason or Scripture—this was the problem that seemed even beyond the power of Beza's wit to solve. The young vine, in whose branches the full sap of spring was rapidly circulating, must have room for healthy growth. From all parts of France the constant cry was for the Word of God and for liberty. Although the number of daily attendants on Calvin's lectures was roughly estimated at a thousand,[1225] it was impossible for Geneva to supply the drafts made upon her, when there were three hundred parishes, apparently in a single province, which had thrown off the mass, but had as yet been unsuccessful in their quest of pastors;[1226] when the history of hundreds of towns and villages was the counterpart of the history of Foix, where, in[Pg 562] two months, an infant church of thirty or forty members had grown to have five or six hundred, and the Protestant population was almost in the majority in the town, although as yet, notwithstanding incessant efforts to obtain a pastor, the only public service consisted of the repetition by a layman of the prayers contained in the liturgy of Calvin[1227]—when many a minister met with success similar to that which attended Pierre Fornelet, who could point to fifteen villages in the vicinity of Châlons-sur-Marne, begging for Huguenot pastors, and all this the fruit of seven weeks of apostolic labours; and could record the fact that poor men and women flocked to the city from a distance of seven or eight leagues, when they simply heard that the Gospel was preached there[1228]—when it was estimated by competent witnesses that from four to six thousand ministers could be profitably employed within the bounds of the kingdom.[1229]


In some places, by strenuous exertion, the ministers were successful in persuading their flocks to refrain from overt acts tending to provoke outbursts of hostility. At Troyes, in Champagne, a thousand persons convened by day or by night, not summoned by the sound of bells, but quietly notified by an "advertisseur" of the daily changing place of meeting. Yet even there, on Sunday and on public holidays, the Huguenots took pains to hold their "assemblée" in the open day, before the eyes of their enemies.[1230] At Paris, the Protestants, compelled to go some distance into the country for worship, on their return (Sunday, the twelfth of October), found the gates closed against them, and were attacked by a mob composed of the dregs of the[Pg 563] populace. Many of their number were killed or wounded. The assailants retreated when the Huguenot gentry, with swords drawn, rallied for the defence of their unarmed companions, whom they could not, however, guarantee from the stones and other missiles hurled at them. For a few days the public services were intermitted at the earnest request of the Prince of La Roche-sur-Yon, in the interest of good order and to prevent disturbance.[1231] But a month later the Huguenots assembled openly, and in still greater numbers. On reaching the suburbs, the women were placed in the centre, with the men who had come on foot around them, while those who were mounted on horseback shielded the whole from attack. A body of guards was posted by the prince in the immediate neighborhood.[1232]

Churches visited and stripped.

In the south of France the people were less easily curbed, and the indiscretion or treachery of their enemies often furnished provocation for acts which the sober judgment of their pastors refused to sanction. The chapter of the cathedral of Montpellier, with the view of overawing the city, had, in October, introduced a garrison into the commanding Fort St. Pierre. On a Sunday (the nineteenth of October) the Protestants laid siege, and on the succeeding day the chapter entered into a composition with the citizens, by which the canons retained the liberty of celebrating their services, but bound themselves to lay down their arms and dismiss the soldiers they had called in. When, however, a soldier, as he was leaving, drew a pistol and killed one of the Protestants, the fury of the latter could not be repressed. They cried that treacherous designs were on foot, and madly killed many of the canons and their sympathizers. Then, directing their indignation against the churches, where the doctrine that no faith need[Pg 564] be kept with heretics had been inculcated, they overturned in a few hours the work of four or five centuries. 

The next day, of sixty churches and chapels in Montpellier or its neighborhood, not one was open. Not a priest, not a monk, dared to show his face. Yet this same excitable populace, which had been wrought up to frenzy by a soldier's treacherous act, submitted without resistance when, on the twentieth of November, Joyeuse, in the king's name, published the obnoxious edict for the restitution of all churches within twenty-four hours. The cathedral was given up, and the services according to the rites of the reformed church were held in the spacious "École mage," until, by a new arrangement with the canons, the Protestants were once more put in possession of two of the old ecclesiastical edifices. Yet the edict did not arrest the rapid progress of the new faith. The mass was not reinstated, and the small Roman Catholic minority remained at home on the feast-days. Even the lowest class of the population—elsewhere, from ignorance and prejudice, the stronghold of the papal religion—here seemed to share in the universal tendency, and, unfortunately, as a local chronicler, to whom we are indebted for these particulars, informs us, took no better way of testifying its devotion than by "mutilating sepulchral monuments, unearthing the dead, and committing a thousand acts of folly." 

Carrying their hatred of everything that reminded them of the period of judicial abuse to the length of detesting even the insignia of office, the people compelled the ministers of the law to doff their traditional square cap and assume a hat such as was worn by the rest of the population.[1233] Thus the strength of the reformatory current could be gauged by the mud and rubbish which it tore from the banks on either side—an addition to its bulk that contributed nothing to its power, while marring its purity and sullying its fair antecedents. A class of persons attached themselves to the Huguenot[Pg 565] community that could not be brought into subjection to the discipline instituted with such difficulty at Geneva. It would seem invidious to lay their excesses to the account of the Huguenot leaders, whether religious or political, since those excesses met with the severe reprobation of the latter.[1234] / 7th day adventist theology,7th day adventist theology,7th day adventist theology, university seventh day adventist church, adventist website, online bible study degree, biblical studies online, online biblical studies, biblical studies, bible studies online, onlinebible, bible videos, the bible online, the end is near, 7th day adventist theology, university seventh day adventist church, adventist website, online bible study degree, biblical studies online, online biblical studies, biblical studies, bible studies online, onlinebible, bible videos, the bible online, the end is near,    

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