Images de page

nounce his faith. They employed the most enticing allurements, and the most liberal promises, and then the most horrible threats, without being able to shake his constancy. He persisted in saying openly and joyfully, "I know in whom I believe, and in that belief I will die.” When they saw that all means were useless, they condemned him to death as a heretic. But that they might avoid causing a tumult in the city they resolved to take away his life in his dungeon by means of poison. Alard heard without emotion his sentence of death. After they had again tried to obtain his abjuration, they gave him a goblet full of poison. He took it with a firm hand, and drank it with unshrinking courage, commendiug his soul to the care of God. Then he laid down to wait death, jejoicing to escape so soon from all earthly sorrow, to enter upon the joy and felicity of Heaven. The jailor went away with the executioner, who had brought the poisonous draught, and bolted the door of the cell. . After Francis had for some time looked up with clasped hands and deep sighs to his God and Saviour, he experienced a parching thirst which tormented him exceedingly. He had not a drop of water in his cell, and as he could not rest he pondered over the means of quenching his thirst. He rose, and looking through the found Darrow tube which served as a window, saw that the town ditch ran at the foot of the tower in which he was confined. But bon could he obtain a little of the water? At length he contrived the means. Taking a long thread, which he picked out of his shirt, he tied it to his round cape of fur, and let it down through the bole into the ditch. He succeeded in drawing it up almost full * water. Then tormented with thirst, he drank it all at one iraught, although it was not the most pure. But he became so ill hat a violent vomiting immediately followed. By this sickness he found himself weakened to death, but it saved him, for by this he nad thrown up all the poison. He remained stretched all the night on his couch of straw, floating between fear and hope, while his ardent supplication ascended to the Lord.

The next day the executioner entered the prison in order to take him out and bury, as he thought, the body of the heretic. Great kas his astonishment to find Alard yet alive. He believed that some magic arts must have been employed, and went to inform the others. When the news spread they generally believed that Alard as a sorcerer, and that he had made a compact with the devil.

However, the Lord Jesus has promised to some of his disciples that if " they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them.” The Baperstition of the people inflamed their rage yet more against Francis ; they demanded, with loud cries, his death by fire. The inquisitors decided that he should be burned alive. Even his own inother went so far that she offered to furnish the wood for his pile, and to have it carried to the Square. This took place the sa day, and the rage of this woman was so great that she ordered waggoner to cry aloud each time that he passed the tower with load, Francis Alard, here is the first ration that your mot sends you," and thus till the seventh and last time. It was t irrevocably decided that Francis should suffer death by fire on morrow. But it is God who governs, even when men think otl wise; and “His thoughts are not our thoughts."

During the night, Francis remained prostrate before God, pr ing long and with fervour, “ Lord Jesus, if thou wilt save make a way for my escape.” Such was his supplication; 1 when he rose he saw the light of the moon penetrate into his pri by the round hole in the wall. He examined it, but found it narrow for him to be able to pass through ; and while he looked, height at which he was made him shudder. But there was noth else for him but to attempt this way of escape. He took off clothes, and tore them in long bands, which he tied the one to other so as to form a kind of cord, which he thought was k enough to reach the ground. He tied one end to a ring in wall of his cell, and threw the other outside. Then he tried w all his might to squeeze himself through the hole, and succeed He found himself suspended by the cord outside the tower, and let himself down gently. But he had scarcely descended half w when a knot in his cord suddenly slipped, and he fell to the botto If he had fallen upon the ground, or upon stones, his death 1 been certain. But God watched over him; he fell, happily, int soft mire, so that he suffered no bodily hurt. The Lord "keep all his bones, not one of them is broken." Ps. xxxiv., 20.

He soon overcame his fright, and made every effort to strug out of the mud, in order to save his life from the uew danger. had confidence that God would aid him, for a voice within told h that he should not die yet, because the Lord would employ him accomplish some good work. When he had dragged himself and reached the gate of the city, which happily be found still of --the popular superstition was now favourable to him, for the si tenel was so frightened at his aspect, he being completely cover with mud, that he thought he had seen the devil-he threw do his halberd and fled into the corps de garde so that Francis cor pass freely, and thus escaped from the city. But his strength, ner great, and now exhausted by his violent efforts, began to fail h entirely. With the greatest effort he dragged himself, in the dal ness, to a little wood a short distance from the city. There hef himself incapable of proceeding a step further. He plunged in the thickest bushes, and drawing the branches about him, he la down under them. But it was not long before he fell into a soul slumber, overcome with pain and by the heat. It was in the midd summer, and the reader will remember that he had passed the evious night without sleep. The next day, when the executioner entered his cell to bring out s prisoner and found it empty, he stood petrified. He was then nfirmed in the opinion he had formed, that he had to do with a agician; and the people were fully persuaded of it also. But the atinel told of the apparition he had seen in the night, and they gan to think that Alard had escaped. All the soldiers in the FR were immediately sent out to endeavour to seize the fugitive. bilst they scoured all the country, Alard slept peaceably all the y under his leafy roof, guarded by the angels of God. He could

with David, I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for to Lord only makest me dwell in safety. It was only towards ning that he was awakened by the barking of a dog, that stood ht before him. He then heard with extreme terror the sound of mas close by, and soon perceived that he was pursued, and that

tan the greatest danger of being taken, and carried back to 1502 He began to tremble, and fear almost took away his sath; then he turned again in prayer to his Saviour, but without ing able to say more than-Lord Jesus, help me! At the same ment he heard two men searching the bushes, and his anxiety reased to the highest point when he heard one of them say, e must be here by my dog's barking." Oh no, the other re

" let us go home; we shall pot find him; I have had nothing at all day, and am knocked up." The first replied, “so am I, will go then ;” and he whistled to his dog, who, leaving Alard, to his master. lowever, Alard remained in his hiding-place till it was quite kthen he ventured to leave it. He wished to present himself he name of God to a sister of his, who lived in a village on the n road, where she was married and kept an hotel. He would assistance from her, particularly clothes, and then pass the fron· He walked on in the darkness upon the high road. Soon he rtook a waggon loaded with wheat, which was going his way. spoke to the driver, and finding that he was going to travel all ht, he asked permission to ride; the man granted his request,

Alard made himself as soon as possible a place among the sacks orn, so that he was completely hidden. He could thus continue journey with more safety. rrived at his sister's house, the waggoner stopped to enter the el Alard ventured to follow him into the house. When he nd himself before his sister, he was afraid to speak to her, but i naturally enough, did not recognize him. Weeping, he told her t be was her brother. What, the heretic ? cried she, and she

going to collect the villagers to have him taken and reconsted to Antwerp. Then Francis found himself once more in the

greatest danger; but this time again the Lord delivered him. His sister's husband took pity on him, and, speaking to his wife in private, appeased her by representing how shameful it would be thus to betray her own brother, that it would be better to speak to the waggoner, and make him a small present to induce him to take the fugitive beyond the frontier, and in this manner they should get rid of him. The woman allowed herself to be persuaded, and it was done as the husband advised. Without talking much with Alard, his relatives found him necessary clothes and gave him food. He, after many thanks, took leave of them: but they hardly spoke to him, fearing to contaminate themselves by conversing with a heretic. He climbed upon the waggon, and continued his journey. The same night he passed the frontier. Alard found himself out of the reach of his enemies, but not screened from poverty. As long as he travelled with the waggoner he furnished him with food, but when they separated he found himself constrained to beg for his living. He directed his steps towards Hamburg, in the hope that the acquaintances of his deceased friend would lend him help. Whilst he walked towards this town, the Lord led him to the place where he would employ him as an instrument richly blessed, to the praise of his grace. All the Duchy of Oldenburg was then strongly roused by the introduction of the gospel truths. They were cut to the heart, not to make them gnash their teeth with rage, as those who are so spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles, but so that they humbled themselves before the Lord, and asked what must we do to be saved. But unhappily there was hardly any one who could makes good reply to this question and instruct these people in the gospel It was at this opportune moment that the Lord sent Francis Alar to them. He heard as it were a voice from God speaking within him, which said, it is here that thow must preach. He did not resist, but announced that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ justifies from all sin. His sermons were so powerful, and so touched a hearts, that his hearers were profoundly impressed, and many among them fled to Christ. From that time, thanks to God, Francis found himself ests: blished as a preacher of the gospel, but God wonderfully led him to a still more elevated position. His powerful discourses natural; could not remain unknown to the prince. As he had heard much of him, he sent for him, and conversed with him. Alard told him all his history. The prince made him superintendent-general, so that the inspection of all the churches of the country was confide to him; and this was very important, for in many places they st lived in the darkness of superstition. In his office of superintendent general Alard introduced the Lutheran gospel doctrine, and * tool the truths of the Lord as an unswerving champion all ho e.

It was at the advanced age of ninety-four that the Lord called him to himself in 1518, and a particular blessing of God rested on his descendants. One of his great-grandsons was also superintendent at Oldenburg, and laboured also for the Lord by the excellent works that he published. Such is the history of the Oldenburg Beformer, Francis Alard. It is very instructive. Let us say with the Psalmist, " Thy ways are great and marvellous, O Lord God Almighty! Thy ways are just and true, O King of Saints ! Lord, who will not fear, and who will not glorify thy name? for thou bone art holy !"


Ose of the greatest questions of the present day is the cultivation

the cotton plant, as upon this depends the moral and social welleing of many thousands of our fellow countrymen. Philanthropists hve laboured, and not in vain, to alleviate the sufferings so nobly rue by the workmen of the North, reduced from high wages and

parative affluence to dependence upon the national bounty. be livelihood of our hard-working and persevering people has been Iced in jeopardy, and the ominous words, famine and destitutionun and desolation-are painfully current in every circle of society. be refusal on the part of the English Government to interfere beeen North and South, for the purpose of putting an end to the , is the policy of the nation, and it is not right, therefore, that a mple section of the country should bear all the evil resulting from put policy, highly as we approve of the principles of non-intervenD. Upon the statesman and the merchant depends the deeper bestion of the restoration of this great branch of our national iz


The attention of the whole world has been very naturally directed supplementing the present deficiency, the disastrous result of

fratricidal war, waged by the two portions of the once great and lated transatlantic republic. In the International Exhibition has

an opportunity, and the government of free Italy has not lost ant of the occasion to put forth its new-born euergies. By glancing the catalogue of the space allotted to Italy, in the great Temple industry, we shall see how the question was received in that counL, and the means at present exerted to insure the custom of Great pain, by the growth of the cotton plant. No one in England, Sevious to the Exhibition, supposed that cotton could be cultivated

« PrécédentContinuer »