The early days of William Farel were spent in a mountain village bearing the family name, near the town of Gap, in Dauphiny. That beautiful and fertile province in the South-east of France, is situated by the Italian frontier, and overlooked by the majestic Alps, with their snowy summits
and interesting scenery. His father was a nobleman, living in the honour of his earthly position, so that the old family mansion was greatly superior to the humble homes of the villagers near. William was born in the year 1489 — one long to be remembered by the poor suffering Waldenses as that of fierce persecution, which had also characterised the previous year. Cruel scenes of bloodshed, therefore, were enacted not far from the beautiful home of the Farels, but being staunch papists, they sympathised with the oppressors, and the cry of the oppressed troubled them not. Ah, little could bigoted man foresee, that that helpless babe coming at a time when papal rage was triumphant, would, in the vigour of manhood, break its yoke from many a neck, and unmask its evils, with an unsparing hand!
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