I will introduce the treatment of the sects, between century ten and century sixteen, in the following words of Mosheim: “We find from the time of Gregory the VII several proofs of the zealous efforts of those who are generally called by the Protestants the witnesses of the truth; by whom are meant such pious and judicious Christians as adhered to the pure religion of the gospel, and remained uncorrupted amidst the greatest superstition who deplored the miserable state to which Christianity was reduced, by the .alteration of its divine doctrines, and the vices of its profligate ministers; who opposed with vigor the tyrannic ambition both of the lordly pontiff and the aspiring bishops; and in some provinces privately, and others openly, attempted the reformation of a corrupt and idolatrous church, and of a barbarous and superstitious age. This was, indeed, bearing witness to the truth in the noblest manner, and it was principally in Italy and France that the marks of this heroic purity were exhibited,”1 From these reformers were derived great hosts of recruits to the Baptist churches. The influence of Baptist churches created a great desire among the members of the Romish church for reformation. Out of Baptist influence originated Martin Luther's Reformation.
The name Albigenses was one of the designations of the Paulicians from “the beginning of the eleventh century to the middle of the thirteenth century.” Coming…
1 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 11, part 2, chap. 3, sec. 2.
…from Asia, where they were known as Paulicians, they crossed the Balkan Peninsula and reached the Western empire. In the tenth and the eleventh centuries, under the name Paulicians, but especially Albigenses, from the town of Albiga in Southern France, and Cathari — from their pure lives — they filled and moulded both France and Italy, affecting in a less degree, other parts of Europe.
The Albigenses — and others, too, — are, in this book, treated under distinctive heads; not because they were not identical with their predecessors and contemporaries, but for the sake of clearness, to conform to the usual classification — a classification that recent researches demand should be abandoned. Here I remind the reader of a necessary caution: “It ought always to be borne in mind, however, that for the larger part of our information regarding those stigmatized as heretics, we are indebted, not to their own writings, but to the works of their opponents. Only the titles remain of the bulk of heretical writings, and of the rest we have, for the most part, only such quotations as prejudiced opponents have chosen to make. That these quotations fairly represent the originals would be too much to assume.”1 Kurtz: “The little town of Albi in the district of Albigeois, was regarded as the great center of the party, whence the name of Albigenses.”2
The Encyclopedia Britannica says of the Albigenses: “The descent may be traced with tolerable distinctness from the Paulicians.” † Dr. Carl Schmidt, an eminent German authority of Strasburg, speaking of their being called Albigenses, says: “Before that time the sect was spoken of as Publicants or Publicani, probably a corruption…
† Ency. Brit., Art. Albigenses.
1 Vedder's Bap. Hist., p. 50; Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 12, chap. 5, sec 1.
2 Kurtz Ch. Hist., vol. l, p. 462; Schaff-Herzog Ency., vol. 1, p. 46
…of the name Paulicians, which the Crusaders had brought back from Western Europe.”1
To the charge that the Albigenses held to Manichaeism, I reply: (1.) By reminding the reader of Vedder's words beginning this article. (2.) That, as they are identical with the Paulicians, the refutation of this charge, in Chapter XI, is the refutation of this charge against the Albigenses. (3.) To this I add the following: Robinson, one of the most careful and reliable historians, did not sufficiently credit the charge to affirm it. His cautious words are: “The Albigenses were Manichaeans, or nearly so,” “Nearly so” is not “so.”2 There are certain modified forms of Manichaeism which, while erroneous, would not unchurch any party. Mosheim says that those who held to Manichaeism held it “differently interpreted and modified by different doctors.”3 Prof. Carl Schmidt gays: “The representations which Roman Catholic writers, their bitter enemies, have given them, are highly exaggerated.”* Even admitting them slightly tainted with Manichaeism, since they lived in an age of little thought and learning, it would no more affect their claims to be churches of Christ than slight errors of the head, especially of the unlearned, now unchurch. (See Chapter V of this book.) (4.) But there is no proof conclusive that the Albigenses were so much as tainted with Manichaeism. Wadington, speaking of the great Romish controversialists attempt to blacken their characters, (Bishop Bossuett) observes: “He has failed to prove their Manichaean origin — still more their Manichaean doctrine.
* Schaff-Herzog Ency., vol. 1, p 47.
l Schafl-Herzog Ency., vol. 1, p. 46; The Bogomiles, pp. 122, 123, 128, 131; Cramp's Cap. Hist., p. 99.
2 Robinson's Eccl. Researches, p. 463.
3 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 12, part 2, chap. 5, sec. 6; Wadington's Ch. Hist., p.478.
… He calls them indeed 'new' Manichaeans and admits that 'they had softened some of their errors.' But they had parted with the characteristic error, or in fact they never held it.' “1 On p. 291 Wadington observes: “Manichaeism was the frightful term employed to express their delinquency; but it is more probable that their real offence was the adoption of certain mystical notions, proceeding, indeed, from feelings of the most earnest piety, but too spiritual to be tolerated in that age and in that church.”2
Though the charge that the Albigenses rejected marriage, baptism and the supper, has been refuted in page 119, refuting the same charge against them under the name Paulicians, the reader will notice that these charges are, incidentally, farther refuted in the following. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of them: “The statement that they rejected marriage, often made by Roman Catholics, has probably no other foundation in fact than that they denied marriage as a sacrament; and many other statements of their doctrines must be received at least with suspicion, as coming from prejudiced and implacable opponents.”3
Alanus, speaking of the Albigenses, says: “They rejected infant baptism…It does not appear that they rejected either of the sacraments.”4 Collier says: “They refused to own infant baptism.”4 Brockett gays: “Nothing is said by Hoveden of their rejection of the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist, which would certainly have been mentioned by so careful a writer as Hoveden, had it existed. Indeed, his strongest objection to them was their refusal to take an oath.”4 Favin, a…
1 Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 552— note.
2 Idem, p. 291.
3 Art. Albigenses.
4 The Bogomiles, p. 122.
…historian, is quoted as saying: “The Albigenses do esteem the baptizing of infants superstitious.” Izam, the Troubadour, a Dominican persecutor of these heretics, says: “They admitted another baptism.”1 Chassanion is quoted as saying: “I cannot deny that the Albigenses, for the greater part, were opposed to infant baptism; the truth is, they did not reject the sacraments as useless, but only as unnecessary to infants.”
They had no Campbellism in them. As Armitage observes: “They rejected the Romish church and esteemed the New Testament above all its traditions and ceremonies. They did not take oaths, nor believe in baptismal regeneration; but they were ascetic and pure in their lives; they also exalted celibacy.”2 Their encouraging celibacy, as they believed in marriage, was probably for the reason that Paul encouraged it temporarily, because of persecution being harder to endure in families than when single.3
As refusing to take oaths was a practice of many of these ancient Baptists, I here stop to say: While that matter with Baptists is a matter of little importance, yet I believe they were, probably, nearer right than we are; for, while by “swear not at all” our Savior alluded to only profanity, yet, as Archbishop Whately observes, I believe that men who will tell a lie will swear one as readily, once the penalty is out of the way; hence, instead of taking oath annex the penalty of swearing a lie to telling it in court.
In church government the Albigenses were Baptists. A historian says: “Their bards or pastors were every one of them heads of their churches, but they acted on nothing without the consent of the people and the clergy,”…
l Robinson's Eccl. Besh., p. 463.
2 Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 278.
3 1 Cor.,7;27, 40.
…i. e., the ministers who had charge of no church. “Deacons expounded the gospels, distributed the Lord's supper, baptized, and sometimes had the oversight of churches, visited the sick and took care of the temporalities of the church.” Chr. Schmidt says: “Their ritual and ecclesiastical organization were exceedingly simple.”1
This was so much the case that the Romish church, not seeing any church in so simple an organization, thought they had no churches, and Prof. Schmidt has, thereby, been mislead into the same conclusion. In Chap. XI — noticing them as Paulicians — they are clearly proved to have been, in church government, Baptist.
The Albigenses were pure in their lives and a zealous people in good works. Carl Schmidt says of them: “Their severe moral demands made impression because the example of their preachers corresponded with their words …In a short time the Albigenses had congregations with schools and charitable institutions of their own …The Roman Catholic church, so far as it still could be said to exist in the country, had become an object of contempt and derision. This state of affairs, of course, caused great alarm in Rome.”2
Thus, “the Albigensian heresy,” as Lord Macaulay observes, brought about the civilization, the literature, the national existence …of the most opulent and enlightened part of the great European family.”3
1 Schaff-Herzog Ency., p. 421.
2 Schaff-Herzog Ency., vol. 1, p. 47.
3 Macaulay's Works, vol. 6, p. 463.