Though names are not essential to Church Perpetuity in this chapter I will notice the Paterines. In church history the Paterines are called Cathari, from Catharoi, meaning pure ones. Gazari, perhaps from the inhabitants of Crimea, the Chazars. Bulgari, from the supposition of their having come from Bulgaria. Pataria, Patereni, i. e., black-guards. Tisserands, from many of them being weavers. Bogomils, from the Bulgarian Bog z'milui, signifying “God have mercy,” meaning a praying people. Massalians, said to be from Syriac, signifying those who pray. Euchites, meaning those who pray. Albigenses, from the little town of Albi in the district of the Albigeois, in the South of France, being regarded as the great center of various parties, called Cathari. Paulicians was converted into a well known term of reproach and into too many other terms to notice.1
While, in church history, the Paterines are generally called Cathari, as they are better known among Baptist writers by the term Paterines, I will use that term. As Roman Catholics used any term with which they could best reproach their opponents there may have been churches or parties of shades of faith who were called Paterines;2 and some of them grossly erroneous.
1 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, pp. 410, 453; The Bogomiles, p. 29.
2 Pretentious of Baptists to Antiquity, by Clements, p. 326; “Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 288; Limborch, Hist. Inquist., lib. 1 C. 15; Johnson's Ency., Art. Cathari; Mosheim's Ch. Hist., cent. 11, part 2, chap. 2, sec. 13— note; part 2, clia.p. 5, sec. 2; Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 287; Robinson's Ecol. Researches, pp. 456, 405 and 408.
The Paterines are on record at least from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries.* They numbered hundreds of thousands. They flourished especially in Italy, France and more especially in the South of France, The better part of them were Paulicians. But as they figure in Baptist history under the names Paterines and Cathari I give them this separate notice. In the study of all these names we must, also, bear in mind the remarks of Robinson and Armitage.
Robinson: “The practice of confounding heretics of all kinds in one common herd, devoted to the shambles, hath been an ancient custom with ecclesiastical historians audit hath obscured history.”1
Armitage: “The Cathari, the pure, have been the subjects of much confusion in ecclesiastical history, largely in consequence of classing widely different sects under that general name both amongst ancient and modern writers, whether Catholic or Protestant.”
While it may be that some people who were called Paterines were fundamentally in error, that there were distinct churches covered by the name which were essentially Baptistic, we must conclude in spite of the whole catalogue of errors with which Satan has never hesitated to blacken their character.
Thus, the Paterines are charged with opposing marriage. But, this being a charge so generally made by the Romish church of those times against those who denied marriage a “sacrament,” and now, Romish theologians, presuming Protestant marriage invalid, as the charge originated with Romanists, it is not probably true. In an age when it was popular to do so, Roman Catholics with great effectiveness blackened all who did not regard marriage…
*Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 288; Robinson's Eccl. Resh, p. 409.
1 Eccl. Resh., p. 463; Bap. Hist., p. 277.
…a sacrament as rejecting marriage. On 100 and 101 of Benedict's History of the Baptists will be found an illustration of how the Mennonites were charged by Romanists of denying baptism and marriage, simply because they denied they are sacraments. Since no moral people can perpetuate itself without marriage, the Paterines being by historians pronounced a people of the purest morals, should brand this charge an infamous slander. Robinson positively refutes this charge: “That they denied the seven sacraments of the church, of which matrimony is one, is admitted; but they denied these only in the sense in which the Catholics affirmed them, as all Protestants do. That they married and had families is beyond all doubt, for in an authentic trial of Arman Punzilupe of Ferrara, who had held office among them, his wife and the wives and children of many more are mentioned.”1 The serious errors which Mosheim and others record against the Paterines, so far as true, necessarily applies to others called Paterines and not to the moral ones, since their acknowledged morality and life, being the result of belief, clearly necessitates freedom of a part of the Paterine churches from the charges. We have already, from historic facts, refuted most of these charges, when charged on the Paulicians. Yet, the better part of the Paterine churches, being Paulicians, were free from those errors charged.
As to the charge against them of opposition to ecclesiastical and civil law, Hase says: “The name Catharists, by which this sect was usually designated …The accounts we have respecting them are almost exclusively from their enemies, or from apostates from them, and are consequently full of errors and calumnies.
1 Robinson's Eccl. Resh., p. 407, compare, also, pp. 119, 126 of Ch. Perpetuity.
All agree in describing them as absolutely opposed to the Catholic church and all its pomp, in consequence of what they professed to be, an immediate communication of the Holy Ghost, exalting them above all necessity of ecclesiastical or civil laws.”l As we know they believed in New Testament laws, exalting themselves above all necessity of ecclesiastical or civil laws is, evidently, a Romish intentional perversion, or a misunderstanding of their opposition to Romish ecclesiastical law, which, in the union of church and State, was a part of civil law.
As to the common Romish charge of Manichaeism or Dualism, Hase considerately says: “Their dualistic tendency, however, may have gone no farther than the popular notion of a devil and his subordinate spirits, † and in a portion of the Catharist church it appears to have been modified in various ways, to have been full of moral seriousness and religious sincerity, and yet to have laid great stress upon fastings,” etc.1
Dr. J. M. Cramp, says: “But if one accusation is manifestly outrageous and unfounded, may not the other be? Are we not entitled to the inference that there was, at least, gross exaggeration if not malicious libel. And finally is it credible that those who avowed and manifested unlimited deference to the word of God were led astray by the fantasies of the Manichaean theory.”2
Library of Universal Knowledge, on this charge, says: “There is much reason to think that the errors of a few were indiscriminately charged upon all, and that such charges, indeed, sometimes rested upon ignorant or willful misconstruction.” *
* Art. Catharl.
† Hase should have said: “The scriptural teaching of a devil and his subordinate spirits.”
1 Hase's Hist. Chr. Ch., p. 252.
2 Cramp's Bap. Hist., p. 103.
Neander concedes that the charge of Manichaeism is not proved. “The marks of Manichaeism are by no means indisputable.” *
Of another similarly disreputable charge against them Neander farther concedes: “We will not deny that as this account proceeds from the fiercest enemies of the sect, we might be tempted to consider the whole report as a manufactured conclusion, or a pure invention of heresy hating spite.”1
The following account of them, by Neander, is (reconcilable with the reports against their character and doctrine: “The feature that so much distinguished the first Christian communities, seemed to have revived again in this party, more closely bound together as they were by persecutions …Their adversaries expatiate on the ample support which every one who professed their peculiar principles found among them as a means by which attachment to those principles was especially promoted. As in the first ages of Christianity, every Christian who brought with him a letter of recommendation from his community was certain of meeting a hospitable reception from his brethren in the faith, so any one belonging to the sect of the Catharists, when recommended by one of their communities, might expect to meet with a kind reception everywhere among the Catharists. Let him travel in Italy, or in South France, he was sure of finding everywhere, whatever he needed in abundance …In particular, the perfects, when on their travels were received into the houses of all believers with great respect. The inmates thrice bowed the knee to receive their blessing. The members of the sect in the whole place speedily assembled at the house where they…
* Neander' s Hist. Chr. Ch., vol. 4, p. 566.
l Idem, p. 570.
…were entertained, and perhaps others also, who were not liable to be suspected as informers, were invited to hear them preach and expound the scriptures …In South France, they took in the daughters of indigent noblemen and educated them.”1
There is no more reason to believe that the reports of their holding absurd doctrines are reliable than there is that the slanders on their character are reliable; and Neander says: “The most absurd reports of unnatural excesses and other abominations, said to be committed in the secret assemblies of the sect, were spread among the multitude; accusations similar to those brought against the primitive Christians…and such as are wont to be repeated against all opponents of a dominant religion.”2
As an illustration of how history has begun to do that noble people justice, I quote: “The liturgy lately discovered by Kunitz dates from the close of the thirteenth century and gives a more favorable opinion of them than has been formerly entertained.”3 This was since Mosheim and others who have given such credit to the Romish slanders on this people wrote. In their zeal against Church Perpetuity, Vedder and Armitage credit those foul aspersions without so much as intimating there is another side to the question.
In church government they were clearly Baptists, as appears from Hase: “In the midst of a people thus professing to be filled with the spirit, and whose pope was the Holy Ghost himself, none of the existing officers of the church could exercise any of their hierarchal…
1 Idem, p. 584.
2 Idem, p. 586.
3 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 455.
…prerogatives.”1 Schmidt says: “Their ritual and ecclesiastical organization were exceedingly simple.”2
In the following accounts appear not only their Baptist church government but other Baptist marks.
Robinson, than whom there is no bettor authority, says of them: “It is remarkable that in the examination of these people, they are not taxed with any immoralities, but were condemned for speculations, or rather for virtuous rules af action, which all informers accounted heresies. They said: 'A Christian church ought to consist of only good people; a church has no power to frame any constitution; it was not right to take oaths; it was not lawful to kill mankind; a man ought not to be delivered up to officers of justice to be converted; the benefits of society belonged alike to all the members of it, faith alone could not save a man,' (faith which had not the spirit of obedience) 'the church ought not to persecute any, even the wicked; the church cannot excommunicate;' (that is in the Romish sense of cursing) 'the law of Moses was no rule to Christians;'1 (no infant baptism or seventh day observance) 'there was no need of priests, especially of wicked ones; the sacraments and orders and ceremonies of the church of Rome were futile, expensive, oppressive and wicked; with many more such positions, all inimical to the hierarchy. In these reasons and rules they all agreed, but in speculations they widely differed.'”3
Thus, as Baptists to-day do, this people rejected the whole heresy of there being sacraments (sacraments mean saving ceremonies), priesthood, church and State persecution, legislating for the church of Christ and of an un converted…
1 Hase's Hist. Chr. Ch., p. 252.
2 Schaff-Herzog Ency., vol. l, p. 421.
3 Robinson's Eccl. Resh., pp. 407, 408.
…membership. Robinson continues: “As the Catholics of those times baptized by immersion, the Paterines by what name soever they were called…made no complaint of the mode of baptizing; but when they were examined they objected vehemently against the baptism of infants and condemned it as an error. They said, among other things, that a child knew nothing of the matter, that it had no desire to be baptized, and was incapable of making any confession of faith, and that the willing and confessing of another could be of no service to him. 'Here then,' says Dr. Allix, very truly, 'we have found a body of men in Italy, before the year 1026, 500 years before the Reformation, who believed contrary to the opinions of the church of Rome, and who condemned their errors.' Atio, bishop of Vercelli, had complained of such people eighty years before, and so had others before him, and there is the highest reason to believe they had always been in Italy. …Errors most gross are laid to their charge, but they scent strongly of fable. …The adjacency of France and Spain, too, contribute to their increase, for both abounded with Christians of their sort. Their churches were divided into sixteen compartments, such as the English Baptists would call associations. Each of these was subdivided into parts, which would here be called churches or congregations. In Milan there was a street called Pataria, where it is supposed they met for divine worship. At Modena they assembled at some water mills. They had houses at Ferrara, Brescia, Viterbo, Verona, Vicenza and several in Rimini, Romandolia, and other places. One of their principal churches was that of Concorezzo, in the Milanese, and the members of churches in these associations were more than fifteen hundred. Their houses where they met seem to have been hired by the people, and tenanted by one of the brethren. There were several in each city, and each was distinguished by a mark known only by themselves. They had three, some say four, suits or officers; the first were teachers, called bishops. John de Casaloto was the resident teacher at Mantua; Albert and Bonaventura Belasmagra, at Verona; Lorenzo or Lawrence at Sermione. The second are called quaestors, and by some, elders and younger sons; here they would be named teaching elders or deacons. The third were messengers, that is, men employed in traveling to administer to the relief and comfort of the poor and persecuted. In times of persecution they met in small companies of eight, twenty, thirty, or as it happened, but never in larger assemblies for fear of consequences. † The different associations held different doctrines but they were all united in opinion against the whole of popery, and in perfect agreement among themselves on the great leading points above mentioned. …The Paterines were decent in their deportment, modest in their dress and discourse, and their morals were irreproachable. In their conversation there was no levity, no scurrility, no detraction, no falsehood, no swearing. Their dress was neither fine nor mean. They were chaste and temperate, never frequenting * taverns or places of public amusement. They were not given to anger and other violent passions. They were not eager to accumulate wealth, but were content with a plain plenty of the necessaries of life. They avoided commerce because they thought it would expose…
† The smallness of these meetings is partly what renders It as difficult for the historian to find them and trace their history as it was for their persecutors to find them.
* With them taverns were saloons. Let all our churches enforce the same
rule. The man who thinks he can be a member at a saloon or a theater or
horse racing, etc., and a true member o£ the church at the same time is a
shame on Christianity.”
…them to the temptation of collusion, falsehood and oaths; and they chose to live by labor or handicraft. They were always employed in spare hours in giving as receiving instructions. † …About the year 1040 the Paterines had become very numerous and conspicuous in Milan, which was their principal residence, and here they flourished at least two hundred years. They had no connection with the church for they rejected not only Jerome of Syra, Augustine of Africa, and Gregory of Rome, but Ambrose of Milan, and they considered them as all other pretended fathers and corrupters of Christianity. They particularly condemned Pope Sylvester as the anti-Christ, the son of perdition.”1 To the report made by Bonacursi, a traitor from their ranks, that they said “the devil wrote the Old Testament,” Robinson well retorts: “He should have said, he expounded it, for this was their meaning'' — alluding to its use by the Romish church.2
Alluding to the Romish church, Robinson says; “The Paterines let the church alone, constantly affirming the sufficiency of Scriptures, the competency of each to reform himself, the right of all, even women, to teach; and openly disclaiming any manner of coercion.”
These three kinds of offices, mentioned, by Robinson in the foregoing account, corresponded substantially to Baptist church offices, thus: their first, to settled pastors; their second, to deacons; their third, to various kinds of traveling ministers — different functions of two offices.
“They maintained church discipline, even on their ministers, as examples are recorded.”3
† That Baptists do not now always thus improve their time is but to be deplored.
1 Roblnson's Eccl. Resh., pp. 408-411.
2 Robinson's Eccl. Resh., p. 415.
3 Benedict's Hist. Bap., p. 20.
They were Baptists on the doctrine of election and “appealed to the texts in the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, employed by others also in proof of the doctrine of unconditional predestination.” Like Baptists they said; “We perform a miracle when we convert a man to God; then we drive out from him the evil spirits.”2
Kurtz says: “Even their opponents admitted their deep and moral earnestness.”3 “It was by means of the Paterines,” says another historian, “that the truth was preserved in the dioceses of Milan and Turin. …They are also freed from the baleful charge of Manichaeism.”
Nor can their differences of “speculations,” in the least, make them different from Baptists, since Baptists, freely allow such differences in their churches. Leaving out little variations, consequent on individual peculiarities, and the times in which they, this people, were Baptists, Robinson says: “It appears highly credible that this kind of people, Paterines, continued there till the Reformation.”4 No historian being able to show that they ceased to exist, this completes the Baptist Perpetuity line, through the Anabaptists, to the present.
1 Meanders' Hist. Chr. Ch., vol. 4, p. 568.
2 Idem, p. 569.
3 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 454.
4 Eccl. Kesh, p. 417