THE WALDENSES .
Of the twelfth century, Mosheim says: “Of all the sects that arose in this century none were more distinguished by the reputation it acquired, by the multitude of its votaries, and the testimony which its bitterest enemies bore to the probity and innocence of its members, than that of the Waldenses. …This sect was known by different denominations.''1
Prof. William Whitsitt, D. D., of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said, the Waldenses joined the Catharists.2 The Catharists, in previous articles, we have seen, were Paulicians, Albigenses, etc.
Prof. Whitsitt has conveniently divided the Waldensian history into two periods. The first from the origin of the term Waldenses to the Reformation; the second, during and since the Reformation. Prof. Whitsitt says that no doubt the Waldenses altered their opinions under Luther's influence. Until we come to Anabaptist history we are concerned only with the first period of Waldensian history.
To unravel much entanglement in their history and to prevent further entanglement, it is probably well to here introduce Mosheim's statement: “It is, however, to he observed that the Waldenses were not without other intestine divisions. Such of them as lived in Italy differed considerably in their opinions from those who dwelt in France…
1 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 12, part 2, ch.5, sec. 11.
2 MS. Leet.
…and other European nations. The former considered the church of Rome as the church of Christ, though much corrupted and sadly disfigured. They acknowledged, moreover, the validity of the seven sacraments, and solemnly declared they would always continue in communion with it, provided they might be allowed to live as they thought proper, without molestation or constraint. The latter affirmed, on the contrary, that the church of Rome had apostatized from Christ, was deprived from the Holy Spirit, and was, in reality, the whore of Babylon mentioned in the Revelation of St. John.”1
Prof. A. H. Newman makes about the same distinction. 2
Another thing may be well remembered: The party of Waldenses which first, in a great measure, agreed with Rome, would gradually, by study of the Scriptures and the influence of more evangelical parties, become more Scriptural. Herein lies the explanation of Kurtz's statement, that “their dogmatic views underwent a complete change,” and that the time when they received the “doctrine of justification by faith alone, commenced about the time of Huss.”3 Huss, in the main, in principle, was a Baptist.4
As Hase remarks: “The Waldensians. …were connected with the Hussites by fraternal ties.”5 The views of Wickliffe, who was in principle, at least, a Baptist, must have had a great influence, too, over the erroneous Waldensians.
Dorner says that in the Waldenses “the Christian ground ideas” were “long propagated incorrupt.”6
1 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 12, part 2, ch. 5, sec. 13.
2 Bap. Quart. Rev. for July, 1885.
3 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 460.
4 Hase's Hist. Chr. Ch., pp. 347, 348.
5 Idem, p. 510.
6 Dorner's Hist. Per. Christ., vol. l, div. l, p. 94.
A Dominican, named Rainer Saccho, of the Waldenses, acknowledged: “While other sects were profane and blasphemous, this retains the utmost show of piety; they live justly before men, and believe nothing respecting God which is not good; only they blaspheme against the Romish church and the clergy, and thus gain many followers.”1 To multiply like testimonies to the godly character and the right views of the Waldenses, to the weariness of my readers, is an easy thing. Hence, several Protestant bodies have tried to make out ecclesiastical kinship to the Waldenses; not by way of proving Succession from them, but identity of faith.
Whether or not we recognize Mosheim's Italian and French distinction between the different Waldenses, there is so much evidence that, in this period, there were parties of different characters, known as Waldenses, that we must recognize different beliefs and practices among them. This will readily harmonize the different documents, showing some Waldenses of this period remained in the church of Rome; some separated from it; some were never in it; some may have had infant baptism and other Romish trumpery, while most of them were Baptistic.
I now invite the reader to the proof that part of the Waldenses were Baptists.
(1.) They were Baptists in that they believed only in a professedly regenerate church membership. In article 12 of the Waldensian Confession, dated by Sir Samuel Morland, A. D. 1120 — an eminent authority on Waldensian history — we read, of the ordinances: “We regard it as proper and even necessary that believers use these symbols as visible forms when it can be done.”2 In their Confession of 1144 they thus reiterate this confession:
1 Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 290.
2 Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 333.
…“We believe there is one holy church, comprising the whole assembly of the elect and faithful. …In the church it behooves all Christians to have fellowship.” Using the symbols for only believers, and stating the church is a “holy” church, “comprising the elect and faithful” — comprising “Christians”— clearly and inevitably imply the Waldenses were Baptists.l That the Waldenses believed in a professedly regenerate membership is also certain from their rejecting infant baptism. (See proof farther on of their rejecting infant baptism.)
(2.) The Waldenses were Baptists in that they practiced only immersion. To all who are familiar with
church history it is well known there was no affusion till the middle of the third century, and that from that time to the Reformation immersion was the rule and affusion allowed only in cases of sickness — called “clinic baptism.” Thus the Prayer Book of 1549 says: “If the child be weak it shall suffice to pour upon it.” While “clinic baptism” was practiced by the Romish church it was never sanctioned by any council until sanctioned by the council of Ravenna, A. D. 1311. We have seen that that the Waldenses affiliated with the Hussites; and Erasmus wrote of them: “The Hussites renounced all rites and ceremonies of the Catholic church; they ridicule our doctrine and practices in both the sacraments; they deny orders (the hierarchy) and elect officers from among the laity; they receive no other rule than the Bible; they admit none into their communion until they are dipped in water, or baptized; and they reckon one another without distinction or rank to be called brothers and sisters.”2 Living in an age in which immersion was the universal law and the custom, and in which affusion ,was only…
1 Art. 4.
2 Ivimey's Hist. Bap., vol. 1, p. 70.
…allowed for sick infants, and in, possibly, a very few cases for sick adults, and then to save from hell, and practicing only believer's baptism, rejecting, as we will see, water salvation, that the Waldenses were Baptists as to the action of baptism is the inevitable conclusion. Hence, Armitage says; “They believed and practiced immersion only.”1 Mezeray says: “In the twelfth century they (Waldenses) plunged the candidate in the sacred font.”2
(3.) The Waldenses were Baptists as to the design of baptism. In their Confession of A. D. 1120, just quoted, the Waldenses say: “We consider the sacraments as signs of holy things, or as the visible emblems of invisible blessings. We regard it as proper and ever necessary that believers use these symbols or visible forms when it can be done. Notwithstanding, we maintain that believers may be saved without these signs, when they have neither place nor opportunity of observing them.”3 In their Confession of 1544, they say: “We believe that in the ordinance of baptism the water is the visible and external sign, which represents to us that which by virtue of God's invisible operations is within us, namely, the renovation of our minds and the mortification of our members through the faith of Jesus Christ. And by this ordinance we are received into the congregation of God's people, previously professing and declaring our faith and changed life.”4 As Baptists do now, taking the ordinances for mere signs of grace which is already in the heart and for only believers or Christians, Armitage well says: “They rejected the error of regeneration by baptism.”5 Hence,…
l Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 305,
2 Hist. France, cent. 12, p. 288—quoted.
3 Art. 12, in Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 333.
4 Art. 7, in Junes' Ch. Hist., p. 335.
5 Armitage's Bap. Hist.,p. 305.
…in the Waldensian tract, describing anti-Christ, they say: “A third mark of anti-Christ consists in this, in that he attributes the regeneration of the Holy Spirit unto the mere external rite, baptizing infants in that faith, teaching that thereby baptism and regeneration must be had; on which principle he bestows orders, and, indeed, grounds all his Christianity, which is contrary to the mind of the Holy Spirit.” † Leaving out infant baptism, this, condemned, is also a good picture of Campbellism.
(4.) The Waldenses agreed with Baptists in that while they said: “Particles of faith the authority of the Holy Scriptures is the highest; and for that reason is the standard of judging,”1 they said we “agree with the general Confession of Faith,”2 etc. They believed in Confessions of Faith as useful in making known their faith. Hence I have the opportunity of just quoting from two of their Confessions. In their trial before a court, they said: “But according to the decree of the court it is upon our Confession of Faith that we ought to be examined.” As a result of this examination, showing the utility of Confessions of Faith, the examiner said: “I have not only found this paper conformable to the Holy Scripture, but, moreover, I have learned to understand them better during these two or three days, than during all the rest of my life.” To this the Romish prelate, impliedly accusing the examiner of being led over to Waldensian belief, said: “You are under the influence of the devil.” On which Muston remarks: “The councillor withdrew; and as we shall not meet with him again in the course of this history, it may here be added that this circumstance led him to search the Scriptures still more than he had…
† Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 338.
1 Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 333.
2 Idem, p. 336.
…yet done, and that a year after he went to Geneva, where he embraced Protestantism. Had the Confession of Faith of the Vaudois churches produced only that result, there is enough of good in the conversion and salvation of one immortal soul to make us regard it with feelings of satisfaction, whatever temporal misfortunes may have ensued from it.”1
(5.) The Waldenses were Baptists as to the operation of the Holy Spirit. Article III of their Confession of A. D. 1544 reads: “We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, proceeding from the Father and the Son, by whose inspiration we are taught to pray; being by Him renewed in the spirit of our minds; who creates us anew* unto good works, and from whom we recover the knowledge of the truth.”2
(6.) From the foregoing they agreed with Baptists on depravity. The new creation inevitably implies “total depravity,” otherwise no need of the mighty power of the Spirit and the new creation in saving a soul. †
(7.) Instead of believing in weekly communion they held the Baptist position, that the New Testament does not set the observance of the supper for every Lord's day. Says Armitage: “Herzog” says “certain of the Waldensians 'met every year for the observance.'”3
(8.) The Waldenses agreed with Baptists in the doctrines of salvation by grace and justification by faith only. In their belief in the new creation of the soul by…
* People do not work to be created anew or saved; but they are saved in order to work, as this article declares.—See Eph. 2:10.
† By “total depravity” Baptists do not mean inability to pay honest debts, to tell the truth, to be kind and charitable, and other such acts. But all they mean by the phrase Is : Until “created anew in Christ Jesus,” no sinner has any love to God in his heart or any holiness. Compare Job 11:12; 14:1 4; Psa. 51:5; 58:35; Isa. 48:8; 64:6; Jer. l7:9; Prov. 28:26, Gen. 6:5; 8:21, Matt. 15:19; John 3:6; Eph. 2:3; John 8:44; Matt. 23:27-28; Rom. 7:18; Isa. 1:6; Rom. 3:10-18.
1 Israel of the Alps, vol. 1, p. 61.
2 Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 335.
3 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 309.
…the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, and their rejection of sacramental regeneration, as just proved, this is manifest.
(9.) The Waldenses were Baptists as to the doctrinal of Election.
Prof. A. A. Hodge, D. D., of Princeton Theological Seminary, says: “The Martyrology of Calvinism is preeminent in the history of the entire church. We call to witness John Huss and Jerome, of Prague, who perished for their adherence to the faith over one hundred years before Luther.”1
“The Waldenses, of whom were the slaughtered saints, whose 'bones lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold'; the victims of the reign of 'Bloody Mary,' John Rogers and Hooper, Farras, Ridley. …were all Calvinists.”2
“The Lollards, another name for the Waldenses, the followers of Wickliffe, in the fourteenth century, were all of the general school of St. Augustine.”3
(10.) The Waldenses were Baptists in rejecting infant baptism.
From the extracts, under a previous head, given from their Confessions, that they rejected infant baptism is evident. Notice the words of Article XI, of their Confession of 1120: “We regard it as proper and even necessary that believers use these symbols.”* Their Confession, of 1544, says in Article VII: “We believe, in the ordinance of baptism the water is the visible and external sign which represents to us that which by virtue of God's invisible operation, is within us. …and by this ordinance we are received into the holy congregation of God's people, previously professing and declaring our…
* Jones' Ch. Hist, p. 833.
1 Johnson's Ency., vol. 1, p. 733.
2 Idem, Ibid.
3 Idem, p. 734.
…faith and change of life.”1 These articles are almost verbatim the present articles of Baptist faith, and the present Baptist articles are as much in accord with infant baptism as they are.
In the Waldensian tract against anti-Christ, said to have been written about the middle of the twelfth century, the Waldenses say of “anti-Christ:” “He teaches to baptize children into the faith, and attributes to this the work of regeneration.”2
Evervinus, of Stanfield, is said to have complained to Bernard, Abbot of Clairval, that Cologne was infested with Waldensian heretics who denied baptism to infants.3
Petrus Cluniacenis, or Peter the Abbot of Clugny, wrote against them; and among the errors he imputes to them are these: “That infants are not baptized, or saved by the faith of another, but ought to be baptized and saved by their own faith …and that those that are baptized in infancy, when grown up, should be baptized again …rather rightly baptized.”4
Wall says: “They speak that baptism does no good to infants, and because they cannot profess faith.”5 “Ermengendus, a great man in the church, charges the Waldenses with denying infant baptism.”6 The Waldenses were condemned in conference at Alibi, when the Bishop of Lyons, to convince them of their error, produced what were considered proofs of infant baptism, and tried to solve their objections from infants wanting faith, without which they said it was impossible to please God.” †
† Allixs' Ch. Albig., ch. 15, p. 133, quoted.
1 Jonea' Ch. Hist., p. 336.
2 Idem, p. 338.
3 Allixs' Ch. Pied., ch. 16, p. 140.
4 Ivimey's Hist. Eng. Bap., vol. 1, pp. 20, 21.
5 Wall's Hist. Inf. Bap., vol. 2, p. 250, 0xford ed.
6 Danvers on Bap., p. 298, quoted.
Alanus Magnus states that they denied baptism to children. He disputes their views and refutes their
The Waldenses admitted the catechumen! after an exact instruction, a long fast in which the church united, to witness to them the concern they took in their conversion, and a confession of sins in token of contrition. The newly baptized were, the same day, admitted to the eucharist, with all the brethren and sisters present. †† Thus they, like Baptists, first instructed; second, baptized; third, being' in the church, admitted them to the supper † believers' baptism and “close communion.”
The Ordibarians, or Waldenses, say that baptism does no good to infants, unless they are perfected, by instruction first, in that sect. 2
“A catechism emanating from the Waldenses, during the thirteenth century, has no allusion to infant baptism. It says of the church catholic, that it is the elect of God, through the merits of Christ, gathered together by the Holy Spirit, and foreordained * to eternal life.”3
Montanus is quoted as saying: “The Waldenses, in the public declaration of their faith to the French king, in the year 1521, assert in the strongest terms the baptizing of believers and denying that of infants.”
Robinson says: “They hold on to the baptism of only believers, and the right of private judgment, in which they all agreed.”4 “There is no positive proof, there can be none, that they baptized their babes.”5 Speaking of a…
† Allix's Ch. Fled., ch.2, pp. 7-8—quoted.
† This is Baptist” Close Communion.”
* Election vs. Arminianism.
1 Allixs' Ch. Pied., ch. 16, p. 146, quoted.
2 Wall's Hist. Inf. Bap., vol. 2: p. 254, Oxford ed.
3 Gilly's Nar. App., p. 12— quoted.
4 Robinson's Eccl. Resh., p. 446.
5 Idem, p. 71.
…liturgy of certainly very high antiquity” among the Waldenses, Robinson says: “In this liturgy there is no office for the baptism of children, nor the least hint of pouring and sprinkling; on the contrary there is a directory for making a Christian of a pagan before baptism †…preparatory to baptism.” This creed runs thus: “You are about to hear the creed, therefore, today, for without that neither can Christ be announced, nor can you exercise faith, nor can baptism be administered”1 “While baptism was left to the choice of the people it was not administered to babes.”2
Cardinal Hossius, who presided at the council of Trent, and made a history of the heresies of his own times, says the Waldenses, “rejected infant baptism and re-baptized all who embraced their sentiments.”3
Bellarmine, a Catholic writer of repute, is said to have “acknowledged the Waldenses to have held that only adults ought to be baptized.”4 Article XXIX of the Waldensian Confession of 1635, says: “That God has ordained the sacrament of baptism to be a testimonial to our adoption, and of our being cleansed from our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ and renewed in holiness of life.”5
The modern Waldenses are Pedobaptists. An eminent historian says: “This confession is altered by the Protestants of the valleys, which may be seen by a comparison of the above with a confession in Peyrins' historical Defense, edited by Rev. T. Sims, 1826, sec. …
† Had they been of Campbellite belief they would have tried to make Christians by baptism.
1 Idem, pp. 473-474.
2 Idem, p. 475.
3 Hosslus' Letters, Apud Opera, pp. 112, 213—quoted.
4 Facts Op. to Fic., p. 42—quoted.
5 Gilly's Nar., app., p. 12—quoted.
…27, p. 463.” Baxter did refer to a Waldensian Confession of 1176 for infant baptism, but Wall admits the Catholics forced that out of them under threats, and says: “It is a wonder Mr. Baxter would urge it.”1 Perrin endeavored to make infant baptism appear among the earlier Waldenses by quoting a catechism of early date. But Wall, virtually, gives that up when he says: “But what date that catechism is I know not.”2
Says W. W. Everts, Jr., one of the highest authorities on the subject: “The creed of the Bohemian Waldenses, published in 1532, quoted by Starck, is equally explicit on this point of dispute, saying: “It is as clear as day that infant baptism does no good.”3 “The same is true of the English Waldenses …for according to the testimony of the chronicler, Thomas Waldenses, they acknowledged but two sacraments and administered baptism only to adults.”4 Rechinius affirms that “in their opinion baptism was neither necessary nor useful to infants.”4 “In the full statement of Waldensian doctrine and practice made to Ecolampadius, the reformer of Basle, by George Maurel, a delegate from the old reformers to the new …he says that sometimes, to avoid detection, Waldensian parents offered their children to the Catholic priest to be baptized. The most natural inference is, that though they did not believe in infant baptism, rather than suffer unnecessary persecution they allowed it.”5
Ludwig Keller, a very late, careful and original investigator (Lutheran) of highest authority, says: “Very…
1 Wall's Hist. Inf. Bap., vol. 2, p. 288, Oxford ed.
2 Idem, vol. 2, p. 403, Oxford ed.
3 Church in the Wilderness, pp. 46, 47, a 10-cent pamphlet published by Am. Bap. Pub. Soc.; a work you should get and scatter everywhere.
4 Idem, p. 46.
5 Idem, pp. 46,47.
…many Waldenses considered, as we know accurately, the baptism oh (profession of) faith to be that form which is conformable to the words and example of Christ. They held this to be the sign of a good* conscience with God, and it was certain to them that it had no value only as such.”1 As Vedder properly observes: “This belief would logically exclude infant baptism.”1 Keller says: “Mostly they let their children be baptized, yet with the reservation that this ceremony was null and void.'“ l Probably by Romish priests the baptism was done. Keller farther says: “The Waldensians ever held to the baptism upon faith; wherever they omitted it, it was owing to the stress of painful circumstances.” “Throughout the fifteenth century, up to 1536, they observed the baptism of adults as a *sign and seal of covenant 'twixt good * conscience and God.”2 To this Dr. Grimmell on Keller's authority, adds: “At different times, in different parts of Europe, their trial reveals that they held to baptism in adult years and upon a profession of fellowship with Jesus.”2
Peter Vecembecius, in an oration delivered in the academy of Jenna in 1585, on the Waldenses and Albigenses, said they caused their men to be baptized. Perrin, a Pedobaptist historian of the Waldenses, whom Todd and other Pedobaptist scholars have convicted of otherwise distorting Waldensian history, substituted for “hominess baptizari,” “saisoyent baptizer leures enfans,” thus making Vecembecius testify they practiced infant baptism!
*As the Waldenses regarded baptism a “sign” of our salvation, to be obeyed only by those of a “good conscience”—compare 1 Pet. 3:21, where baptism is seen to be for only those of a “good conscience,” and Hist. 9:l4; 10:22, by which you will see that only the blood wasted have a good conscience-that they had no leading to the Romish-Campbellite baptism salvation is certain.
1 In Vedder's Bap. Hist., p. 71.
2 Quoted by J. C. Grimmell, D. D., in Am. Bap.
Because Jones, in his Church History, quotes this as it is, in the Campbell and Rice Debate, Rice tried to convict Jones of purposely perverting testimony! Pope, a Congregationalist, in his debate with McGuire, a Romish priest, correctly quoted it, sustaining Jones and convicting Perrin. But until Dr. S. H. Ford, a few years ago, from the British Museum, copied the original of this oration, there was some question as to who had falsified history. But Perrin is now convicted as basely perverting history, to prove the Waldenses practiced baby baptism — a thing which would have been unnecessary had there been sufficient other evidence to prove it. Armitage: “Almost all the Roman Catholic writers agree with Cardinal Hossius, who says the 'Waldenses rejected infant baptism.'”l
Addis and Arnold declare of them: “As to baptism they said that washing of infants was of no avail to them.” Armitage adds: “This impression is deepened by the fact that Farrel, Ecolampadius and others at the time of…
1 Armitage's Bap. Hist., pp. 302, 303.
…the Reformation, made strenuous efforts to convince the Waldenses of Eastern Dauphine and Savoy of the righteousness of infant baptism.”1
Ermengard, about A. D. 1192: “They pretend that this sacrament cannot be conferred, except upon those who demand it with their own lips, hence they infer the other error, that baptism does not profit infants who receive it.”1
Stephen of Barbone, A. D. 1225, says: “One argument of their error is, that baptism does not profit little children to their salvation, who have neither the motive nor the act of faith, as it is said in the latter part of Mark, he who will not believe will be condemned.”1
Pseudo Reinerius, A. D. 1230-1250, concerning baptism they say “the catechism is of no value. Again, that the washing that is given to infants is of no value. Again, that the sponsors do not understand what they answer to the priest. They do not regard compaternity, i. e., the relation of sponsors.”1
Moneta, the Dominican, who wrote before A. D. 1240: “They maintain the nullity of the baptism of infants.” Hahn, in quoting Moneta, makes him say: “These heretics charge that the Roman Catholic church baptizes first and teaches afterward, while the church of Christ taught at first before baptizing; also, that Christ and his Apostles never baptized any one without faith and reason.”1
One of the Austrian inquisitors: “Concerning baptism some err in saying that little children are not saved by baptism, for the Lord says, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”1
1 Armitage's Bap. Hist., pp. 302-303.
David of Augusburg, A. D. 1256-1272: “They say that a man is then truly for the first time baptized, when he is brought into their heresy.”1
Drs. Ypeij and Dermont, two of the ablest and most eminent Pedobaptist scholars of Holland, who made this subject a matter of years' research in the archives of Europe, say: “The Baptists who were in former times called Anabaptists …were the original Waldenses.”2
Robert Baird, in his “The Waldenses,” says: “But it is due to candor to say, that we deem it quite probable, if not certain, though we have never examined this point with much care, that there were other branches of the Waldenses, for they were numerous, which did neither hold nor practice infant baptism. It would be difficult upon any other hypothesis to account/or the opinion, confidently maintained and, without doubt, most honestly too, by the excellent brethren who reject pedo-baptism, that the Waldenses were Baptists.”3
Henry S. Burrage: “Certain it is that some of the Waldensians, how many we cannot say, but doubtless they were not few, adopted early in the thirteenth century the views of other separatists who were antipedobaptists.''4
Fusslin: “They not only reject infant baptism, but highly esteem baptism itself.''5
“There were in Switzerland Waldensians who rejected infant baptism.”6
1 Armitage's Bap. Hist., pp. 302-303.
2 Gercheid. d. Nederl. Hervormde Kert, t. i., 1819, p. 148 in William R, Williams' Lect. on Bap. Hist., p. 172.
3 Note to p. 398, of his Waldenses.
4 In Bap. Quart. Rev. vol. 9, No. 3, p. 356.
5 Kirch. u. Ketz. Hist., vol. 1, p. 462—in Bap. Quart. Rev. vol. 9, No. 3, p. 356.
6 Idem, in Bap. Quart. Rev., vol. 9, No. 3, p. 357.
Fusslin: “The Anabaptists were not wrong, therefore, when they say that anabaptism was no new thing. The Wa.ldensia.ns had practiced it before them.”1
Of Waldo and the Waldenses, Samuel M. Schmucker says: “One of the most prominent doctrines which he and his followers believed was the impropriety of the baptism of infants and the necessity of immersion to the validity of any baptism.”2
Mosheim says of the Baptists: “It may be observed …that they are not entirely mistaken when they
boast of their descent from the Waldenses and the Petrobrussians.”3 But if the Waldenses were adherents of infant baptism the Baptists could not have descended from them.
The Baptists “appear supported by history in considering themselves the descendents of the Waldenses.”4
Limborch: “To speak candidly what I think of all the modern sects of Christians, the Dutch Baptists mostly resemble the Albigenses and the Waldenses.”5
Ludo Vives, who wrote in the sixteenth century, having observed that “formerly no person was brought to the holy baptistry till he was of adult age, and when he had both understood what the mystical water meant, and desired to be washed in it; yea, desired it more than once,” alluding, presumably, to the Waldenses, adds: “I hear in some cities in Italy the old custom is still in a great * measure preserved.”6
*See Comment, in Aug. de Civ. Del., Lib. I., c. 27.
1 Idem, in Bap. Quart. Rev., vol. 9, No. 3, p. 358.
2 Schmucker's Hist. of All Religions, pp. 37, 38, 39.
3 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, sec. 3, chap. 3, 2.
4 New Royal Encyclopedia.
5 Limborch's Hist. Inquis.—in Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 358.
6 Ivimey's Bap. Hist., vol. 1, p. 29.
In an old Waldensian tract we read: “Those that believed they baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”1
Prof. George P. Fisher, D. D.: “There had been opposition to infant baptism in earlier days among the Waldenses and other sects.”2
I have quoted this overwhelming amount of testimony because Pedobaptists, to prove the Waldenses did not hold to only believers' baptism, have made a desperate fight. Possibly some Waldenses who had just come out of the Romish church, or who were yet within it — who were never of the original Waldenses, which had continued from apostolic times — may have been adherents of infant baptism. Possibly, to avoid the fiery ordeal of persecution, having no faith in it and thinking it would be harmless to their children, some Waldensian parents consented to have their children baptized, † But that infant baptism was generally detested by the ancient Waldenses is certainly, in this chapter, demonstrated.
The Waldensians of the Reformation and the Post Reformation period, by the reformers, were converted from only believers' baptism. Says Armitage: “A great council of the Waldensians was held at Angrogna, in Savoy, 1532, to which the Swiss Protestants sent Farel and Olivetan, and then a new departure was taken. Henceforth the Piedmontese Waldensians were joined to the Swiss Protestant Pedobaptists.”3
Robert Baird says of modern Waldenses: “That there was a falling off in relation to sound doctrine towards the close of the last century, and in the beginning of the present, cannot be denied. This was brought about by…
† Just as in our own age, to have peace at home. Baptist wives of Pedobaptists have carried their children to church to have them sprinkled.
1 Idem, page 26.
2 Fisher's Hist. Chr. Ch., p. 424.
3 Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 304.
…the influence of Geneva and Lausanne, especially the I former, whither the Waldenses have been in the habit of sending their young men to pursue their studies for the I ministry. When Calvin established the academy at Geneva provision was made for the education of two students from the valleys. At Lausanne provision was made for five in the academy or university of that city. In consequence of this there have always been seven Waldensian students of theology prosecuting their studies in those institutions during the last three hundred years.”1
In church government the Waldenses were essentially Baptists. Gieseler speaks of “their anti hierarchal system.”2 “The Catholic hierarchy and its pretensions to a mediatorial character, ordained of God, they rejected.”3 To reconcile Gieseler's statement, that they may have had some kind of bishops, with their being anti-hierarchal, it is only necessary to remember that they used the term bishop as Baptists use it — a term they, like the Baptists, rarely used — and that some Waldenses, who were just coming out of Rome, probably had bishops.*
Dr. Lord: “They have had a ministry of their own, consisting only of presbyters and deacons.”4 Lord farther says: “It has held, professed and vindicated the great doctrines of the Bible: (1.) That God has the sole right to legislate in respect to his worship. (2.) That the Scriptures are the only authoritative rule of faith. (3.) That Christ is the only redeemer. (4.) That yet it is by the RENEWING agency of the Spirit alone that men are led to repentance, faith and love. (5.) That neither…
* Remember that the names of these dissenters were applied to persons coming out of the Romish church as well as to the churches, known by that name, which were older than it.
l Baird's Wald., pp. 396, 397; also Dr. Whitsitt's MS. Lect., et mul. at.
2 Gieseler's Ch. Hist , vol. 2, p. 587.
3 Idem, p. 589—note.
4 Apoc., chap. 11.
…rulers nor ecclesiastics have any right to oppress and persecute …(6.) It has disowned alike the authority of the civil magistrate and the nationalized church to dictate its faith and worship. They obstinately maintained that nothing that is not expressly commanded by Christ. or taught by the Apostles can ever be constituted alone by those of latter ages, though decreed even by synods, inasmuch as the latter church has no legislative authority.”1
Muston says of the Waldenses: “‘In place of priests and cures,' says a Catholic of that country, 'they had, ministers, who, under the names of Barbas, presided in flush: secret religious conventicles. However, as they were seen to be quiet and reserved, and as they faithfully paid their taxes, tithes and seigneural dues, and were, moreover, very industrious, they were not disturbed upon the subject of their practices and doctrines’”2 Waldenses in the fifteenth century, Muston says: “The right was granted them of combining themselves into one or more independent communities, of naming their own rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical.”3 As proof that their ministers were controlled by no higher authority than the church, in one of their general meetings, in the sixteenth century, they say: “ The ministry of the word of God ought not to wander about, nor to change their residences, unless it shall be for the good of the church.”4
Says Robert Baird: “There is nothing in the organization or action of these churches that in the slightest degree savors of prelacy. And, in answer to our inquiries on this subject, the pastors have, without exception, stated that prelacy has never existed in these valleys;…
2 Israel of the Alps, vol. l, p. 54.
3 Idem. p. 74.
4 Idem. p. 99.
…and that such has ever been the uniform opinion of their ancestors, so far as it has been handed down to them. As to their bishops, spoken of in some of their early writings, they believe that they were nothing more than pastors. They say what is undeniable, that their histories speak continually of their barbes, as being their religious teachers and guides, but that the word bishop is hardly ever met with.”1
Reinerius says of the sect in general; “They say the bishops, clergy and other religious orders are no better than the scribes and Pharisees.”2 As Armitage remarks: “This relates to character, however, but they did not despise a true Christian ministry, for the same writer, who was a resident of Lombardy, says there they had 'elders.' Yet, there is nothing to show that they had any order of ministers amongst them as a universal thing; or even regularly located pastors, as we should deem them. They had barbes, or preachers, but on the principle of the seventy disciples which Jesus sent forth two by two. These were not divided into orders, but into three moral classes, from which the mistake has arisen concerning an episcopal form of church government.”3
Of them Preger, than whom there is no higher authority, says that all “ecclesiastical authority was vested in the congregation, so that there was no room for bishops,”4 “Reinerius represents them as holding that all men in Christ's church stand on an exact parity.”3
Armitage says: “In this fraternity of preachers, in the absence of orders, distinction was made between them as major and minor. This arose from the custom of…
l The Waldenses, by Baird, pp. 389,390,346, 347.
2 Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 305.
3 Idem, p. 304.
4 Idem, p. 305.
…sending them out in twos, a young man and an elder, that the younger might learn from the elder.”1 This may explain Mosheim's statement, that “The government of the church was committed by the Waldenses to bishops, presbyters and deacons,” while a foot note says, “the bishops were also called majoralies or elders.”2
Prof. Whitsitt, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says: “At first there was no distinction between clergy and laity.” That is, as we have seen, no kind of prelatical distinction was between their ministers and members.3
They had (as are the general secretaries or superintendents of missions, among Baptists of today) general superintendents. But, as Dr. A. H. Newman observes: “The early Waldenses. …refused to employ the word bishop to designate their general superintendents.” Speaking of the Humiliati, Dr. Newman says: “Like the Waldenses, they ascribed to the local body of believers, or to the general assembly of the local bodies, the highest ecclesiastical powers.”4
A well-known historian says: '' Their barbas or pastors were every one of them heads of their churches, but they acted in nothing without the consent of the people and clergy,” i. e., the people and ministers in their churches who were not pastors.
Drs. Dermont and Ypeij: “The Baptists …were originally Waldenses”5 If “Baptists,” of course, Baptist in church government, so Ypeij and Dermont say the “Baptists …were the original Waldenses.”6
1 Idem, p. 305.
2 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., part 2, cent. 12, ch. 12, sec. 13.
3 Lect. to his classes.
4 Bap. Quar. Rev., July, 1885, p. 309—note.
5 Gercheid. d. Nederl. Hervormde Kerk, t. i. 1819, p. 148, in William R.
Williams' Left. on Bap. Hist., p. 172.
6 Idem, p. 172.
Says Rev. W. W. Everts, Jr.: “The Waldenses were excommunicated by Pope Lucius III, for rejecting the lordship of anti-Christ, all clerical titles and offices not contained in the New Testament, and insisting on their independence in worship and discipline.”1
Speaking of the Waldenses, Reiner, the Romish inquisitor, says: “This is a true picture of the heretics of our age, particularly the Anabaptists.” Reiner's words are: “Vera effigies haereticorum noetrae aetatis (1013), praesertim anabaptistarum.”2
Limborch: “To speak candidly what I think of all the modern sects of Christians, the Dutch Baptists most resemble both the Albigenses and Waldenses.”3
Jones quotes from a translation of Mosheim: “Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay concealed in almost all the countries of Europe persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of the Dutch Baptists.”4
As Dr. William E. Williams says: “It is not claimed that our denominational views were universal among the Waldenses.” * But I am willing to close this chapter with the statement, that the Waldenses were, certainly, as a whole, Baptists.
* Lect. on Bap. Hist., p. 126.
1 Ch. in Wild., p. 21.
2 Robinson's Eccl. Resh., p. 315.
3 Limborch's Hist. Inq., vol. 1, ch. 8, in Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 358.
4 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, part 2, ch. 3, sec. 2, in Jones', p. 358.