THE WALDENSES OF APOSTOLIC ORIGIN.
For the conviction of those who are not satisfied of the identity of the Paulicians and the Waldenses, as to origin, this chapter is written.
The Penny Encyclopedia, at great expense, published by one of the most learned societies of Europe, called “The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,” says of the Waldenses: “This little community is remarkable for having from time immemorial kept itself separate from the church of Rome, in ages when that church is generally considered as having been the only existing church in the West. We have memorials of the doctrines of the Vaudois, written in the early part of the twelfth century. …The 'Nobia Leycon,' a poem written in the Vaudois dialect, records in the text its having been composed in the twelfth century, …the translation of which is: 'O, brethern, hear a noble lesson. We ought often to watch and pray, for we see this world approaching its end.' Eleven hundred years are fully completed since it was written: 'The end of all things is at hand.' …The last sentence …fixes the date of the Nobia Leycon to within the first half of the thirteenth century or thereabouts. The text goes on to say that it was easy to see the sign of the accomplishments of the prophecy of evil in its increase and in the decrease of good, the perils of which the evangelist and Paul have mentioned. The poem is a sort of an abridgment of the history and doctrines of the Old and New Testaments. It speaks of the missions of the Apostles and of the primitive church and of certain practices that were introduced afterwards in its bosom, of simony, the institution of masses and prayers for the dead, of absolution and other tenets of the church of Rome which it rejects.
“In one place it speaks of censure of the practice of all the popes which have been from Sylvester to
the present time, and in another says: 'Now after the Apostles, were certain teachers who went on teaching the way of Jesus Christ, our Savior, some of whom are found at the present day, but they are known to a very few,' and after describing the life and conversation of such teachers, the text proceeds: 'Such a one is called a Vaudois.' There is also a confession of faith of the Waldenses, bearing date A. D. 1120, acknowledging the Apostle's creed and the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, recognizing no other mediator between God the Father and man but Jesus Christ; denying purgatory, administering only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper, as signs or visible forms of the invisible grace; discarding the feasts and vigils of saints, the abstinence of flesh on certain days, the mass, etc.
“Another MS. dated 1100, speaks of the Waldenses as having continued the same doctrines from time immemorial, in continued descent from father to son, even from the times of the Apostles. Besides these there are two controversial treatises, one entitled 'Of Antichrist,' and the other upon 'The Intercession of the Saints,' which seem to bear this internal evidence of their antiquity, that in enumerating the various tenets of the Roman church, which the Waldenses reject, they speak of the doctrine of the real presence and of the adoration of the Virgin Mary, and all the saints, but in so doing they do not use the words, ' transubstantiation,' and 'canonization.' Now the terms 'transubstantiation' and 'canonization’ were just introduced under Pope Innocent and confirmed in the council of Lateran, A. D. 1215, and the first Papal Bull in which the word 'canonization' occurs is dated 1165. Nor do these treatises speak of the devotional exercises of the Rosary, introduced by St. Dominie, nor of the Inquisition which began in the thirteenth century. Had, these institutions existed when the treatises were written, they could hardly have escaped the notice of the writer. MS. copies of these and other ancient documents relative to the Vaudois, amounting to twenty-one volumes, were brought to England by Sir Samuel Moreland who was sent by the Protector Cromwell as envoy to the Duke of Savoy in 1655, and were by him presented in 1658 to the library of the University of Cambridge. Moreland wrote a history of the Evangelical churches of the valleys of Piedmont, London, 1658, giving a transcript and English translation of the Nobia Leycon. P. Allix, D. D., who published 'Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical history of the ancient churches of Piedmont,' in 1690, notices the MS. brought by Moreland. But now only 14 or 21 are existing in the University library and nobody can tell what has become of the rest. The Nobia Leycon is one among those which are missing.
In 1669, Jean Leger, a pastor of the Valences, published at Leyden, 'Historic Generale des Eglises Evangelisques des Valleys du Piedmont,' in two books, the first of which treats of the early date and continuity of their doctrine, and he gives transcripts of several of the manuscripts brought to England by Moreland. Speaking of the Nobia Leycon, the Vaudois confession, and other manuscripts of which he has just been speaking, he says: ‘There is, however, farther evidence brought forth fur the antiquity of the Vaudois doctrines. …We find allusions as early as the ninth century to the existence of nonconformist churches in the borders of Italy. Jonas bishop of Orleans, in his work, 'De Cultu Imaginum,' addressing Charles the Bald, A. D. 840, speaks of Italian churches which he accuses of heterodoxy because they refused to worship images, and he charges Claudius, bishop of Turin, with encouraging the people of his diocese in their separation from the Catholic unity. …About 1230 Reinerus, a Dominican, who states that he had been himself a heretic, wrote a treatise against heretics. …The Waldenses: Reinerus begins by saying that these were the most pernicious of all sects for the reason: (1.) because they were the most ancient, more ancient than the Manichaeans or Arians, dating their origin according to some from the time of Pope Sylvester, 314 to 335 A. D. and according to others from the time of the apostles; (2.) because they are more universally spread; (3.) because they have the character of being pious and virtuous, as they believe in the Apostles' creed and are guilty of no other crime than that of blasphemy against the Roman church and clergy. He also states that they were in all the States of Lombardy and Provence.' “Here I have shown abounded Paulicians called Albigenses, etc., — another proof of their identity with Waldenses. “The heretics have more schools † than the theologians and more auditors; they hold public disputations and convoke the people to solemn discussions. …They have translated the Old and New Testaments into other tongues.* I myself have seen and heard a clownish layman who could repeat the whole of the book of Job by heart and many who were perfectly acquainted…
† They were not anti-mission Baptists.
* All along we find Bibles which were not in Romish hands and were not preserved by Rome.
…with the whole of the New Testament. They reject whatever is not demonstrated by a text in the New Testament; and then he goes on enumerating places where the heretics have churches and schools; all of which shows that dissent was very widely spread in North Italy and the South of France in the thirteenth century, and it corroborates the traditions of the Waldenses, that their doctrines spread at one time over many districts on both sides of the Alps. The book of Reinerus is very important, but we must refer those who wish for further information to the 'Vaudois of Piedmont,' 1831, section 3, where the author has placed in parallel columns passages from Reinerus' text, the corresponding opinions of Italian writers previous to the thirteenth century and those of the ancient and modern Waldenses concerning the same topics. John Marcus Aurelius Rorenco, grand prior of Brorch, was sent by Duke Charles Emanuel, about the middle of the thirteenth century to make inquiries concerning the Vaudois. He reports that those apostolicals, as they call themselves, were of an origin of which nothing certain can be said, further than that bishop Claudius might have detached them from the church in the eighth century and that they were not a new sect in the ninth and tenth centuries. And the monk of Belvidere who went to the Cottian Alps on a similar inquiry reported that heretics had been found in the valley of Angrogna in all periods of history.
“Claudius Seissel, archbishop of Turin, A. D. 1200, Spoke of them as the Vaudois sect which originated with Leon, a devout man in the time of Constantine the Great.''l
The following, from the same page, shows, as I have done in Chapter XVI, on Waldensian faith and practice, how that, by association with the sixteenth century reformers many of the Waldenses departed from the faith:
1 Penny Ency., vol. 25, pp. 163-164.
“But after the spreading of the reformation in the Sixteenth century, they began to correspond with Geneva, and other places and invited some Protestant divines to come among them.”
The arsenal of Germany, which furnishes the source of the so-called “higher criticism” against the Bible, shows itself equally adapted to the work of furnishing weapons against Waldensian history. In Germany, in 1851, A. Wilh. Dieckhoff sends out his “Die Waldenser im Mittelalter; Zwei Historische Untersuchungen von A. Wilh. Dieckhoff Licentiaten und Privatdocenten der Theologie Zu Gottingen.” While, like the works of the “higher critics” against the Bible, this work manifests valuable research and learning, yet, like them, it manifests equally intemperate, reckless and wild criticism, intemperately charging forgery and falsification upon the authors of much of Waldensian ancient documents, and attempting to refute the claim of Waldenses to apostolic
In 1853 this was followed by another equally learned work, not so wild, but of the same nature, by Dr. Herzog, entitled; “Die Romanischen Waldenser, ihre vorreformatorischen Zustande und Lehren, ihre Reformation im 16. Jahshundert und die Ruckwirkungen derselben, Haupsashlich nach ihren eigenen schriften (108) dargestellt Halle.” Five years previous, at Halle, Herzog had issued a similar, but not so thorough a work, entitled: “De Origene et Pristino Statu Waldensium Secumdum Antiquissma eorum scripta cum libris Catholicorum ejusdem aevi collata.” There is room for but a glimpse at these and other works. The learned Dr. Montgomery's characterization of Dieckhoff's criticism may well apply to much of the conclusions of both Herzog and Dieckhoff; “He applied to it the innere Kritik — a powerful weapon, certainly, but one which requires cautious handling. …With like confidence, and on similar grounds, his countrymen fix dates to different portions of Isaiah's prophecies, assigning some of them, therefore, to one author, and some of them to another; although indeed, they differ a little in the opinions which they so confidently advance.” Until some other method be adduced to bring down the date of the Noble Lesson to the thirteenth century, we may be content to learn a little from it as to the state of things before that period. In refusing to accept the date 1100, which so many have imagined that they found in the text of the ancient poem itself, Dieckhoff also proceeds upon what he deems the ascertained historic fact of the Vaudois from Valdo, concerning which he thinks himself bound to accept the testimony of the 'Catholic' witnesses. But he refuses to adopt the method adopted by Gieseler, Neander and Herzog, of dealing with the date of the poem itself. He cannot believe that the eleven hundred years are to be reckoned from any other period than from the beginning of the Christian era; he rejects this as an unnatural interpretation of the line. 'Eimnal namlich wird die Rechnung auf weise viel zu kunstlich.' Moreover, he adopts, as of great weight upon this point the argument of Muston, from the description of the Vaudois given in the poem, that it cannot have been composed within a few years of the origin of the sect and agrees with him that if it could be proved to have been composed, as Gieseler, Neander and Herzog suppose, in the end of the twelfth century, it would evince the existence of the Vaudois long before the time of Valdo.1
“Romish writers are the main witnesses Dieckhoff arrays against Waldensian antiquity. To this Dr. Montgomery…
1 Israel of the Alps, by Muston, vol. 2, p. 530.
…well replies: Herzog “blames Dieckhoff, however, for accepting so completely and unhesitatingly the accounts given of them by their Catholic adversaries. For although, as to the relation of the Vaudois to Valdo, Dr. Herzog still proceeds upon the testimony of these authors, as when he wrote the Academic Programma he does not think it right to receive as perfectly accurate all their statements concerning the doctrines and character of these heretics whom they so cordially hated …and contradicts the assertion of Bossuet, so often made by popish writers, that they had more in common with Catholicism than with Protestantism.”1 Again: “We have seen already by what a fallacious argument it is that Dr. Herzog persuades himself to receive the testimony of the popish authors, who assert Valdo to have been the founder of the Vaudois.” Dieckhoff is also driven to concede that Romish writers are “ liable to much suspicion.”2 Yet, in the face of this, on the uncertain theories of Dieckhoff and Herzog, together with that of Todd and like critics, some histories, encyclopedias, and. certain professors of church history, having, in servility to the spirit by which some American scholars ape “higher critics” of Germany on their criticisms on the Bible, swallowed the statements, “feathers and all,” that Valdo originated the Waldenses, we are asked to believe that “late researches” have demonstrated that the antiquity of the Waldenses is a “mere fable” and that Baptists are but of Rome — as other sects. Thus, dear reader, the chip is lifted off the “bug” which some highly reputed authorities (?) have made many think was death to Baptist Church Perpetuity; and that “bug” turns out to be a composition…
1 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, pp. 534-535.
2 Idem, p. 518.
…of so-called “higher criticism” and Romish slanders — a humbug!
Let us farther examine the origin of the Waldenses: (1.) These assailants of Waldensian history, like the witnesses against the resurrection of Christ, are not agreed among themselves. Dieckhoff made the line in the Noble Lesson, proving the antiquity of the Waldenses, an interpolation. But Herzog, “in his anxiety to maintain the descent of the Vaudois from Valdo, would evidently be glad to accept Dieckhoff's theory of an interpolation of the two troublesome lines. But this he does not find himself warranted in doing, as the lines are certainly present in all existing copies of the poem, in print and MS., and thus certainly appear not to have been interpolated since the Reformation. …He maintains, indeed, that the Noble Lesson is certainly of Vaudois origin, in opposition to Dieckhoff, who in a long note sets forth reasons for thinking that it may have been originally a production of the Bohemian brethren.” Todd farther differs and concedes: “Since we admit (until duly advised to the contrary) that the verse is genuine, and acquit its author of any dishonesty.”1
(2.) In relying on Romish testimony against Waldensian antiquity these assailants of Waldensian history have very unfairly rejected a greater number of Romish writers which, against their own side, testify in favor of the antiquity of the Waldenses. As witnesses when testifying against their own side are rightly regarded as much more worthy of belief than when testifying for it, the Romish writers in favor of Waldensian antiquity are entitled to much greater credit than are those against it.
Pilchendorf, a Romish author of the fourteenth century, in his “ Contra Haeresin Waldensium” acknow-…
1 The Books of the Vaudois, pages 183, 126, 184.
…ledges their origin may be traced back in the early part of the fourth century. He reproaches the Vaudois for concealing themselves, to which one of them replies: “Non possum esse talis Lucerna publica, propter instantes persecutiones, quia vacant me haereticum — I am not able to be the light of the world because of continuous persecution; because they call me a heretic.”1
Polichdorf says, instead of the Waldenses acknowledging Waldo their founder, that “dicentes sectam eorum durasse a temporibus Sylvestri papae” — they teach their sect continues to Pope Sylvester.2
Moneta, “a celebrated Romish professor of the University of Bologna, A. D. 1244,” while opposing the claim of the Waldenses to antiquity, unwittingly gives his case, in challenging them: “But if the Vaudois assert that their way existed before Waldo, let them prove it,” which, he adds, “they can by no means do.”3 If they originated with Waldo, as Moneta lived near Waldo's time, their origin must have been so clearly recent as to have excluded all controversy as to its time.
Reynerus, who is called Reineri, Reinerius Saccho, Reiner Saccho, was a native of Plascenza, a Waldensian during the first seventeen years of his life, then, under Alexander VI, A. D. 1261, turned preaching friar and became one of the ablest Romish advocates of his day, who is as much entitled to be heard as any one and whose testimony, considering so little is to the contrary, should be conclusive, wrote of the Waldensians: “Inter omes has sectas, quae nune sunt, vel fuerunt, non est perniciosior Ecclesiae quam Leonistarum. Et hoc tribus de causis. Prima est quia est diuturnior. Aliqui enim…
1 Idem, p. 413.
2 Idem, p. 511
3 Idem, p. 510
…dicunt quod duraverit a tempore Sylvestri; aliqua a tempore apostolorum. Secunda quia est generalior. Fere enim nulla est terra in qua haec secta non sit.” Translated: Among all the sects which are now or have been, no sect is more pernicious than the church of Leonists. And this for three causes — first, because it is of longer endurance, some, indeed, saying it has endured from the time of Sylvester; others, from the time of the Apostles. Second, because it is more general. There being certainly — enim — almost no country — nulla terra — in which this sect does not exist. On this Dr. Montgomery with Wadington,1 well remarks : “Reynerus remains a witness that in his day their claim to antiquity was well known, which popish writers will now fain represent as a novelty of modern times. And, moreover, it may be fairly taken for granted that if Reynerus, who wrote a little more than a century after the days of Waldo, had regarded the claim to antiquity as utterly unfounded, he would not have failed to exclaim loudly against those who had the audacity to advance it. The writers of his time do not err on the side of excessive gentleness. Nor does M. Charvaz himself, notwithstanding his pretensions in that way, when he calls Leger a liar for asserting as on the authority of Polichdorf, the prevalence of an opinion among the Vaudois of his time that they had existed, at least, from the sixth century.”2 Reinerus farther says of them: “Unlike all other sects, which infuse horror by the enormity of their blasphemies against God, these Lyonese retain a great appearance of piety, all the more as they live uprightly before the eyes of men, and believe only that which is good about God, they also believe the entire articles of the symbolica, apostolic creed; only that they abhor the…
1 Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 280.
2 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 513.
…church of Rome and her priesthood, to accept which the mass of the laity are readily inclined.”1
Again, St. Bernard, born 1091, one of the ablest Romish advocates, said: “There is a sect which calls itself after no man's name, which pretends to be in direct line of apostolic succession; and which, rustic and unlearned though it is, contends that the church is wrong, and that itself alone is right. It must derive its origin from the devil, since there is no other extraction which we can assign to it.”2
Of A. D. 1025, says Robinson: “Atto, 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 that they had always been in Italy.”3
Bernard de Fontcaud, of the twelfth century, in his work, Contra Valdenses et Arianos, says but little of the Waldenses, but in his preface says: “Valdenses dicti sunt nimirum a valle densa'' — the Waldenses are called from the dense valley.4 This is sufficient to show that they were not originally named from Waldo, and strongly implies they ante-dated him. Nowhere in his book does he mention Valdo. Living in Waldo's age and writing against the Waldenses, to have made no mention of their origin or of Waldo is utterly irreconcilable with the notion that they originated with Waldo.
In A. D. 1096 Pope Urban issued a bull in which he mentions the French side of the same valleys as infested with heresy.6
1 Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 590, Biblotheca Patrum, apud Lenfants Guerre dea Hussites, 54:2, sec. 5.
2 Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 290.
3 Robinson's Eccl. Researches, p. 408, on testimony of Uchelli Ital. Sac. torn, IV Vercellences Epis. ep. xiiv.
4 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 414.
5 Idem, p. 484.
A. D. 1119 the Council of Toulouse decrees the Inquisition against heretics dwelling in Italy and partly in France.1
A. D. 1192 “Statuta synodalia Odinis Episcopoi Tullensis, de haeriticis …qui vocantur Vadoys” — synodical laws against those called Vaudois. The immense numbers of the Waldenses, calling forth so many curses of Romanism, demonstrate Waldo not their founder, as this is too early for them to have attained such strength and influence. Claude Seyssel, Archbishop of Turin, who visited the Waldenses of the Piedmontese valleys in 1517, who was in the valleys before the Reformation, “informs us (vol. v.) that the heretics of the valleys had all along been ascribing an antiquity to their sect similar to that which, according to Reiner, was claimed by the Leonists.”2
I have now shown that Romish expressions, from the sixteenth to the tenth century are overwhelming testimony to the Waldenses existing long before Waldo. Thus, one of the main pillars of Dieckhoft's and Herzog's building is gone. I think I could here safely leave their antiquity as made out. But, as certain professors of church history are dishing out to young ministers Dieckhoff and Herzog, the ancient dialect of the Waldenses, (1.) says Muston: “The patois of the Vaudois valleys has a radical structure far more regular than the Piedmontese idiom. The origin of this patois was anterior to the growth of Italian and French — antecedent even to the Romance language. …The existence of this patois is, of itself, a proof of the high antiquity of the mountaineers, and of their constant preservation from foreign…
1 Idem, Ibid.
2 Or. Gllly, In Todd's Books o( the Vaudols, p. 170.
…intermixture and changes. Their popular idiom is a precious monument.”1
This demonstrates that the Waldenses never came from France, which the theory of their origin with Peter Waldo of Lyons, requires to be true.
(2.) Testimony of Waldensian manuscripts proves their antiquity. Says Dr. Gilly, a specialist on their
history, and generally recognized of high authority — pronounced by Muston “one of the most voluminous, learned and interesting of all modern authors who have written on the subject of the Vaudois: “2 “In the Grenoble MS. the year is denoted by Arabic characters, a mode of notation which was not commonly used in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; but it was introduced by the Moors and Saracens into the Sub-Alpine and Pyrenaean regions long before. …There is no difficulty in believing that the Grenoble Codex is a MS. of the thirteenth century, and that the version it contains may have been of a still older date.”3
Metivier, writing to Dr. Gilly — Dr. Gilly places the Noble Lesson in the early part of the twelfth century — says of it: “The irregularity of the metres favors your hypothesis of the early date.”4
Muston observes, of the Noble Lesson: “In the inequality of the measure and the simple assonance of the rhymes these verses bear the marks of high authority.”5 Muston further remarks: “Let us suppose the Noble Leyczon to have been composed not in the year 1100, but in the year 1200 and let us see if it could be the work of
1 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 406.
2 Idem, p. 428.
3 Todd's Book of the Vaudois, pp. 192-183.
4 Idem, p. 156.
5 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 470.
…the disciples of Valdo. The poem is in the Romance language; it was not in the language of Lyons.
The disciples of Valdo left the city between 1180 and 1190. Would they not require some years to acclimatize them in a new country, and is it to be supposed that in so short a time they could have learned a new language so as to produce in it most perfect works (most perfect for that time at least); and that amidst the difficulties of their settlement they could have had leisure for the composition of a poem of such length? Could they immediately after their arrival in these mountains exhibit the character of extension already acquired, of firm establishment and tranquility and duration which this poem ascribes to the Vaudois? It appears to me that any impartial mind will find much more difficulty in admitting ail these things without evidence, as those are obliged to do who maintain
that the Vaudois are descended from Valdo — than in admitting that they were anterior to him on the testimony of this work, dated in the year 1100 and of the authors of the twelfth century, whom we have quoted. The difficulty becomes an impossibility if we hold to the date of the Nobia Leycon, and there is nothing to set it aside, or if we merely admit it was composed before 1180; for nothing at that period can explain the production of it by the disciples of Valdo. The latter is not only not named in it, but there is not the least allusion which can be supposed to refer to him. This …is very extraordinary if its composition was owing to his direct influence, and if it was produced by his disciples.”1
Herzog, Gieseler, Neander, Todd, et al, put the Noble Lesson at the end of the twelfth century.2 But…
1 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 459.
2 See Todd's Books of the Vaudois, p. 184.
…both Dieckhoff and Muston say this “would evince the existence of the Vaudois long before the time of Valdo.”1
Nor does Dieckhoff agree to the method of dealing with the Noble Lesson, by which Herzog, Neander, Gieseler, Todd and others attempt to get rid of its earliest date. “He cannot believe that the eleven hundred years are to be reckoned from any other period than the beginning of the Christian era; he rejects this as an unnatural interpretation of the line.”2 Dieckhoff's words are: “Rechnung auf diese viel zio kunstlich — the reckoning of this is much too artful. Kunstlich is from kunst which means 'trick.' I, therefore, here submit, first, admitting that the Noble Lesson was not written in or about A. D. 1100 — that it was not written as Todd, Neander, Gieseler, M. Schmidt and others claim— but Herzog finally dated that 1400 — until about a century later, it demonstrates the existence of the Waldenses before Waldo's history. But, second, Dieckhoff himself being witness that the method of dating the Noble Lesson on the latter part of the twelfth century is but artificial, a trick — kunstlich — we have the date of that poem, as once near universally claimed, showing the Waldenses to have existed before Waldo's time. Herzog also, “maintains that the Noble Lesson is certainly of Vaudois origin in opposition to Dieckhoff.”3 Because a copy of the Noble Lesson was found to have the date 1400, the term four being partially erased, Herzog gave up the date of about 1200 and accepted Dieckhoff's position, that no Waldensian literature can be given a date earlier than 1400.4 But Todd was not convinced that…
1 Idem, pp. 530,459.
2 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 530.
3 Idem, p. 539.
4 Dr. A. H. Newman, in Bap. Quart. Bev., July 1885, p. 307.
…this MS. date of 1400, is correct, but held it as undecided.1 His forgetting that other copies should have weight, illustrates how such men as Herzog have drawn their conclusions. Just as this conclusion had been formed came Preger, of Munich, another specialist in this department of history, with a genuine Waldensian document of the early part of the thirteenth century. Thus, the destructive critics on Waldensian literature illustrate their brethren on Biblical literature.
Prof. Albert H. Newman, well says: “Dieckhoff doubtless went further than the facts in his possession, warranted in his rejection of Waldensian testimony and in his respect for that of Roman Catholic inquisitors.”2 Of this same poem, after a thorough examination of both sides of the question, Leger says: “La date 1'an 1100 qu'on lit dans ce poema merite toute confiance” — the date 1100 which is given the poem is worthy of all confidence.3
Gilly, a more reliable authority than Leger, says: “For my own part, I believe the Noble Lesson to be of more ancient date than the British Magazine and its correspondents are inclined to allow, even of the early part of the twelfth century.”4 Dr. Montgomery well concludes his discussion, after thoroughly considering the discussions of Dieckhoff, Herzog and others: “The date in the Noble Lesson, not affixed, but embodied in the poem, seems so to resist all attempts made against it; that of itself, it may be held sufficient proof of the existence of the Vaudois under their present name in the beginning of the twelfth century.”5
1 Todd's Books of the Vaudols, Preface, p. 14.
2 Dr. Newman, in Bap. Quart. Rev., July 1885, p. 305.
3 Todd's Books of the Vaudols, p. 126.
4 Todd's Books of the Vaudols, p. 152.
5 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 540.
Herzog concludes that instead of their being of Hussite origin numbers of the Waldensian MS. “must be older than the time of the Hussite influence” — from 1.298 to 1415 A. D.1 Owing to the attempt to impute the Waldensian. writings to the “Hussite influence,” and, thus, get them out of the way as proof of Waldensian antiquity, I call special attention to this concession of Herzog.
In speaking of the Noble Lesson, do not forget that, while not so strong evidence as it is, other Vaudois manuscripts prove the antiquity of the Waldenses. Dieckhoff is forced to concede that “there is abundant evidence of the existence of Vaudois books at an early date.”2 Dieckhoff's attempting to weaken the force of this concession by proving these manuscripts had become very rare by the end of the sixteenth century, proves only that a drowning man will readily catch at a straw, since there are sufficient copies of them to attest Waldensian antiquity. While, to an extent deserved, frequent characterization of some alleged Waldensian manuscripts and some Waldensian writers as “falschung,” “falscher,” “absichtsvolle Falschung” — falsifying, forged, full of intentional falsifying — is thus well animadverted on by Dr. Montgomery:
“The authority of the dates assigned to the Vaudois documents by Leger, he has of course little difficulty in overthrowing; and when he censures Leger's use of manuscript documents as uncritical, his judgment may be admitted as in all probability as quite just; but when he imputes to the persecuted Vaudois minister the tricks of a literary imposter, it is not easy to repress a feeling of indignation that such a charge should be advanced and sustained as it is by proofs so ridiculously slender.
1 Idem, p. 538.
2 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2. p. 525.
So anxious is he to make out a dishonest intention that he forgets the possibility of honest quotation with reference to a particular point, whilst what has no immediate bearing on that point is omitted. …The object of all this labor to make out charges of dishonesty is to throw discredit upon every quotation made by Vaudois historians from old Vaudois documents, and to create a suspicion of forgery concerning the existing documents themselves.”1
As but one illustration of Dieckhoff's reckless criticisms, Dr. Gilly says and proves it true of one Vaudois writer whom he attempts to impeach: “I think it right to remark that I have found proof of his credibility in several points where his veracity has been doubted.”2 As another illustration: “And here it may be incidentally noticed as somewhat strange, that with Morels' letter before him, Dieckhoff should have represented the opinion of the existence of the Vaudois as anterior to Valdo as a post Reformation tradition; for, in that letter, their high antiquity is twice asserted.” Morels' letter was written to Bucer and CEcolampadius in 1530.3
But the antiquity of the Waldenses does not essentially depend — as Herzog, Dieckhoff and some others think — on the question of literary criticism or upon the Waldenses having been called Waldenses before Waldo's day. Far from it. We can omit all the argument from literary criticism in the foregoing and concede Dieckhoff's, Herzog's and Todd's criticisms and conclusions on and from Waldensian manuscripts and yet prove the existence of Waldenses long before the time of Waldo.
1 Idem, p. 525.
2 The Books of the Vaudois, by Todd, p. 169.
3 Idem, p. 524.
(1.) The testimony of Romish writers of and near Waldo's time clearly proves the Waldenses existent long before that.
(2.) The testimony of Waldensian tradition proves that Waldenses existed long before Waldo's day. That they taught long before the Reformation period, they had a continuous existence to or near the time of the Apostles, we have seen. All the Romish attempts to make this out a claim which originated since the Reformation is certainly baseless. As well deny that the traditions of such Biblical events as the flood are of value as testimony to the facts of those events as to deny that traditional testimony to Waldensian antiquity is of great value. While tradition is worthless as to the truth of doctrine and opinion, yet, as to alleged historical facts its value is incalculably great. In controversy with the Romish church, Protestants have often overlooked the difference between tradition as to opinion and doctrine and tradition as to fact; then rushed as far to one extreme as to the value of tradition as the Romish party has gone to the other. I do not hesitate to say that the testimony of tradition to the antiquity of the Waldenses is far stronger than all the testimony of the so
called “higher criticism” and of the few Romish controversionalists whom Dieckhoff and company array against Waldensian antiquity. Of course, tradition can be overthrown by undeniably historical facts which contradict it. But no conscientious historian will claim there is as much as one such fact unmistakably against the antiquity of the Waldenses.
(3.) On the contrary, the facts are on the side of the antiquity of the Waldenses. When pressed to the wall by Muston, M. Schmidt, rather a specialist as a historian on this point, acknowledged: “I have never maintained that there were no manifestations of anti-catholic spirit before the days of Valdo. …Even admitting that the heresy in question was analogous to the Vaudois doctrines, this would prove only that before Valdo there were persons holding something similar to what he afterwards believed.”1 Says Muston: “The reader will observe that M. Schmidt grants almost all I desire, for it is by no means necessary to prove that Valdo was descended from the Vaudois; it is enough if the Vaudois be acknowledged to have existed before his time.”1
Says Muston: “About the middle of the sixth century a part of the bishops of Upper Italy refused to adhere to the decision of the Council of Chalcedon, held in 553; and in 590, nine of them separated from the Roman church, or rather they solemnly renewed their protestation of independence of it. The bishops being then elected by the people of their diocese, we may presume without doing any violence to history, that the later were imbued with the same doctrines and the same spirit. The truth
of this state of things in Upper Italy, is attested in the seventh century by a new bishop of Milan, Mansuetus, A. D. 677. To combat the opinion that the pope is the head of the church he directs attention to the fact that the Councils of Nice, Constantinople and many others had been convoked by the emperors and not by the pope. This bishop himself was not afraid to condemn Pope Honorius as a Monothelite. And this gives us a new proof of the independence then enjoyed by the diocese of Milan, across which the Vaudois named, would have been obliged to pass, in order to reach Rome. The kingdom of Lombardy was itself solicitous for the preservation of this independence. Thus everything contributed to its maintenance; and it may be supposed that satisfied with…
1 Idem, p. 3.
…the first successes obtained in the towns, Rome thereafter paid less regard to the relics of independence which might still subsist in the mountains. We know, however, that ancient manners and ancient liberties have at all times been less easily eradicated from such situations. However we are not reduced to the necessity of supporting this idea by mere inferences, and the eighth century still presents us examples of resistance to the pretentious of the Papal See in Upper Italy. As these pretensions are more strongly urged we find the resistance becoming all the more vigorous in the following centuries, and we can follow its traces quite on to the twelfth century, when the existence of the Vaudois is no longer doubted by any one. …But the grasping ambition of the church of Rome, overcoming by degrees the resistance made in quarters nearest to its center of action, forced back toward the chain of the Alps, the limits, still becoming narrower, of that independence inherited from past ages, which had at first opposed it over the whole of Upper Italy. This independence was defended in the ninth century by Claude of Turin, in whom, at the same time, we behold the most distinguished advocate of evangelical doctrines whom the age produced. Whilst the bishop of Milan contented himself with the deploring condition of the Roman church, by which he had been reduced to subjection, but in whose iniquities he did not take part, the bishop Turin boldly declared against the innovations which she had sought to long introduce into the sphere of his influence and power. The numerous works of this prelate on different books of the Bible, had prepared him for defending it, against the attacks of popery; and strong in the might of truth, Claude of Turin owned Jesus Christ as the sole Head of the church, attached no value to pretended meritorious works, rejected human traditions, acknowledged faith † alone as securing salvation, ascribed no power to prayers made for the dead, maintained the symbolical character of the Eucharist, and, above all, opposed with great energy the worship of images, which he, like his predecessors, regarded as absolute idolatry. Thus the doctrines which characterized the primitive church and which still characterize the Vaudois church at the present day have never remained without a witness in the countries inhabited by the Vaudois. …Rendered distinct by her isolation their church found her own pale a separate one for this reason only, that she herself had never changed. But as they did not form a new church; they could not receive a new name; because they inhabited the valleys they were called Vaudois.”1 In his work on the Vaudois, Bert in 1849 — a good authority — from pp. 386, 390, throws “light upon the autonomy of the diocese of Milan, to which the Vaudois valleys at an early period belonged, “remaining” completely independent of the Romish church so-called.”2
Wadington: In “the valleys of Piedmont” Waldo “found a people of congenial spirits. They were called Vaudois or Waldenses — (men of the valleys); and, as the preaching of Peter may probably have confirmed their opinions and cemented their discipline, he acquired and deserved his surname by residing among them. At the same time their connection with Peter and his real Lionese disciples established a notion of their identity; and the Vaudois, in return for the title which they had bestowed, received the reciprocal appellation of Lyonnese; such, at least, appears the most probable among the many varying accounts. There are some who believe the…
† The Baptist position.
1 Israel of the Alps, vol. 1, pp. 7-10.
2 Idem, vol. 2, p. 406.
Vaudois to have enjoyed the uninterrupted integrity of the faith even from the apostolic ages; others suppose them to have been disciples of Claudius Turin, the evangelical prelate of the ninth century. At least, it may be pronounced with great certainty that they had been long in existence before the visit of the Lionese reformer.”1 Of Claude of Turin, Neander says: “The interest of practical Christianity stands foremost in all his commentaries. Grace, the source of genuine sanctification; the temper and disposition, the main thing to be regarded in the disposition of moral worth; a disposition
of love to God, purified from all reference to reward, the essence of the genuine Christian temper, worship of God in the spirit, the characteristic of all true piety. …And it is easy to understand, therefore, in what sort of a relation he must have been placed to the reigning sensuous element in the religious tendency of his age. …From this ethical point of view, he would necessarily be led to dispute many of the marks by which his contemporaries were accustomed to judge respecting good works. Thus, to the merit of good works, according to monkery, he opposed St. Paul's doctrine of grace. …He saw with extreme pain how the essence of Christianity was here placed in making pilgrimages to Rome, in adoring images and relics, in various species of outward works; how men were taught to trust in the intercession of the saints, to the neglect of earnest moral efforts of their own. “He beheld a superstition which bordered closely on paganism, obtaining in the worship of saints, of images, of the cross, and of relics. …He disclaimed violently against superstition; he banished from the churches the images and crosses, which seemed to have…
1 Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 290.
…become objects of religious adoration. He says himself on the subject: 'When I was induced to undertake the office of pastor, and came to Italy, I found, contrary to the doctrine, all the churches full of the lumber of consecrated gifts; and because I began alone pulling down what all adored I was calumniated by all, and unless the Lord had helped me, they would, perhaps, have swallowed me up alive.' Pope Paschal expressed displeasure at his conduct. …But it is remarkable that though
popes countenanced the fanaticism of the multitude this expression of displeasure had no farther injurious effect on Claudius. …In general he denied that St. Peter possessed any continuous power to bind and to loose. The 'title to an apostolicus does not belong to him who administers a bishopric founded by an Apostle, but to him who fulfils the apostolic vocation; to those who occupy the place without fulfilling the vocation should be applied the passage in Matthew 23:12.' As may be inferred from the language of one of his opponents, Claudius was cited to appear before an assemblage of bishops; but he did not present himself, as he could easily see that it would be impossible for him to come to any understanding with the bishops of this country; and perhaps in the contempt which he expressed for them, he yielded too much to his indignation against superstition.”1
Claudius, having been sent to his field by “Lonious the Pious,”2 and possessing a powerful protector in the Frank emperor,3 was, with his field independent of popery.
1 Neander's Ch. Hist., VoL 3, pp. 432, 433, 437, 439; also Schaff-Herzog Ency., vol. l, p. 491.
2 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 369.
3 Meanders' Hist. Chr. Ch., vol. 3, p. 433.
The first church instead of building up several small churches in one locality, extended its work through-out that territory by missions. In this plan there were many pastors to the same church, so as to secure pastoral care of each mission. But these missions and their pastors continued under the care of the mother church. This gave the pastor of the mother church a pastoral care over all the missions and their pastors. This is the case now in quite a number of Baptist churches. Yet, as arbitrary or executive the authority was in the mother church; its pastor had only moral authority. Consequently, there was nothing in this resembling any hierarchal or Episcopal government. By the pastor of the mother church, by degrees, stealing the authority of his church, after a few centuries he became what is now known as a diocesan bishop. Of course, this became the case in some localities much sooner than in others. While the Turin churches were not yet popish, when Claude went among them they were certainly rapidly on the road there. This prepares us to see how it was that Claudius when called to account for his Scriptural course, by bishops and pope, treated them all with contempt. It also prepares us to understand that the church government of Turin was not Episcopal diocesian in the sense these terms now imply. Robinson observes of the Turin bishop: “The bishop was little more than a rector. He had no suffragan bishops and no
secular power in the valleys.”1
Thus, there is a strong reason to believe that the Waldenses, in the Turin diocese, had continued from apostolic times, and that the Lord had Claudius sent among them in the time to save them from wandering so far as to lose their apostolic character. Nor does the…
1 Robinson's Eccl. Resh., p. 462.
…conclusion follow that they were fully identified with the Turin diocese, even had it been a modern Episcopal diocese. As Episcopal government is unknown in pure Waldensian history, had the Turin government been Episcopal, the conclusion would naturally be that the Waldenses were not, in full, ecclesiastically identified with the bishop of Turin † but that from time immemorial they had made his diocese their refuge, because his freedom from popery or non-subjection to it, with his great evangelical feeling, assured them a refuge and home. The point of this argument is not necessarily that the bishop of Turin and his diocese were Waldenses — I think they were — but that genuine Waldenses existed there long before Waldo's day. Nor is it the point that they were called Waldenses long before Waldo, but that they were, in teaching and practice, Waldenses. As we have demonstrated, the names are no conclusive evidence of identity. They, themselves, says Keller, repudiated, “during many centuries the name of Waldenses.”1
Says Dr. Allix, in Chapter XI of his Remarks on the Churches of Piedmont: “Here, then, we have found a body of men in Italy before the year one thousand and twenty-six who believed contrary to the opinions of the church of Rome and who condemned their errors.”1
† Had the Bishop of Turin and his diocese been Romish, and the Waldenses had their membership in his churches, it would not follow that they were not Baptists; since, in different ages, Baptists, to escape persecution, probably while in secret, maintaining their own organizations, have been, yet, members of the Romish or of some persecuting Protestant church. Even today this is the case. Thus, Rev. Edmund F. Merriam, Editorial Secretary of the American Baptist Missionary Union, in The Watchman of Boston, January 4, 1894, of the Baptist in Sweden, under Lutheran persecution, writes; “In accordance with the peculiar laws, they stilt remain as nominal numbers of the State church, but are almost everywhere permitted the free and untrammeled exercise of their own religious worship. In former times there was much persecution.” This may serve as the answer to the objection: “Waldenses and other dissenters could not have been Baptist churches because they were, sometimes, members of the Romish church, even permitting their infants to be baptized.” Of course, the right or the wrong of it is a wholly different question, to which there are two sides.
1 In Idem, p. 408.
Gilly says; “It is certain that when Waldo fled from Lyons, he and his 'poor men of Lyons' took refuge among the mountaineers of Provence and Lombardy, whom he found to be, and not whom he caused to be, impugners of Romish errors.”1
Again, says Gilly: “That this region was infected with what was heresy before Waldo went thither appears first on the evidence of Peter Clugny, who, distinctly speaking of that locality, wrote in the year 1127 and 1143 against heretics …secondly, of a passage in Vol. 3 of 'Historiae Patriae Monumenta,' which states that the whole of that mountain territory was infected with heresy in 1164.”2
Armitage, an intemperate opposer of Baptist Church Perpetuity, while generally ready to cast doubt on it, and admitting it only when no way to get out of doing so, claiming the evidences of Waldenses existing before Waldo, is “too scanty and fragmentary to be used with confidence for historical purposes” finds the proof so strong that he feels forced to concede: “There is ground for the belief that an evangelical people lived in the “isolated Cottion Alps before the twelfth century.”3 He adds: “Some Waldensian writers think they can trace their origin back to the days of Constantine and even to the Apostles.”3
In Limborch's History of the Inquisition, Amsterdam, 1692, there is recorded, from the year 1311, the following confession of a woman, a member of a weaver family, which had for generations belonged to the Waldenses: “The Waldenses belong to the number of those disciples which descended from, the Disciples and Apostles…
1 Todd's Books of the Vaudois, p. 194.
2 Idem, p. 203.
3 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 284.
…of Christ; from those Apostles upon whom Christ transferred the power to bind and to loose; and these Waldenses retain that potency even as Christ gave it to St. Peter and others. The chaplains and monks know the meaning of the Holy Scriptures well enough, and also the divine law, but they do not desire that the people should understand it, in order to establish their own power over the people; for if they with clearness and without concealment would teach the law of God as Christ revealed it then they would not receive that which they require.” As Dr. Grimmell remarks on this: “When it is remembered that is a confession of a woman — Jaqueta Textrix de Cumba Rotgir -the suspicion of a studied invention fails; but if it be taken into account that a like tradition is repeated throughout the different countries of Europe, wherever Waldenses were found, the pristine root of the same will appear unmistakably.”l Dr. Grimmell farther says: “That Peter Waldo was not the founder of the sect is clear from the records of the synod held at Bergamo, 1218, where the 'Poor men of Italy' claimed a history independent of Waldus, who flourished about the year 1170. The 'Italian Brethren' are doubtless identical with the Arnoldists of Lombardy, named after Arnold of Brescia in 1155.”
Dr. Newman observes: “We can hardly escape the conviction that the Italian Brethren arose independently of Waldo. They do not recognize his authority and they have no special reverence for his name.”2 Says Dr. Newman: “During the early years of the twelfth century, sixty years before Waldo began to teach, Southern France and Northwestern Italy were permeated with a far more…
1 Essay Before the New York Baptist Ministers' Conference.
2 Bap. Quart Rev., July, 1885, p. 317.
…evangelical teachings of Peter de Bruis and Henry of Lausanne. The views of these teachers are well known to have been substantially Baptists. It is not possible that the influence of this teaching should have become completely extinct by Waldo's time. There is much evidence of the persistence of evangelical teaching in Italy from the earliest time. The Humilati of the twelfth century and the followers of Arnold of Brescia may well have been the proudest of early evangelical influences. They probably were. …Herzog and Dieckhoff attached far more importance to the proof that Waldo was the founder of the Waldenses than it deserved. To be sure it was worth while to know the facts. But these when arrived at prove very little with regard to the great evangelical party of the Middle Ages — commonly known by the name Waldenses. This name was undoubtedly derived from Waldo of Lyons. The immediate followers of Waldo were known by various names, 'Waldenses' and 'Poor men of Lyons' being among the most common. …But to say that the whole evangelical movement originated with Waldo, because the term Waldenses is applied to them by Roman Catholic writers, is a very different thing, and is at variance with the facts of history.
It is Dr. Ludwig Keller's great merit to have traced the history of the old evangelical party through the dark ages of persecution, and to have exhibited, in a masterly manner, the relations of this party to the great religious, industrial, social and scientific movements of the Middle Ages. …These results are in the highest degree gratifying to evangelical Christians in general and especially to Baptists, Keller insists throughout that the old evangelical party was fundamentally Baptist.”1
1 Bap. Quart. Rev., July, 1885, pp. 321-322.
Dr. Brockett who has made this study a specialty says as we have seen, that the Waldenses, Paulicians, etc., were identical. The Paulicians “planted the standard of the cross in northern Italy, south of France; and from the good seed sown by these faithful souls, who, under the guise of peddlers or traveling merchants, scattered the word of God everywhere, there sprang up congregations of the Albigenses, the Vaudois, the Cathari (an old name of the Paulicians), the Waldenses and the Paulicani, a corruption of the name by which they were best known.”1
In a letter to the author, Dr. W. W. Everts, Jr., says: “I think the Waldenses, Albigenses, Petrobrussians and Henricians, etc., all stood on the shoulders of the Paulicians.”
Muston says: “The Vaudois were 'more probably' holding 'some connection' with the Petrobrussians.”2
The Petrobrussians and the Waldenses were so clearly one that, to get rid of the Waldensian documents to Waldensian antiquity, the great Romish controversionalist, Bishop Bossuet — ascribed them to Peter de Bruis.3
Says Muston of 1165, before Waldo's day: “A numerous detachment of Albegeois, leaving the south of France, took refuge in the valleys of Piedmont, whereby they united themselves with the Vaudois both in doctrine and worship.”4
A. D. 1119, “Council of Toulouse; decrees of the Inquisition against the heretics who existed partly in Italy and partly in France.”5 The Romish opponent,…
1 Idem, vol. 4, p. 427.
2 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 417.
3 Idem, p. 443.
4 Idem, p. 484; Morrison's Hist. Ref., p. 35.
5 Idem, p. 484, from Galllos' Hist. del Iniquis, pp. 81, 83, 84.
…Father Stephen, almost a contemporary of Waldo, says the “Poor men of Lyons”— Waldo's followers — “joined with other heretics of Provence and Lombardy whose errors they have adopted and propagated.” (“Postea in provincia; terra et Lombardiae cum aliis haeretieis se admiscentes, et errorem cerrorem bibentes et serentes.”)1
Muston quotes a personal letter from M. Gieseler: “Indeed it cannot be doubted that before the days of Waldo Peter de Bruis and Henry condemned the errors of the Catholic church. …Nor is it improbable that Peter sowed the seed of his doctrine in his native valley and left followers there; and thus we can explain how Pope Urban found the valley full of heretics. And it is also likely enough that of the remaining disciples of Peter and Henry many joined the Valdenses, in whom they found the same zeal for the doctrine of the Bible; and thus it probably came to pass that no trace of the Petrobrussians and Henricians appear at any subsequent period.”2
Consequently Neander says: “It was not without some foundation of truth that the Waldenses of this
period asserted the high antiquity of their sect, and maintained that from the time of the secularization of the church — that is, as they believed from the time of Constantines' gift to the Roman bishop Silvester — such an opposition as finally broke forth in them, had been existing all along.”3
Says Wadington of the Waldenses: “Their origin is not ascertained by any authentic record; and being immemorial, it may have been coeval with the introduction of Christianity. Among their own traditions there is one,…
1 Idem, p. 510.
2 Idem, vol. 1, p. 3.
3 Neander's Hist. Chr. Ch., vol. 4, p. 605.
…which agrees well with their original and favorite tenet, which objects to the possession of property by ecclesiastics. It is this — that their earliest fathers, offended at the liberality of with which Constantine endowed the church of Rome, and at the wordliness with which Pope Sylvester accepted these endowments, seceded into the Alpine solitudes; that they there lay concealed and secure for so many ages through their insignificance and their innocence. This may have been so — it is not even very improbable that it was so. …If on the other hand we should identify those dissenters (as some have done) with the Cathari, the Gazari, Patereni, Publicani, and others of the same age, who were collateral branches of the Paulician family, and others of the same age, we are not, indeed, any longer at a loss to trace their succession to a very high antiquity.”1
I conclude the discussion of the Waldenses — leaving out much other matter on the subject — with the following summary of facts and conclusions:
(1.) Whether the Waldenses were ecclesiastically one with Claude of Turin is immaterial. If not so, they found shelter under his wing.
(2.) As he was anti-papal, and was not a bishop in the modern sense, the Waldenses may have been ecclesiastically one with him.
(3.) In either case the Waldenses of Turin and vicinity have an antiquity to apostolic times.
(4.) The Waldenses of Turin may have been one wing of the Paulicians or they may have been descended from the Apostles by another line — perhaps some of them there existed from century one.
1 Wadington's Ch. Hist., pp. 554-555.
(5.) Whether the Turin Waldenses had their continuity through the Paulician line, or by having remained there from the first century or by still another line, is immaterial, as in either case, they have apostolic perpetuity.
(6.) While Waldo may have been the founder of a party he certainly did not originate the Waldenses.
(7.) If Waldo did found a party it probably was absorbed and assimilated by the previously existing Waldenses and others like them.
(8.) Even if Waldo's party had never been absorbed and corrected by the others, since the Waldenses whence Baptists are descended are the great and original body of the Waldenses, which were never a part of the Romish church, the apostolic continuity line is in no way disturbed. As we have seen, Waldo's party — if he founded one — joined the others.
(9.) The Waldenses were but Petrobrussians, Henricians, Arnoldists, Catharists, Albigenses and Paulicians. In doctrine, organization and practice they were essentially the same. Whether they were all of one line of descent from the Apostles is a question of no practical importance; though most of them probably descended through the Paulician line.
(10.) While there is much direct evidence proving the mass of Waldenses were ecclesiastically, † from the very first, in no way a part of the Romish church, the…
† A favorite and deceptive method of assaulting tile apostolic origin of the Waldenses and others is to prove that many of them— including, in many cases, their leaders, as in the cases of Waldo, Arnold. Grebel— came out of the Romish church, and, in some cases, were soon after found with Romish trumpery. But since many thousands, in past ages and the present, thus leave the Romish church for the true church such cases have no bearing on the origin of the party with which they finally identified themselves. As near all the first converts to Christianity, made by the Apostles, were from the Jews this fallacious method could thus be made, prove the church was thus then originated.
…discussion of this subject in this and the previous chapter, hay incidentally furnished other proof of this.
(11.) While Dieckhoff and Herzog have rendered service in examining and sifting Waldensian literature and have shown that unauthorized dates, etc., have been assigned certain documents, yet their adoption of the wildness of the “higher critics” and reliance on a class of bitter and uncandid Romish writers render their conclusion unreliable, especially, in view of the overwhelming proof to the contrary.
(12.) The blind apishness and the assumption with which some writers and professors of church history, and some others, have adopted Dieckhoff's and Herzog's conclusions, that Valdo originated the Waldenses, has a parallel in those writers and professors who, because of the “higher criticism” from Germany, have swallowed its conclusion on the Old Testament — much learning; very little common sense and original judgment.
(13.) Admit all of Dieckhoff's and Herzog's positions on the manuscripts of the Waldenses, yet by overwhelming proof, we have evangelical life and Waldenses running back in unbroken line to apostolic times.
(14.) After all discussions and assaults on Waldensian history, the very latest scholarship supplies sufficient material for proof that the Waldensian history, as understood in the days of Gilly, Leger, Allix, etc., is substantially correct.
(15.) Thus, “there is no bug under the chip” which any believer in “Baptist succession” needs fear — the evidence supplied by these assailants and their concessions itself being sufficient assurance.
(16.) I have given this especial discussion, under the head of Waldenses, only because that name figures so much in church perpetuity.