THE WALDENSES PERPETUATED IN THE ANABAPTIST?
Inasmuch as Hussites — the evangelicals of Bohemia — figure so much in the period to be now noticed, I here stop a moment to notice them as finally becoming one with the Waldenses. Being prepared by the work of the Waldenses, Albigenses, etc., finally through intercourse with them, they became one with them. Hase says: “The Waldenses were connected with the Hussites by fraternal ties, recognized finally in the Reformation, the very objects which their ancestors had been obscurely seeking.”1 Dr. Montgomery calling attention to the “connection” exhibited by Dieckhoff “between the Vaudois literature and that of the Bohemian churches” observes: “That a connection subsisted, in times previous to the Reformation, between the Vaudois or Waldenses of the Alps and the Bohemian Christians, (who were often called Waldenses,) has indeed been long known. But this is well deserving of more investigation than it has yet received.”2 Thus we have seen Waldensian influence and Waldensian organization swallow up the Hussites. Mr. H. Haupt, a German specialist, in this line, has recently, with Preger, another recent and like German specialist, found the “Waldenses strongly rooted in Bohemia and Moravia long before the outbreak of the Hussite revolution, and Waldensianism of a type that…
1 Hase's Chr. Ch., p. 610.
2 Israel of the Alps, vol. 2, p. 526.
…would naturally lead to the peculiar type of Taborism.”1 “Between this Taborite production and that of the Vaudois documents Dieckhoff points out correspondences which unquestionably are not accidental. …Several Vaudois works are found to agree very closely in matter, even often in words, with the parts of this Taborite Confession. The Vaudois Treatise on Purgatory contains quotations from the sermons of John Huss.”2
Dr. A. H. Newman, says: “We have evidence of the great influence and aggressiveness of Waldenses of the most pronounced or anti-Romanist type in Bohemia throughout the entire fourteenth century.”3 Wattenbach in his “Ueber die Inquisition gegen die Waldenser in Pommern und der Mark Brandenburg, Berlin, 1886,” shows that “intimate relations,” at a very early time, by the Waldenses “had been established with the Taborites, the Bohemian brethren, etc., of Bohemia, and the names of Wickliff and Huss were known and honored.”4 “Matthias Flacius Illyricus, who, in the sixteenth century, surpassed all his contemporaries in scientific historical investigation and who studied the mediaeval sects to more purpose than any of his successors until the present century, on the basis of manuscript sources, some of which are lost and some of which are still available, reached the conclusion that the entire evangelical movement in Bohemia, including the work of the well-known precursors of Huss (such as Conrad of Waldhansen, Miltz of Kremsier, Matthias of Janow, etc.,) the Hussite movement, the Taborite movement, the Unitas Fratrum, etc., was deeply indebted…
1 Recent Researches concerning Medieval Sects, by Dr. A. H. Newman, p. 208
2 Idem, p. 527.
3 Idem, p. 170.
4 Idem, p. 176.
…to the earlier Waldensian movement.”1 “It is interesting to know that the old evangelical party, represented by the Waldenses and the Bohemian brethren, were not only the first to prepare a good German version of the Scriptures, but that they were, after the invention of printing, among the first to utilize this art in the dissemination of evangelical views, through versions of the Scriptures and through religious works of their own composing.”2
Turning more directly to the subject, that the Anabaptists are the continuation of the Waldenses and of others which were Waldenses under other names, H. Haupt, just referred to, says Dr. A. H. Newman: “Has incidentally shown that the relation between the Romanic and the German Waldenses was more intimate than has been supposed by Herzog, Dieckhoff and Preger, and that they were practically identical in faith and practice. …Haupt has also demonstrated the fact that all German Bibles printed before the reformation were derived from this Waldensian version, three of the editions having been completely Waldensian, and the fourth a Catholic recension of the Waldensian version. Even this Catholic recension, and its successors, had no Episcopal authorization and were probably set forth by those who were under Waldensian influence. To the Waldenses, therefore, Germany was indebted for the translation and the circulation of the scriptures, and so for the great religious movement which the so-called Reformation probably hindered more than it forwarded.”3 “Herzog compares the track of the Waldensian history to that of a mole, emerging now and then from the hidden recesses of the earth into the light, but incapable of being continuously…
1 idem, p. 206.
2 Idem, p. 220.
3 Baptist Quart. Rev., Oct.. 1885, p. 526.
…traced.”1 This Herzog Illustration of Baptist history may well be accepted, remembering that the “mole” has made so many upheavals and they so near together that we can readily follow its course. Says Prof. Geo. P. Fisher, D. D.: “There had been opposition to infant baptism in earlier days among the Waldenses and other sects, as well as from individuals like Peter of Bruges, and Henry of Clugny.” Peter de Bruis and Henry — “But this one tenet was not the soul characteristic of the Anabaptists in which we find the continuance or reproduction of former ideas and tendencies.”2
Of the Waldenses, says Kurtz: “They were most numerous in the south of France, in the east of Spain and in the north of Italy; but many of their converts were also found in Germany, in Switzerland, and in Bohemia. …They gradually retired from France, Spain and Italy into the remote valleys of Piedmont and Savoy.”3 The Anabaptists being consequently, few in Italy and France, these countries did not have the Reformation; while Germany, Switzerland and Bohemia, being the seats of the Anabaptists, were its origin — the Anabaptists the continuance of the Waldenses.
“Universal Knowledge” — Chamber's Encyclopedia — of the Waldenses, says: “They were subject to persecutions in 1332, 1400 and 1478 and driven into many parts of Europe, where their industry and integrity were universally remarked. So widely had the sect been scattered that it was said a traveler from Antwerp to Rome could sleep every night In the house of one of their brethren. In Bohemia many of them had settled, and they, without…
1 Idem, July 1885, p. 301.
2 Fisher's Hist. Chr. Ch., pp. 424, 425.
3 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 459.
…forsaking their own community, had joined the Hussites, Taborites and Bohemian brethren.”1
The reader will please read this quotation in connection with the first part of this article, where he will see how the Waldensians, the Bohemians, Hussites and the Taborites were thus united.
Again, of the Anabaptists and infant baptism: “Opposition to this doctrine was kept alive in the various so-called heretical sects that went by the general name, Cathari (i. e., purists) such as the Waldenses, Albigenses, etc. Shortly after the beginning of the reformation the opposition to infant baptism appeared anew among the Anabaptists.”2
Lemme, in his review of Keller's “Van Stanpitz,” discussing in a judicial way the character of the Waldenses, says: “In calling the pre-reformatory Waldensian churches evangelical Keller necessarily raises the question as to their evangelical standpoint; because in recent times it has been maintained that the Waldenses were essentially mediaeval and monkish. …The classing of the apostolic life as the Waldenses cherished it with the monkish life ideal is, as a matter of fact, not a result of scientific investigation, but is dogmatic prepossession. …They are evangelical …in making the Scriptures the sole authority, and with respect to the conception of the church, in the rejection of ecclesiastical authority, and the vindication of the universal priesthood. …This impulse to set up externally churches of the saints could not feel content with Luther's reformation and turned aside into Anabaptism,”3
1 Vol. is, p. 132.
2 Idem, vol. 1, p. 347.
3 Recent Researches Concerning Mediaeval Sects, p. 204.
Says Vedder: Herberle writes in the Jahrbucher fur Deutsche Theologie (1858, p. 276 seq.) of the Anabaptists: “It is well known that just these principles are found in the sects of the middle ages. The supposition is very probable that between those and the rebaptizers of the Reformation there was an external historical connection. The possibility of this as respects Switzerland is all the greater, since just here the traces of these sects, especially the Waldenses, can be followed down to the end of the fifteenth century. But a positive proof ya. this connection we have not. …In reality the explanation of this agreement NEEDS NO PROOF of a real historical union between Anabaptists and their predecessors, for the abstract Biblical standpoint upon which the one as well as the other place themselves is sufficient in itself to prove a union of the two in the above-named doctrines.”1
Notwithstanding Vedder's antipathy to “succession” he concedes, “a moral certainty exists of a connection between the Swiss Anabaptists and their Waldensian and Petrobrussian predecessors, sustained by many significant facts, but not absolutely proved by historical evidences. Those who maintain that the Anabaptists originated with the Reformation have some difficult problems to solve, among others, the rapidity with which the new leaven Spread and the wide territory that the Anabaptists soon covered …though the Anabaptist churches appear suddenly in the records of the time, contemporaneously with the Zwinglian Reformation, their roots are to be sought farther back.”2
Again Vedder says: “It is a curious and instructive fact that these Anabaptists' churches were most numerous…
1 A Short History of Baptists, by Vedder, pp. 73-74.
2 Idem, pp. 73-75.
…precisely where Waldenses of a century or two previous had most flourished, and where their identity as Waldenses had been lost. That there was intimate relation between the two movements few doubt who have studied this period and its literature. The torch of truth was handed on from generation to generation, and though it often smoldered and was even apparently extinguished, it needed but a breath to blaze up again and give light to all mankind.”1
Says Dr. William R. Williams: “Amid the sufferers under Alva, when the Netherlands were so drenched with human gore, multitudes were of our faith; and they had their share in that land in early versions of the Scriptures for the general use of the faithful. …Indeed, many of the Holland Mennonites hold the Waldenses to have been the first propagandists on Holland soil, of these views, in their flight northward from persecution in France and Italy. It has been said by one of the early Mennonite writers that the oldest families of the Mennonites, in certain towns of Holland, had names of Waldensian origin, and claimed to be the progeny of such exiled forefathers. Venema, himself a Pedobaptist, living in Holland, a theologian and scholar of such eminence that Adam Clarke said of his …Commentary on the Psalms, that it was a Goliath's sword as described by David, 'There is none like it;' — this eminent scholar, beyond the reach of denominational bias, and speaking of the ancient history of his own country, ascribes to the Baptists of Holland an origin earlier than the time of the Munster orgies, where too many would cradle them.”2
Bishop Latimer, …speaking of some Anabaptist martyrs from Holland …makes the…
1 Idem, p. 71.
2 William R. Williams' Lect. on Bap. Hist., pp. 127-128.
…remark, “that these glad sufferers at the stake were but like those old heretics, the Donatists of early ages.”l
Venema, above quoted, says: “The immediate origin of the Mennonites is, in my judgment, more justly to be traced to the Waldensians and to those of the Anabaptists who wished a renewal of the innocence and purity of the primitive church, and that the reformation of the church should be carried farther than Luther and Calvin had arranged it. The Waldensians, apart from the question as to the origin of Christ's human nature, in the chief articles had, in almost all things, like views with the
Mennonites, as is evident from their history as I stated it in the twelfth century. …To find other beginnings as the source of Mennonism is needless, much less those inviduous ones, placing them in fellowship with the men of Munster and other like fanatics. From these they cleared themselves, both in old time, and now through a long space of years have so vindicated and justified themselves, in life and institutions that longer to confound them with that class can be done only by notable injustice and gravest insult.” 2
Again says Dr. Williams: “In 1500, at the opening of the century, when Martin was ignorant as yet of the Bible and soon to enter an Augustinian monastery, the Moravian brethren possessed two hundred places of worship. They were the inheritors of the labors of Huss and Jerome, of British Lollards, of Wickliffe and Waldo and laborers yet earlier than these and whose rewards are safe with God.”2
Again: “There were Anabaptists and Anabaptist martyrs in Holland before Menno himself had left the…
1 Idem, p. 129.
2 Idem, pp. 144-145.
…Roman communion.”1 Says Armitage: “The great Baptist movement on the Continent originated with no particular man nor in any one place. It seems to have sprung up in many places about the same time, and its general growth was wonderful, between 1520 and 1526, half a century.”2 “There was, however, a remarkable association between the Waldensians of the Dispersion and the Baptists of the sixteenth century, both in doctrine and practice.”3
Goebel, in his History of Christian Life in the Rhine Provinces, says that “wherever in Germany, before the Reformation, there were large bodies of Waldensians there during the Reformation large bodies of Anabaptists sprang up.”3
Dr. Armitage, with all his antipathy to Church Perpetuity, is thus forced into line, in part, with many
church historians: “Indeed in some cases, the Baptists evidently sprang/row the Waldensians.”3
T. J. Morgan, D. D., when Professor of Church History in the Chicago Baptist Theological Seminary, said: “We further assert our principles, more or less clearly proclaimed, have found advocates in all ages. …The Donatists in the fifth and sixth centuries resisted the interference of the State in ecclesiastical affairs. The Paulicians and Bogomiles, the Albigenses, the Waldenses, and the much stigmatized Anabaptists preached, protested and suffered in behalf of principles more or less clearly Baptistic.”4
Bullinger, in his preface to his sermons on the book of Revelations, (1530,) says of the Waldenses: “What…
1 Idem, p. 146.
2 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 329.
3 Idem, p. 304.
4 In The Standard, Chicago.
…shall we say, that for four hundred years or more in France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Bohemia, and other countries throughout the world, the Waldenses have sustained their profession of the gospel of Christ; and in several of their writings as well as by continual preaching, they have accused the pope as the real anti-Christ, foretold by the apostle John, and whom therefore we ought to avoid. …Although it has been often attempted by the most powerful kings and princes, instigated by the pope, it has been found impossible to extirpate them, for God hath frustrated their efforts.”1 “Thomas Walden, who wrote against Wickliff, says the doctrine of Peter Waldo was conveyed from France into England, and among others, Wickliff received it. In this opinion he is joined by Alphonsus de Castro who says that Wickliff only brought to life again the errors of the Waldenses. Cardinal Bellarmine also is pleased to say that 'Wickliff could add nothing to the heresy of the Waldenses.'”2
The first editor of the complete book of Reinerius was Father Gretzer, in 1613, who in the book said of the Waldenses: “Vera effigies hereticorum nostrse aetatis prasertim Anibaptistarum” — This is a true picture of the heretics of our age ESPECIALLY of the Anabaptists.3
Dr. Limborch, Professor in the University of Amsterdam, at the Reformation period, said: “To speak candidly what I think, of all the modern sects of Christians the Dutch Baptists mostly resemble the Albigenses and the Waldenses.”4 Zwinglius, of the same age: — “The institution of Anabaptism is no novelty, but for thirteen hundred years past has caused great disturbance in the…
1 Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 354.
2 Idem, p. 357.
3 Idem, p. 358.
4 Limborch's Hist. Inq., vol. 1, chap. 8; in Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 358, in Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 304.
…church, and has such a strength that the attempt to contend against it in this age appeared for a time futile.”
Bullinger further says: “Let others say what they will of the German Anabaptists; I see nothing in them but gravity; I hear nothing but we must not swear, must not do any one injury, etc. The Donatists and the Anabaptists held the same opinions. …The Baptists display their ignorance when they assert that no constraint should be used in regard to religion or faith, they are similar in every particular to the old Baptists, the Donatists.”
In 1522 Luther says: “The Anabaptists have been for a long time spreading in Germany.”1 The late E. T. Winkler, D. D., quoting the above, says: “Nay, Luther even traced the Anabaptists back to the days of John Huss, and apologetically admits that the eminent reformer was one of them.”
Dr. Ludwig Keller, the Munster archivist, a Lutheran, a specialist on this subject, an expert authority and who has done more to clear up this subject than probably any other writer, in the Preussische Jahrbucher for Sept. 1882, says: “There were 'Baptists' long before the Munster rebellion, and in all the centuries that have followed, in spite of the severest persecutions there have been parties which as Baptists or 'Mennonites' have secured a permanent position in many lands. A contemporary, who was not a Baptist has this testimony concerning the beginning of the movement: 'The Anabaptist movement was so rapid that the presence of Baptist views was speedily discoverable in all parts of the land. The Baptists obtained a large number of adherents. Many thousands were baptized, and they attracted to…
1 Michelet’s Luther, p.99
…themselves good hearts.' …A contemporary chronicler estimates that already, in 1531, the number of executions in the Tyrol and Gortz was nearly a thousand. At Ensisheim, the seat of the father Austrian government Sebastian Franck puts the number at six hundred. In Linz, in six weeks, seventy-three persons were burned, drowned and beheaded. An Anabaptist chronicler, whose statements in general are regarded as very trustworthy, states that in the Palatinate, about the year 1529, 'the Palsgrave Ludwig, in a short time, put to death on account of their faith, between one hundred and fifty and two hundred.'” He goes on, mentioning many similar cases of their great numbers shown in their persecutions. “In Moravia, where the Baptists for a long time found protectors, persecution began in 1528. …A recent opponent of the Baptists, the Church historian, Carl Hase, expresses his opinion concerning these events in these words: 'The energy, the capacity for suffering, the joy in believing, which characterized the Christians of the first centuries of the church reappeared in the Anabaptists.' Indeed, one can not but be astonished at the steadfastness of these men, who so joyfully went to death, and disdained to purchase life by a word of recantation. Only once, at the time of Roman persecution of the Christians, does the entire history of the Christian church furnish an example of such slaughter. …Not to speak of the Netherlands, where at the beginning of 1530, according to the words of a contemporary, there was hardly a village or a city in which the danger of revolution on the part of the Baptists did not seem to be imminent. Let us now turn our attention to the German provinces. …The more I examine the documents of that time, at my command, the more I am astonished at the extent of the diffusion of Anabaptist views, an extent of which no other investigator has any knowledge. In all the cities in the archbishopric, with scarcely one or two exceptions, there were Anabaptists, and even in the country towns and villages. The same was true of the neighboring districts. …Many Baptist churches cannot be enumerated for the reason that their existence was a profound secret. …For the details I refer to original documents cited by me in another place, and will here only refer to the fact, that in the evangelical cities, Bremen, Hamburg, Lubec, Wisemar, Rostock, Stralsund, Brunswick, Hanover, Lunebury, etc., it can be proved that there were either fully established churches, or, at least, individual Baptists (and that, too, many among the clergy). It is not to be doubted, also, that in the progress of scientific invention still farther traces will be brought to light. …Much rather can it be proved that in the lands mentioned Baptist churches existed for many decades and EVEN CENTURIES.”l
Dr. A. H. Newman, a high authority on this subject, says: “It may be permitted to the writer to say that he is in thorough sympathy with Keller's general view of the old evangelical party and of the Reformation of the sixteenth century.2 The reader will please especially not overlook the latter part of Keller's statement, in my last quotation from him, that instead of saying that like other non Catholic sects, Baptists are the children of the Reformation, he says and has given ample proof of the statement, of their great prevalence when the Reformation began: 'Baptist churches existed for many decades and even centuries' before the Reformation.”
1 Translated by Henry S. Burrage, D. D., in Bap. Quart. Rev., vol. 7, pp. 28-33.
2 Recent Researches concerning Mediaeval Sects, p. 171.
Dr. E. T. Winkler says: “It is well known that the Anabaptists of Holland disclaimed any historic connection with the fanatical Anabaptists of Germany, but claimed a descent from the Waldenses.”1
Dr. Howard Osgood: “In Switzerland and in Germany it has been found impossible to decide when the Baptists first appeared, or which were the first churches of Baptists in these lands; and it is quite as difficult to decide the question about the Baptists of England.”2
In the same paper, Dr. Osgood says of the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century: “The persecution of
centuries had taught them concealment,” plainly implying their existence centuries before the days of Luther. “When they first appeared in the Netherlands cannot be decided. Ypeij and Dermout say Anabaptists were according to the archives of Groningen expelled thence in 1517.”
Here, Dr. Osgood quotes from Prof. Van Oesterzee, in Herzog Encyclopedia 9, p. 346 — “They are peculiar to the Netherlands and are older than. the Reformation, and therefore must by no means be confounded with the Protestantism of the sixteenth centuries, for it can be shown that the origin of the Baptists reaches much farther back and is more venerable.”
Dr. Osgood, in the same paper, says: “Long before Menno was converted and became a Baptist, Baptists were found in the Netherlands and were united in churches from the borders of France to the northern bounds of Friesland and witnessed a good confession.”
Dr. G. C. Lorimer in the same paper, of the Baptists and the Reformation, says: “Their existence antedates…
1 Dr. Winkler refers to Moehier's Symbolism, p. 4.
2 In The Standard, Chicago.
…it by centuries. …In 1518, six years before Luther appeared before the Diet of Worms, a letter was addressed to Erasmus from Bohemia, describing a people who never had any affinity with Rome. Two of these brethren waited on Luther and Erasmus to congratulate them on their secession from Rome, but the same were declined because they were Anabaptists. …It may be possible to show, as I think it is, that primitive Christianity perpetuated itself in the Novation communities which, according to Kertz, prevailed 'almost throughout the Roman empire' and which were subsequently known as Donatists, Montanists, bodies of believers who are classed together by Alzog, Abrard, Herzog, Jacob! and Frike and with whom the Baptists of our day are in substantial accord. All this could be very likely substantiated and an unbroken succession established.”
Cardinal Hossius, President of the Council of Trent, which met Dec. 15, 1545, and one of the most learned Romanists of his day, said: “If you behold the cheerfulness in suffering persecutions the Anabaptists run before all other heretics. If you will have regard to their number it is like that in multitude. They would swarm above all others if they were not grievously plagued and cut off with the knife of persecution. If you have an eye to outward appearance of godliness, both the Lutherans and Zwinglians must grant that they far surpass them. If you will be moved by the boasting of the word of God, those be not less bold than Calvin to preach, and their doctrine must stand above all the glory of the world; must stand invincible above all power, because it is not their word, but the word of the living God. Neither do they cry less boldly than Luther that with their doctrine they shall
judge angels, and surely, however, so many have written against this heresy whether they were Catholics or heretics or reformers, they were able to overthrow it, not so much by the testimony of Scripture as by the authority of the church.”1 Hossius farther says: “If the truth of religion were to be judged of by the readiness and cheerfulness which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinion and persuasion of no sect can be truer and surer than that of the Anabaptists, since there have been none, for these twelve hundred years past, that have been more generally punished, or that have more steadfastly undergone, and even offered themselves to the most cruel sorts of punishment than these people. …The Anabaptists are a pernicious sect, of which kind the Waldensian brethren, seem to have been. Nor is this heresy a modern thing, for it existed in the time of Austin.”1 Thus this great Romanish scholar concedes the sameness of the Waldenses and Anabaptists, and that they already existed in 354, the time of Austin.
The Romish Bishop Baltes, of Alton, Ill., indirectly concedes the apostolic descent of the Baptists, when he thus concedes he cannot find any human head for them:
“If you go to the dictionaries of religion you will find the name of the founder of every other denomination than the Catholic. The only objection I have met with as to this proposition is a Baptist; he contended that you could not find any one who founded the Baptist denomination.” The Bishop did not so much as venture to deny this statement.3
Hase: “The Waldenses were reduced in numbers because they had been burned by their persecutors, but some congregations still remained in the south of France…
1 Hatchett's Heresies, translated by B. Shacklock, vol. 48, edition of 1565. Underhill, pp. 88-89.
2 Ree's Reply to Wall, p. 20—In Trilemma, p. 132.
3 In the Globe-Democrat of 1878; see also Chapter VI for other Romish testimony.
…and in the secluded valleys of Piedmont. …In the commencement of the fifteenth century heretical congregations of almost every kind were scattered and broken up. But it was only in secret that those forms of opposition were maintained or organized which in the sixteenth century came forward under the name of Anabaptists.”1
As explanatory, says Armitage: “A word here may be necessary as to the proper naming of this interesting people; were they Baptists or Anabaptists? They are commonly characterized as 'Anabaptists' by friends and foes; yet this name was especially offensive to them, as it charged them with re-baptizing those whom they regarded as unbaptized and because it was intended as a stigma. By custom their most friendly historians call them 'Anabaptists,' yet many of their candid historians speak of them as 'Baptists.' The Petrobrussians complained that Peter of Clugny 'slandered' them by calling them 'Anabaptists’ so did their Swiss and German brethren after them. The London Confession, 1646, protests that the English Baptists were 'commonly, though unjustly, called Anabaptists.'”2
Mosheim: “The true origin of that sect which required the denomination of Anabaptists, by their administering anew the rite of baptism to those who came over to their communion …is hid in the remote depths of antiquity, and is, of consequence, extremely difficult to be ascertained. This uncertainty will not appear surprising when it is considered that this sect started up all of a sudden in several countries at the same point of time, under leaders of different talents and different intentions, and at the very period when the first contest of the reformers…
1 Hase's Hist. Chr. Ch., pp. 342-343.
2 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 327.
…with the Roman pontiffs drew the attention of' the world. …It may be observed …that the Mennonites are not entirely mistaken when they boast of their descent from the Waldenses, Petrobrussians and other sects, who are usually considered as witnesses of the truth in the times of universal darkness and superstition. Before the rise of Luther and Calvin there lay concealed in almost all the countries of Europe, particularly in Bohemia, Moravia, Switzerland and Germany, many persons who adhered tenaciously to the following doctrine which the Waldenses, Wickliffites and Hussites had maintained, some in a more disguised, and others in a more open and public manner, viz: that the kingdom of Christ or the visible church was an assembly of real saints and ought, therefore, to be inaccessible to the wicked and unrighteous, and also exempt from all those institutions which human prudence suggests, to oppose the progress of iniquity, or to correct and reform transgressors. This maxim is the true source of all the peculiarities that are to be found in the religious doctrine and discipline of the Mennonites; and it is most certain that the greatest part of these peculiarities were approved by many of those, who, before the dawn of reformation, entertained the notion already mentioned relating to the visible church of Christ. …The drooping spirits of these people who had been dispersed through many countries and persecuted everywhere with the greatest severity, were revived when they were informed that Luther, seconded by several persons of eminent piety, had successfully attempted the reformation of the church.”1
Jones quotes a part of this from perhaps a better rendering. Maclaine, translator of the edition from which…
l Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, sec. 3, chaps. 3,1-2.
…I quote, says he has “sometimes taken considerable liberties with my author,” thus: “Before the rise of Luther and Calvin there lay concealed, in almost all the countries of Europe, persons who held tenaciously to the principles of the modern Dutch Baptists.”1
“Religions of the World,” by fifteen eminent scholars, whose names are given, all, or near all, being Pedobaptists and Romanists, published by Gay Bros. Co., 14 Barclay street, New York, 1884, says: “Baptists claim a higher antiquity than the eventful era of the Reformation. They offer proof in that their views of the church and the ordinances may be traced through the Paterines, the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Vaudoise, the Cathari, and the Poor Men of Lyons, the Paulicians, the Donatists, the Novatians, to the Messahians, the Montanists and the Euchites of the second and closing part of the first century to the Apostles and the churches they founded. …Their claim to this high antiquity it would seem is well founded, for historians, not Baptists, and who could have no motive except fidelity to facts, concede it.”2
Samuel Schmucker says of the Baptists; “As a sect they never existed …until the rise of Peter Waldo in the twelfth century who established † the sect of the Waldenses among the mountains of Piedmont. One of the most prominent doctrines of him and his followers was the impropriety of the baptism of infants and necessity of immersion to the validity of baptism.” 3
The Athenian Society, of England, over two hundred years ago, and made up wholly of Pedobaptists, a Society pronounced equal to the famous Royal Society of which it…
† This links the Baptists to the Waldenses. In Chapter XXII we have
proved the Waldenses have a continuity from Apostolic times.
1 Jones' Ch. Hist, p. 358.
2 Pages 405-406.
3 Schmuchers' Hist. of All Religions, pp. 36-38.
…is said: “All the endeavors of great men, of all nations and ages, from the beginning of learning till this time, have not contributed so much to the increase of learning as the Athenian Society.” They commenced previous to 1790 a weekly periodical, called the Anthenian Gazette which name was subsequently changed to the Athenian Oracle. This work was conducted by a committee of twelve of their most competent men, selected from the learned professions. Their volumes are quoted with confidence as authorities by Hannah Adams and other distinguished writers. In 1691 this society was thrown into controversity with the Baptists, respecting the antiquity of their church, and they affirmed that “there never was a separate and distinct congregation of Baptists until about three hundred years after our Savior.”1
Let it not be forgotten that I have proved the Waldenses did not originate with Waldo, and that when Baptist churches are conceded to have existed as early as A. D. 300 and since that, the side of Baptist opponents is virtually surrendered.
The “New Royal Encyclopedia,” edited by Wm. Hall, with other learned men of London, begun in 1788 and completed in three volumes, says in its article, “Anabaptists.” “It is to be remembered that the Baptists or Mennonites in England and Holland are to be considered in a very different light from the enthusiasts we have been describing; and it appears equally uncandid and invidious to trace their distinguished sentiments, as some of their adversaries have done, to those obnoxious characters and then to stop in order as it were, to associate them with the idea of tubulence and fanaticism, with which it certainly has no natural connection. Their connection with some of those oppressed and infatuated…
1 Supplement to Ath. Ora., vol. 4, p. 161—In Howell on Corn., p. 255.
…people in denying baptism to infants, is acknowledged by the Baptists, but they disavow the practice which the appellation of Anabaptist implies; and their doctrines seem referable to a more ancient origin. They appear to be supported by history in considering themselves the descendants of the Waldenses, who were so grievously oppressed and persecuted by the despotic heads of the Romish hierarchy.”1
Sir Isaac Newton: “The modern Baptists formerly called Anabaptists are the only people that never symbolized with the papacy.” 2
In his debate with Bishop Purcell, Campbell said: “Every sect and individual is passive in receiving a name. …The disciples of Christ are the same race, call them Christians, Nazarenes, Gallileans, Novations, Donalists, Paulicians, Waldenses, Albigenses, Protestants or what you please. A variety of designations affects not the fact which we allege; we can find an unbroken series of Protestants — a regular succession of those who protested against the corruptions of the Romish church and endeavored to hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints from the first schism in the year 250, A. D., to the present day; you may apply to them what description or designation you please.”3
Again: “The Baptist denomination † in all ages and all countries has been, as a body, the constant asserters of the rights of man and the liberty of conscience. They have often been persecuted by Pedobaptists; but they never politically persecuted, though they have had it in their power.”4
† Notice that Mr. Campbell is not here speaking of only “principles and practices,” but he is speaking of organized churches — “denomination.”
1 In Trilemma, p. 137.
2 Life of Whiston.
3 Quoted, from p. 77.
4 Quoted, from A. Campbell on Baptism, p. 449, “Copyrighted, 1851.”
Mr. Burnett, one of the most ardent Campbellite editors, says: “The Baptists have connection with the Apostles through their line of succession, which extends back three hundred and fifty years, where it connects with the Waldensian line, and that reaches to the apostolic day. This is not a Baptist line but the Baptists have connection with this line, and through it have connection with the Apostles. We were talking about successional connection. Baptists also have connection with the Apostles in what they teach and practice.”l
Challenging one of his own brethren, Mr. Bumett — on the position that if the Baptists are not from apostolic times — says: “But he should march right up to the difficulty and show us where the church was seventy-five years ago.”2 †
Though these testimonies can easily be multiplied, I deem it amply enough to conclude them with the testimony of Drs. Dermout and Ypeij. Says Dr. William R. Williams: “Ypeij held an ecclesiastical professorship and was a voluminous author on historical themes, and his various works are yet largely cited. Dermout, his associate in the history, was a Reformed church preacher at the Hague …the Hague being the city of the royal residence. Sepp, …a scholar of reputation, in his essay — which in 1860 obtained the prize of the Teyler Society — on the theologians of Holland from the close of the eighteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century rates Dermout among the most powerful of the…
† To the Campbellite attempt to evade the force of this, by saying:
“But Brother Burnett meant that the Hard Shell Baptists have the succession and the missionaries are a young sprout from them.” I leave the chapter in this book on who are the Old Baptists as sufficient reply. If Mr. Burnett or any of the Campbellites are sincere in saying that the Anti-mission Baptists are the successors of the Apostles why don't they join them!
1 Christian Messenger, Dec. 8,1886.
2 Christian Messenger, March 9,1887.
…nation's preachers in his own age. …C. M. Van Der Kemp,” another German scholar, “describes …Ypeij as professor of theology in connection with the Reformed Church in a distinguished university in our land,” and Dermout, as “by his position the regular teacher in one of our most distinguished churches, court chaplain to His Majesty, and secretary and permanent member of the Supreme Reformed Church Synod.” Sepp says: “Borger, one of Holland's most brilliant scholars, was accustomed to rate Dermout, as being above even Van der Palm, who as a scholar, writer and preacher, has won a reputation, not only pervading Holland, but reaching Great Britain and our own country also.” With the archives of Europe before them, Drs. Ypeij and Dermout wrote: “Gerchied de Nederl, Hervormde Kerk,” in which they say: “We have already seen that the Baptists — those who in former times were named Anabaptists, and in later times Mennonites — were originally Waldenses, the men who in the history of the church, in time so far back, have obtained a well-deserved renown. In consequence, the Baptists may be regarded as being from of old the only religious denomination that have continued from the times of the Apostles, as a Christian society who have kept the evangelical faith pure through all the ages hitherto.
The constitution, never perverted internally or externally, of the society of the Baptists, serves them as a proof' of that truth, contested by the Romish church, that the reformation of religion, such as was brought about in the sixteenth century, was necessary, was indispensable, and serves, too, as the refutation, at the same time, of the Roman Catholic delusive fancy, that their own is the oldest church society.”1 The title of this work in English…
1 In Dr. William R. Williams' Lect. on Bap. Hist., pp. 172-173
…is: “History of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands.” It was published 1819, at Breda.
If history can demonstrate anything this chapter has demonstrated that the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century are the successors of the Waldenses — are the genuine Waldenses.
We have now seen that through the Montanists, the Novatians, the Donatists, the Paulicians, the Albigenses, the Cathari, the Arnoldists, the Petrobrussians, the Henricians and the Waldenses — all essentially identical — the Anabaptists, or Baptists of the sixteenth century have a Church Perpetuity to the church of the first century.
In the language of Dr. Armitage, as his noble soul arose above his antipathy to Church Perpetuity: “Let us at least respect our ancestry enough to join the latest and best continental writers in calling them Baptists,”1
In succeeding chapters what little grounds to doubt the Baptists of today being the Anabaptists of Reformation times is removed.
1 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 328.