SECTION XI : BAPTISTS IN PIEDMONT.
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee," &c.—Rev. Hi. 10.
1. THERE is a range of mountains, the highest in Europe, extending from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean Seas, and separating Italy from France, Switzerland, and Germany. The principality of Piedmont derives its name from its locality, being situated at the foot of the Alps; pede, foot—montium, mountains. It is an extensive tract of rich and fruitful valleys, containing a superficial extent of thirteen thousand square miles, and is embosomed in mountains, which are encircled again with other mountains higher than they, intersected with deep and rapid rivers, and exhibiting in strong contrasts the beauty and plenty of Paradise, in sight of frightful precipices, wide lakes of ice, and stupendous mountains of never-wasting snow. The whole country is an interchange of hill and dale, mountain and valley, traversed with four principal rivers; namely, the Po, the Tanaro, the Stura, and the Dora, besides about eight-and-twenty rivulets, great and small—which, winding their courses in different directions, contribute to the fertility of the valleys, which make the land, on a map, to resemble a watered garden. Such was the surrounding scenery of those people who were, at different periods, driven into the wilderness—Rev. xii. 6. May we not…
…conclude, they had not only chosen the better part, but were directed to an earthly Eden to enjoy it?*
2. The origin and character of the people who at an early age inhabited these valleys, has been shown; † but such details have no interesting connexion with our history. The same writer has proved, in a most satisfactory way, that the class of people called Waldenses derived this name from inhabiting valleys. In Spain, these people were termed Navarri; in France, Vaudois (vaux); in Lombardy, ecclesiastical writers named them Valdenses, simply from their living in valleys, o "They call themselves Valdenses, because they abide in a valley of tears." S It is certain these valleys, at an early period in the Christian era, became an asylum to the worshippers of the Redeemer; who, at the remotest period, were known by the term Credenti, believers. || However remote their antiquity, no records exist as to any of these churches being apostolical:([ though the fact is beyond all contradiction, that early and late dissenters in religion were found in these valleys, and in other provinces, who were never in communion with the Church of Rome.**
3. Though we have no document proving apostolic foundation for these churches, yet it becomes evident that some communities did exist here in the second century, since it is recorded they practised believers' baptism by immersion.†† Whether these societies were gathered by the…
* Lon. Ency. art. Pied. Lady Morgan's Letters. Rob. Ecc. Res., p. 458. Jones's Ecc. Lect., vol. ii., p. 416.
† Robins. Res., p. 425.
oRobins. Res. p. 302.
S Bp. Newton's Diss. on the Proph., vol. ii., p. 248; and Maps of Piedmont in Gilly's Narrative.
|| Robins. Res., p. 461.
([ Affix's Ch. of Pied., c. 1, p. 2.
** Robins. Res., pp. 425, 440, 448.
†† D. Belthazar in Bap. Mag., vol. i, p. 167.
…apostles, or their successors, or whether they originated with those emigrants who left the cities under the 162 persecuting edicts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, we have no means of deciding. We have already observed* from Claudius Seyssel, the popish archbishop, that one LEO was charged with originating the Waldensian 331 heresy in the valleys, in the days of Constantine the Great. When those severe measures emanated from the emperor Honorius, against rebaptizers, the 413 Baptists left the seats of opulence and power, and sought retreats in the country and in the valleys of Piedmont—which last place in particular became their retreat from imperial oppression. † The assumption of power by the Roman priesthood occasioned multitudes of private persons to express publicly their abhorrence of clerical vice and intolerance, and particularly of the lordly 601 ambition of the Roman pontiffs. In the sixth and seventh centuries, many withdrew from the scenes of sacerdotal oppression, ignorance, and voluptuousness. These sought refuge in Piedmont, and were called Valdenses: they abhorred popery, o Here the Valdenses were more at liberty to oppose the tyranny of those imperious prelates. S The prevalency of Arianism in Lombardy was equally afflictive to these Credenti; since some of the believers or Valdenses, were deprived of their ministers by 602 Execution, while others were led from the severity of the trial, to compromise the affair by taking their children to the Arian establishment for immersion. ||
* D. Belthazar, Bap. Mag., vol. i., ch. 2, s. 1, S 7.
† Sabast. Frank, in Bap. Mag., vol. i. p. 256. A. Keith's Signs of the Times, vol. ii., ch. 22, p. 64, &c.
o Jortin's Rem., vol. iii., p. 419.
S Mosh. Hist., vol. i., p. 445.
|| Ferrin refers to these people, Allix's Ch. Pied., ch. 24, p. 242.
4. The antiquity of the Valdenses, or believers, is asserted by their friends, and corroborated by their enemies. Dr. Machine, in Mosheim's history, says, "We may affirm, with the learned Beza, that these people derived their name from the valleys they inhabited; and hence Peter of Lyons was called, in Latin, Valdus, because he had adopted their doctrine." Reiner Sacco speaks of the Lionists as a sect that had flourished above five hundred years (back to 750); while he mentions authors of note among them, who make their antiquity remount to the apostolic age.* Theodore Belvedre, a popish monk, says, that the heresy had always been in the valleys.† In the preface to the first French Bible, the translators say, that they (the Valdenses) have always had the full enipvment of the heavenly truth contained in the holy Scriptures, ever since they were enriched with the same by the apostles; having in fair MSS. preserved the entire Bible in their native tongue, from generation to generation.o
5. The old, or primitive Waldenses, were distinguished by the doctrine and practice of Christian liberty. S They held priesthood in abhorrence. It is not clear that the ancient Waldenses had any clergy as distinct from laity. Females were allowed to teach, as well as men; they laughed at the different classes of the priesthood. They took no oaths, but used a simple affirmation. They believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, and baptized believers. || They refused baptism to infants, when it came into use in other churches:([ and were consequently reproached…
* Ecc. Hist., vol. ii. p. 320, note.
† Danver's, p. 18.
o Moreland's Hist., p. 14. Gilly's Life of F. Neff.
S Robins. Res., p. 311.
|| Robins. Res., pp. 446, 461.
([ Id. p. 462..
…with the term re-baptizers, or Anabaptists.'" "They admitted," says Dr. Allix, "the catechumi, after an exact instruction, and baptized them on Easter-day, and Whitsunday, and prepared them for receiving of that sacrament by long continued fasts, in which the church used to join * * * they were to make confession of their sins in token of their contrition before they received baptism * * * after which they were admitted to the eucharist."† The mode of administering the ordinance is proved from the account and description we have of their baptisteries.o The churches, at an early period, to which a baptistery was annexed, were called baptismal churches: these were resorted to by all persons living in that district for baptism; these baptismal churches consequently became mother churches, and, when possessed by the Catholics, cathedrals; and even a shadow of this was to be found among the reformed churches of Piedmont. S It is a fact, however superstition may have disguised it, that the forming of Christian congregations in the established church of Piedmont and Savoy, began like the gospel itself, with baptism. ||
6. Knowing the people we are deciphering have had many claimants to affinity, we shall subjoin, before we proceed with their history, a few testimonies as to the oneness of the Waldenses in views, with those Baptists whose histories have been already given.
Eckbertus and Emericus, two avowedly open and bitter enemies of the Waldenses, do assert, that the new Puritans (Waldenses) do conform to the doctrines and manners of…
* Id., pp. 310, 315, 467, 513.
† Ch. in Pied., ch. 2, p. 7.
o Rob. Res., p. 468.
S Robins. Hist. of Bap., p. 357; and Res., pp. 405, 468.
|| Id. p. 468.
…the old Puritans (i. e. the Novatianists).* Bezel affirms * * * the Waldenses were the relics of the pure primitive Christian churches; some of them were called "the poor of Lyons." † Paul Perrin asserts, that the Waldenses were time out of mind in Italy and Dalmatia, and were the offspring of the Novatianists, who were persecuted and driven from Rome, A.D. 400 (rather 413); and who, for purity in communion, were called Puritans,† The name of Paterines was given to the Waldenses; and who, for the most part, held the same opinions, and have therefore been taken for one and the same class of people, who continued till the Reformation under name of Paterines or Waldenses. S There was no difference in religious views between the Albigenses and Waldenses. || All those people inhabiting the south of France were called, in general, Albigenses; and, in doctrine and manners, were not distinct from the Waldenses.([ Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, says, as to the Vaudois, they were a species of Donatists, and worse than the ancient Donatists; they formed their churches of only good men; they all, without distinction, if they were reputed good people, preached and administered the ordinances.** The celebrated Matthew Francowitz says, the Waldenses scent a little of anabaptism.†† The Waldenses were, in religious sentiments, substantially the same as the Paulicians, Paterines, Puritans, and Albigenses. ‡‡—See appendix to this section.
* Danvers on Bap., p. 273; and Jones's Led, vol. ii. p. 178.
†Danvers, ut sup., p. 18.
o Id., p. 273.
S Allix’s ch- pied- ch. 14, pp. 122, 128.
|| Mezeray's Fr. Hist. p. 278. Machine in Mosh. Hist., vol. ii., p. 320, note.
([ Miln. Ch. Hist., Cent. 13, ch. 4.
** Rob. Res., p. 476.
†† Id. p. 311.
‡‡ Mosh. Hist., vol. ii., pp. 224, 226, 432, notes. Jones's Lect. vol. ii. pp. 371-6.
7. Having stated their antiquity, and proved their affinity to other classes of early dissidents, we now come to describe the people, which originally were called simply believers. These were distinguished from others by their faith, while some professors were known principally by pleading virtue; but these Christians distinguished themselves by the soundness of their faith, of which the apostles' creed was their standard; and though they were not indifferent to virtue, yet virtue was a secondary object, or, as it is now called, a fruit of faith. They did not dissent from Rome on account of the doctrines taught in that church, but on account of ceremonies, rejecting the popes, prelates, and all its religious orders, with councils and traditions, and adhering to Scripture alone as a rule of faith, and by refusing all the papal ceremonies of baptism and the Lord's Supper:* the attempts of these believers, therefore, were not intended by way of imposing or proposing new articles of faith to Christians; all they aimed to do was, to reduce the form of ecclesiastical government to that amiable simplicity, and primitive sanctity, which characterized the apostolic ages. The government of their churches was committed to elders, presbyters, and deacons. Their elders, or bards, were every one ministers or heads of their churches; but these could proceed in no spiritual affair without the consent of the brethren, teachers and people. Deacons expounded the gospel, distributed the eucharist, baptized, and sometimes had the oversight of churches, visited the sick, and took care of the temporalities of the church. † They considered that these orders…
* Robins. Res., p. 461.
† Dr. Allix's Rem. Ch. Pied., ch. 2, pp. 8, 9.
…should be like the apostles;—poor, illiterate men, without worldly possessions, and qualified to follow some laborious trade in order to gain a livelihood. Their elders and officers do not appear distinguished from their brethren by dress or names, but every Christian was considered as capable, in a certain measure, of instructing others, and of confirming the brethren by exhortations. Their elders were the seniors of the brethren, while the presbyters were the whole body of the teachers, whether fixed or itinerating.* Their rules of practice were regulated by a literal interpretation of Christ's sermon on the mount. They consequently prohibited wars, suits at law, acquisitions of wealth, capital punishments, self-defence, and oaths of all kinds. The body of believers was divided into two classes; one of which contained the perfect, the other the imperfect Christians. The former gave up all worldly possessions, the latter were less austere, though they abstained, like the graver sort of Anabaptists in later times, from all appearances of pomp and luxury. † These people contended that a church was an assembly of believers, faithful men, and that of such a church the Lord Jesus Christ is head, and he alone; that it is governed by his word, and guided by the Holy Spirit; that it behooves all Christians to walk in fellowship; that the only ordinances Christ hath appointed for the churches, are baptism and the Lord's Supper; that they are both symbolical ordinances, or signs of holy things, "visible emblems of invisible blessings," and that believers are the proper participants of them.o
* See Camp. 4th Lect. on Ecc. History, p. 72.
† Mosh. Hist., vol. ii. p. 321, &c.
o Jones's Lect., vol. ii. p. 455. The first writers against the Vaudois, never censured their mode of baptizing; for in those times all parties administered baptism by dipping, except in cases of danger. Rob. Res., pp. 447, 468-9.
8. On the Saracens invading Spain, near the middle of the eighth century, many thousands of the Spanish Vaudois, with their wives, children, and servants, under cover of a large army emigrated over the Pyrenees, from the Spanish 732 to the French foot of the mountains. As the French provinces became also invaded, it is very probable many of the emigrants would seek a refuge in Piedmont, during those military commotions. It is recorded, that the parts which remained freest from the vices and contagion of those marauders, were Savoy, Piedmont, and the southern parts of France; and it is equally remarkable, that when the Saracens approached to those parts inhabited by the Vaudois, they were defeated with great slaughter, in several engagements by the famous Charles Martel.*
9. At a period when ignorance, superstition, and iniquity almost universally prevailed, and the members of the Catholic community were locked up in a moral slumber, 817 one character of respectability and importance, was raised up in this community; Claude of Turin,† who successfully raised his voice against prevailing corruptions. He was a Spaniard by birth, and a disciple of Felix, of Urgel, the Arian; who, in 794, published a work on the adoption of Jesus by the Father.o Churchmen say, Claude rejected tradition in matters of religion, and that he entirely conformed to the sense of the ancient…
*Mezeray's Fr. Hist., p. 82. Bp. Newton on the Proph., vol. ii., p. 207.
†Claude lived and died a Catholic, and most probably an Arian. He was a brave general, as well as a bold preacher, and headed his own troops. In his days, those children who could ask for baptism received it. Robins, ut sup.
o Mezeray's Fr. Hist. p. 105.
…church!* How this could be, while he remained in a community that was a sink of lewdness and uncleanness,† we have yet to learn. His views are considered evangelical. He asserted the equality of all the apostles, and maintained that Jesus Christ was the only head of the church. His labors were very beneficial to the interests of religion in the valleys. He lived and died in the Catholic church; he gave no encouragement to others to separate, or form distinct communities, indeed he was an enemy to schism. His continuing to labor in a church so awfully corrupt for twenty-two years—his military enterprises—his association with the bishop of Urgel, leave his orthodoxy doubtful: he was in life beloved, and after death his memory was revered by his disciples, o It is stated by Gilly, that Independent churches were first formed at the 820 time of Claude. S The bishop of Turin gave no encouragement to such societies; nor do we know what is to be understood by these first Independent churches, since such churches existed among dissenters from apostolic days. Probably after Claude's death, his followers, who could not unite with the Baptists, or Vaudois churches, attempted something of the kind, and formed societies, similar to the Calixtines after Huss's death; but of this we have no records. That the old interests of the believers realized considerable accessions from Claude's labors, there is no doubt :|| and many more of corresponding features might have been formed, but of this we can only conjecture.
* Allix's Ch. Pied., ch. 9, p. 61. Newton, as above, p. 239.
† Mezeray ut sup. and pp. 112, 115.
o Jones's Lect., vol. ii. p. 192.
S Narrative p. 82.
|| London Ency., art. Reform. Rob. Res., pp. 447, 467.
10. It becomes very plain, that the early dissenters, both in the east and west, adopted the system of itinerating through kingdoms. This system was well suited to the 850 state of the world in the eighth and ninth centuries, when the genuine religion and spirit of the gospel was utterly unknown to the doctors of the first rank in the catholic church. What aid the Piedmontese churches had from the Spanish Vaudois, or the Paulicians in Armenia and Bulgaria, we are not able to state. It was in the ninth century that the Paulicians flourished most, and acquired astonishing strength. As their religious views were at an early period propagated "beyond the Alps," it is not unreasonable to conclude, that they held some correspondence with these believers. Robinson asserts, that Greece was the parent of the Vaudois, while Piedmont was the jailer.* There is no room to question but that Savoy
became the fostering friend of these dissenters. But to resume; the perfect class among the Vaudois was well calculated for a migratory life. While dispossessed of earthly possessions, and living celibate, such a mode of existence would be rendered comparatively easy. Such excursive undertakings, on such commissions, always left their return precarious.
The different ministers of eminence raised up in their churches, or brought over to their party from other communities, were considerable helps to the interests 1020 generally was Gundulphus in Italy, who espoused their views, and was successful in gaining a great many disciples. The persons who were thus converted were instructed in the main points of religion,…
* Eccles. Researches, p. 320.
…and were sent through various provinces to disseminate the truth; and it is allowed they were successful in withdrawing many from the Roman church.*
While other kingdoms and provinces barbarously used all dissidents, the valleys of Piedmont for ages afforded an asylum (Rev. iii. 10) for all the disaffected towards the church and state union. Blessed here with security and liberty, and free from the impurities of the menstrual shallot, they breathed their devotions in one of the purest regions under heaven, while surrounded by the corrupters elements. Their minds were fettered with no human forms—their knees bowed to no delegated authority—their devotion was guided by no adjusted rules—their lips made no professions, but such as were stimulated by choice, and that choice was the response of divine benevolence, aided by a glowing gratitude, and presented alive to the author of all their mercies, in an acceptable way, through the blood of the Lamb. When their hearts became warm with spiritual kindlings, and their torch lighted up by a celestial flame, they marched forth, unaided and unabetted by the plenitude of modern favors, into the surrounding and distant territories, to enlighten the regions of darkness, to awaken men from the slumberings of a moral death, and to exhibit, in all the glow of heavenly benevolence, a fountain opened for the pollutions of a world, and an ample and sufficient balm for the sicknesses and moral diseases of a perishing universe. Such were Novatian and Novatus, with Constantine, Sylvanus, and Sergius of old; and such were Gundulphus and his coadjutors, with Arnold, Valdo, Berengarius, Henry, and Peter de Bruys.
*Dr. Affix's Ch. Pied., c. 11, p. 91,
These worthy men, who went forth with their lives in their hands, were the only moral means, in those ages, of renovating the corrupt inhabitants of this world; and no doubt, the success attending their efforts will be evident in the great day of decision, when many stars will be seen studding their crowns.
11. The attention paid by these Christians to the cultivation of the mind in the word of God and spiritual things, is highly commendable. The department of teaching devolving on all believers, made the church an efficient resource of moral means for the necessary instruction of every class, within and without its community. Their enemies lay to their charge, that "they were very zealous, that they (men and women) never cease from teaching night and day."* "They had the Old and New Testament," says an inquisitor, "in the vulgar tongue; and they teach and learn so well, that he had seen and heard a country clown recount all Job, word for word; and divers, who could perfectly deliver all the New Testament; and that men and women, little and great, day and night, cease not to learn and teach." It is natural for us to conclude, that these people, from their attention to the divine oracles, were able to give a scriptural reason for the hope within them, and to vindicate their peculiarities, by a direct appeal to the source of all authority in affairs of the soul. Indeed their habitude with the Scriptures appears to have been their boast, as they would say "there was scarcely a man or woman among them, who was not far better read in the Bible, than the doctors of the church." The advantages arising to them from having the Scriptures in their vernacular tongue,…
* Jones's Lect., vol. ii., p. 274.
…were incalculable; and their attention to its contents deserves the highest praise, while it presents to us an example eminently worthy of our close imitation.
One rule among this people, already recorded, was, that every Christian was in a certain measure qualified and authorized to instruct, exhort, and confirm the brethren in their Christian course. This arrangement educed every talent among the brotherhood, and their gifts being exercised in the church, became an excellent means of qualifying every gifted brother for more general usefulness. This mode of proceeding would operate as a stimulus to spiritual acquirements, and a beneficial end must have been realized in all the community, especially since the gifted brethren's minds were richly laden with the inestimable pearls of sacred truth. Thus qualified with mighty weapons—clad with a spiritual armor, many whose hearts expanded with divine benevolence for the welfare of immortal souls, travelled through whole kingdoms, and became known by the name of the Wandering Anabaptists.* To effectuate the object of their mission, they carried with them a basket of portable wares, as our pedlars do, which often gained them access to persons of great respectability, when, if an opportunity offered, they would introduce some part of the history of John or Jesus. Reiner, the Judas among them, gave a full detail of their mode of instruction, and their views of the catholic church. Father Gretzer, who edited Reiner's works in the fifteenth century, affirms that this description of the Waldenses was a true picture of the heretics of his age, particularly of the Anabaptists. † This plan in the proceedings of these pious and…
*Rob. Res., pp. 467, 51?.
† Id. p. 314.
...benevolent people, will remove one difficulty, as to their maintaining their numbers and influence over almost whole provinces, when we are assured their enemies on every side 1025 for ages combined all their energies for their annihilation. This is the key to the success of Gundulphus and Valdo, who had many disciples, with Berenger, Valdo's friend and follower.* Each believer's gifts and talents were brought into requisition, and a multiplication of adherents ensued.
1100 It is recorded, that so early as 1100, the religion of the Waldenses had spread itself almost in all parts of Europe, even among the Poles. That their doctrine differed little from the first protestants, and their numbers were such as to defeat all power that opposed it.† They were described nearly in the following language: "If a man loves those that desire to love God and Jesus Christ, if he will neither curse, nor swear, nor lie, nor commit lewdness, nor kill, nor deceive his neighbor, nor avenge himself of his enemies, they presently say, he is a Vaudois—he deserves to be punished." o
12. The centuriators of Magdeburgh, under the twelfth century, recite from an old manuscript the outlines of the Waldensian creed: viz. "In articles of faith, the authority of the Holy Scripture is the highest authority; and for that reason it is the standard of judging; so that whatever doth not agree with the word of God is deservedly to be rejected and avoided. The sacraments of the church of Christ are two, baptism and the Lord's supper. That is…
* Rob. Res., p. 303.
† Danvers on Bap., p. 24, and Jones's Lect., vol. ii. p. 429, from Sieur de la Popeliniere, see above, c. 2, s. 8, S 11.
o Allix's Pied. Ch., c. 18, p. 163.
…the church of Christ which hears the pure doctrine of Christ, and observes the ordinances instituted by Him, in whatever place it exists."*
1110 About the same period, Peter de Bruys appeared as a public teacher. He was one of the chief doctors of the Vaudois. He stands first on the list of those pastors or bards of the valleys of Piedmont, † His views have been already given, o
1120 In 1120, the Vaudois put forth a confession of their faith, from which we give the following statements:—Art. 11. We hold in abhorrence all human inventions, as proceeding from antichrist, &c. Art. 12. We do believe that the sacraments are signs of the holy things, or as visible emblems of invisible blessings. We regard it as proper, and even necessary, that believers use these symbols or visible forms, when it can be done. Not-withstanding which, we maintain that believers may be saved without these signs, when they have neither place nor opportunity of observing them. S
1130 13. The united labors of Arnold of Brescia, Peter de Bruys, and Henry of Toulouse, must have been productive of an amazing amount of good. These good men held corresponding views of religion, which we have already noticed; and their united services gave considerable encouragement to dissenters. Their numerous followers were called locally, for a considerable period, after the names of their leaders, or their country; yet, in the course of time, they were all known from…
* Jones's Hist. of the Ch., vol. ii. p. 56.
† Jones's Lect. vol. ii., p. 207.
o Vide above, c. 2, s. 8, S 6.
S Jones's Hist. of the Church, vol. ii. p. 55. Gilly's Nan. app. 12.
…inhabiting the valleys, under the generic term of Waldenses.* The success of Henry and others have been recorded in a previous section; the complaints of Bernard and his fraternity, with the united endeavors of the pontiff, the patrician, and the plebeian, to stay their increase, were unsuccessful; "for the purity and simplicity of that religion which these good men taught, the spotless innocence of their lives, their neglect of riches and honors, with an agreeable conversation, appeared so engaging to all who had any true estimate of piety, as secured the increase of numbers to their interests from time to time."†
1160 To aid the cause of real religion, a tract was sent forth by the Puritans, about this period, in the language of the ancient inhabitants of the valleys, entitled. The noble Lesson. The writer, supposing the world was drawing to a conclusion, refers to the scriptures as a rule of guidance, and exhorts his brethren to prayer, watching, and renouncing of the world. He speaks with energy of death and judgment, the different issues of godliness and wickedness; and from a review of scripture history connected with the experience of the times in 1170 which he lived, concludes that there are but few (in comparison of the world) that shall be saved. In speaking of the apostles, it is observed, "they spoke, without fear, of the doctrine of Christ; they preached to Jews and Greeks, working miracles; and those that believed, they baptized in the name of Jesus." o This poetic…
* Jones's Led, vol. ii. p. 214.
† Mosh. Hist. C. 12, pt. 2, c. 5, S 12-13.
o Moreland's Hist., B. 1, c. 6, pp. 99, 116. Date of the noble lesson, says J. R. Peyrin, is from 1170 to 1190. The 1100 years in that work does not refer to the lesson, but to the time elapsed since John wrote. Rev. ii. 18. Hist, Def., &c. p. 147.
…effusion, with others from the Puritans, was supported by the poets of the age, called Troubadours, who united with the Vaudois in condemning the reigning vices of the times; their satires were chiefly directed against the clergy and monks, whose crimes were exposed in no measured terms. These Troubadours resorted to, and were great favorites in different courts; and their productions, written in the ancient language of Provence, were read by the 1180 inhabitants of Italy and Spain.* These circumstances, with the persecution of Waldo and his followers at Lyons, many of whom fled for an asylum into the valleys of Piedmont, with the new translation of the Bible, combined to increase dissenters, and strengthen the interests of religion in these abodes of peace. Their 1200 numbers became so formidable, says Mosheim, as to menace the papal jurisdiction with a fatal overthrow; which has been before stated, with the evils resulting to the Albingensian churches from the crusading 1208 armies. A catechism, bearing date this century, says, "By the holy catholic church is meant all the elect of God, from the beginning to the end, by the grace of God, through the merits of Christ, gathered together by the Holy Spirit, and fore-ordained to eternal life." This creed has no allusion to baptism.
14. It has been observed, and the thing is worthy of notice, that at a period when all the potentates of Europe *were combined to second the intolerant measures of the court of Rome, the Dukes of Savoy, who were now become the most absolute monarchs in Christendom, should have…
* M'Crie's Hist. of the Reform, in Italy, p. 15, &c. Mrs. Dobson's History of the Troubadours.
…allowed their subjects liberty of conscience, and protected them in the legitimate exercise of their civil and religious principles; and Rev. iii. 10, appears remarkably accomplished in this state of things. Secluded in a considerable degree from general observation, and taught by their religion to lead "quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty;" the princes and governors of the country in which they lived were continually receiving the most favorable reports of them, as a people simple in their manners, free from deceit and malice, upright in their dealings, loyal to their governors, and ever ready to yield them a cheerful obedience in everything that did not interfere with
the claims of conscience; and consequently, the governors constantly turned a deaf ear to the solicitations of priests and monks, to disturb their tranquility. The tolerant principles of the dukes, with the sequestered habitations of these people; the difficulties of approaching their territories; their little intercourse with the world, connected with their rusticity of manners, were favorable circumstances to all the pious of the glens of Piedmont, while it afforded nothing inviting to strangers and the polite. Consequently, these people appear to have enjoyed a consider 1210 able share of tranquility, while their brethren in the south of France were experiencing the fury of papal vengeance. It is natural, therefore, to conclude, that, when persecution raged against the churches of France, the disciples of the Saviour in the French provinces would seek an asylum among the Alps on the one side, and the recesses of the Pyrenees on the other. These mountains, at all trying seasons, afforded a retreat to all the sons of civil and religious freedom. Those Albigenses who retired before the crusading army visited…
…France, lived long in the interior parts of the country, in obscurity, and busied themselves, says Voltaire, in the culture of barren lands. They had no priests, nor had they any quarrels about religious worship. From 1215 various accessions, the Waldenses had about this period, so greatly multiplied in the valleys, as to require fresh abodes and territories in order to support their rising families.
15. The zeal and activity of the Waldenses were not cooled or checked by the destruction of the Albigensian brotherhood, but they continued in their vigor, promoting 1223 the "Crests of religion. In 1223, they had good and extensive churches in many provinces and kingdoms.* In 1229, they had spread themselves in great number throughout all Italy. They had ten schools in Valcamonica alone, which were supported by 1250 contributions their societies. In 1250, Reiner Sacco, who had lived seventeen years among them, left the Waldenses, and went over to the Catholic party, and from his persecuting propensities, was raised to the office of inquisitor. He wrote an account of this people, and their heresy; he says in his time there was an innumerable multitude of Waldenses. He has stated their antiquity with their sentiments on the ordinances. † Their increase and stability in the valleys occasioned an effort to be made 1252 so early as 1252, to introduce the inquisition into Piedmont; but the sanguinary proceedings of those officers of his holiness, against the Languedocians, had sufficiently opened the eyes of the inhabitants to the spirit and design of that infernal court; besides, it was…
* Danvers Hist., p. 23. M'Crie's Italy, p. 5, &c.
† Wall's Hist. of Inf. Bap., pt. 2, p. 246.
…found to interfere with the duties of the magistrate; it also came into conflict with resident bishops and priests of the same community, which occasioned considerable opposition from various quarters; but the Piedmontese, like some others, townsmen and citizens, wisely resisted its establishment among them at this early period.* These pious inhabitants of the valleys maintained evidently their footing in the face of all opposition; since Perrin estimates 1260 their number in 1260, at eight hundred thousand persons. † It is true, they had sustained in France and Germany, within this century, by deaths in every form, the loss of innumerable multitudes; yet, such were their number and remaining strength, their churches were still found to exist in Albania, Lombardy, Milan,
in Romagna, Vicenza, Florence, Val Spoletine, and Constantinople, Philadelphia, Sclavonia, Bulgaria, Diagonitia; at after periods they were found in considerable numbers…
* In 1270 this office of inquisition was matured. The inquiry after heretics and their property in 1208, led to the organization of a society for the destruction of the liberties, properties, and lives of all persons suspected of incredulity towards the Roman hierarchy. ' Wherever the holy office was established, terror was inspired to such a degree, that suspicion seemed there to have a sovereign reign. Ignorance, and .3 servile conduct to the officers of the order, appeared the only palladium to life or property. Religion was not the only object promoted by this machine. Beauty and money had charms, and were interwoven in its movements. Millions were ruined, and millions were banished by it. Limborch's Inquis. ab. ed. 1816. Gavin's Master Key to Popery. Jones's Ecc. Lect., vol. ii. p. 355.
†Hist. of the Old Wald., b. 2, c. 11. Benedict, in his History of the American Baptists, computes seven adherents to each communicant; suppose we say three to each communicant of this name, this would make the adherents alone to these churches amount to nearly two millions and a half; these, added to the members or communicants, 800,000, produce 3,200,000 persons possessing evangelical views. This number will quadrate by and by, with the moving shoals of Anabaptists in Germany and other kingdoms.
…in Sicily, and posterior to their persecution in Picardy, they dispersed themselves into Livonia and Sarmatia, spreading themselves over other provinces and kingdoms.*
1300 16. In 1300 many of the Waldenses emigrated; some went into Provence, and settled in the district of Avignon, where they labored and lived in credit; others obtained grants of land in the marquisate of Salucis; many took up their residence on the river Dora; while the greater portion of emigrants, at an after period, went into Calabria, in the extremity of Italy on the east, to which place they were invited by the lords of the soil; and where arrangements were made for their enjoying civil and religious privileges. Here they erected villages, and the colony prospered for a considerable time; of which success we have already spoken. The Waldenses, in their emigrations, went off from the main body in the valleys, in sufficient numbers to form colonies in other parts of different dimensions, and in their newly-acquired places, they were not only mutual aids in the common concerns of life, but, carrying with them the enkindled ember, they lighted up the lamp and altar, as companions and safeguards to their tents; assembled themselves as a church, and so diffused the sacred illumination all around. As expressive of their characters and designs, they selected a lamp ignited, with the motto, "the light shineth in darkness." In this capacity, in the new region, this people formed a nucleus, around which the materials of the district were collected, and under the smiles of their Redeemer were gathered in, and impregnated with the same particles of sanctity as dignified the founders of the interest.
* Jones's Lect. vol. ii. pp. 255, 430, 488.
17. For one hundred and thirty years after the destruction of the churches in France, the Waldenses in these valleys experienced a tolerable portion of ease, and a respite from the severity of a general persecution; all which time they multiplied greatly, and were as a people whom the Lord had evidently blessed; they took deep root, they filled the land, they covered the hills with their shadow, and sent out their boughs unto the sea, and their branches unto the river. Yet they were occasionally
troubled by the inquisitors, who severely used those who 1320 fell into their hands, as was experienced in some parts of Germany. In Picardy, the severity of their afflictions drove many into Poland, but here 1330 they were disturbed in 1330, by the inquisitors. 1370 "In 1370'" says M’Crie “the Vaudois who resided in the valleys of Pragela, finding themselves straitened, sent out a colony to Calabria, where they 1390 flourished for nearly two centuries." Towards the latter end of this century, some of the Waldenses suffered in Paris from the monks.
1400 18. About the year 1400, a violent outrage was committed upon the Waldenses inhabiting the valley Pragela, in Piedmont, by a Catholic party residing in the neighborhood. The attack, which seems to have been of the most furious kind, was made towards the end of December, when the mountains were covered with snow, and thereby rendered so difficult of access that the peaceable inhabitants of these valleys were wholly unapprised that any such attempt was meditated; and the persecutors were in actual possession of their caves ere the owners seem to have been apprised of any hostile design against them. In this pitiable strait they had recourse to…
…the only alternative which remained for saving their lives—they fled, though at that inauspicious season of the year, to one of the highest mountains of the Alps, with their wives and children; the unhappy mothers carrying the cradle in one hand, and in the other, leading such of the offspring as were able to walk. Their inhuman invaders pursued them in their flight, until darkness obscured the objects of their fury. Many were slain before they could reach the mountains. Overtaken by the shades of night, these afflicted outcasts wandered up and down the mountains covered with snow; destitute of the means of shelter from the inclemency of the weather, or of supporting themselves under it, by any of the comforts which Providence has destined for that purpose; benumbed with cold, some fell asleep, and became an easy prey to the severity of the climate; and when the night had passed away, there were found in their cradles, or lying upon the snow, fourscore of their infants, deprived of life; many of their mothers were dead by their side, and others just on the point of expiring. During the night their enemies had plundered their abodes of everything that was valuable. This seems to have been the first general attack made by the Catholic peasantry on the Waldenses. They had been hitherto sheltered from the pontiff's measures, by the Dukes of Savoy, so that the rage of their enemies had been restrained to a few solitary cases of arrested heresy; but this kind of assault, planned, no doubt, by the clergy, was of a novel character; and so deeply impressed were the minds of these people with the circumstances of the sufferers, as to speak of it for a century after, with feelings of apparent horror. We have rather minutely detailed this affair, in order to show its influence on the minds of the Waldenses and to account, in some measure, for the change which took place soon after, in their views and conduct.
19. The combination of enemies and powers against this people, becomes now more ostensible. The valleys Fraissiniere, Argentiere, and Loyse, seem to have abounded 1460 with Waldenses in 1460; at which period, a Franciscan monk, armed with inquisitorial power, was sent on a mission of persecution, and to drive the inhabitants from the neighborhood. Such was the ardor with which this zealot proceeded in his odious measures, that scarcely any persons in those valleys escaped being apprehended, either as heretics, or as their abettors. The king of France, on application, interfered on behalf of the inoffensive Vaudois, but his majesty's instructions were so interpreted as to give sanction to additional acts of cruelty; and to every remonstrance this emissary of evil turned a deaf ear.
1480 20. At this period 1480, Claudius Seisselius. Archbishop of Turin, resided in the valleys; from his situation and office, he must have known something of these people. He says of the Waldenses, "Their heresy excepted, they generally live a purer life than other Christians. They never swear but by compulsion, and rarely take God's name in vain. They fulfill their promise with punctuality, and live, for the most part, in poverty; they profess to preserve the apostolic life and doctrine. They also profess it to be their desire to overcome only by the simplicity of faith, by purity of conscience, and integrity of life; not by philosophical niceties, and theological subtleties. In their lives and morals they are perfectly irreprehensible, and without reproach among men, addicting themselves with all their might to observe…
…the commands of God. All sorts of people have repeatedly endeavored, but in vain, to root them out; for, even yet contrary to the opinion of all men, they still remain conquerors, or at least wholly invincible."*
1484 21. Innocent the 8th, was promoted to the Tiara in 1484. This pontiff, in the spirit of his predecessor, of infamous notoriety. Innocent III., issued his bulls for the extirpation of the Waldenses, and appointed officers to carry the same into effect. "We have heard," said the pope, "and it is come to our knowledge, not without much displeasure, that certain sons of iniquity, followers of that abominable and pernicious sect of malignant men, called 'the poor of Lyons,' or Waldenses, who have so long ago endeavored, in Piedmont and other places, to ensnare the sheep belonging to God," &c. These indications of vengeance, and the ensuing measures, had considerable influence on them. Whether the halcyon days of these people had permitted them to subside into a Laodicean state, or whether they were terrified by the pope's threats we cannot ascertain, but one thing is certain, their line of policy subsequently adopted, of defending themselves with the sword, was a wide departure from their early creed, which suggests their degeneracy, and their wavering faith in the divine promises.
22. The pontiff's measures were not vapor. An army was soon raised by Albert, the pope's legate, and marched directly into the valley of Loyse. The inhabitants, apprised of their approach, fled to their caves at the tops of the mountains, carrying with them their children, and whatever valuables they possessed, as well as what was…
* Jones's Hist. of Christian Ch., vol. ii. pp. 47, 79.
…thought necessary for their support. The lieutenant, finding the inhabitants all fled, and that not an individual appeared with whom he could converse, had considerable trouble in discovering their retreats; when, causing quantities of wood to be placed at the entrance of their caves, he ordered the same to be set on fire. The consequence of this inhuman conduct was, four hundred children were suffocated in their cradles, or in the arms of their dead mothers, while multitudes to avoid death by suffocation, or being committed to the flames, precipitated themselves headlong from their caverns upon the rocks below, where they were dashed to pieces; if any escaped death by the fall, they were immediately slaughtered by the brutal soldiers. It appears more than three thousand men and women, belonging to the valley of Loyse, perished on this occasion. Measures equally ferocious, were adopted against the inoffensive inhabitants of other valleys, and with a like cruel success. Sentences were now publicly given against them in various churches. Innocent VIII. appeared as resolved at this period to free the world of these dissenters, as Innocent the III. had been in the thirteenth century, to rid Languedoc of the Albigenses. The pontiff was himself filled with terrible apprehensions of danger. The Turks threatened Europe generally on the one hand, and dangers were seen to await the church from dissidents, on the other. The pope strongly exhorted European princes to put a stop to the progress of both. In order to have pecuniary means adequate to the expenses of these undertakings, indulgences to sin were sold by the servants of the church, and pardons for crimes past, or to be committed, could be purchased of those Panders of hell. So effectual were the papal measures, that the inhabitants…
were wholly extirpated in the above-named valleys, and these abodes were afterwards peopled with new inhabitants.*
1487 In 1487, scenes of barbarous cruelty awaited those long privileged people, who inhabited other districts of Piedmont, and in the ensuing year, to complete the work of destruction, an army of eighteen thousand men marched into those sequestered parts. The early Waldenses forbade war, and even prohibited self-defense, but their patience was now worn out, Dan. vii. 25, and they now departed from their ancestors' creed. They armed themselves with wooden targets and cross-bows, availing themselves of the advantages of their situation and country, every where defended the defiles of their mountains, and repulsed the invaders. The women and children, an affecting sight, were on their knees during the conflict, and in the simplest language, arising from overwhelming distress, and the prospect of losing all (their religion and their lives), entreated the Lord to spare and protect his people. Such were the feelings inspired in the bosoms of this people, by the sanguinary and brutal conduct of the inquisitors and soldiers, that FEAR led them to avoid public worship, and in time their worship was observed wholly in private. Some of the Waldenses found it expedient occasionally to conform to that communion which their ancestors had ever viewed as the harlot in the Apocalypse. Evidences now increase, and become but too apparent of a degeneracy from their primitive purity and practice. A succession of adverse circumstances awaited the Waldenses. The inquisitors, who lay in ambush, issued out their processes daily against them, and as often…
* See Lady Morgan's Letters for the present state of the valleys.
…as they could apprehend any of them, they were delivered over to the secular arm for punishment. The sanguinary proceedings of Rome appeared either to have triumphed over its enemies, or to have exhausted its malice. The heretics, or Waldenses, were destroyed or driven into obscurity, and the state of the Catholic church at the 1500 beginning of the sixteenth century was unusually calm and tranquil. The witnesses ceased to trouble the church.*
23. Under cover of convincing them of their errors, and preventing the effusion of blood, a monk was deputed to hold a conference with them; but the monk returned in confusion, owning that, in his whole life, he had never known so much of the Scriptures as he had learned, during those few days he conversed with heretics. Others visited them by the bishop's appointment, and returned with similar views and convictions. The king of France, Francis I., being informed of the charges brought against the Waldenses in Provence, deputed a nobleman to inquire into their characters and mode of living. The report of the nobleman to his Majesty reflected great credit on the Waldenses. Louis XII., in 1498, deputed two confidential servants to investigate and report on accusations brought against these people. On their return to court, they said, "their places of worship were free from those ornaments found in Catholic churches. They discovered no crimes, but on the contrary, they keep the Sabbath-day, observe the ordinance of baptism according to the primitive church (not as the Catholic church), instructed their children in the articles of the Christian faith, and the commandments…
* Jones's Lect., vol. ii. pp. 490-8.
…of God." Consequently the king understood they were innocent and an inoffensive people, and that they were persecuted in order that their enemies might possess their property.* "The first lesson the Waldenses teach those whom they bring over to their party," says Reiner, "is, as to what kind of persons the disciples of Christ ought to be; and this they do by the doctrine of the evangelists and apostles; saying that those only are followers of the apostles who imitate their manner of life,"† and that a man is then first baptized (i. e. rightly baptized) when he is received into their society.o So effectual was their mode of instruction, that many among them could retain in their memories most of the New Testament writings. The celebrated president and historian Thuanus, says, "their clothing is of the skins of sheep, they have no linen; they inhabit (a. d. 1543—1590) seven villages; their houses are constructed of flint stone, having a flat roof covered with mud. In these they live with their cattle, separated however from them by a fence. S They have also two caves set apart for particular purposes, in one of which they conceal their cattle, in the other themselves, when hunted by their enemies. They live on milk and venison, being, through constant practice, excellent marksmen. Poor as they are, they are content, and live in a state of seclusion from the rest of mankind. One thing is very remarkable, that persons, externally so savage and rude, should have so much moral cultivation. They can all read and write. They know French sufficiently for the understanding of the Bible, and singing of psalms. You can…
* Mezeray's Fr. Hist., p. 948.
† Jones's Lect., vol. ii. pp. 469-475.
o Allix's Pied. Ch., c. 20, p. 190.
S Very similar to the Irish peasantry of this day.
…scarcely find a boy among them who cannot give an intelligent account of the faith which they profess. In this, indeed, they resemble their brethren of the other valleys. They pay tribute with good conscience, and the obligation of this duty is particularly noted in their confession of faith. If, by reason of the civil wars, they are prevented from doing this, they carefully set apart the sum, and, at the first opportunity, pay it to the king's tax-gatherers." This great man was a candid enemy.
24. The schism which took place in the Roman community, through the public preaching and writing of Luther and his associates, must have been a source of infinite satisfaction to the persecuted Waldenses. When the barbs, or pastors of the valleys, became acquainted with the 1526 reformation m Germany, they deputed, in 1526, persons to visit and inquire into its truth. The deputation returned with some printed books to the brethren. "The Vaudois took encouragement," says Mezeray, "to preach openly from Luther's appearing in the character of a reformer, but these zealous advocates for religion were punished by a decree made by Anthony Chassaue, and massacred."* It was found by the Waldenses in their communications and conferences with Luther, that their views were not in unison with his on the ordinances, but that they were more conformable to the sacramentarians, or those who deny the real presence. † Other brethren made a like visit into Germany, and conferred with Ecolampadius, Bucer, and others, who from the statement given, exhorted them to remedy certain evils which they perceived to exist among them; viz.—First, In certain…
* Fr. Hist., p. 615.
† Id., p. 948.
…points of doctrine; Secondly, In church order; and Thirdly, In irregular conduct of members, who mingled with Catholics in worship. After these preliminaries, the 1530 Waldenses appear, during 1530, to have been employed in paving the way for a more unreserved intercourse between themselves and the reformers. Their Laodician state will easily account for their conformity, when we know their spiritual condition occasioned Ecolampadius to say, "We understand that the fear of persecution hath caused you to conceal and dissemble your faith —but those who are ashamed to confess Christ before the world shall End no acceptance with God," &c. &c. Those who could dissemble their faith, could as easily change it, which we find was the employment of many of these 1532 churches in different provinces during the year 1532. After much difficulty, many conferences, and a world of trouble, to mould these dissidents into 1533 conformity, a creed was made, ratified, and confirmed, in 1533, and the Waldensian brethren were comprehended and relieved from the ban of re-baptizing, while it was widely announced, that the Waldensian creed had ever been, in orthodoxy, one with the reformers’.* 1534 Calvin, who began in 1534 to preach the reforming doctrines, was found in his views more in accordance with the sentiments of the sacramentarians, or anabaptists, than Luther. "His views overthrew all ceremonies," says Mezeray, "and, consequently, the Waldenses left Luther's orthodoxy for communion with the reformed churches under Calvin, † Some of those churches,…
* Rob. Res., pp. 423-4. Jones's Led, vol. ii. pp. 499, 507.
† Fr. Hist., pp. 597, 948.
…or state communities under Calvin, amounted in a few years to ten thousand members in each, but whether infants are included or not, is not expressed. If not, it proves the vast numbers received into the corporations of those persons who had for ages sustained nonconformity. From this period, all dissenters from the Catholic church were called Lutherans in France and other provinces, though improperly. Some called them Sacramentares, because they denied the real presence, but in 1560 they were called Huguenots, because they held their assemblies at midnight, at a gate called Hugon, or rather, because of their being in league with each other.* The favor the Italian protestants entertained for the reformed church, allow us to concede the comprehension, during this and the ensuing age, of the greater portion.†
25. One of the Waldensian bards, George Morell, who formed part of the deputation to Germany in 1533, and who published Memoirs of the History of their Churches, states, that at the time of his writing, there were more than eight hundred thousand persons professing the religion of the Waldenses. As to the extent of Puritanism among them, it cannot be ascertained, since, from the severity of the times, many in these valleys had occasionally or entirely conformed. It seems difficult, after the destruction of these people in Piedmont, to admit Morell's statement, unless in the term Waldenses he includes the Anabaptists, who abounded in Holland and Germany, which shall be shown anon. Hitherto these people had been obliged to confine themselves to manuscripts; and in…
* Mezeray's Fr. Hist. p. 667. Browning's Hist. of the Huguenots of the 16th century.
† Jones's Ecc. Lect., No. 50.
…the Waldensian tongue, they seem not to have generally possessed an entire version of the whole Bible, but the 1535 New Testament only, and some particular books of the old. They now (1535), however, contracted with a printer in Switzerland, for an entire impression of the whole Bible in French, for the sum of fifteen hundred crowns of gold.
26. Agreeably to the advice received from the reformers, the Waldenses opened again their places of worship, and 1536 their ministers appeared openly as teachers of the people, adopting every spiritual means to resuscitate their drooping communities; but this bold and commendable position being reported to the duke of Savoy 1540 awakened his displeasure. It is now but too ostensible that the hitherto tolerant dukes listened to the proposals and facinorous measures of the court of Rome. The sovereign of Savoy raised an army to suppress the dissenters in those places over which his predecessors had for eight centuries extended their protection. The army surprised the people, but, recovering from the panic, each left his employ, and, by means of slings and stones, they compelled the army to retire without booty. From this defeat the duke gave them up to all the cruelties of the inquisitors.* An Observantine monk, preaching one day at Imola, told the people that it behooved them to purchase heaven by the merit of their good works. A boy who was present, exclaimed, "That's blasphemy! for the Bible tells us that Christ purchased heaven by his sufferings and death, and bestows it on us freely by his mercy." A dispute of considerable length ensued between…
*Jones's Lect., vol. ii., lect. 50.
…the youth and the preacher. Provoked at the pertinent replies of his juvenile opponent, and at the favorable reception which the audience gave them, "Get you gone, you young rascal!" exclaimed the monk, "you are just come from the cradle, and will you take it upon you to judge of sacred things, which the most learned cannot explain?" "Did you never read these words, 'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. God perfects praise?' " rejoined the youth; upon which the preacher quitted the pulpit in wrathful confusion, breathing out threatenings against the poor boy, who was instantly thrown into prison, "where he still lies," says the writer. Dec. 31, 1544.*
1544 27. "In this year, 1554, the Waldenses put forth a confession," says Sleidan, "expressive of their religious views. In Art. 4th, they say, "We believe that there is one holy church comprising the whole assembly of the elect and faithful, that have existed from the beginning of the world, and shall be to the end thereof." Art. 7th; "We believe in the ordinance of baptism, the water is the visible and external sign, which represents to us that which, by virtue of God's invisible operation, is within us, namely, the renovation of our minds, and the mortification of our members through the faith of Jesus Christ; and by this ordinance we are received into the holy congregation of God's people, previously professing and declaring our faith and change of life."† This creed was probably sent forth to show the reasonableness of their views, and to moderate the prejudices of the duke to whom they had been misrepresented. Though many of…
* M'Crie's Italy, p. 117, &c.
† Jones's Hist. Chris. Ch., vol. ii., ch. 5, S 3, pp. 59-60.
…their brethren had taken shelter in the establishment, and consequently gave support to the sprinkling of infants now first adopted as to healthy children at Geneva,* yet, in this confession there is no compromise of the subject, it is sufficiently plain that paedobaptism had no encouragement from the persons from whom these articles emanated.
1561 28. In 1561, these Dissenters sustained another fierce and formidable attack, but they again defeated their opponents. Calvin and Beza, with a benevolence in accordance with their eminent piety, on hearing of these good men's distresses, obtained a liberal supply from various sources, to meet their temporary wants. Harassed incessantly, and always liable to the fury of the holy office, occasioned some of the brethren to migrate, while others, influenced perhaps from various motives, were led to unite with the churches of France and Geneva. † Whether the Waldenses embraced the reformed religion, from a hope of mitigating their sufferings, or were drawn over by the kindness of Calvin, or whether they from conviction saw differently to their former declarations, we leave; but the change of their belief was pleaded by the Bishop of Meux, for recalling the edict of Nantz.o It does not appear, that any great difference existed between the Sacramentarians or Anabaptists, and Calvin's doctrinal views, but the principal points of discrepancy were on the church's constitution and discipline; but to these things they became familiar, and with a state church, they embraced for its defence, a state sword. S Such were…
*Dr. Wall's Hist., pt. 2, c. 9, S 2, pp. 365-6.
† Mosh. Hist., vol. iv., p. 69.
o Allix's Pied. Ch., pref.
S The Waldenses in France and other provinces, who embraced Calvin's views, found their enemies active and malicious. The persons, under the names of Sacramentarians, Huguenots, or Calvinists, devised a plan to secure their chief enemies in France, viz., the Duke of Guise and others, 1560, by force of arms; but the plan was discovered, and they were defeated and hung. The violence of the Catholics drove the 1562 Reformers to arms; wherever the Huguenots were masters they abolished the Catholic religion, and broke their images; adopting a system of odious 1563 retaliation; for when they met with monks or clergy, they cut off their ears and their virilia, and did vast mischief by way of reprisals, so that, in tormenting the monks and priests, they rendered themselves execrable to the people. Mezeray, pp. 665, 681, 957—959. This conduct in Aug. 22, the Calvinists led to the Bartholomew massacre! This picture of 1572 Paedobaptists, obscures Munster madmen: autem, comparationes odiosae sunt.
…the accessions which these churches realized, that in 1571, the year before the general massacre, they amounted to 2,150, and some of which contained 10,000 members.*
29. Though the reformed churches embraced a great portion of the Waldenses, after infinite pains had been taken to quadrate their minds to the reformer's sentiments, "and then," says Robinson, "equal pains were taken to prove that they had always subsisted in the 1590 uniform orthodoxy of the reformed church;† yet all the Vaudois did not yield their faith to the mandate of hierarchists. There were some remains of the Vaudois, or poor of Lyons, in the valleys of Dauphine, who had pastors, and held their assemblies apart; they were a little independent republic, as well for matters of religion as for government." The pope caused this abode of happiness to be stormed, and the Vaudois were destroyed or driven out of those valleys, o Others who were banished from the soil had never heard the name of Luther,…
* Lon. Ency., vol. xviii., p. 458, Art. Reform,
† Resear. p. 425. o Mezeray's Fr. Hist., p. 948.
…1630 *and down to 1630, some retained their puritanical views.† But at this period those circumstances and changes did take place among this people, that each writer admits of a general degeneracy.
1655 30. In 1655 the Waldenses were called to sufferings of the most serious character, which awakened all the protestant princes of Europe; and Oliver Cromwell, on hearing of their persecution, 'rose like a lion from his lair,' and Sir Samuel Moreland was deputed by him to visit the valleys, to intercede with their oppressors, and to render such aid as would relieve their present wants. S By way of exhibiting the reasons of their choice in divine things, the inoffensiveness of their lives and doctrine, and to enlist the attention of Protestants to their case, as well as disarm their enemies of any grounds for misrepresentation, they published a confession of their faith, from which the following articles are taken: 1655 Art. 25. That the church is a company of the faithful, who, having been elected before the foundation of the world, and called with a holy calling, come to unite themselves to follow the word of God, believing whatsoever he teacheth them, and living in his fear. Art. 26. And that all the elect are upheld and preserved by the power of God in such sort, that they all persevere in the faith unto the end, and remain united in the holy church, as so many living members thereof. Art. 28. That God doth not only instruct and teach us by his word, but has also ordained certain sacraments to be joined with it, as means to unite us into Christ, and to make us partakers…
* Jones's Hist. Christian Ch., vol. ii., and Jones's Lect. vol. ii 647, note.
† Mosh. Hist.. vol. iii. p. 295.
o Gilly's Nan., pp. 76, 249.
S Jones's Lect., No. 53.
…of his benefits; and that there are only two of them belonging in common to all the members of the
church under the New Testament, to wit, baptism and the Lord's Supper. Art. 29. That God hath ordained the sacrament of baptism to be a testimony of our adoption, and of our being cleansed from our sins by the blood of Christ, and renewed in holiness of life.*
31. It is pleasing to discover a remnant of the Vaudois still witnessing, as their ancestors had done, the faith and practice of the gospel, though it is not in our power to say 1685 to what extent churches supporting the above views then existed. In 1685, Oct. 8, the edict of Nantz was repealed, by which act no toleration could be allowed to Dissenters from the Catholic church. Fifteen days were allowed to Protestant: ministers to leave the kingdom; two millions of persons were condemned by this instrument, and banished from their native soil. This cruel instrument ruined the Protestant churches, and freed France and other kingdoms from the witnesses of the truth. If any remained, it was at the peril of life and liberty; yet some braved the danger, and worshipped 1886 unseen and unheard by malicious foes. "Pious females, shrouded by the night, bent their way amidst darkness and danger towards the spot assigned for their religious services—a dark lanthorn guided their perilous steps; arrived at their temple, amidst the rocks, two walking-sticks hastily struck in the ground, and covered with a black silk apron of the female auditors, formed what was called the pulpit of the desert. To such an assembly how eloquent must have appeared the lessons of that…
* Gilly's Narr. Appen. 12.
…preacher, who braved death at every word he uttered; how impressive that service, the attending of which incurred the penalty of fetters for life. These were the glorious days of Baptists in France; these were her proudest triumphs; she could then boast of valor of which the world was not worthy; her martyrs then bore testimony to their faith at the fatal tree, or were chained for life to the oar of the galleys; and women, with the same noble feelings, in the same sacred cause, shrank not from perpetual imprisonment in the gloomy tower that overhangs the shores of the Mediterranean."*
1686 32. The severity of the measures used by the armies of France and Savoy exceed this year in cruelty those of 1655. The Swiss cantons sent deputies to the Duke of Savoy, who, now tired with human carnage, at their entreaty set open the prison-doors, and those who survived were ordered to leave in peace. † The Swiss government not being able to procure of France or Savoy any toleration for the Waldenses or Huguenots, led 1689 Henry Arnaud and about four hundred of these exiles, in 1689, to try to recover their native land with sword in hand. These men did and suffered much of a marvellous character, and after fighting and suffering, were permitted to settle in their native soil.o
33. How far these men and their posterity can be considered the genuine successors of the old Vaudois, we…
* Life of Claude prefixed to his Def., p. 54. Oct. Claude's Complaints of Protestants. Dr. Gilly's Narrative, and Bap. Mag., vol. viii. p. 89, A.D., 1816.
† Jones's Lect., vol. ii. p. 644, Lect. 56.
oGlorious recovery by the Vaudois, of their Valleys, &c., by H. D. Acland, London, 1827. Authentic Details of the Waldenses in Piedmont, &c., London, 1827. Dr. Beattie's Waldenses. &c.
…leave with Dr. Gilly and others. We admit, they soon became regular in their education and ordination, agreeably to the rubric of the state. Their frockless and stipendless bishops, Napoleon enrolled among the Catholic clergy.* These modem Waldenses are not Calvinists, they are not professed Puritans, they partake of the amusements and diversions of the world, they communicate in state order four times a year. Dr. Gilly, who evidently felt the tenderness of the ground he explored, says, in 1823, "they do not object to infant baptism," but he gives no early date to prove an early practice. Alas! how is the gold become dim!†
* The church, clergy, and state were brought under the Justinian code, 533,—1260 years after, 1793, the government of France dissolved the connexion, and the sovereign of that nation killed the remaining witnesses in sackcloth, by incorporating them with the Catholic clergy!
† It is remarkable that the church clergy should claim succession to the Waldenses, and yet plead apostolic ordination through the regular line of popes, JOAN, Alexander, Leo, &c., in the Roman Church, when these different interests were always religious antipodes.
Doctrinal and Denominational Sentiments of the Waldensian Churches.
1. SINCE the publication of Perrin's history of these people, in 1619, many able pens have been employed to rescue their names from reproach, while each writer has, from the character of these Vaudois, been desirous of Ending their religious creed in alliance with his own. Bishop Bossuet says, "Provided any person complained of any doctrine of the church, and especially, if he murmured against the pope, whatever he were in other respects, or whatever opinions he held, he is put into a catalogue of predecessors of Protestants, and judged worthy to support the succession of their churches. As to the Vaudois (whom you claim) they were a species of Donatists, and worse than the ancient Donatists of Africa." Again he says, "You call Claude of Turin one of your apostolical church; you adopt Henry and Peter Bruys; both of these every one knows were Anabaptists." Rob. Res. p. 476. We shall sequently submit the testimonies of accredited writers on these debatable points, and prove our affinity from other assertions.
2. The following statements establish their doctrinal views. Genebrard asserts that the Henricians, Petrobrussians, Amauldists, Apostolicis (Fathers of the Calvinists), with the Waldenses and the Albigenses, were similar in doctrinal…
…views with Luther and Calvin. Leger's Hist, p. 155. Dr. Allix's Albig. Church, ch. 18, p. 172.
Reiner says, "the Lionists believe in the Trinity, as the church does," Rob. Res. p. 445.
Lindanus, a Catholic bishop asserts, Calvin inherited the doctrines of the Waldenses. Jones's Lect., Vol. ii. p. 456.
Coulter, a monk, shows the Waldensian creed was in accordance with the Calvinistic views. Ibid.
AEneas Sylvius, (Pope Pius II.) declares, the doctrines taught by Calvin to be the same as those of the Waldenses. Ibid.
Ecchius reproaches Luther with renewing the heresies of the Albigenses and Waldenses of Wickliff and Huss, which had been long condemned. Ibid.
Sieur de la Popeliniere, a French historian, says, the principles of the Waldenses extended throughout Europe, even unto Poland and Lithuania. These doctrines, which may be traced from A. D., 1100, differ very little from the Protestants of the Reformation. Danver's Hist., p. 25.
Mezeray, the historian of France, observes, the pope, at the Council of Tours, made a decree against heretics, i. e., a kind of Manicheans, who held almost the same doctrines as the Calvinists, and were properly Henricians and Vaudois. The people who could distinguish them, called them alike names with Cathares, Paterines, Boulgres, &c., p. 242, under 40 King. Calvin's doctrines were more conformed to the Anabaptists in the valleys, than Luther's, Ib. Toplady's Hist. Proof., vol. i. p. 151.
3. The subjoined extracts prove the denominational views of these people.
The fact is,—the forming of Christian congregations in the established church of Piedmont and Savoy, like the gospel itself, began with baptism. Rob. Res., p. 468, and Hist. Bap., p. 581.
250 The people of the ancestors of the Waldenses, were termed Vaudois, (Id. Res. p. 299.) Puritans, (Mosh. Hist., c. 12, p. 2. c. 5, S 4, note.) Paterines, (Allix's Ch. Pied., c. -14, p. 128.) Lyonists, (Mosh. Hist, Id., S 11, Jones's Lect. 2, 238.) Petrobrussians, (Wall's History, part 2, c. 7, S 3, p. 220.) Arnoldists, (Facts op. to Fict., p. 46. from Platina.) Berengarians, (Wall, ut. sup.) These, with the Paulicians, were one and the same 650 people? (Jones, Id., p. 276. Mosh. Hist., Id. 224. Wall, Id., 230.) and so far as information can be obtained, were all Anti-paedobaptists, which has been previously proved in their respective sections. These all agreed in one article of discipline, they re-baptized all such as came into their communion from the Catholic church, hence were called Anabaptists. Jones's Lect., vol. ii. p. 410.
660 In the seventh century, we have A LITURGY of Bobbio, near Genoa, but this directory contains no office for the baptism of children, nor the least hint of pouring or sprinkling; on the contrary, there is a directory for making a Christian of a pagan, before baptism, and for washing the feet after it; and there is the delivery of the creed in Lent, with exhortations to competent, and suitable collects, epistles, and gospels, as in other ordinals, preparatory to baptism, on holy Saturday. The introductory discourse of the presbyter before delivering the creed, runs thus, "Dear brethren, the divine sacraments are not so properly matters of investigation, as of faith, and not only of faith, but also of fear, for no one can receive the discipline of faith, unless he have for a foundation, the fear of the Lord. * * * * You are about to hear the creed, therefore, to day, for without that, neither can Christ be announced, nor can you exercise faith, nor can baptism be administered." * * * After the presbyter had repeated the
creed, he expounded it, sentence by sentence, referring to trine immersion, and closed with repeated observations on the absolute necessity of faith, in order to a worthy participation of baptism. Rob. Res. pp. 473, 4.
670 The Gothic LITURGY, used in France, at this period, (670) has the manner of baptizing stated, but Dr. Allix could find no infant baptism in that document. Ch. of Albig. c. 7, p. 60, &c. The same is asserted of the Roman, Ambrosian, Milanese, Spanish, Grecian, &c.; all these show the mode, single and trine immersion, yet nothing is said of infant baptism, but they appear composed, like all the Grecian, expressly for adult baptism. Rob. Res. 387.
774 During the kingdoms of the Goths and Lombards, the Baptists, or, as they were called by Catholics, Anabaptists, had their share of churches and baptisteries in these provinces, though they held no communion with Rome, Milan, Aquileia, Ravenna, or any other hierarchy.
945 But the laws of emperors deprived them of these edifices, and transferred them to the Catholic party. Rob. Res. p. 405.
1025 When Bishop Gerard, of Arras and Cambray, charged the Waldenses with abhorring (catholic) baptism, they said baptism added nothing to our justification, and a strange will, a strange faith, and a strange confession, do not seem to belong to, or be of any advantage to a little child, who neither wills nor runs, who knows nothing of faith, and is altogether ignorant of his own good and salvation, in whom there can be no desire of regeneration, and from whom no confession of faith can be expected. Allix's Ch. Pied., c. 11, p. 95. Jortin's Rem.
on Hist., vol. v. p. 27.
1120 The Waldensian confession of faith, in 1120, sets forth, "We regard it as proper, and even necessary, that believers use these symbols or visible forms (baptism and the Lord's Supper) when it can be done, * * * though we maintain believers can be saved without (Jones's Hist. of the Ch. Church, vol. ii. c. 5, S 5, p. 55), in case they have no place or means to use them (Gilly's Nar., Ap. 12). But surely, there were no difficulties in sprinkling a child, this could be done at any time, though there might be many difficulties in the way of immersing believers, and to those obstructions this confession, and an ensuing one, plainly alludes.
1139 The Lateran Council of 1139 did enforce infant baptism by severe measures, and successive councils condemned the Waldenses for rejecting it. Wall's Hist., pt. 2, p. 242.
1140 Evervinus of Stanfield complained to Bernard, Abbot of Clairval, that Cologne was infected with Waldensian heretics, who denied baptism to infants. Allix's Ch. Pied, c. 16, p. 140.
1146 Peter, Abbot or Clugny, wrote against the Waldenses, on account of their denying infant baptism. Ivimey's Hist. of the Eng. Bap., vol. i. p. 21.
1147 Bernard the saint, the renowned Abbot of Clairval, says, the Albigenses and Waldenses admimstel baptism only to the adults. They do not believe infant baptism. Facts op. to Fict., p. 47.
1160 Ecbertus Schonaugiensis, who wrote against this people, declares. They say that baptism does no good to infants; therefore, such as come over to their sect, they baptize in a private way; that is, without the pomp and public parade of the catholics. Wall's Hist., pt. 2, p. 228.
1170 Ermengendus, a great man in the church, charges the Waldenses with denying infant baptism. Danvers on Bap., p. 298.
1175 At a council held in Lombez, the good men of Lyons were condemned: one charge was, that they denied infants to be saved by baptism. Jones's Lect, vol. ii. p. 240.
1176 The Waldenses were condemned, in conference, at Aibi; when the bishop of Lyons, to convince them of their error, produced what were considered proofs for infant baptism, and tried to solve their objection from infants wanting faith, without which they said it was impossible to please God. (Heb. xi. 6, Rom. xiv. 23.) Allix's Ch. Albig., c. 15, p. 133.
1179 Alexander III., in council condemned the Waldensian or Puritan heresy, for denying baptism to infants. Danvers on Bap., p. 301.
1192 Alanus Magnus states, that they denied the ordinance to children. He disputes their views, and refutes their opinions. Allix's Ch. Albig., c. 16, p. 145.
The Waldenses admitted the catechumen to baptism, after an exact instruction, a long fast, in which the church united, to witness to them the concern they took in their conversion, and a confession of sins in token of contrition. The newly-baptized were, the same day, admitted to the Eucharist, with all the brethren and sisters present. Allix's Ch. Pied., c. 2. pp. 7-8.
1200 The Poor of Lyons, for denying the sacraments, and practising otherwise in baptism than the church of Rome, were called by Baronius, Anabaptists. Danvers on Bap. p. 303.
Mezeray says. In baptism, in the twelfth century, they plunged the candidate in the sacred font, to show them what operation that sacrament hath on the soul. Hist. Of France, 12 cent., p. 288.
The Ordibarians or Waldenses, say, that baptism does…
…no good to infants, unless they are perfected (by instruction Erst) in that sect. Wall's Hist., pt. 2, p. 233.
A catechism, emanating from the Waldenses, during the thirteenth century, has no allusion to infant baptism. It says of the church catholic, that it is the elect of God, from the beginning to the end, by the grace of God, through the merit of Christ, gathered together by the Holy Spirit, and fore-ordained to eternal life. Gilly's Narr. App. 12.
Peter de Bruys and Henry, with other reformers, whose religious views we have given, were, says Mezeray, two principal doctors among these people; and yet these are said to have re-baptized all persons before fellowship. Fr. Hist and Wall's Hist. and Bossuet. Var.
1254 Reiner Sacco, who lived among the Waldenses seventeen years, and then went over to the catholic party, and was raised to the bad eminence of an inquisitor, asserts, They hold, that none of the ordinances of the church which had been introduced since Christ's ascension ought to be observed, as being of no value. (Jones's Hist. Ch., vol. ii. p. 30.) And among all the sects which ever existed, none were more pernicious to the church than the LYONISTS, from its duration, from its extension, from its show of devotion, as they believe rightly concerning the creed. (Bp. Newton's Diss., vol. ii. p. 250.) Some of them say that baptism is of no advantage to infants, because they cannot believe, and that a man is then first baptized, when he is received into their communion. (Jones ut sup.) Others were indifferent to the ordinances, whom we should class with Quakers.
We may observe, with Dr. Wall, that no man knew the Waldenses better than Reiner; yet we see the difference between the two parties is not on doctrines, but the ceremonies and pretensions of the Roman church. The sacraments in Piedmont and England were the apple of strife. In those bulls of popes and decrees of councils, year after year for centuries, we see the charge maintained against them, of neglecting infant baptism, without the shadow of evidence that this charge was improperly made against any portion of this people. Nor is there any document or testimony, quoted by Paedobaptists of this period, showing that the Waldenses as a body were wrongly charged in this affair. In all Dr. Wall's research, he found no document but what involved the Pasdobaptists in reproach, pt. 2, P. 221, S 3.
1480 Claudius Seisselius says, the Waldenses receive only what is written in the Old and New Testaments. * * * They deny holy water, because neither Christ nor his apostles made it or commanded it: as if we ought to say or do nothing but what we read was done by them. Jones's Hist. of Ch. Ch., vol. ii. pp. 47-52.
1521 Montanus, in his Impress the second, says, that the Waldenses, in the public declaration of their faith to the French king, in the year 1521, assert in the strongest terms the baptizing of believers, and denying that of infants. Iwisk's ChronoL, p. 930, also Meringus's Hist. of Baptism, p. 739.
The Waldenses in Italy held the unity of the Godhead, the baptism of only believers, and the right of private judgment, in which last two all agreed; but these the Lutherans and Calvinists abhorred. This is fully described by Reiner Sacco, being discussed freely, and the fraud of their claim to them admirably cleared by Father Gretzer. Robins. Res., p. 445, &c.
1544 In their confession of faith, dated by Sleiden, 1544, are the following sentiments:— Art. 7. We believe that in the ordinance of baptism, the water is the visible and external sign, which represents to us that which, by virtue of God's invisible operation, is within us; namely, the renovation of our minds, and the mortification of our members, through [the faith of] Jesus Christ. And by this ordinance, we are received into the holy congregation of God's people, previously processing and declaring our faith and change of life. Evan. Mag. for 1819, p. 505. Jones's Ch. Hist., vol. ii. c. 5, S 3, pp. 59, &c.
1560 Cardinal Hossius, who presided at the council of Trent, and wrote a history of the heresy of his own times, says, the Waldenses rejected infant baptism, and re-baptized all who embraced their sentiments. In his letters, apud. opera, pp. 112—213. Bap. Mag., vol. xiv. p. 53.
1590 Bellarmine, a catholic writer of repute, acknowledged the Waldenses to have held, that only adults ought to be baptized. Facts op. to Fict., p. 42.
Father Gretzer, who edited Reiner Sacco's works, after…
…Reiner's account of the Waldenses, and their manner of teaching, added, This is a true picture of the heretics of our age, particularly the Anabaptists. Rob. Res., p. 315.
1635 The Waldensian confession of faith dated in Gilly, 1635, contains the following views:—
Art. 28. That God does not only instruct and teach us by his word, but has also ordained certain sacraments to be joined with it, as a means to unite us unto Christ, and to make us partakers of his benefits; and that there are only two of them belonging in common to all the members of the church under the New Testament; to wit, baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Art. 29. That God has ordained the sacrament of baptism to be a testimonial of our adoption, and of our being cleansed from our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ, and renewed in holiness of life. Gilly's Narr. app. 12. This confession is altered by the present Protestant of the Valleys, which may be seen by comparing the above with a confession in Peyrin's Historical Defence, ed. by Rev. T. Sims, 1826, S 27, p. 463.
1670 Limborch, professor of divinity in the university of Amsterdam, and who wrote a history of the inquisition, in comparing the Waldenses with the Christians of his own times, says, To speak honestly what I think, of all the modern sects of Christians, the Dutch Baptists most resemble both the Albigenses and the Waldenses, but particularly the latter. Robins. Res., p. 311.
1685 Bossuer, bishop of Meaux, says, the sect of the Waldenses is a kind of Donatistism, (Rob. Res., p. 476, Allix's Ch. Pied., c. 20, p. 184,) and their re-baptizing was an open declaration, that in the opinion of the brethren, the Catholic church had lost baptism. Robin's Bap., p. 463.
1692 Their views of baptism, says Dr. Allix, were that it added nothing to justification, and afforded no benefit to children. Ch. Pied., c. 11, p. 95, and Ch. Albig., c. 18, p. 160.
1750 Moslems, chancellor of the university of Gottingen, and author of the History of the Church, concurs with Limborch in the family likeness of the Waldenses with the Dutch Baptists, which shall be given in a future section. Ch. Hist., vol. ii. p. 323, and vol. iii. p. 320.
1790 The ancient Vaudois, says Robinson, are distinguished from the later inhabitants and the reformed churches, but not using any liturgy, by not compelling faith, by condemning parochial churches, by not taking oaths, by allowing every person, even women, to teach, by not practising infant baptism, by not admitting godfathers, by rejecting all sacerdotal habits, by denying all ecclesiastical orders of priesthood, papal and episcopal by not bearing arms, and by their abhorrence of every species of persecution. This statement, he says, was made soon after the Waldenses united with Calvin. Eccles. Research., p. 461.
If the modem papers (of Perrin Moreland, Leger, &c.) describe the Vaudois' ancient customs, they baptized no infants. Id. p. 471.
Amidst all the productions of early writers, friends and foes, confessors of the whole truth and opposers of it, annalists, historians, recorders, inquisitors, and others, with the labored researches of Usher, Newton, Allix, Collier, Wall, Perrin, Leger, Moreland, Mosheim, Macleane, Gilly, Sims, and others, all of the Paedobaptist persuasion, with every advantage of learning on their side, who collated councils, canons, synods, conferences, chronicles, decrees, bulls, sermons, homilies, confessions, creeds, liturgies, &c., from the private creed of Irenaeus, down to the rules of Ausbergh; who examined documents at home, and explored the territories abroad,— their united labors could never produce a single dated document or testimony of Paedobaptism among the Vaudois, separate from the Romish community, from Novatian's rupture to the death of the execrable monster, Alexander VI., 1503.
1826 The Waldenses brought up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; but they neither sprinkled nor immersed them, under the notion of administering Christian baptism. They were, in a word, so many distinct churches of ANTIPAEDOBAPTISTS. Jones's Hist. of Christ. Ch., pref. to fifth ed., 1826, p. xxvi.
We here accommodate Dr. Allix's words to this subject: "It is very remarkable that Egbert, Alanus, Giraldus, and others, should accuse them of one custom for ages, as belonging to all, if a distinction could have been…
…made." (Ch. Pied., c. 17, p. 155.) At the same time, all their dated documents and confessions justify the charge of neglecting the infant rite, while no testimony is produced to prove the accusation unfounded, among this numerous body, until the confession dated 1508, which states the writers to be falsely called Waldenses. See Bohomenian sect.
3. Are we to conclude from these consecutive documents, that no persons bearing the name of Waldenses, saw and practised infant baptism with the Catholics? By no means. There were in those days, as in the present, persons who were found in every degree of distance from the established church. "It would be difficult to trace,” says Dr. Allix, "the extent of those persons who held the truth unsophisticated." We should, from all that is written of them, divide the community into three sections. The Baptists, whose history is given; the Anti-baptismists, or Quakers; and the occasional conformists, or Pasdobaptists. We shall state facts, in order that the misstatements of our opponents may be seen in their proper light.
The earliest claims which Pasdobaptists can establish to any section of these dissidents as a distinct body from Rome, is from a document dated 1508. This instrument is easily explained. During the ministry of Huss and Jerome, many persons were brought into their congregations who could not forego the Roman ceremonies. After Huss's death, a great many found in Zisca's army (1433), were called Calixtines: i. e., persons who wished the cup in the eucharist restored to the laity; but in every other respect were Catholics. Another part was made up of those…
…persons who were zealous for reform in church and state: while a third part was called Waldenses, or Picards, who interfered not in political affairs. (Rob. Res., pp. 48S-92.) Osiander says. These people were a mixed society; some had lately separated from the church in the business of the cup, and were called Calixtines, Hussites, and Tharabites. (Allix's Ch. Pied., ch. 22, p. 214; and ch. 14, p. 241. Mosh. Hist. cent. 15, p. 2, ch. 3, S 5.) That many of the brethren, or Picards, opposed the baptism of infants. (Danvers Hist., p. 328.) But the Hussites, or Picards, in Bohemia, being inflamed with a divine zeal, took courage, says Allix, and separated themselves from the Calixtines, or pretended Hussites, setting up a distinct meeting in 1457, in several places, supported only by divine assistance. (Allix, ib.) Such was the unsettled state of the rest and remainder of this body, that they published nine creeds, or confessions of faith, or rather one creed amended and improved each time. (Robins. Res., p. 312.) The fourth, with the fifth edition improved, was presented, it is said, in 1508, to king Uladislaus, while he was in Hungary. The confession presented to the king, says in the preface, that the petitioning party were not Waldenses, though they were persecuted under that name. Here we leave these Calixtine Pasdobaptists (Rob. ib.); and if in its mixture and unsettled condition, and without unity of spirit, it may be termed a church, it is the first church admitting of open communion which is found on record, and is certainly a model for all kindred communities.
The next document referred by Paedobaptists to prove infant baptism among the Waldenses, is the Spiritual Almanac. This instrument of information is without date;…
…though, for party purposes, it is supposed to be very ancient. This is a glorious document to every tyro in school. This almanac is not referred to by any early writer: Dr. Allix does not mention it; Milner barely refers to it, but says nothing of its age or date. This spiritual almanac was written, as supposed, says Danvers, by George Moril, about 1530 (Hist. p. 328): but to this work we shall allude again.
Sir Samuel Moreland was sent by Oliver Cromwell, in 1655, into the valleys of Piedmont, with pecuniary aid, to the distressed inhabitants. His inquiries among these people led to the possession of some MSS.; extracts from which. Sir Samuel entitled, "The ancient discipline of evangelical churches, extracted out of divers MSS., written in their own language several hundred years before Luther" (Evan. Mag. 1819, p. 408.) Those MSS. require a very close investigation; since Allix detected two to be falsely chronicled (Ch. Pied., ch. 18, p. 169); and the bishop of Meaux doubts the date of Perrin's document. (Id. ch. 20, p. 197.) But since there were divers of these MSS.—and Moreland found it easy to age them by centuries—we will try and quadrate their early claims with other discoveries. Every one interested in the merits of this discussion must be acquainted with the labors of William Wall, vicar of Shoreham, Kent, on the subject of infant baptism: for which history he obtained the honorary distinction of D.D. This man of research was very anxious to exhibit proofs of the uninterrupted practice of the infant rite from apostolic days. He has aided, in some measure, the anti-pasdobaptist side of the question, without proving his own thesis. He conceded the absence of example in apostolic days; and in the middle ages, among the Albigenses and Waldenses,* his best efforts prove a paucity of materials on his side of the question: and much which he has said has been demonstrated by Gale to be postulatory, with inferences falsely deduced. Yet his history is allowed to be the best in the infant question. After failing in his hands, it is not surprising to find the Peedobaptist historians of our day acknowledge the rite to be an "inextricable maze!" Wall's solicitude to find his views supported by a corresponding practice in the churches in the valleys, is very evident. After grappling with the subject, and belaboring through the leaden age of awful ignorance, cruel calumnies, and odious barbarities, aided by the historians of the valleys, Perrin and Leger, with Moreland's account fresh from the press—all advocates and coadjutors in the same cause—yet the only statement, the best account Dr. Wall could exhibit as demonstrative of the practice of Psedobaptism among the Waldenses, is the following, from Perrin; taken from the Spiritual Almanac. Wall quotes the Waldenses as saying—"That their ancestors being constrained for some hundred years to suffer their children to be baptized by the priests of the church of Rome, they deferred the doing thereof as long as they could, because they had in detestation those human inventions that were added to the sacrament, which they held to be the pollution thereof. And forasmuch as their own pastors were many times abroad,…
* Psedobaptists having in the seventeenth century used the Waldensian name as supporting their rite, H. Danvers, Esq., challenged Baxter to proof, and to produce one single testimony of its existence among those churches. Baxter, in his "More Proofs," quoted Usher; but, says Dr. Wall, on examining Hovenden, the writer quoted by Usher, Danvers' cause was victorious;—Hist., pt. 2, ch. 7, S 3, P- 223. Dr. Wall has, by his concession, allowed that no proof exists of its practice in those churches.
…employed in the service of the churches, they could not have baptism administered to their infants by their own ministers. For this cause they kept them long from baptism; which the priests perceiving, and taking notice of, charged them with this slanderi Hist. of Inf. Bap., pt. 2, ch. 7, S 3, p. 221.
Now this is the best proof of Paedobaptism in the valleys, even after an examination of Moreland's divers MSS. of evangelical churches, several hundred years before Luther; and the Spiritual Almanac is often referred to as the strong fort. We ask, is this a true picture of those people whose names we revere, and whose creed we are anxious should be allied to our own, and which people we are trying to claim as our puritan predecessors? Then we yield them to Paedobaptists, and repudiate them from our pages as a people we cannot respect. Did Dr. Wall give this quotation confer credit, or to burlesque the people? Does this statement reflect honor or disgrace, and which preponderates? The popish priests, perceiving the neglect and the slander incurred, are given as the reasons for complying with things they had in detestation. What particular mark did the water leave, so as to enable the priests to discriminate and reproach—save the pastoral visits of such priests to such occasional conformists, led to the inquiry and disclosure of facts? What class of dissenters would at this day, from the slander of priests, attend a ceremony they detested, and who would claim a sodality with them whose ancestors had sustained the same compromising character for centuries? And how amazingly punctilious in mental sagacity were such Paedobaptists in distinguishing between the authority for a traditional rite, and those human inventions added; when the Church of Rome owns the…
…traditional character of the infant rite altogether, with hundreds of the literati, who confess its absence in the primitive church, while the practitioners of the present day are divided on the grounds as well as the extent of its practice!
But we observe, the Waldensian churches had regular and settled pastors. "A stated ministry was always considered as a matter of great importance among the Waldensian churches." (Jones's Led, vol. ii. p. 459. Allix's Pied., ch. 24, p. 245.) "Those barbs, or pastors, who remained at home in the valleys, besides preaching, took upon them the disciplining and instructing of the young," &c.(Danvers, p. 30, from Moreland.) And Reiner charges them with communicating every (Lord's) day, which would require a stated and settled ministry. Were these Paedobaptists, as given by Perrin and Wall, real Waldenses? I trow not.
That the Pasdobaptists in Perrin, should succeed each other, for several hundred years, and that successive generations should suffer themselves to be constrained into a religious service, and for them to be for centuries without ministers, satisfactorily demonstrate their interests to have been very low, not 800,000, as recorded, but distinct from the Waldensian churches, and even through centuries not a thriving denomination. Indeed we shall make it appear, that these were not a separate people, but occasional conformists to the Roman church.
The Catholics baptized children, with the first advocates, solely on the grounds of original sin, and its accompanying salvation. Augustin had never heard of a man (practicing it) who had not that view; and Dr. Wall quotes early writers largely in point, and asserts, this sense was disturbed by Calvin. (Hist. pt. 2, pp. 66, 451.) Now, in Perrin's account, given by Wall, those Psedobaptists make no objection to the Catholic doctrinal views accompanying the rite, and consequently could not be considered true dissidents from that body.
But truth is always consistent; and here we give the key to this class of professors. "The believers of Lombardy, in the time of Gregory I.," says Allix, "who were deprived of their ministers by persecutions of Arians, carried their children to the Arian priests to have them baptized." (Ch. Pied., ch. 24, p. 242.) This conformity was the condition of peace; the place was the established church; the creed was the Arian, and by one immersion; the cause was the absence of their own minister. Again, when inquisitors were commissioned by the pope, in 1176, to visit the heretics in Languedoc, and by any and every means to bring them over to the Catholic church: they took a creed with them, to which they required the Vaudois fully to consent as the terms of peace and paradise. This creed contained the following objectionable clause: "We believe that none are saved, excepting they are baptized; and that children are saved by baptism; and that baptism is to be performed by a priest (not in a river, but) in a church." (Danvers, p. 300.)
In the thirteenth century, when the preaching monks went through the length and breadth of the land, Collier, with others, says, that, on these occasions, with the above creed, multitudes repaired to the Catholic churches, and compromised their principles. (Gr. Hist. Diet. Albig.) Multitudes must have previously neglected their infant seed! A succession of such accommodating persons is plain, since Reiner says, The Waldenses pursued the…
…same dissembling course; they frequent our churches, are present at divine worship, offer at the altar, receive the sacrament, confess to the priests, &c. &c., though they scoff at our institutions." (Jones's Christian Ch., vol. ii. p. 34); or, as the confession of Perrin, "they held them in detestation." These compromising Vaudois, with their remote ancestors and progeny, form evidently the class of evangelicals, whose conduct is an exact key to Perrin's account. This is supported by their state in 1530; when the churches connected with George Moril, to save themselves from Catholic rage, did go to mass in Provence, and pleaded it was no great harm, provided their hearts were kept right with God. For which prevarication and hypocrisy, the reformer (Ecolampadius rebukes them, and condemns the practice. (Perrin's Hist.) Such were not witnesses of the truth.
The Waldenses took the Scriptures alone for their guidance, and carefully avoided all human impositions in religious duties. The Catholics, with the Vaudois, allowed infant baptism no higher authority than the "tradition of the Fathers," and "the custom of the church." (Milner's End of all Controv., Lect. 30. Easky discussion, p. 79.) We are sure, a people who were guided in all religious duties by a literal interpretation, as of Christ's sermon on the mount, would never adopt in their churches a human rite. The real Waldenses looked upon infant baptism to be one feature of Antichrist, since it borrowed the form of sound words to support a lie, and conferred a spiritual figure upon an alien to spiritual blessings.
The Vaudois did not practise Paedobaptism, nor receive the sign of the cross; this they called the mark of the beast. This is evident from the, laws enacted to regulate…
…commercial affairs, and which excluded those from any advantages in trade, who refused this shibboleth. The cross running through the whole of that system is certainly the mark of the beast. (Bp. Newton, Diss. 2, pp. 195, 289.) It was the ground model of their sanctuaries, the ornament within and without; it was placed on the forehead in baptism, and, by various digitary motions, conferred on every part of the body; it was worn on the clothes, or carried in the hand; it was the ensign of peace, or the signal of war; it was the emblazonry of the field, and the escutcheon of the mansion; it was the pope's signet, and the peasant's security; it was the talisman in private, and the Palladium of the public interest; the pontiff's tiara, the church's confidence, the community's glory and dread. This mark the Waldenses did not receive, and there was no baptism conferred on infants without it. Had they received the mark of the beast, they could not be considered free of the threatened indignation. Rev. xiv. 9. Whether infant baptism was limited, or extensively practiced in the valleys, one conclusion will force itself on every impartial inquirer, that those who administered, and those who received the rite, would in every age be viewed by Catholics in a more favorable light, than those who denied infant baptism; consequently, those who agreed in so essential a point of salvation, would find no great barrier to communion in times of persecution, compared with those who, like the real Waldenses, abhorred every vestige of the man of sin. This is made plain by facts; for so soon as the Waldenses embraced Pasdobaptism, so far they were incorporated into national churches in 1532-5. (Dr. Allix's Ch. Pied., ch. 20, p. 184. See German Section.)
4. Bogue and Bennet, in their History of Dissenters, felt convincingly the difficulty of establishing a community of Pasdobaptists in the valleys separate from the Church of Rome; and when called on to explain some harsh expressions about our denomination, gave a postulatory statement, that the dissenting interests were formed of mixed materials, and in justification said, "That no evidence has been adduced to make it evident that they (the Baptists) were a distinct body, which excluded others from their communion."
Any person, with Mosheim in his hand, might controvert this gratuitous assertion! We observe;
First. The church of Jerusalem is satisfactory to negative this statement; Acts ii. 41; with the first account of church discipline extant, which says, "This food we call the eucharist, of which none are allowed to be partakers, but such only as are true believers, and have been baptised in the laver of regeneration for the remission of sins, and live according to Christ's precepts." (Justin Martyr's Apol., Reeve's Trans., vol. i. S 86, p. 120.) Dr. Wall asserts, that "no church ever gave the communion to any person before they were baptized." (Hist., pt. 2, p. 441.)
Secondly. We have already proved in the previous sections, and shall confirm the same statements in future pages, that the terms of communion, in the churches of Novatian, Donatus, Constantine Sylvanus, with the Paterines in Italy, the followers of Peter de Bruys, who was a doctor among the Albigenses, were, a profession of faith and baptism: the latter held, "that persons baptized in infancy are to be baptized after they believe, which is not to be esteemed re-baptization, but right baptism." (Osiander Cent. 12, L. 3, p. 262.) "The Waldenses admitted the catechumen to baptism, after an exact instruction, a long fast, &c., and then were admitted to the eucharist after baptism." Allix's Ch. Pied. ch. 7, pp. 7, 8.
Thirdly. Robinson's works on baptism might be considered a kind of literary excursion to decry intolerance. His zeal for mental freedom led him to examine minutely every early record on the terms of communion; and his history of the controversy on this subject makes no mention of the practice in any early church. (Works, vol. iii. p. 141.) His earliest discovery bears date 1577. The Baptist churches in Poland originated in some of Waldo's disciples leaving France in the twelfth century. These, with all our churches, were established on the terms of strict communion. (Rob. Res., p. 600.) At this period, 1577, Faustus Socinus reached Cracow, and essayed to join the Baptists, but was refused without baptism. He blamed the churches for their strictness, and showed them by argument the innocency of mental error. (Others, perhaps, would class Antinomianism, Sabellianism, and Socinianism, in the catalogue of mental errors: but mental error sanctioned and is virtually the grounds of the mixed sys- tem.) Being a great and learned man, he brought many to see with himself. He soon stood a member of the church; and by zeal and charity, effected a radical change in the Baptist creed and churches. (Rob. Res., p. 607.) He is now acknowledged as the honorable head of the Socinian Baptist churches in Poland, though himself was never baptized. Our views will be again exhibited on the churches' constitution, so as to prove the Baptists to be a distinct body, from the great Catholic community of Psedobaptists. As great names are apt to dazzle, and even set aside facts, reason, and revelation, we caution all our readers against receiving great sounding assertions in the room of facts. There can be no proof of Pasdobaptism, as practiced before the sixteenth century, but among persons of the Catholic and Grecian persuasion. Prove our assertion to
be wrong, and you shall have our thanks for your friendship. "Open communion arises from a new state of things."-R. Hall.