SECTION VI : CHURCHES IN ITALY RESUMED.
"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou boldest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith," &c.— Rev.ii. 13.
1. THIS passage given by John is so graphic of the situation and circumstances of the Novatian and Paterine churches, that we are constrained to allow it as expressive of the people of whom God took special cognizance. If the man of sin is constituted by a succession of popes, † why might not ANTIPAS be represented by a succession of reforming men, as opposers of the sinful system?—Avri-pas, against the whole, antipa or antipapacy. The error in explaining the revelations has been in making one part of John's vision speak a present history of some churches, and a future history of others;o though John…
* See above, ch. 2, s. 1, S 9, 10, and connect the Novatian churches with this section.
† Newton on the Prophecies, v. ii., pp. 88, 106.
o These seven churches were in prophetic accordance with the other parts of the Apocalypse, and John gives no room for other conclusions; for
1. No proof exists that the actual state of those seven churches was described at the time of writing these addresses, and a forced construction is evidently given by literal writers.
2. No one can support, from historic details, a reasonable and literal accomplishment of the things contained in the addresses to those churches: the candlestick is removed, not from one, but from all.
3. The addresses close with an application to ALL the churches; that is, of the age to which the prophecy alludes, and not to the one church only, bearing the inscription of the address.
4. The state of things at Pergamos does not accord with that church being the seat of Satan, which must be at Babylon, or Rome, agreeably to other plain passages, and which is allowed by M'Crie and others.
5. "It does not appear that any Christian church existed at Thyatira, till 200 years after Christ."—Maddock.
6. The other emblems in the Apocalypse are divided into prophetic periods; and there is not the least indication from the writer of a change in the mode of address.
7. It is "a revelation of things to come," but if the things in those churches actually existed, John could have forwarded an epistle to each church as other apostles did, and so have rectified abuses without calling it "a revelation of things which must shortly come to pass," the character the whole book sustains.
…declares of the whole, the things were shortly "to come to pass." Antipas, in the church of Pergamos, has confused every literal exposition of the passage. In confirmation of this view of this part, placed as a motto over the history of the Paterines, it is obvious, that the two-edged sword was the only weapon these people used: and this approved instrument of their Lord, ver. 12, enabled Antipas to overcome.
2. Socrates states that, when the church was taken under the fostering care of Constantine, and on his party using severe measures against dissenters, the dominant party 330 called themselves the catholic church; but the oppressed and suffering party was known by the name, the church of martyrs.* In a previous section, we have given the outlines of these suffering people, under the denomination of Novationists, and endeavored to trace their history till penal laws compelled them to retire into "caves and dens," to worship God. While oppressed by the catholic party, they obtained the name of Paterines; which means sufferers, or what is nearly synonymous with…
* Lib. 1, cap. 3, 6.
…our modern acceptation of the word martyrs,* and which indicated an afflicted and poor people, trusting in the name of the Lord; and which name was, in a great measure, restricted to the dissenters of Italy, where it was as common as the Albigenses in the south of France, or Waldenses in Piedmont.
575 We left off our the Novatianists at the end of the sixth century; yet it is very evident Dissenters continued in Italy, as is proved by the complaints of the clergy; † which point is ceded to us by Dr. Mosheim.o "It was by means of the Paterines," says Dr. Allix, "that the truth was preserved in the dioceses of Milan and Turin." S These churches, it would appear, 660 were aided and resuscitated in the seventh century, since Gibbon asserts that the sentiments and doctrines of the Paulicians were propagated at Rome and Milan. 11 And we are informed by Bonizo, bishop of 750 Sutrium, that the Paterines arose, or became more conspicuous, during Stephen II’s pontificate.([
3. "The public religion of the Paterines consisted of nothing but social prayer, reading and expounding the gospels, baptism once, and the Lord's supper as often as convenient. Italy was full of such Christians, which bore various names, from various causes. They said a Christian church ought to consist of only good people: a church had no power to frame any constitutions, i. e., make laws; it was not right to take oaths; it was not lawful to kill mankind, nor should he be delivered up to the officers of…
* Allix's Rem. on the Anc. Ch. of Pied., ch. 3, p. 25; and Jones's Hist. of the Christ. Ch., v. ii., p. 107.
† Rob. Res. p. 408.
o Mosh. Hist. Cent. 12, pt. 2, ch. 5, S 4, note.
S Allix's Rein. Pied., Ch., ch. 19, p. 175.
|| Ro. Hist. ch. 54.
([ Allix's Id., ch. 14, p. 124.
…justice to be converted; faith alone could save a man; the benefit of society belonged to all its members; the church ought not to persecute; the law of Moses was no rule for Christians." The Catholics of those times baptized by immersion;* the Paterines, therefore, in all their branches, made no complaint of the action of baptism; but when they were examined, they objected vehemently against the baptism of infants, and condemned it as an error, † They are also freed from the baneful charge of Manicheism;o and are not taxed with any immorality, but were condemned for virtuous rules of action, which all in power 800 accounted heresy. At different periods, and from various causes, these Baptists considerably in-creased. Those of their churches where baptism was ad-ministered, were known by the name of baptismal churches; and to such churches all the Christians in the vicinage flocked for baptism. When Christianity spread into the country, the people met for worship where they could, but all candidates came up to the baptismal church to receive the ordinance. In time baptisteries were built in the country, and, like the old ones, were resorted to by the neighboring inhabitants. There was a shadow of this among the reformed churches of Piedmont. S
946 4. Atto, bishop of Vercilli, complained of these people in 946, as other clergy had done…
* Note. In 754, Stephen, bishop of Rome, was requested, by some monks who privately consulted him, to say, whether in case of illness baptism by pouring could be lawful. He was the first who gave the opinion of its validity, which consequently became authentic law for administering the baptism by pouring. Rob. Bap. pp. 428-9.
† Rob. Bap. p. 211, where authorities are quoted largely.
o Dr. Allix's Pied., ch. 18, and Dr. Jortin's Rem. on Ecc. Hist. vol. v., p. 53.
S Rob. Hist. of Bap., p. 357.
…before; but from this period, until the thirteenth century, Baptists continued to increase and multiply. The wickedness of the clergy* considerably aided the cause of dissent. There was no legal power in Italy, in those times, to put dissenters to death. This kingdom, therefore, would very naturally become a retreat to those who suffered in other provinces on account of religion. Its contiguity to France and Spain, which kingdoms abounded with Christians of this sort, would naturally aid and strengthen their interests; besides the preaching of Claude,† with other reformers, added to the number of dissenters. All these were incorporated into the churches of Italy, and were now known by the term Paterines; "a name which came," says Mezeray, "from the glory they took in suffering patiently for the truth." o
1020 5. Among these people, a reformer or principal minister appeared, who attained some eminency. One Gundulphus appears to have had many admirers. S Having given some persons in his connexion a portion of spiritual instruction, he sent them forth as itinerants to preach the gospel. Some of his followers 1025 were arrested FLANDERS; and on their examination, they acknowledged they were…
* The clergy were not only ignorant, but they were adulterers and Sodomites (Dr. Allix's Rem. Ch. Pied., p. 88); and so avaricious as to sell any sacred thing for money. Their illegitimate children were provided for out of the revenues of the church; but they could not be so supported without proving their connexion and membership, which was established only by baptism. This urgency pushed forward baptism from minors to infants. Rob. Bap. pp. 805, &c., 514.
† Claude, bishop of Turin, was a Spaniard, Arian, and Catholic, yet he loudly proclaimed his view of truth, in opposition to the errors of the times.
o French Hist.. p. 287.
S Allix's Rem. on Ch. of Pied., ch. 11, p. 94.
…followers of Gundulphus. "They are charged," says Dr. Allix, "with abhorring baptism: i. e., the Catholic baptism." These disciples said in reply, "The law and discipline we have received of our master will not appear contrary either to the gospel decrees or apostolical institutions, if carefully looked into. This discipline consists in leaving the world, in bridling carnal concupiscence, in providing a livelihood by the labor of our hands, in hurting nobody, and affording charity to all, &c. This is the sum of our justification to which the use of baptism can super add nothing. But if any say that some sacrament lies hid in baptism, the force of it is taken off by three causes. 1st. Because the reprobate life of ministers can afford no saving remedy to the persons baptized. 2ndly. Because whatever sins are renounced at the font, are afterwards taken up again in life and practice. 3rdly. Because a strange will, a strange faith, and strange confession, do not seem to belong to a little child, who neither wills nor runs, who knoweth 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."* That these people held views on the ordinances similar to the Baptists of modern times, is allowed by all respectable writers. "There were well-meaning and honest, though ignorant and illiterate men," says Dr. Jortin.†
1040 6. The Paterines were, in 1040, become very numerous and conspicuous at Milan, which was their principal residence: and here they flourished at least…
* Pied. Ch., ch. 11, pp. 94-5.
† Rem. on Ecc. Hist.. vol. v., p. 27, and Milner's Ch. Hist., c. 11, ch. 2.
…two hundred years. They had no connexion with the church, nor with the Fathers, considering them as corrupters of Christianity. They called the cross the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place; and they said it was the mark of the beast. Nor had they any share in the state, for they took no oaths, and bore no arms. The state did not trouble them, but the clergy preached, prayed, and published books against them, with unabated zeal;* while there was no legal use of the sword, a let was realized, which proved favorable to their sentiments and prosperity. The Paterines were decent in their deportment, modest in their dress and discourse, and their morals were irreproachable. In their conversation there was no levity, no scurrility, no detraction, no falsehood, no swearing. Their dress was neither fine nor mean. They were chaste and temperate, never frequenting taverns or places of public amusement. They were not given to anger or violent passions. They were not eager to accumulate wealth, but were content with a plain plenty of the necessaries of life. They avoided commerce, because they thought it would expose them to the temptations of collusion, falsehood, and oaths; and they chose to live by labor or handicraft. They were always employed in spare hours, either in giving or receiving instruction.
7. Their churches were divided into sixteen compartments, such as the English Baptists would call associations. Each of these was subdivided into parts, which would here be called churches or congregations. In Milan there was a street called Parana, where it is supposed they met for worship. Their bishops and officers were…
* Rob. Res., p. 405.
…mechanics, weavers, shoemakers, who maintained themselves by their industry. They had houses at Ferrara, Brescia, and in many other cities and towns. One of their principal churches was that of Concorezzo, in the Milanese; and the members of churches, in this association, were more than 1500. During the kingdom of the Goths and Lombards, the Anabaptists, as the Catholics 945 called them, had their share of churches and to baptisteries, during which time they hold no 1059 communion with any hierarchy. After the ruin of these kingdoms, laws were issued by the emperors, to deprive dissenters of baptismal churches and to secure them to the Catholic clergy. Consequently the brethren worshipped in private houses, under different names. Each of the houses where they met seemed to be occupied by one of the brethren: they were marked so as to be known only among themselves, and they never met in large companies in persecuting times; and though they differed in some things, yet there was a perfect agreement in all those points mentioned above.*
8. There were many Greeks from Bulgaria and Philippopolis, who came to settle in Italy about the time that the emperor Alezias Comnenas disturbed the Philippopolitans, and burnt Basil, the Bogomilan or Paulician.† "It is difficult," says Mosheim, "to fix the precise period of time when the Paulicians began to take refuge in Europe."
* Rob. Res., ch. 11. The language of the Paterines is very strongly expressed against Inf. Bap. See Gregory and Muratori, with others, quoted in Robinson's Res., 408, note 9; and Hist. Bap., p. 211, note 4.
† Id. Research., p. 409. Note.—The word Bogomilus means in the Russian language, "Calling out for mercy from above." A Bogomilan was a praying man.
About the middle of the eleventh century, a considerable number of them settled in Lombardy, Insubria, and principally at Milan; they were in Italy called Paterini or Cathari. In process of time, they sent colonies into almost all the other provinces of Europe, and formed gradually a considerable number of religious assemblies, who adhered to their doctrine. A set of men like to the Paulicians or Paterines proceeded in vast numbers out of Italy, in the following ages, and spread like an inundation through all the European provinces. Thus Italy, who gave a seat to the beast, sent forth those moral streams to prevent the world from becoming stagnant with pollution.*
1137 9. A reformer now appeared in Italy, and one who proved himself a powerful opponent to the…
* These Dissenting Baptists were the only class in this kingdom not given up to the corruption of the times. Luxury, covetousness, and adultery universally prevailed among the catholic clergy. Prelates, habited in purple robes and gold, converted nunneries into stews, and parks and mansions were had for seraglios. They were awfully wicked in Italy; cures and sinecures were provided for their children. Presbyters were common at twelve years of age, and boys were bishops. We have seen that solicitude on the part of parents for the welfare of their offspring, with the Alexandrian school, first led to youths' baptism. Infant pollution was understood to be removed by water baptism, and the ordinance was the only means of saving the soul from purgatory. The importance now attached to baptism required the priest to attend every woman in labor, but the plan was further matured, by inventing various instruments and different distilled waters for the foetus in utero! Abortives and dead bodies received the sanctified liquid; all which evils have the same authority for their existence as Paedobaptism, and shame from the scattered rays of truth will abolish the one as it has the other. To detail faithfully the conduct of clergymen, and the progress of infant baptism, would present the filthiest account ever issued from the press. Yet these men, daring to reform the abuses of the church, are by Paidobaptists reproached to this day, Mezeray, p. 115, Mosh. v. ii., p. 167, Rob. Bap. p. 305, &c., Dr. M'Crie, p. 16, Dr. Allix's Ch. Pied. c. 10, p. 88. See Bap. Mag. v. ii., p. 435. Dr. Wall's Hist. pt. 2, p 379.
…church of Rome, and who in fortitude and zeal was inferior to no one bearing that name, while in learning and talents he excelled most. This was ARNOLD of BRESCIA; a man allowed to have been possessed of extensive erudition, and remarkable for his austerity of manners; he traveled into France in early life, and became a pupil of the renowned Peter Abelard. On leaving this school, he returned into Italy, and assumed the habit of a monk, began to propagate his opinions in the streets of Brescia, where he soon gained attention. He pointed his zeal at the wealth* and luxury of the Roman clergy. The eloquence of Arnold aroused the inhabitants of Brescia. They revered him as the apostle of religious liberty, and rose in rebellion against the bishops. The church took an 1139 alarm at his bold attacks; and in a council, (1139) he was condemned to perpetual silence. † Arnold left Italy, and found an asylum in the Swiss canton of Zurich. Here he began his system of reform,o and…
*Not only were great fees required by the clergy for every duty to the living and the dead, but when any malady prevailed in a nation, as in France, A. D. 996, the afflicted were taught to propitiate heaven, by giving their property to the clergy (Mezeray, p. 204), and as the tenth century drew to a close (999), a general panic prevailed throughout the catholic world, from Rev. xx. 2—4, that the last judgment was approaching. The rich endowed churches, while the wily clergy in the writings excluded any future claimant of the gift under the pain of Judas's punishment!!! From the view of their own edifices and mansions being useless, the nobility and gentry permitted their homes to go to decay. See Mosh. Hist. v. ii. p. 108. Jones's Lect. on EC. Hist. v. ii. p. 196, &c. Lon. Ency. v. xi. p. 290.
† M'Crie's History of the Reform, in Italy, p. 3, &c.
o Who can question the necessity of a reform? From the immense wealth of the church, idleness and every evil was found among the clergy. Religion was a jest !!! A dispute existed as to which liturgy, the Gothic or Roman, should be used in the church, this was decided by single combat, Mosh. v. ii. p. 220. The festivals of fools and asses were established in most churches. On days of solemnity, they created a bishop of fools; and an ass was led into the body of the church, dressed in a cape and four-cornered cap. When the people were dismissed, it was by the priests braying three times like an ass, and the people responded in an assinine tone. Jones's Lect. v. i. p. 534. At stated times, the more remarkable events in the Christian history were represented in a kind of mimic show. But such scenic representations, though they amused the gazing populace, were injurious to religion. Mosh. C. 13, p. 2, c. 4, S 1. Yet, for his efforts, Arnold, in the eyes of clergymen, and state writers, was a sad heretic.
…succeeded for a time, but the influence of Bernard made it necessary for him to leave the canton. This bold man now hazarded the desperate experiment of visiting Rome, and fixing the standard of rebellion in the very heart of the capitol. In this measure, he succeeded so far as to occasion a change of the government, and the clergy experienced for ten years a reverse of fortune, and a succession of insults from the people.* The pontiff struggled hard, but in vain, to maintain his ascendency. He at length sunk under the pressure of the calamity. Successive pontiffs were unable to check his popularity. Eugenius III. withdrew from Rome, and Arnold, taking advantage of his absence, impressed on the minds of the people the necessity of setting bounds to clerical authority; but the people, not being prepared for such liberty, carried their measures to the extreme, abused the clergy, burnt their property, and required all ecclesiastics to swear to the new constitution. "Arnold," says Gibbon, "presumed to quote the declaration of Christ, that his kingdom was not of this world. The abbots, the bishops, and the pope himself, must renounce their state, or their salvation." The people were brave, but ignorant of the nature, extent, and advantages of a reformation. The people imbibed, and long retained…
* Mosh. Hist. v. ii. p. 318.
…the color of his opinions. His sentiments also were influential on some of the clergy in the Catholic church. He was not devoid of discretion, he was protected by the nobles and the people, and his services to the cause of freedom; his eloquence thundered over the seven hills. He showed how strangely the clergy in vice had degenerated from the primitive times of the church. He confined the shepherd to the spiritual government of his flock. It is 1144 from the year 1144, that the establishment of the senate is dated, as a glorious era, in the acts of the city. Arnold maintained his station above ten years, while two popes, either trembled in the Vatican, or wandered as exiles in the adjacent cities.* "The wound appeared unto death," but the pope having mustered his troops, and placing himself at their head, soon became possessed of his official dignity, † Arnold's friends were numerous, but a sword was no weapon in the articles of his faith.
1155 In 1155, this noble champion was seized, crucified, and burnt. His ashes were thrown into the river. "The clergy triumphed in his death; with his ashes, his sect was dispersed; his memory still lives in the minds of the Romans." Thus, the deadly wound was healed. Though no corporeal relic could be preserved to animate his followers, the efforts of Arnold in civil and religious liberty were cherished in the breasts of future…
* Ro. Hist. ch. 69.
† This reverse of things re-established all the old characters and corruptions. These corruptions were seen in the discovery of 6000 heads of infants in a warren, near a religious nunnery, Danv. p. 128, and until this exposing period, the Catholics had baptized men, women, and children in the fonts quite naked. Wall's Hist. pt. 2, p. 379. While others had their children disinterred, and baptized in the Father's name. See Bap. Mag. v. i. p. 435, from Vossius.
…reforming spirits, and inspired those mighty attempts, in WICKLIFFE, Huss, and others.*
10. His memory was long and fondly cherished by his countrymen, and his tragical end occasioned deep and loud murmurs; it was regarded as an act of injustice and cruelty, the guilt of which lay upon the pope and his clergy, who had been the occasion of it. The disciples of Arnold, who were numerous, obtained the name of ARNOLDISTS; these separated from the communion of the church of Rome, and long continued to bear their testimony against its numerous abuses.† "This unhappy man," says Mosheim, "seems not to have adopted any doctrines inconsistent with the spirit of true religion. He considered the clergy should be divested of all their worldly possessions, and live on the contributions of the people. This reformer, in whose character and manners there were several things worthy of esteem, drew after him a great number of disciples, who derived from him the denomination of Arnoldists; and, in succeeding ages, discovered the spirit and intrepidity of their leader, as often as any favorable opportunities of reforming the church were offered to their zeal.o
11. The sentiments of Arnold on the ordinance is thus established. Bernard, whose influence occasioned Arnold's leaving Zurich, accuses his followers of mocking at infant baptism. He also received a like accusation from Evervimus, in Germany, who said the Arnoldists condemn the (catholic) sacraments, particularly baptism, which they administer only to the adult. They do not believe infant…
* Jones's Lect, v. ii. p. 211.
† Allix's Re. Ch. Pied., C. 18, p. 170, &c.
o Hist, v. ii. p. 318.
…baptism, alleging that place of the gospel,* whoever shall believe and he baptized shall be saved. Arnold was condemned by the Lateran council of 1139 for rejecting infant baptism.† Arnold had laid to his charge, that he was unsound in his judgment about the sacrament of the altar and infant baptism, o He is said to have held the opinion of Berengarius, S and that from him the Waldenses were called Arnoldists.|| Arnold denied that baptism should be administered to infants.([
1160 12. It is acknowledged that the Latin church** was, during this century, troubled with the…
*Wall's Hist., p. 2, ch. 7, S 5, p. 234. Dr. Allix's Rem. on Ch. Pied. c. 16, p.140.
† Wall's Hist., p. 2, c. 7, S 5, p. 242.
oAllix on Ch. Pied., c. 18, p. 171.
S Id., p. 174
|| Id. Facts oppos. to Fict, p. 46.
([ Jones's Lect., v. ii. p. 215. The method of enlarging the church catholic was singularly adapted through ages to acquire the object. Albert, a canon, was commissioned to dragoon the Livonians into the profession of Christianity, and to oblige them, by force of arms, to receive the benefits of baptism. Mosh. 2, 234. In ordinary cases baptism in the church was thus regulated. The candidate, having passed through a course of preparatory instruction, all of human invention, was at length pronounced fit. Salt was then applied to his mouth as a sign of the excited desire of baptismal water. He was exorcised, or purified, from all demoniacal and magical influence. The priest then breathed on him, in token of his receiving the Holy Spirit, the principle of spiritual and eternal life. His nose and ears were anointed with spittle, his breast and shoulders were anointed with oil, and after many more ceremonies, lie was dipped three times, and on coming out of the water he was anointed with chrism, and crowned with other rites, all of the same nature. Jones's Lect., v. ii., p. 199, &c.
** The members of this church were principally engaged in erecting places of worship during this age. The rich gave their property, and the poor did the work of beasts, Mosh. 2, p. 290. Inscriptions on such buildings, baptisteries, and fonts are often found, viz:— "Our wealthy Lady Theudolind founded and built this baptistery in the life-time of our Lord Agiluf." Or a more modem one is…, NIYON ANOMHMATA MH MONAN OYIN. (Wash thy sins, not thy face only.)
…PURITANS, a term, according to Mosheim, expressive of the successors of the Novatianists; but the pontiffs were particularly annoyed by the Pauhcians who emigrated in numbers from Bulgaria, who leaving their native land spread themselves throughout various provinces. Many of them, while doing good to others, and propagating the gospel, were put to death with the most unrelenting cruelty.*—Their accessions from different sources made the Puritan or Paterine churches very considerable, and to their enemies very formidable, even before the name of Waldo of Lyons was known. Besides these foreign accessions, some books had been written and circulated by the Puritans, while several reformers appeared in different kingdoms, all advocating the same doctrines and practice; so that the clergy and pontiff were aroused to vigorous opposition.
1180 In 1180' the Puritans had established them-selves in Lombardy and Puglia, where they received frequent visits from their brethren who resided in other countries; in this and the next century they were to be found in the capital of Christendom. † Effective measures were matured about this time, when Waldo and his followers were driven from France.
1210 13. In 1210, the Paterines had become so numerous and so odious to the state clergy,…
* Mosh. Hist., C. 12, pt. 2, c. 5, S 4.
† M'Crie's Reform, in Italy, p. 4.
…that the old bishop of Ferrara obtained an edict of the emperor Otho IV. for the suppression of them; but this measure extended only to that city.
1215 In five years after, Pope Innocent III. Of bloody celebrity, held a council at the Lateran, and denounced anathemas against heretics of every description. Dr. Wall declares that this council did enforce infant baptism on the dissenters, as heretics taught it was to no purpose to baptize children.*
In this council, the Milanese were censured for sheltering the Paterines. After a variety of efforts to suppress them, the cruel policy of the court of Rome extended its 1220 sanguinary measures over Italy. In 1220, Honorius III. procured an edict of Frederick II. which extended over all the imperial cities, as had been the case for some years over the south of France, and the effects of the pontiff's anger was soon felt by the deniers of the infant rite. These edicts were every way proper to excite horror, and which rendered the most illustrious piety and virtue incapable of saving from the most cruel death such as had the misfortune, says Mosheim, to be disagreeable to the inquisitors. † No alternative of escaping those human monsters presented itself but that of flight, which was embraced by many; "indeed," Mosheim observes, "they passed out of Italy, and spread like an inundation throughout the European provinces, but Germany in particular afforded an asylum where they were called Gazari instead of Cathari (Puritans). One Ivo, of Narbonne, was summoned by the inquisitor of heretical…
* Hist. of Inf. Bap., pt. 2, p. 242.
† Ecc. Hist., v. ii., pp. 426, 430.
…1243 privately. Ivo fled into Italy. At Como he became acquainted with the Paterines, and accommodated himself to their views for a time. They informed him, after he was a member of their society, that they had churches in almost all the towns of Lombardy, and in some parts of Tuscany; that their merchants, in frequenting fairs and markets, made it their business to instill their tenets in the minds of the rich laymen with whom they traded, and the landlords in whose houses they lodged.— On leaving Como, he was furnished with letters of recommendation to professors of the same faith in Milan; and in this manner, he passed through all the towns situated on the Po, through Cremona and the Venetian states, being liberally entertained by the Paterines, who received him as a brother, on producing his letters, and giving the signs which were known by all that belonged to the sect.*
1245 14. The thirteenth century exhibited in Italy two objects that struck devout observers; the one was the simple manners of the Paterines, which appeared to great advantage in contrast with the lives of their neighbors; the other was the predictions of Joachim, abbot of a monastery, foretelling a reformation of the whole catholic church. The simplicity was seen in its native form in their separate communities. The Paterines knew their discipline could not possibly be practised in the church; they therefore withdrew, constantly avowing the sufficiency of Scripture, the competency of each to reform himself, the right of all, even of women, to teach; and openly disclaiming all manner of coercion in matters of religion. The wisdom of the Paterines in separating wholly…
* M'Crie's Ref. in Italy, p. 4, &c.
…from the Roman church, appears in a striking light, when contrasted with the weakness of those who continued in that communion, and endeavored to incorporate the morality of the Paterines into the established church, in order to reform the community.* In conformity with their declaration of the sufficiency of the Scriptures to regulate a Christian church, they had houses in many cities, in which they assembled for religious worship, with their barbs † or religious teachers.
15. The publication of the above books, with others by some monks, awakened the pontiff to adopt measures for the destruction of all opponents; consequently under one term, that of heretic, all were proscribed; and though the Paterines complained of being mixed up with fanatics, their complaints were disregarded. The bishops and clergy were glad to have a reasonable pretext for the extirpation of those people who checked their ambitious projects, and who by their example and instruction kept the community awake to their defects and impiety. Means of a vigorous and corresponding character to those so successfully employed against the Albigenses had been used for ridding Italy of dissenters. While the Dominican friars had been carrying on their inquiries, and preaching down heresy in France; a corresponding order of men had pursued a similar course in Italy against the Paterines, who no doubt considerably increased in this kingdom from the refugees who escaped the crusaders in Languedoc.
* Rob. Res., p. 414.
† The exact etymology of this word is not shown; the dissenters were called Barbarus by the literati, and it might be a contraction of that word; or Barbe, a beard, from their venerable elders wearing long beards; or barbet, a shagged dog, might be used by their enemies to convey, like method-ist, ana-baptist, contempt or reproach.
The effects of the above inquisition, though severe, were not so great on the Paterines as the pope desired, and therefore he obtained in the beginning of Frederick's reign, as before mentioned (1224), a cruel decree denouncing all Puritans, Paterines, Arnoldists, &c., &c., expressed in these terms, "We shall not suffer these wretches to live." A second, third, and fourth followed, all of the same cruel and virulent character. The edicts declared that all those Paterines to whom the bishops were disposed to show favor, were to have their tongues pulled out, that they might not corrupt others by justifying themselves,* others were to be committed to the flames. These measures were cordially approved by the pope, who to give the imperial edicts the desired effect, accompanied them with his bull.
16. The above measure, though severe and continued in force for years, did not extirpate the Paterines, as we find in the middle of this century, "they had," says Reiner, "four thousand members in the perfect class, but those called disciples were an innumerable multitude."† And notwithstanding the persecutions to which they were exposed, they maintained themselves in Italy, and kept up a regular correspondence with their brethren in other countries. They had public schools where their sons were educated, and these were supported by contributions, from churches of the same faith in Bohemia and Poland, o — Their prosperity irritated the pontiff, who on Frederick's 1250 death, 1250, and during an interregnum, resolved on extirpating heresy. The usual methods were attempted, preaching and mustering crusaders;…
*Allix's Pied., p. 297. Jones's Lect., v. ii. p. 397.
† Wall's Hist., pt. 2, 246.
o Perrin in M'Crie.
…but after every effort devised for their destruction, they appeared no less in number, and still formidable to their adversaries. Indeed, it was found in the middle of this century that the Paterines had exceedingly increased, so that his Holiness found it necessary to give full powers to his inquisitors, and to erect a standing tribunal, if possible, in every country where Puritans were known to infest. These inquisitors were armed with all imaginable power, to punish all those persons who dared to think differently to the pope and his successors. Unity of views, sentiments, and practices, was to be effected by these cruel measures; but instead of accomplishing this object, we conclude the Paterines were dispersed abroad into other provinces, or else they retired into obscurity, from either of which circumstance their local names would become extinct. The terror of the inquisitors awed the Italians into 1260 silence; but it is highly creditable, indeed, there are some reasons to believe the Paterines did continue dispersed in Italy till the reformation in Germany. It is very probable that many of these people became incorporated with the Waldensian churches in the valleys of Piedmont, which at this period enjoyed, under the dukes of Savoy, the sweets of religious liberty: this incorporation could be easily effected, since it is proved by Allix and others, that the most part of the Paterines held the same opinions as the churches in the valleys, and therefore were taken for one and the same class of people.*
17. The staitened circumstances of the Vaudois in Pragela suggested the propriety of seeking for a new territory; this they obtained on their own terms of liberty in…
* Rem. on Pied., p. 112. Mosh. Hist. v. ii., p. 225, note.
…Calabria, a district in the north-east of Italy. This new settlement prospered, and their religious peculiarities awakened displeasure in the old inhabitants; but the landlords, well pleased with their industry, afforded them protection. This colony received fresh accessions from time to time of those who fled from the persecutions raised against them in Piedmont; and continued to flourish when the Reformation dawned on Italy, after which they were barbarously murdered.*
18. These plain facts allow us to conclude that Italy must have, in parts, enjoyed the lamp of truth from apostolic days. That the Cathari or Puritan churches continued for ages is acknowledged of the views of which we have spoken. Such churches were strengthened by the Baptists from Bulgaria, whose sameness of views admitted their incorporation. When these congregations became too large to assemble in one place, they parted and held separate assemblies, in perfect unity with each other. † They owned the Scriptures as a rule of conduct, and administered the ordinance of baptism to believers by one immersion.o They maintained church discipline even on their ministers, as examples are recorded. S They were always found on the side of religious liberty, and considered the oppressing clergy the locust which darkened and tormented the world. They were persecuted, awed, dispersed, or destroyed, yet their spirit and conduct will be again exhibited in future sections of our history.
* Jones's Lect. 2, p. 420. M'Crie's Ref. in Italy, p. 7.
† Rob. Hist. Bap., p. 356.
o Id. Research., p. 384.
S Jones's Lect. v. ii., p. 273. Rob. Ecc. Res., ch. 11, passim.