Page images


person not to acknowledge, after the words of consecration were pronounced by the priest, that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was actually present in the “ Host,” or Mass-wafer, under the accident of bread, with its roundness and whiteness—even that very same body, as large as it was when it hung upon the cross; the bread vanishing, and being transubstantiated into the actual flesh of Christ. Moreover, the worship of the “ Host” was enjoined; and in honour to it, they adorned the streets through which it was carried in procession with flowers and hangings of tapestry; and they fell on their knees before it, adoring and calling it their God. The superstitious devotees smote their breast at the sight of it, and kept it in a Pix in order to worship it, as is the uniform and universal practice among the Papists even at this day.

That doctrine was unknown to the Apostles,who never made mention of such a mystery; and was also unheard of by the primitive Churches, who never taught that an expiatory sacrifice was now to be made for the living and the dead. Hence, many Christians abhorred it, and chose rather to suffer temporal death, by resisting such idolatry, than by complying therewith, to live and die in danger

of hell. Peter Waldo, a citizen of Lyons, appeared most courageous in opposition to that unholy invention. He also attacked several other corruptions which had been adopted by the Roman priesthood, for he asserted that

The papists had forsaken the faith of Jesus Christ

The Church of Rome is the Babylonish harlot, and like the barren fig-tree which the Lord formerly cursed

The Pope is not to be obeyed, forasmuch as he is not head of the

Monkery is an abominable thing-
Vows are the character and mark of the great beast-

Purgatory, masses, dedications of temples, worship of Saints, and commemoration of the dead, are only the inventions of devils, and engines of avarice.

Waldo was heard with more attention, because he was greatly esteemed for his learning and piety, and great bounty towards the poor; not only nourishing their bodies with his material food, but their souls with the Spiritual bread: and exhorting them principally to seek Jesus Christ, the true bread of their souls. 3

Historians record, that Waldo took up the resolution to lead a blameless life resembling as near as possible that of the Apostles, in consequence of a sudden and dreadful accident. Being one day in company with some of his friends after supper, while they were in conversation, one of the party instantaneously fell down dead, which frightened all who were present. Waldo was most sensibly affected; and by that example of divine justice he was excited to an extraordinary amendment. Spending his time in reading the holy Scriptures, therein seeking his salvation; and at the same time he continually instructed the poor who flocked to him to partake of his Alms.

| The word “Hostis derived from the Latin “ Hostia," a sacrifice for a military or naval victory. The term “Pix” is used for a box in which also is kept the idol crucifix!

2 Guido de Perpignan, Flower of Chronicles.
3 Sea of Histories, 203. Claudius Rubis, History of the city of Lyons, p. 269.

4 Louis Camerarius; History of the Orthodox Brethren of Bohemia p. 7. Guido de Perpignan, Flower of Chronicles.

The Archbishop of Lyons, John de Belse Mayons, having been informed that Waldo made profession of teaching the people, and that he boldly condemned the vices, luxury, and arrogance, of the popes and their clergy, inhibited him from teaching any more. The prelate declared, that Waldo was only a layman, and exceeded the bounds of his condition; and therefore that he should restrict himself within his prohibition, under pain of excommunication and of being proceeded against as a heretic.

Waldo replied, that he could not be silent in a matter of so great importance as was the salvation of men ; and that he would rather obey God who enjoined to speak, than man who commanded him to be silent.

Upon that reply, the Archbishop endeavoured to have him apprehended; but Waldo lived concealed at Lyons, under the protection of his friends, for the

space Pope Alexander III

. having heard that in Lyons several persons openly called in question his sovereign authority over the whole' Church, and fearing lest that beginning of rebellion should farther strike at his supreme dignity, anathematized Waldo and all his adherents, and commanded the Archbishop to proceed against them by ecclesiastical censure, even to utter extirpation.

Claudius Rubis saith that Waldo and his disciples were entirely driven from Lyons; and Albert de Capitaneis asserts, that they could not be extirpated. We learn nothing more of this first persecution, except only that those who escaped from Lyons followed him, and afterwards dispersed themselves in divers companies and places.

of three years.


The dispersion of Waldo and his disciples was the means which God made use of to spread the

doctrine of Waldo almost throughout all Europe.

ALBERT DE CAPITANEIS saith, that Waldo retired into Dauphiny, after his departure from Lyons, and Claudius Rubis asserts that he dwelt in the mountains of that province; where he could meet with illiterate persons capable of receiving the impressions of his faith. It is certain, that the churches of the Waldenses, which have stood longest, and of which there is still a greater number than in any other part of Europe, are those in Dauphiny, and the neighbouring churches of Piedmont and Provence, which are descended from them."

5 Catalogue of the Witnesses of the Truth, page 535.-Simon de Voion.–Names of Doctors of the Church,

6 Claudius Rubis, History, page 269.—Albert de Capitaneis, Original of the Vaudois.

1 From the inadvertency of divers Protestant writers, and even of Perrin, as well as from the malice of the Romanists and their Inquisitors, the churches of Milan and the subalpine Waldenses are derived from Peter Waldo, as if it were he that first founded them. The contrary of late has most clearly been demonstrated by Allix, in his History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, and also in his History of the Albigenses. Allix proves, that the Waldenses separated themselves from the Papacy long before Waldo of Lyons; and that the name of Waldenses or Vaudois was given them from the place of their abode, which the inhabitants called “Les valles de Lucerne et Angrogne," the valleys of Lucerne and Angrogne; whence came the Latin name Vallenses, which afterwards was changed to Valdenses, when the fallacious design was laid to make the world believe that Waldo was their first founder. Excepting this mistake, John Paul Perrin of

[ocr errors]

Vignier saith that Waldo retired into Picardy, where in a little time he made such progress, that many persons adhered to his doctrine, for which speedily after they suffered great persecutions. Dubravius says, “ Philip Augustus, King of France, pushed on by the Romish ecclesiastics, took up arms against the Waldenses of Piedmont, razed three hundred houses of the gentlemen who followed their party, and destroyed some walled towns. He also pursued them into Flanders whither they had fled, and caused a great number of them to be burned.”

That persecution was followed by several in Germany, where quickly after they were grievously afflicted, especially in Alsace, and along the Rhine, by the prelates of Mayence and Strasburg. They caused thirtyfive citizens of Mayence to be burned at one fire in the city of Bergen; and at Mayence eighteen, who suffered their torturing death with constancy; and at Strasburg, eighty were burned at the instigation of the Bishop of that place. Those persecutions so increased the number of the Waldensian disciples, by the edification which they received who saw them die praising God, with the most confident assurance of his mercy; that notwithstanding the continued persecutions, there were found in the country of Passau, and in Bohemia, in the year 1315, eighty thousand persons who made profession of the scriptural faith.

Those Waldenses had five churches of believers in Bulgaria, Croatia, Dalmatia, and Hungary, superintended by Bartholomew of Carcassone. The Albigenses, who were professors of the same faith, also filled several countries, until at last they were almost utterly exterminated. 4


The names which their adversaries applied to the Waldenses, and the crimes with which their

enemies maliciously accused them.

The monkish Inquisitors, those deadly enemies of the Waldenses, not contented with delivering them up daily to the secular powers, moreover loaded them with reproaches, as the authors of all the heresies in the

Lyons, has given a true and most excellent history of the Waldensian Churches. As the title of Vallenses, the ancient name of the Vaudois, was taken from the place of their habitation, and not from the name of Waldo; so his disciples and descendants were dispersed into other places, and not among the valleys of the Alps. Allix confesses indeed, that some of Waldo's disciples probably joined themselves with the churches in the valleys of Piedmont, being constrained to it by the persecutions which dispersed them far and near. But Waldo was not the founder of the Churches of the Valleys, which were in existence long before him. In truth, it does not appear that he ever had any communication with them. The authors who speak of him narrate, that he retired from Lyons into Picardy and Flanders. He died before the year 1179, as appears from the account of Gulielmus Mappus. The majority of his disciples spread themselves among the Albigenses, who were in being long before Waldo; as may be seen in the sixty-fourth sermon of Bernard upon the Canticles. Those Waldenses who removed into Italy did not give their name to the Churches in that country, who prior to that time had been called Waldenses from the place of their abode. It was only the malice of their enemies, and the desire to blot out the memorial of their antiquity, which made their adversaries impute their origin to so late a period, and to Peter Waldo.-BRAY.

Vignier, Historiale Bibliothèque, Part III., page 130. Dubravius, History of Bohemia, book 14.

3 Sea of Histories, s Matthew Paris, History of King Henry III. of England, in the year 1223.


world; and often imputed all the prodigious absurdities which they had forged to the Waldenses, as if their churches were nothing else than the receptacle of every error.

They called them from Waldo, a citizen of Lyons, Waldenses-froth the country of Albi, Albigenses—and because those who adhered to the doctrine of Waldo departed from Lyons, after having been despoiled of all human possessions, the most part having been obliged to leave their goods behind them, in derision they named them“ the Beggars of Lyons."

In Dauphiny, they were called in mockery, Chaignards or Dogs; and because some of them passed the Alps, they were called Tramontanes.

From one of the disciples of Waldo, named Joseph, who preached in Dauphiny, in the diocess of Dye, they were styled Josephists.

In England they were denominated Lollards.

From two priests who taught the doctrine of Waldo in Languedoc, and who were called Henry and Esperon, they were known as Henricians and Esperonists.

One of their pastors, Arnold Hot, preached among the Albigenses, and from him they were entitled Arnoldists.

In Provence, they were called “Siccars," from a word in the common pedlars' French, which signifies cut-purses.

In Italy, because they lived like brethren in true concord, they were styled "Fratricelli," persons of the same brotherhood.

The Waldenses rejected the Romish festivals, and observed no other day of rest than Sunday; whence they were named “ Insabbathas," regarders not of the Sabbaths.

As they were exposed to continual sufferings, from the Latin word, pati, to suffer, they were termed “Patarins.”

Seeing that they fled from place to place like poor pilgrims, they were named “Passagenes."

In Germany, they were calumniated by the epithet “Gazares,", which signifies execrable, and flagitiously wicked.

In Flanders, they were denominated “ Turlupins," or inhabitants with wolves; because, through persecution, they were often constrained to dwell in woods and deserts.

Sometimes they were distinguished after the names of the countries and regions where they dwelt; as from Albi, Albigenses; from Thoulouse, Thoulousians; from Lombardy, Lombards; from Picardy, Picards ; from Lyons, Lyonists; from Bulgaria, Bulgarians, which was transformed into “ Bougres ;" and from Bohemia, Bohemians.

To render them more odious, they were reviled as accomplices with the ancient heretics—because they made profession of purity in their faith and life, they were ridiculed by the titles of " Cathariand “Puritans.” Inasmuch as they denied that the “Host” which the priests elevate at the mass is God, they were denounced as “ Arians," who disbelieved the divinity of Jesus Christ, the eternal “Son of God.” When they maintained that the authority of emperors and kings doth not depend upon that of the pope, they were vilified as "Manichees," who acknowledged two supreme opposing principles. To which may be added the other epithets which were applied to the Waldenses, “Gnostics, Adamites, Cataphrigians, and Apostolicals."

Sometimes they were most violently abused. Matthew Paris characterized them as ribalds and dissolute. The compiler of the Treasury of Histories gave them the appellative of Sodomites. Claudius Rubis


NO. I.

records, that when they spoke of a sorcerer, they generally called him a Waldensian.

1. Their adversaries and persecutors applied to the Waldenses that ancient calumny, with which the Heathens blackened the primitive Christians; that they met in the night in secret places, and that the " Barb,” their pastor, ordered the candles to be extinguished, saying, " Qui potest capere capiat; catch whom you can catch.” In consequence of which every man seized upon the woman who first came to his hands, without any respect of parentage or relationship--and that during the extinction of the light, they committed the most abominable incest—to which their enemies added, that the children of that ungodliness were very proper persons to make Barbs or pastors for the Waldensians.

2. They laid as a charge against the Waldenses, that those Christians maintained, that a man might abandon his wife at his pleasure, and also a woman might forsake her husband, to follow their church.

3. The Waldenses were reproached as having among them a community of all things and even of wives.

4. That they rejected the Baptism of Infants.
5. That they worshipped their pastors with prostration.

6. That they maintained the unlawfulness of swearing on any account.

7. That they affirmed that the pope sinned mortally when he declared war against the Saracens; and that all persons sin mortally, who obey the pope when he proclaims a croisade or a war against the Christians, whom he curses as heretics.

8. That the Waldenses showed no reverence to sacred places; and that the sin is not more heinous to burn a church-edifice, than to break open any other house.

9. That they maintained, the magistrate ought not to condemn any one to death, and they who do so, sin mortally, and that the Waldenses forged and propagated that error, that they might escape the hands of the judges, and remain unpunished.

10. That a layman being in a state of grace, hath more authority than the prince who lives in mortal sin.

11. That with the Manichees, the Waldenses believed in two principles, one the Good God, the Creator of Good; and one Evil, which is the Devil, the Creator of Evil.

12. That whatsoever is done with a good intention is good, and that every one shall be saved through what he doth with the said good intention.

13. That it is a meritorious work, to destroy and persecute Romish priests, prelates, and their subjects; and that they may without sin endamage them in their persons and goods, and retain the tithes without scruple of conscience.

14. The last calumny is taken out of the book of Rubis ; that Waldo and his pastors retired into Dauphiny, in the valley of Pute and Angrogne, where they found persons more like savage beasts than men, fit to be imposed upon by them; and there became sorcerers. He adds, to reproach the cities and states, wherein the Gospel hath been received in our time; "there are two things which commonly

1 This imposture is found in Albertus de Capitaneis, on the original of the Vaudois.Reinerius de formâ Hereticandi Hereticos, Folio 36. -Accusation of the priests of Bohemia to King Ladislaus against the Vaudois.

« PreviousContinue »