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afraid of those things at which the people are astonished.”
And Paul, Galatians iv., “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years : I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”'
They act against this commandment who believe in sorcerers and diviners, for such believe the demons to be Gods. The reason is, because they ask that of the demons, which God alone can grant; to discover things secret, and to declare the truth of things to come; which is forbidden by God, Leviticus xix.—“ Thou shalt not regard them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards. Moreover thou shalt not divine, nor give any heed to dreams. Thou shalt not be an enchanter, neither take counsel with familiar spirits, or wizards, nor inquire after the truth among the dead; for all these things are an abomination unto the Lord. And because of this sin he will destroy you all at your entrance." As to the punishment and vengeance which God inflicts upon
such transgressors, we read in the second book of Kings, chapter i., that Elijah demanded of Ahaziah saying: Is there no God in Israel that ye go to inquire of Beelzebub the god of Ekron ? Now, therefore, thus saith the Lord; thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. Saul died because he prevaricated with the commandment which God had commanded him. He kept it not, neither put his trust in the Lord ; but asked counsel of a witch, wherefore the Lord slew him, and translated his kingdom to David, the son of Jesse. In the book of Leviticus it is said, “Whosoever shall turn aside to enchanters and wizards, I will lay my hands upon him, and cut him off from the midst of his people."
" Every one ought to know that all enchantments, or conjurations, or charms, or spells, carried for a remedy to persons or beasts, are nothing worth ;
but are a snare and ambush of the old adversary the Devil, by which he endeavours to deceive mankind.” Thus the Waldenses pronounced concerning sorcerers by the word of God.
It remains to make answer to the slander of Claudius Rubis, who says, “ It has been verified in our time that heresy and sorcery accompany each other in the cities and provinces which have given place to heretics among them. But in the places where the Reformation hath been introduced, the people have no communication or dealings with sorcerers.
“ Nevertheless there are some places where heresy and sorcery still accompany each other; where they who profess themselves to be priests and teachers of the people are often found to be deceivers and being deceived'—of which many persons have complained, who have written with regret what they knew to be too much practised among the Popish priests and monks; and even by certain popes themselves." 17
Bodin observes that there are countless indictments extant in which it appeared that oftentimes the Roman priests are not only sorcerers them
17 Sorcery, which includes pretended "charms and spells,” both for benefit and injury, is still practised in every country where Popery is known. It is not now displayed so openly in the countries where the light of the Reformation has penetrated—but the Blessed Water," the “Consecrated Crucifix,” the “Blessed Image,” the “Consecrated Coffin-earth," the “Holy Beads,” the “Blessed Rock," and the piece of the
Holy Cross,” with numerous other devices, all are part of those "enchantments, conjurations, charms, and spells,” which the Waldenses denounced several hundred years ago as the “snare of the old adversary the Devil.” But those pretended“ remedies to persons or beasts” are common even now among the Papists in every Prutestant country, as well as in the ten kingdoms of the ancient Roman empire.
selves, but that they sing masses for other sorcerers ; accommodating them with sacrifices, the Agnus Dei, consecrating their parchments and other paper charms, putting rings, and medals, and plates with characters on them, and other similar things, upon or under their altars when they say mass, to give them the virtue necessary for the object designed.
John Uvier, who was physician to the Duke of Cleves, although a Romanist, thus wrote:—“If the pastors of churches would stop up the windows of false doctrines and other impieties, they would certainly have a salutary preservative for all those under their care against the delusions, impostures and practices of the devil; by which means, the less prudent would not be so often entangled as we frequently see they are, to the great loss and detriment of souls, which happens not only through the negli gence of the priests, but also by their own practice, perverse doctrine and deceitful works, whereby they entice the simple populace to have recourse to unlawful remedies whenever they are afflicted with sudden and long diseases, and known or unknown maladies. But perhaps those magicians,' who profess themselves to be ecclesiastical persons, and who are commonly priests or monks, may think that that art belongs to them as a prerogative, and that they have a right thereto by hereditary succession, because the priests of Egypt were necromancers. Now, adds Uvier, “ I did not think that those who would justify those priests and the use of enchantments, would be so bold as to object to me several popes of Rome who were so skilful in the black art, that they practised it to their great satisfaction and profit
. We are informed by Nauclerus and Platina, that Pope Sylvester II. procured the popedom by his pretended or real sorceries. °Pope Benedict IX., they affirm, attained the station of pope by similar means.
Prior to his elevation he had been called Theophilact; but after he became pope, for his atrocious wickedness, he was denominated Maledictus. Cardinal Bruno testifies that Pope John XX. and Pope John XXI. also participated in those curious arts. All the popes, from Sylvester II. to Gregory VII., who was one of their greatest and most eminent 'magicians, addicted themselves to use abominable rites, even in the forests and on the tops of the mountains. Of Hildebrand himself, John le Maire attests, that he attained his command over the people in his earlier course by his simulated sorceries ; for as evidence of miraculous powers, and as a token of his sanctity, he would shake the sleeves of his gown, and sparks of fire would apparently fly out of them; so that the eyes of the simple and unwary distant beholders were altogether do ceived. The magicians, therefore, of our own times must not think to cover themselves with that cloak, and under such a pretence. This, nevertheless, ought to be deplored, that we shall scarcely find any persons more wicked, and yet less punished on earth than those priests who never admonish the ignorant, that the sorrows which happen to them are sent with the permission of God.”
Uvier also complained that such conjuring priests presumed to make use of an endless variety of “ blasphemies," embellished with crosses, which they delineated with their own unhappy and sacrilegious hands. They also contrived holy water, salt for exorcisms, consecrated waxtapers, incense, pictures, candles and tapers against the devil at Candle mas, fumigations of holy boughs on Palm Sunday, herbs hung before the door for John the Baptist, and flowers sprinkled with holy water on the
18 Bodin, Demon, Book 4, chapter vi., p. 211.
carnival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Moreover, those priests abuse the Eucharist itself, as a means to commit their wickedness. Theology and even Medical Science have been polluted by painted exorcisms, by mumbling of barbarous jargon in unknown tongues, by the abuse which is made of the holy Scripture, by bands, necklaces, and bosom-charms, all of which conspire and procure the utter perdition and damnation of men.
The Roman priests also have counterfeited apparitions of Satan, who pretended to be the soul of some deceased person, then suffering in the fire of purgatory; thereby in the name of the departed spirit to induce the living to make their donations and offerings, and to bequeath their endowments, that the avarice of the priests might be satiated. 19
Lavater also relates at large the history of the pretended spirit of Orleans, and the proceedings of the Jacobins at Berne, which was one of the most famous impostures of the monkish sorcerers.
Nevertheless, it is reasonable to except those priests whom God hath not so far abandoned, as to suffer them to adhere to the sorceries of Satan.
Thus the Waldenses are justified and cleared from the greatest calumnies which have been laid upon them, by the testimony of their own writings; but additional evidence of their innocency, which is free from all suspicion can be adduced, while it has been necessary to retort upon the wicked priests who have belied and reviled the Waldenses, the reproaches which they have cast upon those who sincerely received the gospel.
Testimony given to the piety, probity, and learning of the Waldenses, by their adversaries.
JACOBUS DE RIBERIA, who helped to persecute the Waldenses, said, that they for a long time have obtained the greatest esteem in Gallia Narbonensis, in the diocese of Albi, Rodes, Cahors, and Agen; and that they who would be styled priests and bishops were then but little accounted of. As almost all the said priests were either unworthy or ignorant, it was an easy matter for the Waldenses to obtain the preference amongst the people, for the excellency of their doctrine.'
Reinerius, a Jacobin monk, and cruel persecutor of the Waldenses, endeavouring to blacken them, because they frequently read the holy scriptures, said, that when the Waldenses would make known their doctrine, they alleged many things concerning chastity, humility, and other virtues, showing, that we must avoid vice, citing the words of Christ and his Apostles ; so that they who heard them were ravished to that degree, that they thought they heard rather angels than men.
19 John Uvier, Book of Devils. Book iv., chapter 3, Folio 303.–Platina, Life of Sylvester II., Folio 218.—John le Maire, History of the Schisms of the Church, who also wrote this declaration—" All the Popes here spoken of were magicians, necromancers, and sorcerers.'
20 Lavater, Book of the Apparition of Devils, chapter xiii., section 7. This history of the monkish imposture at Berne is a curious piece, which deserves to be reprinted. It will be found in the Appendix, as detailed by Burnet, in his “ Letter from Zurich.”
1 Jacob Riberia, Collections of the city of Thoulouse.-Chassagnon, History of the Albigenses, p, 27.
Moreover, they taught what manner of men the disciples of Christ ought to be, by the words of the Gospel and Apostles, saying, that they only are the successors of the Apostles who follow their life; concluding thereby that the pope, the bishops and clerks, who enjoy the riches of this world, and do not imitate the sanctity of the Apostles, are not the governors of the church of Christ, Christ not being willing to commit his church to such persons, lest they should have prostituted it by evil examples, and wicked actions, rather than exhibit to him from thence a virginlike chastity, in the same purity as they received it from him; and therefore that they must not be obeyed. He adds that they led very religious lives in all things, that their manners were seasoned with grace,
and their words prudent and well polished, speaking voluntarily of God, of his saints, of attaining virtues, and of avoiding vices, and of doing several other good things, that they might be esteemed the better men.”
Claude de Seissel, Archbishop of Turin, renders this testimony touching the Waldenses: “ As to their life and manners they are perfect, and irreprehensible, without reproach among men, addicting themselves with all their might to observe the commandments of God.”3
Cardinal Baronius styles the Waldenses of Thoulouse good men, and peaceable persons, although elsewhere he falsely lays very many crimes to their charge.
As to their learning, Reinerius said that they taught their children and their families the epistles and gospels.5
Jacobus de Riberia saith, that they were so well instructed in the holy scriptures, that he had seen peasants who could recite the book of Job, verbatim; and several others who could perfectly repeat all the New Testament.6
The Bishop of Cavaillon, Vesembecius, at the time of the great persecution of the Waldenses of Merindol and Provence, made a certain preaching monk enter into conference with them, to convince them of their errors,
before he proceeded to violence. But the priest withdrew in confusion, saying, he had never in the whole course of his life made such progress in the holy scriptures, as he had done in those few days that he had conferred with the Waldenses, in examining the articles of their confession by the passages of holy scripture by them quoted. But that Bishop, not contented, sent to them a whole troop of young doctors, lately come from the Sorbonne, to confound them by the subtilty of their questions. But one of them upon his retreat openly acknowledged, he had learned more of the doctrine necessary to salvation by hearing the answers of the little children of the Waldenses in their catechism, than by all the theological disputes which he had ever heard in Paris.?
Bernard de Girard, lord of Haillan, saith, that the Waldenses have been charged with more wicked opinions than they are really guilty of; because they have stirred up the hatred of the popes and great men of the world against them, by the freedom which they take to reprove the vices and dissolute practices of princes and ecclesiastics.8
2 Reinerius, de formâ Heretic., Folio 98.
King Louis XII. of France, having received information from the enemies of the Waldenses dwelling in Provence, of several heinous crimes which they fathered upon them, sent to the place Adam Fumée, master of requests, and a Sorbonist doctor, called Parui, who was his confessor, to make inquiry into the matter. They visited all their parishes and temples, and neither found there any images, or sign of the ornaments belonging to the mass, or ceremonies of the Romish Church; much less could they discover
any of those crimes with which they were charged. But rather that they kept the Sabbath duly, caused their children to be baptized according to the primitive Church, taught them the articles of the Christian faith, and the commandments of God. The king having heard the report of the said commissioners said, with an oath, that they were better men than himself or his people.
That same king, understanding that in Dauphiny, in the valley of Fraissiniere, in the diocess of Ambrun, there were certain people who lived like beasts without religion, having an ill opinion of the Romish worship, he sent thither one of his confessors, and the official of Orleans, to bring him a true information thereof. That confessor, with his colleague, repaired to the place, where he examined the Waldenses dwelling in the said valley touching their faith and conversation. The Archbishop of Ambrun, who made account, that the goods of the said Waldenses would be annexed to the domains of his archbishopric, as being liable to confiscation for the cause of heresy, very much pressed the said commis sioners to condemn them immediately as heretics. But the said commissaries would not fulfil his desire. They rather justified them as much as in them lay, insomuch that, before their departure, the said king's confessor, being at his lodgings at the tavern in Ambrun, said, in the preser of several of his assistants, that he wished he were as good a Christian as the worst of the said valley of Fraissiniere. 10
9 Vesembecius, Oration respecting the Waldenses.
10 Memorials of Rostain, archbishop of Ambrun. The above testimony, by the official of Orleans, to the faith and manners of the poor Christians of Fraissiniere, is very important. Thuanus also describes both their poverty and piety, on the account of the former of which indeed, they might well enough be said to live a life little differing from that of beasts; which is a most glorious testimony of their religion by one of the contrary faith. Therefore, as well to gratity those who can relish the fineness of description, as to contribute to the just esteem which all Protestants ought to have of those most miserably oppressed, but otherwise most happy people, I subjoin the account of the Waldenses by Thuanus, in his own words :
“ Harum omnium maxime horrida, et agrestis FRAXINEA, quippe cujus sterile et incultum solum, ob idque egentissimi sunt accolæ. Iis vestitus ex pellibus ovium, quas desiccatas et salitas cum lana succida viri pariter ac fæminæ induunt, et anterioribus pedibus fibulæ vicem ad collum, posterioribus infra ventrem subnectunt, exertis brachiis, eo tantum diverso fæminarum a viris amictu, quod hi vili subligari inferiora, fæminæ stola quae paulo infra genua, neque ultra protenditur, tegunt. Præterea pro caliendro involucrum linteum habent; alioqui nullus lintei neque in vestitu, neque in lectis apud Nam vestiti fere somnium capiunt, stramine subjecto et pellibus ovillis tecti
. Septem vicis omnino habitant, et domos e silicibus constructas habent tecto plano, et luto congesto, quod imbribus corruptum, aut solutum cylindro rursus æquatum concinnant. In iis promiscuie et jumenta stabulantur; sæpe tamen interjecta, speluncis præterea duabus ad fortuita sepositis, in quarum altera greges ac jumenta abscondunt, cum periculum ab incursionibus imminet, in alteram ipsi se recipiunt. In iis fornices fontibus manantes stillicidio congellato innumeras animalium, et aliarum rerum figuras incredibili ludentis naturæ artificio exprimunt, et lumine ab antri ostio accepto lacubus binis inibi e specu scaturientibus, et in se absorptis repræsentatæ jucunditatem simul et stuporem spectantibus afferunt. Lacte et ferina vivunt, pecuariam exercentes; sclopetarii optimi, et certis ictibus dorcadas ibices et ursos figere peritissimi, quorum carnibus fere impuris vescuntur,