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bolts and their anathemas, their canons, constitutions, and decrees, and whatsoever might render them odious to the kings, princes, and the people of the earth ; giving them over, as much as in them lay, to Satan; interdicting them all communion and society with those who obeyed their laws; judging them unworthy and incapable of any office, honour, profits, and to inherit or make wills, or to be buried in the common church-yards. They confiscated their goods, disinherited their children, and where they could be apprehended, they condemned them to be delivered up to the secular power, their houses to be razed, and their goods and moveables to be confiscated, or given to the first conqueror. Of all such sentences we have at this day the schedule given by the popes, also the instruments that they employed in such executions, and the commands that they laid upon kings, princes, magistrates, consuls, and people, to make an exact inquisition, to shut the gates of the cities, to call for the best help and assistance of the people, to sound the toll-bell, to arm themselves, and, if they could not otherwise apprehend them, to slay them, and use all manner of violence which they should see needful in such a case. Giving to the accusers a third part, or some other portion of that which should be confiscated, all counsellors and favourers of them being condemned to the same punishment. 3
Forasmuch as no prince or magistrate, or any other person, had the power to frame a PROCESS against any one in the matter of pretended heresy, commandment was given to the bishops, every one in his jurisdiction, to make an inquiry into their flocks, and take notice how every particular person was affected by the ordinances of the popes and the church of Rome. So when Waldo began to cry out against the corruptions of the said church of Rome, Alexander III., then pope, enjoined the Archbishop of Lyons to proceed against him ; and because the said prelate did not exterminate him accordingly, and as soon as he desired, he immediately assembled a council, wherein he excommunicated Waldo, and all those who followed his doctrine, though under other
But yet, this means was judged to be too easy for so pressing an occasion, as was that of the Waldenses, who, notwithstanding those thunderbolts, did not cease to preach that the pope was Antichrist, the mass an abomination, the host an idol, and purgatory a fable : points which being received were sufficient to overthrow all the authority of the popes, and to dry up all the rivers of gain, and the fat of the clergy. Therefore, Pope Innocent III., who succeeded Pope Celestin III., about the year 1198, took another method than that of the ordinary bishops, to frame the process against the Waldenses and others, whom he called heretics. He authorized certain monks who had the full power of the Inquisition in their hands to frame the process, and deliver over to the secular power by a far shorter way, but much more cruel; for they delivered up the people by thousands into the hands of the magistrates, and the magistrates to the executioners; whereby in a few years all Christendom was moved by those pitiful and lamentable spectacles, grieving to see all those persons hanged or burnt who trusted only in our Lord Jesus Christ for
* These sentences are to be seen in the Manual of the Inquisitors, with the letters of Pope Alexander III., and of divers other popes who succeeded him.
This council was held at Lateran, 1180. Chapter xxvii.
salvation, and renounced all the vain hopes invented by men, and for their profit; which was all the fruit of the Papal Inquisition.
The Inquisition—by whom first put in practice--and by what subtleties and cruelties the Waldenses
thereby have been vexed.
In the beginning of the prosecutions of the popes to exterminate the Waldenses, they were contented with the above-mentioned methods; but either because the business went forward but slowly, or because, notwithstanding those means, the number of those who exclaimed against the errors of the papacy did so increase, that those means were found too weak: it was resolved by Pope Innocent III. to try if by the way of preaching he could obtain that which he never could do by violence.
He sent, therefore, his bishops and monks, who preached in those places suspected to entertain the religion of the Waldenses. But as the author of the Treasure of Histories saith, the said preachers converted not any but a few poor people; but the greatest part still persisted in the profession of their faith. In Gallia Narbonensis were two monks employed, Peter de Chateauneuf and Dominic, born at Calahorre in Spain; to whom was joined a certain abbot of Cisteaux.? Several other priests and monks came as it were in a body, and among others a Bishop of Cestre. The monk Peter of Chateauneuf was slain, 3 and canonized for a saint; but Dominic continued his persecutions against the said Waldenses both in word and fact. That monk seeing himself in authority, instituted an order of begging monks, who from him were called Dominicans, and the said monk was canonized, and his order confirmed by Pope Honorius.“ For it seemed to him that the church of Rome was falling, and that Dominic sustained it with his shoulders, in recompense of which, the said pope commanded that the said order should have the precedency among the mendicants
. It is reported of this monk, that his mother going with child of him, dreamed that she had in her womb a dog which cast flames of fire out of his throat. His followers interpreted that to his advantage, as if it thereby were signified, that he should be that dog that should vomit out that fire which should consume the heretics. On the contrary, those whom he daily delivered up to death, might very well say that he was that dog that had set all Christendom on fire; and that the flames which proceeded out of his throat, were to denote the fiery and infernal sentences which he should pronounce against the Christians. So well did he manage his, and his brethren's affairs, that before he died, he built a great many houses in Languedoc, Provence, Dauphiny, Spain, and elsewhere;
1 Treasure of Histories, in the year 1206.
5 Martyrology, in the Life of Dominic.
for which he obtained great revenues, either from the liberality of those who affected his order, or from the confiscations of the Waldenses; out of which the earl Simon of Montfort gave him vast privileges and alms; as “ cutting large thongs out of another man's leather.”
He laboured in the Inquisition as chief, with such satisfaction to the popes, that from that time forward the monks of his order were ever employed in the Inquisition.
The power conferred upon the said monks inquisitors was without limits. For they might assemble the people when they pleased by the sound of a bell, and send out process if there were occasion to imprison, or open the prisons without control. All manner of accusations were valid ; a sorcerer, or a harlot, was a sufficient and irreproachable witness in the case of pretended heresy. It was no matter who accused, or whether it were by word of mouth, or by tickets cast in before the Inquisitor. Without any personal appearance, or confronting of each other, the process was made, without party, without evidence, and without
other law than the pleasure of the inquisitors. To be rich, was a crime near unto heresy ; and he that had anything to lose, was in a way to he undone, either as a heretic, or at least as a favourer of heretics. One single suspicion stopped the mouths of fathers, mothers, and relatives, that they dared not intercede to prevent future punishment; and if any one begged leave to convey a cup of water to them, or a little straw to lie upon in some stinking dungeon, he was adjudged as a criminal, and a favourer of heretics, and often reduced to the same or worse extremity. No advocate durst undertake the defence of his most intimate relative and friend, nor a notary receive any act in his favour. Moreover, when any one was once entangled with the snares of the Inquisition, he could never live with any assurance, for he was always to begin again. If he were released, it was only for a time, till they had better considered of it. Death itself'did not put an end to the punishment, since they have left us copies of their sentences against the bones to disinter them, and to burn them, even thirty years after the decease of the person accused. Those who were heirs, had nothing certain; for upon any accusation of their parents or relatives, they durst not take upon them the defence of their right, or possess their inheritance without the crime and suspicion of heresy, that they rather inherited their evil faith than their goods. The people, even the most rich and mighty, were constrained almost to adore those monks inquisitors, and make them large presents for the building of their convents, and endowing their houses, for fear of being accused of heresy, and esteemed not zealous for the faith by those holy fathers. The more to impress persons with the apprehensions of those things, they sometimes made a show and bravado of their prisoners, leading them in triumph in their processions. Some being obliged to whip themselves, others to go covered, after the manner of Benedictines, with certain red cassocks crossed with yellow, to show that they had been convicted of some error, and that for the first fault which they should hereafter commit, they stood already condemned as heretics. Others appeared in their shirts, their feet and heads bare, with a halter about their necks, and a torch in their hands; that being thus equipped, they might strike a terror into the beholders, to see such persons, of all qualities and sexes, reduced to so miserable a condition, being all forbidden to enter into the church, but to stay at the door, or to cast an eye upon the host when shown by the priest, till it was otherwise ordered by the fathers, the inquisitors.
To complete the satisfaction of the said fathers, the party accused was banished for his penance into the Holy Land; or listed for some other expedition against the Turks or other infidels, levied by order of the Pope, under an obligation to serve the Church for a certain time at his own expense; during which time, the said holy fathers took possession of the goods of the poor pilgrim; but he must not inquire whether the said monks had any private familiarity with his wife, during his absence, for fear of being condemned as a person relapsed, impenitent, and altogether unworthy of favour.
Moreover those cruelties were practised ever since the year 1206, the time that Dominic set up his inquisition, to the year 1228 ; by which time there was so great a havoc made of these poor Christians throughout all Europe, that the archbishops of Aix, Arles, and Narbonne, being assembled at Avignon in that year, at the instance of the monks of the inquisition, to confer with the said monks about several difficulties which they met with in the execution of their office, they had compassion of the misery of a great number of the persons accused, and kept prisoners by the said monks inquisitors, saying—6 “ It is come to our knowledge that
have apprehended so many of the Waldenses, that it is not only impossible to defray the charges of their subsistence, but also to provide stone and mortar to build prisons for them. We advise you to defer a little such imprisonments, until the pope advertised of the great numbers that have been apprehended, and till he notify what he pleases to have done in the case. And there is no reason, vous tuissiez, you should take offence hereat; for as to those who are altogether impenitent and incorrigible, or concerning whom you doubt of their relapse or escape, or being at liberty, that they would infect others, you may condemn such without delay.”
There needs no other proof than this of the said prelates, to make it appear that the number of those delivered up to death by the inquisition, was very great. For upon the question moved by the said inquisitors, whether those who have kept company with the Waldenses, and have taken the Lord's Supper with them, were excusable, because they pleaded ignorance, not knowing that they were Waldenses, the said prelates answered, that they were not excusable. “ For," they added, “who is so great a stranger as not to know, that the Waldenses have been for this long time punished and condemned, and that for these several years past, they have been prosecuted at the pains and charges of Catholics, that prosecution having been sealed by the condemnation of so many persons, so that it cannot be called in question ?".
Now the speech of the said prelates being compared with what George Morel wrote in the year 1530, it would appear to be none of the least miracles of God, that notwithstanding the bloody persecutions ever since Waldo's time, in the year 1160, until the said year 1530, according to the report of the said Morel, at that time, above eight hundred thousand persons who made profession of the religion of the Waldenses.? As to the subtleties of the inquisitors, we should have had no knowledge of them, had it not been for those who made their escape out of the inquisition of Spain; but it was the will of God, that their cunning tricks
6 Catalogue of the Testimony of the Truth, page 534. 7 George Morel in his Memorials, p. 54.
should not be so concealed, but that we should have examples of them, even from themselves. Behold then the crafty subtleties and deceit of the inquisitors, which served them for a rule, in drawing up the process against the Waldenses.
“It is not expedient to dispute of matters of faith before the laity. “ No person ought to be counted a penitent, except he accuses those whom he knows to be like himself.
“ After that any one hath been delivered up to the secular power, care must be taken that he be not suffered to excuse himself, or to manifest his innocence before the people: for if he be put to death, and he justifies himself, it will be an offence to the laity; and if he should escape, there would be danger of his loyalty.
“ Care must be taken not to promise life to one under sentence of death, before the people; for no heretic would suffer himself to be burned if he could escape by such a promise. And if he should promise to repent before the people, and his life should not be granted to him, the people would be offended thereat, and believe that he was wrongfully put to death.
“ The inquisitor ought always to presuppose the fact, without any condition, and must only inquire about the circumstances thereof, as thus : How many times hast thou confessed thyself to heretics? 'In what chamber of thy house have they lain, and such like?
* The inquisitor may look into any book, as if he found written therein the life of the party accused, and all that he inquires of.
“ It is necessary to menace the person accused with death, if he doth not confess; telling him that his fact is too apparent, that he ought to think of his soul, and renounce his heresy, for he must die, and undergo with patience what shall happen unto him: and if he answers, since I must die, I had rather die in that faith which I profess, than in that of the church of Rome; then take it for granted, that before he only dissembled. in his repentance, and so let him suffer justice.
6 We must never think to convince the heretics by literature and the scriptures, forasmuch as learned men are rather confounded by them; and here indeed the heretics fortify themselves, seeing they are able to delude the most learned.
“Moreover, care must be taken, that heretics do answer directly; and when they are pressed with frequent interrogations, they have a custom to declare, that they are simple and illiterate persons, and therefore know not how to answer. But if they see that the assistants are moved with compassion towards them, as if they should do them wrong, counting them to be simple people, and therefore not culpable, then they take courage, and make as if they weeped like poor miserable wretches, and by flattering their judges, endeavour to free themselves from the inquisition ; saying, if I have done amiss in anything, I will willingly do penance, only lend me your aid and assistance to rescue me from this disgrace, into which I am fallen by the malice of others, and not by my own fault
. But then the courageous inquisitor must never yield to such flatteries, nor give credit to those dissimulations.
“ The inquisitor must likewise tell them, that they will gain nothing by false-swearing, because they have enough to convict them of by evidence, and that therefore they must not think by means of their oath to evade the sentence of death : but must promise them, that if they ingenuously confess their fault, they shall find mercy: for there are many