That the Patetines and Subalpini were not Manichees, as is evident from their writings, and from their opinions in the twelfth century.


AFTER this that I have said concerning the Manichees and the Cathari, it is the easiest thing in the world to justify those called Paterines and those Subalpini, that in the diocese of Turin separated themselves from the favorers of the Roman party, in imitation of the Clergy of Milan, who had their meetings at Pateria.

It is clear enough, that all those authors I have cited to inform us of the opinions of the Cathari, as of a sort of Manichees, had in their prospect many other pretended heresies, which they confounded purposely with the Cathari or Manichees, as soon as they. perceived the least conformity between their opinions and those of the Cathari, to make them odious to the people, by insinuating to them that those other, who were separated from the Church of Rome, agreed in all, or almost in all, with the Manichees.

But beyond that, we have a piece dated after the year 1100. of our Lord, entitled, The Noble Lesson; which is in the public library of the University of Cambridge, given by Sir Sam. Morland in the year 1658. This MS. is very ancient; and in the body of this old Noble Lesson we find these words:

Ben ha mil é cent ans compli entierament Che fu scritta loro che son al’ derrier temp.

That is, “Eleven hundred years are already past since it was writ, that we are in the last times.”

Sir Samuel Morland gives it us at large in his History of the Churches of the Valleys of Piedmont.

Those who shall take the pains to read it will find so much piety and purity as to matter of faith in it, that they will hardly be able to suppose a Manichean the author of it. The author, upon supposal that the world was drawing to an end, exhorts his brethren to prayer to watchfulness, to a renouncing of all worldly goods: he enforceth this consideration by the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of death; by representing to them the day of judgment, wherein every one shall receive according to his deeds, either good or evil. He lays down the belief of two ways, the one to glory, for the good, the other to torment, for the wicked, as an article of faith; and he proves it from a review of the whole Scripture, beginning at the history of the creation; concluding, that small is the number of those who shall be saved.

He asserts, that the first principle of those who desire to do good works, is to honor God the Father, to implore the assistance of his glorious Son, and the Holy Ghost, who enlightens us in the true way. He saith, that these three are the Holy Trinity, full of all power, wisdom, and goodness. He bids us pray unto them for necessary assistance to overcome the world, the Devil, and the flesh, to the end we may be able to keep our bodies and souls in the way of charity.

He lays down, that to the love of God we are to join that of our neighbor, which comprehends the love of our enemies. He speaks of the hope the believer hath of being received up into glory. He explains the original of evil and sin, which reigns in the world, with reference to the sin of Adam, which brought forth death.

From whence he saith Christ hath redeemed us by his death. He tells us, that men do imitate Adam in forsaking God, to believe in idols. He condemns the adulteries, the divisions, and pride, that reign in the world.

He rejects the opinion of those who say, that we ought not to believe that God created man to let him perish, and proves the contrary; maintaining From the Old and New Testament, that only the good shall be saved. He sets down all the judgments of God in the Old Testament, as the effects of a just and good God; and in particular the Decalogue, as a law given by the Lord of the whole world.

He repeats the several articles of the Law, not forgetting that which respects idols.

After having showed the judgments of God against the wicked Israelites, and his favor towards those that were good amongst them, he sets forth the sending of the Savior into the world; the angel’s message to the Virgin; the conception of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost; the Virgin’s being betrothed; her virginity; and lastly, the miracles at his birth. He proceeds to the law of Jesus Christ, which he declares to be nothing else but a renewal and perfecting of the old Law; that the Law only forbade fornication and adultery, but that the Gospel forbids even wanton looks; that the Law gave way to divorce, whereas the Gospel forbids the marrying of one that is divorced, and forbids divorce itself; that the Law cursed those who were barren, whereas the Gospel counsels the keeping in a single state; that the Law forbade all forswearing of one’s self, whereas the Gospel forbids us to swear at all, and that our words must be yea and nay. To this purpose he repeats almost all the precepts of Jesus Christ on the mountain, wherein he hath explained the Law, and rendered it more perfect.

He had spoken before of the institution of Baptism by Jesus Christ, and of the order given to his Apostles of baptizing all nations. Afterwards he speaks of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and of the Apostles, of their poverty, sufferings, doctrine, etc.

He exhorts to the reading of holy Scripture, to know the laws of Jesus Christ; as likewise to be informed that he was only persecuted for his good works.

He observes, that his persecutors were the Pharisees, Herod’s men, and the Clergy; that he was betrayed by the avarice of Judas; and that he died on the cross to save men by the bitterness of his sufferings.

He describes the circumstances of the death of our Savior, his wounds, his burial, his resurrection, his showing of himself to his disciples, his ascension into heaven, his promise to his disciples of being with them till the end of the world. He sets forth the miracle of Pentecost, the preaching of the Apostles after they had received the gift of tongues, the manner of their baptizing believers, and the persecution of the apostolical Church.

He compares the persecutors of old, who had not the faith, with those of his time. He denies that ever any of the saints did persecute, but that they were persecuted by others.

He takes notice of the small number of the Apostles, who were the only true doctors, and compares their fewness with the small number of the believers and ministers of his time.

He gives a character of the Waldenses, which is very remarkable: “If a man,” saith he, “who loves those that desire to love God and Jesus Christ; if he will neither curse, nor swear, nor lie, nor whore, nor kill, nor deceive his neighbor, nor avenge himself of his enemies, they presently say, He is a Vaudes; he deserves to be punished: and by lies and forging, ways are found to take away from him what he has got by his lawful industry. In the mean time,” saith he, “such a one comforts himself in the hope and expectation of eternal salvation.”

He mocks at the malice of those who supposed, that people whose life and behavior was contrary to that of the Waldenses, might notwithstanding be good men and true believers. He threatens them with damnation; representing to them, that a deathbed repentance, and the absolution of a Priest, who does not cause restitution to be made, but who goes snacks with the penitent, promising him to say a Mass for him, and for his ancestors, is of no avail.

He exposeth such confessions and absolutions which were in vogue at that time.

He precisely asserts, that from the time of Sylvester, all the Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, Abbots, etc. have falsely usurped the power of pardoning sin, which belongs to God alone. He expresseth himself in terms of so much energy, that I think myself obliged to give the reader a view of them.

For I dare say, and it is very true,

That all the Popes which have been from Sylvester to this present,

And all Cardinals, Bishops, Abbots, and the like,

Have no power to absolve or pardon Any creature so much as one mortal sin;

It is God alone who pardons, and no other.

But this ought they to do who are pastors,

They ought to preach to the people, and pray with them,

And feed them often with divine doctrine;

And chastise the sinners with discipline,

Viz. By declaring that they ought to repent,

First, that they confess their sins freely and fully,

And that they repent in this present life,

That they fast, and give alms, and pray with a fervent heart;

For by these things the soul finds salvation:

Wherefore we Christians, that have sinned,

And forsaken the law of Jesus Christ,

Having neither fear, faith, nor love,

We must confess our sins without any delay,

We must amend with weeping and repentance

The offenses which we have committed, and for those three mortal sins,

To wit, for the lust of the eye, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life, through which we have done evil;

We must keep this way.

If we will love and follow Jesus Christ,

We must have spiritual poverty of heart,

And love chastity, and serve God humbly,

For so we may follow the way of Jesus Christ,

And thus we may overcome our enemies.

There is a brief rehearsal in this lesson

Of three laws which God gave to the world;

The first law directeth men who have judgment and reason,

Viz. To know God, and to pray to his Creator.

For he that hath judgment may well think with himself,

That he formed not himself, nor any thing else:

Then here, he who hathjudgment and reason may know,

That there is one Lord God, who created all the world,

And knowing him he ought much to honor him;

For they were damned that would not do it.

The second law, which God gave to Moses,

Teacheth us to fear God, and to serve him with all our strength;

For he condemneth and punisheth every one that offends.

But the third law, which is at this present time,

Teacheth us to love God, and to serve him purely:

For he waiteth for the sinner, and giveth him time,

That he may repent in this present life.

As for any law to come after, we shall have none,

Save only to imitate Jesus Christ, and to do his will,

And keep fast that which he commands us,

And to be well forewarned when Antichrist shall come;

That we may believe neither his words nor his works;

Now, according to the Scripture, there are already many Antichrists.

Many signs and great wonders

Shall be from this time forward until the day of judgment;

The heaven and the earth shall burn, and all the living die:

After which all shall arise to everlasting life,

And all building shall be laid flat.

Then shall be the last judgment,

When God shall separate his people according as it is written,

To the wicked he shall say,

Depart ye from me into hell fire, which never shall be quenched;

With grievous punishments there to be straitened;

By multitude of pains, and sharp torment:

For you shall be damned without remedy.

From which God deliver us, if it be his blessed will,

And give us to hear that which he shall say to his elect without delay,

Come hither, ye blessed of my Father,

Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world,

Where you shall have pleasure, riches, and honor.

May it please the Lord which formed the world,

That we may be of the number of his elect, to dwell in his court for ever.

Praised be God. Amen.


Now I defy the impudence of the Devil himself to find therein the least shadow of Manicheism. This poem contains such excellent and Christian lessons, taken out of the Old and New Testament, concerning faith, prayer, charity, chastity, and all parts of morality, that it may well be called a plain extract of scriptural doctrine, suited to persons of mean capacity. We field therein also a refutation of some errors of the Church of Rome, performed with so much exactness and solidity for a work of that nature, that no Papist can imagine it to be any thing else but the work of a true Christian and Protestant: but since every one that will may read it, it being translated into English, without which, by reason of the obsolete language, it would be difficult to be understood, I do not think it necessary to set down more of it here.

Only I think myself bound to make some remarks on this tract, to prevent any difficulties that might possibly arise in the mind of the reader.

We may observe, first, that this poem, entitled, The Noble Lesson, hath these words,

“That if there be an honest man, who desires to love God and fear Jesus Christ, who will neither slander, nor swear, nor lie, nor commit adultery, nor kill, nor steal, nor avenge himself of his enemies; they presently say of such a one, He is a Vaudes, and worthy of death.”

This name of Waldenses was given to the disciples of Peter Waldo, as Peter Vailis Cernaii expressly tells us in his history of the Albigenses; which being so, how can we suppose that this piece was wrote about the year 1100, which is above seventy years before the time wherein Waldo first appeared. This is the first objection will be made against the antiquity of this poem.

The second is, that the Waldenses, or disciples of Waldo, having been particularly famous for their refusing to swear, it seems that this discourse cannot be attributed to any but them; which if so, it would be concluded, that this discourse bears a false date, and is not of that antiquity we pretend.

But it is easy enough to give a satisfactory answer to both these objections. As to the first, we have this to say, that it is not true, that Waldo gave this name to the inhabitants of the valleys: they were called Waldenses, or Vaudois, before his time, from the valleys in which they dwell. This we find in P. Damian’s letters, who calls them Subalpini, that is, the same as Waldenses, and in Ebrardus de Bethune, who wrote in the year 1212, where he asserts, that they called themselves Wallenses, quia in valle lachrymarum manerent; “because they abode in the valley of tears:” so that we see that this etymology rather has respect to the place where they lived, which was in the valleys of Piedmont, than to the name of Peter Waldo.

For the second, I confess it would have been of some strength, in case the disciples of Waldo had been the first that in the diocese of Italy had declared their aversion from oaths: but we have clearly showed from Ratherius, Bishop of Verona, and others, that this opinion took place in that diocese long before Peter Waldo was born; and besides this, we know that it was an ordinary thing amongst the primitive Christians to forbid swearing upon any account whatsoever. There are some passages of Scripture, which seem so express as to this point, that we need not wonder if the Christians of that diocese were led by them, especially before they had examined the whole Scripture throughout; which was not an easy matter for them to do, the whole body of Scripture being not yet translated, that we know, but only some parts of it, and that by the labor and care of Peter Waldo.

I find nothing more that can rationally be objected against so express a testimony, which carries the date of the time inserted in the body of the treatise, but only this, which the Bishop of Meaux seems to have had an eye to, viz. that the language in which that piece is written seems to bespeak it of a later date than the beginning of the twelfth century; the style of it wholly agreeing with those treatises that are confessedly of a more modern date, though they have been published as written in the year 1120, or, at least, within the compass of the twelfth century.

To which I have two things to answer; the first is, that it cannot be thought so strange a thing, that some have attributed to the pieces I have rejected a greater antiquity than really they had, as being found in MS. joined to a piece which signifies the date of its composure. This is a mistake very incident to such who are not perfectly well versed in the critical examination of MSS. But however, this cannot prejudice the authority of a book that bears its own date.

The second thing I have to say in favor of the antiquity of the Noble Lesson is this; that though I cannot judge of the style of that piece by comparing it with other Italian monuments of the beginning of the twelfth century, as having no MS. of that age, nor compare it with the style of those ages that immediately followed it, in order to discern the difference between them; nevertheless thus much we may assert,

First, That if they yet spake Latin in Italy at the beginning of the twelfth century, as may be judged from this, that St. Bernard, who was a Frenchman, spake without an interpreter in the churches of Pisa, Milan, and other Italian churches, though indeed the case of Italy was like that of other places; where, though the Latin tongue were understood by most, yet the people had their particular language they used amongst themselves: for Peter Waldo’s translating of the Bible, which must have been done before the year 1180, shows, that in France there was already a language different from the Latin tongue, and which was more commonly and generally understood: and it would be easy for us to prove, that in like manner they had at that time in Italy a language different from the Roman, distinguished into several dialects, according to the distinct provinces thereof, and much resembling the language spoken in Provence, which owes its original to the Limosine tongue, which is a corruption of the Latin. The gentlemen of the University of Cambridge, who have in their custody the MSS. of divers pieces of the Waldenses, and amongst them an old MS. of some books of the Old and New Testament, gives me a fair occasion to help the reader to make this comparison; though I must confess it to be a thing of difficulty to accomplish, because, although those MSS. of some parts of the Bible are very ancient, it ordinarily happens, that in these sort of books, which are for the use of the people, men from time to time reform and alter the style, that so they may not sound uncouth and barbarous to the people; which cannot so well be done in a piece of poetry, wherein nothing can be easily changed, without spoiling the whole composure.

I do not intend here, in order to prove the opinions of the diocese of Italy, to make use of a Catechism published by Sir Sam. Morland, and by Leger, as written about the year 1100, nor of another treatise of the Invocation of Saints, which they pretend was written about the year 1120; my reason is, because it seems to me that that Catechism quotes the Scripture, as distinguished into chapters, which was not till after the midst of the thirteenth century. And as for the treatise concerning the Invocation of Saints, it quotes the Milleloquium of St. Austin, which was not composed by Ft. Bartholomeus of Urbin till about the midst of the fourteenth century. So that it seems these gentlemen founded their judgments of the antiquity of these pieces on too weak grounds.

However, it will be easy for us to make out, without the assistance of any doubtful authorities, that the twelfth century did not only preserve the opinions of the Paterines, but also made them more clear and distinct; which will appear, if we examine the opinions of Arnoldus Brixiensis, as well as the writings of zealous Papists, against those whom they nicknamed Cathari, with design to make them pass for Manichees.

We may truly say, that scarcely any man was ever so defamed and torn, because of his doctrine, as was this. Arnoldus Brixiensis’ would we know the reason of it? It was because with all his power he opposed the tyranny and usurpation which the Popes began to establish at Rome, over the temporal jurisdiction of the Emperor. He was the man who by his counsel renewed the design of reestablishing the authority of the senate in Rome, and of obliging the Pope not to meddle with any thing but what concerned the government of the Church, without invading the temporal jurisdiction. He it was that made the senate and people of Rome send to the Emperor Frederic, to know his resolution in the point, and to acquaint him with the proceedings they had already begun against the King of Sicily and the Pope, in order to restore Rome to the Emperors, and to make it the head of the empire, as it had been of old, without abandoning it to the power of the Pope and his Clergy. This letter is set down by Otho Frisingensis. This was his crime; and this indeed is such a one as is unpardonable with the Popes, if there be any such.

As for the qualifications of this Arnold, the same Bishop Otho sets him forth to us as a man who, being but a simple reader of the Church of Breseia, for the love he bare to learning, traveled into France, to be an auditor of Abelardus, who at that time was the common master of learned men. He tells us, that upon his return to Italy, being endowed with happy natural parts, and a great easiness of expressing himself, he behaved himself very regularly as to his manners, and took upon him the habit of a Monk, as a mark of the love he had for piety. This truth cannot be acknowledged more plainly and distinctly than it is by St. Bernard. Otho sets him forth as a man loving singularity and novelty, and gives him a character very proper and agreeable to a schismatic and heretical ringleader. He grounds his judgment upon this, because upon his return into Italy, he began to censure the Clergy, the Bishops, and the Monks, and to seek the favor of laymen. Dicebat enim, nec Clericos proprietatem, nec Episcopos regalia, nec Monaehos possessiones habentes, aliqua ratione posse salvari. Cuncta haec Principis esse, ab ejusque beneScentia in usum tanturn Clericorum cadere oportere.

“For, he maintained, that no Clergymen enjoying propriety, nor Bishops having regal jurisdiction, nor Monks having any possessions, could possibly be saved: that all these things belonged to the Prince; and that it was only from his beneficence the Clergy were to partake of them.”

This same thing St. Bernard also I reproacheth him with. Those who have been a little conversant in the history of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth, and who know the horrid dissoluteness that then reigned amongst the Clergy, and in monasteries, will find no great fault with him for these his opinions. Those who shall be pleased only to peruse the books of St. Bernard, De Consideratione, to Pope Eugenius II. will easily acquit him of the accusations laid to his charge by Otho Frisingensis.

But there was yet a more heinous thing laid to his charge, which was this: Procter haec, de sacramento altaris, baptismo par vulorum, non sane dicitur sensisse:

“Besides this, it was said of him, that he was unsound in his judgment about the sacrament of the altar and infant baptism.” And this was matter enough to condemn him; for as he thus industriously set himself to oppose the growing errors in the Church of Brescia, where he was born, being supported by Maifredus, Consul of that city; as Ughellus assures us, he was set upon by the Bishop of Brescia, and some other religious persons, who accused him to the Council of Rome, under Innocent II. who imposed silence upon him, lest such a pernicious doctrine should spread itself any farther. Otho tells us, that hereupon he retired out of Italy, and settled himself in a place of Germany called ‘Furego, or Zurich, belonging to the diocese of Constance; as may be gathered from the 195th Epistle of St. Bernard to the Bishop of Constance, where he continued to disseminate his doctrine. Otho tells us, that he continued there till the death of Innocent II. and that he came to Rome at the beginning of the papacy of Eugenius II. which shows, that the letter which St. Bernard writ to the Bishop of Constance did not much lessen his credit, or do him any great prejudice.

But we proceed to the upshot of his history, which take as follows, from the relation of the aforesaid Otho.

“Being entered into the city, and finding it altogether in a seditious uproar against the Pope, he was so far from following the advice of the Wise Man, not to add fuel to the fire, that he greatly increased it, propounding to the multitude the examples of the ancient Romans, who by the maturity of their senators’ counsels, and the valor and integrity of their youth, made the whole world their own. Wherefore he persuaded them to rebuild the Capitol, to restore the dignity of the Senate, to reform the order of Knights. He maintained, that nothing of the government of the city did belong to the Pope, who ought to content himself only with his ecclesiastical censures. And so far did the mischief of this infectious doctrine prevail, not only to the pulling down of several of the Roman nobility and Cardinals’ houses, but also to the personal abuse of some of the reverend Cardinals, who were wounded by the raging mobile.”

He could not think to escape long, after committing so heinous a crime against persons extremely jealous of their tyranny.

“And as he for many days, that is, from Caelistine’s death to these times, incessantly and irreverently proceeded in these and such like enterprises, contemning the sentence of the Clergy, justly and canonically pronounced against him, as altogether void, and of no authority; he fell at last into the hands of some, on the borders of Tuscany, who took him prisoner, and being preserved for the Prince’s trial, he was at last, by the Prefect of the city, hanged, and his body burnt to ashes, (to prevent the foolish rabble from expressing any veneration for his body,) and the ashes of it cast into the Tybur.”

This was the end of this great man, which was a sufficient evidence of the veneration which the people of Rome had for him, whose interests he had so courageously undertaken to maintain against the tyranny of the Popes, who without any title or right, except that of their ambition, endeavored to subject Rome to their power, and to set up themselves for sovereigns there.

We find a confirmation of all this in Guntherus, who in verse has described the life of Frederick. Those who are never so little acquainted with history cannot be ignorant how furiously, for almost a whole century, the Popes and their partisans were. engaged about the right of investitures, whereof they had a mind to deprive the Emperors; so that we cannot conceive a greater occasion of hatred in the Popes against any man, than was that which had set them against this Arnold, who stood up for the Emperor’s rights. But the sovereignty of Rome, which they so much affected, and he so briskly opposed, filled up the measure of his crimes, and some of the Emperor’s men having taken him, probably out of complaisance to the Pope, sacrificed him to the ambition of the papacy.

However thus much is certain, that this bloody execution was very far from pleasing all men; as we may see from the complaints Gebehardus makes upon that account, who looked upon it as a crying piece of injustice, the guilt whereof did lie upon the Bishop of Rome, and his Clergy, who were the procurers thereof. The good man, it seems, was not over-well informed, that the Church of Rome had studied the art of ruling, according to which, crimes are not so narrowly to be sifted, as long as they do but serve to confirm the pretensions of ambition to the sovereign power.

Neither did this Arnold want followers, who upon this occasion separated themselves from the Church of Rome; as may be seen by a writing published soon after by Bonacursus, Bishop of the Cathari of Milan; for this author concludes his work with a long chapter against the Arnoldists, after he became a convert.

In short, the pretended error of Arnoldus Brixiensis was evidently against the definitions of the Church of Rome: he had for a long time been the disciple and companion of Abelardus, whence we may conjecture, that he had also espoused his opinions in the point of the Eucharist, and consequently, that he was very far removed from the belief of Rome. Indeed, we find that St. Bernard, sending to Pope Innocent II. a catalogue of the errors of Abelardus, accuseth him of teaching concerning the Eucharist, that the accidents subsisted in the air, but not without a subject, and that when a rat doth eat the Sacrament, God withdraws whither he pleaseth, and preserves where he pleases the body of Jesus Christ. This is found in a MS. of one of St. Bernard’s Epistles, and has been suppressed by those who caused his works to be printed. But perhaps it will seem more probable, that this was rather a piece of raillery, or consequence from the doctrine of transubstantiation, objected by Abelardus, than any positive opinion of his. Those who are acquainted with his genius, and have read his works, will judge hereof as I do.

After all, we have good ground ‘to believe, that Arnoldus Brixiensis held the opinions of Berengarius, as those of Italy did, who renounced the Pope’s communion; for he absolutely condemned the ministry of the Church of Rome, as appears from the book of Bonacursus already quoted. Indeed it seems difficult to believe, that he should have quitted the opinion of his country about the Eucharist, whilst he continued to be of their opinion in that which was the most important and capital article of all.


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