Whether the Waldenses were at first only Schismatics.
THE Bishop of Meaux maintains, that the Waldenses were a distinct sect from the Albigenses, whom he terms Manichees. He pretends that the separation of the Waldenses was for a long time no more than a schism; “Because, saith he, when they first separated themselves from the Church of Rome, they had but very few opinions that were contrary to those of that Church, or, it may be, none at all.”
He pretends they owe their rise solely to Peter Waldo, a merchant of Lyons, wherein he follows Raynerus, cap. 5. That the said Waldo, following the motions of a pious zeal, but ill informed, and being touched with the words of the Gospel, where poverty is so highly commended, persuaded himself, that the apostolical life was no longer to be found on the earth, and therefore selling all that he had, resolved to restore and renew it again: that this his example was imitated by many, who were touched with compunction. He afterwards accuseth them in the same discourse, affecting to live upon alms, which made them at first to be taxed with ostentation and affectation of a proud and idle poverty. Afterwards he accuseth them, in imitation of Pilikdorph, that having considered that the Apostles were not only poor, but preachers also, they took upon them the office of preaching without mission, from which being barred by the Bishops and the holy, they thence took occasion to murmur against the Clergy, who opposed their doctrine, as they said, only out of jealousy, and because their doctrine and holy life east shame and reproach upon their corrupt manners. This being the original of their schism, according to the Bishop of Meaux.
Moreover he maintains, that Waldo was not a man of learning, but that he had cunning enough to draw in persons as ignorant as himself. He observes, that this sect, which began now to increase, was condemned by Lucius III. as Bernard, Abbot of Foncaud, asserts, who saw the beginnings of it, and who tells us, that this condemnation happened before the year 1185.
Lastly, he pretends that they denied none of the doctrines which the Church of Rome teacheth; so that the sect of the Waldenses is a kind of Donatism. This is that the Bishop of Meaux strongly endeavors to prove;
1. By making it appear, that the first conferences that were held with them were about the right they took to themselves of preaching without the authority of the Bishops, and against their prohibition, and upon some other questions of the like nature.
2. Because we do not find that ever they opposed either the real presence, or the sacrifice of the Mass, nor the Sacraments of the Romish Church, nor any other of those doctrines which the Protestants do reject. That it was only about the year 1532 that they joined themselves with the Protestants, and adopted the opinions of the Reformation.
Now, forasmuch as the Bishop of Meaux has taken a great deal of pains in this matter, and that he pretends to have cited all the authors that speak of the manner of their schism, and of the number of their errors, it will be necessary to make a nearer inspection into the matters he with so much confidence does assert.
And here it would be sufficient to observe,
1. That all this is little or nothing at all to our question. If the Bishop should prove that some of Waldo’s disciples were only laics, yet would it not follow from thence, that the Churches of the Valleys, amongst whom they retired, were nothing else but assemblies of laymen. We have made out the contrary concerning the Paterines, whose separation from the Church of Rome laid the foundation of the Churches of the Valleys.
2. That it is very evident from the bull of Lucius III, whereof I have quoted some part in the foregoing chapter, that the Paterines had divided themselves from the Church of Rome, not only upon the questions of discipline, but also upon several other questions concerning the sacraments; and for which reason that Pope terms them heretics. So that it appears, that the Bishop of Meaux was so wholly bent to persuade his reader that Waldo was the founder of the Churches of Italy, that he has with all the care imaginable concealed from him whatsoever might make him know that there were Churches in those Valleys before Waldo.
But without engaging any further at present in that question, whether the Waldenses were only laymen, it will be easy to convince the Bishop of the falseness of all his pretensions, from those very authors which himself has produced on this occasion.
I begin with the second article, because on its decision depends that of the first, viz. Whether the Waldenses did entertain any opinions contrary to those of the Church of Rome. It was not merely from a spirit of schism that they separated themselves from the Church of Rome, though they did set forth the corruption which reigned amongst the ministers of that communion; yet was it not this corruption alone that was the motive of their separation. But I do not intend to pass by the first article, as it is set down by the Bishop, because he took this way only to impose upon his reader, though probably he also may have been imposed upon, for want of due consideration.
I maintain therefore, that the notion which the Bishop of Meaux gives his reader concerning the Waldenses, as if they had been only schismatics, is one of the falsest notions imaginable. I have made out, as may be seen by solid proofs, that they opposed themselves against the errors of the Church of Rome, and that they made them the motive of their separation. Lucius III. was well informed of this, when he condemned them, cap. ad abolendum, P. 97. Directorii. Conrard. Abbot of Ursberg, speaking of this condemnation, acknowledgeth, ad an. 1212, that Pope Lucius “put them into the catalog of heretics, because of some superstitious doctrines and observances.”
Which are the very words that the Bishop allegeth. The same thing appears from the edict of King Alphonsus, published in the year 1194, in execution of the bull of Lucius III.
Pope Innocent III. in his Epistle, writ in 1198, plainly declares, that he took them for heretics, speaking of the Waldenses and Albigenses, as being engaged in the same doctrine. This letter was directed to the Prelates of South France, and to the neighboring Bishops of Spain, where the Waldenses had a great number of followers.
The Bishop thinks to invalidate these proofs by two means, that seem very plausible; the one is, that Bernard, Abbot of Foncaud, relates a conference held at Narbonne, at the end of the twelfth century, where only four articles were handled, which all of them referred to questions of schism. The other is, that in the year 1212. the Waldenses came to Rome, to obtain the approbation of their sect, which was refused them. If the Bishop had seen the extract of Mappeus, published by the learned Bishop Usher, he would not have failed to have made the same reflections upon it; Mappeus observing that some of the Waldenses were come to Rome, under Alexander III. in 1179, to ask leave of the Pope to preach, which was refused them.
But as to the Bishop’s first proof, he therein abuseth his reader; for we are to take notice, that this conference was only about the preliminaries, without entering upon the examination of the more fundamental articles. Indeed they were only some prejudices urged against them, on purpose to hinder them from coming to the main points in question; a method of prescription, whereof the Romish party have endeavored to serve themselves long time since, to stave off the examination of those articles which reproached and exposed their corruption.
We know with what impudence the polemical writers of the Church of Rome have employed this method against the Church of England, though they were sufficiently convinced of the validity of their ministry.
The other reflection of the Bishop of Meaux about the business of these Waldenses at Rome, under Alexander III. and afterwards under Innocent III. has no more ground than the former. The decree of Lucius III. exposed the disciples of Waldo to the persecution from the Emperor Frederick I. who at that time gave up his power to the Church of Rome. And the same was yet more rudely carried on under Innocent III. Whereupon some of this poor people looking upon the Pope as the cause of all their sufferings, thought they might either justify their innocence, by declaring their opinions in opposition to these their adversaries, who accused them of being no better than pure Manichees, or else be allowed to preach by the Pope’s general consent; much like what we read often about those times, that persons that were already Priests went to the Pope to obtain the liberty of preaching and wearing sandals, which was then the mark of preachers: but the refusal that was returned them, and the Pope’s inciting princes to wage war against the Albigenses, and the proceedings afterwards of Pope Innocent against them in the Lateran Council, in the year 1215, are sufficient arguments that they did not agree in their doctrines about matters of faith.
Neither indeed have the Popish authors been backward in setting down the errors Wherewith they pretended they were chargeable. St. Bernard, in his 63rd and 66th sermon upon the Canticles, speaking concerning the heretics, whom he calls Cathari, acknowledgeth, that they rejected prayers for the dead, as also those addressed to saints. Pamelius pretends, that he spake as plainly of the Waldenses as any of those that have written since against them. But possibly the Bishop may not think these to be matters of heresy; at least he speaks very favorably of them in his exposition of the Roman faith: wherefore we shall make it appear, that they differed from the Church of Rome on other articles.
Raynerius, a Jacobite, attributes to them thirty-three errors, whereof Coussord has published an extract in these words: Hic fuit primus eorum error, contemptus ecclesiasticac potestatis. Ex hoc traditi sunt Sathanae, praccipatati ab ipso in errores innumeros, et antiquorum hacreticorum errores suis adinventionibus miscuerent. Et quia ejecti sunt ab Ecclesia Catholica, se solos Christi Ecclesiam esse, et Christi discipulos affirmant. Dicunt se Apostolorum successores, et habere auctoritatem apostolicam, ferunt esse meretricem Babylonem, omnesque illi obedientes damnari; maxime Clericos ei obedientes a tempore Sylvestri Papac. Nmulla miracula vem aiunt esse quae fiunt in Ecclesia, quia mullus eorum aliquando miracula fecit. Omnia Ecclesiae statuta post Christi asensionem dicunt non esse servanda, nec alicujus esse valoris; festa, feriarum jejunia, ordines, benedictiones, officia Ecclesiae, et similia, respuunt omnino. Ecclesias consecratas, coemeteria, ac omnia talia, infamant, et clamant ea pro avaritia solum a Clericis instituta, ut ea ad suum quaestum reducant, quo a subditis hac occasione pecuniam et oblationes exquirant. Tum primo hominem baptizari dicunt, cum in eorum sectam fuerit inductus. Quidam eorum baptismum parvulis non valere tradunt, eo quod nondum actualiter credere possunt. Confirmationiones sacramentum respuunt: sed eorum magistri manus imponunt discipulis vice illius sacramenti. Episcopos, Clericos, ac Religiosos Ecclesiae, Scribas et Pharisacos aiunt esse, et Apostolorum persecutores. Corpus Christi et sanguinem verum esse sacramentum non credunt, sed panem benedictum, qui in figura quadam dicitur corpus Christi, sicut dicitur, Petra autem emt Christus, et similia. Quisam autem hoc dicunt tantum per bonos fieri; alii, per omnes qui verba consecrationis sciunt: hoc in conventiculis suis celebrant, verba illa Evangelii recitantes in mensa sua, sibique mutuo participantes, sicut in Coena christi. Dicunt quod peccator Sacerdos aliquem solvere aut ligare non possit, cum ipse sit ligatus peccator: et quod quilibet bonus et sciens laicus alium absolvere valeat, et poenitentiam injungere. Extremam unctionem respuunt, dicentes poitus maledictiones esse quam sacramentum. Matrimonium, inquiunt, fornicatio est jurata, nisi continenter visvant; quaslibet enim immundicias magis licitas habent quam conjugalem copulam. Continentiam laudant quidem, sed inurent libidine concedunt ei satisfieri debere, quocunque modo turpi; exponentes illud Apostiol, Melius est nubere quam uri, quod melius sit quolibet actu turpi libidini satisfacere, quam in corde tentari: sed hoc valde tenent occultum, ne vilescant. Si aliqua honesta mulier, quae casta putatur, puerum peperit, occultant et tradunt eum alibi alendum, ne prodatur. Omne juramentum illicitum esse perhibent inde vero et mortale peccatum; sed dispensant, ut juret quis pro evandenda morte corporis, ne alios prodat, aut secretum revelet perfidiac suac. Prodere hacreticum, crimen esse dicunt inexpiabile, et peccatum in Spiritum Sanctum. Nec malefactores per seculare judicium occidi lacere dicunt. Quidam eorum nec bruta animalia, veluti pisces et hujusmodi, occidenda esse putant: cum autem ea manducare volunt, super ignem et fumum suspendunt donec moriantur. Pulices et similia animalia excutiunt extra, aut vestem ipsam in aquam calidam intigunt; et tunc ea occidisse volunt, dicuntque ea per se mortua fuisse. Ita fictas habent conscientias, et in aliis suis observantiis, sicut et in hoc existimari potest, quia scilicet veritatem deserentes, falsis se figmentis illudunt. Nullum est, secundum eos, purgatorium. Omnes autem morientes statim vel in coelum vel in infemum transunt: ideoque et suffragia ab Ecclesia facta pro defunctis, nihil eis prodesse affirmant, cum in coelo non idigeant, et in infemo nullatenus adjuventur. Unde colligunt oblationes pro defunctis factas Clericis qui illas comedunt prodesse, non animabus quae hujusmodinon utuntur. Illorum dogma est, sanctos in coelo orationes fidelium non audire, neque venemtiones, quibus eos honoramus, attendere; quia cum corpora sanctorum hic mortua jaceant, et spiritus tam remoti sint in coelo, orationes nostras nullo modo auditu percipere valeant vel visu. Adunt et sanctos non orare pro nobis, et ob id suffragia illorum non esse imploranda a nobis, quoniam coelesti guadio absorpti, nobis intendere, aut quid aliud curare non possunt. Unde et solemnitates, quas in sanctorum venemtione facimus, irrident, et alia quibus eos venemmur. In diebus autem festis (ubi possunt) occulte operantur, arguentes, quod cum opemri bonum sit, bona agere in die festo malum non est. In Quadragesima, et die jejuniorum Ecclesiae, non jejunant, sed cames comedunt, ubi audent, dicentes, quod Deus non delectetur in afflictionibus amicorum suorum, cum sine his potens sit eos salvare. Quidam autem hacritici affligunt se jejuniis, vigiliis, et hujusmodi, quia sine talibus sanctitatis nomen apud simplices acquirere non possunt, nec eos simulationis figmento dicipere. Vetus Testamentum non habent vel recipiunt, sed Evangelia, ut per ea non impugnentur, et se defendant, dicentes, quod superveniente Evangelio, vetem omnia sing abjicienda. Sic et verba Sanctorum Augustini, Jovini, Gregorii, Chrisostimi, Isidori et autoritates eorum truncatas decerpunt, ut per ea sua figmenta approbent, aut resistant, vel etiam simplices secuncant facilius, pulchris sanctorum sententiis doctrinam sacrilegam colorantes. Illas autem sanctorum senttias, quas sibi vident contrarias, quibusque error eorum destruitur, tacite practermittunt. Dociles, inter alios complices et facundos, docent verba Evangelii dictaque Apostolorum et aliorum sanctorum in vulgari lingua corde formare, ut sciant et alios informare, et fideles allicere, ac demum suam sectam pulchris sanctorum verbis polire, quo salubria putentur quae persuadent: et ita per dulces sermones seducant corda innocentum. Non solum viri, sed et foeminac eorum apud eos docent, quia foeminis magis patet accessus ad foeminas pervertendas, ut per eas etiam viros ipsos subvertant, sicut per Evam serpens illusit Adam. Verbis coopertis loqui docent, ne pro veritate studeant loqui mendacium; ut cum de uno requiruntur, de alio oblique respondeant, et ita auditores versute deludant, pracsertim ubi per confessionem veritatis errorem suum timent deprehendi. Eadem simulatione ecclesias nobiscum frequentant, intersunt divinis, offerunt ad altare, sacramenta percipiunt, confitentur Sacerdotibus, observant Ecclesiae jejunia, festa colunt, ac Sacerdotum benedictiones inclinato capite suscipiunt: quamvis haec omnia, et similia ecclesiaticac institutionis statuta irrideant, et profana judicent et damnosa. Aiunt suffeicere ad salutem soli Deo, et non homini confiteri. Et eos qui sanctis offerunt luminaria derident. Diende sequitur in eodem libro: Incoepit autem haec secta circa annum ab incamatione Domini 1170. Sub Joanne Bellomains, Archiepiscopo Lugdunensi. Hacc sunt, candide lector, quae ex antiquo libro membraneo, manuque ante ducentos nonaginta sex annos per pracdictum fratrem Raynerium conscripto, fideliter transcripsimus. Ex quibus videre est hanc Valdensium sectam, et praccipuas, peneque omnes (quae nunc vigent) hacresis, non recenter inventas fuisse, sed eas ante trecentos septuaginta sex annos venisse in usum. Quarum autores postea (ut sequitur) damnati fuerunt.
“This was their first error, a contempt of ecclesiastical power: and from thence they have been delivered up to Satan, and by him cast headlong into innumerable errors, mixing the erroneous doctrines of the heretics of old with their own inventions. And being cast out of the Catholic Church, they affirm that they alone are the Church of Christ, and his disciples. They declare themselves to be the Apostles’ successors, to have apostolical authority, and the keys of binding and loosing. They hold the Church of Rome to be the whore of Babylon, and that all that obey her are damned, especially the Clergy that are subject to her since the time of Pope Sylvester. They deny that any true miracles are wrought in the Church, because none of them did ever work any. They hold that none of the ordinances of the Church, that have been introduced since Christ’s ascension, ought to be observed, as being of no worth; the feasts, fasts, orders, blessings, offices of the Church, and the like, they utterly reject. They speak against consecrated churches, churchyards, and other things of like nature; declaring that they were the inventions of covetous Priests, to increase their gains by spunging the people by this means of their money and oblations. They say, that then first a man is baptized, when he is received into their sect. Some of them hold, that Baptism is of no advantage to infants, because they cannot actually believe. They reject the sacrament of Confirmation; but, instead of that sacrament, their teachers lay their hands upon their disciples. They say, that the Bishops, the Clergy, and other religious, are no better than Scribes and Pharisees, and persecutors of the Apostles. They do not believe the body and blood of Christ to be the true sacrament, but only blessed bread, which by a figure only is called the body of Christ, in like manner as it is said, and the rock was Christ, and such like. Some of them hold that this sacrament can only be celebrated by those that are good; others again, by any that know the words of consecration. This sacrament they celebrate in their assemblies, repeating the words of the Gospel at their table, and participating together, in imitation of Christ’s Supper. They say, that a Priest that is a sinner cannot bind or loose any one, as being himself bound: and that any good and knowing layman may absolve another, and impose penance. They reject extreme Unction, declaring it to be rather a curse than a sacrament. Marriage, say they, is nothing else but sworn fornication, except the parties live continently; and account any filthiness more lawful than conjugal copulation. They praise continence indeed, but in the mean time give way to the satisfying of burning lust by any filthy means whatsoever, expounding that place of the Apostle, it is better to marry than to burn, thus, that it is better to satisfy one’s lust by any filthy art, than to be tempted therewith in the heart.
But this they conceal as much as possible, that they may not be reproached therewith. If any honest woman amongst them, that has the repute of chastity, is brought to bed of a child, they carefully conceal it, and send it abroad to be nursed, that it may not be known. They hold all oaths to be unlawful, and a mortal sin: yet they dispense with them, when it is done to avoid death, lest they should betray their complices, or the secret of their infidelity. They hold it to be an unpardonable sin to betray an heretick, and the very sin against the Holy Ghost. They say, that malefactors ought not to be put to death by the secular power. Some of them hold it unlawful to kill brute animals, as fishes, or the like; but when they have a mind to eat them, they hang them over the fire or smoke till they die. Fleas and such sort of insects they shake off their clothes, or else dip their clothes in hot water, supposing them thus to be dead of themselves. Thus they cheat their own consciences in this and other observances. From whence we may see, that having forsaken truth, they deceive themselves with their own false notions. According to them there is no purgatory; and all that die do immediately pass either into heaven or hell. That therefore the prayers of the Church for the dead are of no use, because those that are in heaven do not want them, neither can those that are in hell be relieved by them. And from hence they infer, that the offerings that are made for the dead are only of use to the Clergymen that eat them, and not to the deceased, who cannot be profited by them. They hold, that the saints in heaven do not hear the prayers of the faithful, or regard the honors which are done to them; because their bodies lie dead here beneath, and their spirits are at so great a distance from us in heaven, that they can neither hear our prayers, nor see the honors which we pay them. They add, that the saints do not pray for us, and that therefore we are to entreat their intercession, because, being swallowed up with heavenly joy, they cannot attend to us, or indeed to any thing else. Wherefore also they deride all the festivals which we celebrate in honor of the saints, and all other instances of our veneration for them. Accordingly, wherever they can do it, they secretly work upon holydays; arguing, that since working is good, it cannot be evil to do that which is good on a holyday. They do not observe Lent or other fasts of the Church; alleging, that God does not delight in the afflictions of his friends, as being able to save without them. Some heretics indeed afflict themselves with fastings, watchings, and the like; because without these they cannot obtain the reputation of holiness amongst the simple people, nor deceive them by their reigned hypocrisy. They do not receive the Old Testament; but the Gospel only, that they may not be overthrown by it, but rather be able to defend themselves therewith; pretending, that upon the coming of the Gospel, all old things are to be laid aside. In like manner they pick up the clipt words and authorities of the holy Fathers, Augustin, Ieronymus, Gregory, Chrysostome, and Isidore, that with them they may support their opinions, oppose others, or the more easily seduce the simple, by coloring over their sacrilegious doctrine with the good sentences of the saints; but at the same time they very quietly pass those places in the holy Fathers, which oppose and destroy their errors. Those who are teachable and eloquent amongst them, they instruct to get the words of the Gospel, as well as the sayings of the Apostles and other saints, by heart, that they may be able to inform others, and draw in believers, and beautify their sect with goodly words of the saints; that the things they persuade and recommend may be thought to be sound and saving: thus by their sweet discourses deceiving the hearts of the innocent. Neither do the men only, but the women also teach amongst them; because women have an easier access to those of their own sex to pervert them, that afterwards by their means the men may be perverted also; as the serpent deceived Adam by Eve’s means. They teach their disciples to speak in hid and dark words, and instead of speaking truth, to endeavour to speak lies: that when they are asked about one thing, they might perversely answer about another, and thus craftily deceive their hearers, especially when they fear that by confessing the truth they should discover their errors. In the same dissembling manner they frequent our churches, are present at divine service, offer at the altar, receive the sacraments, confess to the Priests, observe the Church fasts, celebrate festivals, and receive the Priest’s blessings, reverently bowing their heads; though in the mean time they scoff at all these institutions of the Church, and look upon them as profane and hurtful. They say it is sufficient to salvation to confess to God alone, and not to man. After this, it follows in the same book: Now this sect began about the year of our Lord’s incarnation 1170, under John Bellomains, Archbishop of Lyons.
“This is that, courteous reader, which I have transcribed out of an old MS. parchment book, written 296 years ago by Friar Rainerius. From whence it appears, that this sect of the Waldenses, and the chief, yea, almost all heresies, which are now in vogue, are not of late invention, but have continued already above 376 years. Whose authors afterwards (as appears in the sequel) were condemned.” Ivonet, in his Summa, part. 2:cap. 2. accuseth them of above thirty errors, as we find it recorded by Pegna upon the Directory of the Inquisitors, page 280.
Aeneas Sylvius, who flourished in the year 1451, makes a vast catalog of them, in his original of those of Bohemia, who we know were a colony of the Waldenses, cap. 35.
Emerieus, who lived in 137o, in his Directory, sets down a list of twenty errors of the Waldenses, part 2:q. 14. p. 278. We find the same in Bernard of Luxemburg, who lived about the year 1520, Poce Pauperes de Lugduno et Paterini, and in Alphonsus de Castro, who lived in 1530.
Claudius Coussord, in the year 1548, sets down an extract of Raynerius, in Summa de Catharis et Leonistis; and he follows his text, in his confutation of the Waldenses and Protestants, as being almost the same. So Albertus Cataneus represents the errors of the Waldenses, as agreeable to our opinions. Hist. Caroli 8. p. 291 ad 296.
Thus I have given, methinks, a sufficient number of witnesses, succeeding one another for five hundred years together, who all unanimously deposed, that the Waldenses were looked upon as heretics.
And yet notwithstanding all this, the Bishop of Meaux stiffly maintains, that the Waldenses never espoused the opinions of the Protestants, till after the year 1532, at which time they united themselves with them against the Church of Rome. Was there ever a more obstinate piece of illusion? Claudius Seysselius, Archbishop of Turin, wrote against the Waldenses before the year 1518. He began his pontificate by persecuting them according to the edicts of Francis I. and Charles Duke of Savoy. His book was printed at Paris, in the year 1520, in the first pages of which book he gives us an account of the sequel of their continual persecutions; he sets down their belief, which is almost wholly conformable to their confession of faith in 1532; and yet the Bishop will needs still confidently maintain, that all that Confession was only the fruit of their uniting with the Protestants.
But however, the Bishop tells us, that they did believe transubstantiation, and so they cannot be looked upon as schismatics, such as formerly were the Donatists. The monster of transubstantiation is so dear to the Romish party, that it goes very hard with them to disown those that own that. It seems as if at this day it was the mark of Christianity. Be accused of the worst of errors, yet if you do only believe transubstantiation, you shall only pass for a schismatic. Garnerius, the Jesuit, makes it as great a crime in Nestorius, that he denied transubstantiation, as he pretends he did, as if he had overthrown the mystery of the incarnation: and thus the Bishop of Meaux seems only to consider the Waldenses as schismatics, because, as he saith, they owned that doctrine. However, we shall find that it will be very difficult for the Bishop to make out this his assertion by such proofs as may be able to satisfy his reader.
First, What has he to say against that multitude of witnesses of his own communion, who so plainly assert, that they rejected transubstantiation? I have but just now set down the passages themselves. If he accuse them of having suffered themselves to be deceived in so important an article, what credit can their testimonies deserve, when they form against them such horrid accusations upon other points? Truly we are obliged to the Bishop for furnishing us with so good an answer, and we want only his ingenuity to make use of it upon occasion.
Secondly, What can the Bishop say to the confessions of faith of the Waldenses, wherein they formally reject this doctrine.
The Bishop here offers two things which swayed him, so easy is he to be determined by appearances. The one is, that it appears from the first conferences that were held with the Waldenses, as that of Bernard, Abbot of Foncaud, that they did not reject transubstantiation, because no mention is made of it throughout the whole dispute, which the said Bernard has penned very exactly. This he confirms by several trials of the Waldenses, whereof the proceedings are in Mr. Colbert’s library. The other is, that it seems very probable, that the Confession of Faith, printed in the History of Perrin, is a late thing, and drawn up since the reformation.
Nothing can be more impertinent than these answers. If this way of arguing be good, it must follow, either that the Waldenses have changed their belief since Bernard, Abbot of Foncaud, that is since the end of the twelfth century, until the year 1250, or that Raynerius was a mere slanderer. It must also follow, that the Inquisitors that examined them about this article, as about an article which the Waldenses constantly rejected, were very knaves, or blockheads who understood nothing of the business of the Inquisition.
But to speak freely, the Inquisitors deserve but small credit, if they speak otherwise than their Directory adviseth, which they are to follow, as the lesson that is given them, for their direction in the exercise of their office: and I shall make it appear, as I go on, by giving a scantling of their honesty and fair dealing, how little cause the Bishop had to rely upon them.