Some instances of the arguments which the Waldenses of Bohemia waged in their disputes with the Church of Rome.


THE same Inquisitor, whose extract I have but now given, gives us an account of the manner how the Bohemians, who were a colony of the Waldenses, managed their controversies with the Church of Rome. I did not conceive it fitting to change any thing in his style, nor to make my reflections on the objections which he puts into their mouths; it being enough that I have given my reader notice, that it is an Inquisitor that makes them speak so.

“The first error, saith he, of the poor of Lyons, who are also called Leonists, is, that the Church of Rome is not the Church of Jesus Christ, but an assembly of wicked men, and the whore that sits upon the beast in the Revelation. And that the Church of Rome ceased to be the true Church under Pope Sylvester, at which time it was poisoned by temporal possessions and advantages. And that they are the Church of Jesus Christ, because they observe the doctrine of the Gospel and Apostles in their words and actions. “To proceed to other of their errors: they contemn all the statutes of the Church, and prove them to be null and void, from Scripture and reason. Levit. And Nadab and Abihu took their censers, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. Now he offers strange fire, who observes or teacheth other traditions contrary to the command of God, and such are all the traditions of the Church. Therefore, etc. they say, that the doctrine of the Gospel and the Apostles is sufficient to salvation, and that the canons are mere traditions. Matthew Why do you transgress the command of God to establish your traditions?

“They say, that the occasion of this their error is, because the statutes of the Church are burdensome and many, whereas those of Christ are few and easy. Acts, Now therefore why tempt ye God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither we nor our Fathers were able to bear? And that the multiplying of precepts necessarily causeth an implication of transgressions. Item, That those statutes of the Church, which belong to church lands and possessions, are directly contrary to the commands of God. Deuteronomy The Priests shall have no inheritance with the people. Item, The laws of Christ are universal, and reach all those of the Church, particularly that of tithes, Deuteronomy That the Eastern Church doth not regard the statutes of the Church of Rome. Item, That they who make them do not observe them; Matthew They bind heavy burdens on others. Item, That the statutes of the Church are often changed, as may be seen in the case of degrees of consanguinity; whereas those of Christ do never change; Luke, But my words shall not pass away. That the Church ordains those things she thinks to be for her own advantage, as her immunity, etc.; that the laws of Christ are finite, whereas those of the Church are infinite.

“They declare the Pope to be head and ringleader of all errors. The Prelates they call blind, and the Religious, Pharisees. They are of opinion, that all Clergymen that do not work for their living are guilty of sin; and say they are full of pride, covetousness, envy. Of pride, because they love the uppermost seats, and to be called of men, Rabbi. Of covetousness, because they do all for filthy lucre sake; Jerem. From the least to the greatest of them, they run after covetousness. Of envy because they alone will be masters; Luke:Woe unto you, Scribes, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge. Wherefore they say, that every man, yea, and woman too, may preach; Numbers: Moses said, Would to God that all the Lords people were prophets. And the Apostle St. Paul, For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may be edified. Luke, If these should hold their peace, the stones would cry out. Revelations, Let him that hears, say, Come. And because the Apostles themselves were laymen, therefore because if a layman may preach for gain, much more may he preach for God.”

“They declare also, that God alone is to be obeyed, and not the Prelates or Pope. They say, the Church is guilty of idolatry, by suffering such doctrines as these to be preached; that the Pope is a God on earth, greater than men, equal with angels, and that he cannot sin. They reproach us for calling the Pope Father, and the Monks for calling their Abbots so; Matthew Call ye no man father upon earth, for One is your Father, etc. They deny also, that they ought to be obeyed in whatsoever they command. They reject kneeling to Priests, alleging that of the angel forbidding John to kneel to him.”

“They contemn the sacraments of the Church, because of the undue and irreverent manner wherein they are celebrated by many Priests; and because they set them to sale, as also because of the wicked and scandalous lives of many Ministers. They declare the Pope and all Bishops to be murderers, by reason of the wars which they maintain and stir up against Christians, Pagans, and Heretics: and they condemn those that preach up the holy war, because they say the Turks and Pagans ought not to be forced to embrace the faith by the sword, but to be allured by preaching.”

“Some of them are in an error concerning Baptism, holding, that infants cannot be saved by it; Matthew Whosoever shall believe, and be baptized, shall be saved: but an infant does not believe, therefore is not saved. Some of them do baptize, others use imposition of hands instead of baptism. And the occasion of this their practice is, because they say the godfathers do not understand the questions put to them by the Priest.”

“They reject the Chrism; they slight Confirmation; yet some few amongst them do receive it, though they be fifty years of age. “They find fault, that the Bishops only appropriate Confirmation to themselves; whereas the sacrament of the Lord’s body, which is much more worthy, is permitted to Priests.

“They hold, that a Priest in mortal sin cannot give the Eucharist, because Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark, and John durst not touch the Lord’s head. They maintain, that a pious layman, yea, a woman, so she do but know the words, may give the Eucharist; and that transubstantiation is not made in the hands of him that celebrates, but in the mouth of the worthy receiver; Psalms, The Lord hath heard the desire of the poor. That which gave occasion to this their error is, because the Levites ministered the body of the Lord; as Laurenflus and Tharsinus, who suffered at Rome. Some also receive the Eucharist in any form; some of wild grapes; some of bread dipped in wine; some take sorrel in a dish; some after they have cleansed their mouths communicate again; others receive it with vinegar; some keep the Eucharist in their chambers and in their gardens, as in Bavaria. The Subdeacons also administer the Lord’s body to the sick. A Deacon that hath been gaining or drinking all night has been known to celebrate the Eucharist the next morning in his shirt. Witness Goth, one of the arch-heretics, that the Eucharist has been seen to crawl with vermin, according to Zuvetch; witness the Monks there. That they often trample under their feet the body and blood of the Lord. That it is also received and handled amongst them by those who are unworthy, and public sinners, and denied to the worthy, as to nuns and widows, except sometimes in the Lord’s Supper. Also in the country it is seldom given by scholars without a price put upon it; the reason is, because the churches are let to the country curates at a dear rate, and the curates are not: able to give it to the scholars without price.

“They hold the Mass to be worth nothing, alleging, that neither Christ nor his Apostles ever sung Mass: that Christ was only offered up once for all, whereas the Priest offers him up twice in one day: that it is only for gain that so many Masses are sung; Matthew Woe unto you that devour widowshouses, under a pretense of long prayers. Item, Because they do not sing twice mattins or vigils. They hold them also guilty of sin who buy masses. They say, that the first mass of the new minor Priest is of no more efficacy than the hundredth: the occasion of this their error is, because some preach, that a sinful Priest is as clean from all sin as an angel, by putting on his casula. Some feign to celebrate the Eucharist without the Canon. They call the church-music infernal melody, and that all is done for gain; and that it is loss to men to be hindered from their work. They contemn canonical hours, and say, that one Pater Noster is better than the noise of ten bells. They hold all oblations to be of no use to the offerer, but only to those who receive them; Luke, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. That it is better to give to the poor, than to offer to the Priest. If that place be objected to them, When thou offerest thy gift at the altar, etc. they answer, that the word gift there is to be understood of an occasion, or a good work. The occasion that seems to have led them into this error is, because they see that the offerings are ill spent by some: and they detract from the Mass, because of the superfluous singing and tediousness of it, and because sometimes the Priest scolds whilst he is saying Mass, and being put into a passion, breaks off the Mass abruptly. They say, that the custom of buying masses is a kind of simony. Some call good customs lucriferous inventions; and these they compel men to observe, as that which they vulgarly call Allwegen.

“Concerning the sacrament of Penance, they hold, that a Priest bound in mortal sin cannot absolve any, and that a pious layman can do it much better; for who can expect to be made clean by him who is filthy himself? Malachi I will curse your blessings. Luke, Physician, cure thyself Matthew Cast out first the beam that is, etc. Isaiah The bed is too narrow, so that one of the two must needs tumble down, and the cloak too short to cover both. By the bed they understand the soul; by both the persons they understand God and the Devil. They hold, that a pious layman has power to absolve. That which a man has not, how can he give? That therefore it is much better to confess to a good layman, than to a wicked Priest. The occasion of this their error is, because they see that sometimes a Bohemian Priest takes the confession of a German, whereas neither of them understands the other; and because sometimes the confession of ten persons is heard together; and sometimes confession is made by an interpreter, because, say they, public confession is made by the damned themselves: also because some say that confession avails nothing without offering a gift; and that therefore they neglect to hear the confessions of the poor, which is a piece of Judaism. Also because it is the property of godly souls to acknowledge themselves many times in fault, when they are not; and that Priests do not compel mothers, who do not see their sick infants die, to undergo a public penance, which is used to be imposed for the most common sin; and thus still crying, Tomorrow, tomorrow, they run headlong into sin. And that they are forced many times to bear the burden of many of these penances, that they may be restored again to the communion of the Church, whereas indeed they never had lost or forfeited it. Item, Because they see that for manifest sins only pecuniary mulcts are imposed, and so no satisfaction is given to the Church; so that the easiness of obtaining pardon becomes an argument to the sinner to sin on: because for secret sins they impose only such a number of masses. Item, Because some Confessors do indirectly betray their confessions, as by writing it down, that it may be read of others. Also a wife secretly procuring her own miscarriage, is sent to the Bishop, and being suspected, is worthily put to death.

“They condemn the sacrament of Marriage, saying, that it is a mortal sin to marry without the hope of children. Others of them look upon matrimony to be no better than fornication. The occasion of this their error is derived partly from marriage itself, because married persons neither observe time, nor the bounds of matrimony; and partly from the Priests, because they compel chaste wives to seek their fugitive husbands through many countries, who yet are not bound to cohabit with their husbands, except they please; and by this many of them are corrupted. Item, Because a bride that is a virgin is forbid entrance into the Church for eleven days, whereas she who has committed fornication is not so much as kept out one day. So in like manner, if she be brought to bed of a still-born child: whereas by the Canons she may enter the Church the first day after. Item, Because some preach, that a woman dying in childbed is damned; because they deny the blessing to poor women that have nothing to offer at their churching; and that they who are ready to be brought to bed are forced to sin, and so miscarry.

“They say, that the sacrament of extreme Unction is the highest pride. The occasion hereof is, because this sacrament is given to none but those who can well pay for it; and the multitude of Priests is the cause of that: and though it be honourable to bring in more Priests, yet extreme Unction, as well as Baptism and Confirmation, are always administered only by one. Item, Because some preach, that this sacrament ought not to be administered to any, except they be at least worth two cows; which is a great scandal to the poor. And because they say, that twelve lights are necessary at the celebrating of extreme Unction, whereas one light is accounted sufficient at the celebration of the Eucharist, which is the most worthy sacrament of all.

“They say, that the sacrament of Order is of no use, because the Apostles were laymen; and that Christ never gave them either rochets, mitres, hoods, rings, or any other ornament. They deride tonsure, because the Apostles knew nothing of it. The reason which they go upon is, because such who are unworthy both as to their life and knowledge, and bastards, are advanced to orders and dignities, scandalizing the Church of God both by their word and example.

“They say likewise, that the Church has greatly erred in forbidding the Clergy to marry, because as well the old Law as the Gospel do allow of it; and by their winking in the mean time at fornication. Item, By her advancing of bastards to the highest promotions in the Church. Item, Some say, that whatever those who have vowed chastity, above the girdle, do by kissing, feeling, words, pressing of the breasts, embraces, is all done in charity.

“They condemn excommunication, and say, that it is nothing else but cursing. Genesis He who curseth thee, shall be cursed, etc. Ecclesiastes When a wicked man curseth the Devil, he curseth his own soul: wherefore if he curseth a man, he curseth himself. Cursers and evil-speakers shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Some say, an unjust excommunication doth stand good. Item, Whenever there is an interdict, the heretics rejoice, because then they have an opportunity to corrupt Christians, and make them undervalue the worship of God. That it is an ungodly thing to vex and punish the innocent, by denying them the sacraments, for the sins of others: that by this means the praise of God and of the court of heaven is taken away, and the souls in purgatory are deprived of the suffrages of the Church, and the devotion of living believers lessened; and therefore they say, that then tenths ought not to be paid. The occasion of this their error is, because excommunications are multiplied upon any slight occasion, as, for the tenth penny; or if a man doth not come to church, in these and such like cases persons are excommunicated without any lawful order, and afterwards are again admitted to communicate without foregoing absolution; by which means he who gives the sacrament, as well as the excommunicated person, and the people, are in danger.

“They hold, that tithes ought not to be given, because they were never given in the primitive Church; and that if tithes ought not to be received, neither ought they to be paid. If you say, that they ought to be given, because the Jews gave them, by the same reason all other legal constitutions are to be observed. They allege also, that there are but few countries, though governed by Roman law, where tithes are paid. They say, it is sin to pay tithes; and that laymen who receive tithes do sin likewise, because they are so wickedly spent. They say, that the Clergy and Priests ought to have no propriety or possessions: Deuteronomy Neither priests nor Levites, nor any that are of the tribe of Levi, shall have any inheritance with the people of Israel, because the sacrifices are their portion. Acts, rind they called nothing their own, of all that they possessed, but they had all things common. They do not believe indulgences; Luke, Who can forgive sin, save God alone? They despise the Church absolutions, and do not mind irregularity, nor have they any faith in the Church’s dispensations. That which led them into this error was the multiplying of indulgences, and because future punishment is bought off by the people; which they do not believe.

“They despise the feasts of the Church, saying, that one day is like another. If it be objected to them, that God has commanded the seventh day to be sanctified; they answer, that if for that reason the Sabbath-day is to be kept, that circumcision is to be kept for the same reason.

“They took offense at them, because there are no less than an hundred and twenty holy days in a year; because some say, that the feast of Easter and Pentecost are the feasts of St. Stephen and St. John: because fairs are kept on holydays: because holydays are transferred to Sundays for gain: because tailors and carriers are suffered to work then: because there be too many holydays, translations, inventions, and octaves, so that there is scarce a week which has not two or three of them: because they are introduced only for gain, which is a great scandal to the people: because workmen, by being hindered from their work, do thereby fall to poverty: because on those days more sins are committed than any other: because the primitive Church had very few feasts; wherefore also they secretly work on those days.

“They despise the fasts of the Church; for on Good Friday they eat flesh; The kingdom of God is not meat, etc. Isaiah, Is this the fast that I have chosen? Corinthians, Let not him that eats not, judge him that eats. The ground of their error was, because poor men and laborers are obliged in Lent to fast with bread and water; and also, because they can get no work, upon the account of these days of abstinence.

“The material edifice of the church they esteem to be no better than a barn, and nickname it commonly the stone house; Acts, God doth not dwell in temples made with hands: and that prayers made in them are of no more efficacy than if they were made in any other house; Luke, But thou, when thou prayest, enter into, etc. John, Neither in this mountain nor at Jerusalem shall ye worship, etc. Acts, Lifting up pure hands in all places. The occasion of their mistake was, because the Church makes men carnal; it being a place of their acting in masquerade, and making a show with their fine clothes.

“They contemn the dedication of churches: they call the altar an heap of stones; and that it is a piece of wastefulness to let cloth rot upon stones. The occasion; the prodigious expenses laid out upon churches, which might with far greater profit be bestowed upon the poor: Matthew Do you see all these buildings? there shall not be left a stone, etc. As also, because some set up taverns in the church; and because some say, that as oft as a man goes round the church, so many mortal sins are forgiven him. Also because some say and preach, that to frequent a strange church is a committing of adultery: that it is better to preach in a stable than in the church. The ornaments of the church they say are sinful, and that it is better to clothe the poor than to hang walls. The corporal, they say, is no better than the cloth of their breeches. Concerning lights in the church, they say, that God, who is the true light, doth not stand in need of light; and that the cup used in the Sacrament doth not differ from a common household cup, because formerly they made use of glass chalices. They reject censings: they value holy Water no more than common water: images and pictures, they say, are idolatry; Exodus 20: Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, etc. These errors arose from the scandal which they took at the horrid wooden images and pictures which they daily saw, and which, in their opinion, rather strike a man with horror than devotion. They deride church-music, saying, that virtue and efficacy is in words, and not in the melody. This sprung originally from the tedious and superfluous singing in churches. They mock at the cries and shouts of the people. They contemn processions, because of the follies that are acted at them.

“They believe no saints, besides the Apostles, and such as are mentioned in the Gospels or Acts of the Apostles; they call upon no saint, no, not the blessed Virgin, but God alone. This proceeded from the many false saints, as Vivianus and others, whose names, lives, and merits, are unknown. They show no respect to spring, as in Drozo, where the Priest baptizeth the crucifix in the spring, and the people offer to the spring. Item, Holy trees, as those of St. Christopher, and the air in the fields. Item, They deride the names of the saints, as Erhardo, honoring them with oblations. Item, Because no devotion is expressed to the saints of the Old Testament: because the honor which ought to be given to God, is more exhibited to creatures than to God alone. Thus some fast every Wednesday in honor of St. Nicholas, who do not fast on Friday in honor of God; and so likewise when St. Nicholas is named, all sigh; whereas when Jesus Christ is named, all hold their peace. They give no credit to the legends and sufferings of the saints. This arose from the contradiction about Constantine’s baptism, and many things altogether incredible, as in the legend of St. Margaret and Julland, and the Seven Sleepers. They do not believe the miracles of the saints. This incredulity was occasioned by the many false miracles, as oil, blood, tears of images, and heavenly light. And by reason of those hypocrites, who are commonly called Sterzet, who, pretending themselves to be afflicted with divers sicknesses, declare they are suddenly recovered.

“They give no credit to the relics of saints. This was occasioned by the false relics which some carry about, as the milk of the blessed Virgin, who with a small quantity of milk suckled our Savior, and a salamander for the garment of the blessed Virgin, and the sweat of Christ, and the membrane in which our Savior was wrapt, and the relics of angels. Likewise because one of these relicmongers boasted, that he could make what saints he pleased; and being asked how, answered, that he often took the bone of an ox, and sawed it into small pieces, which he wrapt up in purple, writing about them the names of what saints he pleased: and because they baptize the milk of the blessed Virgin, and then give the water to drink. Item, Because they make merchandise of them, and are often eaten by mice; which thing was related to the people by this Priest, and the people much scandalized thereat. Because several churches quarrel and dispute about the bodies of saints, each maintaining that they have them, as about the body of St. Mark, St. Vitus, and the rest.

“They abhor the holy cross, because of Christ’s suffering thereon. Their aversion seems to have been taken from the sermons of those who maintained, that the cross being taken away from Christ, returned of itself. They say, that the wood of the cross is no more than other wood: they do not arm themselves with the sign of the cross. They set no value upon the sepulcher of our Lord, nor of the saints; Matthew, Woe to you, Pharisees, for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets. They despise church burial, for they would rather choose to be buried in a field than in a church-yard, but that they stand in fear of the Church. Their reason for this opinion is, because those who die without contrition are buried there, and they who kill themselves; and on the contrary, many times church burial is denied to those who die truly contrite: because money is demanded for every one, even for infants, who do not stand in need of any suffrages, and for lepers: because some saints were formerly buried in gardens, as our Savior; some in their own houses, some in the water, as St. Clemens. They reject the watching with the dead, because of the follies committed on those occasions; because the laws of the Church, from the beginning of the world, and the ecclesiastical canons, do allow every man to choose his burying place where he pleaseth; because many quarrels and contests arise about dead bodies, and frequent scandals both to believers and unbelievers. They condemn all pilgrimages, because of those many abuses which they have given occasion to, as, that many women who go on pilgrimages have been debauched by the way; and because of the false and counterfeit pilgrims, which they call Stezzar. Item, Because they say, that Christ and his Apostles built his Church on the waters, and that to pilgrims all sins are forgiven, as much as in Baptism.

“They deny purgatory, and maintain that there are only two ways, the one of the elect to heaven, the other of the damned to hell; Which way soever the tree falls, there it lies. They say, that neither masses, nor anniversaries, nor offerings, nor other suffrages, are of any profit to the souls of the deceased, but that they are only done for the gain that comes by them to the Priests. To that place in the Corinthians, If any build hay or stubble, he shall be saved, but so as by fire; they answer, that by fire there, is to be understood the fire of tribulation and affliction. St. Aust. He who prays for his mother, does his mother an injury; therefore he who causeth masses to be said for his children, or prays for them, does rather injure than benefit them. If a man be good, he stands in no need of any suffrages; if wicked, they can do him no good; John, I pray for them, not for the world; that is, for worldly men. Now if we be not to pray for them whilst they are alive, much less when they are dead. They say, that the prayers of a good layman are of more profit than those of a wicked Priest; and that one Lord’s Prayer is of greater efficacy than many masses; John, We know that God does not hear sinners. Isaiah, When you multiply your prayers, I will not hear. Greg. Cum is quibus displicet ad intercedendum mittitur, reati animus ad deteriora provocatur.

“They say, that Latin prayers can be of no advantage to laymen. They hold three errors about purgatory: the first is, that no sin is venial, but all are mortal; the second is, that when the sin is forgiven, the punishment is also remitted; whence men take an occasion of sinning more freely, and making void the sacrament of Penance. Matthew Repent. Luke, Bring forth fruits meet for repentance. The third error is, that intercessions are unprofitable. “They condemn judges and princes, saying, that malefactors ought not to be condemned; Matthew Judge not, lest ye be judged, etc. Genesis, He that sheds mans blood, by man his blood shall be shed. Exodus, Thou shalt not kill. Matthew, Put up thy sword in the sheath, for he who smites with the sword, etc. Matthew in the parable of the tares, Suffer both of them to grow together till the harvest. They seem to have been led into these mistakes, because judges and princes are generally unjust and tyrants; and because justice is set at a price in ecclesiastical as well as other courts of judicature. Isaiah, Woe unto you that justify the wicked for a reward, and turn away the righteousness of the righteous; they do not judge the fatherless, and the cause of the widow will they not hear.

“They say, that to swear is a mortal sin. Matthew, But I say unto you, Swear not at all, neither by heaven, for it is Gods throne, etc. but let your discourse be Yea, yea; and Nay, nay. The frequent and continual swearing, upon the slightest causes, has given occasion to this error; as also because heretics by this means fall into perjury. They who never swear are like the Devil, of whom we do not read that he ever swore.”

These are the errors which he attributes to the Waldenses of Bohemia, many of them by mere calumny, some others by an ill construction of their doctrine, as our writers Perrin and Usserius have demonstrated. As to their conduct, he gives this account of them:

“Heretics are known by their manners and words; for they are orderly and modest in their manners and behavior; they avoid all pride in their habits, as wearing neither very rich clothes, nor over mean and ragged ones. They keep up no commerce or trade, to avoid lies, swearing, and deceit, but only live by the labor of their own hands, as handicraftsmen and day laborers; and their teachers are weavers and tailors. They do not heap up riches, but are content with necessaries. They are also very chaste. They are sparing and very temperate in eating and drinking; they do not frequent taverns or alehouses, neither do they go to balls or other vanities. They abstain from anger. When they work, they either learn or teach; and therefore pray but little. They hypocritically go to church, offer, confess, communicate, and hear sermons, to catch the preacher in his words. In like manner also their women are very modest, avoiding backbiting, foolish jesting, also levity of words, and especially abstaining from lies and swearing; not so much as making use of the common asseverations, In truth, For certain, or the like, because they look upon these to be oaths. They seldom answer directly to the questions demanded of them. So if you ask them, Are you acquainted with the Gospel or the Epistles? they answer, Who should have taught me them? Or else, These are for them to learn who are of a great and deep understanding, or those who are fit for such things, and have leisure for them. They commonly say only, Yea, yea; No, no; and say, This is lawful for them, because Christ said to the Jews, Pull down this temple, though he meant it not concerning Solomons temple.”

The manners and behavior of the Waldenses is as follows: “They kneel down upon the ground, before a bench, or such like, and continue thus in all their prayers in silence, as long as one might repeat a Pater Noster thirty or forty times, and conclude their prayers by repeating the word Amen several times. And this they do every day very reverently, amongst those of their own persuasion, without the company of any strangers, before noon, after noon, and at night when they go to bed; and in the mornings when they rise out of bed: besides some other times as well in the day, morning and at night. They say, teach, nor have any other prayer besides Our Father. They do not look upon the salutation of the angel to be a prayer, nor the Apostles’ Creed; and say, that these were introduced by the Church of Rome, not by Christ.

However they have drawn up a short draught of the seven articles concerning the Godhead, and as many concerning the human nature, the Ten Commandments, and the seven works of mercy, which they say and teach, and boast much of them, and readily offer themselves to answer any one that demands of them a reason of their faith. Before they set themselves down to table, they bless it, saying, Bless the Lord. Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us. Our Father, etc. After which, the eldest of the company saith in the vulgar tongue, God, who blessed the five barley loaves and two fishes in the desert before his disciples, bless this table, and that which is upon it, and which shall be set upon it, (and then make the sign of the cross,) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. And when they rise from table after dinner or supper, they give thanks in this manner; the eldest amongst them in the vulgar tongue repeating the doxology set down in the Revelation; Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might, be ascribed to God alone, for ever and ever. Amen. And then adds, God render a good reward and a plentiful return to all those who are our benefactors; and the God who hath given us corporal food vouchsafe us also the life of the Spirit; and God be with us, and we with him always: and the company answer, Amen. Also when they bless the table, and when they return thanks, they fold their hands together, and lift them up towards heaven. And after dinner, when they have returned thanks, and prayed as before said, they preach, teach, and exhort according to their way and doctrine.

In the year of our Lord 1391, the 4th of September, were underwritten the errors of the sect of the Waldenses. Then he gives an account of their Ministers.

First, Nicholas of Poland, the son of a husbandman; Conrad of Saxony, of the town of Dubun, near Wisseburg, the son of a husbandman; Walrick of Hardech, a tailor; Conrad of Gamundia, of the county of Suabia, the son of a husbandman; Simon of Salig, an Hungarian, a tailor; Herannus of Mistelgen, a Bavarian, by his trade a carpenter; John of Drena, a Bavarian, likewise a carpenter. These aforenamed are called amongst them apostles, masters, angels, and brethren.”

Their life and conversation is thus: first, “they fast three or four days in a week, with bread and water, except they be obliged to work hard. After this they appear amongst those who are of the same faith with them, as their superiors. They pray seven times in a day. The eldest begins the prayer, and makes it either long or short, according as he thinks fitting, and the company goes along with him in his prayer. Their teachers go very meanly dressed; they walk two and two together, an old man with a young man, wherever they go, They are very wary in their words, and avoid lies, oaths, and all filthy things; and inform and exhort their auditory to do the same.”


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