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SECTION IV.

The history of the Walilenses continued, from the middle of the sixteenth to the beginning of the seventeenth century.

A.D. 1551-1600.

Among the distinguished favours which it bath pleased the Father of Lights to conser upon mankind, the invention of the art of printing has been, in its consequences, none of the least beneficial. Before this discovery, learning was accessible to none but persons of princely fortunes; but by this means it was brought within the reach of almost every one; and that information became generally diffused which'was necessary to subvert the cause of tyranny and superstition;, thus, through the over-ruling providence of God, the art of printing turned out to be one of the must important events that have happened since the first promulgation of the gospel. Knowledge, which had indeed been gaining ground for some centuries before, was now wonderfully accelerated in its progress. The light acquired by one, 'was quickly diffused abroad, and communicated to multitudes. The facility of communication brought learning within the reach of the middle ranks--the dead lan

guages became a general object of study—the Scriptures began to be consulted, not only in the Latin Vulgate, but also in the Greek-reading produced reflection, and thus diffused a light which it was no longer possible to conceal under a bushel. It would have been strange indeed, had the advocates of a system which was founded in ignorance, expressed "no apprehensions of aların at the introduction of these novelties. The faculty of theology at Paris declared before the assembled Parliament, that religion was undone, if the study of Greek and Hebrew was permitted.

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But the language of the monks of those days is still more amusing. We are informed by Conrad of Heresbach, a very grave and respectable author of that period, that one of their number is said thus to have expressed himself. “ They have invented a new language, which they call Greek; you must be carefully on your guard against it; it is the mother of all heresy. I observe in the hands of many persons a book written in that language, which they call the New Testament. It is a book full of daggers and poison. As to the Hebrew, my dear brethren, it is certain that all those who learn it immediately become Jews.”* · The art of printing, which originated with John Gutenberg, a citizen of Mentz, was first attempted by him at Strasburg, from 1436 to 1440. His efforts, which were, no doubt, at first very rude and indigested, had been greatly matured by skill and experience in the course of a century; and, consequently, about the year 1535, we find the Waldenses of Piedmont anxious to avail themselves of it, with a view to a more general circulation of the word of life. Hitherto they had been obliged to confine themselves to manuscripts; and, in the Waldensian tongue, they seem not to have generally possessed an entire version of the whole Bible, but the New Testament only, and some particular books of the Old. They now, however, contracted with a printer at Neufchatel, in Switzerland, for an entire impression of the whole Bible in French, for the sum of fifteen hundred crowns of gold. An elaborate preface, somewhat too declamatory for a publication of that kind, was prefixed by Robert Olivetan, who appears to bave been one of their number, and who professes to have translated it for the use of the churches. Both Perrin and Sir Samuel Morland affirin this to have been the first French

See Villers' Essay on the Reformation, by Luther, translated by Mill, p. 94. note.-And Mr. Cox's Life of Melancthon, p. 29.

Bible that was printed and published; and on their authority I had so stated the fact in the first edition of this work. But on consulting Du Pin on the Canon, I am now convinced that this is a mistake. The words of the latter

are, “ The first edition of the French Bible, [printed] in the year 1530, is to be seen in the French king's library; the second, of the year 1534, is larger, and extant in the libraries of St. Germain de Prez, and of St. Geneviese. These two editions are prior to that of Robert Olivetan, (which was] the first done by the Protestants in the year

1535."*

The works of Luther, of Calvin, and others of the reformers, beginning, about this time, to be in general use; they sent Martin Gonin, one of their number, to Geneva, to procure a supply of such books as he should think calculated to promote the instruction of the people. But on his journey he was unfortunately apprehended under sus. picion of being a spy; and a discovery being made that he was a Waldensian, he was sent for safety to Grenoble, and there thrown into prison. The inquisitors having been made acquainted with the case, he was, by their advice, cast into the river Lyzere, during the night, for this important reason, as given by the inquisitor, that it was not expedient the world should hear him declare his faith, lest those who heard him should become worse than himself.+

It was formerly noticed, that in the year 1560, the Waldenses in Calabria formed a junction with Calvin's church at Geneva. The consequence of this was, that several pastors or public teachers went from the neighbourhood of Geneva to settle with the churches in Calabria. It seems probable that this circumstance had contributed to revive the profession in Calabria, or at least had brought the

• Du Pin on the Canon, &c. Vol. I. p. 217. + Perrin's Waldenses, b. ii. ch. iv.

Waldenses more into public notice than they had hitherto been; and it spread an alarm among the Catholics, which reached the ears of Pope Pius IV. Measures were, therefore, immediately taken for wholly exterminating the Waldenses in that quarter; and a scene of carnage ensued, which, in enormity, has seldom been exceeded. Two monks were first sent to the inhabitants of St. Xist, who assembled the people, and by a smooth harangue, endeavoured to persuade them to desist from hearing these new teachers, whom they knew they had lately received from Geneva; promising them, in case of compliance, every advantage they could wish; but, on the other hand, plainly intimating that they would subject themselves to be condemned as heretics, and to forfeit their lives and fortunes, if they refused to return to the church of Rome. And at once to bring matters to the test, they caused a bell to be immediately tolled for mass, commanding the people to attend. Instead of complying, however, the Waldenses forsook their houses, and as many as were able fled to the woods, with their wives and children. Two companies of soldiers were instantly ordered out to pursue them, who hunted them like wild beasts, crying, Amassa, Amassa, that is, kill, kill! and numbers were put to death. . Such as reached the tops of the mountains, procured the privilege of being heard in their own defence. They stated, that they and their forefathers had now for several ages been residents of that country-that during all that period their lives and conversation had been irreproachable—that they ardently wished to remain there, if they should be allowed to continue unmolested in the profession of their faith, but that if this were denied them, they implored their pursuers to have pity on their wives and children, and to permit them to retire, under the providence of God, either by sea or land, wherever it should please the Lord to conduct them--that they would very cheerfully sacrifice al their worldly possessions rather than fall into idolatry. They, therefore, entreated, in the name of all that was sacred, that they might not be reduced to the necessity of defending themselves, which, if they were compelled to do, must be at the peril of those who forced thein to such extremities. This expostulation only exasperated the soldiers, who immediately rushing upon them in the most impetuous manner, a terrible affray ensued, in which several lives were lost, and the military at last put to flight.

The inquisitors, on this, wrote to the Viceroy of Naples, urging him to send them some companies of soldiers, to apprehend certain heretics of St. Xist and de la Garde, who had fled into the woods; at the same time apprising hiin that by ridding the church of such a plague, he would perform what was acceptable to the Pope and meritorious to himself. The viceroy cheerfully obeyed the summons, and marched at the head of his troops to the city of St. Xist, where, on bis arrival, he caused it to be proclaimed by sound of trumpet, that the place was condemned to fire and sword. Proclamation was at the same time made throughout all the kingdom of Naples, inviting persons to come to the war against the heretics of St. Xist, and promising as a recompense the customary advantages. Numbers consequently focked to his standard, and were conducted to the woods and mountains whither the Waldenses had sought an asylum. Here they chased them so furiously, that the greater part were slain by the sword, and the rest wounded and destitute, retired into caverns upon the tops of the rocks, where they perished by famine.

Having accomplished their wishes on the fugitives from St. Xist, they next proceeded to la Garde, and appre. hended seventy persons who were brought before the inquisitor Penza, at Montauld. This merciless bigot caused them to be stretched upon the rack, with the view of ex

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