« PreviousContinue »
though he has often exposed them to the rage and barbarous usage of their persecutors, yet has he, from time to time, afforded them such deliverances, as have enabled them to continue until this day. Their persecutions, like those of the apostolic churches, have only served to procure martyrs to the truth of the glorious gospel, and to disperse throughout every land the knowledge and savour of that which the Romish party, treading in the steps of the ancient synagogue, so cruelly persecuted.
“ Let the Bishop of Meaux then, if he please, insulting tell the Protestants to go and look for their ancestors among the Waldenses, and hunt for them in the caverns of the Alps. His declamation shall never make us forego one jot of that tender veneration and respect which we have so justly conceived for this nursery and seed-plot of the martyrs, and for those valiant troops who have so generously lavished their blood in defence of the truth against all the efforts, all the machinations, and all the violence of the Roman Catholic party. The judgment that St. Hilarius expresses in his writings against Auxentius, ought to be sufficient to arm us against all the cavils of those who would insinuate that it is impossible the church should lose its purity, or that this purity should be preserved by churches reduced to caverns and mountains."-"Of one thing I must carefully warn you," says he, « beware of Antichrist! It is ill done of you to fall in love with walls. It is ill done of you to reverence the church of God in buildings and stately edifices; it is wrong to rest in these things. Can you
doubt that it is on these Antichrist will fix his throne? Give me mountains, forests, pits, and prisons, as being far safer places; for it was in these that the prophets prophesied by the Spirit of God.”
llis's History of the Churches of Piedmont, p. 293–296.
PROOFS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
EDICT OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY, FOR THE EXTIR
PATION OF THE WALDENSES, JAN. 31, 1686.
Victor AMADEUS, by the grace of God, Duke of Savoy and
of Piedmont, and King of Cyprus.
POLITICAL as well as Christian prudence, advises us very often to neglect, in some manner, the ulcers that are not yet in a condition to be healed, and that might be made worse by a precipitate cure. This conduct has been observed as well in other monarchies, as by our most serene predecessors, who in truth had never any other design, than to rescue their subjects professing the pletended Reformed Religion, out of the darkness of heresy, which by an unhappy vicissitude, and a fatal corruption of these times, had passed from the very centre of the vallies of Lucerne, into the very heart of Piedmont. Nevertheless, by reason of the succours which the zealots of that religion received from foreign countries, this holy work could not be brought to the end we so much desired; insomuch that not having been able to purge our country of this poison, we did reduce them to, and shut them up in the vallies of Lucerne, of Angrogne, of St. Martin, of Cernse, of St. Bartholomew, of Roccapiata, and of Parustin; and by way of toleration, we did suffer them to exercise there their false religiou, in the limits
before prescribed them, according to the juncture of times, tilt it should please God Almighty to give us a favourable opportunity of bringing back those misled souls into the bosom of the Holy and only Catholic, Apostolic, and Romish Religion. Yet time has discovered how much it was necessary to cut off the numerous heads of this hydra, since the said heretics, instead of answering this favour with a deep submission, and with a sincere acknowledgment of this kind toleration, have very often made bold to be disobedient, to a scandal, and to rise against their own Sovereign.
And because at present the principal cause of this said toleration is now removed by the zeal and piety of the glorious monarch of France, who has brought back to the true faith bis neighbouring heretics; we think the particular graces we have received from his Divine Majesty, and which we enjoy still, would accuse us of the greatest ingratitude, if by our negligence we should let slip the opportunity of executing this work, according to the intention of our glorious predecessors. It is for this, and several urgent reasons, that by virtue of this present Edict, with our full knowledge, and by our absolute power, as also by the advice of our Council, we have declared and ordered, and do declare and order by these presents, to our subjects of the pretended Reformed Religion, to desist for the future from all the exercise of the said religion. And we do prohibit themfurther, after the publishing of this Edict, from holding any assemblies or conventicles, in any place or particular house, to exercise the said religion, under what title, pretext, or occasion whatsoever, under pain of their lives, and confiscation of their goods. And we ordain also, that the past pretended toleration be of no effect, under what colour or pretence whatsoever. Our will is also, that all the churches, granges, and houses, in which at present the said religion is exercised, shall be razed to the ground; and also all other places in which for the future such assemblies shall be held, to the prejudice of what the precedent articles contain; and this is to be executed, though the owners of such places are ignorant thereof. And we command accordingly all ecclesiastics, ministers, and schoolmasters, of the said