[A simile of the moonlight and the stars, which shine most in the darkest nights, forms the beginning of our account, representing the condition of this time:
Fourteen persons, the chiefest of whom was called Stephen, are burned as heretics, for the testimony of the truth, by the papists, A. D. 1022, at Orleans in France.
Then follows a note concerning the accusations brought against the afore-mentioned persons; and also, further observations touching said fourteen martyrs, .according to the accounts of various papistic and other writers, noted in the Second Book of the Persecutions, fol. 437, col. 3, 4.
The great craftiness of the papist, Gretserus, in altering the titles of the books of the ancients, to the detriment of the belief of the Waldenses; some of their martyrs called firstlings, which is circumstantially noticed in the margin.
Some pious Christians at Goslar, called Manicheans by the papists, hanged for the confession of the evangelical truth, A. D. 1052. It is shown, 1. that they claimed to lead a true apostolical life: 2. that they would neither lie nor swear; 3. that they maintained that the sacrament of the altar was nothing but bread; 4. that they denied baptism, that is, infant baptism. One papist, as Thuan against Radulph, etc., opposed to each other in their testimony against these people.
Henry and Alfuard, two good Christians, the former beheaded in the uttermost parts of Sweden, the latter slain among the Normans, for defending the evangelical doctrine, A. D. 1067.
Marginal notice explanatory of their belief.
Bruno, Bishop of Angiers, and Berengarius, his deacon, are condemned in different councils, through the Roman pope, on account of their views against infant baptism, transubstantiation, the mass, etc.; the first time, A. D. 1050, both together; the second time, A. D. 1079, Berengarius alone. The inconstancy of Berengarius in some matters is shown, but also his sorrow for it, and his perseverance to the end, on account of which he is accounted among the martyrs.
Many of the followers of Berengarius, called Berengarians, are anathematized by order of the pope, at Piacenza, in Italy, A. D. 1095, and afterwards persecuted unto death, about A. D. 1100. Conclusion.]
Even as the shining moon and the glittering stars give the most light, and adorn the blue expanse of heaven the most gloriously, in the darkest nights, so it was also after A. D. 1000, as regards spiritual matters, which concern the honor of God and the salvation of the souls of men. For, about the year 1000, as well as many years before and after but particularly then, the world lay sunken, as it were, in an arctic, six-month's night, through the thick, and palpable darkness, which had arisen, with heavy vapors of superstitions, from the Roman pit. Yet, notwithstanding the state of the times, some undefiled persons, as bright heavenly signs, and stars, began to shine forth the more, and to let their light of evangelical truth illumine the dark nights of papal error. Yea, some, like the polar star, served as a sign to sail by; I mean, to accomplish safely and in a godly manner, through the turbulent waves of perverted worship and human inventions, the journey to the heavenly fatherland. Others, like the morningstar, or the lovely, blushing Aurora, announced the approaching day;
we mean, they pointed to the true day of the Christian and evangelical worship of God, and revealed it, as much as they were able, to those who sat in the darkness of error.
We will no longer speak by simile; what we mean is this: That there were men in those dark times, who maintained God's truth, in various points, according to the needs of that time, and bore witness to and sealed it not only with the mouth, but with the deed, yea, with their blood and death.
A. D. 1022, near the close of the year, it seems, or, at the latest, A. D. 1023, there were apprehended and publicly burned, in France, in the presence of King Robert, on account of heresy (socalled by the papists), certain fourteen persons, some of whom were common people, while the others were of noble descent,* and of whom the chiefest was called Stephen. They were accused of having spoken evil of God, and the holy sacraments, that is, of holy baptism (namely, infant baptism, for this was what the papists generally practiced, and concerning which disputes were of frequent occurrence), and of the body and blood of the Lord (that is, the sacrament of the altar, which the Romanists were wont to call the body and blood of the Lord); also of marriage, etc., "This appears," says the writer,"to have been the first execution (that is, by burning), of persons accused of heresy in the Roman church." Continuing he says, "In an old book we find an account, that this heresy was brought into this country from across the sea, namely, from Bulgaria, and that thence it was spread into other provinces, where it subsequently was much in vogue, principally in Languedoc, around Toulouse, and in Gascony."
He also states there, that the people who maintained this doctrine, were called Albigeois, and also Bulgarians, because they came from Bulgaria. hignierzi Hist. Eccl., A. D. 1022, ex Glabro and Massonio in Annalibus, and alio Autiquo Authore, compared with Abr. Mell., fol. 381, col. 2, and fol. 436, col. 1.
Touching the accusations which were brought against the afore-mentioned fourteen persons, they were, as is related: That they had spoken against the article concerning God; .against the holy sacraments, both baptism and the sacrament of the altar; against marriage, etc.; on account of which there was inflicted upon them the very cruel, dreadful, and miserable death by fire.
But what they believed and maintained with regard to said points, according to the account of impartial writers, shall be amply explained after-
Then it will be seen, that they believed and spoke nothing but what we .at the present day believe and speak; also, as regards baptism, that they baptized believers, and opposed infant baptism; and, touching the Supper, that they observed it according to the institution of Christ, but rejected the mass and transubstantiation; again, that they denied revenge, the swearing of oaths, auricular confession, the invocation of departed saints, purgatory, etc.
"Robert Altisidorensis states of said martyrs of Orleans, that they were of the best or chiefest laymen of Orleans, and that for this reason a council was convened there against them, in which they were unanimously condemned and sentenced, as heretics, to the fire; and that they were thus burned alive."
This testimony is confirmed by Johannes, a monk of Floriax, who gives a somewhat fuller account of the matter, in his letter to Oliva or Olivarius, abbot of the church of Ansona, saying, "Meanwhile I will inform thee of this heresy (thus he calls the true faith of these people), which was on Innocent's day, in the city of Orleans; for it is the truth if thou hast heard ought of it. King Robert caused fourteen of the best or most nobly born laymen of said city to be burned alive; who, (Oh, what a great falsehood!) abominable before God, and hated by heaven and earth, utterly denied the grace of holy baptism (he means infant baptism, for thereupon the grace of salvation was promised to children, which these men denied) as well as the consecration of the body and blood of the Lord, and denied that one could thereby obtain remission of sins, after he had committed a crime." Masson Annal. Franc., lib. 3, in Hugo and Robert.
Glaber Radulphus (in Hist. Gall., lib. 3, cap. 8), gives a much more circumstantial account of these martyrs, relating not only how this (so-called) heresy was discovered, but also how it was brought to Orleans and propagated; which we, in order to be brief, pass by.
He mentions, among others, two of these people by name, namely, Heribert and Lisoius, who were greatly esteemed and beloved by the king and the lords of the realm, as long as their case was not known. Glaber further relates how they were discovered. They sought, at Rouen, to bring a certain Driest over to their belief , through some whom
they probably had expressly sent to this priest, to expound to him the mystery of their doctrine, and who endeavored to persuade him by saying that very soon all the people would fall over to them.
When the priest understood this, he immediately went to Richard, the Count of that city, and told him the whole matter. The latter instantly sent letters by express messengers to the king, informing him of this secret pestilence (as he calls the true faith). King Robert, much grieved at this, without delay convened a council of many bishops, abbots, and other religious persons (thus he calls this blood-thirsty council), and, through them, caused very strict investigations to be made, both as to the authors and adherents of said heresy. When inquiry was made among the laymen, as to what the belief and faith of each several one was, the aforesaid Heribert and Lisoius immediately discovered themselves, that they differed in their belief from the Roman church, and afterwards others also declared that they adhered to Heribert and Lisoius, and that they could in no wise be drawn away from their faith. Being interrogated more closely, whence and by whom this presumption had originated, they gave this answer, "This is what you have long called a sect, which you now, though late, recognize. But we have waited for a long time, that you as well as all others, of whatever law or order, might come over and unite with this sect; which, we also believe, will yet take place."
They then immediately presented their belief, undoubtedly after the manner of the Albigenses and Waldenses, as shall be shown hereafter.
When the king and all those present saw that they could not be moved from their belief, he commanded that a very large fire of wood should be kindled not far from the city, in order that perhaps, terrified thereby, they might desist from their belief. But when they were about to be led out to the fire, they cried aloud, saying, that they greatly longed for it, and gave themselves into the hands of those who were to draw them to the fire. They, thirteen in number, were committed to the flames, and all who afterwards were found to be their adherents, were put to death by the same means.
pAgain, in the records of the parish church of Orleans, called St. Maximus' church, the time is specified, when this took place. It occurred, it is there stated, publicly at Orleans, A. D. 1022, in the twenty-eighth year of King Robert, on the fifth induction, when the arch-heretic Stephen and his companions were condemned at Orleans, and burnt.
The above citations are taken from the writings of papists; hence, the reader is admonished, to judge charitably with regard to the accusations which these inveterate adversaries have so bitterly cast up against these pious witnesses of Jesus Christ.
NOTE.-We have related above, that said fourteen martyrs have been considered, by the ancients, as the firstlings of the Waldenses; but the papists called them heretics. However, this is not to be wondered at; since, in the course of time, they adopted the practice of calling heretics and the Waldenses by the same name. Of this we will present a few examples. The priest Reinerius wrote a book, which he called, Summa contra Hareticos, that is,"A Summary against the Heretics." To this book the Jesuits subsequently gave the title Contra Waldenses, or,"Against the Waldenses;" as if all the errors opposed in said book, were peculiar to the Waldenses, which is as untrue as falsehood itself. Compare Reinerius' book with A. M., 2d book, fol. 437, col. 4.
Everhard Berthuniensis gave to his book the title, Antiheretism, which is equivalent to saying Against Heretics, etc.; but the Jesuit Gretserus, when he published said book, called it, Everhardus contra Waldensen; as if Everhard had written only against the Waldenses, notwithstanding only the smallest part militates against them. Nevertheless, it was sought, by this title, to accuse the poor Waldenses of all the heresies mentioned in that book.
Afterwards, one Ermegard wrote a book against the grossly erring spirits who maintained in their confession, that the world and all visible things were not created by God, but (Oh, what an awful falsehood!) by Satan; which belief is imputed, by most of the ancient writers, to the Manicheans; yet, the last mentioned falsifier, namely, Gretserus, has not hesitated to head such a page of said book, Ermegard against the Waldenses; though the author specially refuted the Manicheans, with whom the Waldenses had nothing in common. See the above-mentioned authors and books, and also the comments of Balthasar Lydius on the disputations of said persons. Hence it follows from the foregoing, that it need not seem strange to the reader, that the papists called the orthodox Waldenses, or, at least, such as opposed the Roman doctrine, as well as the priests and monks, by the odious name of Manicheans or heretics, as was frequently the case, and shall presently be shown, with regard to the good martyrs, who, through the malice of the nanists. were hanved at Goslar.
It grieves us to our very soul, that in regard to the testimonies of the holy martyrs, we have to resort to the writings of papists, their most inveterate enemies, as well as to other writers who did not hold the same faith with us, and who, consequently, made the faithful records of the pious witnesses of Jesus our Saviour incline to their opinion, and explained' them according to their own views. This mischief has met us before, and now again falls to our lot; still, we hope that the intelligent and attentive reader will distinguish light from darkness, and judge impartially, and as a Christian.
Herman Contractus, Count of Veringen, writes at the close of his life, hardly one or two years before his death, of certain persons at Goslar, who were accused by their adversaries, the Romanists, of being Manicheans; for at that time no other or better name was known for the true Christians, who were opposed to the Roman church, notwithstanding they had nothing at all in common with the Manicheans; and thus this Herman Contractus, a strong maintainer of the papal religion, also called these persons, after Roman fashion, Manicheans, saying, "The Emperor Henry III (some say II), A. D. 1052, celebrated, at Goslar, the Lord's birthday, and there caused some heretics (thus he calls the true Christians), who, among other perverse opinions according to the sect of the Manicheans, abhor the eating of all kinds of meat (which he unjustly imputes to these people, as shall be shown), and who were condemned, by common consent (of the bishops or lords of the realm), as heretics; to be hanged on the gallows, in order that the contagion should not spread further and contaminate many others. Heron.. Contr. Chron., A. D. 1052.
But they cared not so much (A. Mellinus writers), about the eating of flesh, as about many other points of doctrine, which Herman Contractus passes over silently; namely, such as Radulph Ardens makes mention of, relating that at the close of said century there were some (so-called) Manicheans at Aix la Chapelle in France. He there says (Homil. Dominical 8, post Trinit.), "Such are at the present day the Manichean heretics, who have polluted our country of Aix la Chapelle with their heresy; who pretend to lead a true apostolical life, saying that they do not lie; that they do not swear, and, under the cloak of abstemiousness, they reject the eating of flesh. They also maintain that the sacrament of the altar is nothing but mere bread; they deny baptism (namely, infant baptism, for this was the point in question) and say that none can be saved but those who are baptized by their hands."
It is true that said papistic writer charges them with several other thins as belonging to their doc-
trines, of which we deem it unnecessary to speak here, since Mellinus to whom we referred above, answers all these for us, saying (2d book, fol. 437), "All these errors, except that of baptism and of the mass or transubstantiation (that is, against the mass and transubstantiation), are unjustly imputed to them by these papistic authors, as Thuan, writing of the Waldenses, himself confesses (Hist. sui temp. A. D. 1550). He then quotes from Thua.n the confession of these people, in which no errors at all, much less Manichean heresies, are found; but which contains chiefly such things as are publicly taught by us, at the present day, and maintained with the power and authority of the holy and divine Scriptures, against the superstitions of popery.
Having quoted the confession of these people, from Thuan, Mellinus says, "This is certainly a square and unfeigned confession of Thuan, which alone is sufficient to refute all the preceding slanders (namely, which had been flung against the holy martyrs)."
Thus, even according to the testimony of the papist Thuan, and the statement of the Calvinistic Mellinus, the above-mentioned martyrs were not guilty of Manichean errors; they only spoke against the Roman church, principally in the matter of baptism (that is, infant baptism) and in regard to the mass or transubstantiation; hence, they may be reckoned among the true witnesses of Jesus Christ, who testified to their living faith, not only with the mouth, but also with their blood, yea, with their death; and whom the Lord will hereafter, in the resurrection of the just, reward and crown, according to His promise. Rev. 2:10.
NOTE.-We here place one papist against -another; Thuan against Radulph. In the meantime, we are induced to receive the best testimony concerning said martyrs from these two differing writers; since they both had no other purpose than to speak to the detriment of said people. Thuan says, "Their points of doctrine are said to be these: That the Roman church has forsaken the true Christian faith; that she is the Babylonian whore, and the dead tree which Christ cursed and commanded to be cut down; that therefore no obedience is to be rendered to the pope and the bishops who consent to his errors; that Monachism is a veritable sink of all the corruption of the church, and an infernal pool; that all monastic vows are vain and unavailing, and tend only to lasciviousness; that the orders of the priesthood are marks of the great beast, of which mention is made in the Apocalypse; that purgatory, the mass, church consecration, the worship of saints, masses for the dead, etc., are genuine inventions and institutions of Satan. These, says the writer, are the principal and certain articles of their doctrine. The others, concerning marriage (that they deemed it evil), the resurrection (that they denied it), the state of the soul after death (that they spoke improperly of it), and concerning meats (that they rejected all eating of flesh), are unjustly imputed to them. Thuan in. Hist. de Waldens. Temp., A. D. 1550, compared with A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 437, col. 3.
We have shown this the more circumstantially, to demonstrate the innocence of said martyrs, and that their doctrinal points were not Manichean heresies, but strictures upon the Roman church, which stirred up the animosity of the papists, so that, as it seems, they vented the spleen of their manifold accusations against said people.
A. D. 1067, there was a God-fearing man, whose name was Henry, and whom the Romish historian calls a stranger, perhaps because he was obliged to live secretly or as a stranger among the Romanists. It is stated of him, that he preached the Gospel of Christ in the uttermost parts of Sweden, and that he was apprehended for this cause and beheaded for the name of Christ.
Another pious Christian, named Alfuard, after living for a long time secretly, yet leading a pure and holy life among the Normans, could not thus even in secret remain Christ's own. Because he sought to protect, or to do good to, his enemy, he was slain by his friends, or those at least who ought to have been his friends. Adam., in Histor. Sued., 1067, compared with Abr. Mell., fol. 384, col. 3.
The records of these two martyrs, Henry and Alfuard, are very brief, because, the writer, as he states, would neither add to, nor take from, the truth of the matter, but wished to record it just as it was stated to him, which is an evidence of the verity of said matter. Therefore we also did not feel at liberty to extend the relation of the same, or to add, for amplification, the opinions of other authors. However, this is not necessary, since, in said account, all that is needful for the cognizance of said martyrs, is briefly, yet sufficiently, shown. For, of Henry it is stated that he preached the Gospel of Christ (not papal traditions), and that he was apprehended on this account. Of Alfuard the author writes, that he lived for a long time secretly, though leading a pure and holy life, among the Normans; also, that he could no longer secretly remain Christ's own; understand, not the pope's, or the so-called mother, the Roman church's own, but Christ's own. More might be added, but for the well-disposed we deem this sufficient.
In our account of holy baptism for the year 1060, we made mention of Bruno, Bishop of Angiers, and Berengarius, his deacon, and showed, according to the accounts of different writers, that they, in opposition to the common belief of popery, denied infant baptism and transubstantiation, with all that pertains to it, as has been shown in said place.
Of Bruno we find no further account, only that when he was examined he answered as has been related; and that his doctrine, together with that of Berengarius, was condemned by Pope Leo IX, in two different synods, the one of which was held at Rome, and the other at Versailles. But what further happened to him after said papal condemnation, is not mentioned by the ancients, or, at least, has not come to our knowledge.
But of Berengarius it is stated, that besides the afore-mentioned two condemnations by Pope Leo the Ninth, which he suffered together with Bruno, he was subjected to three examinations and as many condemnations, in three successive synods, once at Tours, and twice at Rome. But to our sincere regret we cannot omit mentioning that in the last three examinations, either from fear of death or for some other reason, he did not acquit himself altogether manfully or in a Christianlike manner; inasmuch as in each examination, if what the ancients have written concerning it is correct, he denied his belief before men; though after each denial, upon regaining his freedom, constrained in his conscience, he reavowed the same.
His denial from whatever cause it may have proceeded, was a fault of such magnitude that it could not be tolerated even in an ordinary Christian, much less in a martyr, unless it be that the name of a good Christian or martyr be withheld from him. Howeverl' when, against this, there is taken into consideration, the heartfelt sorrow and grief which he manifested every time, and that he again taught the people as before, and this, as is stated by many, to the end of his life; the name of a Christian, yea, even of a martyr (though in weakness), on account of the manifold troubles he met with because of his belief, may still be accorded him.
The holy apostle Peter, after his threefold denial of Christ, though this was a dreadful sin, was not rejected by Christ, when he manifested sincere repentance; seeing the Lord afterwards commanded him to feed His lambs and sheep, yea, foretold him that he should be bound, for His name's sake, and glorify God by his death, that is, that he should have to die as a martyr, which also happened to him in the reign of Nero, as is shown in the first century, A. D. 69. Berengarius lived to the age of about ninety years, according to the papist Baronius, who says that he remained separated from the Roman church,* as a schismatic, to the end of his life, though Bellarmine thinks differently, which we leave to him, till better proof than the opinion of a monk of Malmsbury, from whom, it seems, Bellarmine has derived his opinion, can be furnished. Compare Bellarm., in Chron., A. D. 1058, with Hist. Angl., lib. 3, touching the opinion of the monk of Malmsbury.
As regards the time of his death, it is fixed A. D. 1088, on the day of Epiphany. The last words which he is said to have uttered, are adduced by a certain bishop of Cenomana, called Hildebert, in the third book of the English History, where he says that Berengarius, sighing deeply, said, "Today, on this day of Epiphany, my Lord Jesus Christ will appear to me, as I hope unto glory, because of my repentance, or, as I fear, on account of other things unto punishment." A. Mell., fol. 395, col. 1.
These words, it seems, are misinterpreted by the monk of Malmsbury, as though Berengarius, in speaking of his penitence and good hope, had intended to imply that, in the aforesaid articles, he had returned to the Roman church; and that, in mentioning his fear of punishment, he had reference to the punishment of which he might have stood in fear, because of the views which he had maintained against the pope and the Roman church. But, besides that we see no clear proof in the opinion of said monk, this utterance of Berengarius can very fitly be taken in another and better sense, namely, thus: That Berengarius, When he spoke of his repentance and good hope in the appearance of Jesus Christ, was confident, that the merciful Jesus, his beloved Saviour, because he had now repented, and was sorry for his denial, to which the papists had compelled him, would graciously forgive his sins; since the Lord, when His disciple Peter had fallen into a like, or still greater sin of denial, forgave him when he repented of it. Yet, on the other hand, that he was not entirely without fear, because he had committed said denial against his conscience, and because the Lord is as just as He is merciful, especially in punishing sins that are committed against the conscience, or with premeditation.
Nevertheless, from his words (if they have been quoted correctly), it is evident, that his hope was greater than his fear, since he speaks first of the former, as well as of his sorrow or repentance, yea, of the: glory of the blessed; for what else could he mean to indicate, when he said, "Today, on this day . . . my Lord Jesus Christ will appear to me, as I hope, unto glory, because of my repentance"? As to the words that follow, they seem to have been added from Christian carefulness and humility, since no living man could stand before
the justice of God, if He were not merciful; much less one who had notably sinned against His most divine and holy Majesty; which agrees with job 9:2; Ps. 130:3; and 143:2.
In the meantime, men had very different views respecting the decease of Berengarius; for some, namely those who were rigid Romanists, and papists, had, it seems, an evil opinion of him; hence they knew nothing:good to say of him, as appears from the account of Papirius Massonius, who, in his history of France, for the year 1088, says, "In this year, on the day of Epiphany . . . that corrupt arch-heretic, Berengarius, who so often deceived the (Roman) church by feigning to repent of his views, departed this life." Annal. Franc., lib. 3.
But others, who were his good friends, had a better opinion of him. Among these, the abovementioned Hildebert was not the least; he, as some have observed, composed a very beautiful epitaph upon his death, the last words of which were as follows, "He (Berengarius) was truly a wise man, and, in every respect, perfectly blessed; who enriched heaven with his soul, and the earth with his body. God grant, that after my death I may live and rest with him, and that my lot or inheritance may be no better than his." See the above cited book, compared with Abr. Mell., fol. 395, col. 1, 2.
We will close here, and commit his cause to God. Meanwhile, the church of God, or, at least, the little flock of believers, sustained a great loss in his death. Hence, we may say, as was lamentingly said by one of old, "The day when Bererngarius died was an evil day." Sam. heltius., Geslacht-register, page 128.
It is stated that after the death of Berengarius, his doctrine (spoken of above) in reference to baptism and the Supper, against the belief of the Roman church, gained much favor among his followers, who were called Berengarians; so that England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and even part of the Netherlands, became filled with it. A certain writer says, "They did not adhere to Berengarius as to a reed which is swayed by the wind; and their faith did not rest on men, however pious or godly these might have been, but upon the pure Word of God, which abides forever."
Hence, Pope Urban II, A. D. 1095, by constraint as it were, convened a great council against them, in the city of Piacenza, in Italy; to which there came many bishops from Italy, Burgundy, France, Germany, Bavaria, and other countries, so that there was no church large enough to hold all the people, but they had to meet without the city, in an open field.
Bertoleus Constantiensis says, that in this council a canon or rule was established, by which the views of Berengarius, which were called a heresy, were again, as had repeatedly been done previously, anathematized or cursed, but the views of the Roman church, confirmed as a precious matter. Compare Bertho. Constant., in Chron., A. D. 1095. Baron. Annal., T. 11, with A. Mell., fol. 395, col. 2, 3.
Hence it came, that a great persecution and dire distress arose, particularly about A. D. 1100, over said Berengarians, so that, at first, some were exiled here and there, f rom the Roman dominion, some expelled, and some were punished with death, yea, with death by fire, as shall appear more fully in the account of the martyrs in the following century. In the meantime, see A. M. fol. 395. col. 3, from Thuan., Pref. Also, in Hist. Henr. 4.