It is altogether manifest, that the true Waldenses, in their beginning as well as in their progress, did not accept of secular power and authority, but forsook, yea, fled from it. This appears, in the first place, from those who were the originators, or at least, no insignificant representatives of their religion, namely, Peter Waldo and John of Lyons, both of them influential and very wealthy men, who voluntarily abandoned their riches, and taught their followers to do likewise-to resign not only authority, but also the means which furnished occasion thereto, and to be content with such things as might be needful to them for a modest and sober manner of life. For this reason they were called not only Waldenses, but also Poor Men of Lyons. See Bapt. Hist., page 599. H. Mont., page 85.
To this belongs also, that, though their number was great, they suffered themselves to be martyred like sheep for the slaughter, after their expulsion from Lyons, to which they had not offered the least resistance; concerning which, ancient history affords an abundant evidence, and which, God granting us time, we shall notice more fully in the proper place.
As regards what the Waldenses, long after they had left Lyons, believed and taught with reference to this point, it is expressed in one of their articles as follows, "But He (Christ) also exercised no temporal jurisdiction or authority, in the state of His humiliation." Abr. Mell., 2d book, fol. 446, cot. 2.
By these words the Waldenses indicate that even as Christ exercised no temporal authority in the state of Hns humiliation, so His followers also, here, ought not to exercise any such authority, but that they themselves should be subject to secular authorities, as the whole article shows, both in the preceding and in the following words.
In another article they say, that they are truly poor in spirit, and, for righteousness and faith's sake do not exercise authority, but suffer persecution. Bapt. Hist., page 617, in the fourth error of their first article, as the Romanists call it.
Their departure from Lyons, their wandering about in foreign countries and cities, their innocent and patient suffering, their steadfastness unto death, and all this without any resistance, retaliation, or self-defense, sufficiently indicated the faith they had, and by what spirit they were actuated.
In an old book of parchment, supposed to have been written three hundred years ago, by a certain priest called Reinerius, various matters are alleged as charges against the Waldenses, which he, in a certain place, comprises in three articles, each of which he then divides into sections. In the tenth section he says,"That the pope and all the bishops are murderers, because of the war that they carry on." Bapt. Hist., page 617. B. Lydius, 3. Tract of the Faith of the Waldenses, page 85, cot. 1, Art. 10.
This he gives as an article of the faith of the Waldenses, calling it, however, an error or heresy; but how can he, who has not learned otherwise, speak differently?
Jean Paul Perrin Lionnoys, or his translator, charges the Waldenses also with the following, which accords well with the preceding, "Seventhly, (he says) that they (the Waldenses) maintained, that the pope commits mortal sin, when he sends forth to make war upon the Turks; and that they likewise commit mortal sin, who obey him in waging war against the heretics." History of the Waldenses, 1st part, 1st book, cap. 3, page 6, cot. 1.
Who cannot see, that this article of the Waldenses opposes war and everything that can be called warfare? yea, in such a manner, that it does not admit of it at all.
For, if one should look for a just cause to wage war, how could he find one more just, than against the Turks? howbeit, it is unjust against all men: but we speak by way of comparison. How could one find greater reason to wage war, than against those whom he considers heretics? for of such it was customary to say that they were worse than murderers, seeing murderers kill only the body, but they, it was said, souls. Nevertheless, the Waldenses reproved the pope for such action, yea, declared, that he committed mortal sin thereby; as well as those who allowed themselves to be used as instruments by the pope for this purpose.
What is added by the translator (lib. 1, part 1, Hist. Wald., cap. 4, page 11), for explanation, which however, serves much more to obscuration, we pass by, as unworthy of consideration and which will fall of its own accord.
Yea, it seems, that the Waldenses not only held that they themselves might not wage war or kill any one, but that they also denied the right of secular authorities who wished to be called Christians, to kill, even if the persons whom they should put to death were malefactors. Concerning this, we find in P. J. Turisck's Chronijk, that the"Poor Men,""Insabbathi," or"Waldenses," taught, that no judge who would be a ,Christian, might put to death any one, not even a malefactor. Chron., page 534, cot. 2, and page 535, cot. 1, from Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 202, and Enca Sylvio.
Moreover, in the account of Gabriel Prateolus and Guilielmo Reginaldus, who have noted the accusations regarding the doctrine of the Waldenses, also this charge is found against them: Art. 17. "They (the Waldenses) teach that no judge may condemn anyone to any punishment; to which end they adduce that it is written: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged."' A. Mell. 2d book, fol. 434, cot. 1, Eleneh. Haeres. Tit. Paup. de Lugd. Calvin Turcismi., lib. 2, cap. 5.
Touching what G. Prateolus and G. Reginaldus add by way of accusation, we let them answer for it. It suffices us that in this they came very near the truth; but they went too far in what the Waldenses understood with regard to capital punishment, namely, that authorities may punish no one with death; this they applied to every kind of punishment, as though the Waldenses had censured the authorities for punishing any one, even a great offender, in any wise; which we are not aware that the Waldenses ever opposed in any formal article, unless some particular one among them held such views.
In the meantime it appears, from the last as well as from the preceding testimonies, how exceedingly fearful these people were in the matter of punishing any one with death; so that they not only desired to be clear from it themselves, but also spoke against the same in the secular authorities. Still more did they reprove open warfare, in which not only a few, but very many are killed, and this for trifling reasons. This being true, we will proceed to other points of their faith, which they had in common with the Baptists.
NOTE.-That the Albigenses also, who were one with the Waldenses, were defenseless, peaceable, and meek people, living in quiet under certain papistic authorities, who protected them. See, among others, Introduction, page 50, cot. 2, and page 51, cot. 1, from Baron. in Annal.
In regard to this point the Waldenses were of the same opinion with us, teaching that the fathers of the Old Testament were permitted, when necessity required it, to swear an oath, in or by the name of the Lord; but that for Christians it is quite unlawful, according to the teaching of.our Saviour, who says, "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all" (Matt. 5:33, 34).
In the first book of the first part of the History of the Waldenses, written by jean Paul Perrin Lionnoys, and translated by J. M. h., chap. 3, page 6, cot. 1, the following point, among others, is adduced as an accusation against the Waldenses: "The sixth (tenet) which they (the Waldenses) maintained, was, that men should not swear on any account." From Albert de Capit. and Reiner. Also, P. 1. Twisck, Chron., page 534, cot. 2, page 535, cot. 1.
How the compiler of these things seeks to explain said matter, we here pass over, as this is not the proper place to speak of it. But when necessary, we shall consider it our duty to give an account of it.
Far more pertinent and important, however, is that which is recorded in Bapt. Hist., page 624, where it is stated that in regard to the swearing of oaths they believed thus: "Art. 9. That every oath is a mortal sin; saying: Swear not at all; but let your communication be, Yea, that is yea; Nay, that is nary." Extracted from an old book of parchment, ascribed to Reinerius. Also, A. Mell., Zd book, fol. 432, cot. 4:
In the articles ascribed by G. Prateolus and G. Reginaldus to the Waldenses, as having constituted their faith, mention is made of their views in regard to the swearing of oaths, concerning which, the eighteenth article contains the following: They (the Waldenses) say that all manner of swearing is unlawful for Christians, so that it is nowhere lawful to swear, not even before the judge, when he constrains one thereto, to testify to the truth." A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 434, cot. 1. Eleneh. Haeres. Calv. Turcism., lib. 2, cap. 5.
It is true, Mellinus, after the manner of the Calvinists, of whom he was a leader, endeavors to explain, as it were, this article of the Waldenses, as though thereby they did not prohibit all swearing of oaths, but only frivolous swearing. His words are these, "The eighteenth article has reference only to unjust and perjurious swearing, as said author owns, (he means the author who charges them with those articles) saying: 'The occasion which led them into this belief, was the fact that they so often and continually heard the people swear for trifling reasons, and because thereby one easily falls into perjury."'
But hear what he further says, as he adds a jeering comparison, saying, "That the heretics, who never swear, are like the devil, of whom we do not read that he ever swore." Page 434, cot. 3.
I pray thee, beloved reader, see now, by what author Mellinus seeks to establish his case. It is true, he first quotes this author when presenting the articles of the Waldenses, and this for the reason that the latter has presented them in such a manner that they in every part militate against the Roman church; but now, seeing that said author has presented the article respecting the swearing of oaths (in which the Waldenses deny all swearing) in such a way that it militates against the Calvinistic church, he begins, in order to make the matter doubtful, and to deprive the Waldenses of the article relative to nonswearing, to quote from said author again, and this, in mocking and impious language.
But becoming more discreet, he commences to extol that which is expressed in the eighteenth article_ relative to the swearinv of the Waldenses,
above the manner of the papists, saying, "But they (the Waldenses) who have learned from Christ, 'Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil' (Matt. 5:37), will judge, that the papists, among whom the practice of daily swearing so frivolously is in vogue, are more like that Evil One, that is, the devil, than the Waldenses, who guarding against lying and swearing, and in their daily conversation, are wont to say only, Yea, yea; Nay, na;; as this same writer acknowledges in regard to them. They guard against backbiting, foul words, lying, and swearing, and, as another inquisitor has said
They are prudent in their words, avoid all lying and swearing; also, they teach to avoid all lying, backbiting, and swearing." A. Mell., Zd book, fol. 434, cot. 3, from Frehed. Hist. Bohem., page 232.
With these and like passages from the preceding authors, Mellinus has sought to embellish the Waldenses, to indicate, that they were pious, upright and moral people; but in the meantime he forgot himself, not once thinking that thereby he abundantly establishes that which in other places he endeavors to refute, namely, that the Waldenses rejected all swearing of oaths.
Here we see how excellent truth is, that it cannot remain hid, but is brought to light even by its opponents, either unintentionally or otherwise. I should here leave this subject, but as Mellinus has helped me on the way to show him his perverted zeal, I find it necessary to enter more deeply into the matter. This good, but perversely zealous man, having put all his arguments aside, plainly relates, from an old papistic work of three hundred years ago, that the Waldenses believed all oaths to be mortal sins; yea, that they considered him who would compel another to swear, worse than a murderer. A. Mell. 2d book, fol. 432, cot. 4, from Illyrie. Catal., lib. 15. Tit. Waldens. See also, Conferedit Freher. in Hist. Bohem. and Gretser. Sweluc. Tudens.
Of such and similar passages the writers who present the views of the Waldenses, are full to overflowing, so that it is as clear as the sun, that these people rejected the swearing of oaths and everything that resembled it, even to the saying of the word, Verily, or Certainly, etc.; of which the aforesaid writer also makes mention, saying, "They (the Waldenses) do not say to one another, Verily, Certainly, or the like."* Fol. 432, cot. 4.
All this was done from fear of swearing in any wise, because the Lord had so expressly said, "Swear not at all." Matt. 5:34; hence, they avoided all manners which bore any resemblance to the swearing of oaths.
But, lest any should think that the Albigenses, who were one people with the Waldenses (though others distinguished between them), differed from them in their views, belief, and practice as regards
Reinerius, who has written against the Waldenses, gives the following testimony respecting them, as the Jesuits confess in their own print.
Cap. 2, Ingolstadt edition, page 54. "Among all the sects that ever were and still are, there is none more pernicious for the church than the sect of the Lyonists (thus he calls the Waldenses), and this for three reasons.
"Firstly, because it is the most ancient; for. some say that it has existed from the time of Sylvester; others say, from the time of the apostles.
"Secondly, because it is more general (that is, more widely diffused) than other sects; for there is no country where this sect is not found.
"Thirdly, because, whereas all other sects, by their abominable blasphemies against God, cause those who hear them, to loathe their belief, this sect, on the other hand, has a great semblance of godliness, because they lead a godly life before men, have a true belief in all things concerning God, and hold correct views in regard to all the twelve articles of the faith; only they condemn the Roman church and the clergy, in which the unlearned too readily credit them."
In the fifth chapter he says that their doctrine can be brought under these three heads: 1. Invectives against the Roman church and her institutions. 2. Errors against the sacraments and the saints. 3. Rejection of all church usages.
He then specifies their doctrine in the following manner
1. That the Roman church is not the church of Christ, but the church of malediction; and that she decayed in the time of Sylvester, when the poison of temporal riches insinuated itself.
2. That all sins and defects are in the Roman church, and that they (the Waldenses) alone live holily.
3. That almost no one observes the doctrine of the holy Gospel, except they( the Waldenses).
4. That they, in truth, are poor in spirit, and suffer persecution for righteousness and faith's sake.
5. That they are the church of Jesus Christ.
6. That the Roman church is the whore described in John's Revelation.
7. That they condemn all the statutes of the (Roman) church, because of their multiplicity and laboriousness.
8. That the pope is the head of all errors.
9. That the prelates are scribes, and the religions, or members of orders, Pharisees.
10. That the popes and bishops, with respect to the wars they carry on, are murderers. (This article is treated of in another place.) .
11. That God alone is to be obeyed, and not the prelates.
12. That one is not greater than another (before the Lord), but that all are brethren. Matt. 23.
13. That no one may bow his knees before the priests; because the angel said to John-,"See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant." Rev. 22:9.
14. That men should not give tithes (to the papistic clergy), because it was not customary formerly to give tithes to the church.
15. That the clergy ought not to have property of their own; because it is written,"The priests, the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel . . . the Lord is their inheritance, as he bath said unto them." Deut. 18.
16. That the inmates of monasteries ought not to have prebends.
17. That bishops are not entitled to the regalia; these being things which are the prerogative of kings and rulers.
18. That no churches and monasteries ought to be founded and endowed.
19. That wills ought not to be drawn up by ecclesiastical persons.
20. They reject the clergy, on account of their idleness, and because they do not labor with their hands, as the apostles did.
21. They reject the names, pope and bishop.
22. They will not admit any one should be compelled to the faith.
23. They reject all ecclesiastical (papistic) offices, and pay little regard to ecclesiastical privileges.
24. They do not admit, that churches and ecclesiastical persons should be exempt from the power and punishment of the secular authorities, for, under that cover of liberty the clergy used to do as they pleased.
25. They hold in contempt councils, synods, and all (papistic) ecclesiastical assemblies.
26. They say, that all human rules respecting persons in orders, are Pharisaical institutions:
These and various other articles respecting the belief of the Waldenses, all directed against the pope, the clergy, sand the whole Roman church, were found in an old parchment written three hundred years ago, and ascribed to Reinerius. It was afterwards followed by various authors. See Balth. Lyd. 3. Tract of the Wnldens:, page 84, cot, 1, and page! 85, cots. 1, 2. A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 430, cod. 4, fol. 431, cots. 1-4. Bapt. Hist., pages 616, 617, 618. P. 1. Tzeisck, Chron., page 451, cot. 2. At-n Nicol Evmeric.. printed at Rome. A. D. 1585.
Since the Waldenses were very ancient, and were spread over very many parts of the world, it came that they, from time to time were compelled, by the demand of those with and among whom they lived, to give an account of their faith; hence it is, that different creeds of the Waldenses were made and are still extant. However, it is not our intention, to relate them all, but simply to present to you one or two, which have been celebrated from ancient times, and are judged to be of the best.
Jean Paul Perrin Lionnoys, in his History of the Waldenses, translated from the French into Dutch, by J. M. V., first part, first book, page 43, makes mention of a certain confession of the Waldenses, in which they speak of various matters of faith, particularly of the holy Scriptures. It reads thus
Article I. We believe and hold fast all that is contained in the twelve articles of the Apostolic Creed; and regard as error all that differs therefrom, and does not agree with said twelve articles.
Article II. We believe that there is one .God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Article III. We confess and hold as holy canonical Scriptures, the books of the Holy Bible, namely these: The five books of Moses, called Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. The books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The historical books, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. The didactic books, job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon. The greater prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. The lesser prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Hhhbakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Then follow the books of the Apocrypha, which were not received by the Hebrews; hence we read them, as Jerome says, in the preface to the, Proverbs, for the edification of the people, but not for the purpose of confirming church doctrines. They are: I Esdras, II Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom; Ecclesiasticus, or Jesus Sirach; Baruch, with the letter of Jeremiah; the additions to the book of Esther, from the tenth chapter to the end; the Song of the Three Men in the Fiery Furnace; the History of Susanna; of the Dragon at Babel; the three books of the Maccabees.
Then follow the books of the New Testament. The Gospels, by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. The Acts of the Apostles. The epistles of Paul, Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John. (How it comes that III John is not mentioned, we do not know). The epistle of Jude, the Revelation of John.
Article IV. The afore-mentioned books teach this: That there is one God, who is omnipotent,
allwise, and alone good, who created all things according to His goodness; for He created Adam after His image and likeness; but that, through the envy of the devil and the disobedience of Adam, sin came into the world, and that we are sinners in and through Adam.
Article V. That Christ was promised to the fathers, who received the law, that by it they might know their sin, unrighteousness and unfitness, and long for the coming of Christ; to which end He atoned for sin and Himself fulfilled the law.
Article VI. That Christ was born at the time appointed by His Father; namely, when all manner of wickedness abounded; and this not for the good works' sake, for they were all sinners; but to show us grace and mercy, as being the true and faithful one.
Article VII. That Christ is our Way, Truth, Peace, Righteousness, Shepherd, Advocate, Sacrifice, and High Priest; who died for the salvation of them that believe, and was raised for our justification.
Article VIII. And, consequently, we maintain, that there is no other mediator and advocate with God the Father, than Jesus Christ. But as regards the virgin Mary, we hold, that she was holy, humble, and full of grace; likewise we believe of all the other saints, that they . . wait for the resurrection of their bodies in the day of judgment.
Article IX. We believe that after this life there are but two places; the one for the blessed, the other for the damned; and utterly deny purgatory, which is a dream and invention of antichrist against truth.
Article X. We have likewise always believed, that all human inventions are an unspeakable abomination before God; such as feast days, vigils of the saints, the so-called holy water, abstaining from flesh on certain days, and like things, especially masses.
Article Xl. We abhor all human inventions, as proceeding from antichrist, and which carry with them destruction, and prevent the freedom of the spirit.
Article X11. We believe that the sacraments are signs of holy things, or visible representations of invisible grace; and deem it well, that believers should from time to time use these visible signs or representations, when it is possible for them to do so; nevertheless, we also believe and hold, that said believers can be saved, though they do not receive these signs; that is, when they have no place or opportunity where to receive or use them.
Article X111. We have never confessed that there is any other sacrament than baptism and the Supper.
Article XIV. We must honor the secular authorities with subjection, obedience, willingness, and taxes.
The above fourteen articles are extracted from the book called by the Waldenses,"The Spiritual Almanac," and from the"Memoirs of George Morel." Also,"Hut. of the Waldens.," 1st part, 1st book, cap. 12, pages 43-48.
As regards said articles, they are wholesome and good, if observed in simplicity; hence we will leave them and proceed to another confession, of said Waldenses and Albigenses, drawn up by those of Merindol and Cabriere, and sent to the king of France. The same was publicly read, as A. Mellinus informs us, in the King's Parliament at Paris, and its contents are, word for word, as follows.
I. We believe that there is but one God, who is a Spirit, and the Creator of all things, the Father of all, over and through or in all, in us all; who is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth; to whom alone we look, as the Giver of life, raiment and food, as well as of health and sickness, prosperity and adversity; Him we love as the author of all good, and fear Him as the discerner of our hearts.
II. We believe, that Jesus Christ is the Son and the image of the Father, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead; by whom we know the Father; who is our Mediator and Advocate; and there is no other name under heaven given unto men, whereby we may be saved. In His name alone we worship the Father, and pour out no prayers before God, save those contained in the holy Scriptures, or which fully agree with the sense of the same.
III. We believe, that we have the Comforter. the Holy Ghost, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; by whose inspiration we pray, and through whose effectual operation we are regenerated. This Holy Ghost operates in us all good works, and by Him we are led into all truth.
IV. We believe in a holy church, the congregation of all the elect (believers) of God, from the foundation (or beginning) of the world unto the end; the head of this church is our Lord Jesus Christ. This Church is governed by the Word of God, and led by the Holy Ghost. All true Christians are bound to live in her; for she prays without ceasing for all, being acceptable to God, who is her refuge, and out of which church there is no salvation.
V. It is an established rule with us, that the ministers of the church, namely, the bishops and the pastors, must be blameless in manner and doctrine; and if not, that they must be removed, and others put in their stead, who do better fill their place and office. No one takes unto himself this honor, unless he is called of God, like Aaron; feeding the flock of God, not greedy of filthy lucre, nor lording it over his church; but, with a willing
mind, setting a good example to the godly, in word, intercourse, love, faith, and purity.
VI. We believe, that kings, princes, and magistrates are ordained by the Lord as His ministers, to whom obedience ought to be rendered; for they bear the sword, to protect the innocent, and punish the evil; hence we are in duty bound to show them all proper honor, and to pay tribute: and no one can evade this subjection, if he would be called a Christian, according to the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for He paid tribute; but exercised no temporal jurisdiction or dominion, drawing the sword of the heavenly word in the state of His humiliation.
The last clause is translated by 1. M. V., in Hist. Wald., thus: Who Himself would pay tribute, but was not willing to accept of worldly dominion.
VII. We believe, that the water in the sacrament of baptism is an external, visible sign, representing to us that which the power of God works within us, namely, the renewing of the Spirit, and the mortifying of our flesh in Christ Jesus, by whom we also become members of the holy church; in which church we show forth the confession of our faith, and the reformation of our life.
VIII. We believe, that the holy sacrament of the communion, or of the Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ, is a holy memorial and, a thanksgiving for the benefits bestowed upon us through the death of Christ; which we all ought to observe and celebrate in the congregation of the godly, in faith, love, and self-examination; and that in thus receiving the bread and the cup, we also become partakers of the body and blood of Christ, as we are taught in the holy Scriptures.
IX. We confess, that marriage is good, honorable and holy, yea, instituted by God Himself, and that therefore no one ought to be prohibited from marrying, unless the Word of God intervene.
X. We believe, that the godly and God-fearing ought to conduct themselves praiseworthily before God, keeping themselves engaged in good works, which God has ordained that they should walk therein; these works are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, piety, modesty, temperance, and other good works commanded in the Scriptures.
XI. On the other hand, we confess, that we must beware of false prophets, whose aim is, to draw the people away from the religious worship which we owe to the Lord our God alone, and to cause them to adhere to the creatures, and put one's confidence in them; to neglect the good works commanded us in the holy Scriptures, and to follow the fables of men.
XII. We hold the Old and the New Testament as the rule of our faith, and follow the Symbol or Creed of the Apostles. If any one be found who says that we confess another doctrine, we shall show, if permitted to do it legally before the regular judges, that he is greatly in error and deceives others.
The above Confession of the Waldenses and Albigenses is taken from. Carolus du Moulin's book of the Monarchy of the French, p. 65. A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 446, col. 1, 2, 3, from Joh. Crespin. Acta Mart., lib. 3. Lancelot du Voisin Poplin. Poplinerii Hist. Franc., lib. 1, edition 1585, fol. 26. Joach. Camer. Hist. Narrat., p. 565. To be found in Car. Molin's book, De Manarchia Francorum, in the third volume of his works, edition Paris, A. D. 1612, part 2, pp. 578, 579, 616, 617. Also, Jean Paul Perrin, Hist. of the Wald., 1st part 1st book, cap. 13, ąp. 49, 50.
Abraham Mellinus, having noted said confession, in his large work, says, "Thus far extends the confession of faith of the Waldenses and Albigenses, from whom those of Merindol and Cabriere have sprung; which confession we have placed at the close of the twelfth, and in the beginning of the thirteenth century, in order to anticipate and refute all the shameful doctrines which have been unjustly imputed, not only to the Waldenses, as has appeared above, but, particularly, also to the Albigenses, as though they had been Manicheans." Hut. Mart., 2d book, fol. 446, col. 4.
But who cannot see from the above confession of faith, that it does not differ in substance from the confession of the Baptists? notwithstanding A. Mellinus endeavors to draw them to the Calvinists or so-called Reformed. For, to speak of but a few points, just look at their confession in the article concerning God; what do the Waldenses say there?"We believe," say they,"that there is but one God, who is a Spirit, the Creator of all things, the Father of all, over and through or in all things, in us all, who is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth." Here certainly no mention is made of three selfexistent, separate persons in the Divine Being. However, by the confession of the Waldenses in this point, the truth of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost constituting the one God, is not excluded; neither is this done in any way by the Baptists.
Besides the preceding, consider the article concerning the Son of God, or of the incarnation of Christ. What is the confession of the Waldenses is this respect?"We believe," say they,"that Jesus Christ is the Son and image of the Father, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, by whom we know the Father." Certainly, nothing is said here, that the eternal Son of God took His whole humanity, consisting of body and soul, from the substance of the virgin Mary, and that this assumed humanity died for us, but that the true, eternal Son of God remained alive, as the Calvinists say; but as the apostle says, "He (the man Christ) is the image of the invisible God," Col. 1:15; and again, "In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Col. 2:9, as is also declared in the confession of the Anabaptists.
Further, observe the article of the Waldenses respecting the office of authority."We confess," say they,"that kings, princes, and magistrates are ordained by the Lord as His ministers, unto whom
obedience ought to be rendered." But what do they add by way of explanation, that a Christian may fill such an office, as the Calvinistic church says? Oh, no; but they say (that we must submit to it) according to the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for He paid tribute, but exercised no temporal jurisdiction or dominion; drawing the sword of the heavenly word in the state of His humiliation; even as also the Anabaptists confess.
Continuing, notice their article respecting baptism."We believe," say they,"that the water in the sacrament of baptism is an external, visible sign, representing to us that which the power of God works within us, namely, the renewing of the spirit and the mortifying of our flesh in Christ Jesus, by whom we also become members of the holy church, in which church we show forth the confession of our faith and the reformation of our life." Now, notice; is there a single word said in this whole article, about infant baptism, which latter is nevertheless so strenuously maintained at the present day, by the Calvinistic church? Oh. no; but the contrary is sufficiently expressed, when it is said, "That the water in the sacrament of baptism is an external, visible sign, representing to us that which the power of God works within us, namely, the renewing." For, who does not know, that infants have no knowledge of this external, visible sign? much less, that they should understand, that said sign represents to them that which the power of God should work within them, namely, the renewing? And, to be brief, how can infants, who have never walked in the old life, be sealed, by baptism, unto a new, life? In said article it is also said,"That baptism signifies the mortifying of the flesh." But how can children be reminded by baptism, that they must mortify the flesh, who, before baptism, never lived after the flesh? Hence it follows, that the Waldenses, in this article, did not once, it appears, think of infant baptism.
Then, A. Mellinus presents certain doctrinal points which, for the most part unjustly, he says, were imputed, by their adversaries, to the Albigenses, and consequently, also to the Waldenses, since they were one people; they consisted of twenty-eight articles, the first half, or first fourteen of which, he promptly rejects, saying, after presenting them, "These are the chief articles with which the Albigenses are charged by the papists; the first fourteen have been willfully fabricated, and falsely imputed to them, by their adversaries (which we will not dispute); the other fourteen they have, for the most part, in common with the Waldenses, as well as with us."
But, beloved reader, what are the contents of these last fourteen articles which A. Mellinus seems to admit so unequivocally? First of all, the first article (the fifteenth if we count the preceding ones), attracts our attention."They (the Waldenses) overthrow," says their accuser,"all the sacraments of the Roman Catholic church, and totally reject holy baptism (that is, the baptism of infants, for at that time nothing but infant baptism was known in the Roman church) as useless and unnecessary; and say that the external water of holy baptism differs in no respect from the water in the rivers."
Coming to the article concerning the swearing of oaths, which, reckoned with the preceding, is the twenty-sixth, it is expressly stated there, "They teach that it is utterly unlawful to swear." A. Mell., same book, fol. 447, col. 1.
Here it is to be observed, that if these last articles, respecting baptism and the swearing of oaths are justly imputed to the Waldenses, which has previously been proved to be true, and is also admitted here by A. Mellinus; whether those who made this confession, can justly be reckoned with the Calvinistic church, which, as regards said articles, has quite a different confession; or whether they may be reckoned with the church of the Anabaptists, who, as far as these articles are concerned, agree with their confession; namely, that infant baptism is useless, and that we ought not to swear in any wise.
As regards the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, the office of authority, and other points, it has been said above, that the Waldenses and Albigenses did not differ from, but much rather, agreed with, the Anabaptistic Christians.