A Concise History Of The Baptists
By G. H. Orchard



1. On entering upon the details of the eleventh century, we are called to realize emotions of joy and sorrow; joy, because a succession of pious men are raised up to advocate the cause of truth and virtue; sorrow, because their labor of love everywhere is attended with opposition and suffering; though the prospect of death itself does not appear to have checked their work of faith and patience of hope. One of the earliest names, as a reformer, in France, is LEUTARD, who arose (1000), and preached to the people in the bishopric of Chaalous. This man gained many followers. [Mezeray’s Fr. Hist., p. 228. C. 10, p. 94] The labors of the Paulician Albigenses, or Vaudois, with Leutard, are noticed by Gerbertus, who became a disciple, and died 1003. [Allix’s Rem. Albig. Ch.] The zealous and commendable exertions of these puritans were the means of collecting religious societies, one of the earliest on record was brought thus prominent by the sufferings they experienced from their enemies. "The first religious assembly which the Paulicians had formed in Europe, is said to have been discovered at Orleans, in the year 1017, under the reign of Robert. A certain Italian lady is said to have been at the head of this sect." [Female teachers were allowed in these churches. The advantages and benefits to religion, from their devoted efforts, are shown by several writers. M’Crie’s Reform. in Italy, p. 187, &c.] Its principal members were twelve canons of the cathedral of Orleans; men eminently distinguished by their piety and learning, among whom Lisosius and Stephen held the first rank; and it was composed, in general, of a considerable number of citizens, who were far from being of the lowest condition. A council, held at Orleans, employed the most effectual methods that could be devised, "to bring these people to a better mind;" but all endeavors were to no purpose: they adhered tenaciously to their principles, and therefore were condemned to be burnt alive [Mosh. Ch. Hist., v. ii., p. 225]; which sentence thirteen actually realized.

2. These puritans, that came into France from Bulgaria, were murdered without mercy. They held that baptism and the Lord’s supper possessed no virtue to justify. [Jortin’s Remarks, &c., vol. v.p. 226] "These worthy clergymen," observes Archbishop Usher, "affirmed that there was no virtue capable of sanctifying the soul, in the Eucharist or in baptism." They are charged with denying baptism and the sacraments; they denied baptism to confer grace, and denied the ordinance to children. All those who practised the baptism of infants at this period considered the ordinance as conferring grace, which is allowed by Dr. Wall. [Wall’s Hist. pt. 2, c. 6, p. 105, and pt. 2, c. 10, ~ 2, p. 451] Their denial of the infant rite was enough, in those times, to occasion their enemies to say they denied the ordinance. [Danver’s Hist. p. 295] These people’s characters were blackened with shocking crimes; but Mosheim allows, that even their enemies acknowledged their sanctity, and that the accusations were evidently false. [Hist. of the Ch. v. ii. pp. 225-6]

A synod was held at Toulouse, to consider the most effectual method to rid the province of the Albigenses; [Allix’s Rem. Ch. Albig. c. 11, p. 95] and though the whole sect was in 1022 said to have been burnt, yet the emigrants from Bulgaria, coming in colonies into France, kept the seed sown, the churches recruited, and soon after, the same class of people was found inhabiting Languedoc and Gascony. [Mezeray’s Fr. Hist. p. 229] It is recorded that Leuthericus, Archbishop of Sens, and who was a disciple of Gerbertus, advocated those views which afterwards were charged on Berenger. [Allix’s Rem. Ch. Albig. c. 10, p. 93] Leuthericus died in 1032. Three years after, we become possessed of two names which resounded through Europe, and whose labors were accompanied with those beneficial effects and permanent results, as to be well worthy of the name of Reformers. BRUNO and BERENGER, or BEREGARIUS, were reformers in France, A.D. 1035; almost as early as Gundulphus appeared in Italy, with whom probably they were in correspondence. Berenger, by his discourses, charmed the people, and drew after him vast numbers of disciples. Some men of learning united themselves with him, and spread his doctrines and views through France, Italy, Germany, and other kingdoms. [Mezeray’s Fr. Hist. p. 229] The effect of these Reformers’ preaching was not only enlightening the ignorant, but it gave encouragement to the dissenters to come more prominently into society. The alarm was great to the Catholics: one of their prelates, Deodwin, Bishop of Leige, states that "there is a report come out of France, and gone through Germany, that Bruno, Bishop of Angiers, and Berengarius, archdeacon of the same church, maintain that the host is not the Lord’s body; and as far as in them lies, overthrow the baptism of infants." Matthew of Westminster speaks of Berenger as having corrupted all Italy. "It means," says Dr. Allix, "that his followers, who were of the same stamp with the Paterines, kept to the primitive faith of the church, which it was the object of the popes to remove them from; and in their opposing the church of Rome, they were called heretics and corrupters, though this name and practice belonged rightly to the popish party." [Allix’s Pied. c. 14, pp. 122-3] His followers were so numerous, that old historians relate, that France, Italy, Germany, England, the Belgic countries, &c., were infected with his principles. [Usher in Bp. Newton’s Diss. on the Proph. v. ii. p. 245; Facts Opposed, &c., p. 42; Usher in Danver’s, p. 288] This proves that persons existed in these provinces in the profession of his sentiments, and who readily gave him support so soon as he appeared in the character of a reformer. Berenger, in his zeal against the corruptions of the church, calls the Roman community "a church of malignants, the council of vanity, and the seat of Satan." He was required by the pope to abjure his errors, and burn his writings, which he actually did; and yet, while he lived, he wrote and spoke in the same severe strain.

4. One VALDO was a chief counsellor of Berenger’s, and was remarkable for purity of doctrine. He was an eminent man, and had many followers; [Mosh. Ch. Hist. v. ii., p. 320, note. Rob. Res. p. 303] but, from unknown causes, no further reference is made to Bruno or Valdo. Berenger is said to have followed the views of Leuthericus, Archbishop of Sens, who, as before stated, was a disciple of Gerbertus. Berenger began the work of reformation when young, and continued to preach for fifty years. He died 1091, aged 80.* Notwithstanding his versatility of mind, he left behind him, in the minds of the people, a deep impression of his extraordinary sanctity; and his followers were as numerous as his fame was illustrious. [Mosh. v. ii. p. 216] His views of religion appear to have been scriptural. His followers were called GOSPELLERS for one hundred years, and many of them suffered death for their opinions. On his followers being examined, they said "baptism did not profit children." [Usher in Danv., p. 288] Many Berengarians suffered death for their opinions, and for opposing infant baptism. [Montanus, p. 83. Baronius’ An. 1223] Bellarmine says, "the Berengarians admitted only adults to baptism, which error the anabaptists embraced;" [Facts Opposed, &c., p. 42] and Mezeray declares Berenger to have been head of the Sacramentarians, or Anabaptists. [Fr. His. p. 229] The Berengarians were of the same stamp with the Paterines. [Dr. Allix’s Ch. Pied., c. H, p. 123] The Berengarians, from the identity of doctrines, were called Albigenses; Berengarians and Vaudois were equivalent terms. [Facts ubi. sup.] Morell declares, it was computed in 1160, that above eight hundred thousand persons professed the Berengarian faith. [Mem. p. 54 in Bap. Mag. v.i.p. 435] "Thus it cannot be supposed," says Dr. Allix, "that the Albigenses were the disciples of Peter Waldo; and consequently they are to be considered originally as a colony of the Vaudois." [Ch. of Albig. c. 11. p. 114]

[* Wall’s Hist. pt. 2, p. 216; Mezeray, p. 229: Paedobaptists of late days confine Berenger’s views to transubstantiation; but were not baptizing in a state of nudity, and conveying sanctified water to the unborn with giving the abluent waters to the dying and dead, equally as offensive as eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ?]

5. About the year 1110, in the south of France, in the provinces of Languedoc and Provence, appeared PETER DE BRUYS, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and exerting the most laudable efforts to reform abuses, and remove the superstitions which so awfully disfigured the beautiful simplicity of gospel worship. [Mosh. Ch. Hist. v. ii. p. 198; Allix’s Albig. Ch. c. 14, p. 121] His labors in the good cause, we are told, were crowned with abundant success. He was made the honored instrument of awakening the attention of many to the great concerns of eternity, and pointing them to "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." He was under the protection and favor of a nobleman, named Hildephonsus. [Clark’s Martyrol. p. 79] He is said to have been a priest of Toulouse; but after his conversion and union with the Albigenses, he became one of their chief ministers. During his ministry the Catholics were busy in erecting temples for worship. The opulent contributed their wealth, while the poor cheerfully performed the services allotted to beasts of burden. Each expected, from his labors and gifts, a reward of Paradise; [Mosh. Hist. c. 12, p. 2, c. 3, ~ 2] but the Albigenses preached that gold was not the means of building, but rather of destroying the church. [Allix’s Albig. Ch. p. 39]

6. The religious sentiments of Peter de Bruys are not fully known; but the following particulars are handed down to us by historians:--that the ordinance of baptism was to be administered only to adults; [Mezeray’s Hist., p. 276] that it was a piece of idle superstition to build and dedicate churches to the service of God, who, in worship, has a peculiar respect to the state of the heart, and who cannot be worshipped with temples made with hands; that crucifixes are objects of superstition, and ought to be destroyed; that, in the Lord’s supper, the real body and blood of Christ were not partaken of by the communicants, but only represented in the way of symbol or figure; and lastly, that the oblations, prayers, and good works of the living, can in no way be beneficial to the dead. [Mosh. Hist. v. ii. p. 315] Prateolus, Mezeray, and Bellarmine record that Peter de Bruys held baptism to be useless to children who wanted the exercise of reason. [Facts Op. Allix’s Albig. c. 14, p. 124] The Petrobrussians, those who withdrew from the church of Rome, did reckon infant baptism as one of the corruptions, and accordingly renounced it and practised only adult baptism. "All those baptized (immersed) in their infancy were re-baptized," says Dr. Wall, "before they could enter their churches." [Hist. Inf. Bapt. pt. 2, c. 7, ~ 8, p. 250] Peter de Bruys held, that persons baptized in infancy are to be baptized after they believe; which is not to be esteemed re-baptization, but right baptism. [Danver on Bap. p. 290, from Osiander. In this century they plunged the subject in baptism three times in the sacred font. Mezeray’s Fr. Hist., 12 cent. p. 288] His followers were called PETROBRUSSIANS, and were very numerous in France and the Netherlands. [Lon. Ency. Art. Petrobruss] From him the Albigenses were called Petrobrussians.

7. The place where Peter de Bruys first raised his voice against corrupt practices is now called Dauphine. The clergy were aroused, and by their influence he and his companions were expelled from that province. Other provinces and kingdoms shared in his itinerant labors. [Facts Opposed to Fiction, p. 45] His doctrines were readily received among the mountaineers (Vaudois), the villagers, and they found numerous advocates among the country people and in populous towns, particularly about Toulouse. His crime was, in influencing the people to leave the Romish church. The people were re-baptized; the churches were profaned; the altars dug up; of their sacred wooden crosses the Petrobrussians made a fire, and roasted their meat on Good Friday, in defiance of the fast; priests were scourged, monks imprisoned, &c., &c., [Wall’s Hist., pt. 2, p. 251] while it is allowed that the purity of their morals found friends among the clergy and laity. [Dr. Allix’s Albig. Ch. c. 20, p. 188]

8. The Petrobrussians, to justify themselves from the calumnies of Peter of Clugny and others, sent forth a work in answer to the question, "WHAT IS ANTICHRIST?" It is generally supposed to have been the production of Peter de Bruys, and is said to have been written so early as 1120. It bears internal evidence of having been composed for the purpose of vindicating the writer and his friends in their separation from the church of Rome. In reference to the ordinance, it declares, "A third work of Antichrist consists in this, that he attributes the regeneration of the Holy Spirit unto the mere external rite, baptizing infants in that faith, teaching that thereby baptism and regeneration must be had; on which principle he confers and bestows orders, and indeed grounds all his Christianity; which is contrary to the mind of the Holy Spirit." [Jones’s Lect. v. ii. p. 262] This view was supported by a confession of their faith, in fourteen articles, published about the same time. In this confession they acknowledge the apostles’ creed; believe in the Trinity; own the Canonical books of the Old and New Testament; scriptural character of God, of Adam, and his fall; work of Christ as Mediator; abhorrence of human inventions in worship; that the sacraments were signs of holy things, and that believers should use the symbols or forms when it can be done; though they may be saved without those signs; they own baptism and the Lord’s supper; and express their obedience to secular powers. [Hist. of the Ch. Church, by W. Jones, v. ii. p. 53; Gilly’s Narrative, Appendix 12]

Peter de Bruys continued his labors during a period of twenty years, when he was called to seal his testimony with his blood. He was committed to the flames at St. Giles, a city of Languedoc, in France, by an enraged populace, instigated by the clergy of the catholic church, who very justly apprehended their traffic to be in danger from this new and intrepid reformer. [Allix’s Albig. ch. c. 14, p. 124, and Jones’s LLect. v. ii. p. 207]

9. Within five years of Bruys’s martyrdom, HENRY, of Toulouse, who had been a disciple of his, appeared as a reformer. He travelled through different provinces, and exercised his ministerial functions in all places, with the utmost applause from the people. He declaimed with great vehemence and fervor against the vices of the clergy, and the superstitions they had introduced into the church. [Mosh. Hist. v. ii. p. 316. p. 27] Contemporary with Bruys, Henry, and Arnold, was that extraordinary man, BERNARD, abbot of Clairval in France, whose learning and sanctity rendered him an object of general admiration, whose word appears to have regulated almost every court in Europe, and whose counsels decided the policy of the Catholic community, from the pope to the peasant. Though Bernard fully concedes the points of corruption in the hierarchy, and of children being promoted to dignities in the church, [Claude’s Del. of the Reform. v. i. c. 2] yet his influence was fully given to uphold the man of sin, by all the severe measures of the times. We do not wish to detract from his excellencies; but all those features of sanctity about him, were placed in direct opposition to those good men who strove to reform abuses in the Catholic community, as we now exhibit. Writing to the Count of St. Giles, Bernard thus describes the state of affairs: "How great are the evils which we have heard and known to be done by Henry, the heretic, and what he is still every day doing in the churches of God! He wanders up and down in your country in sheep-clothing, being a ravenous wolf! but according to the hint given by our Lord, we know him by his fruits. The churches are without people--the people without priests--priests without reverence--and lastly, Christians without Christ. The life of Christ is denied to infants, by refusing them the grace of baptism, nor are they suffered to draw near unto salvation, though our Saviour tenderly cried out on their behalf, ‘Suffer,’ &c. O most unhappy people! at the voice of an heretic all the voices of the prophets and apostles are silenced, who, from one spirit of truth, have declared that the church is to be called by the faith of Christ, out of all nations of the world; so that the divine oracles have deceived us." [Allix’s Albig. Ch. C. 14, p. 127, and c. 11, p. 117, and c. 20, p. 185] The archbishop of Narbon, writing to Louis the 7th, king of France, about the same time, details the desolations of the Catholic community, he says, "My Lord, the King, we are extremely pressed with many calamities, amongst which, there is one that most of all affects us, which is, that the Catholic faith is extremely shaken in this our diocese, and St. Peter’s boat is so violently tossed by the waves, that it is in great danger of sinking." Similar statements and complaints reached Bernard, respecting the prevalency of persons holding Baptist sentiments in Germany, where, in a future section, we shall give particulars. [See on Sect. 12, ~ 4] We can from these extracts discover the perturbed and anxious state of mind among the clergy, at the success attending Henry’s preaching. "At this very period, in the Catholic community, the night of ignorance," says Bishop Newton, "was so thick and dark, that there was hardly here and there a single star to be seen in the whole hemisphere." [Diss. on the Prophe. v. ii. p. 170] Yet such was the disposition of the supporters of establishments at this time, that they would have extinguished every star, had not Providence thrown its aegis around it. We may discover in these Paedobaptists the prevailing of a false charity, for while they express their solicitude for the rising race, they can run from those chitty acts of kindness, and with reviling and denouncing language, assign the parents, with all repudiators of the infant rite, to the regions of misery and death.

10. To recover the strayed flocks, Bernard, with other clergy of note, visited those parts of France which were most infected with Henry’s sentiments. Henry was found in the territory of the Earl of St. Giles, and though he fled and remained secreted for some time; yet it is supposed he was afterwards arrested by some Catholic bishop. What end Henry came to is unknown, though Allix remarks, it is said he was a martyr at Toulouse. [Wall’s Hist. pt. 2, p. 254, and Allix’s Albig. Ch. c. 14, p. 128] Henry’s views are recorded under eleven heads by the Magdeburghs, who declare with Mosheim that he denied baptism to children. [Danver’s, p. 293. Ec. Hist. v. ii. p. 316] Peter de Bruys and Henry denied baptism to children, and verbally and practically administered the ordinance only on a profession of faith. [Stennett’s Ans. to Rus. p. 83] "Peter and Henry were two Antipaedobaptist ministers," says Dr. Wall. [Hist. Inf. Bap. pt. 2, c. 7, ~ 8] Henry’s followers, the Henricians, are said by Catel to have been the forerunners of the Albigenses. [Allix’s Albig. Ch. c. 18, p. 172] Henry and Peter de Bruys were two principal doctors of the Albigenses. [Mezeray’s Fr. Hist. p. 276] Bernard says, "the Albigenses were called Henricians, from this person;" "they boast," he adds, "that they are the true successors of the apostles, and the faithful preservers and followers of their doctrine: they are simple men, and rude in their manners, yet many clergymen, bishops, and lay princes condescend to favor them. [Facts, &c., 45]

11. From the zeal and assiduity of Gundulphus and Arnold in Italy, with Berenger, Peter de Bruys, and Henry in France; the followers and disciples of these reformers became sufficiently numerous to excite alarm in the Catholic church, before Waldo, of Lyons, appeared as a reformer. They were in different kingdoms known by different names, and are supposed at this period to have amounted to eight hundred thousand in profession. [Bap. Mag. v.i.p. 435. Wall’s Hist. pt. 2, p. 228; Clark’s Martyr. p. 76] The success of these reformers may suggest the inquiry how they gained so firm a footing in so dark a period, and in the face of all opposing powers. We know they, like the Paulicians, went forth, regulated by the precepts and promises of the New Testament, with a simple and humble dependence on the SPIRIT of truth for direction and support. Their living together in large mansions, in social and brotherly compact, enabled them to carry on their secular work and religious duties unobserved. In all those associations, their great object was the promotion of undefiled religion. They were very assiduous to their callings, all their leisure hours being spent either in the instruction of youth, or about necessary things. The ministers ("for they had a regular succession of elders," [Allix’s Pied. Ch. c. 24, p. 242] who emanated from these colleges or churches) did not content themselves in exhorting their hearers on the Sabbath-days, but went all the week to instruct the people in the neighborhood, preaching also in the fields to the keepers of flocks. [Perrin’s Hist. p. 16] They considered every Christian as in a certain measure qualified and authorized to instruct, exhort, and confirm the brethren in their Christian course. All orders of teachers were to resemble exactly the apostles of our Saviour, and be like them, poor, and throw their possession into a fund for the support of the sick; while the healthy were to pursue some trade to gain a daily subsistence. [Mosh. Hist. v. ii. p. 321] To effect the greater good, many of them led a wandering life throughout the various provinces of Europe, and such itinerants realized considerable success in gaining the affections of the multitude, while some in their travels were called to martyrdom. [Id. p. 224] Various colonies were sent out from these old interests, particularly from Italy, who spread like an inundation through all the European provinces. [Id. p. 226] They consequently formed in different parts a vast number of religious assemblies, whose discipline and officers were the same as found in the primitive church, [Allix’s Albig. Ch. c. 20. p. 183] who adhered tenaciously to their doctrines. [Mosh. Hist. C. 11, p. 2, ch. 5, ~ 2] The success and number of dissidents, with the desolated state of the Catholic community, prior to the Lyonese reformer, are admirably shown by Dr. Allix, in his remarks on the ancient churches of the Albigenses. [C. 14, pp. 117--120]

If we allow eight hundred thousand persons to profess the Berengarian faith (Bap. Mag. v. i. p. 435), and allow to each professor three adherents, these two numbers, 800,000 and 2,400,000, make 3,200,000 persons holding evangelical views; but if we allow infants to share in this calculation, it at once lowers the credit of the evangelical party, and places them in practice on a level with the Catholic church, while it would leave them sadly behind in enumeration; but there is no proof of paedobaptism, at this time, out of the Roman and Grecian hierarchies, while these professors were of the Berengarian class, i.e., holding only believers’ baptism.]

12. Not being able to ascertain the inward arrangements of the Albigensian mansions, the popes complained of them as not being under their regulation, and concluded they must be seats of sin, like their own abodes, and therefore sent forth their expressions of pious detestation in repeated anathemas; consequently, measures were now adopted of a vigorous character to stop the growing evil. The censures of men, the bulls of popes, and the decrees and anathemas of councils, which shall be given hereafter, follow now in rather close succession, at the same time, all bearing their expression of strong aversion towards those who deny the rite to infants. The councils we allude to were held in different parts of Europe; it must appear strange that those assemblies should all express themselves so strongly and decidedly against antipaedobaptists, unless persons did exist to a considerable extent holding those sentiments.

13. Whilst anarchy and confusion awfully prevailed in the Roman community, strife, rebellion, and conflict between popes and emperors, cardinals, clergy, and councils on the claims of contending pontiffs, a person was called by divine grace to advocate the cause of truth. PETER, an opulent merchant of Lyons, in translating from Latin into French the four gospels, perceived that the religion which was taught in the Roman church differed totally from that which was originally inculcated by Christ and his apostles. Struck with the glaring difference, and animated with a pious zeal for religion, he abandoned his mercantile vocation, distributed his riches among the poor, and formed an association with other pious men. He adopted the sentiments of the Waldenses of Piedmont, and from them borrowed those reforming notions which he diffused so successfully over the continent. [Mosh. Hist. v. ii. p. 321, note; Dr. Allix’s Albig. Ch. c. 11, p. 114, and Pied. Ch. c. 19, p. 182; Leger’s Hist. Tom. 1, p. 12, &c.] In 1165, he assumed the character of a public teacher in the city of Lyons. [Jones’s Lect. v. ii. p. 235] He maintained at his own expense several persons, who were employed to recite and expound to the people those translations of the Scriptures he had made, [Gilly’s Narrative, p. 20] which proved of unspeakable service to the cause he espoused. The rules of practice adopted by Peter of Lyons or Peter Waldo and his followers, were extremely severe. They took for their model, to regulate their moral discipline, Christ’s sermon on the mount, which they interpreted and explained in the most literal and rigid manner, and consequently prohibited war, law suits, and all attempts towards the acquisition of wealth; the infliction of capital punishments, self-defence against unjust violence, and oaths of all kinds. [After adopting such a rigid view of the laws of Zion, is it possible that Waldo could practice infant baptism, which rite has no place in the New Testament? Their creed is a denial of the rite among them, and the same can be established of the churches of Piedmont.] [Mosh. Hist. v. ii. p. 322]

14. The followers of Waldo, like himself, renounced all worldly property and interest, making common stock with the poor of the church. From this circumstance, the enemies termed them "THE POOR OF LYONS," and from the city where Waldo commenced his labors, they were named LIONISTS; but in general they were mixed up with the WALDENSES, their sentiments being the same, [Id. c. 12, p. 2, c. 5, S 11, note] and were known in general by that name. They are said to have been men of irreproachable lives. [Bp. Jewel, in Facts, &c., p. 41] They were the pious of the earth. [Mosh. ubi sup] Their views of the ordinance were, says Reiner, "that the washing (immersion) given to children, does no good." [Wall’s Hist. pt. 2, c. 7, p. 233] Dissenters were called by various names, as the Poor of Lyons, Lionists, Paterines, Puritans, Arnoldists, Petrobrussians, Albigenses, Waldenses, &c., &c., different names, expressive of one and the same class of Christians. [Allix’s Pied. c. 14, pp. 122-8; Wall’s ib. p. 220, &c. Jones’s Lect., v. ii. p. 276] "However various their names, they may be," says Mezeray, "reduced to two, that is, the Albigenses (a term now about introduced), and the Vaudois, and these two held almost the same opinions as those we call Calvinists." [Fr. Hist., p. 278] Their bards or pastors were every one of them heads of their churches, but they acted nothing without the consent of the people and clergy. Deacons expounded the gospels, distributed the Lord’s Supper, baptized, and sometimes had the oversight of churches, visited the sick, and took care of the temporalities of the church. [Allix’s Pied., c. 2, pp. 8, 9]

15. The Albigenses, "whose religious views had been a considerable time established, [Dr. Allix’s Rem. Albig. Ch., c. 11, p. 116] gave their entire support to Waldo, so soon as he appeared in public. The archbishop of Lyons, with other rulers of the church in that province where the new reformer arose, opposed with vigor this new doctrine in Waldo’s ministry, but their opposition was unsuccessful; for the purity and simplicity of that religion which these Lionese taught, the spotless innocence that shone forth in their lives and actions, and the noble contempt of riches, which formed a complete contrast with other teachers; appeared so engaging to all such as had any sense of true piety, that the numbers of their disciples and followers increased from day to day. [Mosh. Hist. C. 12, p. 2. c. 5, ~ 11] In reference to the character of this class, Jacob de Riberia, secretary of the king of France, has these words in his collections of Toulouse. "The Waldenses or Lugdenses lived first in the diocese of Albi. They disputed more subtlety than all others; were afterwards admitted by the priests to teach publicly, not for that they approved their opinions, but because they were not comparable to them in wit. In so great honor was the sect of these men, that they were both exempted from charges and impositions (taxes) and obtaining more benefit by will and testaments of the dead, than the priests. A man would not hurt his enemy if he should meet him upon the way, accompanied with one of the heretics--insomuch that the safety of all men seemed to consist in their protection. [Danver’s Hist., p. 20, from Du Plessis, Inquisitor] Reiner, in the ensuing century, bears the following testimony: "They were in manners composed and modest, no pride of apparel, because they are therein neither costly nor sordid. They transact their affairs without lying, fraud, or swearing, being most upon handicraft trades; yea, their doctors or teachers are weavers or shoemakers, who do not multiply riches, but content themselves with necessary things. These Lionists are very chaste and temperate both in meats and drinks, who neither visit taverns or stews. They do much curb their passions; they are always either working, teaching, or learning. They are very frequent in their assemblies and worship, &c. They are very modest and precise in their words, avoiding scurrility, detraction, levity, and falsehood. Neither will they say so much as verily, truly, nor such like, as bordering too much on swearing, as they conceive; but they usually say, Yea and Nay." [Danver’s Hist., p. 21]

16. The pontiff, on being made acquainted with the Lionists’ proceedings, and the inadequacy of his clergy’s opposition, anathematized Waldo and his followers. The severity of those measures adopted by his enemies compelled him to retire; leaving Lyons, he passed through different provinces, preaching the word with great acceptance. His kindness to the poor being diffused, his love of teaching, the love of many to learn, awakened mutual solicitude and devotion, and strengthened each other’s anxiety and exertion from day to day, so that a crowd came about him in every place, to whom he explained the scriptures, which his learning and piety enabled him profitably to do. On being forced from France, particularly Dauphine and Picardy, in which places Waldo had been very successful, he first retired into Germany, with many of his followers, who were called Picards, carrying along with him, wherever he went, the glad tidings of salvation: and at last settled in Bohemia, where he arrived safely, and where we shall mention again his name and his concluding labors. In 1181, Lucius III issued a decree, stating, "We declare all Puritans, Paterines, Poor of Lyons, &c. &c., to lie under a perpetual curse for teaching baptism and the Lord’s Supper otherwise than the church of Rome." [Jones’s Lect., v. ii., p. 241] In furtherance of the pope’s object, Philip II of France, is said to have razed three hundred mansions, and destroyed several walled towns, to stop the growth of these reforming opinions. [Lon. Ency., art. Waldo] Numbers of Waldo’s followers fled for an asylum into the valleys of the Piedmont, taking with them the new translation of the Bible. [Jones’s Lect. v. ii., p. 238] Others removed into Germany, while some of his opinions are to be traced in the Netherlands. [Bap. Mag., v. xiv. p. 51] His doctrines were carried into Flanders, Poland, Spain, Calabria, and even into the dominions of the grand Sultan. [Lon. Ency., v. xviii., p. 447, art. Reform] Consequently, it was found that Waldo and his followers had, in a few years, drawn multitudes from the bosom of a corrupt church, and their doctrines made a great noise in the world. [Mosh. Hist., C. 12, p. 2, c. 5,~14]

17. By the assiduous and unceasing efforts of the elders and teachers, to instruct and qualify every member of the community, to inform the ignorant of the way of salvation; and by their system of local itinerancy, while others undertook more extensive journeys, these united efforts of the whole body were attended with incalculable good, and such organized exertions promised fair to evangelize the world; and if this object is ever attained, similar means must be used by men of disinterested virtue, whose love of souls shall rise superior to the love of gain and ease. From their combined endeavors to promote the knowledge of Christ, "The sects of the Catharists, Waldenses, Petrobrussians, and others," says Mosheim, "gathered strength from day to day, spread imperceptibly throughout all Europe, and assembled numerous congregations in Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. The number of these dissenters, from all hierarchies, was nowhere greater than in Narbonne, Gaul, and the countries adjacent, where they were received and protected in a singular manner by Raymond, Earl of Toulouse, and other persons of the highest distinction; and where the bishops, either through humanity or indolence, allowed them to form settlements, and multiply prodigiously from day to day. They formed by degrees such a powerful party as rendered them formidable to the Roman pontiffs, and menaced the papal jurisdiction with a fatal overthrow. "The pontiffs, therefore, considered themselves as obliged to have recourse to new and extraordinary methods of defeating and subduing enemies who, both by their number and rank, were every way proper to fill them with terror." Innocent III devised such methods, and executed such cruel measures against these worthy people, which occasioned the greatest astonishment in all Europe. His bold designs and achievements will come under consideration in our next section. [Mosh. Hist., Cent. 13, p. 2, ch. 5, ~ 2, 3]

18. The opinion conveyed by many writers is, that these dissenters in France originated with Waldo; and even Robinson and Jones appear to admit, that the Vaudois or Puritans in France were in a low state at the time Waldo appeared as a teacher. Dr. Allix has shown with Mosheim, that these French dissenters descended from the Catharists and Vaudois; while their paucity in numbers, or laxity, is rather difficult to reconcile with Bernard and other writers’ statements, as to the desolation in the Catholic church from Peter de Bruys, Henry and Arnold’s preaching, which last terminated his labors, only twenty-three years before Waldo appeared. The old Baptist interests no doubt were resuscitated and increased with members, new ones to a great extent were raised by Waldo and his worthy fellow-laborers; and these old and new interests together became formidable to the pontiff, and awakened their enemies to vigorous and barbarous measures; consequently, from this period the Vaudois became more known, and more prominent from their sufferings, and from recorded events by the catholic writers.



We shall now record some of those measures devised against the Anti-paedobaptists. "It is very remarkable" says Dr. Allix, "that Egbert, Alanus, Giraldus, and others, should accuse them of one custom, as belonging to all, if a distinction could be made. [Ch. Pied., ch. 17, p. 155]

The voice and authority of the pope was feeble in the early ages of Christianity; nor was his power feared during the governments of the Goths and Lombards; but at the expiration of their dynasties, his character becomes apparent, and his pretensions are in some measure acknowledged; but in this (12th) century, the kings of the earth gave him their power, and the united power made war with the Lamb and his saints.

In 1050, Leo IX commanded that young children should be baptized, because of original sin. [Danver’s Hist., p. 290]

In 1070, Gregory VII decreed, that those children, (foundlings) whose parents are unknown, should be baptized according to the tradition of the Fathers. [Id. p. 297. Rob. Hist. Bap., p. 314]

In 1139, Peter de Bruys, and Arnold of Brescia, were condemned by Innocent II in a Lateran council, for rejecting infant baptism. [Wall’s Hist., pt. 2, ch. 7, ~ 5, p. 242. Appendix to Section VIII 199]

In 1163, Alexander III, in a synod, made a canon against the Albigenses, to damn that heresy, that had so infected, as a canker, all those parts about Gascogne. [Danver’s Hist., p. 299] "These heretics," says Mezeray, "held almost the same doctrines as the Calvinists, and were properly Henricians and Vaudois." [Fr. Hist., p. 248. 40]

In a council held at Lombez, in Gascogne, 1175, the good men of Lyons, or Albigenses, were condemned; one reason assigned was, they held that infants are not saved by baptism? [Jones’s Lect., v. ii., p. 240]

To suppress the heresy that was strengthened by Waldo’s ministry, the pontiff sent a cardinal and three bishops, in 1176, as commissioned inquisitors against the believers--Lionists, Paterines, good men, &c., with a creed requiring all persons suspected of heresy, to subscribe to its contents. One of its articles ran thus: "We believe that none are saved, except they are baptized; and that children are saved by baptism, and that baptism is to be performed by a priest in the church." [Hovenden’s Ann. fol. p. 319, 6] Many Albigenses, refusing the terms, were burnt in different cities in the south of France. [Jones’s Hist. of the Christian Church, v. ii., p. 21] The commissioners, on examining those people, found them to deny the utility of infant baptism. [Milner’s Ch. Hist., cent. 12, ch. 4]

In the same year, a Gallican council was called to convict and condemn the Albigenses. In the third canon, they were judged and condemned of heresy, for denying baptism to children. [Danver’s Treat., p. 300]

In 1177, the kings of France and England, from a desire to stop heresy, first resolved to attack the Albigenses by military force, but afterward thought it would be more prudent to send preachers first; accordingly, the archbishops of Berry and Narbonne, with Reginald, bishop of Bath, and others of figure, appeared among these people. These preaching commissioners exacted an oath of the Catholics, that they should give information of and against the Albigenses. Great numbers were in consequence discovered; and, on being cited before these bishops, a confession of the Catholic faith was submitted to them, and they were required to swear to their belief of it; but the Albigenses refused to swear or take any oath. Consequently, the Albigenses, Paulicians, or Waldenses, in Gascogne and Provence, were excommunicated; and all persons under the fear of the pontiff were forbidden to entertain them in their houses or country. The severity of this measure drove many into other kingdoms, others were led to abjure their opinions, and the rest the princes were requested to banish out of their dominions. [Mezeray’s F. Hist., p. 250; Allix’s Albig., ch. 15; Collier’s Ecc. Hist., v.i., b. 5, p. 389; Miln. Ch. Hist., C. 12, c. 4]

In 1178, Cardinal Chrysoginus was sent as an inquisitor among the heretics about Toulouse, that had evil sentiments about the sacraments. He called a synod the same year, which was held at Toulouse, and the Albigenses were condemned to expulsion. [Danver’s Hist., p. 300; Jones’s Lect., v. ii., p. 240]

In 1179, Alexander III, in a council, condemned and anathematized the Puritans about Gascogne, Albi, and other parts of Toulouse, for denying baptism to children: and Favin, in his history, confirms the testimony of their Anti-paedobaptist views, by declaring that the Albigeois do esteem the baptizing of children superstitious. [Danver’s Hist., p. 301]

In 1181, Pope Lucius III held his general council at Verone; at which the Albigensian sect and heresy were damned, for teaching otherwise than the Church of Rome about baptism.

In 1199, Innocent III, in answer to a letter from the bishop of Aries, in Provence, represented the heretics as teaching "that it was to no purpose to baptize children, since they could not have forgiveness thereby, as having no faith, charity," &c. [Wall’s Hist. of Inf. Bap., pt. 2, ch. 7, S 5, p. 242] Extracts of evidence taken from the acts of the inquisition of Toulouse support these views of their denominational character. [Allix’s Albig. Ch., ch. 18, p. 161. &c.]

These severe methods prove anabaptists to have been a powerful body; and though these measures disturbed their local establishment, yet they did not impair the main body, since they remained sufficient to menace the papacy with a fatal overthrow. There could be no propriety in every synod, council, and assembly, making severe rules to enforce baptism on infants, unless a considerable body of Baptists existed, to thwart this vestige of the man of sin, which rite "his holiness" evidently considered as a palladium to his interest.

At the same time, it would be difficult to trace the extent of those persons in the early ages among the Albigenses, who held the truth unsophisticated; [Allix’s Pied., Ch., c. 2] yet, amidst all the diversity of names and opinions charged upon them, no early author records infant baptism as practiced among them; indeed, every early testimony charges them with the error of Anti-paedobaptism and Ana-baptism.



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