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AN ACCOUNT OF THE HOLY BAPTISM
IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE FIFTEENTH CEN;
[In the beginning of this century, the decree Statutum ex Oficio, of King Henry IV, of England, published against the Wickliffites, is mentioned.
Thereupon follows a recital of fifteen articles of said Wickliffites, which by the inquisition were laid before them, for recantation; the twelfth article of which declares, that a child, though it die unbaptized, will be saved; and the thirteenth article, that neither the pope, nor the prelates, nor any ordinary, can compel any one to swear; the other articles are against the superstitions of the Roman church.
Another article charged against these people, namely: that if they had an infant, they would not have it baptized by the hands of a priest in church.
William Thorpe is charged with five articles, the last of which is: That he taught that one ought not to swear.
Thirteen articles, mostly against the Roman superstitions, are ascribed to John Huss, the thirteenth or last of which declares that one ought not to swear in any wise.
A notice concerning the followers of John Huss; also, the articles of holy baptism, as professed by the Taborites.
An account for the year 1455, of many Waldenses in the bishopric of Reichstadt, who had twelve teachers; also of some of them who resided in Austria, A. D. 1471, and in the bishopric of Eichstaedt, A. D. 1475.
The edict of King Matthias against the Moravians, or Moravian Brethren, who are called Old Waldenses, as also Baptists (Anabaptists), is shown for the year 1481.
Conclusion to the fifteenth century; in which it is shown by different reasons, how it comes, that there were so few public testimonies of the old continuous Waldenses. Here we take our leave, with the close of this century.]
In this following century we find some persons who are opposed to oaths, some to war, some to infant baptism, and other articles in opposition to the Roman church; of which we will give a brief account.
A. D. 1401. A certain celebrated writer relates, from John Fox's English History of the Persecu;0ions, that then, in the month of January, King Henry IV held a parliament at London, in which a decree or bloody edict was issued. against the Wickliffites, of whose belief against infant baptism and oaths we have already written, in speaking of their leader John Wickliffe; and who at that time, after the English custom, were called Lollards. This decree or edict was called: Statutum ex Oficio, or Edict of King Henry IV against the disciples of Wickliffe, in England. See 2d book of the History of the Persecutions, fol. 514, and fol. 515, from John Fox's Angl., fol. 481.
TOUCHING THE ARTICLES OF THEIR FAITH, LAID
BEFORE THEM BY THE INQUISITION, FOR
Continuing, said author relates, from Fox, some articles drawn up by the inquisition, with or besides the above rrientioned edict; containing the principal tenets of the Wickliffites, which the inquisition placed before them for renunciation, or abjuration. They read as follows
1. "That the mass or the worship which is performed before the holy cross, and is ordained by the whole church, is idolatry.
2. "That all who worship before the cross, commit idolatry, and are to be regarded as idolaters.
3. "That the real flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not in the sacrament of the altar after the priest has pronounced the words of consecration over them.
4. "That the sacrament of the altar is sacramental bread, without life, and only instituted in remembrance of the suffering of Christ.
5. "That the body of Christ, so called, which is taken from the altar, is a figure of Christ's body, as long as we see the bread and the wine.
6. "That the decrees and ecclesiastical ordinances of the prelates and the clergy, in the province of Canterbury, in their last assembly, held, with the consent of the king and the nobles, in the last parliament, against him who was recently burnt alive in the city of London, were not powerful enough to change the purpose of that martyr; because the substance of the material bread, in the sacrament of the altar, is the same as it was before, and no change is made, in the nature of the bread by consecration.
7. "That any layman, though he have not studied at college, has a right to preach the Gospel everywhere, and that he may teach (provided he has been properly elected thereto by his church, as has been stated elsewhere) upon his own authority, without permission from his ordinary bishop.
8. "That it is sin to give anything to the Dominicans, Minorites, Augustinians, and Carmelites.
9. "That we ought not to sacrifice at the funerals of the dead.
10. "That auricular confession of sins to the priest is unnecessary.
11. "That every good man, though he be unlearned, is a priest before God.
12. "That a child, though it die unbaptized, will be saved."
NOTE. This is putting down infant baptism out and out as of no value; since the papists were not ashamed to say, that it were better, that a whole country should sink out of sight, than that a child should die without baptism; maintaining, that all unbaptized infants would go to hell, and be eternally damned.
13. "That neither the pope, nor the, prelates; nor any ordinary, can compel any one to swear, either by any of God's creatures, or by the Bible, or by the New Testament."
Here it must be observed, that these people thereby denied all manner of swearing of oaths, not only that which is done by the creature, but also by the Creator Himself; since even in England they did not, at that time, swear by the creature; but in the form of swearing this custom was observed by the papists, namely, he who was to swear, knelt down, and laid his hand upon the Bible, or the Testament, and said: "I swear by God and His holy Gospel, etc., so truly help me God."
But who does not know, that the Gospel or the Word of God is no creature? And though it be that in swearing the hand was laid upon the Bible, or upon the Gospel book, in token of the testimony, the swearing was not done by the material book; as also in our countries, when in swearing (among those who hold thus) the hand or the finger is held up, the swearing is not done by that hand or that finger.
Hence, said people were opposed not only to the manner of swearing, but to swearing itself, even though they have been required to swear, not by the creature, but by the Creator Himself. Concerning this, see their own confession.
14. "That the bishop as well as a common man, and a layman as well as the priest, are of equal authority, as long as they live aright.
15. "That no one is bound to accord any bodily reverence (that is, by bending the knee and worshiping, as was then customary in England), to any prelate."
These are briefly the chief articles which, according to the preceding decree of the king, and the ecclesiastical ordinance, or much rather inquisition of the archbishop, were laid before the Christians in England, for recantation. See large Book of Christian Martyrs, fol. 517, col. 3, 4, from John Fox, Hist. Angl. 485.
A. D. 1402. About this time, Thomas Walsingham, a bitter papistic historian records some articles of the above mentioned people, which, as he states, one Louis of Clifford, formerly a defender of the faith of these people, had discovered to the archbishop of Canterbury. The fifth of those articles reads as follows: "If they (the said people) had a new born infant, they would not have it baptized in church, by the hands of the priest." Thom. Wals., in Hist., Reg. Angl. and Hypodigmate Neustrie, A. D. 1402.
To this article several words are immediately added; but these are denied by a certain writer, who quotes said passage, and says, that the apostate, Louis of Clifford, in order to please the archbishop, or the bishop himself, surreptitiously added these words; therefore we will leave it as it is. A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 518, col. 1.
A. D. 1407. Or about this time, William Thorpe, formerly an English priest, was apprehended for the faith, who, as it is stated, had been persecuted greatly already in the year 1397. He was charged with holding as his faith these five articles
1. "That in the sacrament of the altar, also after the consecration, that is, after the priest has read the canon, it still remains real bread.
2. "That images are not to be worshiped, nor any honor shown them.
3. "That no pilgrimages ought to be made.
4. "That the priests have no right to appropriate the titles to themselves.
5. "That men ought not to swear."
These articles are fully acknowledged to be his articles; but, in order to give them a somewhat different coloring, especially with regard to the article respecting nonswearing, some of the Calvinistic writers, one copying from another, as it seems, have made some expositions on them, as if William Thorpe himself replied to them, and signified by the words: "Men ought not to swear at all," that he did not mean that men ought to refrain altogether from swearing; but only that one ought not to swear by the creature, neither trivially, as is especially maintained by the Calvinistic Mellinus, preacher in St. Anthony's Polder, in his large book, 2d part, fol. 524, col. 2.
But other writers, of no less credibility and repute, flatly contradict this, saying positively that he rejected all manner of oaths.
Indeed, Mellinus himself, as if forgetful of what he wrote, indicates it quite clearly when he (page 519, col. 3), compares this William Thorpe, in faith, to William Swinderby, who, being burnt for the faith, at London, among others, confessed this article, which Walter Brute understood to defend, namely: "That it is not lawful for Christians to swear on any account, in any case, either by the Creator, or by His creatures." A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 506, col. 3. This article is spoken of elsewhere.
Further observation. In Kort herha el van den Loop der Werelt, compiled from various chronicles and histories by F. H. H., A. D. 1611, the following is contained in the account relative to the swearing of oaths, page 99: "A. D. 1397, William Troppe, otherwise called W. Thorpe, was much persecuted in England, on account of his religion. He confessed that the sacrament of the altar remained true bread after the consecration, and that men ought not to swear."
Touching the same matter. P. J. Twisck writes: "William Thorpe, a priest in England, disputed earnestly with the priests of antichrist. He taught against images, the oath, the sacrament of the altar, and like abuses." Chron., p. 758, col. 2.
Conclusion. Hence, it appears from the preceding testimonies, that this man sincerely, plainly, and undisguisedly taught against oaths of whatsoever kind, according to the words of the Lord. Matt. 5:34, and James 5:12;* to which more could be adduced; but we think enough has been said in the matter; and, hence, we will dismiss it.
A. D. 1412 The loss to the Roman, and the upbuilding of the true Christian, church, were at this time facts existing in no small degree in the French country, around Paris, but particularly in that city itself; since various distinguished persons, and in point of learning not the least, did not hesitate to attack the Italian Babylon, that is, Rome, and her perverted worship; however, not with external but with spiritual and evangelical weapons. Notwithstanding the hatred of the papal clergy, they dared openly reprove the errors and abuses of the Roman church. But whether they expressly mentioned, or otherwise included, the article of infant baptism among the number, is not clearly stated by the ancients; hence we must content our
selves with what they have written of it in a general way.
NOTE. John of Ferrara. . . in Italy, said about this time, among many other articles, that the pope, by sheer violence, and without right, had seized countries and cities; that the clergy carried their conscience in their caps, and that they were more avaricious and worse than the laity; that the churches and monasteries of the clergy were nets with which to draw to themselves the property of the laity, etc. P. J. Twisck, Chron. for the year 1412, p. 770, col. 2.
Concerning this there is the following account: "At this time (A. D. 1412), also at Paris, various excellent, learned men rose against popery, pointing out the errors and abuses of the Roman church; by which they gained small thanks from the clergy." Catal. Test., fol. 857, Meru., fol. 910, compared with the Chronijck van den Ondergang, p. 771, col. 1.
A. D. 1415. At this time John Huss lived, who, having examined and studied the books and writings of John Wickliffe (of whom we said in the preceding century, that he opposed infant baptism, and the swearing of oaths), retained and accepted therefrom, among other articles, that it does not become a Christian to swear.
How and in what manner the writings of John Wickliffe fell into the hands of John Huss, and how .eagerly he exercised himself therein, is described by A. Mellinus, 2d book, p. 495, col. 1; but that he ever, by this means or otherwise, learned the article of nonswearing, Mellinus, as well as other Calvinists, would deny, saying; "That which is imputed to him, regarding his unwillingness to swear, has respect only to the abjuration of his faith, or religion, but not to the oath itself."
Besides that I have never found such an explanation in any credible writer of that time, though I have earnestly sought to investigate it; the circumstances of the matter itself, however, indicate that the article of nonswearing was one of the articles of his faith.
TOUCHING THE ARTICLES OF FAITH WHICH JOHN
HUSS HAD DERIVED FROM THE WRITINGS
OF JOHN WICKLIFFE
Sebastian Franck writes as follows: "John Huss, a disciple and fellow believer of this Wickliffe, received the Wickliffite doctrine from Jerome of Prague, who carried it with him from England to Bohemia as a sacred treasure.
Continuing, he relates the articles which John Huss had learned and adopted from Wickliffe's writings.
1. "That the Roman church has no right to divide the sacrament, and has wrongfully deprived the laity of one form.
2. "That the Roman bishop is just like other (ordinary) bishops.
3. "That under all circumstances there is no purgatory.
4. "To pray for the dead is vain and unavailing, and is invented by the avarice of the priests.
5. "Images of God and the saints are not to be tolerated, and should be abolished.
6. "The wicked devils have invented the unspiritual mendicant orders.
7. "The priests ought to be poor, and live only from alms.
8. "Outward, auricular confession is altogether false and man's invention. It is sufficient to confess one's sins in the closet to God.
9. "The ceremonies and usages of the (Roman) church are vain things.
10. "Touching several things concerning the sacrament, etc.
11. "The time is uselessly consumed by the seven hours.*
12. "There is no merit in the fasts instituted by the church, and in many other errors.
13. "Men shall not swear in any wise. Hence he said to those who urged him vehemently to swear an oath: `I am afraid every way; if I swear, eternal death is my portion; but if I swear not, I cannot escape your hands; but it is better that I fall into your hands without sin than to sin in the sight of God."'
Here we certainly clearly see that the doctrine of not swearing in any wise, was an article of his faith; and if it was the case that he was requested to abjure his faith or religion, he refused to abjure it, not only because he would not forsake his faith or religion, but also because he held that one ought not to swear at all, as the 13th article declares: "Men shall not swear in any wise," that is, not at all. Seb. Fr. Chron., 3d part, f al. 105. Tract. van den Loop Werelt, fol. 100. Also P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 764. A.
NOTICE CONCERNING THE FOLLOWERS OF JOHN
HUSS, WHO, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNTS OF
JACOB MEHRNING, WERE VERY DIFFER;
ENT FROM THEIR LEADER
When in the fifteenth century, John Huss began to teach in Bohemia, and gained a great number of adherents, many Waldenses united with them; who rejoiced, and hoped that thereby the light of the Gospel, which, up to this time, had for so long a period been so abominably quenched and persecuted by the papists, would begin to shine more clearly, burn more vigorously, and proceed the more unobstructedly. But when, after the death of John Huss and Jerome of Prague, who had both been burnt by the papists, at Constance, on the Lake of Constance, contrary to the safe conduct granted by the Emperor, the Hussites in Bohemia, commenced an atrocious and bloody war against Emperor Sigismund and the German electors, and
* Prayers which the priests of the Roman Catholic church have to read from the breviary at stated seasons of the year. Trans.
other princes, which they, after carrying it on for a long time, finally adjusted, and when said Hussites, as totally estranged from their teacher and leader, John Huss, united with the papists in many doctrinal points and church ceremonies, many of the Waldenses, who had at first joined the Hussites, found themselves shamefully deceived in their hope, and bethought themselves better, that is, according to the doctrine of the holy Gospel, to have nothing at all to do with such a bloody war. Again, they also began to protest against it. They also turned away from the Hussites, in the points of doctrine and church usages, and established a separate church, being afterwards called Taborites, Grubenheimer* dwellers in caves, etc.
This greatly grieved the so called Hussites, and they, therefore, through the instigation of M. John Rockenzahns and others, began to dreadfully hate and persecute, not only the old faithful Waldenses, who had never been united with them, but also these newer ones, who separated from them. Jac. Mehrn., Bdpt. Hist., 2d part, from Lydius, in the Hist. of the Waldensibus.
FURTHER OBSERVATION CONCERNING THE MIS;
DEEDS OF THE FOLLOWERS OF JOHN HUSS
From the above, we certainly clearly see that the orthodox Waldenses had existence also in the fifteenth century; some of whom, having, from a good intention, united with the Hussites, who followed their master John Huss, neither meekly nor faithfully, were shamefully deceived by them, seeing said Hussites commenced to take up arms and wage severe wars against their enemies, something to which the Waldenses were certainly not accustomed, as is shown by their own confession. Having therefore separated from the Hussites, they, as well as their brethren, the old Waldenses, with them, were severely persecuted by them; thus indicating that the church of Christ on earth is not a kingdom of triumph and victory, but a school of suffering and death for the name of Christ.
THAT THE WALDENSES WHO HAD BEEN UNITED
WITH THEM, CALLED TABORITES, WERE
NOT RECEIVED BY THEIR OLD
BRETHREN, AND WHY
Now when these Waldenses, called Taborites who, having been united with the Hussites, had separated from them on account of war and other errors, desired to reunite with the old Waldenses, who had been their brethren, these, from sorrow of mind, refused them, that the unchristian conduct of the Hussites might not be laid to their charge, seeing these seceders, as they thought, had been so intimate with the Hussites.
See here, beloved reader, how pure, upright and unfeigned was the conduct of these old Waldenses in this respect; how steadfastly and blamelessly
* These "Grubenheimer" are to be distinguished from others who also bore this name.
they practiced their confession, desiring to bear not even the appearance of having fellowship with those who waged war and fought against their enemies.
THAT THEY NEVERTHELESS PROFESSED A GOOD
Nevertheless, these Taborites, because of their aversion to war and the superstitions, had separated from the Hussites, and also truly held in those times, as cannot be inferred otherwise, the true confession of the Waldenses, although, as it is thought, some endeavored to force in infant baptism among. them; however, their confession in regard to this article, delivered in the year 1431, at Prague, in Bohemia, to M. John Rockenzahn, makes no mention at all of it, yea, they employ such expressions therein as is utterly impossible to apply to infant baptism.
In J. Mehrning's History of Baptism, p. 611, we read these words: "I have before me the confession of the Taborites, drawn up A. D. 1431, which in all respects agrees with our doctrine, and which I intend to have printed at the proper, time."
Concerning the difference between the Hussites proper and Taborites, who were united with them, D. Balthazar Lydius gives this explanation: "The followers of John Huss were divided into two sects, the one called Praguers, the other Taborites; of whom the Taborites were the stricter. Tract entitled: `Where the church was before the year 1160; or before the time of the Waldenses;' printed in the year 1624, Â¢. 25."
Their confession is as follows: "First, concerning the sacrament of baptism, which is the first sacrament by which God imparts, especially the first sacramental grace, if we are spiritually regenerated; because it is a sign of the spiritual regeneration proceeding from God, we hold, according to the tenor of the holy Scriptures, and sincerely confess from the heart, that the sacrament of baptism is the ablution of man, performed by another with water, who pronounces the words prescribed by Christ, which effectually signify the ablution of the soul from sin, which is expressly founded in the Gospel; for Christ, with words as well as by deed, taught that those who believe in Him should be thus baptized. He taught this with words when He said to the apostles,: `Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' Matthew 23:19. He taught it .by deed when He Himself was baptized by John, in Jordan. Matt. 3. Bapt. Hist., second part, pp. 743, 744, from B. Lyd. Wald., pp. 10, 11.
A. D. 1431. At this time, also Scotland, though otherwise very superstitious, experienced no inconsiderable reformation in the true worship of God, which was effected by various persons zealous for the honor of God and the welfare of His church. So that some resolved and endeavored to reform not only the article of baptism, which was shamefully, and not less to the detriment of many innocent. souls, abused by the Roman church, but also various other . articles which, from sheer superstition, were maintained by them according to human opinion. .They were determined to retain the good, and abolish the evil.
Among those who at this time undertook the reformation of the same, one Paul Craus is especially mentioned, who also opposed auricular confession, the invocation of the saints, the idolatrous sacrament, etc. For this he was condemned as a heretic; but how he finally ended will be shown at the .right time and place. Compare the account in the fifteenth book van den Ondergang, p. 796, col. 1, with Tine. Cal., fol. 368, Georg. Pac. c. 11. Herm. Mod., fol. 274.
NOTE. Whether this Paul Craus was fully enlightened in all other articles pertaining to the worship of God, we cannot definitely prove; even as, on the other hand, we have found nothing which might tend to derogate his belief; though we have sought in good faith for that which would be derogatory to him; as well as for that which would make him acceptable; hence we have deemed it well to accord also to him a place among the good confessors of the evangelical truth.
A. D. 1455. About this time there were many Waldenses (erroneously called Wandois) in Germany, in the bishopric of Reichstadt, of whose orthodox confession an account was given for the year 1170. They, had among them twelve preachers, or teachers, of their religion, who, each in his district, went out secretly, on account of the severe persecution, to preach. P. J. 7xuaisck, Chron., p. 829, col. 2, from Henr. Boxh., fol. 27.
NOTE. A. D. 1460. At this time Roderic Simotensus severely reproved the human institutions and abuses of the papists, such as excommunication, fasts, feasts, auricular confession, and the mass, as appears from his book, entitled The Mirror of Hunan Life. Chron., van den Ondergang, p. 835, col. 1.
Again, same year as above; Nicholas Siculus said at this time, that a believing person who rightly adduces the holy Scriptures should be believed more than the pope, and a whole council that rejects the holy Scripture. He further said, that a council may, err;.aJso, that some of the popes lived as though they did not believe that there would be a resurrection of the flesh after this life. See the afore mentioned chronicle, in the place indicated, taken from Joh. Munst., fol. 190.
Also, same year, Dionys. Rickel, a learned man, said that in the primitive church the Sacrament (or Supper) was given to believers under both forms, that is, with bread and wine; to which the Roman church acted contrary at this time. Compare the author first indicated with Joh. Fabr., fol. 164.
A. D. 1465. Nicholas Casanus now vehemently attacked the pope with the Word of God; he called him antichrist, rejected human institutions, etc. In his book on the Peace of the Faith, compared with P. J. Tzedsck, Chron. page 841, col. 1.
A. D. 1467. Anthony Rosellus, an Italian doctor, writes that the pope is not to be regarded as the lord of the world; that he neither can nor ought to command the Emperor; that he neither may nor ought to wield the secular sword. P. J. Tzedsck, Chron. page 845, from Joh. Munst., fol. 295.
A. D. 1470. At this time a book was issued, entitled Spiegel des heiligen kercken Regements, without the name of the author, in which particularly, the mendicant monks and the pope were censured. The author adduces Anthony the Hermit, and says that the monks have departed from the Word of God, and, from hypocrisy, have adopted all sorts of human institutions. Catal. Test. herit., fol. 884, compared with P. 1. Twisck, page 847, col. 2.
A. D. 1471. At this time, says a celebrated author, there were not very many Waldenses in Bohemia, on account of the violent persecution; but in Austria there were still some, who had also been dispersed for the most part, through the cruelty of the torments, and the terror of persecution.
But how they were afterwards united, as it is alleged, by one Peter Textor, or (as Mellinus explains), Peter the Weaver, in the city of Landskron, in Bohemia, with the Moravian and Bohemian brethren; so that they subsequently held no separate church meetings, save only with the Bohemian and Moravian brethren, is described by Mellinus, in the second book of the Persecutions, fol. 592, col. 4, and fol. 593, col. 1.
NOTE. The Bohemian brethren must here not be understood to mean the Hussites, to whom the name of Bohemian brethren was also given; unless it be said that the Waldenses had separated from them.
But that notwithstanding this opinion of Mellinus, many Waldenses still remained scattered and persecuted in Germany and France, as well as elsewhere, who, unchanged in faith and worship, endeavored steadfastly to serve their Saviour according to the rule of Christ and His holy apostles, appears from various other authors. Yea, Mellinus, as though he had forgotten himself, writes that A. D. 1475, in the bishopric of Eichstaedt, in Germany, a great number of Christians were discovered and apprehended, who professed the doctrine of the Waldenses. Second book, fol. 590, col. 4. Yea, that even sixty nine years afterwards, namely A. D. 1544, the Waldenses of Merindol and Cabriere delivered a confession of faith, at Paris in the parliament, to the King of France, in defence of their innocence. Same book, fol. 446, col. 1, 2, etc.
Moreover, that said confession does not militate against, but well agrees with, that of the Anabaptists, may be found in the same place.
NOTE. A. D. 1472. J. Guitode, . . . now greatly reproved the papal haughtiness and idolatry; the running of pilgrims after images, and miracles invented by avarice. He undisguisedly said that they were vice:egents, not of Christ, but of antichrist; yea, that they were possessed with the presumptuousness and pride of Lucifer. Chron. van den Ondergang, page 852, from. Catal. Test. Verit., 883.
A. D. 1481. It is stated that in this year King Matthias, on the solicitation of some evil disposed persons, issued a decree against the Moravians or Moravian brethren. Large Book of Christian Martyrs, fol. 597, col. 2, from Joach Camer. Narr. Hist. Boh., page 118.
These Moravian brethren are called Old Waldenses by Jacob Mehrning, who also shows that various excellent and learned men reckoned among the Anabaptists proceeded from them. His words are: "From among these Bohemian and Moravian Old Waldenses afterwards several excellent men proceeded; as, among others, Hans Koch and Leonhard Meister, who were both put to death at Augsburg, A. D. 1527. Also, the very learned Michael Sattler, who ministered to his church, A. D. 1527, at Horb, in Germany. Also, Leonhard Keyser, who, in the year 1529, was martyred in Bavaria; to whom, while in prison, Dr. Luther addressed letters of consolation, although he (Keyser) did not agree with Luther in regard to infant baptism. Bapt. Hist., Zd part, page 748.
CONCLUSION TO THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
A,. D. 1500
Thus it appears clearly, that the old true Waldenses existed, and practiced their worship not only throughout the fifteen century, but also long afterwards, as will be seen from the sequel of our account. But that the number of the witnesses which we have produced from the Waldenses, has not been very great in this century, of this not we, but the enemies of truth have been the cause, who have put the writings of these people out of the way.
This the writer of the History of Baptism explains, when he says, Â¢. 749 to p. 750:
1. "That there are so few public testimonies extant, of the faithful old Waldenses, in this fifteenth century, that is, between the years 1400 and 1500 is the fault of their enemies and opponents, who, by strategy and violence, as much as they alone could, suppressed their writings and confessions.
2. "Besides the Waldenses were always and everywhere most cruelly persecuted by their opponents, without a hearing; which prevented them from bringing anything to good light.
3. "Printing came into use only in the fifteenth century, and in its beginning did not become common as it now is, for a long time; hence the Waldenses and their successors could not avail themselves of it.
4. "Besides, it was not so indispensably necessary; since their confessions regarding the true use, and abuse, of baptism sufficiently came to light through their martyrs, and through the inquisitions and examinations; which their enemies and murderers themselves had to copy in their chronicles and chronologies, much of which has already been adduced. From Catal. Test. herit. Flacc.
5. "Moreover, God, in the midst of His enemies, miraculously preserved, at all times, in the text of the New Testament, the right and true baptismal ordinance of Jesus Christ (that is, baptism upon faith), and also, in many, the Christian baptism of adults; to which they obediently submitted, and suffered with patience all that befell them on this account.
6. "Finally, the ancient writers throughout all the centuries from the time of Christ until now, yea, the teachers of the Roman church themselves, had to bear witness to the truth, in their books, and to confess, by whom infant baptism and all other abuses of baptism have been brought in and arbitrarily forced upon the church; and by whom this has everywhere been opposed; as has hitherto been shown. Hence it is neither profitable nor necessary, to write much about it; as it serves to no purpose. Truth is praised also through the enemy.
This will suffice concerning the testimony of those who understood, taught, and practiced baptism and other articles, in the fifteenth century, according to the rule of the Anabaptists of the present day. Hence we will leave this matter, and see what persons in those times steadfastly testified with their blood and death to this confession.
AN ACCOUNT OF THOSE WHO SUF
FERED IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS IN THE FIFTEENTH
[The beginning treats of the great distress in these times; some definite information given, about some countries where the misery was the greatest, as concerning England, France, Germany, Flanders, etc.
The first year of this century begins with a bloody decree published in England against the confessors of the holy Gospel; in consequence of which much innocent blood is shed.
William S'winderby is put to death by fire, for the faith, in the city of London, A. D. 1401; some account is given respecting his belief and death, according to different writers.
In a note, for the year 1405, mention is made of the belief of John Wenschelberg, against a certain blood red papistic host and the false miracles of the Romanists.
William Thorpe, confessing his belief against the oath and other articles of the Roman church, is put to death by violence and fire, at Saltevoden, A. D. 1407.
Ten years after, A. D. 1417, Catharine of Thou, Lorraine, coming to Montpellier, in France, and there offers up her life, by fire, to God, for the faith.
A great number of Christians called Waldenses, also willingly, for the faith, give their bodies to be burned, in the Flemish countries, A. D. 1421. In a note, by way of parenthesis, the flood of Dort is introduced, together with the destruction of seventy two villages which were inundated in that year; also, concerning Henry Gruenfelder, Peter Torea, Jerome Savonarola, who, in the years 1423, 1425 and 1427, opposed the errors of the pope and the Roman church.
William White, father Abraham of Cholchester, and John Waddon, miserably put to death by fire, for their true faith, at Norwich in England, A. D. 1428.
Then follows Margaret Backster, who, on account of her orthodox belief against images, the Sacrament, the oath, etc., is put to death in prison, or otherwise, A. D. 1430.
In a note, for the years 1431, 1436, 1439, and 1450, it is stated how Paul Crau, Thomas Rhedonensis, Augustine de Roma, Alanus Chartetius, and others, opposed the Roman church with spiritual weapons; and what happened to them on this account.
Very many Christians called Waldenses, are put to death for the faith, at Eichstaedt, in Germany, A. D. 1455. Then follows a note concerning Laurence de Valla, John de Wesalia, George Morgenstern, Stephen Brulifer, etc., who, in the years 1465, 1470, and 1471 maintained their belief in opposition to the Roman Babylon; and what they had to suffer on this account.
The last Waldensian martyr in this century is Stephen, an elder of their church, who loses his life for the faith, by red hot coals, at Vienna, in Austria.
A severe inquisition, instituted by the Spaniards against the believers and all who opposed the Roman church, is circumstantially shown, for the year 1492.
In a note, for the years 1494, 1498, and 1499, mention is made of John Bougton, Jerome Savonarola, Paul Scriptor, etc., who declared against the Roman church; and what happened to them an this account. With this we conclude our account of the martyrs in the fifteenth century.]
The times in this century are distressing. The places of the world, though very large, are nevertheless very small and narrow for the pious. The holy confessors of Jesus, who seek to live according to the Gospel, find no rest anywhere. It seems that the earth, which ought properly to be a dwelling place for the good, is possessed only by the rocked.
Is it not a matter of astonishment, and not less to be lamented: England,* which of old has been supposed to have derived her name from the good angels of heaven, is now found to be a pool of infernal and wicked spirits; for the saints of God are cruelly put to death there; to which Smithfield, at London, the murderous prison at Saltwoden, and the place of execution at Norwich, can bear testimony.
France, which used to be called a free and frank country, yea, a kingdom of liberties, is now so devoid of freedom for the consciences of the true believers, that scarce a corner is found there, where they may confess their faith or practice their worship. At Montpellier they are hurried to the place of execution, and in other places they are likewise miserably put to death.
Germany is occupied by non Germans, that is, by ignorant and unreasonable men, who do not f ear to resist the will of God, and to imbrue their hands in the blood of God's saints. At Eichstaedt they are murdered; at Vienna, in Austria, they are burnt.
Flanders, this most beautiful and pleasant country, upon which, from of old, the gracious blessing of the Lord descended as a refreshing shower and morning dew, is utterly ungrateful to the Lord, and acknowledges none of the benefits enjoyed; but there God is touched in the apple of His eye. O awful matterl the pious witnesses of God are placed alive into the fiery flames.
It is time that we begin to give some account of this matter, lest some should doubt what we have said.
OF A BLOODY DECREE, PUBLISHED IN ENGLAND
AGAINST THE CONFESSORS OF THE HOLY GOS;
PEL; IN CONSEQUENCE OF WHICH MUCH
BLOOD WAS SHED AMONG THEM,
A. D. 1401
Tyrants generally find a reason for their tyranny, in the orders which they have received from their superiors in authority; this is for them a wide cloak, which can cover much evil. In the meantime they vent their anger, yea, rejoice in their wickedness, while the unoffending and innocent have to suffer.
Now, if this would obtain only with the worldly, what would it matter, knowing that they are worldlyminded; but even the so called ecclesiastics or clergy, who are credited with everything good, are guilty in this matter.
All this is briefly shown, in the beginning of the fifteenth book of the Chronijk van den Ondergang der Tyrannen, with these words: "In the year 1401 a decree was issued in England, against the confessors of the Gospel, or those who gave them assistance or showed them favor; in consequence of which much innocent blood was shed by the ecclesiastical prelates, priests, and monks of anti
* "Anglia," England; others, however, are of the opinion, that it comet from 'Ango,' that is, to strangle, torment, distress, oppress, etc.; or from Anguatia," hat is, a narrow and straitened place.
Christ." See above mentioned chronicle, page 753, Col. 1, from Hist. Adrian., fol. 85, Henr. Boxh., fol. 27.
WILLIAM SWINDERBY, BURNT FOR THE FAITH, AT
LONDON, IN ENGLAND, A. D. 1401
In the year 1389 it occurred as old chronicles show, that one William Swinderby, a priest of the bishopric of Lincoln, was accused of certain opinions, and brought before the bishop of Lincoln, who examined him concerning certain articles, in the church at Lincoln, according to the manner or order of the papal laws, agreeing with their usual ceremonies.
His accusers were the monks, friar Roger Frisby, a Franciscan; friar John Hincely, an Augustmian, and Thomas Blaxton, a Dominican; whom he refuted in all their accusations, showing that the eleven articles which they brought against him, and which they alleged to have extracted from his sermons, were altogether false, or, at least, mixed with much untruth.
But said monks, not content with his disavowal and explanation, opposed him so vehemently with their testimonies, that they declared to have convicted him of the articles with which they had charged him. They brought with them into the city dry fagots, according to the English custom, to burn him, and would not release him until he had promised, or, from fear of death, firmly assured them, that he would not hold, teach, or preach said articles any more, neither secretly nor openly, on pain of incurring like punishment. They moreover drew up in writing a form, which he was to repeat from memory, by way of recantation: to which they compelled him by severe threats. John Fox, Mart. Angl., ex Registro Hereford.
But afterwards the aforesaid William Swinderby did nevertheless not cease preaching his belief, so that he was apprehended, by order of King Richard II, in the fifteenth year of his reign, coinciding with the year 1392, and closely confined, by order of John, Bishop of Hereford, who had received this charge from the king.
In the meantime he was examined in the faith, and it was found that he taught several articles which militated against the Roman church; but which or what kind of articles these were, is not clearly expressed by the writers; yet it can be inferred from the confession of one Walter Brute, who, in the matter of faith, is compared to William Swinderby, by Abraham Mellinus and others; yea, they declare that Walter Brute was a champion and defender of William Swinderby's articles, who, among others, maintained this article: "That it is not lawful for Christians to swear on any account, in any case, either by the Creator, or by His creatures."
Concerning holy baptism, he made this confession: "He (Christ) was buried that we might all, by baptism, be buried with Him into His death; and that, having died unto sin (notice, this is not the work of children), we should live unto righteousness."
As to his views in regard to all other articles, we have found them very scriptural, salutary and good. In regard to this, see John Fox Angl., page 440.
It is certainly true, that William Swinderby's articles of faith thus shone forth through their radiance of divine truth, that the children of darkness ( the Romanists ) could not bear them, so that they finally, after a long and severe confinement, finished his trial, pronouncing sentence of death upon him, namely; that he should be executed with fire, that is, burnt alive, as a heretic, in Smithfield, London. This it is stated, was done with him, twelve years after his first imprisonment.
FURTHER OBSERVATION REGARDING HIS DEATH
Concerning the death of this pious man, a certain author gives the following account from John Fox: "Having received this commission and full power from the king, against William Swinderby, the bishop doubtless did his very best to procure his arrest without delay; however, he did not immediately proceed with the execution of death against him, but kept him in prison for a long time. At last A. D. 1401, he was burnt alive in Smithfield, at London." Second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 505, cot. 2, from John Fox, Hist. Angl., page 438, also, page 436.
Again, A. Mellinus, page 515, cot. 4: "Baleus also accords with this, saying that William Swinderby, after his recantation, was strengthened in the confession of the divine truth, and was finally, A. D. 1401, burnt alive, in the sight of a great number of people, in Smithfield, at London." Bal. Cent. 6, Script. Britt., in Append. ad Jo. 1, Horesb., page 493.
NOTE. A. D. 1405, John Wenschelberg now wrote against the superstition in popery, and also against the deception practiced by the priests. Among other things he related of a Bohemian priest, who had colored the host of the Sacrament (of the altar) with his own blood, and had persuaded the people, that the blood had of its own accord mingled with the bread. "These are," he said, "the lying signs and false miracles of antichrist." But what happened to him on this account, from the papists, we have not found in the old writers. Compare Joh. Munst., fol. 181, with Chron. van den Ondergang, page 758, cot. 1.
WILLIAM THORPE PUT TO DEATH AND BURNT FOR
THE FAITH, AT SALTWODEN, IN ENGLAND,
A. D. 1407
Now, when the abomination of desolation, through the papists, began to exalt itself more and more over the true faith, it occurred, about A. D. 1397, that a God fearing, pious man, named William Thorpe, formerly a priest, was sorely persecuted for the truth of the Gospel, particularly for his belief against the sacrament of the altar, image worship, pilgrimages, the power of the priests, the swearing of oaths, etc.
Of these articles of his accusation, especially of his. belief against the swearing of oaths, and what is alleged against it by opponents, we have already given an explanation in the presentation of his faith.
However, notwithstanding that he was already imprisoned, upon the intercession of some welldisposed persons, and through the fact that the archbishop of Canterbury, who had apprehended him, had fallen into disfavor with the king, he was released after the first persecution. But since this pious witness of God did not cease to preach against the Roman church, particularly against the swearing of oaths, (as divers old writers note), he was eventually, about A. D. 1407, apprehended at Salopia, brought from there to Canterbury, and ultimately imprisoned in the castle of Saltwoden; where the archbishop and the prelates beset him very hard, in order to draw him from his faith.
In the meantime, a number of disorderly persons having crowded into the prison, some demanded that he should immediately be burnt; others, that he should forthwith be thrown into the sea., which was nearby, and drowned. In this dreadful uproar, a priest from their midst fell upon his knees before the archbishop, entreating him, that he might do his utmost for this William Thorpe, to convert him, by the reading of his matins or morning prayers, which he should perform for him, saying: "I venture to promise that after three days he will change so remarkably, that he will not refuse to do anything for the archbishop."
But the archbishop, filled with anger, raged on with undiminished fury, threatening the martyr, that he would see to it, that he should get his deserts. Thereupon, this pious witness of Jesus, as he refused to apostatize, was most cruelly maltreated in the prison, in the castle of Saltwoden. Some hold that he was burnt soon after that severe examination, in the month of August of said year 1407. See hignier, A. D. 1407, from Guil. Tindal; but Baleus is of the former opinion. Cent. 7, Script. Britt., cap. 42, in Guil. Thorp., page 538.
NOTE. A. D. 1410. At this time a tradesman was condemned as a heretic by the (Roman) bishops, and delivered to the secular judge; because he believed and said that the bread in the Lord's Supper was given for a memorial; thus denying transubstantiation, or the essential change of the bread into the body of Christ. For this he had to suffer the slow and dreadful death by fire. Compare Fasc. Temp., fol. 118. Hist. of the Mart. Adyi., fol. 52, with P. J. Twisck's Chron., page 763.
That all this happened to him, because he, besides opposing the Roman superstitions, also held, that men may not swear at all, has already been stated, and is confirmed by F. H. H., van den Loop
der Werelt, page 99. Also, P. I. Twisek, Chron., page 758.
CATHARINE OF THOU, IN LORRAINE, BURNT FOR
THE FAITH, AT MONTPELLIER, IN FRANCE,
A. D. 1417
On the second of October, about two o'clock in the afternoon, it occurred at Montpellier, in France, that a certain sentence of death was pronounced, and executed the same day, upon an upright and God fearing woman of Thou, in Lorraine, named Catharine Saube, who, loving the Lord her Saviour more than her own life, steadfastly fought through death, and, pressing her way through the strait gate* into the spacious mansions of heaven, left flesh and blood on the post, in the burning flames, on the place of execution, at Montpellier.
The history of Catharine Saube is, as old writers testify, faithfully extracted from the town book of Montpellier, commonly called Talamus; which word, Chassanion thinks, has been corrupted by passing from one language into the other; and that by the Jews, who at that time resided in great numbers in France, especially at Montpellier, it was called Talmud, which among the Hebrews or Jews, signifies a very large book or roll containing many and various things. Hence it may very easily have been the case, that the French, after the manner of the Jewish Maranes, who lived among them, erroneously called the word Talmud, Talamus, meaning to designate thereby the large book containing the civil records of the burgomasters of Montpellier. From this town book the following acts were faithfully translated, from the ancient language of Montpellier into the French tongue, by a trustworthy person of Languedoc, and in English** read as follows
"On the 15th day of November, A. D. 1416, after mass had been read in the parish church of St. Fermin, at Montpellier, Catharine Saube, a native of Thou, Lorraine, came into that church, to present herself. About fifteen or sixteen days previously, she had asked the lords and burgomasters of that city, for permission to be shut in with the other recluses in the nunnery on the Lates road.
The aforesaid lords and burgomasters, and all manner of tradespeople, together with over 1500 townspeople, men as well as women, came to the church, in this general procession. Said burgomasters, as patrons, that is, fathers and protectors of the recluse nuns, conducted said Catharine, as a bride, to the abovementioned cloister, where they let her remain, shut up in a cell, after which they all returned home together." Acta Gallica Ibid. in Martyrolog Gallico.
See, these are the identical words of the extract or copy taken from the town book; we let the reader judge, as to what was her reason in apply
** "In our Dutch," says the original.
ing for admittance into the nunnery. Certainly, some did not presume so badly, who have maintained, that experiencing in her heart the beginnings of true godliness proceeding from an ardent faith, she was impelled by a holy desire to reveal to the other recluse nuns the true knowledge of Christ Jesus; finding herself sufficiently gifted by the Lord, to do this. This is very probable; since credible witnesses have declared that in said book Talamus it was also recorded, that some time after the death of Catharine Saube, the whole convent in which said Catharine had been confined was burnt, together with all the nuns; doubtless on account of their religion.
The same public records state, that the year following, A. D. 1417, on the second of October, about two o'clock in the afternoon, when M. Raymond Cabasse, D.D., of the order of Jacobine or Dominican monks, vicar of the inquisitor, sat in the judgment seat, under the chapter which is beside the portal of the city hall at Montpellier, in the presence of the Bishop of Maguelonne, the Lieutenant governor, the four orders, yea, of all the people, who filled the whole city hall square, he declared by definite sentence, that the aforesaid Catharine Saube, of Thou, in Lorraine, who, at her request, had been put into the cloister of the recluses, was a heretic, and that she had disseminated, taught and believed divers damnable heresies against the Catholic faith, namely: "That the Catholic (or true) church is composed only of men and women* who follow and observe the life of the apostles." Again: "That it is better to die, than to anger, or sin against God." Again: "That she did not worship the host or wafer** consecrated by the priest; because she did not believe that the body of Christ was present in it." Again: "That it is not necessary to confess*** one's self to the priest; because it is sufficient to confess one's sins to God; and that it counts just as much to confess one's sins to a discreet, pious layman, as to any chaplain or priest." Again: "That there will be no purgatory after this life."
Said town book Talamus contained also four other articles with which Catharine was charged, or at least which she professed; from which it can be inferred that she rejected not only many papal institutions, but among these also infant baptism. The extract from the aforesaid town book, concerning these four articles, reads literally as follows
1. "That there never has been a true pope, cardinal, bishop, or priest, after the election of the pope (or bishop) ceased to be done through mir;acles of faith or verity.
* Here no third class of members of the church of Jesus Christ is mentioned, namely, infants; but only men and women, that is, believing and obedient persons.
** Though she calls the bread of the Supper the host, yet she does not acknowledge, that the body of Christ is present in it; hence she refused to worship it.
*** The confession recognized by her, is not according to papistic manner, but agreeable to the teaching of James 5:16: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may he healed.
2. "That wicked priests or chaplains neither can nor may consecrate the body of Christ, though they pronounce the sacramental words over it.
3. "That the baptism which is administered by wicked priests, is of no avail to salvation.
4. "That infants which die after baptism, before they have faith, are not saved; for they do not believe but through the faith of their godfathers, godmothers, parents, or friends."
These are the last four articles found in the town book of Montpellier; from which it certainly is clearly evident, how very bold, ardent, and penetrating the faith of this woman was; so that she did not stop short of attacking even the pope, the priests, and the superstitions practiced by them, and convincing them with God's truth. For, when she says, in the first article, that "there never has been a true pope," etc., what else did she indicate, than that there never has been a true pope, cardinal, bishop, or priest in the Roman church, seeing the election of the pope was never done through miracles of faith or verity?
Secondly, when she says, that, "Wicked priests or chaplains neither can nor may," what else does she mean to say than that wicked priests, who are not holy themselves, need not imagine at all (which is nevertheless believed in popery), that by uttering a few words they can consecrate a piece of bread, yea, transform it into their God and Saviour? which, Catharine had declared before, could not even be done by priests of upright life; for therefore she would not, as she said, worship the wafer consecrated by the priest, because she did not believe that the body of Christ was present in it.
Thirdly, when she says, that "The baptism which is administered by wicked priests is," etc., what else does this indicate than that the shameful life of the priests destroys the ministry itself, and that as little as the words which they pronounce over the host, tend to consecrate it, just as little tends the baptism practiced by them to salvation?
Fourthly, when she says, that "Infants which die after baptism," etc., what is this but to say that infant baptism is not necessary to salvation, yea, conduces in no wise to it? because infants themselves do not believe, only their godfathers, godmothers, parents br friends, in their stead; but that to be saved, one must believe himself, and be baptized upon this belief, as the Lord says, Mark 16:16; for the faith of another cannot help any one in the world, and consequently, cannot help infants to salvation.
Now; when this pious heroine of God would in no wise depart from her faith, sentence of death was finally pronounced upon her; and having been led to the place of execution, she was burnt, at Montpellier, in the afternoon of October 2, 1417.
Concerning her sentence and death, the town book of Montpellier contains the following words, as translated from the original into the Dutch (now into the English): "Having pronounced this sentence upon her, the vicar of the inquisitor, M. Raymond, delivered her into the hands of the bailiff, who was provost or criminal judge of the city. The people entreated him much in her behalf, that he would deal mercifully with her; but he executed the sentence the same day, causing her to be brought to the place of execution, and there burnt as a heretic, according to law."
These are the words of the aforesaid Talamus, or town book, which also contains this further addition: "That the bishop of Maguelonne, after singing a common mass, also preached a sermon before the members of the council, concerning Catharine Saube, against many who said that the sentence of death had unjustly been passed upon her; and rebuked the indignation of those who spoke against this sentence, with very vehement and severe words."
This is briefly the extract concerning the martyrdom of this God fearing woman, by which many ignorant, plain people were prompted in their hearts to examine the truth a little nearer, and to apprehend the light of the Gospel in the midst of these dark times, which God blessed, as shall be seen hereafter. See also the second book of the History of the Persecutions, fol. 572, col. 2-4. Also fol. 573, col. 1. Also Hist. Mart. by J. S., edition 1645, fol. 40.
A GREAT NUMBER OF CHRISTIANS CALLED WAL;
DENSES, BURNT FOR THE FAITH,
IN FLANDERS, A. D. 1421
Now, when the children of light, who confessed the doctrine of the Waldenses, in the midst of the darkness of popery,* began to lift up their hands more and more, in the Flemish countries, and to combat with the power of the Word of God the errors of the Roman church, and to reject principally papal authority, the mass, transubstantiation, pilgrimages, the invocation of saints, purgatory, infant baptism, the swearing of oaths, revenge towards enemies, etc., as we stated concerning the belief of the Waldenses, in the account for the eleventh century; the prince and king of darkness, through the instrumentality of his satellites, laid his hands on them, and ultimately brought the matter so far that very many who would in no wise, neither for life nor for death, apostatize, were condemned to be burnt alive, which was also done with them; and thus they endured the trial of their faith with great steadfastness, in the fire, at Donau, in Flanders, in the year 1421. Wherefore the captain of the faith, Jesus Christ, shall hereafter eternally crown them, as pious champions, with the unfading crown of honor, according to His promise: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
Of the sacrifice of these friends, mention is also made in the second book of the History of the Persecutions, p. 577, col. 4, where it says: "At
* The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up. Matt. 4:16.
Donau, in Flanders, A. D. 1421, a great number was discovered, who professed the doctrine of the Waldenses, many of whom, remaining steadfast, were burnt alive." Also, hignier, Hist. Eccl., in the year 1421, ex Monstrelets.
NOTE. Whether those of Dort, in Holland, were also guilty at this time, of the blood of the saints, we have not been able to ascertain; nevertheless, the Lord severely chastised them in this year, 1421, so that, through heavy floods, the city became an island, and was deprived of seventy two villages that lay round about, and were all swallowed up in the water.
Hence, the following inscription is found carved on the outside of the Speuy Gate of said city, over the arch, in blue stone:
"All land and water which here you see, were Seventy two parishes, chronicles state, Swallowed by water's resistless power; Thousand four hundred seventy one by date."
This event is so generally known, and has been described by so many authors, that I deem it unnecessary to add anything by way of confirmation. A sad thing for the place of our birth.
NOTE. A. D. 1423. At this time, writes P. J. Twisck, Henry Gruenfelder was burnt for the truth, in the city of Regensburg, in Germany; and shortly after, in the same city, Henry Rathgeber. Chron., p. 787, cot. 1, compared with Georg. Pac., cap. 11.
A. D. 1425. About this time Peter Torea was executed at Speyer, in Germany, and others in Roman countries; because they confessed the truth and opposed the Roman superstitions. Compare the last mentioned Chron., p. 788, cot. 2, with Georg. Pac., cap. 11.
A. D. 1427. At this time, Jerome Savonarola, of Ferrara, preached throughout Italy that the pope was the antichrist; for which he was burnt at Florence. He wrote some meditations on the 51st and 80th psalms,, in which he reproves the tyranny of the pope and his clergy, saying that they are the boars and wild beasts of the field, which, according to the words of David, have devoured and utterly destroyed the Lord's vineyard, and wholly subverted the church of God. In the last mentioned Chron., Â¢. 762, cot. 2, compared with Georg. Pac., cap. 11.
WILLIAM WHITE, FATHER ABRAHAM OF CHOL;
CHESTER, AND JOHN WADDON, BURNT FOR
THE FAITH, AT NORWICH, IN
ENGLAND, A. D. 1428
When the light of the Gospel began to break forth with power also in England, so that some persons not only believed and adhered to, but also taught and propagated the truth of Christ, the Romanists, proving themselves children of darkness, evinced their old nature towards these people, inasmuch as they informed the King of England, then only a child of six years, of this matter, aiming to provide against it.
Thus it happened A. D. 1428, that this childking, induced by the fathers and heads of the Roman church, immediately resolved to give orders to the officers appointed thereto, to apprehend these persons and all who were of their persuasion, in order that they might be punished according to the laws of England.
COPY OF THE LETTER OF KING HENRY VI, TO
JOHN EXTOR, AND JACOLET GERMAINE, GOV;
ERNORS OF CHOLCHESTER, TO APPRE;
HEND WILLIAM WHITE AND
"Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England and France, Lord of Ireland, to his beloved friends, John Extor, and Jacolet Germaine, Governors of the Castle at Cholchester, greeting
"Be it known unto you, that, perfectly relying on your fidelity and prudence, we have charged you, both together and each separately, to arrest and apprehend William White, priest, and Thomas, chaplain, formerly at Settling, in the county of Norfolk, and William Northampton, priest, and all others that are suspected of heresy, whoever they may be, and wherever they may be found, whether in free cities or without; and to send them, as soon as you have apprehended them, to our nearest jails or prisons, until we shall have given orders for their release.
"And, therefore, we charge you strictly to keep a close surveillance on the aforesaid persons, and to faithfully observe the above in the manner stated before.
"We likewise command and charge each and all of our justiciaries, who have the care of the common peace, as mayors, margraves, bailiffs, constables, and all our other faithful officers, by the contents of these presents, that they render you, both together and each separately, good assistance, and help and advise you to execute the preceding command, as becometh them.
"In witness of this, we have ourselves caused our letters patent to be executed, and have signed them at Westminster, the sixth day of July, in the sixth year of our reign, coinciding with A. D. 1428." See John Fox, Angl., p. 607.
In old records we find that by virtue of this commission of the King, John Extor, who was one of these commissaries, shortly afterwards apprehended six persons at Bungay, in the bishopric of Norwich, and delivered them into the custody of William Day and William Rowe, constables of the city of Bungay, to be brought within ten days to the castle of Norwich.
"The names, however, of these six persons," writes John Fox, "owing to the age of the writing, had almost entirely faded out, so that they could not well be read, except three or four." But what further transpired with them, and what sufferings or death befell them, we do not find clearly expressed.
In the meantime there were also apprehended and brought to Norwich, three eminent and virtuous men, namely, William White, formerly a priest, Father Abraham of Cholchester, and John Waddon, who, after preceding examination, made confession of the following articles
CONFESSION OF FAITH OF SAID THREE MARTYRS,
TOUCHING THEIR BELIEF AGAINST
THE ROMAN CHURCH
1. "That the children of Christians are sufficiently baptized in the blood of Christ, and, hence, need not be baptized with water.
2. "That no tithes need be given to the pastors of the Roman church.
3. "That marriage properly consists in the consent or agreement of union between man and woman (with rejection, as it seems, of the superstitions which the Romanists are wont to observe in connection with it).
4. "That auricular confession is not necessary, and that one need not go and confess to the priests, but to God alone; since no priest has power to forgive a sinner his sins.
5. "That no priest has power to make the body of Christ, or to consecrate it in the sacrament of the altar; but that after the words are pronounced, there still remains purely material bread, just as it was before.
6. "That each and every Christian believer is a priest before God.
7. "That no one is bound on pain of damnation to observe lent or any other fast days commanded by the Roman church.
8. "That the pope is the antichrist, and his prelates disciples of antichrist; and that the pope has no authority to bind or loose on earth.
9. "That it is lawful for all Christians to perform bodily works on holidays, except sins.
10. "That it is lawful for priests to marry.
11. "That the excommunications and ecclesiastical punishments decreed by the prelates are not to be regarded.
12. "That in particular cases it is not lawful to swear.
(NOTE. This article seems not to have been recorded correctly by the notary; for it appears that these people prohibited the oath not only in particular cases, but in any wise, seeing the following martyress, Margaret Backster, pronounces these men faithful preachers of the Word of God, and confessed herself, that one might not swear at all, neither by God, nor by, etc.).
13. "One ought not to go on pilgrimages.
14. "That no worship at all is to be bestowed upon images, the crucifix, Our Lady, or any other saint or saintess.
15. "That the holy water consecrated by the priest in the church, is not holier or more efficacious than any other river or spring water; because the Lord blessed all waters together after their creation.
16. "That the death of Thomas Becket (archbishop of Canterbury), was neither meritorious nor holy.
17. "That relics consisting in bones of the dead may not be worshiped, exhumed, placed on altars in the church, or inclosed in chests.
18. "That prayers made in every place are equally acceptable to God.
19. "Saints should not be worshiped, but God alone.
20. "That bells and hand bells in church, are instituted for no other purpose than to fill the purses of the priests.
21. "It is no sin to oppose the commands of the (Roman) church.
22. "That the (true) Catholic church is only the congregation of the beloved children of God."
These are briefly the principal articles which they together unanimously maintained, and whereupon they also suffered death, inasmuch as they, after severe examination and manifold torments, refusing to apostatize, were condemned to be burnt alive; which also took place with them, namely, first with William White, in September, 1428, in the city of Norwich, and then with father Abraham, and John Waddon, who, having commended their souls into the hands of God, offered up a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable unto God.
ACCOUNT OF THE IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH
OF SAID MARTYRS
Concerning the imprisonment and death of William White, as also of father Abraham and John Waddon, we find the following account in the writings of John Fox: "William White, who instructed these people in the light of the Gospel, in the county of Norfolk, for the space of about four years, until he, as already stated, was apprehended by virtue of the aforesaid letter of the king, and brought before William, bishop of Norwich, by whom he was convicted and condemned on these and other articles, thirty in number, was burnt alive in the city of Norwich, in the month of September, A. D. 1428, under King Henry VI, then but a child of six years.
"Having arrived at the stake, and about to open his mouth to address and admonish the people, and to confirm them in the truth, one of the bishop's servants struck him on the mouth, thus compelling him to remain silent."
Thus did this godly man receive the crown of martyrdom, and ended this temporal life, to the great sorrow of all pious Christians in the county of Norfolk. His aforesaid wife, Johanna, who, according to her feeble ability, followed in the footsteps of her husband by scattering said doctrine everywhere, and confirming many in the truth of God, had to suffer much on this account, in the
same year and from the same bishop, as Thomas Walden himself confesses, who, besides others, was present at the examination and condemnation of said William White.
About the same time there were also burnt the aforesaid father Abraham of Cholchester, and John Waddon, priest, on account of the same articles mentioned above. Besides these, very many other godly men were most cruelly put to death. Second book of the History of the Persecutions, fol. 582, col. 4, and fol. 583, col. 1, from John Fox, in Actis Guil. White. Also from Bal., in Guil. White, in Append.
SPECIAL ACCOUNT OF WILLIAM WHITE, TOUCHING
HIS DOCTRINE, SUFFERING AND DEATH
In the fifteenth book of the Chronijck van den Ondergang, page 788, are found the following words: "William Wicht, or William White, a learned, upright, honest, and eloquent man, a priest in England, forsook his ministry, and published the Gospel, by writing, preaching, and teaching, saying: `that forgiveness of sins must be ob tained from God Almighty alone; that the unmarried life of the pope and his clergy was the very satanic state, and a severe captivity of antichrist; and that the hooded, striped and shaven clergy were the mercenaries and servants of Lucifer."'
But upon being apprehended, he renounced his doctrine, A. D. . Subsequently, however, he became re established, and pious, and stronger, in the doctrine, and very boldly suffered burning for his confession, at Norwich, in England, A. D. 1428. Compare this with Hist. Andr. Hondorf, fol. 35. Vincent. Cal., fol., 134. Georg. Pac. cap. 11.
NOTE. Three years previous to the death of this martyr, A. D. 1425, a miserable persecution was raised by the Romanists against some orthodox Christians; concerning which the following . account is found, for the year 1425: "About this time, Peter Torea was executed at Speyer, in Germany, and many others in the Roman countries; because they confessed the truth or opposed the Roman superstitions." Georg. Pac., cap. 11, compared with P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 788.
MARGARET BACKSTER, IMPRISONED UNTIL DEATH,
OR PUT TO DEATH IN PRISON, IN ENGLAND,
A. D. 1430
According to old chronicles, about A. D. 1430, a God fearing woman, named Margaret Backster, was apprehended in England, for the truth of the Gospel of Christ; and as she would not apostatize, it seems, she was imprisoned until death, or put to death in prison; which, though it has remained partly hidden before men, God will make manifest in that last, great and terrible day; so that those who have secretly suffered for the name of Christ, shall then be openly rewarded and crowned, and those who have secretly shed the blood of the saints, shall be banished with open shame from the face of God, to be tormented, as they have tormented others, yet without ceasing, for ever and ever. Rev. 14:11. "Then shall we discern between the righteous and the wicked." Mal. 3:18; Wisd. 5:1, 2; Matt. 5:46.
CONCERNING THE ACCUSATIONS BROUGHT AGAINST
THIS WOMAN, WE HAVE FOUND THE FOL ,
LOWING ACCOUNT IN OLD WRITERS
Margaret Backster, wife of William Backster, was accused by Johanna (wife of Cleveland), of divers articles, as, of having told her, that she should not swear at all, neither by God, nor by Our Lady, nor by any saints or saintesses.
Again: That she, the deponent, upon being asked by Margaret Backster, what she did everyday in church, answered, that she knelt before the crucifix, repeated five Pater nosters, and read as many Ave Marias in honor of Our Lady. Whereupon Margaret replied: "You do very wrong in kneeling or praying before such images as stand in the church; for God dwells not in such churches; nor will He come down from heaven; neither will He give you any more a reward for such prayers, than a taper which is placed under the cover of the font, can give light at night, to those that are in the church."
Again: Said deponent, Johanna Cleveland, being asked by Margaret, what she believed respecting the sacrament of the altar, said, that the sacrament of the altar, the consecration, is the true body of Christ, in the form of bread. Whereupon Margaret said to her: "Your belief is vain; for if this sacrament were God and the true body of Christ, there would be a countless number of gods, since a thousand priests and more, make a thousand such gods every day, and then eat them."
Again: She said she knew for certain, that the vengeance of God would speedily come upon the Bishop of Norwich, and others, who had caused the death of father Abraham, William White, and John Waddon, faithful preachers of the word of God, and of many other godly men with them.
She also declared, that she had seen how one of those servants of Caiaphas smote William White on the mouth or lips, when he was about to be put to death, and wanted to address the people, and admonish them for the last time; and that he (that servant) stopped his mouth, so that he could not at all declare the will of God. From John Fox, Hist. Angl.
Then follow various other articles, believed and confessed by her, in opposition to the belief of the Roman church, and militating against images, the power of the priests, the forty days' fast, pilgrimages, the mendicancy of the monks, too numerous to mention.
These, then, are the principal and most remarkable things extracted by John Fox from the old records concerning Margaret Backster; but since in said records no mention was made as to what befell her after these accusations, or what became of her, he did not venture to state it; however, it is supposed, as some write, that they put her to death secretly in prison, or imprisoned her until death, since no mention is made of her penitence or apostasy. Second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 583, from Joh. Fox Angl., page 610.
NOTE. A. D. 1431, one Paul Craus, in Scotland, was apprehended by Bishop Henry, because he rejected auricular confession, the invocation of the saints, the idolatrous sacrament, etc. And as he would not depart from the truth confessed, he was finally sentenced to the fire, and burnt on the thirtieth of June, of the same year. Compare hinc. Cal., fol. 368. Georg. Pac., cap. 11. Herm. Mod., fol. 274, with the Chron. van den Ond., page 796; also, A. Mell., fol. 584, col. 1, ex Hist. Scoticae, lib. 17.
A. D. 1436, five years after, one Thomas Rhedonensis, a Frenchman, out of Christian zeal, went to Rome, hoping there to preach the pure doctrine of Christ. 'But when he found the opposite there, and noticed the great abominations, hypocrisy, and pomp, he could not forbear reproving the cardinals and ecclesiastics for their ungodly life, saying, that they ought to live modestly and virtuously like Christ and the apostles. By this he speedily drew upon him the envy and wrath of said persons, so that he was led before Pope Eugenius, and there cast into prison; where he was greatly tormented, yea, ultimately, sentenced to the fire, and burnt. Compare the last mentioned chronicle, page 800, col. 2, with Vinc. Cal., fol. 145. Georg. Pac., carp. 11.
A. D. 1439, there was condemned as a heretic, in the council of Basel (where the feast of the Conception of Mary was instituted and established), a certain upright man, named Augustine de Roma; but as to what happened to him after said condemnation by the council, has not been mentioned by the writers from whom we have quoted this. See the authors cited above. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron., Qqge 808.
A. D. 1450, Alanus Chartetius wrote a book respecting the fruits reaped by the church from the unmarried life of the priests; by which he greatly reproved and censured the abuses in the church of the Romanists. See further on. In the same year, Peter de Luna opposed the pope and the ecclesiastical power, and openly wrote against them, and was therefore also condemned as a heretic. From Joh. Munst., fol. 182. There were also at this time, many learned men, who discountenanced purgatory, confession, letters of indulgence, the mass, vigils, etc.; which, to all appearance, caused them much misery according to the body; but as we have not found the particulars in regard to it, we will pass them by. Compare the account of Fortalius SidTus with the last mentioned chronicle, page 823, col. 2, at the foot, and page 824, col. 1, at the top.
VERY MANY CHRISTIANS CALLED WALDENSES, PUT
TO DEATH AT EICHST2EDT, IN GERMANY,
A. D. 1457
After the church of God in Germany had enjoyed peace for a season, so that she, as it appears, began to grow, flourish, and increase, the thorns of persecution immediately arose over her; inasmuch as in the year 1475, particularly in the bishopric of Eichstaedt, through the envy of the Romanists, her meetings were broken up, the believers apprehended, and all who remained steadfast, sentenced to death; who, in great numbers, from love to their Saviour, and especially for the salvation of their own souls, gave their bodily life unto death, thus sealing with their blood, the truth which they had confessed at baptism before many witnesses; for which the Lord, hereafter, shall give to them, as triumphant conquerors, palms into their hands, place crowns upon their heads, and put a new song of praise into their mouths, so that for all their suffering they shall rejoice, shout, and be glad forever.
Touching the offering up of these friends of God, we have not been able correctly to ascertain it, namely, whether they perished by water, fire, or the sword; except that they were put to death for the doctrine of the Waldenses. Of their suffering and death, mention is also made in the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 590, col. 4, from Yignier Hist. Eccles., A. D. 1457.
The above mentioned author, or his printer, has made a chronological error, putting A. D. 1475, instead of A. D. 1457. Then follows: "A. D. , a great number of Christians professing the doctrine of the Waldenses, .were discovered and apprehended in the bishopric or within the jurisdiction of Eichstaedt, in Germany; very many of whom were put to death."
This year, 1457, P. J. Twisck fixes as the date of this event, though he does not make mention of their death, but only of their severe persecution. Chron., page 829, col. 2, calling the scene of their persecution Richstadt, instead of Eichstaedt.
NOTE. A. D. 1465. At this time, Laurence Valla, a man of great learning, vigorously attacked the power and supremacy of the pope, placing his salvation in the eternal merits of Christ. He reproved the vows and the lasciviousness of the monks, yea, declared publicly, that the pope was the originator of all wars and dissensions; as also, that he had for sale not only worldly, but also spiritual goods, yea, even the (so called) Holy Ghost. On account of this he was driven into banishment, and resided at Naples, where he died. Chron. van den Ond., Â¢. 841, eol. 1, from John Munst., fol. 192, Georg. Pae., cap. 11.
A. D. 1470. John de Wesalia (that is, John of Wesel) now taught at Worms, that all believers are saved by pure grace, through faith in Jesus Christ; and that the supremacy of the pope is not to be regarded. He defended matrimony, and the dispensation of the Supper (called the Sacrament) under two forms, that is, with bread and wine. Human institutions, as fasts, letters of indulgence, feast days, pilgrimages, extreme unction, confirmation, auricular confession and satisfaction,* he utterly rejected. In short, he was regarded as a heretic, and, in the year 1479, condemned and burnt at Mentz. Compare Joh. Munst, fol. 196. Chron., Fra., fol. 91, with the account in the Chron. van den Ond., page 847, eol. 2. Others, however, make mention only of the burning of his books. See A. M., fol. 597; This the intelligent reader can easily distinguish, and, when necessary, reconcile.
Again: Same year as above. George Morgenstern wrote and taught at this time against the errors of popery and the manifold attires of the monks. He said that the world was full of monks, but that scarcely in one out of a hundred could a little virtue be found. Whether the monks and other priests received this in good part, we may readily judge, though we have learned nothing in regard to his suffering. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 847, eol. 1, with Catal. Test. herit., fol. 884.
STEPHEN, AN ELDER OF THE WALDENSES, BURNT
FOR THE FAITH, AT VIENNA, IN AUSTRIA,
ABOUT A. D. 1471
About the year 1471, an awful persecution arose in and around Bohemia, against the old, orthodox Waldenses whose orthodox confession we do not deem necessary to relate again. This persecution was excited by Johanna, the widow of King George of Bohemia, who, notwithstanding the death of her husband, earnestly solicited the princes of the realm, everywhere to exterminate not only those who were called Bohemian Brethren, but also the old Waldenses.
For this reason many went and sojourned in Austria; but as it is peculiar to the rose of the church of God to bloom among the thorns, it happened that also there no liberty could be found; so that the servants of antichrist, in the city of Vi;enna, in Austria, laid their hands, first of all, on
* Or Penance imposed by the priest. Translator.
Stephen, one of the elders of their church, besides raising a severe persecution over the believers in general.
But since this pious man, as becomes a good shepherd of the flock of Christ, did not wish to give offense to his sheep, and would not flee from the wolf which threatened to tear them, nor would, for any torments, forsake either his office or his faith, sentence of death was finally pronounced upon him, namely, that he should be executed with fire, that is, burnt alive. This severe punishment of death he steadfastly endured, having commended his soul into the hands of God. Of this hero of Christ, mention is also made in the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 592, col. 4, thus
"At this time there were not many Waldenses in Bohemia, on account of the violent persecution; but in Austria there still lived some, who were likewise for the .most part dispersed, because of the cruelty of the torments, and the terror of persecution, after Stephen, one of their elders, . had been burnt alive at Vienna, in Austria."
NOTE. A. . D. 1471. Stephen Brulifer, a theologian or divine, now maintained, that the doctrine was false, yea, a doctrine of Satan, which ascribes justification to the works and merits of men (who observe the religion of the priests); as also, that the church has no power to institute new sacraments. On account of these and like doctrines, he had to leave Paris, and come to Mentz, where he is said to have died in the year 1490. See the books cited above; also, John Munst., fol. 199; also, the last mentioned chronicle, p. 851, col. 2.
A. D. 1474. D. V. P. Groningensis so clearly exposed at this time the darkness of popery that his friends called him a light of the world. Although he could expect nothing better, together with his fellow brethren, than fire and the sword; yet he died in peace in the year 1490. P. J. Twisck, Chron., p. 855, eol. 2, compared with Joh. Munst., Tract., fol. 198.
SEVERE INQUISITION, INSTITUTED BY THE SPAN;
IARDS, AGAINST THE BELIEVERS AND ALL
WHO WERE OPPOSED TO THE ROMAN
CHURCH, A. D. 1492
This century, it appears, could not close without a flew inquisition, which the Spaniards invented, as had formerly been done by the Germans. It was first instituted against those of the Jewish, Mohammedan, and Saracenic profession, forasmuch as some of them, either through fear of persecution, or for some other reason, had accepted the Roman Catholic faith with the mouth, but whose sincerity was doubted. But subsequently it extended to all who did not perfectly observe the Romish commands; among whom the oft mentioned Waldenses and Aibigenses were none of the least, since they not only held the Romish belief in small esteem, but were also .directly opposed to it in nearly every point, except the twelve general articles.
Concerning this, there is the following account: "Thus their (the Spaniards') first decree was, in regard to the inquisition, to proceed only against the Jews, Saracens, and Mohammedans; but subsequently much greater power was given to the inquisitors, to try and punish all who did not observe, in every particular, the ordinances of the Roman church, and the Catholic faith. Pope Sixtus IV confirmed this royal scheme. See the account in the Chron. van den Ond., p. 900, col. 1.
TOUCHING THE INQUISITION ITSELF THE
NATURE OF THE SAME
The same writer then relates what the inquisition at this time was, and the manner in which it was instituted and executed; concerning which we will give, not the exact words, as they are rather badly arranged, but only the sense, as nearly as we can possibly express it. He commences thus: "In order to relate briefly, what the inquisition is, the reader must know, that it is an investigation and examination of the faith, conducted by certain persons appointed thereto (called inquisitors or fathers of the Holy Office), with such means as they please, and upon whomsoever they will, but particularly upon such persons as are denounced to them, or are suspected of erring in any article from the Roman church, or of holding any other belief. Those, then, whom they condemn as erring in this manner, are punished on body and property, according as the fathers of the Holy Office judge the points of their error of greater or lesser importance." Concerning this, read George Nigrinus; also, Peter Bor, in the 0orsprong van de Nederlandtsche Beroerten, compared with the author mentioned last, same page, col. 2.
CONCERNING THE PLACES IN WHICH THOSE WHO
FELL UNDER THE POWER OF THE INQUI;
SITION WERE IMPRISONED
As regards the place where each was separately confined and the narrowness of the same; it was as follows: If it is below, it is wet, damp, and filthy, so that it were better to call it a grave, than a jail or a prison. If above, it is warm in summer, yea, hot as an oven. When there are many prisoners, generally two or three are shut up together in each hovel or hole, who, when they lie down to rest, have not as much room left, as to once stir, save perhaps the space of a foot, where stands a vessel for their necessities and a pitcher with water, to quench their thirst. Sitting and lying thus day and night in darkness, these miserable beings emaciate and pine away by hunger and grief, to such a degree, that scarcely the skin remains over their bones; besides that they are so severely tortured, racked and drawn with various cruel instruments, that their limbs are drawn from their joints. Same page.
HOW THE INQUISITORS DELIVERED THE SO CALLED
HERETICS TO THE SECULAR JUDGES
Having condemned these people as heretics, after they had suffered a long season of misery, the inquisitors make a show of mercy, and deliver them to the magistrates, with these words: "Whereas the Lords of this holy Tribunal (the inquisitors), have exerted all proper diligence, to bring back this seduced person into the bosom of the Roman church, and have nevertheless accomplished nothing, he constantly remaining obstinate in his opinion, we hereby deliver him into the hands of the secular judge, to be punished according to the extent and import of the Roman laws. Still, we sincerely pray, that, if he show any sign of confession and repentance, he be treated with all clemency and mercy."
HOW THOSE WERE DELIVERED WHO SEEMINGLY
HAD RETURNED TO THE ROMAN CHURCH
But when the inquisitors have condemned any one, on account of so called heresy, to the fire, who, from fear, or for some other reason, returns to the Roman belief, they deliver him to the secular judges with these words: "Whereas the holy Tribunal of the Inquisition cannot believe, that this man's conversion is sincere, and fears to admit a wolf in sheep's clothing (notwithstanding his supposed conversion), we deliver him to the secular judges, earnestly entreating them, to deal in all mercy with this (accused) one, without breaking a limb or bone, or shedding a drop of his blood."* Compare with the sense of these words the abovementioned chronicle, page 900, col. 2, and page 901, col. 1; also Hist. Georg., lib. 6, Peter Bor, lib. 3. Oorsprong, fol. 9-12. Toneel Nicol., fol. 87. Guil. Merula, fol. 947. Eman. Met., fol. 40. Retuald. Gonsalv. in Tract. on the holy Spanish Inquisition, throughout. Hist. Wenc., fol. 187. Chron. Ph., Mel., lib. 5, Hist. Alons, de Ulb., lib. 2.
Touching the persecution which resulted to the believers upon this new charge of the inquisition, we have not been able to learn the particulars relating to it. Doubtless not a few perished by those means; since it is certain, that no one that had a good conscience, and was accused of heresy, could escape with his life. The contents of the above record inform us, that many had to suffer on this account; whose names, however, we have not learned. We commend them to God, who will judge their cause hereafter. His mercy be gracious to us and to them all.
REMARK. From the time of Peter Waldo, about A. D. 1170, we have throughout followed, in the account of the martyrs, mostly the line of the Wal= denses proper, without digressing materially to other sects, though some of them very closely ap
* They desire that not a limb or bone be broken, nor a drop of blood be shed, of the accused. Yea, command that he be dealt with in all mercy; who themselves did not hesitate to condemn him to the fire. O most unholy wiles of the so called "holy" tribunal of the inquisition I proximated to the belief of the Waldenses. Hence it has come, that the number of those whom we have noticed as true martyrs, is not as large, as it might have been, if we had not purposed to follow the unmixed, pure line of the Waldenses. However, in notes, we have placed some who approached this belief very closely, and shall here add a few more.
NOTE. A. D. 1494. In the fourth year of Henry VII, on the 28th of April, a very old, honorable widow of over eighty years, was apprehended for maintaining eight of Wickiffe's articles (whose belief against infant baptism and the swearing of oaths, we have already shown), and as she would not apostatize, she was burned alive in Smithfield, at London. She said that God and His angels loved her so, that she was not afraid of the fire. When she stood in the midst of the fire, she cried aloud: "Lord, receive my soul into Thy holy hands;" whereupon she gave up the ghost. Compare the account in the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 599, col. 3, with Joh. Fox Angl., page 671. A. Bal., in Append. Al., page 627.
A. D. 1498. Jerome Savonarola now most zealously rejected, in his teaching the institutions of men, and maintained salvation in Christ alone. He defended the partaking of the holy Supper (called the Sacrament) under two forms; that is, with bread and wine; in opposition to the practice of the papists, who gave the common people only a consecrated wafer. He also rejected letters of indulgence, saying, moreover, that the pope did not follow the doctrine and life of Christ, and that he was the antichrist, because he attributed to human institutions more than to the merits of Christ. For all these reasons, he was strangled and then burnt to ashes, at Florence, by order of Pope Alexander VI. Compare Chron. van den Ond., page 910, col. 2, with Joh. Munst., fol. 201. Guil. Meru., fol., 950. Hist. Andr., fol. 36. Also, A. Mell., fol. 600, col. 3, to fol. 606; where it is stated that two others died with him for the same belief, and were likewise on the 23rd of May, in the marketplace at Florence, after preceding strangulation, burnt to ashes, and the ashes thrown into the river Arnus flowing by.
A. D. 1499. Paul Scriptoris taught at this time against transubstantiation (or the essential change) of the bread into the body of Christ; as also, that all that is taught must be tried by the touchstone of the Word of God, adding that all who teach otherwise teach falsely; hence he said there should speedily come a change in the (Roman) religion. For this reason he was driven into banishment by the Minorite monks; and, having lived full three years in exile, he died in the beginning of the year 1504. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 912, with Joh. Munst. Tract., fol. 199. With this we conclude the fifteenth century, and, consequently, also the account of the martyrs who then suffered.
CONCLUSION OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
We long to take our leave from this century, since we cannot longer behold this misery. However, we have only reached the summit of the mountain of martyrdom. In our ascent we have met scarcely anything but skulls, thigh bones, and charred skeletons. In our descent deep pits, pools and blood red rivers, into which the bodies of the saints are thrown, threaten us; to say nothing of the dark prisons, dungeons, torture chambers, and countless instruments of torture.
But the merciful Lard, who has led us by the hand, and thus far aided us, will lead and help us still further. His love shown to me in this matter, has been wonderful. For, when the bands of death were around me, by reason of a half year's severe sickness, which attacked me in the midst of this work, His gracious hand restored me, so that I have completed the work, thus far, though not without anxiety and labor. Hence, though still in the grasp of severe fevers, I wrote, for my own remembrance, to the praise of my Creator, and to dedicate to my brethren this book, these words:
My heart with anxious fear did beat,
That I this work should not complete;
Since God had touched me with His hand,
And sickness brought me near my end.
Now thank I God with joyful song,
Whose constant presence made me strong,
Until I to the end have come,
By ways oft sad and wearisome.
My brethren, take this book, I pray,
With ardent love, and favor, yea,
Which for the truth of God doth burn;
For this my soul doth greatly yearn.
It is time to proceed, in order that we may reach the end. We will conclude this first book, comprising fifteen centuries, the whole of which we had to bring up from the very depths; and proceed to the second, where our labor will not be so great; since the living memoirs of old writers and their accounts will serve us therein. Moreover, the entire work can be comprised in one great century; relying upon which, we take our leave, and turn to the following work, to which the Lord be pleased to grant us His grace, as much as is necessary. Amen.
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