Taken from the book Foxes Book of Martyrs.Thus far our history of persecution has been confined principally to the pagan world. We come now to a period when persecution, under the guise of Christianity, committed more enormities than ever disgraced the annals of paganism. Disregarding the maxims and the spirit of the Gospel, the papal Church, arming herself with the power of the sword, vexed the Church of God and wasted it for several centuries, a period most appropriately termed in history, the “dark ages.” The kings of the earth, gave their power to the “Beast,” and submitted to be trodden on by the miserable vermin that often filled the papal chair, as in the case of Henry, emperor of Germany. The storm of papal persecution first burst upon the Waldenses in France. Popery having brought various innovations into the Church, and overspread the Christian world with darkness and superstition, some few, who plainly perceived the pernicious tendency of such errors, determined to show the light of the Gospel in its real purity, and to disperse those clouds which artful priests had raised about it, in order to blind the people, and obscure its real brightness.
|Torturing the Waldenses|
Valleys of PiedmontMany of the Waldenses, to avoid the persecutions to which they were continually subjected in France, went and settled in the valleys of Piedmont, where they increased exceedingly, and flourished very much for a considerable time. Though they were harmless in their behavior, inoffensive in their conversation, and paid tithes to the Roman clergy, yet the latter could not be contented, but wished to give them some distrubance: they, accordingly, complained to the archbishop of Turin that the Waldenses of the valleys of Piedmont were heretics, for these reasons:
- That they did not believe in the doctrines of the Church of Rome.
- That they made no offerings or prayers for the dead.
- That they did not go to Mass.
- That they did not confess, and receive absolution.
- That they did not believe in purgatory, or pay money to get the souls of their friends out of it.
- That if the Waldenses would come to the bosom of the Church of Rome, and embrace the Roman Catholic religion, they should enjoy their houses, properties, and lands, and live with their families, without the least molestation.
- That to prove their obedience, they should send twelve of their principal persons, with all their ministers and schoolmasters, to Turin, to be dealt with at discretion.
- That the pope, the king of France, and the duke of Savoy, approved of, and authorized the proceedings of the parliament of Turin, upon this occasion.
- That if the Waldenses of the valleys of Piedmont refused to comply with these propositions, persecution should ensue, and certain death be their portion.
- That no considerations whatever should make them renounce their religion.
- That they would never consent to commit their best and most respectable friends, to the custody and discretion of their worst and most inveterate enemies.
- That they valued the approbation of the King of kings, who reigns in heaven, more than any temporal authority.
- That their souls were more precious than their bodies.