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and when he says they rejected baptism, what are we to understand, but that they rejected the baptism of infants? These were the errors for which they were branded with a hot iron on their foreheads, by those who had the mark of the beast both in their foreheads and in their hands."*

Somewhat out of chronological order, a further reference may be made to the persecuted Waldenses. Who that is acquainted with the history of the Christian Church but must have been deeply affected in marking the simplicity, the purity, and great sufferings of the Protestant Christians in the valleys of Piedmont. The description

given of the Hebrew worthies is highly illustrative of the suffering Waldenses, for they "had the trial of cruel mockings, and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were slain with the edge of the sword, were destitute, tormented, afflicted." They wandered about the valleys, and were hunted like partridges upon the mountains, for the sake of their religious principles. Perrin, in his History of the Vandois, furnishes one of the Confessions of Faith of the Waldenses. This Confession was written in 1544, on the occasion of a threatened persecution. "The parliament of Aix, the chief of the province, had, in 1540, decreed that the Waldenses inhabiting the town of Merindole should all of them promiscuously be destroyed-that their houses should be pulled down and levelled with the ground-all the trees cut down, and the country adjacent converted into a desert."

To endeavour to appease the wrath of the French king, he was furnished with a copy of the Confession of Faith of the Waldensian Christians of Merindole, which is divided under the following heads:-t

OF GOD OF CHRIST-OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF THE CHURCHOF MINISTERS-OF KINGS, PRINCES, AND GOVERNORS-OF BAPTISMOF THE LORDS' SUPPER-OF MARRIAGE-OF GOOD WORKS-OF FALSE TEACHERS OF THE SCRIPTURES.

The enunciation of these doctrines could not, however, excite his most Christian Catholic Majesty's clemency. The sentence which was uttered in 1540 was sent forth for execution in 1544. The petitioners and the Protestants of Merindole were given up to the butcheries of an infuriated popish soldiery, by whom the most atrocious crimes were perpetrated. Shobert thus graphically describes the murderous work of destruction and extirpation which took place :-" Women, children, and aged people sought to save themselves by flight from the general massacre; houses, barns, and orchards were all consigned

Ivimey's History of the Baptists, vol. i. p. 56.

*Perrin's Historie des Vandois. Appendix A. The Confession is given at length.

to the flames; not one of the inhabitants was spared; almost all those who had fled were taken, and reserved for the dreadful punishment of the galleys. Not a vestige was left of the flourishing village of Merindole !"

It is not intended to go into a lengthened detail of such soul-harrowing persecutions, although there is some temptation to do so, in reference to the devoted and suffering inhabitants of the valleys of Piedmont. Upon the subject of BAPTISM it may be noticed that, from the Confes sion of Faith, it is clear that "FAITH AND CHANGE OF LIFE" MUST PRECEDE BAPTISM, AS INITIATORY TO BEING RECEIVED INTO THE HOLY CONGREGATION OF GOD'S PEOPLE."

Various authorities maintain that THE WALDENSES were all Antipædobaptists.* The Picards, Paternes, Beghlards, or Lollards, and Waldenses, were all one and the same people.†

Jones, in presenting an epitome of the practice of the Waldenses, observes, "they brought up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; BUT THEY NEITHER SPRINKLED NOR IMMERSED THEM under the notion of administering Christian baptism;" they were, in a word, so many distinct churches of Anti-pædobaptists.+

All those who became eminent for the reformation of corruptions in the church, as Novation, Donatus, Constantius, Gundulph, Berenger, Peter de Brugs, Henry of Toulouse, Arnold, Waldo, and Lollard, advocated and practised the immersion of believers; consequently they are all termed ANABAPTISTS by their contemporary opponents.§ Their united efforts were so blessed that vast multitudes were converted, and their success "threatened the papacy with a fatal overthrow."||

The FOURTEENTH CENTURY is for ever memorable as being the period when light began to dawn upon this land. Wyckliffe, the morning star of the Reformation, emerged from papal darkness. It was an important era for the Christian churches. The doctrines of the Waldenses and Albigenses had taken fast root in France, Italy,

* Orchard's History.-Dupin. † Hallam's Middle Ages.-Sladen's Reformation. An attempt has been made to shew their "affinity" to the present Episcopal Church, by the Rev. T. Gilby, in his narrative of an excursion to the mountains of Piedmont, in the year 1823. Mr. Jones, in his "History of the Christian Church," (1 vol. xxiv. to 15) after giving at some length the peculiar doctrines and practices of the inhabitants of the valleys, thus concludes:

66 "Enough has surely been said to shew that the present race of Protestants in Piedmont bear little or no affinity to the ancient Waldenses, either in their doctrinal sentiments, their discipline and external order, or their religious practices; and it is an act of justice to the memory of that excellent people to rescue them from this unnatural alliance."

§ History of Foreign Baptists. Mosheim.

Spain, and England. The Lollards, with Wyckliffe and his followers, were drinking deeply from the same fountain of truth. Doctrines, identical with those which had been maintained amongst the inhabitants of the valleys of the south of France, found an extensive reception in this country, to the great dismay of the pope, his cardinals, and priesthood. What were the sentiments of contemporaneous writers upon the subject? Knighton, the historian, who appears to have been the inveterate enemy of Wyckliffe, writes, that "his doctrines spread very wonderfully through the land ;" he says, “Such was the success of his teaching, preaching, and writings, that more than half the people of England became his followers, and embraced his doctrines." Their character is thus given by Reinhar, a popish writer:-"The disciples of Wyckliffe are men of a serious, modest deportment, avoiding all ostentation in dress, mixing little with the busy world, and complaining of the debauchery of mankind. They maintain themselves wholly by their own labour, and despise wealth, being fully content with bare necessaries. They are chaste and temperate; are never seen in taverns, or amused with the trifling gaities of life; yet you find them almost always employed either in learning or teaching. They are concise and devout in their prayers, blaming an unanimated prolixity. They never swear; speak little; and, in their public preaching, lay the principal stress on charity."

That the sentiments of Wyckliffe and his followers WERE OPPOSED TO INFANT BAPTISM may be ascertained from several sources of informa→ tion. It is well known that after the death of the pious Queen Anne, wife of Richard II., and sister of Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia, the books of Wyckliffe were carried into Bohemia by her attendants; as they also were, about the same time, by Jerom of Prague, and other persons, in consequence whereof his sentiments spread in that country, where lived the celebrated John Huss, who, together with Jerom of Prague, fell a martyr to the fury of the papists of Constance, about a hundred years before the time of Luther. A letter describing the sentiments of the Hussites, written from Bohemia to Erasmus, dated Oct. 10th, 1519, states as follows:-"They renounce all the rites and ceremonies of our church; they ridicule our doctrine and practices in both sacraments; they deny orders (the hierarchy), and elect officers from among the laity; they receive no other rule than the Bible; THEY

ADMIT NONE INTO THEIR COMMUNION TILL THEY BE DIPPED IN

WATER OR BAPTIZED; and they reckon one another, without distinction of rank, to be called brothers and sisters."* "If this," observes Ivimey, was the case with respect to the followers of Wyckliffe in Bohemia,

66

*Colmesin's Collection of Letters to Men of note.

what should hinder us from believing that the followers of Wyckliffe in England held similar sentiments respecting the discipline of the church of Christ, and that they also maintained that none ought to be admitted into their communion until they be dipped in water or baptized ?"

That this was the case, appears from the laws made against them in the reign of Henry IV., for among the articles by which the inquisitors were to examine, one was, "WHETHER AN INFANT DYING UNBAPTIZED This the Lollards CONSTANTLY ASSERTED, in COULD BE SAVED?" opposition to the Church of Rome, which decreed that NO INFANT

COULD BE SAVED WITHOUT IT.

It was during the usurpation of Henry IV., in the year 1400, that the clergy obtained from him a law for the burning of heretics, which they were not long in putting into execution. The first victim to this sanguinary edict, and who had the honour of leading this bloody way, was William Sawtree, said to "have held," observes Neal, "the principles of the Baptists;" he was burnt in London, in the year 1400, and thus it would appear that he was the first martyr of the English nation.

It is learned from Walsingham, "that one Sir Lewis Clifford, who had been a friend of Wyckliffe, did discover to the Archbishop of Canterbury that the Lollards would not baptize their new-born children.* Fox says that it was upon these charges that, in the space of four years, one hundred and twenty Lollards, men and women, were apprehended, and suffered greatly.

Walsingham also states, "It was in the year 1381, that that damnable heretic, John Wyckliffe, reassumed the cursed opinions of Berengarius," of which it was certain that denying Infant Baptism was one. He again says 66 THAT HIS FOLLOWERS DID DENY BAPTISM TO INFANTS, because they concluded them, as they were the children of believers, to be holy, and not to stand in need of Baptism to take away original sin." Thomas Walden calls Wyckliffe "one of the seven heads that came out of the bottomless pit FOR DENYING Infant BAPTISM, that heresie of the Lollards of whom HE WAS SO GReat a ringleaDER.”† Ivimey thus remarks upon the sentiments of Wyckliffe:‡ a denial that Baptism had virtue in itself to procure the salvation of the infant, and that the want of it would insure damnation, was rudely shaking the foundation on which Infant Baptism was then built." He is accused, however, of going still farther, and of asserting "that none

Danver's Treatise of Baptism, p. 2, 303.

+ Danver's Treatise of Baptism, p. 2, 287.

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It took several years to raise a few hundred pounds, for the erection, at Lutterworth Church, of a monumental memorial to John Wyckliffe, and which was finally mainly promoted by the Rev. J. Gurney, formerly Curate of Lutterworth, and son of the late Baron Gurney (who was for many years in communion with the

were members of the church invisible, and that none had a right to church membership, WHO DID NOT MAKE A PUBLIC PROFESSION, AND PROFESS OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST. It is unnecessary to add, that INFANTS, BEING UNABLE to make this public profession, could not be considered by him as members of the visible church, or as professing a right to participate in any of its ordinances."

With regard to the existence of Baptistical sentiments, the fact is beyond dispute, that the principles of Anti-pædobaptists were prevalent during the whole of the FIFTEENTH CENTURY, though we are

Baptist Church, at Maze's Pond, Southwark,) and nephew to W. B. Gurney, Esq., of Denmark Hill, London, the much esteemed Treasurer of the Baptist Missionary Society.

The following inscription, from the monument at Lutterworth, furnishes an estimate of Wyckliffe's character:

BACRED TO THE MEMORY OF

JOHN WICLIF,

THE HABLIEST CHAMPION OF ECCLESIASTICAL REFORMATION IN ENGLAND.
HE WAS BORN IN YORKSHIRE, IN THE YEAR 1321;

IN THE YEAR 1375 HE WAS PRESENTED TO THE RECTORY OF LUTTERWORTH,
WHERE HE DIED ON THE 31ST DECEMBER, 1384.

AT OXFORD HE ACQUIRED NOT ONLY THE RENOWN OF A CONSUMMATE SCHOOLMAN,
BUT THE FAR MORE GLORIOUS TITLE OF THE EVANGELICAL DOCTOR.

MIS WHOLE LIFE WAS ONE IMPETUOUS STRUGGLE AGAINST THE CORRUPTIONS AND ENCROACHMENTS OF THE PAPAL COURT,

AND THE IMPOSTURES OF ITS DEVOTED AUXILIARIES, THE MENDICANT FRATERNITY HIS LABOURS IN THE CAUSE OF SCRIPTURAL TRUTH WERE CROWNED

WITH ONE IMMORTAL ACHIEVEMENT,

HIS TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE INTO THE ENGLISH TONGUE;

THIS MIGHTY WORK DREW ON HIM INDEED THE BITTER HATRED OF ALL WHO WEEB
MAKING MERCHANDISE OF THE POPULAR CREDULITY AND IGNORANCE,

BUT HE FOUND AN ABUNDANT REWARD IN THE BLESSINGS OF HIS COUNTRYMEN
OF EVERY RANK AND AGE,

TO WHOM HE UNFOLDED THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.

HIS MORTAL REMAINS WERE INTERRED NEAR THIS SPOT,

BUT THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED TO REST IN PEACE:

AFTER THE LAPSE OF MANY YEARS, THEY WERE DRAGGED FROM THE GRAVE
AND CONSIGNED TO THE FLAMES,

AND HIS ASHES WERE CAST INTO THE WATERS OF THE ADJOINING STREAM.

The following will present an historical parallel. Wa'singham, a great Catholic authority, writes a popish eulogy upon the character of England's early Reformer :

"The Devil's Instrument,-Churches' Enemy,-People's Confusion,-Heretics' Idol.-Hypocrites' Mirror,-Schism's Broacher,-Hatred's Sore,-Lies' ForgerFlatterers' Sink,-who, at his death, despaired like Cain, and, stricken by the horrible judgments of God, breathed forth his wicked soul to the dark mansions of the black devil."

The SAME FEELINGS which dictated such sentiments in the FOURTEENTH century, would dictate them in the NINETEENTH century; written, as they were, under the influence of an UNCHANGING AND UNCHANGEABLE RELIGION.

May a Gracious Providence preserve our country from SUCH a religion!

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