SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
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 Persecu0ions, 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 RECANTATION
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, he 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-
*"But I say unto you, Swear not at all." Matt. 5:34."But above all things, my brethren, swear not." James 5:12. 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. ofthe 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 CONFESSION
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, ˘. 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 ofChristian 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, ˘. 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.