A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages.
By Henry Charles Lea - 1888
Chapter II. Heresy
THE Church, which we have seen so far removed from its ideal and so derelict in its duties, found itself, somewhat unexpectedly, confronted by new dangers and threatened in the very citadel of its power. Just asits triumph over king and kaiser was complete a new enemy arose in the awakened consciousness of man.
The dense ignorance of the tenth century, which followed the evanescent Carlovingian civilization, had begun in the eleventh to yield to the first faint pulsations of intellectual movement. Early in the twelfth century that movement already shows in its gathering force the promise of the development which was to render Europe the home of art and science, of learning, culture, and civilization.
The stagnation of the human mind could not be thus broken without leading to inquiry and to doubt. When men began to reason and to ask questions, to criticise and to speculateon forbidden topics, it was not possible for them to avoid seeing how woeful was the contrast between the teaching and the practice of the Church, and how little correspondence existed between religion and ritual, between the lives of monk and priest and the profession of their vows.
Even the blind reverence which for generations had been felt for the utterances of the Church began to be shaken. Such a book as Abelard's "Sic et Non, " in which the contradictions of tradition and decretal were pitilessly set forth, was not only an indication of mental disquiet ripening to rebellion, but a fruitful source of future trouble in sowing the seeds of further investigation and irreverence.
Vainly, at the commandof the Roman curia, might Gratian seek to show, in his famous "Concordantia Discordantiuni Canonum, " that the contradictions might be reconciled, and that the canon law was not merely a mass of clashing rules called forth by special exigencies, but an harmonious body of spiritual law. The fatal word had been spoken, and the efforts of the Glossators, of Masters of Sentences , of Angelic Doctors, and of the innumerable crowd of scholastic theologians and canon lawyers, with all their skilful dialectics, could never restore to the minds of men the placid and unbroken trust in the divine inspiration of the Church Militant. Few aswere the assailants as yet, and intermittent as were their attacks, the very number of the defenders and the vigor of the defence show the danger which was recognized as dwelling in the spirit of inquiry which had at last been partially aroused from its long slumber.
That spirit had received a powerful impulse from the school of Toledo, whither adventurous scholars flocked as to the fountain where they could take long draughts of Arabic and Grecian and Jewish lore. Even in the darkness of the tenth century Sylvester II., while yet plain Gerbert of Aurillac, had acquired a sinister reputation as a magician, owing to his asserted studies of forbidden science at that centre of intellectual activity.
Towards the middle of the twelfth century Robert de Retines, at the instance of Peter the Venerable of Cluny, laid aside for a while his studies in astronomy and geometry, in order to translate the Koran, and enable his patron to controvert the errors of Islam. The works of Aristotle and Ptolemy, of Abubekr, Avicenna, and Alfarabi, and finally those of Averrhoes, were rendered into Latin, and were copied with incredible zeal in all the lands of Christendom.
The Crusaders, too, brought home with them fragmentary remains of ancient thought which met with an equally warm reception.
It is true that judicial astrology was the chief subject of study and speculation among these new-found treasures, but the earnestness with which more fruitful topics were investigated and the danger which lurked in them are evidenced by the repeated prohibitions of the works of Aristotle and the denunciations of their use in the University of Paris.
Even more menacing to the Church was the revival of the Civil Law. Whether or not this was caused by the discovery of the Pandects of Amalfi, the ardor with which it came, by the middle of the twelfth century, to be studied in all the great centres of learning is incontestable, and men found, to their surprise, that there was a system of jurisprudence of wonderful symmetry and subtle adjustment of right, immeasurably superior to the clumsy and confused canon law and the barbarous feudal customs is, while drawing its authority from immutable justice as represented by the sovereign, and not from canon or decretal, from pope or council, or even from Holy Writ.
The clear sightedness of St. Bernard was not in fault when, as early as 1149, he recognized the danger to the Church, and complained that the courts rang with the laws of Justinian rather than with those of God.
To understand fully the effect of this intellectual movement upon the popular mind and heart, we must picture to ourselves a state of society in many respects wholly unlike our own. It is not only that in civilized lands settled institutions have rendered men more submissive to law and custom, but the diffusion of intelligence and the training of generations have brought them more under the control of reason and rendered them less susceptible to impulse and emotion.
Even in modern times we have seen, in outbursts like the Revolution of '89, the possibilities of popular frenzy when reason is dethroned by passion. Yet the madness of the Reign of Terror is no unapt illustration of the violent emotions to which mediaeval populations were subject, for good or for evil, giving occasion to the startling contrasts which render the period so picturesque, and relieve the sordidness of its daily life with splendid exhibitions of the loftiest enthusiasm or with hideous deeds of brutality.
Unaccustomed to restraint, vigorous manhood asserted itself in all its greatness and its littleness, whether in wreaking cruel vengeance upon the defenceless or in offering itself joyfully as a sacrifice to humanity. Thrills of delirious emotion spread from land to land, arousing the populations from their lethargy in blind attempts to achieve they scarcely knew what - in crusades which bleached the sands of Palestine with Christian bones, in wild excesses of flagellation, in purposeless wanderings of the Pastoureaux.
In the deep and hopeless misery which oppressed the mass of the people there was an ever-present feeling of unrest which constantly saw in the near future the coming of Antichrist, the end of the world, and the Day of Judgment. In the deplorable condition of society, torn with unceasing and savage neighborhood - war and ground under the iron heel of feudalism, the commonman might indeed well imagine that the reign of Antichrist was ever imminent, or might welcome any change which possibly might benefit, and scarce could injure, his condition.
The invisible world, moreover, with its mysterious attraction and horrible fascination, was ever present and real to every one. Demons were always around him, to smite him with sickness, to ruin his pitiful little cornfield or vineyard, or to lure his soul to perdition; while angels and saints were similarly ready to help him, to listen to his invocations, and to intercede for him at the throne of mercy, which he dared not to address directly.
It was among a population thus impressionable, emotional, and superstitious , slowly awakening in the intellectual dawn, that orthodoxy and heterodoxy - the forces of conservatism and progress- were to fight the battle in which neither could win permanent victory.
It is a noteworthy fact, presaging the new form which modern civilization and enlightenment were to assume, that the heresies which were to shake the Church to its foundations were no longer, as of old, mere speculative subtleties propounded by learned theologians and prelates in the gradual evolution of Christian doctrine.
We have not to deal with men like Arius or Priscillian, or Nestorius or Eutyches, scholars and prelates who filled the Church with the disputatious wrangles of their learning. Hierarchical organization was too perfect, and theological dogma too thoroughly petrified, to admit of this; and the occasional deviations, real or assumed, of the schoolmen from orthodoxy, as in the case of Berenger of Tours, of Abelard, of Gilbert de la Poree, of Peter Lornbard, of Folkmar von Trieffenstein, were readily suppressed by the machinery of the establishment. Nor have we, for the most part, to deal with the governing classes, for the alliance between Church and State to keep the people in subjection had been handed down from the Roman Empire, and however much monarchs like John of England or Frederic II. had to complain of ecclesiastical pretensions, they never dared to loosen the foundations on which rested their own prerogatives.
As a rule, heresy had to be thoroughly disseminated among the people before those of gentleblood would meddle with it, as we shall see in Languedoc and Lombardy. The blows which brought real danger to the hierarchy came from obscure men, laboring among the poor and oppressed, who, in their misery and degradation, felt that the Church had failed in its mission, whether through the worldliness of its ministers or through defectsin its doctrine.
Its Character And Cause
Among these lost sheep of Israel, like the Goim, whom, neglected and despised by the rabbis, it was Christ's mission to bring into the fold, they found ready and eager listeners, and the heresies which they taught divide themselves naturally into two classes. On the one hand we have sectaries holding fast to all the essentials of Christianity, with antisacerdotalism as their mainspring, and on the other hand we have Manichaeans.
In briefly reviewing these and their vicissitudes, it must be borne in mind that, with scarce an exception, the authorities are exclusively their antagonists and persecutors. Saving a few Waldensian tracts and a single Catharan ritual, their literature has wholly perished. We are left, for the most part, to gather their doctrines from those who wrote to confute them or to excite popular odium against them, and we can only learn their struggles and their fate from their ruthless exterminators. I shall say no word in their praise that is not based upon the admissions or accusations of their enemies; and if I reject some of the abuse lavished upon them, it is because that abuse is so manifestly conscious or unconscious exaggeration that it is deprived of all historical value.
In general, the prima facie case may be assumed to be in favor of those who were ready to endure persecution and face death for the sake of what they believed to be truth; nor, in the existing corruption of the Church, can it be imagined, as the orthodox controversialists assumed, that any one would place himself outside of the pale for the purpose of morefreely indulging disorderly appetites. The fact is, as we have seen, that the highest authorities in the Church admitted that its scandals were the cause, if not the justification, of heresy.
An inquisitor who was actively engaged in its suppression enumerates among the efficient agents in its dissemination the depraved lives of the clergy, their ignorance, leading to the preaching of false and frivolous things, their irreverence for the sacraments, and the hatred commonly entertained for them.
Another informs us that the leading arguments of the heretics were drawn from the pride, the avarice, and the unclean lives of clerks and prelates. All this, accordingto Lucas, Bishop of Tuy, who laboriously confuted heterodoxy, was exaggerated by false stories of miracles skilfully directed against the observances of the Church and the weaknesses of its ministers; but if so this was a work of surplusage, for nothing that the heretic scould invent was likely to bemore appalling than the reality as stated by the most resolute champions of the Church.
Not many controversialists, indeed, were capable of the frank assurance of the learned author of the tract which passes under the name of Peter of Pilichdorf, in answering the arguments of the heretics, that the Catholic priests were fornicators and usurers and drunkards and dicers and forgers, by boldly saying,
"What then? They are nonethe less priests, and the worst of men who is a priest is worthier than the most holy layman. Was not Judas Iscariot, on account of his apostleship, worthier than Nathaniel, though less holy?"
The Troubadour Inquisitor Isarnonly uttered a truth generally recognized when he said that no believer would be misled into Catharismor Waldensianism if he had a good pastor:
"Ja no fara crczens lieretje ni baucles
Si agues bon pastor quo lur contradisses."
The antisacerdotal heresies were directed against the abuses in doctrine and practice which priestcraft had invented to enslave the souls of men. One feature common to them all was a revival of the Donatist tenet that the sacraments are polluted in polluted hands, so that a priest living in mortal sin is incapable of administering them. In the existing condition of ecclesiastical morals this was destructive to the functions of nearly the whole body of the priesthood, andits readiness as a means of attack had been facilitated by the policy of the Holy Seein its efforts to suppress clerical marriage and concubinage.
In 1059 the Synod of Rome, under the impulsion of Nicholas II., had adopted a canon forbidding anyone to be present at the mass of a priest known to keep a concubine or wife. This was inviting the flock to sit in judgmenton the pastor; and though it remained virtually a dead letter for fifteen years, when it was revived and effectually put in force by Gregory VII., in 1074, it produced immense confusion, for continent priests were rare exceptions.
The Sacraments In Polluted Hands
So violent was the contest excited that, in 1077, at Cambrai, the married or concubinary priesthood actually burned at the stake an unfortunate who resolutely maintained the orthodoxy of the papal rescripts. The orders of Gregory were reiterated by Innocent II. as late as the Council of Keims, in 1131, and in that of Lateran, in 1139, and Gratian embodied the whole series in the canon law, where they still remain.
Although Urban II. had endeavored to point out that it was merely a matter of discipline, and that the virtue of the sacraments remained unaltered in the hands of the worst of men, still it was difficult for the popular mind to recognize so subtle a distinction. A learned theologian like Gerochof Reichersperg might safely declare that he paid no more attention to the masses of concubinary priests than if they were those of somany pagans, and yet be unimpeached in his orthodoxy, but to minds less robust in faith the question presented insoluble difficulties.
Albero, a priest of Mercke, near Cologne, shortly afterwards, , when he taught that the consecration of the host was imperfect in sinful hands, was forced, by the unanimous testimony of the Fathers, to recant; but he adopted the theory that such sacraments were profitable to those who took them in ignorance of the wickedness of the celebrant, while they were useless to the dead and to those who were cognizant of the sin. This was likewise heretical, and Albero's offer to prove its orthodoxy by undergoing the ordeal of fire was rejected on the logical ground that sorcery might thus enable false doctrine to triumph. The question continued to plague the Church until, about 1230, Gregory IX. abandoned the position of his predecessors, and undertook to settle it by an authoritative decision that every priest in mortal sin is suspended, as far as concerns himself, until he repents and is absolved, yet his offices are not to be avoided, because he is not suspended as regards others, unless the sin is notorious by judicial confession or sentence, or by evidence so clear that no tergiversation is possible.
To the Church it was, of course, impossible to admit that the virtue of the sacrament depended upon the virtue of the ministrant, but these fine-drawn distinctions show how the question troubled the minds of the faithful, and how readily the heresy could suggest itself that transubstantiation might fail in the hands of the wicked. In fact, even without the suggestive commands of Gregory and Innocent, to a thoughtful and pious mind there wasa grievousi ncompatibility between the awful powers vested by the Church in her ministers and the flagitious lives which disgraced so many of them.
That the error should be stubborn was unavoidable. As late as 1396 it was taught by Jean de Yarennes, a priest of the Remois, who was forced to recant, and in 1458 we find Alonso de Spina declaring it to be common to the Waldenses, the Wickliffites, and the Hussites.
One or two of the earlier antisacerdotal heresies may be mentioned which were local and temporary in their character, but which yet have interest as showing how ready were the lower ranks of the people to rise in revolt against the Church, and how contagious was the enthusiasm excited by any leader bold enough to voice the general feeling of unrest and discontent.
About 1108, in the Zeeland Isles, there appeared a preacher named Tanchelm, who seems to have been an apostate monk, subtle and skilled in disputation. He taught the nullity of all hierarchical dignities, from pope to simple clerk, that the Eucharist was polluted in unworthy hands, and that tithes were not to be paid.
The people listened eagerly, and after filling all Flanders with his heresy, he found in Antwerp an appropriate centre of influence. Although that city was already populousand wealthy through commerce, it had but a single priest, and he, involved in an inces- tuous union with a near relative, had neither leisure nor inclination for his duties. A people thus destitute of orthodox instruction fell an easy prey to the tempter and eagerly followed him, reverencing him to that degree that the water in which he bathed was distributed and preserved as a relic. He readily raised a force of three thousand fighting men, with which he dominated the land, nor was there duke or bishop who dared withstand him.
The stories that he pretended to be God and the equal of Jesus Christ, and that he celebrated his marriage with the Virgin Mary, may safely be rejected as the embroideries of frightened clerks; nor could Tanchelm have really considered himself as a heretic, for we find him visiting Rome with a few followers for the purpose of obtaining a division of the extensive see of Utrecht and the allotment of a portion of it to the episcopate of Terouane.
On his return from Rome, in 1112, while passing through Cologne, he and his retinue were thrown in prison by the archbishop, who the next year summoned a synod to sit in judgment on them. Several of them purged themselves by the water-ordeal, while others succeeded in escaping by flight. Of these, three were burned at Bonn, preferring a frightful death to abandoning their faith, while Tanchelm himself reached Brugesin safety. The anathema which had been pronounced against him, however, had impaired his credit, and the clergy of Bruges had little difficulty in procuring his ejectment. Yet Antwerp remained faithful, and he continued his missionary career until 1115, when, being in a boat with but few followers, a zealous priest piously knocked him on the head, and his soul went to rejoin its master, Satan.
Even this did not suppress the effect of his teaching and his heresy continued to flourish. In vain the bishop gave twelve assistants to the lonely priest of St. Michael's in Antwerp; it was not until 1126, when St. Norbert, the ardent ascetic who founded the Premonstratensian order, was placed in charge of the city with his followers, and undertook to evangelize it with his burning eloquence, that the people could be brought back to the faith.
St. Xorbert built other churches and filled them with disciples zealous as himself, and the stubborn heretics were docile enough to pastors who taught by example as well as by words their sympathy for those who had so long been neglected. Consecrated hosts which had lain hidden for fifteen years in chinks and corners were brought forth by pious souls, and the heresy vanished without leaving a trace.
Some what similar was the heresy propagated not long afterwards in Brittany by Eon de l'Etoile, except that in this case the heresiarch was unquestionably insane. Sprungf rom a noble family, he had gained a reputation for sanctity by the life of a hermit in the wilderness, when, from the words of the collect, "per eum qui venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos, " he conceived the idea that he was the Son of God.
It was not difficult to find sharers in this belief who adored him as the Deity incarnate, and he soon had a numerous band of followers, with whose aid he pillaged the churches of their ill-used treasures, and distributed them to the poor. The heresy became sufficiently formidable to induce the legate, Cardinal Alberic of Ostia, to preach against it at Nantes in 1145, and Ilugues, Archbishop of Kouen, to combat it with dreary polemics; but the most convincing argument used was the soldiery despatched against the heretics, many of whom were captured and burned at Alet, refusing obstinately to recant, Eon retired to Aquitaine for a season, but in 1148 he ventured to appear in Champagne, where he was seized with his followers by Samson, Archbishop of Reims, and brought before Eugenius III. at the Council of Rouen. Here his insanity was so manifest that he was charitably consigned to the care of Suger, Abbot of St. Denis, where he soon after died, but many of his disciples were stubborn, and preferred the stake to recantation.
More durable and more formidable were the heresies which about the same time took stubborn root in the south of France, where the condition of society was especially favorable for their propagation. There the population and civilization were wholly different from those of the north. The first wave of the Aryan invasion of Europe had driven to the Mediterranean littoral the ancient Ligurian inhabitants, who had left abundant traces of their race in the swarthy skins and black hair of their descendants. Greek and Phoenician colonies had still further crossed the blood.
Gothic domination had been long continued, and the Merovingian conquest had scarce given to the Franka foothold in the soil.
Peculiar Civilization of Southern France
Even Saracenic elements were not wanting to make up the strange admixture of races which rendered the citizen of Narbonne or Marseilles so different a being from the inhabitant of Paris - quite as different as the Langue d'Oc from the Langue d'Oyl. The feudal tie which bound the Count of Toulouse, or the Marquis of Provence, or the Duke of Aquitaine to the King of Paris or the Emperor was but feeble, and when the last named fief was carried by Eleanor to Henry II., the rival pretensions of England and France preserved the virtual independence of the great feudatories of the South, leading to antagonisms of which we shall see the full fruits in the Albigensian crusades.
The contrast of civilization was as marked as that of race. Nowhere in Europe had culture and luxury made such progress as in the south of France. Chivalry and poetry were assiduously cultivated by the nobles; and, even in the cities, which had acquired for themselves a large measure of freedom, and which were enriched by trade and commerce, the citizens boasted a degree of education and enlightenment unknown elsewhere.
Nowhere in Europe, moreover, were the clergy more negligent of their duties or more despised by the people. There was little earnestness of religious conviction among either prelates or nobles to stimulate persecution, so that there was considerable freedom of belief. In no other Christian land did the despised Jew enjoy such privileges. His right to hold land in franc-alleu was similar to that of the Christian; he was admitted to public office, and his administrative ability rendered him a favorite in such capacity with both prelate and noble; his synagogues were undisturbed and the Hebrew school of Narbonne was renowned in Israel as the home of the Kimchis.
Under such influences, those who really possessed religious convictions were but little deterred by prejudice or the fear of persecution from criticising the shortcomings of the Church, or from seeking what might more nearly respond to their aspirations.
It was in such a population as this that the first antisacerdotal heresy was preached in Vallonise about 1106, by Pierrede Bruys, a native of the diocese of Embrun. The prelates of Embrun, Gap and Die endeavored in vain to stay his progress until they procured assistance from the king, when he was driven out and took refuge in Gascony. For twenty years he continued his mission, and the openness and success with which he taught is shown by the story that in one place to show his contempt for the objects of sacerdotal veneration, he caused a great pile of consecrated crosses to be accumulated, and then, setting fire to them, deliberatelyroasted meat at the flames. Persecution at length became more active, about the year 1126 he was seized and burned at St. Gilles.
His teaching was simply antisacerdotal to some extent a revival of the errors of Claudius of Turin. Paedo-baptism was useless, for the faith of another cannot help him who cannot use his own - a far-reaching proposition, fraught with immeasurable consequences.
For the same reason offerings, alms, masses, prayers and other good works for the dead are useless and each would be judged on his own merits. Churches are unnecessary and should be destroyed, for holy places are not wanted for Christian prayer, since God listens to those who deserve it, whether invoked in church or tavern, in temple or market-place, before the altar or before the stable; and the Church of God does not consist of a multitude of stones piled together, but in the united congregation of the faithful.
As for the cross, as a senseless thing it is not to be invoked with foolish prayers, but is rather to be destroyed as the instrumenton which Christ was cruelly tortured to death. His most serious error, however, was his rejection of the Eucharist. Transubstantiation had not yet had time to become immovably fixed in the perceptions of all men, and Pierre de Bruys went even further than Berenger of Tours. His only recorded utterance is his vigorous rejection of the sacrament:
"O people, believenot the bishops, the priests, and the clerks, who, as in much else, seek to deceive you as to the office of the altar, where they lyingly pretend to make the body of Christ and give it to you for the salvation of your souls. They plainly lie, for the body of Christ was but once made by Christ in the supper before the Passion, and but once given to the disciples. Since then it has been never made and never given."
There was evidently nothing to do with such a man but to burn him, but even this did not suffice to suppress his heresy.
Petrobrusians And Henricians
The Petrobrusians continued to diffuse his doctrines, secretly or openly, and, some five or six years after his death, Peter the Venerable of Cluny considered them still so formidable as to require his controversial tract, to which we are indebted for almost all we know about the sect. This is dedicated to the bishops of Embrun, Aries, Die, and Gap, and urges them to renewed efforts for the suppression of the heresy by preaching and by the arms of the laity.
All their efforts might well be needed, for Peter was succeeded by a yet more formidable heresiarch. Little is known of the earlier life of Henry, the Monk of Lausanne, except that he left his convent there under circumstances for which St. Bernard afterwards reproached him, but which may well have been but the first ebullition of the reformatory spirit to which he finally fell a victim. We next hear of him at Le Mans, perhaps as early as 1116, but the dates are uncertain.
Here his austerities gained him the veneration of the people, which he turned with disastrous effect upon the clergy. We know little of his doctrines at this time, except that he rejected the invocation of saints, but we are told that his eloquence was so persuasive that under its influence women abandoned their jewels and sumptuous apparel, and young men married courtesans to reclaim them. While thus teaching asceticism and charity, he so lashed the vices of the Church that the clergy throughout the diocese would have been destroyed but for the active protection of the nobles. Henry had taken advantage of the absence in Rome of the bishop, the celebrated Hildebert of Le Mans, who, on his return, overcame the heretic in disputation and forced him to abandon the field, but could not punish him.
We have glimpses of his activity in Poitiers and Bordeaux, and then lose sight of him till we find him a prisoner of the Archbishop of Aries, who took him to the presence of Innocent II. at the Council of Pisa, in 1134. Here he was convicted of heresy and condemned to imprisonment, but was subsequently released and sent back to his convent, whence he departed with the intention of entering the strict Cistercian order at Clairvaux. What led to his resuming his heretical mission we do not know, but we meet him again, bolder than before, adopting substantially the Petrobrusian tenets, rejecting the Eucharist, refusing all reverence for the priesthood, all tithes, oblations, and other sources of ecclesiastical revenue, and all attendance at church.
The scene of this activity was southern France, where the embers of Petrobrusianism were ready to be kindled into flame. His success was immense. In 1147 St. Bernard despairingly describes the condition of religion in the extensive territories of the Count of Toulouse:
"The churche sare without people, the people without
priests, the priests without the reverence due them, and
Christians without Christ. The churches are regarded as
synagogues, the sanctuary of the Lord is no longer holy; the
sacraments are no more held sacred; feast days are without
solemnities; men die in their sins, and their souls are hurried
to the dread tribunal, neither reconciled by penance nor
fortified by the holy communion.
The little ones of Christ are debarred from life since baptism is denied them. The voice of a single heretic silences all those apos- tolic and prophetic voices which have united in calling all the nations into the Church of Christ."
The prelates of southern France were powerless to arrest the progressof the bold heresiarch, and imploringly appealed for assistance. The nobles would not aid them, for, like the people, they hated the clergy and were glad of the excuses which Henry's doctrines gave them for spoiling and oppressing the Church. The papal legate, Alberic, was summoned, and he prevailed upon St. Bernard to accompany him with Geoffrey, Bishop of Chartres, and other men of mark.
Though St. Bernard was sick, the perilous condition of the tottering establishment aroused all his zeal, and he unflinchingly undertook the mission. What was the condition of popular feeling and how boldly it dared to express itself may be gathered from the reception of the legateat Albi, where the people went forth to meet him with asses and drumsin sign of derision, and when they were convoked to be present at his celebration of mass scarcely thirty attended.
If we may believe the accounts of his disciples, the success of Bernard was immense. His reputation had preceded him and it was heightened by the stories of miracles which he daily performed, no less than by his burning eloquence and skill in disputation. Crowds flocked to hear him preach, and were converted. At Albi, two daysafter the miserable failure of the legate, St. Bernard arrived, and the cathedral was scarcely able to hold the multitude which assembled to listen to him. On the conclusion of his discourse he adjured them:
"Repent, then, all ye who have beencontaminated. Return to the Church; and that we may know who repents, let each penitent raise his right hand"
and every hand was raised.
Scarce less effective was his rejoinder when, after preaching to an immense assemblage, he mounted his horse to depart and a hardened heretic, thinking to confuse him, said,
"My lord abbot, our heretic, of whom you think so ill, has not a horse so fat and spirited as yours."
"Friend, " replied the saint, "I deny it not. The horse eats and grows fat for itself, for it is but a brute and by nature given to its appetites, whereby it offends not God. But before the judgment seat of God I and your master will not be judged by horse's necks, but eachby his own neck. Now, then, look at my neck and see if it is fatter than your master's, and if you can justly reprehend me."
Then he threw down his cowl and displayed his neck, long and thin and wasted by maceration and austerities, to the confusion of the misbelievers. If he failed to make converts at Verfeil, where a hundred knights refused to listen to him, he at least had the satisfaction of cursing them, which we are assured caused them all to perish miserably.
St. Bernard challenged Henry to a disputation, which the prudent heretic declined, whether through fear of his antagonist's eloquence or a reasonable regard for the safety of his own person. It mattered little which, for his refusal discredited him in the eyes of many of the nobles who had hither to protected him, andt henceforth he was obliged to lie in hiding. Orthodoxy took heart and was soon on his track: he was captured the next year and brought in chains before his bishop. His end is not known, but he is presumedto have died in prison.
We hear no more of the Henricians as a definite sect, though a young girl, miraculously inspired by the Virgin Mary, is said to have converted many of them, and they probably continued to exist throughout Languedoc, furnishing material in the next generation for the spread of the Waldenses. We have scanty indications, however, in widely separated places, of the existence of sectaries probably Henrician, showing how, in spite of persecution, the antisacerdotal spirit continued to manifest itself. Contemporary with St.Bernard's mission to Languedocis a letter addressed to him by Evervin, Provost of Steinfeld, imploring his aid against heretics recently discovered at Cologne - some Manichaeans and others, evidently Henricians, who had betrayed themselves by their mutual quarrels.
These Henricians boasted that their sect was numerously scattered throughout all the lands of Christendom, and their zeal is shown by an allusion to those among their number who perished at the stake. Probably Henrician, too, were heretics who infested Perigord under a teacher named Pons, whose austerities and external holiness drew to them numerous adherents, including nobles and priests, monks and nuns.
Besides the antisacerdotal tenets described above, these enthusiasts anticipated St. Francis in proclaiming poverty to be essential to salvation and in refusing to receive money. The impression which they produced upon a worldly generation is show by the marvellous legends which grew around them.
They courted persecution and sought for persecutors who should slay them, yet they could not be punished, for their master, Satan, liberated them from chains and prison. Thus if one should befettered hand and foot and placed under an inverted hogshead watched by guards, he would disappear until it pleased him to return. We know nothing as to the fate of Pons and his disciples, but their numbers and activity were a manifestation of the pervading disquiet and yearning for a change.
Arnald Of Brescia
Arnald of Brescias heresy was much more limited in its scope.
A pupil of Abelard, he was accused of sharing his master's errors, and incorrect notions respecting paedo-baptism and the Eucharist were attributed to him. Whatever may have been his theological aberrations, his real offence was the energetic way in which he lashed the vices of the clergy and stimulated the laity to repossess the ample wealth and extended privileges which the Church had acquired. Profoundly convinced that the evils of Christendom arose from the worldliness of the ecclesiastical body, he taught that the Church should hold neither temporal possessions nor jurisdiction, and should confine itself rigidly to its spiritual functions.
Of austere and commanding virtue, irreproachablein his self-denying life, trained in all the learning of the schools, and gifted with rare persuasive eloquence, he became the terror of the hierarchy, and found the laity ready enough to listen and to act upon doctrines which satisfied their worldly aspirations as well as their spiritual longings. The second Lateran Council, in 1139, endeavored to suppress the revolt which he excited in the Lombard cities by condemning and imposing silence on him; he refused obedience, and the next year Innocent II., in approving the proceedings of the Council of Sens, included him in the condemnation of Abelard, and ordered both to be imprisoned and their writings burned.
Arnald had fled from Italy to France, and now he was driven to Switzerland, where we find his restless activity at work in Constance and then in Zurich, pursued by the sleepless watchfulness of St. Bernard.
According to the latter, his conquests over souls in Switzerland were rapid, for his teeth were arms and arrows, and his tongue was a sharp sword. After the death of Innocent II. he returned to Rome, where he seems to have been reconciled to Eugenius III. in 1145 or 1140. The new pope, speedily wearied with the turbulence of the city which had exhausted his predecessors, abandoned it and finally sought refuge in France.
Arnald was not idle in these movements, and was generally held responsible for them. Vain were the remonstrances of St. Bernard to the Roman commonalty, and equally vain his appeals to the Emperor Conrad to restore the papal power by force. At the same time Conrad treated with disdain envoys sent by the Roman republic, protesting that their object was to restore the imperial supremacy as it had existed under the Caesars, and inviting to come and assume the empire of Italy. Eugenius, on his return, to Italy, in 1148, issued from Brescia a condemnation of Arnald, directed especially to his supporters among the Roman clergy, who were threatened with deprivation of preferment; but the citizens stood firm, and the pope was only allowed to return to his city on condition of allowing Arnald to remain there. After the death of Conrad III., in 1152, Eugenius III. hastened to win the support of the new King of the Romans, Frederic Barbarossa, by intimating that Arnald andhis partisans were conspiring to elect another emperor and make the empire Roman in fact as well as in name.
The papal favor seemed necessary to Frederic to secure his coveted coronation and recognition. Blindly overlooking the irreconcilable antagonism between the temporal and spiritual swords, he cast his fortunes with the pope, swore to subdue for him the rebellious city and regain for him the territory of which he had been deprived; while Eugenius, on his side, promised to crown him when he should invade Italy, and to use freely the artillery of excommunication for the abasement of his enemies.
The domination of the Roman populacehas not been wholly moderate and peaceful. In more than one emeute the palacesof noble and cardinal had been sacked and destroyed and their persons maltreated, and at length, in 1154, in some popular uprising, the cardinal of Santa Pudenziana was slain. Adrian IV., the masterful Englishman who had recently ascended the papal throne, took advantage of the opportunity and set the novel example of laying an interdict on the capital of Christianity until Arnald should be expelled from the city; the fickle populace, dismayed at the deprivation of the sacrament, indispensable to all Christians at the approaching Easter solemnities, were withdrawn from his support, and he retired to the castle of a friendly baron of the Carnpagna.
The next year Frederic reached Rome, after entering into engagements with Adrian which included the sacrifice of Arnald, and he lost no time in performing his shareof the bargain. Arnald's protectors were summoned to surrender him, and were obliged to obey. For the cruel ending the Church sought to shirk the responsibility, but there would seem to be no reasonable doubt that he was regularlyc ondemned by a spiritual tribunal as a heretic, for he was in holy orders, and could be tried only by the Church, after which he was handed over to the seculararm for punishment.
He was offered pardon if he would recant his erroneous doctrines, but he persistently refused, and passed his last moments in silent prayer.
"Whether or not he was mercifully hanged before being reduced to ashes is perhaps doubtful, but those ashes were cast into the Tiber to prevent the people of Rome from preserving them as relics and honoring him as a martyr.
It was not long before Frederic had ampl ecause to repent the loss of an ally who might have saved him from the bitter humiliation of his surrender to Alexander III.
Though the immediate influence of Arnald of Brescia was evanescent, his career has its importance as a manifestation of the temper with which the more spiritually minded received the encroachments and corruption of the Church. Yet, though he failed in his attempt to revolutionize society, and perished through miscalculating the tremendous forces arrayed against him, his sacrifice was not wholly in vain. His teachings left a deep impress in the minds of the population, and his followers in secret cherished his memory and his principles for centuries. It was not without a full knowledge of the position that the Roman curia scattered his ashes in the Tiber, dreading the effect of the veneration which the people felt for their martyr. Secret associations of Arnaldistas were formed who called themselves "Poor Men," and adopted the tenet that the sacraments could only be administered by virtuous men.
In 1184 we find them condemned by Lucius III. at the so called Council of Verona; about 1190 they are alluded to by Bonao corsi, and even until the sixteenth century their name occurs in the lists of heresies proscribed in successive bulls and edicts. Yet the complete oblivion into which they fell is seen in the learned glossator Johannes Andreas, who died in 1348, remarking that perhaps the name of the sect may be derived from some one who founded it.
When Peter Waldo of Lyons endeavored, in more pacific wise, to carry out the same views, and his followers grew into the "Poor Men of Lyons," the Italian brethren were ready to welcome the new reformers and to co-operate with them.
Though there were some unimportant points of difference between the two schools, yet their resemblance was so great that they virtually coalesced; they were usually confounded by the Church, and were enveloped in a common anathema. Closely connected with them were the Umiliati, described as wandering laymen who preached and heard confessions, to the great scandal of the priesthood, but who were yet not strictly heretics.
Far greater in importance and more durable in results was the antisacerdotal movement unconsciously set on foot by Peter Waldo of Lyons, in the second half of the twelfth century. He was a rich merchant, unlearned, but eager to acquire the truths of Scripture, to which end he caused the translation into Romance of the New Testament and a collection of extracts from the Fathers, known as "Sentences." Diligently studying these, he learned them by heart, and arrived at the conviction that nowhere was the apostolic life observed as commandedby Christ.
Striving for evangelical perfection, he gave his wife the choice between his real estate and his movables. On her selecting the former, he sold the latter; portioned his two daughters, and placed them in the Abbey of Fontevraud, and distributed the rest of the proceeds among the poor then suffering from a famine. It is related that after this he begged for bread of an acquaintance who promised to support him during his life, and this coming to the ears of his wife, she appealed to the archbishop, who ordered him in future to accept food only from her.
Devoting himself to preaching the gospel through the streets and by the wayside, admiring imitators of both sexes sprang up around him, whom he despatched as missionaries to the neighboring towns. They entered houses, announcing the gospel to the inmates; they preached in the churches, they discoursed in the public places, and everywhere they found eager listeners, for, as we have seen, the negligence and indolence of the clergy had rendered the function of preaching almost a forgotten duty.
According to the fashion of the time, they speedily adopted a peculiar form of dress, including, in imitation of the apostles, a sandal with a kind of plate upon it, whence they acquired the nameof the "Shoed". Insabbatati, or Zaptati - though the appellation which they bestowed upon themselves wast hat of Li Poure de Lyod, or Poor Men of Lyons.
It was not possible that ignorant zeal could thus undertake the office of religious instruction without committing errors which acute theologians could detect. It is not likely, moreover, that it would spare the vices and crimes of the clergy in summoning the faithful to repentance and salvation. Complaint speedily arose of the scandals which the new evangelists disseminated, and the Archbishop of Lyons, Jean aux Bellesmains, summoned them before him, and prohibited them from further preaching. They disobeyed and were excommunicated.
Peter Waldo then appealed to the pope (probablyAlexanderIII.), who approved his vow of poverty and authorized him to preach when permitted by the priests - a restriction which was observed for a time and then disregarded. The obstinate Poor Men gradually put forward one dangerous tenet after another, while their attacks upon the clergy became sharper and sharper; yet as late as the year 1179 they came before the Council of Lateran, submitted their version of the Scriptures, and asked for license to preach.
Walter Mapes, who was present, ridicules their ignorant simplicity, and chuckles over his own shrewdness in confusing them when he was delegated to examine their theological acquirements, yet he bears emphatic testimony to their holy poverty and zeal in imitating the apostles and following Christ.
Again they applied to Rome for authority to found an order of preachers, but Lucius III. objected to their sandals, to their monkish copes, and to the companionship of men and women in their wandering life. Finding them obstinate, he finally anathematized them at the Council of Verona in 1184, but they still refused to abandon their mission, or even to consider themselves as separated from the Church.
Though again condemned in a council held at Narbonne, they agreed, about 1190, to take the chances of a disputation held in the Cathedral of Narbonne, with Eaymond of Daventer, a religious and God-fearing Catholic, as judge.
Of course the decision went against them, and of course they were as little inclined as before to submit, but the colloquy has an interest as showing what progress at that period they had made in dissidence from Rome.
The six points on which the argument was_ held were,
1st. That they refused obedience to the authority of pope and prelate;
2d. That all, even laymen, can preach;
3d. That, according to the apostles, God is to be obeyed rather than man;
4th. That women may preach;
5th. That masses, prayers, and alms for the dead are of no avail, with the addition that some of them denied the existence of purgatory; and
6th. That prayer in bed, or in a chamber, or in a stable, is as efficacious as in a church.
All this was rebellion against sacerdotalism rather than actual heresy; but we learn, about the same period, from the "Universal Doctor," Alain de Hsle, who, at the request of Lucius III., wrote a tract for their refutation, that they were prepared to carry these principles to their legitimate but dangerous conclusions, and that they added various other doctrines at variance with the teachings of the Church.
Good prelates, they held, who led apostolic lives, were to be obeyed, and to them alone was granted the power to bind and loose-which was striking a mortal blow at the whole organization of the Church. Merit, and not ordination, conferred the power to consecrate and bless, to bind and to loose; every one, therefore, who led an apostolic life had this power, and as they assumed that they all led such a life, it followed that they, although laymen, could execute all the functions of the priesthood. It likewise followed that the ministrations of sinful priests were invalid, though at first the French Waldenses were not willing to admit this, while the Italians boldly affirmed it. A further error was, that confession to a layman was as efficacious as to a priest, which was a serious attack upon the sacrament of penitence; though, as yet, the Fourth Council of Lateran had not made priestly confession indispensable, and Alain is willing to admit that in the absenceof a priest, confession to a layman is sufficient.
The system of indulgences was another of the sacerdotal devices which they rejected; and they added three specific rules of morality which became distinctive characteristics of the sect. Every lie is a mortal sin; every oath, even in a court of justice, is unlawful; and homicide is under no circumstances to be permitted, whether in war or in execution of judicial sentences. This necessarily involved non-resistance, rendering the Waldenses dangerous only from such moral influenceas they could acquire.
Even as late as 1217, a well-informed contemporary assures us that the four chief errors of the Waldenses were, their wearing sandals after the fashion of the apostles, their prohibition of oaths and of homicide, and their assertion that any member of the sect, if he wore sandals, could in case of necessity consecrate the Eucharist.
All this was a simple-hearted endeavor to obey the commands of Christ and make the gospel an actual standard for the conduct of daily life; but these principles, if universally adopted, would have reduced the Church to a condition of apostolic poverty, and would have swept away much of the distinction between priest and layman. Besides, the sectaries were inspired with the true missionary spirit; their proselyting zeal knew no bounds; they wandered from land to land promulgating their doctrines, and finding everywhere a cordial response, especially among the lower classes, who were ready enough to embrace a dogma that promised to release them from the vice and oppression of the clergy.
We are told that one of their chief apostles carried with him various disguises, appearing now a sa cobbler, then a sa barber, and again as a peasant, and though this may have been as alleged, for the purpose of eluding capture, it shows the social stratum to which their missions were addressed. The Poor Men of Lyons multiplied with incredible rapidity throughout Europe; the Church became seriously alarmed, and not without reason, for an ancient document of the sectaries shows a tradition among them that under Waldo, or immediately afterwards, their councils had an average attendance of about seven hundred members present.
Not long after the Colloquy of Narbonne, in 1194, the note of persecution was sounded by Alonso II. of Aragon, in an edict which is worthy of note as the first secular legislation, with the exceptionof the Assizes of Clarendon, in the modern world against heresy. The Waldenses and all other heretics anathematized by the Church are ordered, as public enemies, to quit his dominions by the day after All-Saints. Any one who receives them on his lands, listens to their preaching, or gives them food shall incur the penalties of treason, with confiscation of all his goods and possessions. The decree is to be published by all pastors on Sundays, and all public officials are ordered to enforce it. Any heretic remaining after three days notice of the law can be despoiled by any one, and any injury inflicted on him, short of death or mutilation, so far from being an offence, shall be regarded as meriting the royal favor.
The ferocious atrocity of these provisions, which rendered the heretic an outlaw, which condemned him in advance, and which exposed him without a trial to the cupidity or malice of every man, was exceeded three years later by Alonso's son, Pedro II. In a national council of Girona, in 1197, he renewed his father's legislation, adding the penalty of the stake for the heretic.
If any noble failed to eject these enemies of the Church, the officials and people of the diocese were ordered to proceed to his castle and seize them without responsibility for any damages committed, and any one failing to join in the foray was subjected to the heavy fine of twenty pieces of gold to the royal fisc.
Moreover, all officials were commanded, within eight days after summons, to present themselves before their bishop, or his representative, and take an oath to enforce the law.
The character of this legislation revealsthe spirit in which Church and State were prepared to deal with the intellectual and spiritual movement of the time. Harmless as the Waldenses might seem to be, they were recognized as most dangerous enemies, to be mercilessly persecuted. In southern France they were devoted to common destruction with the Albigenses, though the distinction between the sects was clearly recognized. The documents ol the Inquisition constantly refer to "heresy and Waldensianism," designating Catharism by the former term as the heresy par excellence. The Waldenses themselves regarded the Cathari as heretics to be combated intellectually, though the persecution which they shared forced them to associate freely together.
In a sect so widely scattered, from Aragon to Bohemia, consisting mostly of poor and simple folk, hiding their belief in the lowlands, or dwelling in separate communities among the mountain fastnesses of the Cottian Alps or of Calabria, it was inevitable that differences of organization and doctrine should arise, and that there should be variations in the rapidity of independent development. The labors of Dieckhoff, Herzog, and especially of Montet in recent times, have shown that the early Waldenses were not Protestants in our modern sense, and that, in spite of persecution, many of them long continued to regard themselves as members of the Church of Rome, with a persistence proving how real were the abuses which had forced them to schism, and finally to heresy.
Yet, in others, the spirit of revolt ripened much more rapidly, and it is impossible, within our limited space, to present a definite scheme of a doctrine which differed in so many points according to time and circumstance.
In the crucial test of belief in transubstantiation, for instance, as early as the thirteenth century, an experiencedi nquisitor, in drawing up instructions for the examination of Waldenses, assumes disbelief in the existence of the body and blood in the Eucharist as one of the points whereby to detect them, and in 1332 we hear of such a denial among the Waldenses of Savoy. Yet about this latter date Bernard Gui assures us that they believed in it, and M. Montet has shown from their successive writings how their views on the subject changed. The inquisitor who burned the Waldenses of Cologne in 1392 tells us that they denied transubstantiation, but they added, that if it occurred it could not be wrought in the hands of a sinful priest.
So it was with regard to purgatory - which for a long while was regarded as an open question, to be definitely decided in the negative by the close of the fourteenth century - together with the suffrages of the saints, the invocation of the Virgin, and the other devices of which it was the excuse. The antisacerdotalism in which the sect took its rise, naturally, in its development, tended to do away with all that interposed mediators between God and man, although this progress wasby no means uniform. The Waldenses burned in Strassburg in 1212, rejected all distinction between the laity and the priesthood.
In. Lombardy, about the sametime, the community elected ministers either temporary or for life. Both the French and Lombard Waldenses of this period held that the Eucharist could only be made by an ordained priest, though they differed as to the necessity of his not being in mortal sin. Bernard Gui speaks of three orders among them - deacons, priests, andbishops; M. Montet has found in a MS. of 1404 a form of Waldensian ordination; and when the Unitas Fratrum of Bohemia was organized in 1467, it had recourse, as we shall see hereafter, to the Waldensian Bishop Stephen to consecrate its first bishops.
Yet the antisacerdotal tendencies were so strong that the difference between the laity and priesthood was greatly diminished, and the power of the keys was wholly rejected. About 1400, the Nobla Leyczon declares that all the popes, cardinals, bishops, and abbots since the days of Silvester could not pardon a single mortal sin, for God alone has the power of pardon. As the soul thus dealt directly with God, the whole machinery of indulgences and so-called pious works was thrown aside. It is true that faith without works was idle - "la fe es ociosa sensa las olras" - but good works were piety, repentance, charity, justice, not pilgrimages and formal exercises, the founding of churches and the honoring of saints.
The Waldensian system thus created a simple church organization with a tendency ever to grow simpler. As a general proposition it may be stated that the distinction between the clergy and laity was reduced to a minimum, especially when transubstantiation was rejected. The layman could hear confessions, baptize, and preach.
In some places it was the custom for each head of a family on Holy Thursday to administer communion in a simple fashion, consecrating the elements and distributing them himself. Yet of necessity there was a recognized priesthood, known as the Perfected, or Majorales, who taught the faithful and converted the unbeliever, who renounced all property and separated themselves from their wives, or who had observed strict chastity from youth, who wandered around hearing confessions and making converts, and were supported by the voluntary contributions of those who labored for their bread.
The Pomeranian Waldenses believed that every seven years two of these were transported to the gate of Paradise, that they might understand the wisdom of God. One marked distinction between them and the laity was that, when on trial before the Inquisition, the prohibition of swearing was relaxed in favor of the latter, who might take an oath under compulsion, while the Perfects would die rather than violate the precept.
The inquisitors, while complaining of the ingenuity with which the heretics evaded their examination, admitted that all were much more solicitous to save their friends and kindred than themselves.
With this tendency towards a restoration of evangelical simplicity, it followed that the special religious teaching of the Waldenses was to a great extent ethical. The reply of an unfortunate before the Inquisition of Toulouse, when questioned as to what his instructors had taught him, was
"that he should neither speak nor do evil, that he should do nothing to others that he would not have done to himself, and that he should not lie or swear"
- a simple formula enough, but one which practically leaves little to be desired; and a similar statementwas made to the Celestinian Peter in his inquisition of the Pomeranian Waldensesin 1394.
A persecuted Church is almost inevitably a pure Church, and the men who through those dreary centuriesl ay in hiding, with the stake ever before their eyes, to spread what they believed to be the unadulterated truths of the gospel in obedience to the commands of Christ, were not likely to contaminate their high and holy mission with vulgar vices. In fact, the unanimous testimony of their persecutors is that their external virtues were worthy of all praise, and the contrast be tween the purity of their lives and the depravity which pervaded the clergy of the dominant Church is more than once deplored by their antagonists as a most effective factor in the dissemination of heresy.
An inquisitor who knew them well describes them:
"Heretics are recognizable by their customs and
speech, for they are modest and well regulated. They take no
pride in their garments, which are neither costly nor vile. They
do not engage in trade, to avoid lies and oaths and frauds, but
live by their labor as mechanics - their teachers are cobblers.
They do not accumulate wealth, but are content with necessaries.
They are chaste and temperate in meat and drink.
They do not frequent taverns or dances or other vanities. They restrain themselves from anger. They are always at work; they teach and learn and consequently pray but little. They are to be known by their modesty and precision of speech, avoiding scurrility and detraction and light words and lies and oaths. They do not even say vere or certe, regarding themasoaths."
Such is the general testimony, and the tales which were told as to the sexual abominations customary among them may safely be set down as devices to excite popular detestation, grounded possibly on extravagances of asceticism, such as were common among the early Christians, for the Waldenses held that connubial intercourse was onlv lawful for the procurement of offspring.
An inquisitor admits his disbelief as to these stories, for which he had never found a basis worthy of credence, nor does anything of the kind make its appearance in the examinations of the sectaries under the skilful handling of their persecutors, until in the fourteenth andfifteenth centuries the inquisitors of Piedmont and Provence found it expedient to extract such confessions from their victims.
There was also objected to them the hypocrisy which led them to conceal their belief under assiduous attendance at mass and confession, and punctual observance of orthodox externalities; but this, like the ingenious evasions under examination, which so irritated their inquisitorial critics, may readily be pardoned to those with whom it was the necessity of self-preservation, and who, at least during the earlier period, had often no other means of enjoying the sacraments which they deemed essential to salvation.
They were also ridiculed for their humble condition in life, being almost wholly peasants, mechanics, and the like - poor and despised folk of whom the Church took little count, except to tax when orthodox and burn when heretic. But their crowning offence was their love and reverence for Scripture, and their burning zeal in making converts. The Inquisitor of Passau informs ust hat they had translations of the whole Bible in the vulgar tongue, which the Church vainly sought to suppress, and which they studied with incredible assiduity. He knew a peasant who could recite the Book of Job word for word; many of them had the whole of the New Testament by heart, and, simple as they were, were dangerous disputants.
As for the missionary spirit, he tells of one who, on a winter night, swam the river Ips in order to gain a chance of converting a Catholic; and all, men and women, old and young, were ceaseless in learning and teaching. After a hard day's labor they would devote the night to instruction; they sought the lazar-houses to carry salvation to the leper; a disciple of ten days standing would seek out another whom he could instruct, and when the dull and untrained brain would fain abandon the task in despair they would speak words of encouragement:
"Learn a single word a day, in a year you will know three hundred, and thus you will gain in the end."
Surely if ever there was a God-fearing people it was these unfortunates under the ban of Church and State, whose secret passwords were,
"Ge dit sainct Pol, Ne mentir" " Ce dit sainct Jacques, Ne jurer" " Cedit sainct Pierre, Ne rendre mal pour mal, mais bienscontraires"
The "Nobla Leyczon'" scarce says more than the inquisitors, when it bitterly declares that the sign of a Vaudois, deemed worthy of death, was that he followed Christ and sought to obey the commandments of God.
Que si n1! a alcun bon que ame e tema Yeshu
Que non volha niaudire ni jurar ni mentir
Ni avoutrar ni aucir ni penrc de Valtruy,
Ni venjar se de li seoonemis,
lib dion qu'es Vaudese degne de punir,
E li troban cayson en meczonja e engan."
In fact, amid the license of the Middle Ages ascetic virtue was apt to be regarded as a sign of heresy. About 1220 a clerk of Spire, whose austerity subsequentlyled him to join the Franciscans, was only saved by the interposition of Conrad, afterwards Bishop of Hildesheim, from being burned as a heretic, because his preaching led certain women to lay aside their vanities of apparel and behave with humility.
The sincerity with which the Waldenses adhered to their beliefs is shown by the thousands who cheerfully endured the horrors of the prison, the torture-chamber, and the stake, rather than return to a faith which they believed to be corrupt. I have met with a case in 1320, in which a poor old woman at Pamiers submitted to the dreadful sentence for heresy simply because she would not take an oath. She answered all interrogations on points of faith in orthodox fashion, but though offered her life if she would swear on the Gospels, she refused to burdenher soul with the sin, and for this she was condemned as a heretic.
That all antisacerdotalists should agree, even under persecution, in a common creed, is not to be expected. In the decrees against heretics and in the writings of controversialists we meet the names of other sects, but they are of too little importance in numbers and duration to require more than a passing notice.
The Passagii ("all-holy" or "vagabond") or Circumcisi were Judaizing Christians, who sought to escape the domination of Rome by a recourse to the old law and denying the equality of Christ with God.
The Joseppini were still more obscure, and their errors appear mostly to lie in the region of artificial and unclean sexual asceticism. The Siscidentes were virtually the same as the Waldenses, the only difference being as to the administration of the Eucharist. The Ordibarii and Ortlibenses, followers of Ortlieb of Strassburg, who flourished about the year 1216, were likewise externally akin to the Waldenses, but indulged in doctrinal errors to which we shall have to recur hereafter.
The Kuncarii appear to have been a connecting link between the Poor Men of Lyons and the Albigenses or Manichaeans; an intermediate sect whose existence might be presupposed as an almost necessary result of the common interests and common sufferings of the two leading branches of heresy.