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(3.) The continuance of their career was agreeable to its commencement.
Their original seats were the valleys of Dauphiny and Piedmont: but, as if by way of preparing for their predicted simultaneous slaughter, while the Vallenses still remained in the primeval habitations of their fathers; the remnant of the Albigenses were, in the thirteenth century, compelled by the crusaders to emigrate from the land of their ancestors. Thus circumstanced, they sought refuge, as we learn from the direct testimony of an ancient contemporaneous Inquisitor, among their Vallensic brethren: and thus the two Churches became territorially and ecclesiastically united, so that the one could not be extirpated without the other 1.
larly unchanging character of the mountaineers of Isauria. The inhabitants of the richer provinces of the Roman Empire gradually apostatised from the sincerity of the Gospel the very character of their country was, in the hand of God, the secondary cause, which led the sequestered Vallenses to persevere in the unadulterated faith of the primitive Apostolic Church.
The testimony, to the emigration of the Albigenses and to their junction with the ancient Church of the Piedmontese Valleys, is so important, in regard to the accomplishment of prophecy, that I shall give it at large in the precise words of the original.
Ad causam eorum pauperum de Lugduno, quos vulgus Valdenses appellat, dictos a Valdeo cive Lugdunensi, in loco dicto. vulgariter Val Grant moram faciente, qui homo dives hæresiarcha primus hæresis sectæ Valdensium inventor fuit, secundum Scripturam, Qui bonis temporalibus renuncians, cœpit cum suis complicibus vitam apostolicam cum cruce et paupertate ducere. Et, experrectis viris ecclesiasticis, multos sibi discipulos sociavit,
Here stationed and here blended together, two and yet one, they shot forth branches into various
qui inde dicti sunt Pauperes de Lugduno; qui, dicentes vivere sub obedientia apostolica, ab illa tamen se separantes pertinaciter, respondebant, cum redarguerentur, Magis esse Deo obediendum quam hominibus.
Fuerunt tandem et merito per militantem Ecclesiam damnati, sed non radicitus extirpati: quia, Lugduno fugientes ad ultimas Dalphinatûs partes, se transferentes in Ebredunensi et Taurinensi diœcesibus in Alpibus et intra concava montium accessu difficilia, plures ibi ex ipsis habitaverunt; ubi paulatim, procurante satore zizaniæ, in copioso numero excreverunt, et demum palmites suos tristes in Liguriam, Italium, et ultra Romam in Apuliam, transmiserunt.
Et, quemadmodum Christus Redemptor noster discipulos suos binos mittebat ad prædicandum: sic et idiota et bestialis illius sectæ magniscius alios magistros inferiores per ipsum creatos et probatos, quos vulgo Barbas dicimus, ad docendum et prædicandum hujusmodi sectæ doctrinam, hinc inde binos mittere solitus fuit. Hi siquidem Barbæ creari solent per eorum supremum in civitate Acquila in regno Neapolitano: et, in eoruin creatione, quædam solet fieri solennitas. Nam, in derisum Romani Pontificis, eis nomina mutantur cum ad magisterium hujusinodi afficiuntur.
Cujus siquidem damnatissimæ hæresis cultores, quibus viri et mulieres vallis Clusionis Taurenensis diœcesis, et omnes mares et fœminæ vallis Frayxineri, ac plures vallium Argenteriæ et Loysiæ Ebredunensis diœcesis, a tanto tempore quod non est memoria hominum, in contrarium fuerunt proni, plus quam centum numero ex ipsis sponte confessi fuerunt, sequentes articulos, contra fidem nostram, tenuerunt, tenentque, et immobiliter observant. Script. Inquis. cujusp. anonym. de Valdens. ex cod. M.S. in public. biblioth. Cantab. notat. G. cited by Allix on the Church of Piedm. p. 324, 325. Oxon.
Testimony to the same effect, though not so copious and precise, is given by the historian Thuanus.
countries long before the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Though incessantly persecuted, they were never eradicated: but, like the burning bush in the wilderness, they flourished in the very midst of fire and desolation. As little did they yield to the superstition which surrounded them. On the contrary, they ceased not to bear a faithful testimony against the demonolatry of the mystic Gentiles. According to the remarkable confession of Claude Seissel, Archbishop of Turin, Many persons, at various times, have endeavoured to extirpate them: but, contrary to general expectation, they have still continued conquerors; or, at least, they have been wholly invincible '.
Hence, as no other Churches in the West can boast the same exemption from apostate idolatry during the whole term of the latter three times and a half, it will follow, that these two are the ONLY distinct and visible CHURCHES or CANDLESTICKS, which were NEVER so deceived and enslaved by the predicted man of sin. But, if the two Churches of the Vallenses and the Albigenses be the ONLY two Churches, which testified, in a low and afflicted
Petrus Valdus, locuples civis Lugdunensis, anno Christi circiter MCLXX, Valdensibus nomen dedit-Cum jam multos sectatores exiguo tempore circa se haberet, eos tanquam discipulos, ad evangelium promulgandum, in omnes partes ablegatArmis victi, in Provinciam apud nos et Gallicæ ditionis Alpes vicinas confugerunt, latebrasque vitæ ac doctrinæ suæ iis in locis repererunt. Thuan. Hist. lib. vi. § 16. Vol. i. p. 221. Thuan. Præfat. ad Henric. IV. p. 7.
'Seissel. Tractat. adv. Valdens. fol. 1.
condition, against the Gentiles of the outer court, not merely during this broken period or that broken period, but during the WHOLE 1260 years of the completed Apostasy: they must plainly be the antitypes of the two apocalyptic candlesticks or olivetrees or witnesses. For, unless they be the antitypes in question, we shall vainly labour to produce any such antitypes: because no other Churches, which either have existed or do exist, have performed the required conditions of the prophecy; namely, that they should have testified in sackcloth, against the corruptions of the demonolatrous Apostasy, during the ENTIRE term or from the very EARLIEST commencement of the latter three times and a half'.
Thus no two of the reformed Churches, those, for instance, of England and Scotland, can be the two apocalyptic witnesses: because, though all the reformed Churches Now testify against the corruptions of the Apostasy, they have not testified against it during the WHOLE period of the latter 1260 years; on the contrary, the testimony of no one of them commenced earlier than the sixteenth century.
In fact, their very title of reformed Churches excludes them from being, either severally or collectively, the witnesses of the Apocalypse: for such a title, by its very purport, acknowledges an antecedent depravation. The two witnesses, in order to accomplish their predicted task of testifying through the ENTIRE 1260 years, must never have been reformed, on the specific ground that they never required reformation: they must have been invariably faithful witnesses from the very coMMENCEMENT of that period. Now this is the precise character of the two Churches of the Vallenses and the Albigenses, united since the thirteenth century in one communion. As Henri Arnaud
So far, then, as matters of this description are capable of proof, we may consider it as an established point, that the two apocalyptic witnesses are the two Churches of the Vallenses and the Albigenses.
4. Here, however, a very important objection presents itself, which must by no means be silently pretermitted.
The writers of the Roman school have not unfrequently attempted to blacken the characters of the ancient Vallenses and Albigenses by representing them as tainted with the Manichèan heresy. To the full extent of this speculation the Bishop of Meaux has not thought it prudent to advance. In his judgment, the Albigenses, indeed, were Manichèans: but the Vallenses, however the Church of Rome might deem them to err on some points, were at least exempt from the stain of Manichèism; and they are pronounced by him to be mainly a sort of enthusiastic separatists or a species of modern Donatists 1.
Such is the opinion of the Bishop of Meaux: but,
justly and appositely remarks: Their Church has NEVER been REFORMED; whence arises its title of EVANGELIC. They dis claim the only secondary praise of being a reformed Church: they rightly vindicate to themselves the much higher and more venerable style of a Church which never required reformation. If, in short, the Vallenses and the Albigenses be not the two witnesses, I see not, where, consistently with the terms of the prophecy, we can find them.
1 Hist. des Variat. des Eglises Protest. livr. xi. § 86.