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that every one must repent with his mouth and heart, and be baptised in the Church by a priest. And, if they could shew us more from the Gospel and Epistles, we would believe and own it1.
The merest tyro in theology will readily perceive, that this Confession of the Albigenses stands directly opposed to the leading tenets of Manichèism: and I am much mistaken, if several articles were not designedly introduced into it, on purpose to meet and to remove the calumny, with which, as they were well aware, they had been systematically assailed. In the present Confession, we hear, not the misrepresentations of interested bigotry, but the actual official declarations of the Albigenses themselves, couched in their own words, and delivered from their own mouths. Whence it will obviously follow, unless we be determined to charge upon them doctrines which they clearly disavow, that the Albigenses, like their brethren the Vallenses, must be acquitted of all participation in the Manichean heresy.
At another conference, holden about the same time before Bernard, Archbishop of Narbonne, the Albigenses added to the Confession of faith a protestation against various unscriptural errors patronised and enforced by the Church of Rome.
On this occasion, they rejected prayers for the dead and the unauthorised figment of a purgatory; avowed their disbelief in the novelty of Transub
} Roger. Hoveden. Annal. in A. D. 1176.
stantiation; and censured, as manifestly idolatrous, the worship of saints and images'.
The tenets, in short, of the Albigenses were clearly the same as those of the Vallenses, whom the Bishop of Meaux himself exculpates from the charge of Manichèism: and the tenets of the Vallenses differed not, in any material and essential point, from those of the various reformed Churches which began to protest against the corruptions of Popery in the course of the sixteenth century.
(3.) We have now heard the Confessions of these two ancient and venerable Communions: let us finally attend to the admissions of their adversaries.
Of these, the most full and distinct is the statement of Reinerius Saccho, who was Inquisitor-General in the year 1254, and who well knew the real Vallensico-Albigensic faith because he had himself apostatised from it to the more lucrative superstition of the Church of Rome.
Among all the sects, which still are or have been, there is not any one more pernicious to the Church than that of the Leonists: and this for three reasons. The first is, because it is older than the rest: for some say, that it hath endured from the time of Pope Sylvester; others, from the time of the Apostles. The second is, because it is more general: for there is scarce any country, wherein this sect is not. The third is, because, while all other sects beget horror in the
hearers by the outrageousness of their blasphemies against God, this of the Leonists hath a great shew of piety: for they live justly before men, and BELIEVE ALL THINGS RIGHTLY CONCERNING
GOD WITH ALL THE ARTICLES WHICH ARE CONTAINED
IN THE CREED; only they blaspheme the Church of Rome and the clergy, wherein the multitude of the luity is ready enough to believe them1.
This testimony I hold to be singularly valuable and important. At the precise time when Reinerius was decorated or disgraced with the persecuting functions of Inquisitor-General, the union of the Albigensic Church with the Vallensic Church, in the valleys of Piedmont, had recently been effected, through the operation of the crusade conducted by Simon de Montfort. In speaking, therefore, of the Leonists, Reinerius speaks jointly both of the Albigenses and of the Vallenses: for, at this time, the two Churches had become inseparably united and blended in one communion. That such
'Inter omnes sectas, quæ adhuc sunt vel fuerunt, non est perniciosior Ecclesiæ quam Leonistarum: et hoc tribus de causis. Prima est, quia est diuturnior: aliqui enim dicunt, quod duraverit a tempore Sylvestri; aliqui, a tempore Apostolorum. Secunda, quia est generalior: fere enim nulla est terra, in qua hæc secta non est. Tertia, quia, cum omnes aliæ sectæ immanitate blasphemiarum in Deum audientibus horrorem inducant, hæc Leonistarum magnam habet speciem pietatis eo quod coram hominibus justè vivant, et bene omnia de Deo credant et omnes articulos qui in symbolo continentur; solummodo Romanam Ecclesiam blasphemant et clerum, cui multitudo laicorum facilis est ad credendum. Reiner, cont. hær. c. iv. p. 54.
is the case, is evident, both from the very necessity of the matter, and from the circumstance of his designating the reputed heretics by the appellation of Leonists. This name, in strictness of speech, was proper only to the Albigenses: for they received it from the town of Lyons, where they greatly abounded in the twelfth century, and whence they were familiarly denominated Leonists or poor men of Lyons. But, when they joined the Vallenses in Piedmont, the appellation was extended to the whole communion: and henceforth it became one of the many titles, by which these faithful witnesses were accustomed to be described. Under the name, therefore, of Leonists, Reinerius jointly and collectively speaks both of the Vallenses and of the Albigenses; certainly of the Albigenses quite as much, if not more, than of the Vallenses.
What, then, is the testimony, which the Inquisitor-General bears to the well-known faith of those who once had been his brethren?
. THEY BELIEVE ALL THINGS RIGHTLY CONCERNING GOD, WITH ALL THE ARTICLES WHICH ARE CONTAINED IN THE CREED.
If such were their belief, they must, on the one hand, have held those doctrines respecting the nature and personality of the Deity, which the Church of Rome and all the sound reformed Churches alike deem indispensible scriptural verities: and, on the other hand, it is quite clear, that they could not have held the old Manichèan doctrine of two independent principles.
Yet, though right believers, the Leonists, we are assured, were manifest heretics.
The paradox of the heresy of these right believers will be solved, if we advert to the remaining testimony of Reinerius. They might, if it so pleased them, be perfectly orthodox in regard to the nature of God and to ALL the articles of the Creed; and they might, furthermore, if it pleased them, live justly, and piously, and holily, and gravely, before men: but still they are manifest heretics. If we ask, how this can be; Reinerius will inform us. They blaspheme the Church of Rome and the Clergy: a point, in which the multitude of the laity is ready enough to give them credit.
The grand secret of Vallensic heresy is now unfolded: and, doubtless, it is abundantly clear to the very meanest comprehension. Let a man's scriptural faith be ever so sound, and let his morals be ever so pure; let him believe all things rightly concerning God, and let him receive every article which is contained in the creed: yet, if he reject the unscriptural corruptions of Rome, and if he disown the usurped authority of the Latin Pontiff, he stands forth a self-convicted heretic, justly, in the eyes of the Papalists, obnoxious to the last and most dreadful punishment.
(4.) With respect to the perpetual allegation of Manichèism against the much calumniated Albigenses, rather than any other distinct form of heretical pravity; it may, I think, be accounted for without any great measure of difficulty.