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58 [58]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.
¶ The history of the Valdenses, concerning their original, and doctrin with their persecutions.

THe first original of these Valdenses came of one Valdus, a man both of great substaunce, and no lesse calling in the city of Lions: the occasion wherof is declared of diuers wryters, thus to come. About the yeare of the Lord 1160. It chanced diuers, the best and chefest heads of the city of Lions talking and walking in a certain place, after their olde accustomed manner, especially in the sommer time, to confer and consult together vpon matters, either to passe ouer time, or to debate thinges to be done. Amongst whome it chāced one (the rest loking vpon) to fall downe by sodain death. In the number of whom this forsaid Valdus, there being amongest them, was one. Who beholding the matter more earnestly, than thother, and terrefied with so heauy an example, being, as is said, a rich man, and Gods holy spirit working wythall, was stroken wyth a depe and inwarde repentaunce, where vppon folowed a new alteration, with a careful study, to reforme his former life.

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In so much that first he begā to minister large almes of his goodes, to such as neaded, Secondly to instruct him selfe and his family, wyth the true knowledge of Gods word: Thirdly to admonysh all, that resorted to hym, by any occasion, of repentaunce and vertuous amendement of life.

Wherby partly through his large geuing to the pore, partly throughe his diligent teaching, and holsome admonitions, more resort of people daily frequented about him, whom when he did see ready and diligent to learne, began to geue out to them certain rudiments of the scripture, which he had translated him selfe into the French tongue. For as he was a man wealthy in richesse, so he was also not vnlerned.

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Althoughe Laziardus Volateranus, with other, note him vtterly vnlearned, and charge him with ignoraunce, as who should procure other to wryte and translate for him: yet by other that haue sene his doinges yet remainynge in old parchment monumentes, it appeareth he was both able to declare and translat the bokes of scripture, also did collect the doctors mynde vpon the same.

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MarginaliaThe true nature of Antichrist, nether hym selfe to furder the word, nor to suffer other men to do it.But what so euer he was, lettered, or vnlettered, the bishops & prelates seing him so intermeddle with scriptures, and to haue such resort about him: Albeit it was but in his own house, vnder priuate conference: coulde not abide eyther that the scriptures should be declared of any other, and yet neither they woulde take the paines to declare it them selues. So beinge moued with great malice against þe man, threatnedto excommunicate him, if he did not leaue of so to do. Valdus seing his doing to be but godly, & their malice stirred vp vpon no iuste nor godlye cause, neglecting the threatninges & freatinges of the wicked, said, that God must be obeid more than man: to be brief, the more diligēt he was in setting forthe the true doctrine of Christe, against the errours of Antichrist. The more malitious their fearsnesse increased. In so muche that whan they did see their excommunication to be despised, and would not serue, they ceased not with prison, wyth sword, and banishment to persecute, till at length they had driuen both Valdus, and all the fauourers of his true preaching out of the city.

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Whervpon came first their name, that they were called Valdenses, or, pauperes de Lugduno not because they would haue all thinges commen amongst them, or that they professyng any wilfull pouerty, would imitate to liue as the Apostles did (as Syuius did falslye belie them) but because they being thrust out bothe of contrey and goods, were compelled to liue porely, whether they would, or no. And thus much touching the first occasion and beginninge of these men, and of the restoring and maintaining the true doctin of Christes Gospel, against þe proud proceadinges of popishe erroures. Now concerning their articles, whiche I finde in order, and in number to be these.

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SOlis sacris literis credendum esse inijs, que ad salutem &c. That is: Only the holy scripture is to be beleued, in matters perteining to saluation: and no mannes wryting, or man besides.

2. All thinges to be conteined in holy scripture, necessary to saluasion: and nothinge to be admitted in religion, but what only is commaūded in the word of God.

3. To be one alonely mediatoure. Other sainctes in no wyse to be made mediatoures, or to be inuocated.

4. To be no Purgatory, but that all men either by Christ are iustified to life: or wythoute Christ to be condemned, besides these ii, neither any third or iiii. place to be.

5. That all masses, namely such as be song for the dead, to be wicked, and to be abrogat.

6. All mens traditions to be reiected, at least not to be reputed as necessary to saluation: and therfore this singinge and superfluous chauntinge in the chauncell to be lefte, constrayned and prefixed fastes bound to daies and tymes, differēce of meates, such varietie of degrees & orders of Priestes, Friers, Monkes, and Nonnes, superfluous holidayes, so many sondred benedictions & halowing of creatures, vowes, peregrinations, with all the rablement of rites and ceremonies brought in by man, to be abolished.

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