Pope’s Phony “Apology”; Waldensian Leaders’ Real Betrayal

  The Waldensians were ordered, in January of that year, to quit their homes in the depth of winter, on pain of death. J.A. Wylie wrote:  “True, an alternative was offered them; they might go to mass.  Did they avail themselves of it?  The historian Leger informs us that he had a congregation of well-nigh 2,000 persons, and that not a man of them all accepted the alternative.  ‘I can well bear them this testimony,’ he observes, ‘seeing I was their pastor for eleven years, and I knew every one of them by name; judge, reader, whether I had not cause to weep for joy, as well as for sorrow, when I saw that all the fury of these wolves was not able to influence one of these lambs, and that no earthly advantage could shake their constancy.  And when I marked the traces of their blood on the snow and ice over which they had dragged their lacerated limbs, had I not cause to bless God that I had seen accomplished in their poor bodies what remained of the measure of the sufferings of Christ, and especially when I beheld this heavy cross borne by them with a fortitude so noble?”[8]

  In April of that year the Marquis de Pianeza, serving the pope of Rome, came against the Waldensians with an army of 15000 men.  The massacre which he conducted against these innocent people was almost indescribable in its horror.  Wylie wrote: “From the awful narration of Leger, we select only a few instances; but even these few, however mildly stated, grow, without our intending it, into a group of horrors.  Little children were torn from the arms of their mothers, clasped by their tiny feet, and their heads dashed against the rocks; or were held between two soldiers and their quivering limbs torn up by main force…. The sick and the aged were burned alive in their dwellings.  Some had their hands and arms and legs lopped off, and fire applied to the severed parts to staunch the bleeding and prolong their suffering.  Some were flayed alive, some were roasted alive, some disembowelled; or tied to trees in their own orchards, and their hearts cut out.  Some were horribly mutilated, and of others the brains were boiled and eaten by these cannibals.  Some were fastened down into the furrows of their own fields, and ploughed into the soil as men plough manure into it.  Others were buried alive.  Fathers were marched to death with the heads of their sons suspended round their necks…. But here we must stop.  We cannot proceed farther in Leger’s awful narration.  There come vile, abominable, and monstrous deeds, utterly and overwhelmingly disgusting, horrible and fiendish, which we dare not transcribe.  The heart sickens, and the brain begins to swim.  ‘My hand trembles,’ says Leger, ‘so that I can scarce hold the pen, and my tears mingle in torrents with my ink, while I write the deeds of these children of darkness – blacker even than the Prince of Darkness himself.’”[9]

  Perhaps the present Waldensian leadership, wolves in sheep’s clothing indeed, can overlook these things and welcome the present head of the vile religious system which massacred their forefathers in such ways, and call him “brother”; but no true Christian could ever do so.  No true Christian is a brother of the Antichrist.

  The massacre in Piedmont was so terrible that news of it shocked Protestant Europe, and moved the poet John Milton to write his poem entitled On the late massacre in Piedmont.  There was a large cave in the Waldensian territory, able to hold hundreds of people.  Many fled there to hide, as they had often done in years past; but the Popish enemy dragged them out, and cast them down the precipice to their deaths.  We are not of those who consider Milton a Christian poet, but he certainly captured the tragedy of that terrible event in deeply moving words, and clearly identified the Tyrant of Rome and his “Babylonian” religion as being responsible:

            Avenge, O Lord, Thy slaughtered saints, whose bones

            Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;

            Even them who kept Thy truth so pure of old,

            When all our fathers worship’t stocks and stones,

            Forget not: in Thy book record their groans

            Who were Thy sheep, and in their ancient fold

            Slain by the bloody Piedmontese that rolled

            Mother with infant down the rocks.  Their moans

            The vales redoubled to the hills, and they

            To heav’n.  Their martyred blood and ashes sow

            O’er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway

            The triple Tyrant: that from these may grow

            A hundred-fold, who having learned Thy way,

            Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

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