« السابقةمتابعة »
nerents of Popery. The monks reviled him as a blasphemer and a heretic, and his own people became so refractory, that in a short time he went about in fear of his life.-Claudius says of himself, "Being obliged to accept the bishopric, when I came to Turin, I found all the churches full of abominations and images; and because I began to destroy what every one adored, every one began to open his mouth against me. They say, we do not believe that there is any thing divine in the image; we only reverence it in honour of the person whom it represents. I answer, if they who have quitted the worship of devils, honour the images of the saints, they have not forsaken idols; they have only changed the names. For whether you paint upon a wall the pictures of Peter or Paul, or those of Jupiter, Saturn, or Mercury, they are now neither gods, nor apostles, nor men; the name is changed, but the error remains the same.
If men must be adored, there would be less absurdity in adoring them when alive, while they are the image of God, than after they are dead, when they only resemble stocks
Such were the sentiments of Claudius regarding the worship of images, and such his devotion to that pure worship which alone is well pleasing to Jehovah. Nor were his labours in vain. By his preaching, and by his
writings, he disseminated the pure doctrines of the gospel of Christ, as he found them contained in the Scriptures of truth; and he was made the happy instrument of sowing that seed, which being watered and blessed by the influence of heaven, filled at length the valleys of Piedmont. These valleys," says, Jones, were in time filled with his disciples, and while midnight darkness sat enthroned over almost every portion of the globe, the Waldenses, which is only another name for the inhabitants of these valleys, preserved the gospel among them in its native purity and rejoiced in its glorious light."
Notwithstanding the powerful opposition which he experienced from the slaves of superstition, Claudius was suffered to end his days in peace. From the persecuting spirit of Popery, we cannot but conclude, that Claudius would have fallen a victim to the malice of his enemies, had they not been afraid of the French court, by whom he was protected. His life, however, was in continual jeopardy.
In standing up," says he, "for the defence of the truth, I am become a reproach to my neighbours, to that degree, that those who see us do not only scoff at us, but point at us one to another. But God, the father of mercies, and author of all consolation, hath comforted us in all our afflictions, that we may be able, in like manner, to comfort
those that are cast down with sorrow and affliction."
Having spent an active and a useful life in the service of the Redeemer, and in promoting his cause in the world, this great Reformer died in peace, in the year 839.
PREVIOUS to entering on the history of the Waldenses, it may be proper to give here a short description of the valleys which these faithful witnesses for the truth inhabited, and which were the scene of their long and dreadful sufferings. These valleys are for the most part situated within the confines of Piedmont,* and extend along the eastern foot of the Cottian Alps, the highest range of mountains in Europe, and which divide Italy from France, Switzerland, and Germany. The inhabitants were in former times the subjects of the dukes of Piedmont and Savoy, but more recently they have become subject to the king of Sardinia; and though they reside in a country which lies between France and
* This name, which signifies "at the foot of the mountains," is derived from Piedmont's being situa ted at the bottom of the Alps.
Italy, they do not entirely agree with either nation in manners, customs, or language.
The principal valleys are, Aosta and Susa on the north, Stura on the south, and in the interior of the country, Lucerna, Angrogna, Roccipiatta, Pramol, Perosa, and San Martino. The valley of Pragela, being surrounded by very high mountains, in the sides of which are numerous caves, formed one of the chief places of retreat for the inhabitants in times of persecution.* Angrogna, Pramol, and San
*The following description of one of the caverns into which the Waldenses fled for safety from their persecutors, may give the reader some idea of the ingenuity which these afflicted people were compelled to exert for their own safety, as well as the natural asylums in many of the mountains, which were afforded them by Divine Providence. "Near the lofty and projecting crag which soars above Mount Vaudelin, there was a natural cavern, which the inhabitants of the commune of La Torre contrived to make a secret hiding place. This cavern, in which between three and four hundred persons might conceal themselves, was vaulted, and shaped not unlike an oven, with clefts in the rock, which served for windows, and even for loopholes; and prepared with recesses, which answered the purpose of watch-houses, from whence they might observe the motions of their assailants. There were also several chambers within this vast cave, accommodations for cooking meat, and a large fountain well supplied with water. It was impossible to enter it, except by one hole at the top; and those who were in the secret, could only let themselves down one at a time, and by a very slow and gradual process, with the assistance of steps, or foot-holes, cut in the rock. In fact, it was like descending into a mine; and one or two resolute men might easily defend the entrance against the assault of any force that could be brought against them."
Martino, are likewise strongly fortified by bulwarks of rocks and mountains; "as if the all-wise Creator," says Morland, “had from the beginning designed that place as a cabinet. wherein to put some inestimable jewel; or, to speak more plainly, there to reserve many thousands of souls, which should not bow the knee before Baal."
Geographers and travellers in general, have described several of these valleys as being remarkably fertile, abounding in every thing necessary to the enjoyment of human life. The valley of Angrogna in particular, is thus described by Gilly: Angrogna lies to the north of La Torre, and in the midst of some of the finest mountain scenery of which the Alps can boast. The mountain stream, which is called the torrent of Angrogna, gives its name to a cluster of valleys which branch out like the boughs of a tree, and runs into the Pelice, just below La Torre. It is supplied by innumerable springs of water, which gush from the rocks, and by following its course from the vale, the tourist will be conducted to the village itself; and higher up, to such a succession of picturesque spots, and secluded glens, as no description can do justice to. The natural beauties of the scenery of Angrogna, and the sublime objects of crag rising above crag, of enormous masses of rock retiring into the glens beneath, and of abysses,