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"ASTOR, LENOX AND
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to wit:
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the seventh day of February, in the fifty-third year of the In dependence of the United States of America, A. D 1829, PAUL BECK, Jun. Treasurer in trust for the American Sunday School Union, of the said District, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in
the words following, to wit:
"History of the Waldenses, from the earliest period to the present time. By the author of the lives of Wickliffe, Huss, Jerome, &c. Revised by the Committee of Publication of the Ameircan S. S. Union."
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned"—And also to the Act, entitled, "An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies during the times therein mentioned," and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
Clerk of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In the darkest ages of Popery, God never "left himself without a witness." It is true, that from the rise of that Antichristian power till the dawn of the Reformation, the people of Christ may be emphatically denominated a "little flock;" yet small as their number may appear to have been to the eye of man, and unable as historians may now be to trace with accuracy the saints of the Most High, amidst "a world lying in wickedness," it cannot be doubted that, even then, there was "a remnant which kept the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ." If God reserved to himself" seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal," in the reign of the idolatrous Ahab, can we suppose, that, during any succeeding period, his Church has ceased to exist, or that his cause has utterly perished?
Among others who fearlessly lifted up their voices against the evils which abounded in the Church, was a body of Christians, called Paulicians, (from the Apostle Paul,) who appeared in the east about the year 660. Constantine, their leader, who was a native of an obscure town in the vicinity of Samosata, having received from a stranger the New Testament in its original language, not only studied that inestimable gift himself, but communicated to others the great truths which it contained. The success which attended his labours was so great, that a church was soon collected, and in a short time afterwards several indivi
duals arose among them qualified for the work of the ministry. These heralds of the gospel disseminated their principles in many distant places; several congregations were formed throughout Armenia and Cappadocia, and in process of time they spread over the provinces of Asia Minor to the westward of the Euphrates.
Alarmed at the growing importance and rapid increase of this new sect, the Greek Emperors persecuted them with the most cruel severity. Their books were committed to the flames, and their persons subjected to capital punishments. Constantine, their leader, was the first victim to the cruelty of their enemies, having been stoned to death by order of a Greek officer. Multitudes of his
followers soon shared a like fate; and during a period of one hundred and fifty years, these unoffending people were subjected to the most horrid persecutions; all which they endured with Christian meekness and patience. "The more they were oppressed," however, “the more they multiplied and grew." The persecution had, however, some intermission, until at length Theodora, the Greek Empress, exerted herself against them beyond all her predecessors. She sent inquisitors throughout all Asia Minor in search of the Paulicians, and is computed to have killed, by the gibbet, by fire, and by the sword, a hundred thousand persons.
Though it would appear that the faith and patience of the Paulicians at length failed, and that towards the close of the ninth century they were gradually betrayed into a secular spirit, yet many others were raised up by Divine Providence, who firmly and nobly withstood the Papal usurpations. Among these, none were more eminent than Paulinas, Bishop of Aquileia, in Italy, and Claudius, Bishop of Turin. In regard to Claudius of Turin, it will be necessary to enter a little into detail, not only from the title which he has commonly received from ecclesiastical historians, namely, that of the "first Protestant Reformer," but more particularly on account of his being considered by some as the
proper founder of the WALDENSES.* This eminent saint was a native of Spain, and in his early years was one of the chaplains in the court of Lewis the Meek, King of France. That monarch, perceiving the ignorance of a great part of Italy, was desirous of providing the churches of Piedmont with a person who would oppose the growing idolatry of image-worship, and seeing none better qualified for accomplishing this object than Claudius, on account of his extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, and eminentt alents as a preacher, Lewis raised him to the see of Turin, in 817. Claudius performed the duties of his office with great faithfulness; and, both by writing and preaching, incessantly laboured to instruct the people in the great truths of the gospel of Christ. Many of the doctrines which were taught by this Reformer, were directly the reverse of those which were received and inculcated by the Romish Church, and coincided with those which were afterwards adhered to by the Waldenses. He affirmed that the only proper head of the Church is the Lord Jesus Christ, -a doctrine which struck at the very root of the Popish hierarchy.
The attacks of Claudius on the kingdom of darkness, were highly resented by the ad
*The words Waldenses, Vallenses, and Vaudois, have the same meaning, viz. inhabitants of the valley.