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  • BOOK 5 - THE ALBIGENSES
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    CHAPTER - THE PAULICIANS OF ARMENIA FOR the purpose of exhibiting the Albigenses of Southern France in the character of hereditary Manicheans, the Bishop of Meaux has produced a considerable variety of authorities. The learned Mosheim, indeed, denies them to be, upon this point, the true sources of knowledge’ and, at the same time, charges the dexterous Prelate, with having, by the spirit of party, been manifestly led even into voluntary errors. But, doubtless, on a hasty survey, the authorities in question have a somewhat startling aspect. Of the more modern Albigenses of France, the ancient Paulicians of Armenia were clearly, I think, the theological ancestors.

    Hence the first point of inquiry must obviously be this:

    Whether, from the beginning, the Paulicians were a Community of sound believers, who faithfully maintained all the grand essential truths of the Gospel; or Whether, springing mainly as they did out of a Society of Manicheans, they were themselves originally Manicheans also, though afterward, having migrated into the west, they protested (if I may employ the language of Gibbon) against the tyranny of Rome, embraced the Bible as the alone authoritative rule of faith, and purified their once erroneous creed from all the visions of the Gnostic Theology.

    I. About the middle of the seventh century (I take up the History of Peter Siculus), Constantine, a native of Armenia and an inhabitant of Mananalis, received from a Deacon, whom he had hospitably entertained while returning from captivity in Syria, a present of two volumes: the one, containing the four Gospels; the other, the fourteen Epistles of St. Paul. To the perusal of these sacred books, hitherto locked up from him, he diligently applied himself the perusal of them led, both to a great revolution in his own sentiments, and to the founding of a new Church on the principle of a reformation from error: proselytes rapidly gathered around him: and, from their special admiration of the great Apostle of the Gentiles (the name of whose friend Sylvanus he had assumed), rather than from an obscure and disowned individual of Samosata denominated Paul, they seem evidently, I think, to have adopted or received the title of Paulicians. 1. In the holy volumes, then, which he had thus obtained, Constantine, surrounded with the growing superstition of the age, honestly sought for the genuine creed of early Christianity; and, what he learned himself from those volumes, he was eager to communicate to others.

    That a diligent perusal of the hitherto unknown new testament, even under the defective form wherein our inquirer originally possessed it, should lead a person to reject the worship of the Virgin and the Saints and the Cross, and to deny the material presence of Christ in the consecrated elements of the Eucharist (for such is evidently the purport of the furious declamation of Peter Siculus): it is quite easy to conceive and to understand. 4 But the unsuspecting reader, who happens not to have particularly studied this part of ecclesiastical history, will probably be surprised to learn: that the process of reading, with care and attention, the four Gospels in connection with the fourteen Epistles of St. Paul, actually converted Constantine into a Manichean; and that the same process, universally and unanimously (so distinctly is Manicheism written in the New Testament), either confirmed or introduced, according to the nature of their previous opinions, the gnosticizing system of Manes among his variously proselyted followers!

    It is true, indeed, that Constantine, deeply imbued with the discourses of Christ and with the writings of Paul, openly rejected the books of the ancient Manicheans: it is true also, that this disciple of Manes, as he is termed by Peter Siculus, discarded the theology of Manes, together with the whole theory of the thirty celestial eons and the marvelous formation of rain-water. Still, nevertheless, if we may credit the historian, nothing can be more clear and more certain, than, that, from the study of the New Testament, whence he had learned the catholic doctrines of the Trinity and of Christ’s godhead and incarnation, the man rose a hardened and inveterate Manichean! Accordingly, though his ministerial success was not confined to his gnosticizing neighbors round Mananalis, it appears to have lain very eminently among them: for these, no doubt, whatever might be the ease with the converted Catholics, reasonably thought, as we gather from the veritable narrative of Peter Siculus, that the most effectual mode of preserving and improving their long cherished system was to flock round a teacher, who had avowedly rejected their books, and who had unreservedly and unceremoniously discarded Manes himself!

    Yet this extraordinary adhesion of the original Manicheans, all the while actually remaining Manicheans, to the new Sylvanus, who so rashly acknowledged his preference of St. Paul to the slighted and disregarded heresiarch of Persia, is not the only paradox, wherewith, in the present strange eventful history, we are destined to be encountered.

    As Constantine, though the undeniable disciple of Manes, avowedly renounced Manes; while though a decidedly confirmed Manichean, he openly rejected the whole theological system of Manicheism: so, with beautiful consistency, the Manicheans, who joined themselves to him, and who in his person venerated a true apostolical follower of St. Paul, with prompt minds (I use the very words of the careful historian), spat upon and detested Scythianus and Buddha and even Manes also, who were notoriously the princes of the whole sect; while yet, like their innovating reformer Sylvanus, they remained such staunch Manicheans, that, rather than renounce the creed of Manes which however they had already renounced, and rather than express an eternally-saving penitence which however they had already expressed, these most inexplicable religionists chose impiously to die as heretics in their already rejected and detested heresy! But we have not yet come to the end of this wonder-loving narrative.

    Constantine, while he discarded Manicheism without ceasing to be a Manichean, furthermore, while he led a life of most exemplary godliness, diligently, on scriptural authority, inculcated all the abominations and impurities of the gnostic Basilides. Like the primitive Christians, who were similarly accused by the soberly inquiring Pagans, he had clearly learned these abominations and these impurities from an habitually diligent perusal of the New Testament: and his acquiescent proselytes, at once unremittingly studying the Blessed Gospel themselves, and warmly recommending the study of it to the Laity as well as to the Clergy, with ready conviction adopted, from the sacred volume, the moral corruptions, which their master had thence taught them both by precept and by practice! In short, most diabolically and most cunningly to boot (as Peter Siculus remarks), the Paulicians, for the better establishment of their bad principles and worse conduct, were wont to insist: that both priests and people are in duty bound to the constant perusal of the Gospel; that God wishes all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth; and that the priests of the day adulterated God’s holy word, garbling and concealing and omitting a great part of its contents! 7 Nevertheless (so runs the testimony of our judicious and consistent historian), although these strangest of all strange Manicheans absolutely learned nothing from their professed rule of life, the Gospels and the Epistles, save the flagitiousness of Basilides: yet they peremptorily rejected every base lust; exhibited, in their whole practice, a consistent piety; and declared themselves, while alleged by their enemies to be the vigilant guardians and the unflinching champions of the speculative dogmas of Manicheism, entirely free from all the falsely imputed abominations of the Gnostic Theology. Such were Constantine and his Paulicians. As for their historian Peter, who in the year 870, spent nine months among them at Tibrica, he is fairly graveled with the oddity of the case. 9 But he offers a solution of the difficulty; which, since in all parallel cases of this perplexing description, it is uniformly adopted by the sagacious Bishop of Meaux, must needs be both respectable and satisfactory. The solution is this: All their specious piety was mere hypocrisy; and they themselves were undoubted wolves in the decent garb of harmless sheep! 2. In an age of burning zeal, it was not likely, that the affair could be suffered to rest here. The divine and orthodox emperors (as Peter speaks) had, to their other illustrious deeds, already added the meritorious process, of consigning to the flames, wherever they could be found, the books which were used by the older Manicheans, of slaughtering without mercy the culprits themselves, and of dooming to well-deserved death and confiscation all who should presume to give them harbor. 11 But now their holy activity extended also to the Paulicians; that extraordinary race of new Manicheans, who had so undeniably established their right to the title by rejecting Manes and Manicheism.

    A bloody persecution was, accordingly, raised against them: and Simeon, an imperial officer, was dispatched with orders to put Constantine to death. He was charged, at the same time, to disperse his disciples, singly or in small companies, throughout the Church: that so, however obstinately determined to the contrary, they might be duly instructed, and thus finally converted to the full sincerity of well accredited Catholicism.

    The ringleader, with his associates, was soon taken: and a command was forthwith issued, that the Paulician apostle should be stoned to death by his own disciples. All his proselytes, however, save one, disobeyed or evaded the sanguinary decree: but, in that one, a new David was not wanting to slay a new Goliath. Among the earliest converts of Sylvanus, was the disciple Justus. This highly-privileged instrument of divine vengeance, whose name (as the historian well remarks) so happily agrees with his deeds, repenting of the Manicheism in which he had long been deeply steeped, discharged a stone at his heretical seducer, and rapidly sent him into the pit which had been dug most appropriately by himself. II. But, from the martyrdom of Constantine, as from the martyrdom of Stephen, another Paul was raised up in the late persecutor Simeon. Three years, amidst the pleasures and blandishments of a court, he resisted his convictions: but, at the end of that term, he left all that he possessed, and fled privately from Constantinople. Peter Siculus promptly sets down his unaccountable conduct, as a clear case of diabolical possession. Whatever may be the value of that ingenious conjecture, Simeon became the successor of the man, over whose martyrdom he had presided: and, in imitation of Constantine who had assumed the name of St. Paul’s friend Sylvanus, the new Paulician borrowed the appellation of St. Paul’s disciple Titus. Meanwhile, the apostate murderer Justus seems, upon a profession of repentance, to have been unsuspectingly readmitted into the Society: for we find him disagreeing with the now spiritual ruler Simeon, as to the true import of a remarkable text in the Epistle to the Colossians. (Colossians 1:15-17.) This led to an act of what looks very like intentional treachery.

    In consulting the Bishop of Colonia as to the sense of the litigated passage, he gave, to that prelate, a full account both of himself and of his fellows and of the discipline of the community. The bishop communicated the confession to the emperor: and the emperor, forthwith collecting together the Manicheans (as Peter calls them), devoutly burned all, who were pertinacious in error, upon one enormous funeral-pile. A certain Paul, however, with his two sons, having, some considerable time before, retired to Episparis, had thus fortunately made his escape: and, in him, and in his son Genesius upon whom he bestowed the name of St. Paul’s disciple Timothy, the indomitable impiety revived and was continued. 15 In despite of internal dissention which too often showed itself, the sect still increased and flourished: and the historian has recorded the names of Zacharias and Epaphroditus and Bahanes (if the first ought not rather to be deemed an ambitious intruder), as its principal ministers or ecclesiastical superiors. III. At length, on the death of Bahanes, the Community fell under the spiritual government of Sergius, who took the scriptural name of Tychicus. Thirty and four years, this new Prelate (himself a convert, as it might seem, from among the Catholics) labored in the paradoxical vineyard of unmanicheanised Manicheism. He supplied his people with books written by himself in the form of epistles; which, though Peter Siculus declares them to be full of what he at least deemed all pride and impiety, were held in high veneration: he incessantly acted the missionary, in the same towns and through the same regions as those which had formed the oriental theater of the great Apostle’s exertions; a circumstance which led (I suppose) to the transmission of the already mentioned pastoral epistles: and he thereby, as our historian pithily observes, turned many from the orthodox faith, and made numerous converts to the devil. 18 His active life he closed by martyrdom, being cut into two pieces with an axe: a remarkable instance, according to Peter Siculus, of the just judgment of God; that he, who had divided the Church, should himself be divided, and that thus his unholy spirit should be consigned to eternal fire. 19 After the death of Sergius, the historian gives us the names of Michael and Canacares and John and Theodotus and Basil and Zosimus and Carbeas and Chrysocheris.

    Under the administration of Carbeas, the Community so greatly increased in number that they migrated to a new settlement which they called Tibrica and, while Chrysocheris was their chief pastor, Peter Siculus, in the service of the Imperial Court, spent, at that place, as I have already observed, nine months among them. IV. At this time, to their originally defective new testament, which, as received by Constantine from the deacon, contained only the four gospels and the fourteen epistles of St. Paul, they had added the acts of the apostles, the catholic epistles of James and Jude, and the three Epistles of St. John’ so that, with the exception of the two Epistles of St. Peter and the mysterious book of the Apocalypse, they then, in its full completeness, possessed the entire volume.

    Nor did they only possess it, thus far numerically complete what is absolutely and inherently fatal to the malignant calumny of their pretended Manicheism, they possessed it likewise, as their hostile historian himself admits, free from all interpolation and erasure and corruption, in the precise words of the genuine copies used by the whole church catholic.

    This, I need scarcely remark to the theological student, is a matter of prime importance: and thence, in the way of testimony, it must carefully be borne in remembrance. From their readiness to add what they originally wanted, I venture to believe, that they would have been equally glad to possess the remaining books of the New Testament: though their intemperate historian declares, that They reviled the Prince of the Apostles, and the key-bearer of the courts of heaven. His very phraseology shows the true nature of what he characteristically styles their evil-affectedness toward St. Peter: the Sicilian Divine was indignant, that the supremacy of Peter and his successors should be denied by the bold heretics of Armenia. Their theological descendants in Europe obtained that Apocalypse, which their asiatic forefathers had wanted: and, in the features of the predicted Babylonian Harlot, those descendants readily traced the lineaments of the corrupt and persecuting church of the seven hills.

    With respect to the Old Testament, the language of the historian inevitably imports, though he plainly meant not to convey any such idea, that they were well acquainted with it. He tells us, that they admitted it not. Now this assertion, even if it be correct, implies, of necessity, a familiar knowledge of its contents: for a person can scarcely be said actively to reject a code, with which he is altogether unacquainted. His very objurgation, indeed, distinctly, from the mere terms in which it is conveyed, demonstrates their familiarity with it: for, in his wonted exaggerating and intemperate phraseology, he tells us, that they stigmatized the ancient Hebrew prophets as robbers and vagabonds. The existence, then, of the prophets was fully known to them: and, that they, who had read in the New Testament the attestations of Christ and the evangelical writers to their true character, should speak of them as Peter Siculus describes, will probably be more than doubted by all save those who wish to believe evil of the Paulicians. 22 For my own part, as they were indisputably acquainted with the Old Testament, so I think they likewise possessed it. The admission of the one circumstance seems, by a necessary consequence, to draw after it the admission of the other circumstance.

    V. It will now, in conclusion, be useful to sum up the evidence, which, in regard both to the doctrines and to the principles of the much calumniated Paulicians, may be gathered from the history of Peter Siculus. 1. When the self-destroying violence and the determined misrepresentation and the undaunted inconsistency of this writer are put aside, the real and actual amount of his unwilling testimony to their doctrinal system will be as follows. The Paulicians, though perpetually by their enemies charged with the Manichean heresy, uniformly denied the justice of the accusation; and always rejected, with strong expressions of abhorrence, both Manes and Manicheism. They held the allied doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation: but they renounced the worship of the Cross and of the Virgin and of the Saints; while they evidently disbelieved that material presence of the Lord’s body and blood in the consecrated elements which finally received the name of Transubstantiation.

    The God-denying speculation, which explains away the doctrine of the trinity and which asserts Christ to be a mere man, they abhorred.

    Their laborious teachers, such as Constantine and Simeon and Sergius, they revered, as faithful ministers of Christ, and as devout imitators of the Apostle Paul.

    They were anxious to make converts; on the ground, that they proclaimed the sincere doctrines of the Gospel: while, consistently, they had ever the sacred volume in their hands; and while they always contended, that it ought not to be exclusively locked up among the Priesthood, but that it ought to be freely open to universal perusal.

    Nor did they derive their scheme of doctrine from a mutilated or interpolated or corrupted New Testament. The ancient Gnostics and Marcionites and Manicheans, conscious that their own allied systems and the genuine Gospel could not subsist together, were notorious for their unprincipled erasures and adulterations. 25 To the exhibition of anything like even a moderately plausible case, such management was absolutely necessary. Gnosticism or Manicheism, however modified, could not advance a step without it. Hence, where real Manicheism existed, there also was a garbled and spurious Gospel, arranged and prepared to suit the purposes of innovating heresy. But the Paulicians confessedly used the genuine Gospel: for, though, when the historian wrote, they had not as yet been able to complete the sacred volume by the sole requisite addition of the two epistles of St. Peter and the apocalypse of St. John; still their copies of the books which they possessed were free from all corruption, and verbally corresponded with the copies used by the whole Church Catholic. Now this single circumstance alone, independently of all other evidence, is amply sufficient to demonstrate the impossibility of their pretended Manicheism. Had they been Manicheans, their copies of the New Testament would have been variously curtailed and interpolated and corrupted, in order to suit the palpable necessities of their system. But their copies were, confessedly, genuine and unadulterated. Therefore, unless universally, they were absolute fools, they could not possibly have been Manicheans.

    The proof acquires additional force from yet another circumstance. They did not receive their admitted genuine Gospel unwillingly, as a document, which they disliked indeed, but which they found it impracticable with any show of decency to reject. On the contrary, they were so fully convinced both of its truth and of its vital importance to salvation, that, rather than abandon it and embrace the unscriptural superstitions of their persecutors, they readily submitted to death under its most appalling aspect and under its most painful nature.

    How persons, thus characterized even by an enemy, can have been Manicheans in doctrine, certainly exceeds my own skill to explain. 2. As little, moreover, am I able to explain, how they can have been Basilidians in practice. The historian’s reluctant attestation to their moral and religious principles is, I think, quite decisive and altogether satisfactory.

    In their conduct, they were so grave and holy and consistent, that nothing is left for their enemy, save to pronounce the whole of their specious piety mere hypocrisy.

    As they openly rejected with abhorrence the doctrinal errors of Manes: so they indignantly disallowed the allegation, that they were tainted with the impurities of Basilides.

    In their labor of proselytizing they were so successful, that not only converts from among the less educated Laity, but even numbers of more learned Monks and Priests, joined their Community. These became preachers of the faith which they had adopted: and the fact itself experiences no change from the characteristic assertion of the historian, that they were transmuted from sheep into wolves, and that they learned to be devourers of men. The firmness of their religious adherence to principle was marked by their frequent and ready submission to martyrdom. Hundreds of them were burned alive upon one huge funeral pile: two, out of three more eminent presidents, were severally stoned and cut in sunder with the axe: and the third, that very remarkable character Simeon or Titus, after a full deliberation of three years amidst the honors and pleasures of a court, from a persecutor became a steady convert, appeared as the successor of the very man over whose martyrdom he had presided, and finally submitted himself to the flames rather than abandon the faith which, by a sacrifice of all his worldly goods and prospects, he had embraced.

    In short, such mingled violence and inconsistency and absurdity, as distinguish the writer now before us, may well make a sober inquirer pause, before he admits the Paulicians to have been a sect of Manicheans.

    Palpable misrepresentation runs through every page of the work of Peter Siculus: and, upon my own mind at least, its effect is precisely the reverse of that which it was intended to produce. In listening to his rabid declamation, I seem to hear some furious modern popish priest, bellowing against Luther, and childishly propounding his manifest connection with Lucifer. The school, to which these calumniators belong (for, in every age, calumny has been the regular staple of an apostate church), is, graphically no less than prophetically, exhibited by the inspired seer of the apocalypse.

    I heard a loud voice, saying, in heaven: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him, by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony: and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10,11.)

    CHAPTER - THE ALBIGENSES OF SOUTHERN FRANCE WEARIED out with incessant persecution in the East, the suffering Paulicians meditated, at length, a retreat into the West.

    The earliest flight of expatriated emigrants seems to have occurred in the year 755, during the reign of Constantine the son of Leo Isauricus. These fugitives were followed by others: for, shortly after the community was visited by Peter Siculus in the year 870, a considerable body of them passed over, from Asia into Thrace, whence they advanced into Bulgaria; and, if we may judge from the historian’s monitory address to the Archbishop of the latter province, he appears to have known and anticipated their intention. But, in Bulgaria, as might be expected from its dependence upon the Constantinopolitan Empire, they found little rest for the soles of their feet. Some, however, notwithstanding the persecution which there again relentlessly dogged them, still remained in that district: while others, fondly hoping, I suppose, to experience greater kindness in the papal regions of Europe, migrated further westward into Germany and Italy and France. Here they were distinguished by a variety of names, such as Patarins, Publicans, Gazarians, Turlupins, Runcarians or Dungarians apparently from Hungary, and Bulgarians certainly from Bulgaria: among which, that of Cathari or Puritans seems chiefly to have predominated, until, at length, from their abounding in the neighborhood of Albi, they received the appellation, by which they are now most commonly known, of Albigenses or Albisenses or Albigeois. In accordance with their acquisition of this last name, a very large proportion of them settled in Gascony and Languedoc and Provence and Aquitaine: and their original number was swelled by the rapid addition of myriads of native converts, whom the disciples of St. Paul successfully proselyted throughout those districts of Southern France, which, long maintaining a sort of independence upon the papacy, zealously opposed the idolatrous ordinances of the second Nicene Council, and showed small inclination to adopt the wild reveries of the nascent Transubstantialists.

    Here, at the beginning of the eleventh century, they attracted the notice of the dominant Church: and the language of the Council of Tours which sat in the year 1163, concurring with that of Pope Innocent III in the year 1199 and with that of the Archbishop of Narbonne in the year 1213 and with that of Louis IX in the year 1228, distinctly intimates, both that they had already been long in the country, and that their doctrine had infected well nigh the entire population. But, though their chief establishment appears to have been in the South of France, they had, on the whole, in the twelfth century, no fewer than sixteen Churches loosely scattered over the country which extends from Bulgaria to Gascony. Of these, the names and locality are given, with much precision, by the Inquisitor Reinerius: and that writer, who is commonly said to have composed his Work about the year 1254, additionally remarks; that, while the entire regularly associated Community scarcely amounted to four thousand members, those more loosely connected proselytes, whom they styled Believers, were absolutely innumerable. Every calumny, which had assailed them in the East, attended them into the West: and Peter Siculus himself cannot be more violent, than the multiplicity of concurring authors adduced by Bossuet. Those authors he cites, for the purpose of showing, that they were profligate Manicheans; and thence that they cannot be safely claimed by the Reformed Churches as part of an ecclesiastical succession in which the promises of Christ have been accomplished. But, in every point of view, there is such a mass of inconsistency in the evidence, that, if any person wishes to frame his belief upon it, he will find himself beset with difficulties and contradictions, which are more sensibly felt than they are easily surmounted.

    I. The first difficulty, by which he will be encountered, may be stated in manner following.

    The Albigenses are asserted to have been habitually guilty of the vilest abominations: nevertheless, as Bossnet himself is constrained to allow, while they themselves invariably repelled, with a firm denial, the charges brought against them; their very accusers admitted, that these monsters of profligacy and impiety might always be known by the peculiar strictness of their walk and conversation. 1. Most curious is the effect produced by bringing together the discordant statements in question. (1.) Let us begin with the testimony of the universal doctor, Alan the Great.

    These heretics are variously styled Catharri, from the word Catha which signifies a flux; on account of their utter abandonment to dissoluteness of manners: or Cathari, as it were Casti; because they pretend to be chaste and just: or Catari, from the word Catus; because they are in the habit of kissing the hinder parts of a cat, under the form of which animal, as we are well assured, Lucifer is wont to appear to them. (2.) After Alan, let us proceed to hear Bernard of Clairvaux.

    It is asserted of them, that in secret they practice unutterable obscenities. — In order to hide their real baseness, they make themselves remarkable by a vow of continence. — Yet is their familiarity with women so scandalous, that no one can believe them to be chaste. (3.) We may next attend to the apostate Inquisitor Reinerius, who gives us some yet further insight into their base practices.

    They make a cake of meal mixed with the blood of an infant. If the infant dies’, it is deemed a martyr: if it lives, it is styled a saint.

    They meet together naked to pray, both men and women promiscuously. 7 Many of their believers of both sexes, scruple no more to approach their nearest relatives, than their respective wives or husbands. 8 It is their common opinion, that marriage is a mortal sin: but they think, that no person is hereafter more severely punished for adultery and incest, than for lawful matrimony. 9 Whatever sins they have committed before their making a profession of heresy, they never repent of them. This is manifest from the circumstance, that they never make restitution of what they have gained by usury or theft or rapine. Rather, indeed, they reserve it: or else they leave it to their children and grandchildren remaining in the worm, because usury, they say, is no sin. (4.) Yet, to this very same Reinerius, are we indebted for the following most graphic account of those identical Cathari, whom, immediately before, he had been busily describing as the worst and most profligate of mankind.

    Heretics are known by their manners and their words. In their manners, they are composed and modest. They admit no pride of dress: holding a just mean, between the expensive and the squalid.

    In order that they may the better avoid lies and oaths and trickery, they dislike entering into trade; but, by the labor of their hands, they live like ordinary hired workmen. Their very teachers are mere artizans. Riches they seek not to multiply, but they are content with things necessary. They are chaste also: a virtue, in which the Leonists particularly excel. In meat and drink they are temperate.

    They resort, neither to taverns, nor to dances, nor to any other vanities. From anger they carefully restrain themselves. They are always engaged, either in working, or in learning, or in teaching: and, therefore, they spend but little time in prayer. Under fictitious pretences, nevertheless, they will attend church, and offer, and confess, and communicate, and hear sermons: but this they do merely to cavil at the preacher’s discourse. They may likewise be known by their precise and modest words: for they avoid all scurrility and detraction and lies and oaths and levity of speech. (5.) Much of the statement, respecting their occasional conformity, I suspect to be pure misrepresentation. Reinerius, however, goes on to give us a very curious account of the mode, in which this vile and rustic and illiterate race (as Bernard contemptuously styles them 12 ) made converts even among the great ones of the earth: a mode so successful, that they are known to have proselyted, not only the Princes of the House of Toulouse with other nobles, but likewise the King of Aragon himself; proselyted them, that is to say, if we may believe the calumniators of the Albigenses, to the doctrinal follies and the practical impurities of Manicheism.

    The heretics cunningly devise, how they may insinuate themselves into the familiarity of the noble and the great: and this they do in manner following. They exhibit for sale, to the lords and the ladies, rings and robes and other wares which are likely to be acceptable.

    When they have sold them, if asked whether they have any more goods for sale, one of these travelling peddlers will answer: I have jewels far more precious than these, which I will readily give you, if you will secure me against being betrayed to the priests. The security being pledged, the heretic then proceeds to say: it possess a brilliant gem from God himself; for, through it, man comes to the knowledge of God: and I have another, which casts out so ruddy a heat, that it forthwith kindles the love of God in the heart of the owner. In like manner proceeds he to speak of all his other metaphorical gems. Then he recites a chapter from scripture or from some part of our Lord’s discourses. When he finds his auditor to be pleased, he will proceed to rehearse the twenty-third chapter of Matthew and the parallel passages in the twelfth chapter of Mark: wherein the Scribes and Pharisees are described, as sitting in the seat of Moses; and wherein a woe is denounced against those who shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, neither entering themselves, nor suffering the persons who wish it to enter. After this, the heretic draws a comparison between the state of the Roman Church and the state of the ancient Pharisees: applying, to the former, all that is said by Christ of the latter. Among the priests, he will remark, you can scarcely, find a single doctor, who is able to repeat by heart three chapters of the new testament: but, among us, you can scarcely find either a man or a woman, who knows not how to recite the whole text in the vulgar tongue. Yet, because we possess the true faith of Christ, and because we inculcate upon all our people holiness of life and soundness of doctrine: therefore do these modern Scribes and Pharisees gratuitously persecute us to the death, even as their Jewish predecessors persecuted Christ. Besides: they say and do not: but we practice all, that we teach. Moreover: they enforce the traditions of men, rather than the commandments of God: but we persuade persons only to observe the doctrine of Christ and the apostles. They impose upon their penitents heavy punishments, which they will not alleviate with so much as a single finger: but we, after the example of Christ, say to a sinner; go, and sin no more. Furthermore: we transmit souls, by death to heaven: but they send almost all souls to the infernal region of hell. 13 These matters being thus propounded, the heretic puts the question: judge ye, what state and what faith is the more perfect; that of our community, or that of the Church of Rome? And, when you have honestly judged, choose that which you deem the best. Thus, through their errors, is a person subverted from the catholic faith: and thus, believing and harboring and favoring and defending and for many months hiding a vagabond of this description, he learns, in his own house, the several particulars respecting their sect. (6.) A similar character of the Albigenses, though remarkably intermingled with determined prejudice, is given by Bernard.

    If you, interrogate them respecting their faith, nothing can be more Christian: if you inquire into their conversation, nothing can be more irreprehensible; and, what they say, they confirm by their deeds. — As for what regards life and manners, they attack no one, they circumvent no one, they defraud no one. Their faces are pale with fasting: they eat not the bread of idleness; but they labor with their own hands for the support of life. Yet mark the fox. — Women leave their husbands, and husbands forsake their wives, in order to join their assemblies. Nay many even of the very Clergy and Priesthood, quitting their people and their churches, are perpetually form among them, unshorn and unshaven, herding with unlettered weavers. 2. Now what are the inferences, which any reasonable and sober-minded man, well acquainted with the principles and practices of the Romish Ecclesiastics, would draw from these most curiously mottled statements?

    When we recollect, that, against the primitive Christians, every babbling Pagan was ready to bring charges of a nature exactly similar to those which were brought against the Albigenses; and when we note the concurrent admission, that nothing could be more exemplary than their whole conduct and conversation: we may perhaps, on our Lord’s wise system of judging a tree by its fruits, find it not very easy to believe, that these hated religionists were such monsters of iniquity as their enemies would fain have us to admit. Nor is this all. As we have heard their adversaries, it seems only fair to hear themselves.

    What, then, did they say to the allegations brought against them?

    By the acknowledgment of Bernard, they flatly and steadily denied their truth.

    Was the Abbot of Clairvaux, when he combined their admitted conduct with their admitted denials, convinced of their innocence?

    Nothing of the sort. Prejudice was far too strong for plain common sense.

    In consequence of their denim of the atrocities laid to their charge, they were sagaciously subjected to the water-ordeal: and, when they found themselves unable to sink, they then, if we may credit the tales reported to Bernard, not merely confessed their impiety, but even gloried in it. On such solid and well-authenticated grounds, the tales, to wit, of an ignorant and infuriated mob of brutal persecutors, he pronounces the whole of their specious piety to be mere dissimulation: and Bossuet, at the end of the seventeenth century, was content, with high encomiums upon Bernard’s clear-sightedness, to adopt the same mode of solving the difficulty by a gratuitous hypothesis of systematic hypocrisy. II. But the Albigenses were not only pious in their lives; pious, at least, externally, as their enemies themselves admit: they also steadfastly maintained what they held to be the true faith of the Gospel; and, rather than renounce it, cheerfully suffered martyrdom even under its most formidable aspect.

    Active courage in battle may, no doubt, subsist along with great profligacy of manners’ but the natural tendency of habitual vice is to weaken and destroy that passive courage, which, in cold blood, for conscience-sake, induces a man calmly to suffer death rather than relinquish what he is persuaded is the vital truth of God. Persons may live debauched hypocrites: but, I should think, few such characters would be much disposed to be burned alive from an extraordinary love for the speculations of Manicheism. Mistaken men may die for what they honestly deem the Gospel. But immoral men are not the precise individuals, who commonly lay down their lives for their faith.

    How, then, in the case of the grossly profligate and hypocritical Albigenses, is this second difficulty to be solved?

    Bossuet finds the task ready accomplished to his hand by the wisdom of the twelfth century, as displayed by the same most serviceable Bernard: and he might have yet additionally brought forward the sagacity of the thirteenth century, as exemplified by Lucas of Tuy; for the solution of this ingenious Prelate perfectly quadrates with that of Bernard, and is indeed, with due acknowledgments, professedly and modestly borrowed from it.

    Notwithstanding that the Albigenses are somewhat incongruously described, as being ready to say and to swear anything in order that they might escape punishment: still, somehow or other, it was a public fact too notorious to be denied, that this most paradoxical race submitted, even joyfully and triumphantly, to martyrdom, rather than apostatize from the creed of their forefathers. For the marked discrepance which characterizes these two strangely inconsistent particulars, Bossuet attempts not to account: but, the naked fact of voluntary and triumphant suffering for alleged conscience-sake on the part of the sufferers, he is content to explain in the manner recommended by Bernard.

    If Judas might be successfully tempted by the devil to lay violent hands upon himself: surely Satan, with at least equal facility, might tempt the Albigenses to brave death at the hands of others. This truly logical argument, from the less to the greater, must needs, with all close thinkers, be invincibly conclusive. Satan was clearly the foul inspirer of the spurious martyrdoms of the Albigenses: because their unshaken fortitude could spring from no other quarter. The contempt of death, in genuine martyrs, as Bernard judiciously makes the distinction, is true piety; but, in heretics, it is simply produced by a diabolically infused hardness of heart.

    Certainly, the Bishop of Meaux, by joyfully adopting, in the seventeenth century, the cherished solution of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, has shown the amiable quality of being very easily satisfied.

    III. A third difficulty yet remains to be solved: the evidential difficulty, I mean, when the whole matter is fairly considered, of admitting the sufficiency and satisfactoriness of the testimony, which is adduced for the purpose of establishing the asserted fact, that The Albigenses were doctrinal Manicheans.

    Like the primitive Christians, these religionists, as we have seen, were charged with the secret practice of various impurities. Yet they are admitted to have led holy and honest lives of habitual temperance and chastity and self-denial: and they are still further admitted to have always repelled the accusation, as a base falsehood concocted by their enemies.

    They were moreover charged, as we have also seen, with a time-serving readiness to avow and to swear anything that might be required of them: in order that, by such unscriptural dissimulation, they might escape the punishment which was awarded to heresy. Yet, even by the confession of their adversaries, they cheerfully and triumphantly laid down their lives, rather than renounce the doctrinal system, which, whether correctly or incorrectly, they themselves at least deemed the sincere truth of the Gospel.

    We have now to learn, what, by their bigoted opponents, that system was alleged to be: in order that we may judge, how far the difficulty of attaching any credit to the testimony of such inconsistent witnesses may be fairly thought capable of a reasonable solution. 1. With this view, I shall pass on to certain of those ancient accounts of the doctrinal system of the Cathari or Albigenses, which have come down to us from the middle ages: premising only, that, to avoid the wearisomeness of unprofitable repetition, I do not conceive it necessary to give the whole of them. (1.) Though the title, affixed (I suppose) by the Jesuit Mariana to the rambling Work of Lucas of Tuy, purports that it is a Treatise against the Albigenses, the author really says very little about their alleged peculiar opinions. That little, however, is sufficient to show, that he wishes to charge them with having adopted, as their creed, the impious speculations of Manicheism.

    These heretics, says he, falsely assert, that the body of man was created by the devil. Glorying in the name of philosophers or naturalists, they propound many doctrines contrary to the truth.

    But their object is to introduce the Manichean Heresy and to acknowledge two Gods: of whom, the malignant, as they saucily pretend, created all things visible. — Thus they assert: that every visible object in this worm was made by the devil: whence they argue, that it matters not, whether money be gained well or ill. — They likewise contend: that the Prelates of the Church can give no assistance, by indulgences of remission, to the souls of the faithful who have died in Christ; that the soul of no holy person ascends to heaven before the day of judgment; and that souls suffer no punishment, save in hell alone: adding, that they know nothing about the condition of those survivors, whom, while they lived in the body, they loved in this world. (2.) Lucas of Tuy flourished in the thirteenth century: but the testimony of an earlier writer, Radulphus Ardens, who lived towards the close of the eleventh century, is somewhat more compact and explicit.

    Such, at this day, are those Manichean Heretics, who by their heresy have polluted their native country of Agenois. They falsely pretend that they lead the life of the Apostles; saying, that they will neither lie nor swear at all; and, under the pretext of abstinence and continence, condemning marriage and the eating of animal food: for they assert, that it is as great a sin to approach to a wife as to a mother or a daughter. They likewise condemn the Old Testament: but of the New, they receive some books, and not others. What, however, is still more horrible, they propound two creators of the universe: believing God to be the author of things invisible, while they hold the devil to be the author of things visible. Hence they secretly worship the devil, whom they esteem the creator of their own bodies. The sacrament of the altar they assert to be mere bread. Baptism they deny, as also the resurrection of the body: and they preach, that no one can be saved except through their hands. (3.) Much the same account is given in a fragment of the ancient History of Aquitaine, edited by Peter Pitheus, where it treats of the year 1017.

    Forthwith sprang up, throughout Aquitaine, certain Manicheans, seducing promiscuously the people from truth to error. They persuaded them to deny Baptism, the sign of the Holy Cross, the Church, and the Redeemer of the world himself; together with the veneration of the Saints of God, lawful marriage, and the eating of flesh, whence they turned away, many simple persons from the faith. (4.) We may trace again the alleged Manicheans of Aquitaine and the South of France, in the account given of the Publicans or Cathari of Gascony by the monk Robert of Auxerre, who flourished during the latter half of the twelfth century.

    The heresy of those, whom they call Publicans or Cathari or Paterins, denies the sacraments of Christ. This had clandestinely sprung up in many places: but, in Gascony, it had openly taken possession of the people to a very great extent. For, there, the heretics, being cut off from the catholic communion, possess many castles fortified against the Catholics: rejecting the Catholic rites and ceremonies, serving their own inventions, and poisoning by their virulence whomsoever they can. Wherefore, to crush their madness, Henry, who from being Abbot of Clairvaux had become Bishop of Alba, a man of a very eloquent tongue, was sent by Pope Alexander: and, accordingly, having gathered together, by the preaching of the word, both cavalry and infantry from various quarters, he attacked and conquered the aforesaid heretics. But his efforts were fruitless: for, as soon as ever they became masters of their own actions, they forthwith returned to wallowing in the filth of their pristine error. (5.) What, however, will perhaps be deemed the most important testimony to the Manicheism of the Cathari or Albigenses, is that of the Inquisitor Reinerius Sacco, who had been a member of their communion during the space of no less than seventeen years, who afterward conformed to the Roman Church, and who at length became a priest in the order of preaching friars. This peculiarly circumstanced individual is thought to have written about the year 1254 and, if we suppose him to have composed his treatise toward the close of a long life, he may not improbably be the Friar Reinerius, whom Pope Innocent III, in his decretal epistles of the year 1199, mentions, as being employed by him, in conjunction with Friar Guido, for the purpose of hunting out the heretical Valdenses and Cathari throughout the South of France and the North of Spain. The opinions in common to all the Cathari are these.

    This world, and all things that are in it, were created by the devil.

    All the sacraments of the Church, to wit, the sacrament of Baptism by material water, and the other sacraments, profit nothing to salvation, and are false sacraments: inasmuch as they are not the true sacraments of Christ and his Church, but deceptive and diabolical and appertaining only to a Church of malignants.

    Carnal matrimony is a mortal sin: and, in the future world, a person is not punished more heavily for adultery and incest, than for lawful wedlock. There is no future resurrection of the body.

    To eat flesh or eggs or cheese, even in a case of urgent necessity, is a mortal sin.

    The secular authorities act sinfully, when they punish with death malefactors or heretics.

    No one can be saved, except through their ministration.

    All unbaptized infants suffer eternal punishment no less severely, than homicides and robbers.

    There is no purgatory.The additional opinions of some of the Cathari, which they entertain beside the above-mentioned common opinions, are the following. There are two principles from the Deity: a principle of good; and a principle of evil.

    The Trinity, namely, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, is not one God: but the Father is greater than the Son and the Holy Ghost.

    Each Principle, or each God, created his own angels and his own world.

    This world, and all things that are in it, was created and made and formed by the evil God.

    The devil, with his angels, ascended to heaven: and, when war there took place with Michael the Archangel, the angel of the good God thence extracted a part of the creatures of God, and daily infuses them into human and brutal bodies and even from one body into another, until the said creatures are brought back to heaven.

    From the blessed Virgin, who was an angel, the Son of God took not true human nature, but only its similitude. Hence he did not truly eat and drink: neither did he truly suffer or die: neither was he truly buried: neither did he truly rise again: but all these matters were only putative or apparitional. The same must be said also of his miracles.

    Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses and the old fathers and John the Baptist were all enemies of God and ministers of the devil.

    The devil was the author of the entire Old Testament, save only the books of Job, the Psalms, Solomon, wisdom, the Son of Sirach, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve minor Prophets.

    This world will never have an end.

    The alleged future judgment has already occurred, and will never take place again.

    Hell and eternal fire and eternal punishments are in this world, and not elsewhere. 2. Such, in point of doctrine, if we may credit the writers who have passed before us, were the Albigenses. According to the evidence, which in all fairness has been adduced, they were rank Manicheans. But here the question is: whether the witnesses against them are to be credited. (1.) Now, even without the adduction of any counter-testimony (which, however, shall appear in its proper place), I should fearlessly say: that no confidence can be placed in such evidence. Upon its very front, it bears impressed the dark brand of determined prejudice or of interested calumny.

    We have seen how entirely Peter Siculus has failed in attempting to fix the charge of Manicheism upon the oriental Paulicians; and equally vain are the efforts of the Romish enemies of the Albigenses. Finding, that the Paulicians had most incongruously been set down as Manicheans, for the very reason, which, according to plain common sense, should have effectually determined them to be not Manicheans; namely, because a large proportion of them had, in the first instance, been actually converted from Manicheism to what was plainly the sound faith of the gospel; finding this, the prejudiced or interested bigots of Romanism readily caught up the same convenient cry against the Albigenses or Cathari; and, so far as minute particularity was concerned, had small difficulty in filling up the outline, with much specious and plausible exactness, from the ancient writings of Ireneus or Epiphanius.

    Such is very eminently and clearly the case with the wretched apostate and persecutor Reinerius Sacco. His very minuteness convicts him of being a mere retailer from the works of the primitive writers against the real Gnostic and Docetic and Manichean Heresies: and his horrible appeal to god, as a witness of his veracity, serves only to throw a greater discredit upon his foully calumnious statements; for no honest historian thinks it necessary to appeal to heaven for the purpose of establishing his trustworthiness. 28 The consciousness of his apostasy (an apostasy, the guilt of which was tremendously aggravated by the persecution of his former brethren) is ever present to his view: and thrice, in a work of only ten not very long chapters, does he refer to it. 29 Having quitted his own communion for that of the Roman Church, and being forthwith required to show the sincerity of his conversion by undertaking the office of inquisitor among those with whom he had once walked in the bonds of the gospel, he resolutely determined to make out a strong case against them, both to please his employers, and to vindicate his own foul apostasy. Yet so clumsy is he in the management of that very minuteness which was designed to make most strongly against them, that he more than once blunders into gross inconsistencies or into palpable contradictions.

    Thus he tells us that the Cathari rejected the sacrament of Baptism, as no true sacrament of Christ, but as a deceptive and diabolical ordinance instituted by a church of Malignants. Yet, in the judgment of these very Cathari, if we are to believe this veracious witness to what he knew from an experience of seventeen years, all unbaptized infants suffer the same intensity of eternal punishment as homicides and robbers.

    Thus he asserts, that, with some considerable exceptions, they rejected the Old Testament as the work of the devil, while he is totally silent respecting any rejection of any part of the New Testament: an assertion and a silence, which evidently imply; that, like the old Paulicians, they received the latter just as the Catholic Church receives it; and that they did not, like the Marcionites and real Manicheans, corrupt it into another Gospel that so it might serve their own purposes. Yet he requires us to credit him, when he says: that, with the whole New Testament and with confessedly the greater part of the Old Testament in their hands, they deemed Abraham and the fathers to be servants of the devil; maintained, as a scriptural truth, the doctrine of two Independent Principles; adopted all the absurdities of the Docetae, respecting the visionary character of Christ; maintained, that the whole material world was created by the devil; and broached a farrago of fables, all of which are hopelessly irreconcilable with that Gospel, which they not only had in their hands, but which, by this egregious blunderer’s own confession, they could well nigh say by heart from one end to the other. A witness, thus circumstanced and thus giving his testimony, who will believe? The easy faith of Bossuet may admit his evidence: but the stubborn incredulity of a Protestant will laugh at the clumsy fraud and easily recognize the scrinia whence this compiler of calumnies has pillaged his materials. His whole account of the Cathari smacks of Ireneus and Epiphanius. From them he has borrowed a bungling account of the ancient Gnostics and Manicheans, who had fabricated for their own purposes a gospel of their own: and then, not perceiving the grossness of his inconsistency, he saddles it upon a body of Christians, who possessed the genuine Gospel, and who, instead of seeking to corrupt it, could actually say almost the whole of it by heart. (2.) But this is not all. A prudent inquirer, before he gives credit to these repeated allegations of doctrinal Manicheism against the Albigenses, will naturally ask: What answer did they themselves make to the charge?

    In good sooth, like their asiatic predecessors the Paulicians, who, as we have seen, renounced both Manes and Manicheism, the Albigenses stoutly denied the truth of the allegations. 31 Nor did they deny it merely once or twice: nor yet was the denial confined to a few individuals. It was, we are assured, their universal custom, whenever they were questioned concerning their faith, promptly to deny all the various matters of which they were suspected. The evidence, then, at present, will stand as follows.

    By their enemies, the whole of whose concurrent testimony is hopelessly inconsistent and contradictory, the Albigenses are charged with having adopted and maintained the creed of Manicheism.

    But, by the confession of their very enemies, it was their universal custom to deny the truth of the charge: for they disclaimed altogether any participation or approbation of that heresy; and, their adversaries themselves being judges, the strictness of their lives might well vouch for their honesty.

    To which party, even as the evidence now stands, ought we to give credit?

    Certainly not to the Albigenses, replies the Bishop of Meaux. From the Paulicians of the East to their Catharistic successors in the West, the whole generation are rank liars and equivocators. They may deny their Manicheism as often as they please: but a well practiced Catholic Inquisitor is not so easily cheated. Nay, the very pertinacity and uniformity of their denial, in all ages and countries, is itself a decided proof, that they ought not to be believed. It was the spirit of the Sect from its earliest commencement: and, since both Paulicians and Albigenses have invariably renounced Manes and disclaimed Manicheism, nothing can be more clear, than that the accusation is fully established by the simple and incontrovertible fact of their unvarying consistency. Now what were these unfortunate men to do? Their invariable disclaimer of Manicheism was the surest proof that they were hardened Manicheans: and their specific declaration, that they believed all the Articles of the Christian Faith, clearly demonstrated their unbelief, and thence most fully and satisfactorily established the confident assertion of their hypocrisy.

    Yet, paradoxical as it may seem, from the admitted fact, that, in all ages have the Paulicians and the Albigenses invariably denied themselves to be Manicheans, does Bossuet undertake to demonstrate the asserted fact of their inveterate Manicheism.

    CHAPTER - THE GROUNDS OF THE ALLEGATION OF MANICHEISM AGAINST THE PAULICIANS AND THE ALBIGENSES.

    BUT it will be said: that there must surely have been some plausible ground at least for fixing, upon the ancient Paulicians and Albigenses, the particular charge of Manicheism, rather than the charge of any other heresy. Hence it will be asked: could their enemies have so pertinaciously brought against them the specific and well-defined accusation of Manicheism, if there had been nothing whatever, in their doctrinal system, which could give an apparent sanction to such an accusation?

    That the charge, in the first instance, was built upon the circumstance of The infant Paulician community having been, to a considerable extent, composed of honest converts from Manicheism, is, I think, abundantly manifest: nor does the intrinsic absurdity and contradictoriness of the charge at all derogate from the certainty of the fact, when the character of blind and deaf and furious and unreasoning bigotry is considered.

    From Asia, as I have already observed, the charge attended the emigrant Paulicians into Europe: and, whether from the intercourse of ordinary conversation, or from dishonestly distorted reports of occasional apostates (.such as Reinerius Sacco) eager to please their new friends, or from resolute misconstruction of unprincipled inquisitors in their examination of pretended heretics, nothing would be more easy than to fix a semblance of Manicheism, quite enough to satisfy vulgar ignorance and prejudiced bigotry, upon these hated reformers and provoking reprovers. The view, which I take of the process, will be perfectly intelligible, when a few specimens of facile perversion shall have been produced: and, by such a system of management, I will readily undertake to convict St. Paul himself, the model of the genuine Christian so specially revered by the Paulicians, of rank and palpable Manicheism.

    I. It was the doctrine of the Manicheans: that there are two independent Principles; the one, good; the other, evil: of whom, the material world was created by the evil Principle, while the spiritual world was the work of the good Principle.

    Now an unfortunate Albigensis, well read (as the custom of the sect was 2 ) in Holy Scripture, has been known and reported, we will suppose, to have designated Satan by the titles of Prince of this world and God of this world, to have expressed a hope that God would deliver him from this present evil world, to have declared that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, to have asserted that the world hath not known the Father, to have pronounced that the friendship of the world is enmity with God, to have intimated that the devil is come down to his own peculium the inhabiters of the earth and the sea, to have described the Evil One as the Prince of the Power of the air and as the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, to have stigmatized pharisaical hypocrites as being of their father the devil, to have spoken of a horrible worship paid to the dragon, and to have declared that he and his associates are of the Good God, while the whole world lieth in the Wicked One.

    Let a hated Albigensis use this truly scriptural language: and it is quite easy to see, how malice or ignorance or a mixture of both might very plausibly exhibit him to the vulgar, as a Manichean; who believed in two Gods, a bad God and a good God; who declared the bad God to be the God and the Creator of this world, while the world to come was the work of the good God; and who worshipped the Devil or the bad God, as the Prince of the power of the air, and as the general father of all mankind so far as their material part is concerned. II. It was the doctrine of the ancient Manicheans and Docetae: that Christ was never really incarnate, his apparent flesh being a mere unsubstantial and visionary illusion; because, since matter was the work of the evil God and thence inherently bad itself, it were a contradiction to assert that Christ, the Son of the good God, could have assumed a true fleshly material body.

    Some one, then, of the Albigenses happens to declare, that henceforth he knows no man after the flesh: adding, that although he had known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth he knows him no more under that carnal aspect. Or perhaps he asserts, that Christ is the living bread who descended from heaven. Or possibly he declares his conviction, that Christ is not of this world. Or very probably he may remark, that Christ walked upon the surface of the sea, and that he imperceptibly passed through the hands of those who wished to throw him down a precipice.

    In such a reported ease, who does not perceive the inference, which would be joyfully drawn by a malignant Inquisitor, the iniquitous prejudger of his prisoner? The man, and the whole community to which he belongs, are, by the very purport of their own words, plainly convicted Docetae of the Manichean School. Assuredly they maintain, that the apparent body of Christ was altogether celestial, not substantially carnal. III. Through the consistent following out of their principles, it was the doctrine of the Manicheans: that Baptism by material water ought not to be administered; and that Marriage ought to be reviled and rejected.

    The dreaded heretics are known to have remarked: that Baptism by water and the reception of the Spirit were not always inseparable; that he, who believes not, is damned, notwithstanding his baptism; that, unless a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God; and that that which is born of the flesh is flesh, while that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. They furthermore have been heard to deny, that Marriage is a sacrament; while they urged that the very gaze of concupiscence is virtual fornication; and while they asserted, that, in the resurrection, marriage altogether ceases to exist.

    On such a foundation, it was no difficult matter to erect a charge: that the Albigenses were Manicheans, who rejected Baptism by water, who argued the inutility of baptizing infants on the ground that they can have no faith, and who reviled and denounced Marriage. IV. The principles of the Manicheans, which led them to deny the incarnation of Christ, led them also, by a plainly necessary consequence, to deny that the consecrated elements could properly, in any sense of the words, be styled Christ’s body and blood.

    Now, as a mere point of fact, the Albigenses denied altogether the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

    This, no doubt, they did, because they understood the words of our Lord figuratively. But, by their enemies, the circumstance was confidently adduced as a certain proof that they denied the human flesh of Jesus Christ. V. The principles of the Manicheans led them, of course, to deny the crucifixion, no less than the incarnation of our Savior.

    But the Albigenses paid no veneration to the Cross: and invoked neither the angels nor the saints nor even the Virgin Mary.

    Hence they were pronounced to be Manicheans: who trampled upon the Cross, who despised the saints, who dishonored the virgin, who rejected the Holy Catholic Church, and who with unparalleled impiety renounced the crucified Redeemer himself. VI. The Manicheans held: that The independent Principle of good and the independent Principle of evil each created various angelic intelligences, severally in nature resembling’ their respective Creators.

    Some of the Albigenses, in an unlucky hour, happen to speak of the Devil and his angels: and, what is still worse, they are furthermore known to have talked about a war in heaven, when Michael and his angels fought on one side, while the dragon and his angels fought on the other side.

    Misrepresentation is speedily at work: and, since it is predetermined to transmute the Scripture-loving Albigenses into indisputable Manicheans, their language is interpreted to import, that the angels of the Devil were created by the Devil; while, upon the war in heaven, is gratuitously built the gnostic fable, that spirits created by the good God are infused into material bodies created by the evil God, and that after performing the circle of the metempsychosis they finally return in a purified state to heaven. VII. The principles of the Manicheans obviously compelled them to deny the resurrection of the body.

    It is reported to the Inquisitors and the Popish Clergy: that the Albigenses have been heard to speak of the resurrection of a spiritual body, as contradistinguished from that natural or carnal body which is sown in the grave of corruption; and that they are also known to have wickedly asserted the impossibility of flesh and blood inheriting the kingdom of heaven.

    Now, although in truth they have said nothing but what St. Paul himself has said: yet, with the interested and prejudiced, the use of such language is quite sufficient to stamp them with undoubted Manicheism. Most indisputably, all the Cathari deny the future resurrection of the flesh. VIII. The Manicheans, like the Gnostics, denied the freedom of the will: contending, that, without any choice or preference, the Elect were fatally impelled to perform good deeds, while the Reprobate were no less fatally constrained to perform evil deeds.

    A zealous Inquisitor hears: that the Albigenses have been known to quote a text of St. Paul in proof of this opinion; the heretic, all the while, quoting it, just as an ancient Augustinian or a modern Calvinist would do, for an entirely different purpose.

    Nothing more is requisite, than to corrupt the text in question by the insertion of two antithetical words wholly unconscious of the pen of the Apostle: and the unlucky culprit, upon whom the blame of the interpolation is tacitly saddled, is duly exhibited, as establishing, by the express authority of Holy Writ, a fatal necessity of doing whether good or evil. The GOOD which I wish, that I do not: the EVIL which I hate, that I do. IX. In fine, the entire process of amalgamating misrepresentation may be briefly summed up after the following manner.

    Certain pious dissidents from the Roman Church, denominated, in the South of France, Cathari and Publicans and Albigenses, spoke of the strife between the flesh and the spirit; described the God and Prince of this world, as waging an incessant though ultimately fruitless war against the God of heaven; denied, as a necessary and mechanical result, from the application of water, the spiritual or regenerative effect of Baptism; disbelieved any material change of the Eucharistic Bread and Wine into the literal and substantial Body and Blood of Christ; rejected the notion, that Marriage is a sacrament instituted as such by our Lord; believed the resurrection of a spiritual body, as contradistinguished from a gross natural body; asserted the inability of fallen man to do, by his own unassisted strength, that which is good; maintained, that, as God is served by myriads of holy angels, so numerous evil angels await the bidding of Satan; rejected the doctrine of a Purgatory; offered up no prayers either to the Virgin or to the Saints; and abhorred the superstitious worship of the Cross, deeming even the true wood (could it anywhere be found) nothing more valuable or more salutiferous than any other piece of wood, inasmuch as the Savior of mankind (according to the excellent remark of Ambrose) was not The Cross but He who for our sake hung upon the Cross. Through the agency of a gross misrepresentation, these several tenets were easily made to appear the same as the well-known tenets of the Manicheans; and, though, confessedly, in every age and country, the Paulicians or Albigenses always denied that they were Manicheans; constantly, by the admission of their very enemies, led holy and godly lives; and were ready, when called upon, to seal their faith with their blood rather than abandon it for the wretched superstition of Rome or Constantinople: yet, with all the pertinacity of bigoted hatred, the charge of Manicheism was determinately brought against them; and the very constancy of their invariable disclaimer, both in Asia and in Europe, was strangely itself alleged as the surest proof of falsehood and hypocrisy. Thus, to the entire satisfaction of the Papists at least, was the business accomplished: and thus was an ancient Church of faithful and suffering Christians, without a shadow of trustworthy evidence, pronounced to be a synagogue of profligate and wrong-headed Manicheans.

    X. Hitherto, so far as concerns the Albigenses of Southern France, we have seen only the testimony which is adduced for the purpose of establishing their Manicheism: we must next proceed to exhibit a variety of facts and documents, which, tending as they do to the complete exculpation of this much slandered Community, serve also to show, that our already intimated suspicions respecting the fidelity of their accusers have in no wise been without sufficient foundation.

    In prosecuting this inquiry, it will be useful to bear in mind the remarks which have been made, as to the great facility of perverting even scriptural expressions into a semblance of Manicheism; when, by malice or ignorance, it is predetermined to convict some obnoxious individual of an adhesion to that heresy.

    CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATION OF MANICHEISM AGAINST THE ALBIGENSES, DEMONSTRATED FROM THE CASE OF THE CANONS OF ORLEANS THE earliest instance, I believe, of the public attention being drawn to certain reputed Manicheans who had suddenly appeared in France, is that afforded by the remarkable case of the Canons of Holyrood in Orleans.

    I. After the favorite manner of the Gallican Romish Clergy, Bossuet rapidly tells the story in his own way: suppressing all the gross contradictions, which occur in the several accounts of the matter; observing a prudent silence, as to the very suspicious method in which was procured the pretended confession of the culprits; and, instead of honestly exhibiting in his margin the original documents upon which his scanty and garbled narrative claims to be founded, loosely giving mere references to books of no general access, so as effectually to preclude a reader from judging for himself, unless he possesses the opportunity, and will encounter the trouble, of a patient verification.

    I shall adopt a different mode of proceeding: and, though a full statement of the several accounts as they are variously given by Rodulphus Glaber and the Actuary of the Synod of Orleans and the ancient Historian of Aquitaine and John of Fleury, with the remarks appended to them, will, of necessity, occupy some considerable space; yet, by those conscientious inquirers whose object is the attainment of truth, my inability to imitate the convenient brevity of the Bishop of Meaux will readily, I trust, be pardoned. 1. The narrative of Rodulphus Glaber is to the following effect.

    In the year 1017, the existence of a heresy, which had long been secretly germinating, was detected in the city of Orleans. The heresy in question was said to have been originally brought into France by a woman from Italy: who seduced from the faith persons of every description, not only simple Laics, but likewise many even among the more learned of the Clergy. This woman, in the course of her pernicious ramblings, came to Orleans; where, for a considerable time, she took up her abode. Here she infected many with her poisonous doctrines: and, what is more especially deserving of notice, Heribert and Lisoye, who both in rank and in knowledge stood among the highest of the Clergy, becoming her proselytes, were peculiarly active in spreading her opinions not only throughout Orleans but likewise throughout the neighboring cities.

    While indefatigably engaged in this work, they attempted to convert a Priest of Rouen. But he, being a man of a sound mind, forthwith took the alarm: and thence communicated the circumstance to the Count of the city, Duke Richard of Normandy. That Prince, equally thunderstruck with such tidings, lost no time in conveying the information to King Robert.

    Whereupon, the zealous Sovereign, taking as his assessors many Bishops and Abbots and Lay Religious, immediately instituted a close scrutiny among the Clergy of Orleans. Heribert and Lisoye did not dissemble, how much they differed from the established faith of Rome: and many came forward, expressing their adherence to the two heresiarchs, and declaring that nothing should separate them from their fellowship.

    Sorely grieved, that an inculpation thus serious should attend upon men, who, with all probity of morals, had hitherto, in their appointed station, been pre-eminently useful; the King and the Prelates, retiring apart, proceeded to a more secret examination of the accused: and, as we are assured by the examiners themselves, the result of this secret examination was a full confession of the maintenance and advocacy of the most impious doctrines.

    We have, said the culprits, long since embraced the tenets of this sect, the existence of which you have only so recently discovered: but we are well assured, that, sooner or later, both you and all men will do the same. Whatever the Old and the New Testament may say respecting the existence of a Triune Deity, the whole is a system of mere delirious falsehood. For both the heaven and the earth have ever been exactly as they now appear, without having a Creator who gave them a beginning. To expect, therefore, any future eternal reward of a holy and christian life, is no better than a superfluous absurdity.

    On making this confession, the choice of either recantation or cremation was freely and mercifully offered to them. To recant, however, the heretics altogether refused. Hence, an enormous fire having been kindled by the royal command not far from the city, they were forthwith led out to execution. But, to the number of thirteen, they were so far from being daunted, that they willingly offered themselves to the flames. Yet, when they experienced the pain of burning, they cried out, with what voice they were able to exert, that they had been deceived by the devil, and that they had entertained evil sentiments respecting the God and Lord of the universe. The by-standers, hearing this lamentable cry, immediately attempted to draw them from the fire’ but the flames were so furious, that all their efforts were fruitless. Wherever any of their followers could be found, they were subjected to the same punishment. 2. Thus runs the narrative of Glaber: but the Actuary of the Synod of Orleans, who wrote in the same year 1017, differs essentially from him in many important particulars.

    According to the statement of this functionary, when the Manichean Heresy showed itself at Orleans, an individual named Arefaste, one of the Knights of the Duke of Normandy, was eminently useful in detecting that pest, which, in all directions, was pullulating throughout the provinces of France. This military retainer supported, in his house, a clerk named Herbert: who, for the sake of prosecuting his studies, repaired to Orleans.

    There, while he was seeking after the teachers of truth, he blindly fell into the bottomless pit of heresy. For, at that time, there lived in the same city two clerks, Stephen and Lisoye: men, illustrious among all for their wisdom, redolent of sanctity, abundant in almsgiving. To their teaching, Herbert resorted: and, while he fondly deemed himself to have reached the very pinnacle of true knowledge, he was, by their means, really entangled in the snare of the devil. On his return home, loudly celebrating Orleans as the true light of wisdom and as the resplendent lamp of sanctity, he sought to make a convert of his knightly patron Arefaste. But his lord was not so easily deceived. Suspecting that all is not gold which glitters, he quickly reported the matter to Duke Richard: who, in his turn, communicated it to King Robert; adding, that his trusty soldier Arefaste desired nothing more than the royal permission to undertake the development of the alarming theological pestilence. Leave being easily obtained, the knight repaired to Orleans: and presented himself, before the two heresiarchs, in the garb of a humble scholar. Ere this spiritually dangerous step, however, was taken, he very prudently had the precaution to fortify himself with suppliant prayer against the machinations of Lucifer: and, furthermore, during the whole progress of his most adventurous enterprise, he effectually kept the foul fiend at arm’s length, according to the wise sacerdotal advice which he had received, by a daily orthodox communion. For the deliberate purpose of betraying them, our mirror of knightly honor soon wormed himself into the confidence of the two unsuspecting clerics: and his report to his employers was, that, at length, they communicated the following summary of their religious system.

    Christ was not born from the Virgin Mary: neither did he suffer death for mankind: neither was he truly buried: neither did he ever rise again from the dead. In Baptism, there is no washing away of sin: nor, through the consecration of a priest, is there any sacrament of the Body and blood of Christ. The invocation of Saints and Martyrs is mere idle folly.

    In making this communication, they professed to open the gates of heaven for the triumphant entrance of the devout aspirant: and, feeding him the while with celestial food, they undertook, by the imposition of hands, to liberate him from all sin, and to replenish him with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    But, notwithstanding such lofty promises, nothing could be a greater abomination, than the horrible mode in which they prepared their celestial food. On certain nights, they congregated together in an appointed house, holding lamps in their hands. There, after the form of a litany, they chanted forth the names of demons: nor did they desist from their unhallowed orisons, until, in the shape of some small beast, they beheld the worshipped Evil One suddenly descend among their company. 3 As soon as the object of their adoration appeared, they forthwith extinguished their lamps: and, then, without any regard either to nearness of consanguinity or to the holiest vows of female chastity, they each seized upon the woman who happened to be nearest. When, from this infernal commerce, an infant was born, they preserved it until the eighth day: and then, like the Pagans of old, burning it in a fire, they prepared the celestial food from the nefarious ashes which remained.

    The indefatigable Arefaste, having made these discoveries, perhaps indeed having himself witnesses the bestial avatar of Lucifer, communicated them incontinently to his pious employers: and, without loss of time, the accused, confronted by the daring knight who had thus magnanimously bearded the demon in his very penetralia, were subjected to an examination. This examination, however, took place, not in public, but before a private convention of the King and the Prelates which was held with closed doors in the basilica or cathedral. The charges were duly preferred by Arefaste: and, as we are assured by those who assisted at the process, were duly confessed by the prisoners. When variously examined on sundry doctrinal points, and particularly as to their sentiments respecting the Holy Scriptures, the final answer of the culprits is reported to have been the following:

    The doctrine, which you hold, you may tell to those, who savor of earthly things, and who believe the figments of carnal men written upon animal parchment. But, to us, who bare the law written in the inner man by the Holy Ghost, and who relish nothing save what we have learned from God the Creator of all thing’s, you vainly propound matters which are superfluous and altogether alien from sound divinity. 4 Put, therefore, an end to your words: and do with us what you list. We clearly behold our King reigning in heavenly places. With his own right hand, he is raising us to an immortal triumph: and he is, even now, about to bestow upon us the fullness of joy celestial.

    From the first hour of the day to the ninth, all labored incessantly to recall them from the strangeness of their wicked error: but, harder than any iron, they obstinately refused to repent. Whereupon, by the assembled Prelates, they were degraded from Holy Orders, preparatory to their being consigned to the arm of the secular power: and, lest the hitherto excluded people should rush into the church to kill them prematurely, Queen Constance herself, by the special order of the King, kept guard at the folding doors of the cathedral. When the ceremony of degradation was completed, the Queen, nobly sinking the feelings of the woman in the zeal of the catholic, with a stick thrust out the eye of Stephen who had formerly been her confessor. The heretics were then conveyed without the walls of the city: and, a mighty fire being kindled in a certain hamlet, they were all, together with the nefarious dust which has been mentioned as the material out of which the celestial food was prepared, consigned to the flames, save a single clerk and a single nun who recanted their impious doctrines. 3. To the fact of the cremation of these martyrs, a not unimportant circumstance is added in the ancient Fragment of the History of Aquitaine edited by Pitheus.

    Heribert and Lisoye were not the only members of the Clerical Order, who, on this occasion, suffered for their opinions: no fewer than ten Canons of the Holyrood in Orleans were consigned to the flames. Their heresy is confidently stated to have been Manicheism: and it is subjoined, that various individuals of the same persuasion were detected at Toulouse and were similarly punished; so that the Manicheans, who sprang up throughout various parts of the West, began to conceal themselves, though still deceiving whomsoever they could. 4. Finally, John of Fleury, in his brief narrative of the same transaction, communicates yet another particular: which shows, that, along with the ten Canons, four of the Laity also, for the sake of their religion, must have encountered the horrid death of vivicremation.

    He tells us, that the entire number of the sufferers at Orleans amounted to fourteen’ and he adds, that among them were found certain of the more noble Laity, as well as of the better Clergy. Now the clerical sufferers were ten. Consequently, the additional four were Laics.

    II. I have here simply given the various accounts of this detestable popish barbarity which have come down to us: and I will venture to say, that any unprejudiced reader will rise from the perusal of them, perfectly satisfied, that these ten Clergymen, confessedly skilled in theology, and confessedly eminent for the holiness of their practice, together with the four Laymen their friends and proselytes and associates, were no Manicheans, but, on the contrary, resolute and heaven-supported martyrs to the pure and unadulterated faith of the Gospel.

    It will be useful, however, to enter a little into the particulars, which, though with no small measure of incongruity, we have seen recorded. 1. Here I shall pass over the slighter points of discrepancy in the several accounts, though even these tend to throw a doubt upon their general fairness and accuracy: I shall confine myself to those broader points, which, when united with other matters, effectually take away from Bossuet and subsequent writers of his stamp, all the benefits which they would derive from the case turning it over, in the way of historical evidence, to their opponents.

    According to Rodulphus Glaber, the accused were absolute atheists: who, thence, believing in no God, consistently denied both the creation of the world and a future state of retribution.

    According to John of Fleury and the Fragment of the History of Aquitaine, they were Manicheans; who, as we all know, maintained the existence of two Gods: an evil God, the creator of the material world; and a good God, the creator of the spiritual world.

    According to the Acts of the Synod of Orleans, they believed in one God the Creator of the universe: and, so far from denying a future state of retribution, they confidently, on the very eve of a dreadful death, looked forward to an immortal triumph and to joy celestial.

    Here we have three jarring accounts. Which of them are we to receive?

    By writers of the popish persuasion, they are all propounded, as being all severally the exact truth: and, though Bossuet is as silent as the grave respecting any discrepancy; yet, in the treatment of heretics, we all know the strictly honorable conduct of Romish Ecclesiastics.

    But some one may perhaps urge the express declaration: that This atrocious heresy, in every particular, was fully confessed by the associated culprits themselves.

    And what man of plain common sense, I simply ask in reply, would believe such a declaration, even independently of the circumstance of its being propounded by the folly of their enemies?

    Bossuet, who had an object to serve, carefully avoids the exhibition of any symptoms of misgiving: but the searching incredulity of a Protestant will find it difficult to admit, that even the Albigenses could have pleaded guilty to a tissue of absolute and irreconcilable contradictions.

    The entire case, I apprehend, may be briefly summed up, as follows:

    Through a space of eight hours the examination was prolonged. And the same men, we are assured, in the course of the same scrutiny, confessed: that They believed in one God, that They believed in two Gods, and yet that They believed in no God; that They asserted one God in heaven to be the Creator of all things, that They asserted the material worm and the spiritual world to have been severally created by two Gods, and yet that They asserted the entire world both material and spiritual to have never been created at all but to have existed without any Creator from all eternity: that They totally denied a future state of rewards and punishments, and yet that Their assured confidence in an everlasting state of future glory and joy celestial was such as to make them face without shrinking the most terrible of all deaths!

    Such, then, being the case presented to us, we may perhaps, without incurring a very severe reprehension, be allowed, even on the premises themselves, to doubt, or possibly still more than doubt, whether the alleged heretics of Orleans ever really pleaded guilty either to Atheism or to Manicheism; for, out of their three recorded confessions, two, I suppose, must inevitably be apocryphal. 2. As yet, however, we have in no wise, traveled to the end of our record.

    It is clumsily asserted, we have seen, that the Heretics, while professing the faith in one Supreme Creator, made, nevertheless, a free confession both of Atheism and of Manicheism.

    Now what evidence have we, that they confessed either the one or the other of these two hopelessly jarring monstrosities?

    Truly, our sole evidence is the allegation of their stupidly blundering murderers.

    Smitten, as it were, with judicial blindness, these wretched men seem not to have perceived, that, by issuing forth, as the result of their examination, a tissue of contradictory absurdities, they were shamefully blasting their own characters, and with a pen of infernal fire were writing their own historical condemnation.

    The accused were examined, not fairly in open court, so that all, who chose to attend, might hear what they really said: but, as both Glaber and the Acts of the Synod agree, they were examined secretly, before none, save the bigot King, and his miserable spy Arefaste, and his Conclave of interested Prelates, and his Synagogue of heartless Monks; they were examined in a Church with carefully closed doors, from which, on the easily intelligible pretense of apprehended danger to the prisoners, from a sudden ebullition of popular fury, the multitude were sedulously excluded, Queen Constance herself condescending in person to guard the portal. Hence, most plainly, we know nothing, either of the asserted fact of their confession, or of the specific nature of their confession, beyond what their infuriated enemies have been pleased to tell us. And, in the very sottishness of their malice, so egregiously have those enemies blundered: that, while, by way of blackening to the uttermost the objects of their hatred, they have put into their mouths the two palpably irreconcilable confessions of Atheism and Manicheism; they have providentially been overruled to record yet a third confession, which is evidently the true one, and with which the antecedently mutual incongruity of the two pretended confessions can by no ingenuity be made to harmonize. We have the law of God written in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, say these noble champions of the truth and we relish nothing, save what we have beard from God the Creator of all things. You vainly propound, for our acceptance, matters which are alien from sound theology. Put an end, therefore, to your words: and do with us what you list. With the eye of faith, we see our King reigning in heaven. By his own almighty hand, he will raise us up to an immortal triumph, and will speedily be, tow upon us joy celestial.

    Were these men Atheists or Manicheans? Were these men incestuous and abandoned worshippers of Satan? Were these men deliberate murderers of children; that so, from the ashes of their victims, they might compound an infernal parody on the Eucharist? Can we seriously believe, that these men, firm unto death in the maintenance of their principles, were ever guilty of such unutterable, such monstrous, such wantonly gratuitous, such palpably objectless, abominations? Is it likely, that a diabolical faith and a hellish practice should train up men, confidently to look beyond this transitory world, and courageously to choose death in all its bitterness, rather than apostasy with all its temporal advantages? Nay, calling in mere common sense to our aid against the splendid absurdity of fabled impossibilities, who will, who can, believe, that Lucifer either did or could appear among them in the shape of some small beast: a cat, to wit, as the grotesque superstition of a barbarous age was most commonly inclined to determine? In the whole account, a Pelion upon an Ossa, absurdities are mercilessly piled upon gross self-contradictions: yet the Bishop of Meaux either is, or would affect to be, quite satisfied. At all events, he has taken especial care not to endanger the acquiescent faith of his easily-convinced admirer, by letting him into the secret of those damning incongruities, which may lie advantageously locked up in a dead language, or which may safely repose in massy tomes not to be found save in the popularly neglected libraries of special reference.

    Perhaps, by determined prejudice it may be said: that, Out of the very midst of the flames, the martyrs were beard. publicly to confess, that they had been deceived by the devil, and that they had entertained evil sentiments respecting the God and Lord of the Universe.

    The allegation in question is certainly made by Rodulphus Glaber’ but the very minute Acts of the Synod of Orleans are altogether silent respecting this particular; and even Glaber himself, by the sort of trembling uncertainty which marks his phraseology, may well be deemed no secure witness to the pretended fact. They cried out, we are told by this writer, not with a loud and distinct voice, so that all the bystanders might easily hear their words; but only with what feeble measure of utterance they possessed. 9 Whatever, then, they might say, in their agonies, they were indisputably heard very uncertainly and very indistinctly. Most probably they warned the bystanders of the snares of the devil: and, for their many sins against their Heavenly Father, confessing their own unworthiness, pleaded the alone merits of their Redeemer. Broken ejaculations to such effect would, by brutal or ignorant bigots, be readily construed into an acknowledgment, on the part of the sufferers, that they had been deceived by Satan, and that they had thought ill of the God and Lord of the Universe. When we recollect, that a woman is recorded as having been the instrument of converting Sergius to ancient Paulicianism, we shall be struck with the singular resemblance of the asserted mode wherein the Canons of Orleans were converted to Catharism. In the circumstance itself, I see nothing improbable, provided we allow, that these Clergymen were thus brought to the knowledge of the unadulterated Gospel: but I see everything improbable in it on the hypothesis, that they were quite easily induced to adopt the dreams of Manicheism by a vagrant female from Italy.

    If, in point of fact, the Canons were really converted by a woman from that country, I conclude, that she must have been a member of one of the Italian Churches of the Paulicians. 11 CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATION, DEMONSTRATED FROM THE HISTORY OF BERENGER.

    WHETHER the famous Berenger of Tours, who flourished in the middle of the eleventh century, ought to be viewed as an actually associated member of the Paulician or Albigensic Community, may perhaps, not unreasonably, be doubted. Still, however, there are particulars both in his doctrine and in his system, which may tend to establish the circumstance of his intimacy with the members of that Community, and thence inductively to show that the Community in question could not have been tainted with Manicheism.

    I. The Paulicians and the Albigenses always denied the occurrence of any material change in the consecrated eucharistic elements: and they were remarkable on account of the zeal with which they carried on their extensive missions, for the purpose of disseminating tenets, which they deemed to constitute the sincere Gospel, and from which they asserted the dominant Church both of the East and of the West to have foully apostatized.

    Now, like them, Berenger strenuously denied the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Under the influence of fear, indeed, he was led more than once to recant: but, so far as conviction is concerned, he appears never to have given up his opinion. After every abjuration, as Bertold of Constance happily expresses it, he returned to the same heresy, even as a dog returns to his vomit. 1 Yet, such was his fame for austerity and good works and humility and almsgiving, that even without retractation, as we learn from William of Malmesbury, some accounted him a saint. Holding, then, doctrinal views of this description, he employed, for the purpose of spreading his sentiments, poor scholars, whom he had himself converted, to act as missionaries in every direction: and so great was their success, that, as the popish writers lament, well nigh all the French and Italians and even English were infected with the poison of his heretical pravity.

    But, if he and his disciples thus widely traveled, decrying the belief of any material change of the consecrated elements into the substantial body and blood of Christ, they must have attracted the notice and fallen into the company of the Albigensic Cathari, whether in France or in Italy, who, invariably and from the very first, held precisely the same sentiments.

    Whence it is obvious, that identity of opinion must have produced a deep feeling of interest, and must have led to much intimacy and converse and mutual confidence’ so that, whether the Berengarians and the Cathari were or were not strictly one Community, they would still, from a consciousness of doctrinal harmony associated with an identity of missionary purpose, be readily inclined to give each other, as brethren, the right hand of fellowship. II. Nor is this all. According, indeed, to the Bishop of Meaux, Berenger was heretical on the alone point of Transubstantiation: for, if we may credit that ingenious Prelate, leaving all the remaining fabric of Popery untouched and uninjured, he never advanced any other erroneous opinions. 4 But it may be doubted, whether this is quite so certain, as Bossuet would have us believe. Berenger, says Reginald, was condemned, because he embraced that Faith, which we of the Reformed Churches hold to be purely and perfectly evangelical: rejecting, on the one hand, the doctrine of Transubstantiation; and maintaining, on the other hand, the Roman Church to be a Church of Malignants, the Council of Vanity, and the etc. of Satan. To this statement of a modern writer, the Bishop might, with some show of reason, have demurred: but he could scarcely, with any measure of decorum, have slighted the intelligible hint of William of Malmesbury that a denial of Transubstantiation was not the sole heresy of Berenger, when that historian, speaking in the plural form, tells us, that, by the defense of some HERESIES, be had rendered the first heat of his youth infamous. 6 At any rate, whether Bossuet had or had not consulted the continuator of Bede, he says nothing of an intimation, which, without indeed descending to particulars, ascribes, nevertheless, to the perverse Archdeacon of Angers, the contumacious defense of more heresies than one. These heresies, I feel persuaded, were no other than the general Scheme of Doctrine professed by the Cathari: for they, too, always declared the Church of Rome to be a Church of Malignants; and they, too, always inculcated that same apostolical poverty, which, according to William of Malmesbury, was assumed by Berenger. III. I may add, that there is yet another testimony, respecting which the Bishop is equally silent: the undeniable testimony, to wit, of Berenger himself, as adduced and commented upon by his stout opponent Lanfranc.

    At least, if the words be not precisely the identical words of Berenger, the opinion, which they convey, is ascribed by Lanfranc to Berenger and his followers.

    The Gospel, so runs the imputed heresy, was originally preached to all nations. Then the world believed: and the Church was founded. For a season, it increased and fructified: but, through the unskillfulness of men whose intelligence was evil, it afterward erred and perished. Such was the fate of the great body of the Church: and, henceforth, in us alone and in those who follow us, the Holy Church of Christ has remained upon earth. How such a sweeping denunciation as this can be construed to mean only, that Berenger left the whole fabric entire (as the Bishop speaks), save and except the dogma of Transubstantiation, I have not skill sufficient to explain. At all events, what may well show the close connection, of the Berengarians and the Cathari, the latter, on this point, held precisely the same opinion as the former. The Church of Rome, says Reinerius, they style a Harlot. Hence they oppose the Pope and all the Catholic Bishops and Priests and Clerks: declaring, that they themselves are the Church of God, and that the others are but the seducers of the world. IV. In point, then, of fact, the circumstance, that both Berenger and his numerous missionaries and still more numerous proselytes must have familiarly mingled and doctrinally conversed with the Cathari both of France and of Italy, is, from the very necessity of the case, plainly, I think, indisputable. Now the sentiments of Berenger were too well known, for his enemies to hazard against him any charge of Manicheism. Hence it is a reasonable presumption, that, mixing with the Cathari as he and his missionaries must inevitably have done, they found among them just as little of Manicheism as could be detected among themselves.

    CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATION, DEMONSTRATED FROM THE CASE OF PETER DE BRUIS AND HENRY BUT, whatever direct connection may have subsisted between Berenger and the Cathari, there can be no rational doubt, that Peter de Bruis and his disciple Henry were two of the most eminent among their ministers.

    Under that aspect, accordingly, they are viewed by Bossuet: and thence, as a necessary part of his system, they are of course to be convicted of Manicheism. 1 Such being the case, an exculpation of these two individuals is an exculpation of the Cathari.

    A more complete failure than the attempt of Bossuet, I have rarely encountered. Yet, save the malignity of the intention, it may well be excused. The Bishop, in truth, had little to work upon: and that little was, either nothing to the purpose, or directly adverse to his theory. So zealous were the Inquisitors in destroying the writings of Bruis and Henry, that we scarcely know any thing of their tenets save what we can learn from the Tractate or Epistle of an Abbot of Clugny, Peter the Venerable, addressed to the Archbishops of Arles and Embrun with other Prelates of Dauphiny and Provence. In point of quantity, this Work is, indeed, most abundantly verbose and prolix: but its quality and texture are such, that, to deduce from it any proof of the Manicheism of the alleged heretics, could only, I think, have been gravely attempted by an Ecclesiastic of the Romish persuasion.

    I. In the first quarter of the twelfth century, Peter de Bruis labored, throughout Dauphiny and Provence and Languedoc and Gascony, during a term of nearly twenty years. 2 At length, he was seized by his watchful enemies: and, in the year 1126, was committed to the flames in the town of St. Giles. After his death, Henry ministered in the same tract of country: and, in the year 1147, he also was either burned alive at Toulouse, or (as some statements say) ended his days in prison.

    Now, from the Tractate of the Abbot of Clugny, Bossuet trusts, that he shall be able to establish the Manicheism of Bruis and Henry, and thence, by a necessary consequence, the Manicheism of the Albigenses.

    For the giving a correct account of the doctrinal system maintained by these two individuals, the admirable qualifications of Peter the Venerable are sufficiently clear from his own free acknowledgments.

    He wrote, as he himself distinctly tells us, from mere vulgar unauthenticated rumor.

    Let us see, whether these heretics, who yield not to the authority of the great doctors of the Church, will at least acquiesce in the decision of either Christ or the Prophets or the Apostles. I say this, because common report has spread it abroad, that you do not totally believe either the Prophets or the Apostles or even Christ himself: and the same report, if it be true, indicates moreover, that you detract from the majesty both of the Old Testament and of the New Testament. But, because I ought not to give assent to the fallaciousness of mere rumors, more especially when some affirm that you have rejected the whole of the Sacred Canon, while others contend that. you receive some portions of it, I am unwilling to censure you for matters uncertain. He had furthermore, as he likewise informs us, consulted a Work, which was said to have been dictated to an amanuensis by Henry, the disciple and successor of Bruis: but he himself, nevertheless, did not venture to adduce it as affording any safe warrant for a regular accusation.

    After the burning of Peter de Bruis at St. Giles; whereby, through the zeal of the faithful, he passed from temporal to eternal fire, Henry, the heir of his wickedness, with I know not what other persons, did not so much amend as alter his diabolical doctrine: for, as I lately saw in a volume which was said to have been written from his dictation, he put forth, not merely five points, like his master, but many points. Nevertheless, because I have not as yet full confidence, that he either so thinks or so preaches, I defer my answer to him in particular, until I shall have indisputable certainty of the matters which are reported concerning him. 4 The honesty, while he attacks the two heretics, evinced by Peter of Clugny, in duly telling us, that, save by hearsay, he really knows nothing about them, is doubtless laudable as far as it goes’ yet, assuredly, if acknowledged ignorance and uncertainty be valuable requisites in a trustworthy witness, we have them exhibited in the highest perfection by this specially Venerable Abbot.

    After thus very handsomely confessing that he was entirely in the dark, as to whether the Petrobrusians did or did not receive either the whole or any part of the Canon of Scripture, he sets himself to demonstrate, that an admission of the New Testament inevitably involves and draws after it an admission of the Old Testament. And, in truth, very well he performs his task. But how this perfectly conclusive argument against one of the recognized tenets of Manicheism is to fix the charge of Manicheism itself upon persons whom Peter all the while confessedly knew not to hold any such tenet, certainly passes my comprehension. The reasoning is very good reasoning in its place’ but, so far as Bruis and his disciples are concerned, it is plainly, according to the Abbot’s own statement of the matter, quite irrelevant.

    II. Descending, however, to greater particularity, for the purpose of indisputably establishing his accusation, he sums up, in five points, the principal doctrines, which, during the space of well nigh twenty years, were said to have been preached by the indefatigable heresiarch.

    The first point denies: that children, who have not arrived at the age of intellect, can be saved by Christian Baptism; 6 or that the faith of another person can be profitable to those, who are physically unable to exert any faith of their own. For, according to them, it is not the faith of another, but an individual’s own faith, which saves with Baptism’ inasmuch as the Lord says; He, that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he, that believeth not, shall be damned.

    The second point maintains’ that churches ought not to be built, and that those already built ought to be pulled down. For sacred places, set apart for prayer, are no way necessary to Christians: inasmuch as God, whether invoked in a tavern or in a church, in a market-place or in a temple, before an altar or before a manger, equally hears and answers those who are deserving. The third point commands: that sacred crucifixes should be broken and burned. For the cross, on which Christ was so horribly tortured and so cruelly slain, is worthy neither of adoration nor of veneration nor of ally suppliant invocation: but rather, big way of avenging his torments and death, it ought to be treated with every dishonor, to be hacked with swords, to be burned with fire.

    The fourth point not only denies the truth of the body and blood of the Lord, through the sacrament daily and continually offered up in the Church: but it also declares, that that sacrament is nothing, and that it ought not to be offered up to God.

    The fifth point derides sacrifices, prayers, alms, and other good deeds, when made by the living faithful on behalf of the faithful defunct: affirming, that, not even in the smallest degree, can they help any one of the dead. Here, in due form, as preferred by Peter the Venerable against Bruis and his disciples, we have, with whatever distortion of statement, five specific articles of indictment. Now, even if we unreservedly take them as they stand, I should be glad to learn, from any modern follower of Bossuet, where it is that they exhibit the slightest shade of doctrinal Manicheism.

    III. But, in vindication of Bruis and his disciples, merely negative evidence is by no means the whole that may be urged: we have also a sufficiency of positive evidence.

    By the Manicheans, the outward administration of Baptism was altogether rejected: whence, in the writings of popish ecclesiastics, a renunciation of this sacrament is perpetually alleged against those pretended heretics, upon whom they would invidiously fix the charge of Manich/fism. But, according to the Abbot, bitter and prejudiced as he was, the Petrobrusians were only a sort of Antipedobaptists, who rejected not Baptism itself, but who simply denied the utility of Infant-Baptism. Judging from the language which they are reported to have held on that topic, I am myself satisfied: that they did nothing more than deny the spiritual grace of Regeneration to follow, ex opere operato, the outward administration of the material sign in Baptism; and that this was misconstrued into an assertion, that infants ought not to be baptized, inasmuch as infants cannot, by any proper faith of their own, be worthy recipients. 9 But, however that may be, the question, Whether Infant-Baptism was really rejected by them, is, in truth, so far as any testimony to their fancied Manich/fism is concerned, quite wide of the mark. Let them have rejected, or let them have retained, Infant- Baptism specifically, still they confessedly held the observance, and even insisted upon the necessity, of the sacrament of Baptism itself. Now this they could not have done, if they had been votaries of the Manichean Heresy.

    So likewise the very mode, in which (according to the Abbot) the Petrobrusians showed their zeal for the destruction of crucifixes, and respecting which Bossuet is profoundly silent, yet again demonstrates the impossibility of their having been Manicheans. On a certain Good-Friday, they collected together as many crosses as they could: and, using them as the materials for a large fire which they kindled, they proceeded to roast a quantity of flesh meat, from which they afterward made a hearty meal, inviting the people to follow their example. 10 In such an action, they might perhaps have shown more of iconoclastic zeal than of sober discretion: but, at all events, the narrative effectually confutes the charge of Manicheism. For, among the various badges of the disciples of Manes, one, it is well known, was an abhorrence of animal food, on the ground that it was the special production of the Evil Principle: whereas Bruis and his followers, instead of being haunted by any such absurd scruples, showed their contempt both of purely mechanical fasting and of idolatrously worshipped crucifixes, by feeding strenuously upon flesh meat cooked on Good-Friday at a fire made of the timber of crosses.

    There is also another matter, which, even still more definitely, brings us to the same conclusion. The Manicheans, like the old Docetae, denied that Christ had any proper material body; the form, which was seen, having been purely phantasiastic: whence, they also consistently denied, that he endured upon the cross any real sufferings. Accordingly, a denegation of Christ’s substantial body, is, by the romish ecclesiastics, perpetually charged upon those, whom they would convict of Manicheism. But the Petrobrusians, so far from denying that Christ had a material body, are actually said to have alleged, in their third point of doctrine, that it was the height of absurdity to adore the instrument on which the Lord was so horribly tortured and so cruelly put to death. Hence, assuredly, according to the testimony of their very enemies, Bruis and his disciples could, by no possibility, have been Manicheans.

    IV. Still, however, though with these three several facts before his eyes, the Bishop of Meaux does not altogether despair. Advancing, it seems, a step beyond Berenger, the Petrobrusians not only denied the truth of the body and blood of Christ, but likewise the sacrament itself with its species and figure — thus leaving the people without any sacrifice of the most high and true God. 11 Hence the Bishop rapidly pronounces them to be clearly convicted Manicheans, because, like the Manicheans, they absolutely rejected the Eucharist It is really very difficult to believe, that Bossuet could have honestly penned such a charge on such grounds. Why, the very language of Peter the Venerable is so perfectly intelligible, that he, who runs, may read.

    What Bruis and his disciples rejected was, most evidently, not the due administration of the Eucharist, but its miserable perversion by the Church of Rome. They denied not broadly the truth of the body and blood of Christ; for they acknowledged, that he had a real substantial body which suffered upon the cross’ but they denied the truth of any material presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist; rationally and scripturally asserting, that the process, whereby the priests claimed to make the body and blood of Christ at the altar, was a piece of useless folly. And, in like manner, they denied not the sacrifice of Christ, which he once for all offered upon the cross’ but they rejected the worse than idle notion, that the Eucharist, in species and figure, is a sacrifice of the literal body and blood of Christ, offered up whensoever Mass is celebrated by a priest. Whatever Peter may mean by asserting, in his loose declamatory style, that Bruis went beyond Berenger’ it is quite certain, from his own words, as quoted by Bossuet himself, that such, and nothing more, was the reputed heresy of the Petrobrusians in regard to the Eucharist; for he represents their doctrine, concerning the ministration of a popish priest at the altar, as one which left the people without any sacrifice of the most high and true God; that is to say (for thus the whole context imports), as one which left the people without any daily sacrifice of the Mass.

    In truth, the very phraseology which the blundering Abbot puts into their mouths, absurd and incongruous as it is, so utterly destroys the fancy of their being Manicheans, that Bossuet, more prudently than equitably, has not, any more than their fourth and fifth points of doctrine, ventured to adduce it.

    According to Peter de Clugny, they were wont to say to the people’ Be not deceived by the priests, who would persuade you that they can make the body of Christ upon the altar; whereas the body of Christ was made once only, by Christ himself, at the last supper. What they really said, was; that The body of Christ was once for all offered up on the cross: whence they argued; that A priest could not make it upon the altar, in order that it might be repeatedly a sacrifice for sin.

    Their own language to the people, indeed, even as reported by the Abbot, is incompatible with the notion of their being Manicheans: for, in that very language, they are made professedly to acknowledge the true substantial existence of the human body of Christ.

    V. That the entire matter may be still further cleared, I shall give the Abbot’s own construction of the five doctrinal points ascribed to the Petrobrusians; together with a sixth point, in itself of secondary importance, and to the main question of no importance whatsoever.

    Ye say: that neither baptism without concomitant faith, nor faith without concomitant baptism, is of any avail; for neither can save without the other. Ye preach: that churches are vainly built; since the Church of God consists, not in a mass of coherent stones, but in the unity of the congregated faithful.

    Ye say: that the cross of the Lord is not to be honored or adored; for the instrument of Christ’s torment and death ought to be rejected, not venerated; ought to be burned, not (mere insensible matter as it is.) to be innovated by silly prayers.

    Ye assert: that the Church possesses not the body of the Lord, in the sacrament of the altar; and that, whatsoever is there done by the priests, is idle and without true effect, since Christ gave his body, not to future Christians, but once alone to his then present disciples.

    Ye affirm: that it is in vain to pray or to do any good deed for the defunct; because the good deeds of the living cannot profit those, who, when they departed hence, took with them their whole stock of merit, to which nothing can be contributed by another.

    Ye add: that by ecclesiastical chants, God is only mocked; since he, who is delighted with holy affections alone can neither be propitiated by loud voices, nor soothed by the artificial modulations of scientific music. From this statement, we may easily gather: that the true reason, why the Petrobrusians objected to the miserably superstitious worship of the cross, was the palpable circumstance of its being a piece of mere insensible matter; and that the real ground of their objection, to the vain and impious mummeries of the Mass, was the scriptural verity of the one sacrifice of Christ, once offered on the cross for the sins of all mankind, not repeatedly offered under the aspect of a sacrifice both for quick and for dead as often as a priest celebrates the Eucharist.

    On the whole, if we allow for some small misapprehension or misconstruction in the statement which readily corrects itself, I can here discern, nothing indeed of Manicheism, Out much of very sound Protestantism. Hence, with such evidence before him, I marvel not, however discrepant from Bossuet, at the very natural conclusion of the chronologist Genebrard: that The theological parents of the Calvinists, or the members of the French Reformed Churches, were the Petrobrusians and the Henricians and the Albigenses. 17 In truth, the Petrobrusians and the Henricians, as Bossuet himself well knows or rather insists, were but the Albigenses under different names. Consequently, when their doctrinal system is ascertained, that of the Albigenses is ascertained also. VI. At a later period, as I have already stated, the disciple Henry either died in confinement or encountered the same fate as his sainted master Bruis. Let us hope, that the former was the case. It has been said, however, that, after a painful life incessantly devoted to ministerial and missionary exertions, he was, in the year 1147, consigned to the flames at Toulouse, by the barbarity of the Papal Legate Alberic, and at the unchristian solicitation of Bernard of Clairvaux.

    Be that as it may, this last individual, relentlessly, even after death, pursued the reformer with the foulest and yet most inconsistent calumnies: for, while he represents him as a very monster, he is compelled to acknowledge the wide success of his indefatigably conducted labors.

    Henry traveled, indeed, throughout the whole of Languedoc and Gascony, a convicted wolf in sheep’s clothing: he apostatically threw off the habit of his Order, for he had originally been a monk; and, as a dog returns to his vomit, greedily returned to the world and the uncleanness of the flesh: he sold the word of God; and preached, what he called the Gospel, for a livelihood: he was a gamester, an habitual fornicator, and, by way of variety, an occasional adulterer: wherever he journeyed, whether from Lausanne or from Poictou or from Bourdeaux, he left behind him the slimy traces of his filthiness: yea, the very land, wherein for a season he took up his abode, stank awfully with the stupendous fetidness of his evil odor.

    Yet, when he girt up his loins; and, knowing not whither he went, became a wanderer upon the face of God’s earth: such, with a plainly besotted people, was his paradoxical success; that churches were left without congregations; congregations, without priests; priests, without reverence; and Christians, without Christ. The sanctuary of God was denied to be holy: churches were deemed no better than synagogues: sacraments were no longer sacred: festivals were deprived of their solemn festivities. By death, souls were hurried before the terrific tribunal of God: neither, alas, reconciled by penance, nor fortified by the viaticum of the Holy Communion. Children were shut out from the life of Christ, while the regenerative grace of Baptism was denied to be their property. Surely, concludes the zealous Bernard to his noble friend Count Ildefonso of St. Giles: Surely, this man cannot be of God, who says and does things so contrary to God. Nevertheless, alas, alas, he is heard by multitudes: and he has a people, who give implicit confidence to him. By some strange diabolical art, he has bewitched the silly vulgar: so that they believe not even their own ey-sight. He has made them fancy: that all are in error; that the whole worm is in the high-road to ruin; and that all the riches of the mercy of God, and the entire grace which belongs to the whole human kind, appertain exclusively to those, whom he, by his artful predication, has fatally deceived. The climax of Bernard would have been complete, had he subjoined: that this unheard of monster of depravity, this manifest child of Satan, after painfully wandering from place to place, after enduring a life of labor and discomfort and self-denial, after devoting himself to the propagation of what at least he deemed the Gospel of Christ; braved death, either in the flames or in a dungeon, rather than renounce the principles, which, during a term of more than twenty years, he had cherished and acted upon.

    CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATIONI DEMONSTRATED FROM THE STATEMENT OF BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX IF, however, in regard to the Manicheism of Bruis and his catharistic followers, Peter of Clugny be not quite so satisfactory a witness as Bossuet could have desired’ the celebrated Bernard of Clairvaux, a brother Abbot and contemporary, whose general vituperation of Henry we have already heard, may perhaps somewhat better supply the wished-for information.

    Such are the sanguine hopes of the Bishop of Meaux. Peter the Venerable, he admits, may indeed speak with some hesitation, as to their receiving, like the Manicheans, no part of the Sacred Canon except the Gospel alone: but then Bernard, he remarks, who knew them well in Gascony, had, upon this conclusively damning point, no doubt at all. I. The truth of Scripture, says the Clairvaux, stands thus: IT IS THE GLORY OF KINGS TO CONCEAL A MATTER; BUT IT IS THE GLORY OF GOD TO REVEAL A DISCOURSE. Wilt thou not reveal? In that case, thou wilt not glorify God.

    But perhaps thou receivest not this portion of Scripture. Even so it is. They profess, that they, and they alone, are emulators of the Gospel alone. Here we have the charge in mood and form. Bernard, we see, alleges, against the Petrobrusian Cathari of Gascony, a rejection of the Old Testament: and his proof lies; partly, in an intimation, that they received not a text which he had professed to cite against them from the Proverbs; and partly in an avowal made by themselves, that they alone were emulators of the Gospel alone to the exclusion (as he understood their language) of the Hebrew Scriptures. 1. That the Cathari, perhaps with some slight tinge of sarcasm, should have refused to admit the passage which Bernard professed to cite against them from the Book of Proverbs, will not excite much surprise in a Protestant Biblicist: while, at the same time, he will in no wise perceive the validity of the reasoning, which, from the rejection of the cited passage (for, verily, the Cathari did reject it), would demonstrate their universal rejection of the Old Testament also.

    The truth is: neither in the Hebrew Original, nor yet in the Greek of the Seventy, nor yet again in the Latin Vulgate, does any such passage exist, as that which Bernard has unfortunately professed to cite (memoriter, no doubt) as a genuine portion of the Ancient Scriptures. We are taught, indeed, that It is the glory of GOD to conceal a matter, while it is the glory of KINGS to search it out. 3 But we no where read, that It is the glory of KINGS to conceal a matter, while it is the glory of GOD to reveal a discourse.

    Now I submit, that the probably sarcastic rejection of a passage, which no where occurs in the Old Testament, is not a very logical proof, that the Old Testament itself was rejected by the Cathari. 2. But these clearly convicted Manicheans professed also, that they alone were emulators of the Gospel alone: and, from such phraseology, Bernard was confirmed in his prepossession, that, confessedly emulating the Gospel alone, they must, by a plain implication, be understood, as also confessedly rejecting the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

    When I consider the will-worship, wherewithal Popery has so mercilessly overlaid the sincere Gospel of Christ; and when I recollect, that, by Bernard’s own account, the Cathari of Gascony claimed to be successors of the Apostles and distinguished themselves by the name of Apostolicals: I doubt not, that they really made the profession ascribed to them, though Bernard, much too hasty and much too violent to be a patient investigator, has somewhat absurdly mistaken its obvious and indeed necessary import.

    What, then, was that profession, which is to establish the alleged fact of their rejection of the Old Testament? They profess, says he, that they, and they alone, are emulators of the Gospel alone.

    Such was their profession. And what is its obvious and necessary meaning; necessary, I say, because the words, they alone, or they to the exclusion of their adversaries, absolutely forbid any other interpretation.

    Bernard, though he himself, mingled with whatever superstition, repeatedly maintained the sound doctrine to which the Cathari of Gascony alluded; yet, impetuous and prepossessed, was easily led, by his prejudices, to misapprehend the purport of their profession, and thence to impose upon it a sense foreign alike to its plain meaning and to their evident intention. This I can readily comprehend. But, that the cool and penetrating and acute Bossuet really fell into the same mistake, albeit reluctant to judge uncharitably, I find it no easy matter to believe. Even a child in Theology, who knows the fundamental point of difference, between simulated Catholicism and genuine Catholicism, to be the vital doctrine of Justification through-Faith on account of the alone perfect Righteousness of Christ, and not on account of the Infused-Righteousness and alleged Meritorious Works of fallen man: even a child in Theology, I suppose, will readily understand the noble profession of these maligned and persecuted Petrobrusians, as it stands imperishably recorded by the hand of Bernard himself.

    While the Romanists, as good Latimer quaintly expresses it, made an utterly unevangelical mingle-mangle of Christ’s merit and Man’s merit; a confused Scheme, which shortly afterward was reduced into regular phrase and form by the Schoolmen, and which ultimately was laid down as an Article of Faith by the shameless heretics who congregated together in the packed Conventicle of Trent: the Cathari, broadly in their day contrasting their own doctrine with that of their adversaries, professed; that They alone, in the wide world of antiscriptural error and ignorance, were emulous of preaching the Gospel alone; that They alone, as contradistinguished from the rife teachers of human merit, made it a principle to preach the Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel; that They alone, in the midst of the great predicted apostasy of the Man of Sin, refused to adulterate the Gospel by laying down terms of Justification and Salvation which the Gospel has not delivered and which the Gospel refuses to sanction.

    On this ground, as the Abbot of Clairvaux testifies, they consistently censured the Papalists, for ascribing to Baptism the grace of Inward Regeneration, mechanically or ex opere operato; which he curiously mistook for a denial of the Sacrament of Baptism to Infants: and, on this same ground also, they, with great justice, ridiculed, both as utterly unwarranted, and as altogether contrary to the analogy of Evangelical Faith, the idle practice of praying for the dead and of supplicating the Saints for their suffrages. 5 Hence, moreover, as essentially subversive of the sincere Gospel which alone they were emulous to preach, inasmuch as it rests upon the unscriptural principle, that Man may either hereafter make satisfaction for himself by his own sufferings, or that Here he may make satisfaction for the dead by his reputed good works and by the sacerdotal offertory of the Mass: they rejected entirely the dangerous and unauthorized figment of a Purgatorial Fire; maintaining, that, as soon as the soul is separated from the body, it forthwith passes, either to a state of rest, or to a state of damnation. 6 And hence, finally, whatever names of reproach might be imposed upon them by their enemies, they themselves would acknowledge no appellation, save that of Apostolicals, equivalent to their old name Paulicians: inasmuch as they claimed to be the uncorrupted successors and followers of St. Paul and the Apostles. II. Of this last peculiarity, Bernard was aware: and, accordingly, he notices it in a very remarkable passage, which, by placing these Apostolicals (though unable, he contends, to show any sign of their Apostolate) in direct contradistinction both to Manicheans and to Sabellians and to Arians and to Eunomians and to Nestorians, thence of necessity admits, that They symbolized not with any one of those various classes of acknowledged Heretics.

    The passage in question, Bossuet has thought it expedient to suppress altogether. Not even Bernard’s ingenious theory, that, Satan himself was the true heresiarch of the Nameless Insincerity, can tempt him to communicate a statement, which, with whatever grossness of misrepresentation, abundantly indicates, that the Cathari or Albigenses of Southern France were not Manicheans. I shall, therefore, in common justice, supply the learned historian’s lack of service.

    These heretics prohibit matrimony: and abstain from meats, which God hath created. But now, in order to see whether this ludification be not properly of demons and not of men, according to that which the Spirit had foretold, inquire of them the author of their sect: and they will assign none. What heresy is there, which, from among men, has not had its own heresiarch? The Manicheans had Manes, for their prince and preceptor, the Sabellians, Sabellius: the Arians, Arius: the Eunomians, Eunomius: the Nestorians, Nestorius. Thus all other pests of this stamp are known to have had, each a man, as their several founders · whence they have at once derived both their origin and their name. But, by what appellation or by what title, will you enroll these heretics? Truly, by none. For their heresy is not derived from man; neither, through man, have they received it: though far be it from me to say, that they have received it through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Rather, and without all doubt, as the Holy Spirit hath foretold, they have received it, through the fraudulent injection of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and forbidding to marry. The assertion, that the Petrobrusian Cathari prohibited matrimony, when yet, according to the testimony of Peter of Clugny, they absolutely compelled the Monks to marry, and when, according to the researches of Coccius, Bruis himself maintained that both Priests and Monks ought to marry; and the assertion, that They enjoined abstinence from meats on the known principles of Manicheism, when yet, still according to the testimony of the same Venerable Abbot, they publicly roasted and eat flesh-meat on Good-Friday: such assertions, on the part of Bernard, tend not to give us much confidence in the scrupulousness of his accuracy. And certainly our confidence in the stated result of his inquiries will not be much increased, when we recollect, that, even agreeably to his own showing, this most perverse spawn of the father of lies invariably denied alike, both the charge of Manichean Heterodoxy and the imputation of Manichean Impurity.

    CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATION DEMONSTRATED FROM THE STATEMENT OF WILLIAM OF NEWBURY BUT still the indefatigable Bishop of Meaux is not without resource.

    Through the help afforded by William of Newbury, he thinks, that he has certainly detected the pest of Gascon Manicheism, in the very act of attempting the invasion of our hitherto unpolluted England. 1 Yet, with such strange diversity, does the same evidence operate upon different minds: that, had I wished to select a specially compact proof that the Albigenses were not Manicheans, while, at the same time, I might exhibit a vivid picture of their character and disposition; I should have incontinently laid my hand upon the precise narrative, to which Bossuet has appealed for a directly opposite purpose.

    Whichever view be the most correct, the circumstances, that are detailed in the narrative of our ancient English historian, occurred during the reign of the second Henry: and Bossuet assigns them to the year 1160. Hence they took place much about the same time that Bernard, with more prejudice than caution, was pursuing his not always accurate investigation of the doctrines and habits of the Cathari of Gascony and Languedoc.

    I. Let William of Newbury, however, tell his own story in his own words: and thus let him enable us, fairly and reasonably, to estimate its just amount.

    In the same days, certain vagabonds came into England, of the race (it is believed) of those whom they commonly denominate Publicans.

    These formerly emigrated from Gascony, deriving their origin from an uncertain author: and, into many regions, they infused the poison of their perfidy. For, in the broadest provinces of France and Spain and Italy and Germany, so many are said to have been infected with this pest, that according to the prophet, they seemed to be multiplied beyond the sand of the sea. When any remissness toward them is shown by the Prelates of Churches and by the Princes of Provinces · then these very evil foxes creep out of their caves; and, seducing the simple under a pretended display of piety, demolish the, vineyard of the Lord of hosts the more grievously as the more freely. But, when with. fire the zeal of God’s Faithful is kindled against them: then they lie hid in their pits, and are less noxious; but still, by secretly scattering their poison, they cease not to be injurious. They are mere rustics and men of inferior condition, whence they are dull in the comprehension of argument.

    Yet, if they are once thoroughly tainted with that pest, they will rigidly hold out against all discipline. Hence, it very rarely happens, that any one of them, whenever they are betrayed and dragged out of their lurking-places, is ever converted to piety.

    From this and from every other similar pest of heresy, England was always exempted: though, in other parts of the world, so many diverse heresies were in a state of vigorous pullulation. It is true, indeed, that when the island was called Britain on account of the Britons its inhabitants, it sent forth Pelagius a future heresiarch in the East, and in process of time admitted his error within its borders. But, when, after expelling the Britons, the nation of the Angles occupied the island, so that it was now denominated no longer Britain but England; no poison of heretical pestilence ever boiled out from it, or even entered into it from other quarters for the purpose of propagation, until the times of King Henry the second: and, even then, God being propitious, the pest, which had crept in, was so promptly encountered, that henceforth all heresies feared to invade this highly privileged island.

    At that time, however, somewhat more than thirty individuals, as well men as women, dissembling their error, entered here, as it were peacefully,. for the sake of propagating their pestilence; a certain Gerard being their leader, to whom they all looked up as their prince and preceptor: for he alone among them had a smattering of learning; while the rest were altogether without letters, being mere rustics of the Teutonic Nation and Language. Making some stay in England, they were only able to enroll in their community a single miserable woman, whom they circumvented with their poisonous whispers, and whom moreover (as it was said.) they fascinated by the potency of diabolical incantations. But they could not long remain concealed: for, some persons, inasmuch as they were a foreign sect, inquiring more closely into their condition, they were apprehended and kept in the public prison.

    The king, unwilling either to dismiss or to punish them without full discussion, ordered, that a Council of Bishops should be assembled at Oxford. Here, while they were solemnly convened respecting religion, the person, who seemed to have a tinge of letters, undertaking the cause of all and speaking for all, they answered: that They were Christians, and that They venerated the doctrine of the Apostles. Being questioned in succession concerning the articles of our holy faith, they answered rightly, indeed, so far as respects THE SUBSTANCE OF THE HEAVENLY PHYSICIAN: but, respecting his remedies by which he designs to heal human infirmity, that is to say, the divine sacraments, theft uttered perverse things; detesting holy Baptism and the Eucharist and Marriage, and presumptuously derogating from Catholic Unity which is imbued with these divine subsidiaries.

    When they were urged with divine testimonies taken from Scripture, they replied: that They believed as they had been taught, but that They would not dispute concerning their faith. Being admonished to do penance and to unite themselves to the body of the Church, they entirely despised all such wholesome counsel.

    They also laughed to scorn the threats, which were uttered for the purpose of inducing them, through the agency of fear, to repentance: abusing that word of the Lord; Blessed are they who suffer persecution on account of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Then the Bishops, cautiously guarding lest the poison of heresy should creep more widely, after a public declaration of their being convicted heretics, delivered them up to the catholic Prince, in order that they might be subjected to corporal discipline. His sentence, accordingly, was: that A mark of heretical infamy should be branded on their foreheads; that, In the sight of the people, they should be whipped and driven out of the city; and that A strict prohibition should be published, forbidding all the lieges either to receive them into their houses or to cherish them with any consolation.

    Judgment having been thus pronounced, they were led forth to their most just punishment, not with lingering steps, but actually rejoicing with much joy: while their master preceded them, and sang; Blessed are ye, when all men shall hate you. So greatly did the seducing spirit abuse their self-deceived understandings.

    As for the wretched woman whom they bad seduced in England, she, departing from them through fear of punishment, confessed her error, and merited reconciliation.

    Furthermore, that detestable company, with cauterized foreheads, was subjected to just severity: the individual, who acted as primate among them, bearing the disgrace of a double brand, to wit, both upon his forehead and round his chin, as a badge of his preceptorship. Thus, with garments cut short, as low as the girdle, being publicly flagellated, and with loudly sounding stripes being ejected from the city, through the intolerance of the cold (for the season was winter) no one showing to them even the slightest degree of mercy, they miserably perished.

    The pious rigor of this severity did not, indeed, purge the realm of England from the pest which bad already crept into it: but, through the salutary terror which it struck into heretics, it at least prevented it from creeping any further. II. Such, even in their mildest form, are the tender mercies of Popery! But can we seriously believe, even on a hasty survey of the matter, that these devoted individuals, thus meekly conducting themselves, thus triumphantly suffering, thus exhibiting afresh the wonders of the Primitive Church, were, after all, a synagogue of inveterate Manicheans, bad in doctrine, worse in practice? Both common sense itself, and the slightest knowledge of human nature, alike forbid the monstrous, the incredible supposition.

    But, happily, we can appeal to somewhat yet more tangible, than the warm feelings of Christian experience: happily, we can appeal also to the very record of their examination.

    Why does Bossuet garble one part of this record’ and then, in his discussion, slip over, without the slightest notice, another, and that too by far the most important part of it? 1. With respect to the first, the murdered Publicans, it seems, had a horror of Baptism and Marriage and the Eucharist — thus, according to Bossuet, exhibiting three visible characters of Manicheism. Now, on these specific points, what was the nature and quality of their horror?

    Bossuet represents his author, as saying: that They spoke VERY ILL of the remedies which the celestial physician has left us’ holding in horror Baptism and the Eucharist and Marriage. But William of Newbury uses no such vaguely pliant language. On the contrary, he employs a strict definiteness of phraseology, which Bossuet, in his version, has altogether suppressed.

    What the historian really says, is this: that They uttered PERVERSE THINGS respecting the remedies by which the heavenly physician deigns to heal human infirmity, that is to say, RESPECTING THE.DIVINE SACRAMENTS; detesting Baptism and the Eucharist and Marriage.

    The genuine words of the historian, we see, bear a very different aspect from those which Bossuet has put into his mouth: and they evidently convey a very different impression.

    William of Newbury states: not, loosely and vaguely, as Bossuet represents him, that the Publicans spoke very ill of the remedies; but, distinctly and definitely, that they uttered perverse things respecting the sacraments; in other words, that they perverted what the Romanists held to be the true doctrine of the sacraments.

    This is the statement: and perfectly intelligible it is to all, save those who do not choose to understand.

    The assembled bishops, adducing from Scripture the testimonies alluded to by William, from a literal construction of our Lord’s eucharistic words, enforced the doctrine of Transubstantiation with all its idolatrous results: and, when the prisoners, by the mouth of Gerard, objected to such a construction and expressed their detestation of the idolatry involved in the Mass; their judges would readily pronounce them, to utter perverse things respecting the sacrament, and, inasmuch as they detested the abominations of the Mass, to detest the Eucharist itself.

    The assembled Bishops, still adducing scriptural testimony, from a misconstruction of our Lord’s baptismal words, contended; that, mechanically and ex opere operato, Regeneration by the Spirit always accompanies Baptism by water if canonically administered: and, when the prisoners expressed their dissent, making, I suppose, like the Primitive Church and the Church of England, the efficacy of a sacrament to depend, not upon its canonical administration merely, but upon its worthy reception; their judges would again describe them, as speaking perverse things respecting the sacrament, and as undervaluing, not to say rejecting, all Baptism by water.

    The assembled Bishops, once more adducing scriptural testimony, from St. Paul’s declaration that Marriage is a great mystery, maintained, on the ground of mystery and sacrament being theological synonyms, that Marriage is a sacrament: and, when the prisoners demurred to such a gloss, denying Marriage to be a sacrament in any such sense as the two only ordained by Christ himself; their judges, once more likewise, would charge them with speaking perverse things of a sacrament, and would exhibit them to the hatred of the people as despising and detesting Marriage, simply because they objected to the view taken of it by their episcopal inquisitors.

    That what I have said has not been devised for the mere purpose of serving a turn, but that I am correct in my interpretation of the language employed by William of Newbury, is fully evinced by the old History of Treves preserved in the Spicilegium of Dacherius. From this Work, it distinctly appears: that the PERVERSE THINGS which the German Publicans uttered RESPECTING THE SACRAMENTS, as William speaks, were not A denial of the genuine Sacraments themselves, but only (as I have supposed) A denial of Transubstantiation and A denial that Baptism mechanically insures the salvation of children. Thus, when, instead of the garbled statement given by Bossuet, the real words of William of Newbury are attended to; and when those words are explained by the parallel narrative contained in the History of Treves: thus does the idle charge of Manicheism against the German Publicans melt rapidly into thin air. 2. The second and most decisive point, however, yet remains to be noticed.

    In his translation, Bossuet certainly does not venture to omit this point’ that were a somewhat too hazardous experiment. But, so far as his Commentary is concerned, while he is copious and triumphant upon the garbled passage which I have already noticed; the garbling itself being very likely to escape observation’ he cautiously avoids directing the attention of his reader to the decisive point in question; and suffers it to sleep, as soundly as it may, in the deep silence of his rapidly-perused version. Yet, at the very time when he was busily engaged in transmuting the poor Publicans into palpable Manicheans, the learned Prelate must himself have well known, that the distinctly specified particular alluded to was utterly fatal to his very ingenious case of accusation.

    At the present advanced stage of the discussion, I need scarcely to repeat’ that the real followers of Manes denied to our Lord, altogether, the possession of any substantial body; alleging, that, what appeared, was nothing solid and material, but simply an unsubstantial phantom which mocked the eye by a mere corporeal semblance.

    Now, in direct opposition to this palmary doctrine of Manicheism, the prisoners, we are assured by William of Newbury, answered RIGHTLY, so far as regards the SUBSTANCE of the heavenly physician. In other words, they acknowledged the precise point, which the Manicheans, by their very theory that Matter is the production of the Evil Principle, stood pledged to deny.

    Hence, instead of establishing the Manicheism of the Gascon Albigenses, the narrative of the English Historian absolutely and incontrovertibly demonstrates’ that, By no possibility, could those much calumniated religionists have been Manicheans. It may be useful to add, that, upon this head, there can be no mistake.

    The very terms of the narrative show; that the Publicans must have been closely questioned upon the precise doctrinal points of Christ’s SUBSTANCE: the very nature of the questioning demonstrates; that its cause was a suspicion, the vulgar suspicion of the day to wit, that the prisoners must needs be followers of Manes: and the very statement, that They answered RIGHTLY so far as regards the SUBSTANCE of the heavenly physician, invincibly brings out the conclusion; that The suspicion was entirely groundless and unfounded.

    CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATION, DEMONSTRATED FROM TIIE CASE OF THE ALBIGENSES AT LOMBERS WE have already seen more than one specimen of Bossuet’s management in the garbling and packing of evidence: but all, that we have hitherto beheld, sinks into insignificance, when compared with his treatment of a witness, who, by faithfully giving us from their own lips their own Confession of Faith, practically and effectually acquits the Albigenses of any taint of Manicheism.

    The witness in question is Roger Hoveden: and the Confession, recorded by him, was publicly delivered in open court and addressed at large to the multitude there assembled.

    In the year 1176, a Council was held at the town of Lombers near Albi, for the purpose of examining certain reputed heretics. These sectaries, it appears, prevailed, in great numbers, throughout the region of Toulouse; where they were known by the appellation of Good Men: and, as the Bishop justly remarks, they were indisputably those, upon whom, subsequently to the Council of that year, has most usually been bestowed the local name of Albigenses.

    Thus far, all is clear. But now comes the question, Whether, on the authority of Roger Hoveden, Bossuet was justified in asserting the Albigenses to have been Manicheans.

    On this point, let us first hear the French Prelate’s representation of his evidence, and afterward attend to the entire testimony of the writer upon whose statement he professes to depend.

    I. Respecting the alleged Manicheism of the Albigenses at Lombers, Bossuet writes and quotes, as follows.

    An historian of the time, Roger Hoveden, speaks of this Council at considerable length: and he gives a faithful abridgment of its Acts in a more ample form than they have ever since been recovered.

    Mark, how he begins his recital.

    In the province of Toulouse, says be, there were certain heretics, who assumed the name of GOOD MEN, and who were supported by the Knights of Lombers. These said: that They received, neither the Law of Moses, nor the Prophets, nor the Psalms, nor the Old Testament, nor the Doctors of the New; save the Gospels, the Epistles of St. Paul, the seven Canonical Epistles, the Acts, and the Apocalypse.

    Without speaking more of the remainder, this is quite sufficient to make our Protestants blush for the errors of their ancestors. Here, as if nothing of any importance followed, the Bishop suddenly stops short.

    II. Now, even upon the face of his own meagre citation from Hoveden, we might well demur to the validity of this testimony. For, simply taking the matter as there exhibited, we might justly observe’ that the very statement, which was formally made the ground-work of the charge against the Albigenses, itself contains the most palpable internal marks of falsehood. These strange heretics are said to have made a profession-that They received none of the Books of the New Testament; save only the Gospels, and the Epistles of St. Paul, and the seven Canonical Epistles, and the Acts, and the Apocalypse. In other words, since ALL the Books of the New Testament are enumerated, they are actually charged with an avowal: that They received NONE of the Books of the New Testament; save only EVERY Book which the New Testament comprehends!

    But let this pass. In order to expose and put down a writer, whose disgraceful calumny is built upon a deliberate suppression of evidence, and who yet (as I may truly say) has the unaccountable impudence to aver, that, without speaking more of the remainder, the modicum, which he cites, is sufficient to make Protestants blush for the errors of their ancestors: I have little to do, beyond exhibiting Hoveden’s own narrative; which Bossuet himself graces with the well-deserved name of faithful, and which Bossuet himself describes as giving an abridgement of the Acts of the Council in a more ample form than they have ever since been recovered. There were, in the province of Toulouse, certain heretics, who assumed the title of GOOD MEN, and whose cause the Knights of Lombers maintained.

    These persons taught the people contrary to the faith of Christ, propounding and saying’: that They received, neither the Law of Moses, nor the Prophets, nor the Psalms, nor the Old Testament, nor the Doctors of the New Testament; save only the Gospels, and the Epistles of Paul, and the Seven Canonical Epistles, and the Acts of the Apostles, and the Apocalypse. When interrogated, concerning their faith, and concerning the baptism of infants, and as to whether they were saved by baptism; also concerning the body and blood of the Lord, where or by whom it was consecrated, and who took it, and whether it was more or better consecrated by a good man than by a bad man; also concerning marriage, whether man and wife could be saved if they were carnally united: they answered, that, Concerning their own faith and the baptism of infants, they would not speak, nor were they obliged to speak. Concerning the body and blood of the Lord, they said: that He, who received it worthily, was saved; and he, who received it unworthily, gained to himself damnation. But, concerning marriage, they said: that Man and woman were joined together, in order, as St. Paul speaks, to avoid luxury and fornication. They said also many things, without being interrogated: as, for instance, that Men ought not to swear at all with any oath; as John declared in the Gospel and James in his Epistle. They said, moreover, that Paul commanded Bishops and Presbyters to be ordained in the Church; and that, If such persons as he commanded were not ordained, they were not Bishops or Presbyters, but ravening wolves, hypocrites, and seducers, lovers of salutations in the market-place and of the highest seats of feasts, wishing contrary to the commandment of Christ to be called Rabbi, bearing white and splendid robes, having on their fingers rings of gold decorated with jewels, which things their Master commanded not. Wherefore, since such Bishops and Presbyters resembled the Presbyters who betrayed Jesus, men ought not to obey them, because they were bad men.

    The allegations, therefore, being heard on both sides, before Gerard Bishop of Albi; and judges being elected and appointed by each party; and these judges consenting and acting as assessors to the said Gerard Bishop of Albi, namely Roger Abbot of Castres and Peter Abbot of Ardoural, and the Abbot of Candeil and Arnold of Narbonne; and this, furthermore, in the presence of good men, as well Prelates and Clerks as Laics, to wit, the Lord Peter Archbishop of Narbonne and other Bishops and Abbots and Archdeacons, as also Counts and Nobles of that Province to the number of twenty, and almost the whole population of Albi and Lombers: many authorities from the New Testament, against the propositions of the aforesaid heretics, were brought by the Archbishop Peter of Narbonne and by the Bishop of Nismes and boy Abbot Peter of Cendras and boy the Abbot of Fontfroide; for the heretics would receive no judgment save through the New Testament. Having thus given a summary of the accusations and the proceedings, Roger next details at great length, under seven different heads, the arguments of the Court against the asserted opinions of the Albigenses’ and the result was, that, on the several counts of the indictment, they were formally pronounced to be heretics. 1. Now, before we admit the justice of this sentence, or, in other words, before we admit the Albigenses to have been convicted Manicheans, we must inquire’ Whether they themselves acknowledged, that they held the opinions ascribed to them; or Whether, on the contrary, they altogether disowned and rejected them.

    The allegations against them may be conveniently arranged under two divisions’ and their several replies shall be duly given and fairly discussed. (1.) As affording a distinct proof of their Manicheism, it was alleged against the Albigenses. that They rejected the Scriptures of the Ancient Dispensation. And, in point of form, the charge against them ran: that They received, neither the Law of Moses, nor the Prophets, nor the Psalms, NOR THE OLD TESTAMENT. Their reply to this charge, according to the report of the Bishop who acted as spokesman, was an acknowledgment’ that They received Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms, only in those testimonies which are induced by Jesus and the Apostles, and not in any others; for the reception of one part of a written instrument does not pledge a man to receive every part, so that he must either believe the whole or reject the whole. The phraseology of the report now before us is certainly not of a common description; and the report itself admits the Albigenses to have disclaimed at least an universal rejection of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms: but still, whether justly or unjustly, the sufficiently obvious design of the reporter was; to convey an idea, that The Albigenses professed to receive no part of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms, except the few sentences verbally cited from them by Christ and the Apostles; and thus, on their side, to produce the semblance of an acknowledgment of Manicheism.

    Yet the idea, so plainly intended to be conveyed by the episcopal reporter of their answer, is directly contradicted by the remarkably precise statement of one of their own ancient Symbols or Confessions. For, in that instrument, they expressly declared: that They received the Canonical Books of the Old Testament, as well as those of the New Testament. Under these conflicting circumstances, the Confession saying one thing and the episcopally — reported answer saying quite another thing, what is the conclusion to be deduced from the existing evidence?

    Nothing, I think, is more clear, than that the actual answer of the Albigenses at Lombers has been garbled and managed by its popish reporter, in order that it might be made to speak a language altogether opposite to that which it really spoke: and, if I mistake not, the process of misrepresentation may, particularly when we are assisted by the specific statement of their ancient Confession, without much difficulty be detected.

    The charge ran: that They received, neither the Law of Moses, nor the Prophets, nor the Psalms, NOR THE OLD TESTAMENT.

    But the reply, if we may credit the reporting Inquisitor, leaves the sweeping clause, NOR THE OLD TESTAMENT, altogether unnoticed, mentioning nothing more than Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms.

    Now it is not very likely, that the important clause in question would, in their reply, be omitted by the Albigenses themselves: but it is very easy to understand, why it should be omitted in a report of their reply, drawn up, for a special purpose, by an interested and unscrupulous Ecclesiastic.

    Under the comprehensive denomination of THE OLD TESTAMENT, the Romanists included, as well the Apocrypha, as the Canonical Books of the Inspired Hebrew Scriptures.

    By the very terms, then, of the accusation, the Albigenses were charged with rejecting, not only Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms, or, agreeably to the well-known jewish division, The Tora and the Nebiim and the Chethubim, but likewise THE ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT viewed as comprehending also the Apocrypha.

    To such an accusation, their answer was, not the garbled statement reported by the episcopal Inquisitor, but a statement, which exactly corresponded with their ancient Confession as already adduced: a statement, in truth, which that very Confession itself enables us to disentangle from the palpable misrepresentation of their malicious and dishonest adversay.

    Their ancient Confession ran: that They received the CANONICAL Books of the Old Testament, as well as those of the New Testament.

    Their ungarbled answer at Lombers harmoniously ran: that They received Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms AND THE OLD TESTAMENT, only so far as the several Books of the entire Volume had been respectively attested by Jesus and the Apostles, no other attestation possessing any validity; for it did not follow, that, because they received some Books of the Volume which in the language of the day was collectively styled THE OLD TESTAMENT, they were therefore bound to receive them all.

    And the obvious purport of such an answer was: that They received the CANONICAL Books of the Old Testament, because those Books had the attestation of Christ and the Apostles; but rejected the APOCRYPHA, though by the Papists deemed a part of the Old Testament, because it was not thus attested. (2.) It was further alleged against the Albigenses: that They refused to confess, with the mouth, the faith which they cherished ill the heart; that They denied Baptism to be a mean of salvation to children; that They asserted the consecration of the Eucharist to be invalid, if performed by an ungodly Priest; that They maintained man and woman, united in marriage, not to be in a state of salvation; and that They received none of the Doctors of the New Testament, save only the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul and the Seven Canonical Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles and the Apocalypse; in other words as I have already noted, that They received NONE of the Books of the New Testament, save only them ALL.

    To these allegations, while they reasonably refused to plead before their iniquitous judges, they freely made a full reply before what they deemed the more impartial tribunal of the assembled multitude.

    Seeing themselves convicted and confounded, says the narrative of Hoveden, they turned themselves to the whole people, and said:

    Hear, good men, our faith which we confess; for we now confess it, through love of you and for your sakes. Then the above-mentioned Bishop answered: You speak, it seems, not for the love of God, but for the sake of the people. Whereupon, they confessed, as follows.

    We believe in one God, three and one: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

    Also we believe: that the Son of God took our flesh upon him; was baptized in Jordan; fasted in the wilderness; preached our salvation; suffered, and died, and was buried; descended into hell; rose again on the third day; ascended to heaven; sent, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit the Paraclete; and will come again, in the day of judgment, to judge the quick and the dead, when all will rise again.

    We acknowledge likewise: that, what we believe with the heart, we must confess with the mouth.

    We believe: that be, who eateth not thc body of Christ, is not in a state of salvation; and that the body of Christ is not duly consecrated save in the Church and by a Priest, whether that Priest be good or bad; and that the consecration is performed, not more effectually by a good Priest, than by an evil one.

    Also we believe that a person is not in a state of salvation, unless he has been baptized; and that infants, through baptism, are placed in a state of salvation.

    We believe likewise that man and woman are in a state of salvation, though they be carnally joined in marriage; and that every one ought to receive penitence, both in mouth and in heart, from a Priest; and that he ought to be baptized in the Church.

    If any thing more than these articles can be shown to us through the Gospels or the Epistles, we are prepared to believe and to confess it. In this most important document, we have, distinctly and honestly recorded, A FULL CONFESSION OF THE REAL FAITH OF THE ANCIENT ALBIGENSES. Positively, it propounds the genuine catholic doctrines of the Gospel: negatively, it rejects those various manichean peculiarities which were alleged against them by their accusers. In short, so far as I can perceive, it definitely settles for ever the question, as to the Doctrinal System really maintained by the Paulician Churches of Southern France and Italy. 2. Here, then, notwithstanding the previous juridical conviction of the accused (against the justice of which they formally protested 8 ), we doubtless may well expect a speedy reversal of the finding: we doubtless may expect, that, with an acquittal in full of all tendency to Manicheism, the much maligned Albigenses will now be discharged.

    So we might reasonably imagine: but a Popish Court of Ecclesiastical Judicature is not so easily satisfied. The episcopal prolocutor at Lombers seems to have studied the Works of Bernard with no less emolument than the Bishop of Meaux. The former Prelate, like the latter, had there read, I suppose: that, while, on the plea of conscience, the Manichean Heretics of Gascony refused to swear at all; they, nevertheless, had a mysterious arcane maxim, which enjoined them to swear and to forswear rather than betray the dread secret which the free-masonry of their sect required them to conceal. 9 On this principle, he very ingeniously proceeded to act’ and, knowing that they were privately bound both to swear and to forswear, he, somewhat incomprehensibly on the premises, though doubtless very usefully for the object which he had in view, brought the truth of their Public Confession to the undeniable test of their refusing to take any oath whatsoever.

    Then the aforesaid Bishop asked them: whether they would swear, that they really held and believed that faith: and whether there was any thing else, which they ought to confess inasmuch as they had previously both thought ill and preached ill. In reply, they said’ that they would not swear at all; because, if they swore, they would act contrary to the Gospel and the Epistles. The trap completely answered the warmest hope and expectation of the dextrous Prelate. These unaccountable religionists, whose arcane doctrine, it seems, was well known to be that They ought to boggle neither at an oath nor at perjury when the secret of their sect was in question, and whose fixed principle, nevertheless, was equally well known to be that They ought not to swear at all upon any occasion, REFUSED to swear precisely when their arcane dogma REQUIRED them to swear, And the result was that they were clearly convicted of being Manichean Heretics, because they would in no wise swear to the sincerity of their Public Confession, and thus effectually conceal the dread secret of their nefarious community.

    In arrest of this most righteous judgment, our manifest Heretics pleaded the bargain which Bishop Alberic had made with them that they should not be compelled to swear. The plea was overruled by the Bishop of Albi, who flatly denied the existence of any such bargain. Thus was defeated the provident caution of the precondemned Albigenses: who, shrewdly anticipating that they would be required to take an oath touching the truth or falsehood of whatever their enemies might please to profound, and having scruples on that point however unfounded, made it an express stipulation with their treacherous sacerdotal judges, that no confirmation by oath should be demanded.

    Accordingly a final sentence of condemnation was pronounced’ and it was severally confirmed, both by the President Gerard of Albi, and by all his assessors whether Bishops or Abbots or Provosts or Priors or Archdeacons or Nobles; whose united wisdom was at once enlightened and confirmed by the strictly concurrent judgment of a noble female theologian, the Lady Constance, sister to the Majesty of France and wife to the Count of Toulouse. III. We have now seen the Solemn Confession of Faith, publicly delivered by the Albigenses at Lombers’ a Confession; which, on the one hand, correctly propounds the great leading doctrines of the orthodox Catholic Creed; and which, on the other hand distinctly renounces the incompatible peculiarities of Manicheism with the holding of which they were charged by their enemies. THIS CONFESSION WITH ALL ITS CONCOMITANTS HAS BEEN DELIBERATELY SUPPRESSED BY THE BISHOP OF MEAUX.

    A brief citation of what he must have known to be the mere hearsay charge of their enemies; for, almost at the commencement of Hoveden’s narrative, it is explicitly said, that allegations were heard on both sides, that is, both on the part of the accusers, and on the part of the accused a brief citation of this description is all, that Bossuet gives, to his miserably duped readers and admirers, out of the present most important and (evidentially speaking) most DECISIVE, trial; and such a citation, he adds, with a mixture of true gallican flippancy and popish impertinence, is quite sufficient, without speaking more of the remainder, to make our Protestants blush for the errors of their ancestors. The Bishop was writing for the avowed purpose of saddling the charge of Manichi, ism upon the Albigenses. This charge he professes to establish on the authority of what he himself styles a faithful abridgement. That abridgement unequivocally demonstrates, that THE ALBIGENSES WERE NOT MANICHEANS. But the part of it, which contains this demonstration, Bossuet DELIBERATELY SUPPRESSES.

    CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATION, DEMONSTRATED FROM THE CONFESSIONS OF THE ALBIGENSES.

    FROM the great compactness of their Confession as delivered at Lombers, I incline to think, that the Albigenses must have had it by heart: inserting, however, extemporaneously, those evident vituperative allusions to Manicheism, which the tenor of their examination obviously required, and which might exculpate them from any supposed participation in the wild reveries of that ancient oriental heresy.

    But the having it by heart implies that they also had it in writing: for such a Confession would be useful and indeed necessary, both for the instruction of their Catechumens, and likewise as a test and directory to their Clergy.

    Accordingly, we have on record more than one reference to documents of this description: and, like the obvious conclusion which cannot but be drawn from the Confession preserved at full length by Roger Hoveden, the equally obvious conclusion, drawn by those who had actually read them, was this; that The Albigenses, so far from being Manicheans as Bossuet would maintain, held, in truth, the same general system of doctrine as that which is professed by the Reformed Churches of the sixteenth century.

    I. To such documents, for instance, under such an aspect, the historian Popliniere, on the testimony of many eye-witnesses, will be found to advert.

    That the religion of the Albigenses differed very little from that which is now professed by Protestants, appears: both from many fragments and monuments, which, in the ancient language of their country, have been written concerning the history of those times; and likewise from the public and solemn disputation, which was held between the Bishop of Pamiers and Arnold Hot one of their ministers. The Acts of this Disputation, written in a dialect approaching’ rather to the Catalonian than to the French, remain entire down to the present day. Indeed, many have assured me, that they had seenTHE ARTICLES OF THEIR FAITH, engraved on certain ancient tablets which are at Albi: adding, that these Articles are every where conformable to the doctrine of the Protestants. II. To these written Articles of their Faith, doubtless in substance the very same as the Confession preserved by Roger Hoveden, another historian, Vignier, also adverts: and, with much laudable precision, he gives the authority on which he makes his statement.

    A person from Gascony, worthy of confidence, affirmed to me: that he had read ONE OF THEIR CONFESSIONS, written in the ancient Basque language, and presented to the Chancellor de l’Hospital before the breaking out of the second troubles in France. This Confession entirely agreed with the doctrine of the Valdenses: and, in no part of it, could be detected even a trace of Manicheism. In it, they expressly declare: that they receive the Canonical Books of the Old, as well as of the New, Testament; and that they reject every doctrine, which either is not founded upon them, or which contains any thing contrary to them. Whence, upon this principle, they profess to repudiate and condemn all the ceremonies and traditions and ordinances of the Roman Church · saying, that she is a den of thieves and the Harlot of the Apocalypse. III. Should it be said that Popliniere and Vignier are comparatively modern writers, we may turn once more to the ancient and unobjectionable testimony of Roger Hoveden.

    In the year 1178, Raymond and Bernard Raymond and other Albigensic Heresiarchs were examined at Toulouse, under the assurance of a safeconduct, before Cardinal Peter the Papal Legate assisted by a numerous body of Prelates and Ecclesiastics. On this occasion, they produced a paper, on which they had written THE ARTICLES OF THEIR FAITH. The suspicions of the judges led them to enter into a minute personal examination of the accused: but, when questioned concerning the Articles of the Christian Faith, they answered, upon all those Articles, just as soundly and as circumspectly, as if they had been the most sincere of Christians.

    Whereupon, by the Count of Toulouse and other witnesses, they were charged: with having asserted the existence of a good God and an evil God; with having declared, that man and wife cannot be saved in the state of matrimony; with having denied, that the body of Christ is made by an unworthy Priest; with having taught, that Baptism is unprofitable to infants; and with having uttered sundry other blasphemies against God and the Church. In return, the Heretics flatly contradicted all these charges: declaring, that their enemies had borne false witness against them. For, PUBLICLY, before the aforesaid Cardinal and Bishops and all present, they spoke, and confessed, and firmly asserted; that One only God the Most High had created all things both visible and invisible: entirely denying the existence of two independent Principles. The other charges likewise they specifically denied in a similar manner: but, when required to swear to the truth of their asseveration, they refused on the score of conscience. The result, therefore, was, as in the case which had shortly before occurred at Lombers: that they were duly excommunicated and condemned, together with their undoubted master and preceptor the Devil. 3 CHAPTER - THE FALSEHOOD OF THE ALLEGATION, DEMONSTRATED FROM THE DIRECT TESTIMONY OF HISTORY WHEREVER they went, the Albigenses, with no light hand, denounced alike the unscriptural errors and the personal profligacy of the Popish Clergy: while the Roman Church itself they pertinaciously stigmatized, as the blood-thirsty Harlot of the Apocalypse, or as the Synagogue of Satanic Apostacy to which the Papal Man of Sin, Antichrist ruling over Antichristianism, enacted the part of a head and ringleader.

    In return, the Priesthood liberally bestowed upon them the name of Manicheans; described them, as very monsters of secret wickedness; terrified the silly populace, with idle tales of their worshipping Lucifer under the specious form of a male cat; and, what was a far more serious matter than these nonsensical and malignant impertinences, wherever they could catch them, burned them alive without evincing the slightest measure of compassion or compunction.

    All this huge overgrown mass of grotesque absurdities, Bossuet, with most imposing gravity, affects to believe: though a man of his talents and acuteness (would that I could likewise say, of his honesty and fairness) must have slyly laughed in his sleeve, at the solemn mockery of professing to establish a charge of Manicheism on the authority of the very extraordinary witnesses whom he has called into court.

    To demonstrate the correctness of such a view of his management, nothing more, I suppose, can now be necessary, than to mention the names of Peter Siculus, and the Actuary of Orleans, and Bernard the Saint, and Peter the Venerable, and Reinerius the Apostate, and Radulph the Ardent, and Radulph the Smooth, and, though last not least, Alan the Great, yclept The Universal Doctor, that erudite etymologist of the crabbed word Catharus, and that immortal immortalizer of the Infernal Catus or the Luciferian Boar-Cat.

    That Bossuet secretly laughed at his. ragged regiment of witnesses, is, in truth, sufficiently clear from his deliberate suppression of really valuable evidence, when it came indeed immediately to his hand, but when unluckily it was fatal to the whole edifice of dirt and darkness which he was so industriously constructing. I say not, that an inferior artist of the Roman School might have been unprepared, through the profuse credulity of ready malice, to hold each strange tale devoutly true. But can any one believe, that the quick-sighted Prelate of Meaux, assuredly no ordinary man, after perusing the clear and valuable narrative of Roger Hoveden, could, actually and bona-fide, have been persuaded, that the Albigenses were cat-worshipping and devil-venerating Manicheans? In exact accordance with the opinion which I have avowed relative to the determined ascription of Manicheism to the Albigenses, speak two very honest old historians, with whose Works it is not my good fortune to be acquainted, but whose testimony has very judiciously been adduced by Archbishop Usher.

    I. While the paradoxes of Bossuet are still sounding in our ears, we may profitably listen to William Paradin, the Annalist of Burgundy.

    I have seen certain Histories, in which both the Albigenses and their Princes stand excused of the allegations so frequently brought against them. The vices and errors of Manicheism, with which they were said to be stained, were purely fictitious. Through sheer malice, such enormities were imputed to them by their enemies.

    They did none of the things, whereof they were falsely accused’ though they did indeed, somewhat too freely, reprehend the vices and corruptions of the Prelates. II. In a precisely similar strain, speaks Bernard Girard, the Historiographer of France.

    The Counts of Toulouse and Cominges and Bigorre, and even the King of Aragon himself, espoused the party of the Albigenses.

    These sectaries were tainted with bad opinions: but that circumstance did not so much stir up against them the hatred of the Pope and of the great Princes, as the freedom of speech with which they censured the vices and the dissolute manners of the said Princes and Ecclesiastics; for they were accustomed to reprehend the life and actions of the Pope himself. This was the chief matter, which stirred up an universal hatred against them’ and it moreover was the cause, that many nefarious opinions, from which they altogether dissented, were fictitiously ascribed to them. The Clergy of France, in short, falsely accused the Albigenses of all sorts of heresies, merely because they exposed and reprehended their vices.

    Hence also they stirred up the King Philip-Augustus against them · insomuch that that Prince desired Pope Innocent III, to interpose his authority, and to reduce the Heretics to good order. In the mouth of a Romanist, though an honest Romanist, the bad opinions, with which the Albigenses are here said to have been really tainted, were evidently no other than the doctrines subsequently held by the Reformed Churches of the sixteenth century: while the many nefarious opinions, which through sacerdotal enmity were falsely ascribed to them, but from which they themselves altogether dissented, were, no less evidently, the various fantastic dogmata of the Manichean Heresy.

    CHAPTER - THE ALBIGENSES DID NOT APPEAR IN FRANCE UNTIL AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE TENTH CENTURY.

    PERHAPS it may be asked, why, in the preceding lengthened discussion, I have made no use of the Work of Dr. Allix on the Ancient Churches of the Albigenses.

    The simple reason is: that, In his whole account of the state of religion in the South of France down to the end of the tenth century, I can find no traces whatever of any Albigensic Church or Churches being then and there in existence. I. Of course, it will not be supposed, that I am quibbling about a mere name. I know full well, that the precise name of Albigenses did not come into use until after the Synod of Albi or Lombers in the year 1176: and I likewise know full well, that, although the Albigenses themselves would recognize no other names than those of Good Men or Apostolicals; they were, by their enemies, before that time, variously called Petrobrusians and Henricians and Publicans and Paterines and Cathari and Bulgarians.

    But, what I mean, is this. Let those religionists be distinguished by what appellation they may, I can discover no vestiges of them in the South of France until about the commencement of the eleventh century. 1. At that time, as Dr. Allix states on the authority of Ademar Cabannensis, certain Manicheans (for so he incautiously styles the descendants of the Asiatic Paulicians), being chased by the Emperor of Constantinople out of his dominions, made their first appearance in France; having, in their progress westward, previously shown themselves in the more eastern region of Lombardy. Now, long before the commencement of the eleventh century, quite back indeed to the semi-apostolical times of the second century, we may observe, throughout the Churches of Southern France, a strong adherence to a purer system of religion than what had become fashionable at Rome: and, with it, we may also observe a strong disposition to resist the papal encroachments and usurpations. From time to time, moreover, we may see many eminent individuals, inculcating the sincere truths of the Gospel, and protesting against the veneration of saints and images and relics. But, so far at least as the Work of Dr. Allix is concerned; which seems, however, to have exhausted the subject: we can perceive nothing, which at all resembles a detached and compact Church of avowed and uncompromising and systematic witnesses against the manifold corruptions and abominations of Popery. 2. Such was the state of things at the commencement of the eleventh century. But, as soon as the misnamed Manicheans, from Lombardy and the East, make their appearance upon the stage, a totally different scene rapidly develops itself.

    The strangers, it is true, were a mere handful: but, then, they were a welldisciplined handful, accustomed to act together in concert and to move with a common object. They were so few, that they have not even communicated to the West any of the proper names of the East: but, then, they were a nucleus, round which serious and dissatisfied inquirers might perpetually and combinedly be gathered. 3 From Bulgaria to the Atlantic, their entire number, as appears from an estimate of the associated or proper Cathari made in the thirteenth century by Reinerius, scarcely amounted to four thousand: but, then, their compactness, and admirable fitness for missions, no less appear, from the concurring statement of the same writer; that, along that whole line of Country, planted here and planted there, they had sixteen Churches, regularly organized under the government of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. 3. Reinerius adds: that, although the proper or associated Cathari were, as we have seen, barely four thousand in number; their local proselytes, whom they styled Believers, were absolutely innumerable. Now, as to the growth of the main Church of the Albigenses in France, such a statement exhibits precisely my own view of the matter. When the emigrating Paulicians first appeared in that country, the people were already pre-disposed to resist the papal authority, and were already inclined to maintain what the Pontificials were pleased to call heresy.

    This whole district of Toulouse, says Peter of Vaux-Sernay in perfect accordance with the account given by Dr. Allix, was, from the very foundation of the city, notorious for its theological craftiness: insomuch that the town might well be called DOLOSA, rather than TOLOSA. Rarely or never, as report credibly asserts, bas it been free from this pest: yea, rather, it has ever been notorious for the detestable prevalence of this heretical pravity. Generation after generation, from father to son, the venom of superstitious infidelity has been successively diffused. What Peter calls superstitious infidelity, or (in other words) overscrupulous unbelief, was, no doubt, a pertinacious unwillingness to receive new doctrines and new practices: an unwillingness, united with a troublesome demand for the production of scriptural authority, whenever the usurping Roman Church strove to force those doctrines and those practices upon the struggling consciences of the reluctant Gallicans. 4. Hence, under such circumstances, the minds of the people being thus prepared, we shall not wonder at the portentously rapid success of the Paulician Albigenses.

    The baleful tyranny of Rome was daily increasing: and the necessity of a regular and complete separation from that incorrigible Church became daily more and more manifest. By the zealous disciples of St. Paul, a rallying point was offered: and now we begin to hear of a spread of religion, swift as lightning, and incapable of submitting to a confinement within the comparatively narrow boundaries of Southern France. The framework of the Church was the Church of the ancient Paulicians: but its acquired members were native French or Italians or Germans or Spaniards. 7 Its grand and most influential settlement, however, seems ultimately to have been in the southern provinces of France: though a correspondence and connection was long kept up with the Church in Bulgaria, from which the more western Bishops received their consecration, and which itself was viewed under the aspect of a spiritual Metropolis. 8 Here also, finally, in the same southern district, the prevailing name of Albigenses was bestowed upon its members: a local or geographical appellation, which itself indicates the mighty increase of the misnamed heretics throughout Languedoc and Provence and Gascony.

    II. When it is considered, that we literally know nothing of the Paulicians and the Albigenses save what has come down to us through the medium of their enemies; and when it is recollected, that, by the malignant diligence of the popish inquisitors, the writings of the Albigenses themselves have been so effectually destroyed, as to prevent their now being independently heard in their own defense: we may well consider it to be specially providential, that, through the blunders or inconsistencies or admissions of their unrelenting persecutors, enough, and more than enough, should have come down to us for their complete exculpation.

    They were charged with Manicheism. But, invariably, and (as Bernard speaks) according to their custom, they are admitted to have firmly denied the justice of the accusation.

    They were publicly examined upon that precise charge. But their open confession in full court, as happily preserved by Roger Hoveden, was a perfectly sound and orthodox confession, directly opposed, in all its articles, to the Manichean System.

    They were accused of the most profligate impurity, and were even charged with an actual adoration of the devil. But their lives are confessed to have been eminently holy: and they cheerfully preferred martyrdom to apostasy.

    They were charged with turbulence and insubordination; verily, the wolf’s arraignment of the lamb: they were said to have propagated their opinions by fire and sword: they were reported to have been public plunderers and stark marauders; who, at length, sorely against their will, forced the meek and unoffending Papists into a just war (the ruthless hypocrites!), undertaken for self-defense no less than for the extirpation of heresy. Yet Bernard describes them, as a timid race, of mere rustics and weavers; altogether unwarlike, and much more disposed to hide themselves in the dens and caves of the earth, than, in the spirit of the age, to court the chivalrous dangers of glorious battle: while, at a somewhat later period, their lawful feudal Sovereigns, the Count of Toulouse, the Count of Foix, the Count of Cominges, the Viscount of Bearn, and even the young Viscount of Beziers though himself a professed Romanist, against whom all these pretended deeds of violence, if committed at all, must indisputably have been committed, not only endured but protected them; and, when the Pope, through the agency of his military apostles, kindly undertook to free those princes from such troublesome subjects, actually made common cause with the lawless miscreants, and suffered in their defense every calamity which the unchristian zeal of the misnamed holy croisards could inflict. There is, however, a character with which the God of truth has branded every liar: and that is SELF- CONTRADICTION. It is impossible to escape it.

    No tale of falsehood can be so artfully framed, as not to contain within itself its own confutation. This is manifestly the case with the stories fabricated respecting the Albigenses . 10 Their credibility is destroyed by their inconsistency.

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