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John Paul Perrin, who was himself a Pastor among them, in his History of that people, delivers at length, " the discipline under which the “ Waldenses and Albigenses lived; extracted out “ of divers authentic manuscripts, written in their
own language, SEVERAL HUNDREDS OF
BEFORE LUTHER OR CALVIN." From this work the following extracts are made. Art. 2." Of • Pastors." " All they that are to be received as “ Pastors amongst us, whilst they are yet with “ their own people, are to entreat ours, that they “ would be pleased to receive them to the mi“nistry; and to pray to God that they may be “ made worthy of so great an office. We also “ appoint them their lectures, and set them their “ task, causing them to learn by memory all the
chapters of St. Matthew and Șt. John, and all “the Epistles that are canonical, and a good part “ of the writings of Solomon, David, and the Pro“phets. Afterwards, having produced good tes“timonials, and being well approved for their suf. “ ficicy, they are received with imposition of “ hands into the office of teachers. He that is ad. « mitted in the last place, shall not do any thing 56 without the leave or allowance, him that was " admitted before him. As also he that was ad. “ mitted first, shall do nothing without the leave of “ his associates, to the end that all things, with us,
may be done in order. Diet and apparel are
given unto us freely, and by way of alms, and that “ with sufficiency, by those good people whom we
Amongst other powers and abilities “ which God hath given to his Servants, he hath
given authority to choose leaders, to rule the peo“ ple, and to ordain Elders in their charges.-“ When any of us, the aforesaid Pastors, falls “ into any gross sins, he is both excommunicated, " and prohibited to preach.” Art. 4. “ Our Pas
tors do call assemblies once every year, to deter6 mine of all affairs in a general Synod*."
In another Confession of Faith, drawn up about the year 1220, they declare that the functions of Ministers consist in “ preaching the word and administering sacraments," and that " all other min. isterial things may be reduced to the aforesaid." Speaking of the rite of Confirmation, and of the Po. pish claims that it must be administered by a Bishop, they assert, that " it has no ground at all in “ Scripture; that it was introduced by the Devil's “ instigation, to seduce the people ; that by such
means they might be induced the more to be« lieve the ceremonies, and the necessity of the “ Bishopst.”
In the same work, (chap. 4.) it is expressly and repeatedly asserted, that the Synods of the Walden. ses were composed of Ministers and Elders. This mode of speaking is surely not Episcopal.
The same historian tells us, that Waldo, (from whose name that of the Waldenses is said to be deriv
* Perrin's History of the Old Waldenses, Part 11. Book v. Chap. 7.
Ibid. Cbap. 8.
ed.) “ upon his departure from Lyons, came into “ Dauphiny, and thence, having erected some “ Churches, and laid the foundation of those which “ have been miraculously preserved there to this “ day, he went into Languedoc, and left some nota“ ble Pastors there, who set up and governed those “ Churches, which afterwards cost the Pope and “ his clergy so much pains to destroy*.” Now it is certain that Waldo himself was no Prelate ; neither can we suppose that the Pastors whom he left in Languedoc, were Prelates. Yet these Pastors set up and governed Churches.
In perfect coincidence with all this, is the testimony of Gillis, in his History of the Waldenses. This writer, like Perrin, was one of the Pastors of that people, and therefore perfectly qualified to give an account of their peculiar doctrines and practices. He speaks familiarly of the Pastors of their Churches, in the Presbyterian style. “ These Pastors, in their ordinary assemblies, “ came together and held a Synod once a year, and “ most generally in the month of September, at “ which they examined the Students, and admitted " them to the ministry." Chap. 11. p. 12.
In their Confession of Faith, which Gillis inserts at length, in the “ Addition” to his work, p. 490, and which he expressly informs us was the confession of the ancient as well as the modern Waldenses ; in Article 31, they declare," It is necessary for the
* Part 11. Book 11. Chap. 9.
5 Church to have Pastors esteemed sufficiently “ learned, and exemplary in their conduct, as well
to preach God's word, as to administer the sa
craments, and watch over the sheep of Jesus “ Christ, together with the Elders and Deacons, “ according to the rules of good and holy Church “ discipline, and the practice of the primitive 66 Church."
Here is better testimony than Thuanus or Walsingham, than Mosheim or Allix. Here are the declarations of the Waldenses themselves. And I will venture to say that there is not a syllable in the above extracts which has the most distant appearance of Prelacy. On the contrary, they all bear the most decisive indications of Presbyterian parity. But besides this, Bellarmine acknowledges that the Waldenses denied the divine right of Prelacy. Medina, in the council of Trent, declared that the Waldenses were of the same mind with Aerius on this subject. And the learned Episco. palian, Professor Raignolds, in his famous Letter to Sir Francis Knollys, asserts, that the Waldenses, and all others who had distinguished themselves as opposers of Popery, and as Reformers of the Church, for 500 years, prior to the seventeenth century, had uniformly taught that “all Pastors, " whether styled Bishops or Priests, have one and " the same authority by the word of God.”
Dr. Bowden also insists, in opposition to my statement, that the Bohemian Churches were Epis. copal, in his sense of the word. In this, however, as in the former case, he is contradicted by the most unquestionable testiinony. In their Confession, there is not only a profound silence as to any distinction or difference of degrees among Pastors; but, what is more decisive, they place ordination, and excommunication, as well as preaching the gospel, not in the power of one, but in the hands of Presbyters and Brethren of the ministry. And in their Book of Order, or Discipline, p. 20. we have the tollowing express words. “ It is true, the Boo “ hemians have certain Bishops, or Superintendents, “ who are conspicuous for age and gifts; and cho
sen by the suffrages of all the ministers, for the “ keeping of order, and to see that all the rest do “their office. Four, or five, or six such have they, as need requires; and each of these has his dio.
But the dignity of these above other mi. nisters, is not founded in the prerogative of ho
nours or revenues, but of labours and cares for “ others. And, according to the Apostles' rules, a 66 Presbyter and Bishop are one and the same " thing." But it is to be presumed that Dr. Bowden will not doubt a moment longer, when he is told, that even his own favourite high-church historian Dr. Heylin, explicitly grants that the Bohemian Churches were not Episcopal, either in principle or practice. In his History of the Presbyterians, p. 409, 410. there is the following decisive passage. “ About the year 1400, we find a strong
party to be raised amongst the Bohemians, against some superstitions and corruptions in the Church