The Waldenses – Martyrs for Christ’s Sake

Jean LegerPastor Jean Leger, a faithful Waldensian minister tells with simple clearness the story of the Waldenses from the earliest times, quoting from ancient and authentic documents. He gives in full their confession of faith, and narrates the history of their martyrdoms, including the dreadful massacre in the vale of Lucerna, in 1655, of which he himself was an eye witness. This book was written only fourteen years after that massacre. It contains numerous depositions concerning it, rendered on oath, and long lists of the names of those who were its victims. It gives also plates depicting the dreadful ways in which they were slaughtered. These plates represent men, women, and children being dismembered, disembowelled, ripped up, run through with swords, impaled on stakes, torn limb from limb, flung from precipices, roasted in flames. They are almost too horrible to look at. And this was only one of a long series of massacres of the Waldenses extending through 600 painful years. Milton wrote of these Protestant sufferers his immortal sonnet:

“Avenge, O Lord, Thy slaughtered saints, whose bones                                              

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;                                                              

Even them who kept Thy truth so pure of old,                                                            

When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,                                              

Forget not: in Thy book record their groans                                                                

 Who were Thy sheep, and in their ancient fold                                                            

Slain by the bloody   Piedmontese, that rolled                                                          

Mother with infant down the rocks.                                                                                  

Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills,                                                                

And they To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow                                        

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

The triple tyrant; that from these may grow                                                                        

A hundredfold, who, having learned Thy way,                                                                  

Early may fly the Babylonian woe.”

The persecuted Waldenses were students of prophecy from the oldest times. How did they interpret the prophecies concerning “Babylon” and the “man of sin”? Here in this book of Leger’s is their Treatise on Antichrist, written in the year 1120, or nearly 800 years ago. It is written in a language now extinct; Leger
gives a French translation in parallel columns (here it is at p. 71). In simple, telling terms that treatise brands the Romanish Church as the harlot Babylon, and the Papacy as the “man of sin” and Antichrist. That was the faith and confession of the Waldenses.

(Romanisn and the Reformation by H. Gratten Guinness p.115/116)

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