Persecutions Of The Albigenses
The Albigenses were a people of the reformed religion, who inhabited the
country of Albi. They were condemned on the score of religion, in the
council of Lateran, by order of Pope Alexander III. Nevertheless, they
increased so prodigiously, that many cities were inhabited by persons
only of their persuasion, and several eminent noblemen embraced their
doctrines. Among the latter were Raymond earl of Thoulouse, Raymond earl
of Foix, the earl of Beziers, &c.
A friar, named Peter, having been murdered in the dominions of the earl
of Thoulouse, the pope made the murder a pretence to persecute that
nobleman and his subjects. To effect this, he sent persons throughout
all Europe, in order to raise forces to act coercively against the
Albigenses, and promised paradise to all that would come to this war,
which he termed a Holy War, and bear arms for forty days. The same
indulgences were likewise held out to all who entered themselves for the
purpose as to such as engaged in crusades to the Holy Land. The brave
earl defended Thoulouse and other places with the most heroic bravery
and various success against the pope's legates and Simon earl of
Montfort, a bigoted catholic nobleman. Unable to subdue the earl of
Thoulouse openly, the king of France, and queen mother, and three
archbishops, raised another formidable army, and had the art to persuade
the earl of Thoulouse to come to a conference, when he was treacherously
seized upon, made a prisoner, forced to appear bare-footed and
bare-headed before his enemies, and compelled to subscribe an abject
recantation. This was followed by a severe persecution against the
Albigenses; and express orders that the laity should not be permitted to
read the sacred scriptures. In the year 1620 also the persecution
against the Albigenses was very severe. In 1648 a heavy persecution
raged throughout Lithuania and Poland. The cruelty of the Cossacks was
so excessive, that the Tartars themselves were ashamed of their
barbarities. Among others who suffered, was the Rev. Adrian Chalinski,
who was roasted alive by a slow fire, and whose sufferings and mode of
death may depict the horrors which the professors of christianity have
endured from the enemies of the Redeemer.
The reformation of papistical error very early was projected in France;
for in the third century a learned man, named Almericus, and six of his
disciples, were ordered to be burnt at Paris, for asserting that God was
no otherwise present in the sacramental bread than in any other bread;
that it was idolatry to build altars or shrines to saints and that it
was ridiculous to offer incense to them.
The martyrdom of Almericus and his pupils did not, however, prevent many
from acknowledging the justness of his notions, and seeing the purity of
the reformed religion, so that the truth of Christ continually
increased, and in time not only spread itself over many parts of France,
but diffused the light of the gospel over various other countries.
In the year 1524, at a town in France, called Melden, one John Clark set
up a bill on the church door, wherein he called the pope Anti-christ.
For this offence he was repeatedly whipped, and then branded on the
forehead. Going afterward to Mentz, in Lorraine, he demolished some
images, for which he had his right hand and nose cut off, and his arms
and breasts torn with pincers. He sustained these cruelties with amazing
fortitude, and was even sufficiently cool to sing the 115th psalm, which
expressly forbids idolatry; after which he was thrown into the fire, and
burnt to ashes.
Many persons of the reformed persuasion were, about this time, beaten,
racked, scourged, and burnt to death, in several parts of France but
more particularly at Paris, Malda, and Limosin.
A native of Malda was burnt by a slow fire, for saying that mass was a
plain denial of the death and passion of Christ. At Limosin, John de
Cadurco, a clergyman of the reformed religion, was apprehended,
degraded, and ordered to be burnt.
Francis Bribard, secretary to cardinal de Pellay, for speaking in favour
of the reformed, had his tongue cut out, and was then burnt, A. D. 1545.
James Cobard, a schoolmaster in the city of St. Michael, was burnt, A.
D. 1545, for saying "That mass was useless and absurd;" and about the
same time, fourteen men were burnt at Malda, their wives being compelled
to stand by and behold the execution.
A. D. 1546, Peter Chapot brought a number of bibles in the French tongue
to France, and publicly sold them there; for which he was brought to
trial, sentenced, and executed a few days afterward. Soon after, a
cripple of Meaux, a schoolmaster of Fera, named Stephen Polliot, and a
man named John English, were burnt for the faith.
Monsieur Blondel, a rich jeweller, was, A. D. 1548, apprehended at
Lyons, and sent to Paris; where he was burnt for the faith, by order of
the court, A. D. 1549. Herbert, a youth of nineteen years of age, was
committed to the flames at Dijon; as was Florent Venote, in the same
In the year 1554, two men of the reformed religion, with the son and
daughter of one of them, were apprehended and committed to the castle of
Niverne. On examination, they confessed their faith, and were ordered
for execution; being smeared with grease, brimstone, and gunpowder, they
cried, "Salt on, salt on this sinful and rotten flesh!" Their tongues
were then cut out, and they were afterward committed to the flames,
which soon consumed them, by means of the combustible matter with which
they were besmeared.