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[IN our last Volume, p. 844, we inserted a short notice concerning the Vaudois, who are now living in the valleys of Piedmont; and of the Subscription which has been instituted in England, on behalf of that poor and persecuted people, who were the first witnesses for God in Europe, against the superstitions and errors of the Church of Rome. The principal agent in introducing these people to the public attention, has been the Rev. William S. Gilly, a benevolent Clergyman of the Church of England, who visited them in the year 1823, and whose narrative of his excursion among them has already passed to a second edition. From this most interesting volume we shall lay a few abridged extracts before our readers; under the full conviction that these people, whose forefathers endured persecutions of almost unexampled severity, and who are themselves now suffering extreme poverty and unmerited oppression, are entitled to the sympathy, the prayers, and the pecuniary contributions, of Protestant Christians of all denominations.--EDIT.]

WE were obliged to leave our carriage at Perosa, and to proceed on foot to Pomaretto; with a young peasant as our guide, we set out, all impatience, to visit the first Vaudois village in the valley of Perosa. This valley extends to that of Pragela, which was formerly one of the Protestant valleys, is intersected by the valleys of San Martino, and is inserted in most of the old maps as La Valle di Clusone, because it is divided along its whole length by that river. The Protestants are confined to the western side of the Clusone. At the point where we crossed it, near the confluence of the Germanasca, it is an impetuous body of water which divides itself into a variety of channels, and rushes over masses of rock that are brought down by the torrents from the mountains, and lie in strange confusion in every part of its bed. We could not have passed over less than half a dozen wooden bridges, in the space of about three hundred yards: some them intended for the use of foot passengers only, and others thrown ver the stream for mules and cattle.

After walking half an hour or more, the village of Pomaretto discovered itself; and seen as it was, in its wintry aspect, never did a more dreary spot burst upon the view. It is built upon a declivity, just where the mountains begin to increase in height and number, with rocks above and torrents below. There is such a scene of savage disorder in the immediate vicinity of Pomaretto, that one would imagine it had been effected by the most violent convulsions of nature: huge fragments of rock encumber the ground on all sides, and it seems as if the mountains must have been rent asunder to produce so much nakedness and desolation. The street which we slowly ascended was narrow and dirty; the houses, or rather cabins, small and inconvenient; and poverty, in the strictest sense of the word, stared us In vain did we cast our eyes about, in the face at every step we took. in search of some better looking corner, in which we might descry an habitation fit for the reception of the supreme Pastor of the Churches of the Waldenses. The street was every where no better than a confined lane. At length we stood before the Presbytery of M. Peyrani, for by this name the dwellings of the Ministers are known. But in external appearance, how inferior to the most indifferent parsonages in England, or to the humblest manse in Scotland! Neither garden nor bower enlivened its appearance, and scarcely did it differ in construction or dimension from the humble cottages by which it was surrounded. The interior was not much better calculated to give us an idea of the otium cum dignitate, which usually appertains to the condition of dignitaries in the church; and had we not known it before, we should soon have discovered, that additional labour only distinguishes the appointment of Moderator of the Vaudois.

We were received at the door by a mild, sensible, and modest-looking young man, dressed in fa:led black, to whom we communicated our wish

of being introduced to M. Peyrani. He replied, that his father was very unwell, but would be happy to see any English gentlemen, who did him the honour of a visit. We were afraid that we might disturb the invalid, and therefore hesitated to intrude, until we had begged M. Vertu to see M. Peyrani first, and ascertain whether the sight of strangers would be agreeable. The answer was in our favour, and we were now conducted up a narrow stair-case, through a very small bed-room, whose size was still further contracted by several book-cases. This led in to another bed room, more amply provided still with shelves and books. The apartment was about fourteen feet square, low, and without any Kind of decoration of paint or paperhanging. It was thick with dust; and the only attention to those munditie vita, to which we were in the habit of looking, were the sheets of the bed, than which nothing could be cleaner. At a small fire, where the fuel was supplied in too scanty a portion to impart warmth to the room, and by the side of a table covered with books, parchments, and manuscripts, sat a slender, feeble-looking old man, whose whole frame was bowed down by infirmity. A night-cap was on his head, and at first sight we supposed he had a long white beard hanging down upon his neck; but, upon his rising to welcome us, we perceived that it was no beard, but whiskers of a length which are not often seen, and which had a very singular effect. His dress consisted of a shabby, time-worn, black suit, and white worsted stockings, so darned and patched, that it is difficult to say, whether any portion of the original hose remained. Over his shoulder was thrown what once had been a cloak, but now a shred only, and more like the remains of a horsecloth, than part of a clerical dress. This cloak, in the animation of his discourse, frequently fell from his shoulders, and was replaced by his son with a degree of filial tenderness and attention extremely preposBessing.

The sickly-looking sufferer, in this humble costume, in this garb of in

digence, was the Moderator of the Vaudois; the successor of a line of Prelates, whom tradition would extend to the Apostles themselves; the high priest cf a church, which is, beyond all shadow of doubt, the parent church of every Protestant community in Europe, and which centuries of persecution have not been able to destroy. It is indeed a vine, "which has stretched her branches to the sea, and her boughs unto the river:" but while her branches are flourishing, "the wild boar out of the wood doth root up the stem, and the wild beasts of the field devour it." And unless the same providence which first planted this vine, and made room for it, shall turn again, and look down from heaven and visit it, it must, it is feared, perish; for nothing short of the divine succours can enable men to bear up against the poverty, humiliation, and deprivations, to which most of the Vaudois Clergy are exposed to this hour.

M.Peyrani was upwards of seventyone years of age at the time we saw him; the whole of his income did not exceed 1000 francs, or about forty pounds a-year; and with this pittance he had been obliged to meet the demands of a family, the calls of charity, the incidental expenses of his situation as Moderator, and the additional wants of age, sickness, and infirmity. An accident, occasioned by the kick of a mule, had added to the ills of his condition. A large and prominent rupture, and an incurable weakness, were increased by his inability to procure surgical aid as often as he required it. For two years he underwent excruciating pain; and had his means enabled him to obtain the medical assistance which his case demanded, the malady might have been materially, if not effectually, alleviated.


The welcome which we received from our venerable host, was pressed with all the warmth and sincerity of one, whose kindly feelings had not yet been chilled by years or sufferings; and the manner in which it was delivered displayed a knowledge of the world, and a fine tact of good breeding, which are not C2


looked for in Alpine solitudes, or in the dusty study of a recluse. were pre-disposed to respect his virtues and piety, and had been given to understand that he was a man of the first literary acquirements; but we did not expect to find the tone and manners of one whose brows would do honour to the mitre of any diocese in Europe. There was nothing of querulousness in any of his observations, nor did he once express himself with the least degree of bitterness upon the subject of his own grievances, or those of his community. That which we gathered from him upon these topics,

was related more in the form of historical detail, than as matters which so materially concerned himself and connexions.

Our conversation was held generally in French; sometimes we addressed him in English, which he understood, but did not speak; but when I engrossed his discourse to myself, we spoke in Latin, as being the language in which we could not mistake each other, and affording the most certain medium of communication upon ecclesiastical subjects, where I was anxious to ascertain

facts with precision. Nothing could be more choice or classical than his selection of words; and I was not more surprised by his fluency of diction, than by the extraordinary felicity with which he applied whole sentences from ancient poets, and even prose authors, to convey his sentiments. One or two of these I remember. In reply to an observation made by me, that if the state of the Vaudois Church were sufficiently known, the English government might probably be induced to restore the pensions which were formerly given to the Clergy, and withheld since the year 1797, he clasped his hands together, and thus expressed his hope that he might live long enough to see it:

Oh mihi tam longæ maneat pars ultima vitæ, Spiritus, et quantum sat erit tua dicere


When I asked some questions

* Virg, Ech, iv, 53.

upon the subject of the lands which were appropriated by the late imperial government to the Protestant Clergy, but have since been sequestered in favour of the Bishop of Pinerolo; he said it was true, that he and his brethren had been reduced to extreme poverty by this arrangement, which was totally unexpected; because it was hoped that the acts of the late government would not have been rescinded, in so far as they regarded such equitable provisions. He spoke without any asperity, and mildly added:


Quod nunquam veriti sumus, ut posVivi pervenimus, advena nostri, sessor agelli

Diceret: hæc mea sunt; veteres migrate coloni.

Nunc victi, tristes, quoniam Fors omnia versat.*

The manner in which he pronounced the last words was particularly moving; he dwelt upon the words veteres and tristes, as being peculiarly aphe had been in his old age, of what plicable to his own case, deprived, as would have constituted his main

tenance and comfort.

M. Peyrani spoke with so much rapidity, and his thoughts followed each other in such quick succession, that he never suffered himself to be at a loss for words. If the Latin term did not immediately occur to

him, he made no pause, but instantly supplied its place by a French or Italian phrase. This animation of manner had such an effect upon his whole frame, that very soon after we began to converse with him, the wrinkles seemed to fall from his the pallidness of his countenance, brow, a hectic colour succeeded to and the feeble and stooping figure which first stood before us, elevated strength and energy. In fact, while itself by degrees, and acquired new he was favouring me with a short history of himself, I might have forgotten that he had exceeded the usual limits of man's short span; and I must repeat, that it is impossible to admire sufficiently the Christian character of the individual, or of the Church which he represented,

* Virg. Ecl, ix. 2.

when I recollect the meek resignation with which he submitted to his hard fate, and the forbearance he exhibited, whenever his remarks led him to talk of the vexatious and oppressive proceedings which have never ceased to mark the line of conduct pursued by the Sardinian government in regard to the churches of the Waldenses.

M. Peyrani's book-shelves were loaded with more than they could well bear; and when I noticed the number of the volumes which lay scattered about the room, or were disposed in order, wherever a place could be found for them, he told me, that if he were now in possession of all that once were his, the whole of his own, and the adjoining house, would be insufficient to contain them. He said he had bought a great many himself; but the principal portion of his library was the accumulation of his father and grandfather, and of more distant ancestors; and expressed much regret that he could no longer display the folios, and curious old manuscripts, that had been handed down to him. I asked what had become of them. They have been sold," he replied, with considerable emotion: for he had been compelled to part with them from time to time, to purchase clothes, and even food, for himself and family!

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After we had been some little time with M. Peyrani, he produced a packet of papers and parchments, which he opened in a sort of fidgetty haste, and appeared anxious to submit to our inspection. Dust, damp, and mould, had discoloured, and almost obliterated the characters in many of them, but they proved to be family memorials, and he at length succeeded in selecting those which he was most solicitous to lay before us. One paper contained the letters of orders of his maternal grandfather, who was ordained by Dr. Robinson, Bishop of London, in the year 1707, or 1717, I forget which, and licensed by the same Prelate as tutor in a nobleman's family. The others were some letters from a mercantile family of the first distinction in London, to whom he thought himself

distantly related. He was interested, he said, in these documents, not on his own account, because time was advancing rapidly with an old man like himself, but for his children's sake; they were what they might carry into the world as proofs of their connexion with England.


I cannot forget, nor must I omit to notice, the evident satisfaction M. Peyrani felt in explaining how closely the doctrines of the Vaudois Church assimilate to those of the Church of England. He pointed to the works of Tillotson, Barrow, and Taylor, which still enriched his bookcase, and declared that every time he read them, he was more and more gratified by the light which these English Divines had thrown upon truths, for their adherence to which his poor brethren had been so often obliged to conceal themselves_in their mountain fastnesses. remember," said the old man, “remember that you are indebted to us for your emancipation from papal thraldom. We led the way. We stood in the front rank, and against us the first thunderbolts of Rome were fulminated. The baying of the blood-hounds of the inquisition was heard in our valleys before you knew its name. They hunted down some of our ancestors, and pursued others from glen to glen, and over rock and mountain, till they obliged them to take refuge in foreign countries. A few of these wanderers penetrated as far as Provence and Languedoc, and from them were derived the Albigenses, or heretics of Albi. The province of Guienne afforded shelter to the persecuted Albigenses. Guienne was then in your possession. From an English province our doctrines found their way into England itself, and your Wickliffe preached nothing more than what had been advanced by the Ministers of our valleys, four hundred years before his time." "Whence," continued my aged informant, with increased anímation, "came your term Lollards, but from a Waldensian Pastor, Walter Lollard, who flourished about the middle of the thirteenth century? And the Walloons of the Low Countries were nothing more than a sect,

whose name is easily found in the corruption of our own. As for ourselves, we have been called heretics, and Arians, and Manicheans, and Cathari; but we are, like yourselves, a Church built up in Christ, a Church with the discipline and regular administration of divine service which constituted a Church. We have adhered to the pure tenets of the Apostolic age, and the Roman Catholics have separated from us. Ours is the Apostolical succession, from which the Roman hierarchy has departed, rather than ourselves. We are not only a Church by name and outward forms, but a Church actually interested by faith in Jesus Christ the corner stone."

I ventured to ask M. Peyrani if the Vaudois Clergy urged the doctrine of absolute predestination and election. He replied that these nice points of controversy were not often discussed in their pulpits, and that for his own part, he had never given his assent to the belief in absolute predestination." If God infallibly saves some, and as infallibly rejects others, I do not see what is the use of his laws," was one of his remarks.

I mentioned Calvin. "Calvin," said he," was a good man, I am inclined to think, though I cannot account for his judicial murder of Servetus. He desired to be thought a faithful servant of God, but many of his tenets convey a strange notion of the Almighty's attributes."

I also took the liberty of observing to M. Peyrani, that the close intercourse between the Vaudois students and candidates for holy orders, and the Ministers of the Genevan Church, rendered it an object of apprehension, lest they might become tainted with the Socinian infection of Geneva. He rejected the idea with considerable energy, assured me that the doctrine of the Trinity

"It deserves to be noticed, that in their exposition of the Apostles' Creed, the Waldensian reformers give us that

well-known text in 1 John v, 7, as a proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. They were, it seems, perfectly satisfied of its authenticity, and most probably at that time had never heard of any suggestion to the contrary.”—Milner,

was still preserved in all its purity by the whole of his community, and showed me an old Catechism, which he trusted would always form the basis of their belief. Some few of the questions and answers on this head are very simple.

"You say, that you believe God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost to be three persons. You have three Gods then?'

"No; I have not three." "But you have named three." "Yes, as far as relates to the distinction of the persons, but not in regard to the essence of the Divinity."" Ma non per rason de la essentia de la Divinità," are the words in the ancient language of the Vaudois.

Upon a question as to the learning and acquirements of the Vaudois Clergy, M. Peyrani lamented that, not being able to finish their education at home, the youth, who were intended for holy orders, were obliged to submit to the inconvenience and expense of going to Switzerland, but said that they returned in general well stored with scholastic and useful information. His own son, he said, would shortly go there, if he could raise the funds necessary to support the charges of so distant a journey.

Talking of the present and late government of Piemont, the good old Moderator drew no comparisons to the disadvantage of the former; but only remarked that Napoleon had done the poor Protestants good and harm; good, in that he had placed them upon a footing with the Romanists, and equalized their condition in the state with the rest of the subjects of the empire; and harm, in that the privileges, then extended to them, only served now to make them more sensible of their present grievances. This subject led to a mention of the audience which M. Peyrani had with the late Emperor of France, when he formed part of a deputation who were charged with an address to him.

Buonaparte noticed M. Peyrani immediately, and accosted him in a style of unusual condescension, and even respect.

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