WALDENSIAN TREATISE ON ANTICHRIST
“The treatise has indeed been attributed, and not without probability, to the pen of Peter de Bruys” from around 1120 and was reported by a Frenchman named Perrin (ibid, p. 336). Now I doubt that Peter de Bruys wrote it as it contains errors in doctrine and because some of the comments seem to be referring to actions that happened in the 13th and/or 14th centuries (see some items in the paper Persecutions by Church and State). By that time, less and less of the Waldensians held to COG doctrines.
Anyway, here is what was supplied (including some comments from William Jones; and the original punctuation which is not always entirely clear):
“Antichrist is a falsehood, or deceit varnished over with the semblance of truth, and of the righteousness of Christ and his spouse, yet in opposition to the way of truth, righteousness, faith, hope, charity, as well as to moral life. It is not any particular person ordained to any degree, or office, or ministry, but it is a system of falsehood, opposing itself to the truth, covering and adorning itself with a show of beauty and piety, yet very unsuitable to the church of Christ, as by the names, and offices, the Scriptures, and the sacraments, and various other things, may appear. The system of iniquity thus completed with its ministers, great and small, supported by those who are induced to follow it with an evil heart and blind-fold—this is the congregation, which, taken together, comprises what is called Antichrist or Babylon, the fourth beast, the whore, the man of sin, the son of perdition. His ministers are called false prophets, lying teachers, the ministers of darkness, the spirit of error, the apocalyptic whore, the mother of harlots, clouds without water, trees without leaves, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, wandering stars, Balaamites and Egyptians.
“He is termed Antichrist because being disguised under the names of Christ and of his church and faithful members, he oppugns the salvation which Christ wrought out, and which is truly administered in his church—and of which salvation believers participate by faith, hope, and charity. Thus he opposes the truth by the wisdom of this world, by false religion, by counterfeit holiness, by ecclesiastical power, by secular tyranny, and by the riches, honours, dignities, with the pleasures and delicacies of this world. It should therefore be carefully observed, that Antichrist could not come, without a concurrence of all these things, making up a system of hypocrisy and falsehood—these must be, the wise of this world, the religious orders, the pharisees, ministers, and doctors; the secular power, with the people of the world, all mingled together. For although Antichrist was conceived in the times of the apostles, he was then in his infancy, imperfect and unformed, rude, unshapen, and wanting utterance. He then wanted those hypocritical ministers and human ordinances, and the outward show of religious orders which he afterwards obtained. As he was destitute of riches and other endowments necessary to allure to himself ministers for his service, and to enable him to multiply, defend, and protect his adherents, so he also wanted the secular power to force others to forsake the truth and embrace falsehood. But growing up in his members, that is, in his blind and dissembling ministers, and in worldly subjects, he at length arrived at full maturity, when men, whose hearts were set upon this world, blind in the faith, multiplied in the church, and by the union of church and state, got the power of both into their hands.
“Christ never had an enemy like this; so able to pervert the way of truth into falsehood, insomuch that the true church, with her children, is trodden under foot. The worship that belongs alone to God he transfers to Antichrist himself—to the creature, male and female, deceased—to images, carcasses, and relics. The sacrament of the eucharist is converted into an object of adoration, and the worshipping of God alone is prohibited. He robs the Saviour of his merits, and the sufficiency of his grace in justification, regeneration, remission of sins, sanctification, establishment in the faith, and spiritual nourishment; ascribing all these things to his own authority, to a form of words, to his own *works, to the intercession of saints, and to the fire of purgatory. He seduces the people from Christ, drawing off their minds from seeking those blessings in him, by a lively faith in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, and teaching his followers to expect them by the *will and pleasure and works of Antichrist.
He teaches to baptize children into the faith, and attributes to this the work of regeneration; thus confounding the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, with the external rite of baptism, and on this foundation bestows orders, and indeed grounds all his Christianity. He places all religion and holiness in going to mass, and has mingled together all description of ceremonies, Jewish, Heathen, and Christian; and by means thereof, the people are deprived of spiritual food, seduced from the true religion and the commandments of God, and established in vain and presumptuous hopes. All his works are done to be seen of men, that he may glut himself with insatiable avarice; and hence every thing is set to sale. He allows of open sins, without ecclesiastical censure, and even the impenitent are not excommunicated. He does not govern, nor does he maintain his unity by the Holy Spirit, but by means of the secular power, making use of the same to effect spiritual matters.. He hates, and persecutes, and searches after, and plunders, and destroys the members of Christ. These are some of the principal of the works of Antichrist against the truth, but the whole are past numbering or recording.
On the other hand, he makes use of an outward confession of faith; and therein is verified the saying of the apostle—”They profess in words that they know God, but in works they deny him.” He covers his iniquity by pleading the length of his duration, or succession of time, and the multitudes of his followers—concerning whom it is said in the Revelation, that ” power is given him over every tribe, language, and nation, and all that dwell on the earth shall worship him.” He covers his iniquity by pleading the spiritual authority of the apostles, though the apostle expressly says, ” We can do nothing against the truth”—and ” there is no power given us for destruction.” He boasts of numerous miracles, even as the apostle foretold—”Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all miracles and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” He has an outward show of holiness, consisting in prayers, fastings, watchings, and alms-deeds, of which the apostle testified, when he said, ” Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
Thus it is that Antichrist covers his lying wickedness as with a cloak or garment, that he may not be. .rejected as a pagan or infidel, and under which disguise he can go on practising his villanies boldly, and like a harlot. But it is plain from both the Old and New Testament that a Christian stands bound by express command to separate himself from Antichrist. [Here the following scriptures are quoted at large from the Old Testament, Isa. Hi. 11, 12. Jer. 1. 8. Numb. xvi. 21. and ver.6. Lev. xx. 24—27. Exod. xxxiv. 12, 15. Lev. xv. 31. Ezek. ii. Deut. xx.] Now it is manifest from the New Testament, John xii. that the Lord is come, and hath suffered death that he might gather together in one the children of God; and it is on account of this unity in the truth, and their separation from others, that it is said in Matt. x. ” I am come to separate a man from his father, and to set the daughter against the mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and those of a man’s own household shall be his enemies.” Christ hath enjoined this separation upon his disciples, when he said, ” Whosoever doth not forsake father and mother, &c. cannot be my disciple.” And again, ” Beware of false prophets, which come unto you in sheep’s clothing.” Again, ” Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees—and take heed lest any man seduce you, for many shall come in my name and seduce many.” And in the book of the Revelation he ‘warns by his own voice, and charges his people to go out of Babylon, saying, ” Come out of her, my people, and be not partakers of her sins, that ye receive not of her plagues ; for her sins are come up unto heaven, and the Lord remembereth her iniquity.” The apostle says the same. ” Have no fellowship with unbelievers, for what communion hath righteousness with iniquity, or what agreement hath’ light with darkness, or what concord hath Christ with the devil, or what part hath a believer with an infidel, or the temple of God with idols ? Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you, and be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
From what has been said, we may learn wherein consist the perverseness and wickedness of Antichrist, and that God commands his people to separate from him, and to join themselves to the holy city, Jerusalem. And since it hath pleased God to make known these things to us by his servants, believing it to be his revealed wilt,’according to the Holy Scriptures, and admonished thereto by the command of the Lord, we do, both inwardly and outwardly, depart from Antichrist. We hold communion, and maintain unity, one with another, freely and uprightly, having no other object to propose herein, but purely and singly to please the Lord, and seek the salvation of our own souls. Thus, as the Lord is pleased to enable us, and so far^as our understandings are instructed into the path of duty, we attach ourselves to the truth of Christ, and to his church, how mean soever she may appear in the eyes of men. We therefore, have thought it good to make this declaration of our reasons for departing from Antichrist, as well as to make known what kind of fellowship we have, to the end that, if the Lord be pleased to impart the knowledge of the same truth to others, those that receive it may love it together with us. It is our desire also, that if peradventure, others are not sufficiently enlightened, they may receive assistance from this service, the Lord succeeding it by his blessing. On the other hand, if any have received more abundantly from him, and in a higher measure, we desire with all humility to be taught, and instructed better, that so we may rectify whatever is amiss.
The Treatise then proceeds to sketch and succinctly to confute the numerous abominations of popery, and to show how they all tend to subvert the faith of Christ, and destroy the souls of men; but my limits will only allow of a very abridged view of this masterly statement.
” Be it known,” they say, ” to all in general, and to every one in particular, that these are the reasons of our separation, viz. It is for the truth’s sake which we believe—for the knowledge which we have of the only true God, and the unity of the divine essence in three persons, a knowledge which flesh and blood cannot communicate—it is for the worship due to that only true God—for the love we owe him above all things—for the sanctification and honour which are due to him supremely, and above every name—for the lively hopes which we have in God through Christ—for regeneration and the renewing of our minds by faith, hope, and charity—for the worthiness of Jesus Christ, with the all-sufficiency of his grace and righteousness—for the communion of saints—the remission of sins—an holy conversation—for the sake of a faithful adherence to all the commands in the faith of Christ —for true repentance—for final perseverance, and everlasting life.”
” A various and endless idolatry, in opposition to the express command of God and Christ,” say they, ” marks the genius of Antichrist —divine worship offered, not to the Creator, but to the creatures, visible and invisible, corporeal and spiritual, male and female—unto which creatures, they present the worship of faith and hope, works, prayers, pilgrimages, and alms, oblations and sacrifices of great price—honouring and adoring them in various ways, by hymns and songs, speeches and solemnities, and celebration of masses, vespers peculiarly appropriated to them, with vigils and feast-days, hoping thereby to obtain that grace which is essentially in God alone, which is meritoriously in Christ, and which is obtained only by faith through the Holy Spirit.
” Another feature which characterizes Antichrist is the excessive love of the world, whence springs an endless train of sin and mischief in the church, as well in those that govern, as in them that officiate— both of whom sin without control. With this is connected the false hopes which Antichrist holds out, of pardon, grace, justification, and everlasting life, as things not to be sought from and obtained in Christ, nor in God through Christ, but in men, living or dead—not by that true and living faith which worketh by love, producing repentance, and influencing the mind to depart from evil, and give itself up to God.”