Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/92

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
72
HERESY.

We hear no more of the Ilenricians as a definite sect, though in 1151 a young girl, miraculously inspired by the Virgin Mary, is said to have converted many of them, and they probably continued to exist throughout Languedoc, furnishing material in the next generation for the spread of the Waldenses. We have scanty indications, however, in widely separated places, of the existence of sectaries probably Henrician, showing how, in spite of persecution, the antisacerdotal spirit continued to manifest itself. Contemporary with St. Bernard's mission to Languedoc is a letter addressed to him by Evervin, Provost of Steinfeld, imploring his aid against heretics recently discovered at Cologne — some Manichaeans and others, evidently Henricians, who had betrayed themselves by their mutual quarrels. These Henricians boasted that their sect was numerously scattered throughout all the lands of Christendom, and their zeal is shown by an allusion to those among their number who perished at the stake. Probably Henrician, too, were heretics who infested Perigord under a teacher named Pons, whose austerities and external holiness drew to them numerous adherents, including nobles and priests, monks and nuns. Besides the antisacerdotal tenets described above, these enthusiasts anticipated St. Francis in proclaiming poverty to be essential to salvation and in refusing to receive money. The impression which they produced upon a worldly generation is shown by the marvellous legends which grew around them. They courted persecution and sought for persecutors who should slay them, yet they could not be punished, for their master, Satan, liberated them from chains and prison. Thus if one should be fettered hand and foot and placed under an inverted hogshead watched by guards, he would disappear until it pleased him to return. We know nothing as to the fate of Pons and his disciples, but their numbers and activity were a manifestation of the pervading disquiet and yearning for a change.[1]

Arnald of Brescia's heresy was much more limited in its scope. A pupil of Abelard, he was accused of sharing his master's errors.


    Lib. iii. cap. 6 ; Lib. vii. p. iii. ad calcem ; Lib. vii. cap. 17.— Guill. de Podio-Laurent. cap. 1. — Alberic. Trium Font. Chron. ann. 1148.

  1. Matt. Paris. Hist. Angl. ann. 1151.— S. Bernardi Epist. 472.— Hereberti Monachi Epist. (D. Bouquet. XH. 550-551).