Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/96

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Men of Lyons," the Italian brethren were ready to welcome the new reformers and to co-operate with them. Though there were some unimportant points of difference between the two schools, yet their resemblance was so great that they virtually coalesced ; they were usually confounded by the Church, and were enveloped in a common anathema. Closely connected with them were the Umiliati, described as wandering laymen who preached and heard confessions, to the great scandal of the priesthood, but who were yet not strictly heretics.[1]

Far greater in importance and more durable in results was the antisacerdotal movement unconsciously set on foot by Peter Waldo of Lyons, in the second half of the twelfth century. He was a rich merchant, unlearned, but eager to acquire the truths of Scripture, to which end he caused the translation into Romance of the New Testament and a collection of extracts from the Fathers, known as "Sentences." Diligently studying these, he learned them by heart, and arrived at the conviction that nowhere was the apostolic life observed as commanded by Christ. Striving for evangelical perfection, he gave his wife the choice between his real estate and his movables. On her selecting the former, he sold the latter ; portioned his two daughters, and placed them in the Abbey of Fontevraud, and distributed the rest of the proceeds among the poor then suffering from a famine. It is related that after this he begged for bread of an acquaintance who promised to support him during his life, and this coming to the ears of his wife, she appealed to the archbishop, who ordered him in future

  1. Lucii PP. III. Epist. 171.— Bonacursi Vit. Hsereticor. (D'Achery T. I. 214, 215). — Constit. General. Frid. II. ann. 1220 § 5. — Ejusd. Constit. Ravennat. ann. 1232. — Conrad. Urspergens. ann. 1210. — Pauli ^milii de Rebus. Gest. Fran. Lib. VI. p. 316 (Ed. 1569).— Nicolai PP. III. Bull. Noverit Universitas, 5 Mart. 1280.— Julii PP. II. Bull Consueverunt, 1 Mart. 1511.— Innocent. PP. III. Regest. ii. 228. — Joann. Andreae Gloss, super cap, Excoramunicamus (Eymerici Direct. Inquisit. p. 182). The name of the Poor Men of Lyons was likewise forgotten, for Andreas's only remark with respect to them is that poverty is not a crime-in itself.
    The differences between the Italian and French Waldenses are set forth in a very interesting letter from the former to the German brethren, subsequently to a conference held at Bergamo in 1218. This was discovered about twelve years ago by Wilhelm Preger in a MS. of the Royal Library of Munich, and is printed in his Beitrage zur Geschichte der Waldesier im Mittelalter, 1875.