By the Committee for the Affairs of the Poor Protestants in the Valleys of PIEDMONT.

THe All-wise and Holy God, whose ways of Providence are always righteous, though often secret and unsearchable, hath made it the constant lot and portion of his peo­ple in this world, to follow the Lord in bearing his Cross, and suffering Persecutions, thereby holding forth and verifying that irreconcilable Enmity between the seed of the Woman, and the seed of the Ser­pent, which was visible betimes in the Bloodshed of righteous Abel, whom Cain (though his brother) slew, being of the wicked one, yea and for this cause, for that his own works were evil, and his brothers good. Thus they that are born after the flesh, persecute them that are born after the spirit to this day, and so will do while the the world lasteth. In which Cause and Quarrel the Lord hath very many glorious ends. But scarcely have any sort of the Churches Enemies more clearly followed the pernicious ways of Cain herein, then hath the Anti­christian Faction of Rome done, that Mother of Harlots and Abominations, whose garments are dyed red with the blood of Saints, which they have always cruelly shed, and made themselves drunk with, even the blood of those holy Followers of the Lamb, chiefly who would not receive Antichrists mark, nor worship his Image, nor drink of the golden Cup of his Fornications, but rather come out from them, and witness against them, though they did it in sackcloth, and were slain for it.

Among those chosen and faithful Witnesses, the Lord seemeth very signally to have raised up those Christians, who (though dispersed in divers Countreys) have been commonly known by the name of Waldenses, who for [Page 2]some Centuries of years have lived among their Enemies as Lambs among Wolves, to bear their Testimony for the Truth of Christ, against the apostasies and blasphemies of Rome, for which they have been killed all the day long, and appointed as sheep for the slaughter. Nevertheless the Lord, the great Shepherd of the sheep, hath made their Blood thus shed, to become a constant seed of faith­ful and valiant Witnesses for him; which is indeed the more marvellous in our eyes, that this Bush hath so long burned, and is not yet consumed.

This little Flock and Remnant which the Lord hath left and reserved, are scattered partly in the Valleys of Pied­mont, of whose tragical Sufferings we have not long since heard, and have drawn forth our Bowels to them, where­of a very faithful Accompt is given to the world, both for satisfaction of Brethren and Friends, and for stopping the mouthes of all Calumnies.

The other part of this poor; yet precious Remnant, have been dispersed in the Kingdoms of Bohemia and Po­land, whose Sufferings, together with the Lords signal Providences about them, have been very eminent and remarkable, as hath been made appear unto Us by three godly persons, delegated by those persecuted Churches, which are now the sad Monuments of their Enemies Rage, and of the Lords sparing Mercies.

These have made their Addresses to His Highness the Lord Protector by Petition, declaring the deplorable estate wherein this persecuted Remnant now lieth, and with loud cries importuning the Christian Bowels and Bounty of this Nation, which cannot but be moved to mourn over them, and to shew mercy to them. And in­deed upon a due sense and consideration of this lament­able subject, even common humanity, but much more Christian charity should provoke us to a Fellow-feeling of their present distressed Condition.

These sometimes flourishing Churches, were by de­grees worn out by the constant Underminings and open Outrages of the Antichristian party, being first driven [Page 3]out of Bohemia into Poland, then after their taking root and spreading in Poland unto a numerous Company, were for­ced out of the chief Cities there, and now at last by the Jesuited and inraged Polish Army persecuted in their few hiding places, with fire and sword.

Their Ministers were tortured to death by most exqui­site and unheard of Barbarism, by cutting out of the Tongues of some, pulling out the Eyes, and cruelly mangling the Bodies of others; nor did their Rage and brutish Cruelty reach onely to Ministers, but to others, yea even to women and yong children, whose heads they cut off, and them at their dead mothers breasts.

Nay, their rage brake out, not onely upon the Living (not one of whom they spared that fell into their hands) but also upon the dead, plucking the bodies of honorable Persons and others out of the graves, tearing them to pie­ces, and exposing them to publique scorn.

But the chief Eye-sore and Object of their Fury was the City of Lesna, which (after plundring and murthering all whom they found therein) they burned to ashes, and laid in rubbish; onely the Lord in his mercy having alarm'd the City of their Enemies approaching march, the great­est part of the Inhabitants (being three famous Churches) saved themselves by flight, and are now wandring up and down in Silesia, the Marquisate of Brandeuburg, Lusa­tia and Hungary, poor, destitute, afflicted and naked.

His Highness and the Council having referred unto this Committee the Testimonials and Petitions sent by the said Churches, We finding upon examination there­of, their case to be thus deplorable, which is more at large stated and declared in their own Narrative, have caused the said Narrative to be translated, and herewith published, thereby to stir up the Lords people in these Nations to put on bowels of mercies towards these their exiled and afflicted brethren, refreshing their hearts by your love, and the tokens of it in a cheerful and liberal supply; which will not onely preserve this holy seed [Page 4]from perishing, that hath a blessing in it, but also up­hold among them the purity of Religion and Power of the Gospel.

The rather considering the present freedom from these bloody outrages, we the people of these Nations do by the blessing of the Lord enjoy, the continuance whereof we may the more comfortably hope for, by how much our compassions are more freely extended to those in mi­sery. And if a cup of cold water given to one disciple, as such, shall not lose its reward; how much more when a bountiful relief is given to more then five thousand di­sciples?

Which we should be the more forward to advance, because they acknowledge they have received much con­firmation in the Religion for which they suffer, by light received from our Countreyman Iohn Wicklef, that famous Witness of Christ against Antichrist, even in the darkest times of Popery.

And we doubt not but that God who hath lately open­ed your bowels to so large and eminent a Contribution towards the persecuted Protestants of Piedmont, (for which many Thanksgivings have been made to God on your behalf) will again draw out your hearts upon this like sad occasion, to the like bountiful liberality, it be­ing our duty to cast our bread upon the waters, and to give a portion to six and also to seven, not being weary of well-doing, because in due time we shall reap, if we faint not. Considering also how honorable it is to act grace, and to lay out our selves upon such occasions, we recommend it again as the work of God accompani­ed with his own voice, calling aloud upon us to inlarge our selves in this ministration, and withal to pour out our hearts in faith and prayer, that the Lord would yet please to raise up Sion upon the Ruins of Babylon, hastening his work, and blessing means to it.

  • John Trevor
  • Christopher Pack
  • Will. Purefoy
  • Edward Cresset
  • Thomas Vyner
  • Joseph Caryl
  • John Owen
  • Will. Jenkyn
  • Philip Nye
  • Will. Cooper
  • Edmond Calamy.

LONDON: Printed by HEN. HILLS and JOHN FIELD, Printers to His Highness. Anno Dom. 1658.

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