An Account of the Persecutions in Italy, Under the Papacy (20/35)
Giovanni Pulhus, a poor peasant of La Torre, being apprehended as a Protestant by the soldiers, was ordered, by the marquis of Pianesta, to be executed in a place near the convent. When he came to the gallows, several monks attended, and did all they could to persuade him to renounce his religion. But he told them he never would embrace idolatry, and that he was happy at being thought worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. They then put him in mind of what his wife and children, who depended upon his labor, would suffer after his decease; to which he replied, “I would have my wife and children, as well as myself, to consider their souls more than their bodies, and the next world before this; and with respect to the distress I may leave them in, God is merciful, and will provide for them while they are worthy of his protection.” Finding the inflexibility of this poor man, the monks cried, “Turn him off! turn him off!” which the executioner did almost immediately, and the body being afterward cut down, was flung into the river.
Paul Clement, an elder of the church of Rossana, being apprehended by the monks of a neighboring monastery, was carried to the market place of that town, where some Protestants had just been executed by the soldiers. He was shown the dead bodies, in order that the sight might intimidate him. On beholding the shocking subjects, he said, calmly, “You may kill the body, but you cannot prejudice the soul of a true believer; but with respect to the dreadful spectacles which you have here shown me, you may rest assured, that God’s vengeance will overtake the murderers of those poor people, and punish them for the innocent blood they have spilt.” The monks were so exasperated at this reply that they ordered him to be hanged directly; and while he was hanging, the soldiers amused themselves in standing at a distance, and shooting at the body as at a mark.
Daniel Rambaut, of Vilario, the father of a numerous family, was apprehended, and, with several others, committed to prison, in the jail of Paysana. Here he was visited by several priests, who with continual importunities did all they could to persuade him to renounce the Protestant religion and turn papist; but this he peremptorily refused, and the priests finding his resolution, pretended to pity his numerous family, and told him that he might yet have his life, if he would subscribe to the belief of the following articles:
# 1. The real presence of the host.
# 2. Transubstantiation.
# 3. Purgatory.
# 4. The pope’s infallibility.
# 5. That masses said for the dead will release souls from purgatory.
# 6. That praying to saints will procure the remission of sins.
M. Rambaut told the priests that neither his religion, his understanding, nor his conscience, would suffer him to subscribe to any of the articles, for the following reasons:
# 1. That to believe the real presence in the host, is a shocking union of both blasphemy and idolatry.
# 2. That to fancy the words of consecration perform what the papists call transubstantiation, by converting the wafer and wine into the real and identical body and blood of Christ, which was crucified, and which afterward ascended into heaven, is too gross an absurdity for even a child to believe, who was come to the least glimmering of reason; and that nothing but the most blind superstition could make the Roman Catholics put a confidence in anything so completely ridiculous.
# 3. That the doctrine of purgatory was more inconsistent and absurd than a fairy tale.
# 4. That the pope’s being infallible was an impossibility, and the pope arrogantly laid claim to what could belong to God only, as a perfect being.
# 5. That saying Masses for the dead was ridiculous, and only meant to keep up a belief in the fable of purgatory, as the fate of all is finally decided, on the departure of the soul from the body.
# 6. That praying to saints for the remission of sins is misplacing adoration; as the saints themselves have occasion for an intercessor in Christ. Therefore, as God only can pardon our errors, we ought to sue to him alone for pardon.