« ÖncekiDevam »
duals ;-the generous determination of Roman catholics in Germany, and Ireland, to read the Holy Scriptures, notwithstanding recent decrees of the Vatican ;-the resolutions of the South American states, by which the power of the Roman pontiff is circumscribed, even whilst the Roman catholic is acknowledged the religion of the state:—these, and other circumstances that might be mentioned, are not, like the hieroglyphics upon an obelisk, unintelligibly obscure, but “ signs of the times," scarcely to be misunderstood ;-a preface, it would appear, to extraordinary changes ;so many clear indications that a great crisis is approaching; and that questions of overwhelming importance, relative to the nature of true religion, will inevitably soon arise, to disturb the slumbers of those who indolently repose in error. Whilst such are the anticipations of reflecting men, a volume from the pen of the chief pastor of a church that professes to have preserved the christian religion from the earliest ages, as a sacred deposit, pure and unalloyed ;-so far from being deemed undeserving of notice, will, it is hoped, be candidly perused by christians of different parties, and consulted in their inquiries after, or defence of truth.
It was thought desirable, for several reasons, that the treatises should first appear in the more authentic form of the original French rather than a translation. Both French and English being languages very generally understood by literary persons, no serious obstacle will be found to the circulation of the volume, either in England, or in other countries of Europe, in which the Waldenses have recently, through the patronage of their respective sovereigns, obtained a share of the public sympathy and regard. Should another edition, however, be called for, the editor will cheerfully undertake the translation of the pieces that now appear in French; and devote the profits of that edition, as of the present volume, to the relief of M. Peyran's family, The expediency of prefixing the Introduction, and of subjoining Appendixes, in English, the intelligent reader will at once perceive.
Upon revising the volume it is found that several slight errors,—a few grammatical, but principally typographical,-escaped the editor during its progress through the press; but as they are comparatively immaterial, this brief allusion to the circumstance is deemed preferable to a long list of trivial errata :-indeed in many instances, where the names of persons or places appear differently spelt in different pages, the incorrect spelling has been retained from regard to accuracy in the quotations. There is one peculiarity in the author's MSS. however, which should be noticed. He uniformly adopted a instead of o in writing étoit, avoit, connoitre, &c. thus adapting the spelling to the pronunciation of those words. It may be farther observed also,—that for Stenorauistes (p. 11,) we should probably read Esperonistes,-Esperon having been a celebrated barbe ; — that the name of De Vignaux another barbe, who collected MSS. and wrote “ Mémoires,” respecting the Vaudois, was omitted in the list of distinguished pastors ;—that it was Renaud Lollard a martyr, not Walter Lollard, (p. 169,) who visited England about the year 1217, in the reign of Hen. III.—and that the name of Philip Augustus should be substituted in p. 83, for that of Louis VIII.
Whilst Italy, in its whole extent, from the Lakes of Como and Locarno to the most southerly point of the kingdom of Naples, has long attracted the attention of the tourist and the virtuoso, on account of the numerous and superior specimens of architecture, statuary, and painting, as well as the natural phenomena, with which that fine country abounds; there is a small and comparatively obscure district at the extremity of the plain of Piedmont, immediately under the Alps, which, though seldom visited, has been the seat of transactions which have often excited the attention and the sympathy of some of the principal European states. This district, which is distinguished for much of that grand scenery which characterizes Alpine regions, but which is chiefly interesting when viewed in connexion with christian anti