All Scripture passages quoted in this chapter have been approved by the Church. When not otherwise stated, quotations are from the Rheims-Douai.

Here is an interesting story from earlier times. It is a sweet story of how folk in earlier centuries came to know their precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The Waldenses were the first of all the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation, they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated. While, under the pressure of long-continued persecution, some compromised their faith, little by little yielding its distinctive principles, others held fast the truth.

Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains,-in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed,- the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.

God had provided for His people a sanctuary of awful grandeur, befitting the mighty truths committed to their trust. To those faithful exiles the mountains were an emblem of the immutable righteousness of Jehovah. They pointed their children to the heights towering above them in unchanging majesty, and spoke to them of Him with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning, whose Word is as enduring as the everlasting hills. God had set fast the mountains, and girded them ,with strength; no arm but that of infinite power could move them out of their place. In like manner He had established His law, the foundation of His government in Heaven and upon earth. The arm of, man might reach His fellow-men and destroy their lives; but that arm could as readily uproot the mountains from their foundations, and hurl them into the sea, as it could change one precept of the law of Jehovah or blot out one of His promises to those who do His will. In their fidelity to His law, God's servants should be as firm as the unchanging hills.

The mountains that girded their lowly valleys were a constant witness to God's creative power, and a never-failing assurance of His protecting care. Those pilgrims learned to love the silent symbols of Jehovah's presence. They indulged no repining because of the hardships of their lot; they were never lonely amid the mountain solitudes. They thanked God that He had provided for them an asylum from the wrath and cruelty of men. They rejoiced in their freedom to worship before Him. Often when pursued by their enemies, the strength of the hills proved a sure defense. From many a lofty cliff they chanted the praise of God, and the armies of their enemies could not silence their songs of thanksgiving.

Pure, simple, and fervent was the piety of these followers of Christ. The principles of truth they valued above houses and lands, friends, kindred, even life itself. These principles they earnestly sought to impress upon the hearts of the young. From earliest childhood the youth were instructed in the Scriptures, and taught to  sacredly regard the claims of the law of God. Copies of the Bible were rare; therefore its precious words were committed to memory. Many were able to repeat large portions of both the Old and the New Testaments. Thoughts of God were associated alike with the sublime scenery of nature and with the humble blessings of daily life. Little children learned to look with gratitude to God as the giver of every favor and every comfort.

Parents, tender and affectionate as they were, loved their children too wisely to accustom them to self-indulgence. Before them was a life of trial and hardship, perhaps a martyr's death. They were educated from childhood to endure hardness, to submit to control, and yet to think and act for themselves. Very early they were taught to bear responsibilities, to be guarded in speech, and to understand the wisdom of silence. One indiscreet word let fall in the hearing of their enemies, might imperil not only the life of the speaker, but the lives of hundreds of his brethren; for as wolves hunting their prey did the enemies of truth pursue those who dared to claim freedom of religious faith.

The Waldenses had sacrificed their worldly prosperity for the truth's sake, and with persevering patience they toiled for their bread. Every spot of tillable land among the mountains was carefully improved; the valleys and the less fertile hillsides were made to yield their increase. Economy and severe self-denial formed a part of the education, which the children received as their only legacy. They were taught that God designs life to be a discipline, and that their wants could be supplied only by personal labor, by forethought, care, and faith. The process was laborious and wearisome, but it was wholesome, just what man needs in his fallen state, the school which God has provided for His training and development.

While the youth were inured to toil and hardship, the culture of the intellect was not neglected. They were taught that all their powers belonged to God, and that all were to be improved and developed for His service.

The Vaudois [Waldensian] churches, in their purity and simplicity, resembled the church of apostolic times. They held the Bible as the only supreme, infallible authority. Their pastors followed the example of their Moster, who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." They fed the flock of God, leading them to the green pastures and living 'fountains of His-holy Word. Far from the monuments of human pomp and pride, the people assembled, not in magnificent churches or grand cathedrals, but beneath the shadow of the mountains, in the Alpine valleys, or, in time of danger, in some rocky stronghold, to listen to the words of truth from the servants of Christ. The pastors not only preached the gospel, but they visited the sick, catechized the children, admonished the erring, and labored to settle disputes and promote harmony and brotherly love. In times of peace they were sustained by the free-will offerings of the people; but, like Paul the tent-maker, each learned some trade or profession by which, if necessary, to provide for his own support.

From their pastors the youth received instruction. While attention was given to branches of general learning, the Bible was made the chief study. The Gospels of Matthew and John they committed to memory, with many of the Epistles; They were employed also in copying the Scriptures. Some manuscripts contained the whole Bible, others only brief selections, to which some simple explanations of the text were added by those who were able to expound the Scriptures. Thus were brought forth the treasures of truth so long concealed by those who sought to exalt themselves above God.

By patient, untiring labor, sometimes in the deep, dark caverns of the earth, by the light of torches, the sacred Scriptures were written out, verse by verse, chapter by chapter. Thus the work went on, the revealed will of God shining out like pure gold; how much brighter, clearer, and more powerful because of the trials undergone far its sake, only those could realize who were engaged in the work. Angels from Heaven surrounded these faithful workers.

In a most wonderful manner the Word of truth was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness. It bare not the stamp Of man, but the impress of God. Men have been unwearied in their efforts to obscure the plain, simple meaning of the Scriptures, and to make them contradict their own testimony; but, like the ark upon the billowy deep, the Word of God outrides the storms that threaten it with destruction.

As the mine has rich veins of gold and silver hidden beneath the surface, so that all must dig who would discover its precious stores, so the Holy Scriptures have treasures of truth that are revealed only to the earnest, humble, prayerful seeker. God designed the Bible to be a lesson book to all mankind, in childhood, youth, and manhood, and to be studied through all time. He gave His Word to men as a revelation of Himself. Every new truth discerned is a fresh disclosure of the character of its Author. The study of the Scriptures is the means divinely ordained to bring men into closer connection with their Creator, and to give them a clearer knowledge of His will. It is the medium of communication between God and man.

While the Waldenses regarded the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom, they were not blind to the importance of a contact with the world, a knowledge of men and of active life, in expanding the mind and quickening the perceptions. From their schools in the mountains same of the youth were sent to institutions of learning in the cities of France or Italy, where there was a more extended field for study, thought, and observation than in their native Alps. The youth thus sent forth were exposed to temptation, they witnessed vice, they encountered Satan's wily agents, who urged upon them the most subtle heresies and the most dangerous deceptions. But their education from childhood had been of a character to prepare them for all this.

In the schools whither they went, they were not to make confidants of any. Their garments were so prepared as to conceal their greatest treasure,-the precious manuscripts of the Scriptures. These, the fruit of months and years of tail, they carried with them, and, whenever they could do so without exciting suspicion, they cautiously placed same portion in the way of those whose hearts seemed open to receive the truth. From their mother's knee the Waldensian youth had been trained with this purpose in view; they understood their work, and faithfully performed it. Converts to the true faith were won in these institutions of learning, and frequently its principles were found to be permeating the entire school; yet the church leaders could not, by the closest inquiry, trace the so-called corrupting heresy to its source.

The spirit of Christ is a missionary spirit. The very first impulse of the renewed heart is to bring others also to the Saviour. Such was the spirit of the Vaudois Christians. They felt that God required more of them than merely to preserve the truth in its purity in their own churches; that a solemn responsibility rested upon them to let their light shine forth to those who were in darkness; by the mighty power of God's Word they sought to break the bondage which error had imposed. The Vaudois ministers were trained as missionaries, every one who expected to enter the ministry was required first to gain an experience as an evangelist. Each was to serve three years in same mission field before taking charge of a church at home. This service, requiring at the outset self-denial and sacrifice, was a fitting introduction to the pastor’s life in those times that tried men's souls. The youth who received ordination to the sacred office saw before them, not the prospect of earthly wealth and glory, but a life of toil and danger, and possibly a martyr's fate. The missionaries went out two and two, as Jesus sent forth His disciples. With every young man was usually associated a man of age and experience, the youth being under the guidance of his companion, who was held responsible for his training, and whose instruction he was required to heed. These co-laborers were not always together, but often met for prayer and counsel, thus strengthening each other in the faith.

To have made mown the object of their mission would have insured its defeat; therefore they carefully concealed their real character. Every minister possessed a knowledge of some trade or profession, and the missionaries prosecuted their work under cover of a secular calling. Usually they chose that of merchant or peddler. They dealt in choice and costly articles, such as silks, laces, and jewels, which in those times could not be readily procured, and thus they found entrance where they would otherwise have been repulsed. All the while their hearts were uplifted to God for wisdom to present a treasure more precious than gold or gems. They secretly carried about with them copies of the Bible, in whole or in part, and whenever an opportunity was presented, they called the attention of their customers to these manuscripts. Often an interest to read God's Word was thus awakened, and some portion was gladly left with those who desired to receive it.

The work of these missionaries began in the plains and valleys at the foot of their own mountains, but it extended far beyond these limits. With naked feet and in garments coarse and travel-stained as were those of their Master, they passed through great cities, and penetrated to distant lands. Everywhere they scattered the precious seed. Churches sprung up in their path, and the blood of martyrs witnessed for the truth. The day of God will reveal a rich harvest of souls garnered by the labors of these faithful men. Veiled and silent, the Word of God was making its way through Christendom, and meeting a glad reception in the homes and hearts of men.

To the Waldenses the Scriptures were not merely a record of God's dealings with men in the past, and a revelation of the responsibilities and duties of the present, but an unfolding of the perils and glories of the future. They believed that the end of all things was not far distant; and as they studied the Bible with prayer and tears, they were the more deeply impressed with its precious utterances, and with their duty to make mown to others its saving truths. They saw the plan of salvation clearly revealed in the sacred pages, and they found comfort, hope, and peace in believing in Jesus. As the light illuminated their understanding and made glad their hearts, they longed to shed its beams upon those who were in the darkness of papal error.

They saw that under the guidance of the churches of the day, multitudes were vainly endeavoring to obtain pardon by afflicting their bodies for the sin of their souls. Taught to trust to their good works to save them, they were ever looking to themselves, their minds dwelling upon their sinful condition, seeing themselves exposed to the wrath of God, afflicting soul and body, yet finding no relief. Thus conscientious souls were bound by the erroneous doctrines. Thousands abandoned friends and kindred, and spent their lives in convent cells. By oft-repeated fasts and cruel scourgings, by midnight vigils, by prostration for weary hours upon the cold, damp stones of their dreary abode, by long pilgrimages, by humiliating penance and fearful torture, thousands vainly sought to obtain peace of conscience. Oppressed with a sense of sin, and haunted with the fear of God's avenging wrath, many suffered on, until exhausted nature gave way, and without one ray of light or hope, they sank into the tomb.

The Waldenses longed to break to these starving souls the bread of life, to open to them the messages of peace in the promises of God, and to point them to Christ as their only hope of salvation. The doctrine that good works can atone for the transgression of God's law, they held to be based upon falsehood. Reliance upon human merit intercepts the view of Christ's infinite love. Jesus died as a sacrifice for man because the fallen race can do nothing to recommend themselves to God, The merits of a crucified and risen Saviour are the foundation of the Christian's faith. The dependence of the soul upon Christ is as real, and its connection with Him must be as close, as that of a limb to the body, or of a branch to the vine.

The teachings of the Church had led men to look upon the character of God, and even of Christ, as stern, gloomy, and forbidding. The Saviour was represented as so far devoid of all sympathy with man in his fallen state that the mediation of priests and saints must be invoked. Those whose minds had been enlightened by the Word of God longed to point these souls to Jesus as their compassionate, loving Saviour, standing with outstretched arms inviting all to come to Him with their burden of sin, their care and weariness. They longed to clear away the obstructions which Satan had piled up that men might not see the promises, and come directly to God, confessing their sins, and obtaining pardon and peace.

Eagerly did the Vaudois missionary unfold to the inquiring mind the precious truths of the gospel. Cautiously he produced the carefully written portions of the Holy Scriptures. It was his greatest joy to give hope to the conscientious, sin-stricken soul, who could see only a God of vengeance, waiting to execute justice. With quivering lip and tearful eye did he, often on bended knees, open to his brethren the precious promises that reveal the sinner's only hope. Thus the light of truth penetrated many a darkened mind, rolling back the cloud of gloom, until the Sun of Righteousness shone into the heart with healing in His beams. It was often the case that some portion of Scripture was read again and again, the hearer desiring it to be repeated, as. if he would assure himself that he had heard aright. Especially was the repetition of these words eagerly desired: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin:” St. John 1:7. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish; but may have life everlasting." St. John 3:14,15.

Many were undeceived in regard to the claims of Church. They saw how vain is the mediation of men or angels in behalf of the sinner. As the true light dawned upon their minds, they exclaimed with rejoicing, "Christ is my priest; His blood is my sacrifice; His altar is my confessional" They cast themselves wholly upon the merits of Jesus, repeating the words, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Hebrews11 :6. "There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4: 12.

The assurance of a Saviour's love seemed too much for some of these poor tempest-tossed souls to realize. So great was the relief which it brought, such a flood of light was shed upon them, that they seemed transported to Heaven. Their hand was laid confidingly in the hand of Christ; their feet were planted upon the Rock of Ages. All fear of death was banished. They could now covet the prison and the fagot if they might thereby honor the name of their Redeemer.

In secret places the Word of God was thus brought forth and read, sometimes to a single soul, sometimes to a little company who were longing for light and truth. Often the entire night was spent in this manner. So great would be the wonder and admiration of the listeners that the messenger of mercy was not infrequently compelled to cease his reading until the understanding could grasp the tidings of salvation. Often would words like these be uttered: "Will God indeed accept my offering? Will He smile upon me? Will He pardon me?" The answer was read, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (R.S.V.).

Faith grasped the promise, and the glad response was heard, "No more long pilgrimages to make; no more painful journeys to holy shrines. I may come to Jesus just as I am, sinful and unholy, and He will not spurn the penitential prayer. 'Thy sins are forgiven thee.' Mine, even mine, may be forgiven!"

A tide of sacred joy would fill the heart, and the name of Jesus would be magnified by praise and thanksgiving. Those happy souls returned to their homes to diffuse light, to repeat to others, as well as they could, their new experience; that they had found the true and living Way. There was a strange and solemn power in the words of Scripture that spoke directly to the hearts of those who were longing for the truth. It was the voice of God, and it carried conviction to those who heard.

The messenger of truth went on his way; but his appearance of humility, his sincerity, his earnestness and deep fervor, were subjects of frequent remark. In many instances his hearers had not asked him whence he came, or whither he went. They had been so overwhelmed, at first with surprise, and afterward with gratitude and joy, that they had not thought to question him. When they had urged him to accompany them to their homes, he had replied that he must visit the lost sheep of the flock. Could he have been an angel from Heaven? they queried.

In many cases the messenger of truth was seen no more. He had made his way to other lands, he was wearing out his life in some unknown dungeon, or perhaps his bones were whitening on the spot where he had witnessed for the truth. But the words he had left behind could not be destroyed. They were doing their work in the hearts of men; the blessed results will be fully known only in the Judgment.

The persecutions visited for many centuries upon this God-fearing people were endured by them with a patience and constancy that honored their Redeemer. Notwithstanding the crusades against them, they continued to send out their missionaries to scatter the precious truth. They were hunted to the death; yet their blood watered the seed sown, and it failed not of yielding fruit.

Thus the Waldenses witnessed for God, many centuries ago. Their work is to be carried forward to the close of time by those who also are willing to suffer all things for "the Word of God, and, for the testimony of Jesus." The Apocalypse 1:9.

This chapter was adapted from the book, Great Controversy.

"Blessed are all they that trust In Him." -Psalm2:13






All Scripture passages quoted in this chapter have been approved by the Church. When not otherwise stated, quotations are from the Rheims-Douai.

Did Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, base His teachings on the Holy Scriptures? When we stop to think about it, this is a very important question. Both the Church and the Scriptures themselves answer with a resounding yes!

Pope Benedict XV, in his encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, wrote these words: "When Christ preached to the people, whether on the mount by the lakeside, or in the synagogue at Nazareth, or in His own city of Capernaum, He took His points and His arguments from the Bible."-Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus.

And that is what we find in the Sacred Scriptures. Christ used the Bible, and the Bible only, to prove what He said was true.

Following His baptism, our Lord Jesus Christ went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and took part in the service by reading from Isaias 61:1-2.

"And He came to Nazareth, where He was brought up: and He went into the synagogue, according to His custom, on the Sabbath day; and He rose up to read. And the book of Isaias the prophet was delivered unto Him. "And as He unfolded the book, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the. Lord is upon Me. Wherefore He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He hath sent Me to heal the contrite of heart, to preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of reward.

"And when He had folded the book, He restored it to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him."-St. Luke 4: 16-20.

Christ, our Saviour, then told the people that the prophecy He had just read from Isaias was at that very time being fulfilled. This was clear evidence that Jesus was the Messiah of whom the Old Testament prophets wrote.

"And He began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this Scripture in your ears." St. Luke 4:21.

Our Saviour said that He did not come to destroy or abolish the Old Testament, but to fulfill it; that is, bring to completion its principles.

"Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass; one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled." -St. Matthew 5:17-18.

In declaring His divinity, Christ quoted from Psalm 82:6 and then added, "The Scripture cannot be broken." "The multitude answered Him; We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever, and how gayest Thou: The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not And he that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth."-St. John 12:3435. '.

When Jesus was asked how a person could possess eternal life, He answered, "What is written?" Christ then showed that it took more than reading-but doing. The words of Scripture must be lived out in the life.

"And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting Him, and saying, Master, what must do to possess eternal life? But He said to him: What is written in the law? How readest thou? He answering said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."-St. Luke 10:25-28.

The lawyer's question to Christ revealed that, while he read the law, he did not practice it Our Saviour told the lawyer that, unless he obeyed the law fully, he could not be saved.

"But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour?"-St. Luke 10:29.

Our Lord mentioned the days of Noe. -But if we did not have the Old Testament-and without reading Genesis 6 to 8 -we would not know what the "days of Noe" were.

"Likewise as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat and drink, they married wives; and were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark:, and the flood came and destroyed them all."-St. Luke 17:26-27.

What were "the days of Lot"?

"Likewise as it came to pass, in the days of Lot: they did eat and drink, they bought and sold, they-planted and built. And in the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all, Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed."-St. Luke 17:28-30.

Without the Book of Genesis, we would not know the meaning of these things. All of the Bible is important, if we would know the will of God for our lives today.

Christ urged us to "remember Lot's wife," "Remember Lot's wife."-St. Luke 17:32.

A strong warning was contained here, yet we would not know what it meant if we had not read it in the Old Testament (Genesis 18 and 19). How can we remember something of which we know nothing? It is vital that we, today, read the Bible-all of it!.

Christ predicted the downfall of Jerusalem, which occurred in A.D. 70. He told the people to carefully study the book of Daniel, so they would be prepared for the coming crisis. Great importance was attached to this prophecy. If a person refused this prophecy, what would be the result?

"When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand "St. Matthew 24:15.

Our Saviour tells us to search the Scriptures. He said that they testified of Him. We must study the Bible in order to know our Lord. The Sacred Scriptures alone reveal His character.

"Search the Scriptures, for you think in them to have life everlasting; and the same are they that give testimony of Me.” -St. John 5:39.

Jesus said "Have you not read this Scripture?" Were our Lord on earth today and were He to ask whether we were reading the Scriptures, what would we answer? Throughout His ministry, Christ emphasized the importance of studying the Bible.

"And have you not read this Scripture, the stone which the builders rejected, the, same is made the head of the corner."-St. Mark 12:10.

hi the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Luke, Jesus was talking to two disciples. Unbelief in the Holy Scriptures had caused them to doubt the Messiahship of Christ. Our Lord would not have been betrayed and forsaken by His followers had they been studying and believing the prophecies of the Old Testament about the Messiah. How urgent it is for us today to "believe in all things which the prophets have spoken"!

"Then He said to them: 0 foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?"-St. Luke 24:25-26.

What a wonderful Bible study that must have been!

Our Lord and Saviour began with Genesis and followed His topic all the way through the Old Testament. We today should also carefully study the Bible.

"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures, the things that were concerning Him."-St. Luke 24:27.

Later in the same chapter, Christ met with more of His disciples. His resurrection was past, yet He was telling them the importance of studying the Bible. "And He said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning Me.” St. Luke 24:44.

Our Lord opened the minds of the disciples to an understanding of the scriptures. He will do the same for us today, as we humbly pray for guidance.

"Then He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." -St. Luke 24:45,

We err in doctrine when we do not understand the Scriptures. The Scriptures and the power of God are closely connected.

We can see that our Saviour taught from the Old Testament Scriptures, and that He stressed their importance. He intended that all His followers study and accept the Bible as their standard of faith, doctrine, and morality.

"And Jesus answering, said to them: You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God."-St. Matthew 22:29. "

Jesus, our Lord, said that it is those who hear and keep the Sacred Scriptures-the Holy Bible-who will be blessed. How important it is that we today be men and women of the Word. Only then can we have the close walk with Rim that we so much need!

"But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it."-St. Luke 11:28.

Continue- Part 7 chapter 2