The people of the Piedmont were of the most industrious kind. They studied history and the scriptures. They put to memory the Bible and taught it to their children. This brought them close to each other and their children and most of all helped them have a walk with God.
Each child was taught an occupation so that they would know how to earn a living for themselves and their families.
They were experts at growing the food that sustained them. They had wonderful gardens and vineyards and orchards. The chestnuts were plentiful and supplied food for the winter months as well as other dried fruits like the grapes for raisins.
When they were plundered and killed and some kept in prisons the lands became barren and desolate and went back to their wild ways of growing.
They believed in liberty and in treating each other honestly and with loving kindness. Their work was in harmony with one another.
They endeavored to be true missionaries and taught this to their children. The children were trained to be merchants and sold household wares by going from door to door. When opportunity arose they would give portions of the Bible to the people. This was dangerous because the Authorities allowed no one to have the Bible. They copied out portions of the Bible by hand and shared them and put them to memory.
Many of the people lived in constant danger. The opposition decided to use the scheme of being friendly to the Protestants and even eating with them and spending the nights with them in their homes. Then while they were sleeping the enemy would kill them.
A lot of people of this mountain area were hauled to jail or killed. The children experienced hardship and persecutions and were taught to expect this kind of life and if the Bible was found in their home they were killed or put in prison. It was Rome that wanted to be done with these God fearing people.
This one particular family had a Bible. The Father went out for his days work. While he was gone the enemy came and searched the house for Bibles.
The Mother was baking bread so she put the Bible in the pan and put the dough around it and put it in the oven. The men were sure there was a Bible in that house and they searched and searched and found no Bible. So they had to leave. When Father came home he didn’t know where the Bible was either. When it was time for family worship Mother showed them where the Bible was.
One time the people put their animals in a cave and they went farther into the cave so they thought they were safe from the enemies. The soldiers piled wood in front of the cave and made a fire and all the people were suffocated with the smoke.
These humble, faithful, persecuted people were a tremendous witness to the truth for hundreds of years. Thousands of people died because they loved the Lord and wanted to obey all the Bible. Some faithful witnesses were burned at the stake before the angry mobs that hated them and the truth.
This group of people at one time lived in the south part of Italy. The Roman rulers hated this Christ fearing, law abiding, humble people and they were hunted like wild animals to destroy and get rid of them. So they fled to the safety of the mountain caves. Some built humble homes with the elements available in the wilderness. They suffered with their Lord so they will reign with Him.
These martyrs for Jesus will be rewarded at the second coming of Jesus when they hear the sound of the trumpet. And the dead will rise. What a glorious day that will be when there will be no more persecution.
History Of The Waldenses By J. A. Wylie
(Condensed by J.E.D.W.)