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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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Brethren In Christ

From Pier Paolo Vergerio's Appeal
To The Doge* Of Venice 1545



There is something even worse: if any of your people should take delight in the purity of the doctrines which were taught in the early church and for two or three hundred years after Christ, and breathes one word; or who feels the need to do away with the abuses and superstitions which have grown up, he is handed over to the army, and the cry is made 'Seize him, seize him! Into prison, into the fire! He is a heretic!'

O, the misery of those your poor subjects! How many, O how many of them are hunted all the day, chased like hogs and wolves scampering through the forests with fierce dogs just because they said something which the holy writers said! Alas, is not your Highness in danger of persecuting those who hold dearly the opinions of men who left on record for us the divine books, and who love God and obey the Truth.

I speak the truth, most prudent Prince; there are a great number of people during the last fifty or sixty years who have come to understand the true way of salvation and are following this particular way. But because this is a religious matter, they only have to say a single little word to be suspect and persecuted. Yet laymen and priests freely scandalize, live in adultery, lend on usury, blaspheme God, abuse their power and do all kinds of enormities -- yet are still considered gallant men notwithstanding! It is not surprising that some people, seeing these scandals and evil teachings, seek to withdraw from the world and begin to give up trying to follow Jesus Christ.

I will speak of another evil thing. Everywhere there are those who print, sell and read obscene, pornographic and dirty magazines. Alas, how many of these there are in Venice these days! But woe betide anyone who reads a magazine dedicated to the service and teachings of Jesus Christ! And what a need there is for these! Yet let a book be printed dealing with scriptural matters and be read by the people -- along come the Inquisitors and various ignorant persecutors of those who believe the truth and they are soon crying 'Anyone who reads this is a heretic!' and the next thing is he is condemned by the priests and your magistrates. All this sows confusion and dismay in the minds of your people.274