From Here to Forever


Valued Principles of Truth

Principles of truth they valued above houses and lands, friends, kindred, even life itself. From earliest childhood the youth were taught to regard sacredly 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 Testament. HF 44.2

They were educated from childhood to endure hardness and to think and act for themselves. They were taught to bear responsibilities, to be guarded in speech, and to understand the wisdom of silence. One indiscreet word in the hearing of their enemies might imperil the lives of hundreds of brethren, for as wolves hunting prey, the enemies of truth pursued those who dared to claim freedom of religious faith. HF 44.3

The Waldenses with persevering patience toiled for their bread. Every spot of tillable land among the mountains was carefully improved. Economy and self-denial formed a part of the education the children received. The process was laborious but wholesome, just what man needs in his fallen state. The youth were taught that all their powers belonged to God, to be developed for His service. HF 44.4

The Vaudois churches resembled the church of apostolic times. Rejecting the supremacy of pope and prelate, they held the Bible as the only infallible authority. Their pastors, unlike the lordly priests of Rome, fed the flock of God, leading them to the green pastures and living fountains of His Holy Word. The people assembled, not in magnificent churches or grand cathedrals, but 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, they visited the sick and labored to promote harmony and brotherly love. Like Paul the tentmaker, each learned some trade by which, if necessary, to provide for his own support. HF 45.1

From their pastors the youth received instruction. The Bible was made the chief study. The Gospels of Matthew and John were committed to memory, with many of the Epistles. HF 45.2

By untiring labor, sometimes in the dark caverns of the earth, by the light of torches, the Sacred Scriptures were written out, verse by verse. Angels from heaven surrounded these faithful workers. HF 45.3

Satan had urged papal priests and prelates to bury the Word of truth beneath the rubbish of error and superstition. But in a wonderful manner it was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness. 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 the Holy Scriptures have treasures of truth revealed only to the humble, prayerful seeker. God designed the Bible to be a lessonbook to all mankind as a revelation of Himself. Every truth discerned is a fresh disclosure of the character of its Author. HF 45.4

From their schools in the mountains some youth were sent to institutions of learning in France or Italy, where was a more extended field for study and observation than in their native Alps. The youth thus sent were exposed to temptation. They encountered Satan's agents who urged upon them subtle heresies and dangerous deceptions. But their education from childhood prepared them for this. HF 45.5

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 Scriptures. Whenever they could they cautiously placed some portion in the way of those whose hearts seemed open to receive truth. Converts to the true faith were won in these institutions of learning, and frequently its principles permeated the entire school. Yet the papal leaders could not trace the so-called corrupting “heresy” to its source. HF 46.1