Page images

translation of the Bible into the Italian, his translation of Father Paul's History of the Council of Trent into French ; Benedict Pictet, author of a work on Christian Theology, in 3 vols. 4to, Christian Morality, in 8 vols. · 12mo., and other works; John Le Clerc, author of a translation of the Bible and many other productions, and who spent most of his life in Holland.

During the 18th century, and especially the latter part of it, France produced no theologians of the Protestant school, who possessed any considerable merit. Nor is this fact wonderful. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 had left the Protestants of that country without the slightest protection from law. Persecution raged until it finally rid the country of almost every vestige of a Protestant church. It is an absolute fact that for a considerable period, in the early part of that century, there was but one ordained Protestant minister (M. Roger, in Dauphiny) in all France. It is true that there were some French Protestant ministers in Germany, in Holland, and in America. The most celebrated of those who lived in the early part of that century was Saurin, who spent the greater part of his life in Holland, and preached his well known discourses in the Walloon church at the Hague. And as to Geneva, it had submitted to the reign, first, of a dead formalism, then of a cold Pelagianism, and finally of a worldly Socinianism. We know not that any men of great distinction flourished there after the death of Benedict Pictet—which occurred, we believe, in 1724—until the end of the 18th century. Some men of God, however, there were, in the ministry of that city and canton,

faithful found Among the faithless, faithful only they. We come now to more recent days, and shall take some notice of the most distinguished men whom God has raised up as advocates of the Protestant cause in both France and French Switzerland, since the beginning of the present century.

It was only in 1802—as we have stated in another place*that the Protestant church received an acknowledged and legalized existence in France, by the Organic Articles which the Government enacted during the Consulate of Napoleon. From

* See Article X. in No. VIII. (new series) of the American Biblical Repository, on Religious Liberty in France.

the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 until the year 1802—that is, during a period of 117 years—the existence of the Protestants as a sect was not acknowledged in that country. Since 1802 they have been, by law, placed on the same footing with the Roman Catholics, and the churches of both are acknowledged as the established churches of the land, and receive equal protection and support. The consequence is that the Protestant church, for nearly forty years, has been steadily and gradually gaining strength. The present number of its pastors, supported by the Government—that is, of those who are in the Established churches,-is 640; and, including those who are not connected with the Established churches, the entire number of Protestant ministers in France—not including those who are English or American, and who preach not to French but English congregations—does not exceed seven hundred and fifty. As the Protestants have now advantages of education equal to those of the Roman Catholics, it might be expected that there would be found already some men among them of distinguished talents and attainments, who are beginning to make themselves known to the world, and who prove themselves not unworthy children of a church which produced, in bygone days, a Calvin, a Claude, a Du Plessis-Mornay, a Dumoulin, and others of scarcely inferior fame. It has been even so. France possesses already a number of Protestants, in the ministry and among the laity-most of whom are young men, or in the prime of life—who are men of fine talents and most respectable attainments, and who are making themselves known by their respective and most respectable writings.

Among these, and of what is termed the Evangelical or Orthodox Party (we hate the word Party, but cannot at this moment think of one which better expresses our idea), we may name, without disparaging others, among the pastors or ministers, the Rev. Dr. Grand Pierre, Director of the Missionary Institute at Paris, and author of several volumes of excellent sermons; Audebez, who is pastor of a chapel in the same city, and author of a volume of valuable Discourses, which we have noticed in a preceding number of this work ;* JuilleratChasseur, one of the pastors in the Oratoire and Ste. Marie, who has published some Discourses, as well as some poems; Fred

* See the IVth number (new series) of the American Bib. lical Repository.

erick Monod (also a pastor in the same churches), who has published several discourses, and is the excellent editor of the valuable religious periodical called the Archives du Christianisme (Mr. Monod, we may here add, has three brothers in the ministry, one of whom is the Rev. Adolphus Monod, now a professor in the Protestant Theological Seminary at Montauban, and author of several eloquent sermons as well as some controversial pamphlets; another is Mr. William Monod, formerly pastor of a church at St. Quentin, and now editor of a literary journal at Geneva; and Horace Monod, the youngest, who is pastor of a 'church in Marseilles, and the translator of Professor Hodge's Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans); Paumier, pastor of a church at Rouen, and author of a Memoir of Bochart; De Félice, now Professor at Montauban, and author of several valuable essays and sermons, and well known in the United States as the interesting French correspondent of the New-York Observer: at the same Theological Seminary at Montauban are Professors Jalaguier and Encontre, both of whom have published, we believe, some valuable discourses, and they are also editors of a new and valuable periodical, called the Revue Théologique, which is published once in two months ; Roussel, who is author of several popular tracts, Scènes Evangeliques, and other valuable and interesting books for children and youth, and is, withal, editor of the political and moral journal called LEspérance ; Frossard, pastor of a church at Nismes, and author of several interesting books and discourses; A. Blanc, who has published a number of good things; and Bonifas-Guizot, of Grenoble, who has also published several sermons, etc. We might increase this list by the names of quite a number more, who have published sermons delivered on important occasions.

The anti-evangelical party, as it is termed, or that portion of the Protestant clergy of France which is considered as rejecting, or lightly esteeming, some of the most important doctrines of the Christian system, as held by the great Reformers, have not so many authors among them, though they cannot be charged with a want of talent. Athanasius Coquerel, one of the pastors of the churches of the Oratoire and Ste. Marie at Paris, is considered the Coryphæus of their party. He is author of several volumes, on various subjects, which have had an extensive sale among the Protestants; Martin Paschoud, one of M. Coquerel's colleagues, has also published some things; Fontanès, pastor at Nismes, who has published several Discourses and other works, and has edited, we believe, one or two periodicals; Mattir, member of the Royal Council of Instruction, and author of an Ecclesiastical History, etc. To these we might add the names of several others, who have published more or less, and who are considered as appertaining to the same theological school or party.

We ought to add also the names of some laymen among the Protestants of France who are known as authors. Among these are Messrs. H. Lutteroth-editor of the Semeur, a very excellent literary and moral Review, which is published once a week, and which has existed nearly, if not quite, ten years, and been the means of doing much good, Count Agénor de Gasparinan excellent young nobleman who has written in defence of religious liberty, and from whom not a little is expected in future, and Guizot, who is, however, a man of letters and a statesman rather than a religious author.

Nor are there wanting ladies who have contributed the influence of their pens to advance the cause of Christ. Among them we may name Mademoiselle de Chabaud-Latour, who has written and translated many things, and conducted a valuable periodical for youth ; Madame Julius Mallet; Madame BonifasGuizot; and the late Madame Guizot, wife of the distinguished statesman mentioned above ;-all these ladies have published more or less.

Nor should we omit to say that there are some French ministers of the gospel in adjoining countries who have attained some celebrity in France; and some of whom are known among us by their writings. They are such men as Bonnet at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, who has published several interesting volumes of discourses; Secretan, at the Hague, who has published some excellent sermons; and Boucher, at Brussels, who has published a number of tracts and sermons, and has translated Nevins' Thoughts on Popery, and some things from the English into French.

We have spoken, in what we have said of the period which has elapsed since 1802, only of living authors. But there have lived some excellent Protestant ministers in France, during this period, who have entered into their rest, but whose writings remain to do good. They are such men as the late devoted Pyt, F. A Gonthier, and above all, the distinguished and venerable Stapfer, whose death, last year, was felt to be so great a loss by the churches of France.

It will be seen, from what we have now stated, that the Protestants of France, of our times, have not been wanting in authors. It is true, indeed, that hitherto, those who have published the results of their studies have confined themselves too much to sermons, essays, and small works. With the exception of some ten or a dozen persons, they have not attempted any thing beyond single discourses or small volumes. This has been owing to the fact that most of these authors are comparatively young, and all are overwhelmed with pastoral duties, which demand almost every moment of their time. Surrounded as they are by numerous antagonists—not to say enemies—they have need of all their vigilance to protect their little flocks, and of much study, in order to interest the masses of the indifferent population in the midst of which they are endeavoring to plant the truth. Greater things, in the way of authorship, may unquestionably be expected of them in the time to come. .

In French Switzerland the Protestants have published much more than their brethren in France have done during the last quarter of a century. Already they have authors who may almost be termed veterans in the use of the pen. There is the Rev. Dr. Malan in Geneva who has published many volumes, although he is not yet what might be called an old man. The publications of Dr. Malan, in the shape of tracts, sermons, controversial essays, and extended theological dissertations are numerous, and would make, if collected, some eight or ten volumes octavo. He began to wield the pen in his youth, and has not ceased until now, to assert and vindicate the truth in all possible ways; sometimes in song, but oftener in prose; sometimes in the witty and tranchant style of the popular pamphleteer; at another in the graver tone of the scholar.

Next to Dr. Malan, among the orthodox, we may mention him whose name we have placed at the head of this article, the Rev. Professor Gaussen, who was formerly pastor of the church of Satigny, a parish at a short distance from the city of Geneva, and within the limits of the canton, but now, and for eight or nine years past, professor in the new theological school in that city. Professor Gaussen has published many things, in the shape of controversial pamphlets, sermons for edification, and considerable volumes. Among the latter may be placed his excellent Lectures on Daniel, as well as the work under our present notice. All of his writings are characterized by that brilliant eloquence which distinguishes his discourses when delivered from the pulpit.

« PreviousContinue »