صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Infidelity a Persecutor-Persecuting Sentiments and Conduct of the

French Revolutionists—Moral Retribution of Providence on the
Infidel Leaders; the Popish persecution of the Protestant Church
the true cause of the French Revolution-Return of France to the
Profession of Christianity and Religious Toleration– Improved
Condition of the Protestant Church under Napoleon--Code of Pub.
lic Rules for her Government-No Improvement in her Spiritual
Character-Further External Advantages-Depressed Spiritual


Though the claims of more pressing avocations forbid the opportunity, even had I the ability, to make profound researches or original remarks, yet the sketches now presented possess the advantage of being, so far as I know, the only work on the subject. Various books have been written, particularly of late, bearing more or less on the Reformed Church of France, parti. cularly Mr. D. Scott's important work, still in progress, “ On the Suppression of the Reformation in France;" but they either comprehend only a limited portion of the hietory, or they present it in its merely external and secular aspects. It is the aim of the following pages to give a view of the entire history of the Protestant Church of France through three centuries, and that chiefly in its spiritual character as a Church of Christ. The absence of the latter is, I apprehend, a great defect in most works on ecclesiastical history. Along with these, I have combined interesting facts in the contemporaneous history of the Church of Scotland, some of them unknown to any, save to those who have had access to the same documents. The reader, therefore, will know what he has to expect—not an elaborate historical work—but brief sketches, designed to draw forth the spiritual character of Churches towards which God has exercised not a few remarkable dispensations. The comparison of the history of the two Churches will serve to show the diversity of God's Providential dealings with his own people.

It appears from the “Life of Dr. M‘Crie," that that eminent man, twenty-seven years ago, strongly recommended his not less eminent friend, Dr. Andrew Thomson, to write the History of the Protestant Church of France—among other reasons, be. cause there was no readable book on the subject, and because of the remarkable correspondence, in many points, between the constitution and history of the Church of France and the Church of Scotland. I have not the presumption to imagine, that the following pages have supplied what such an historical writer as Dr. M'Crie pronounced to be wanting. But the Public have thus the best, and that an unlooked-for testimony, to the fact, that there is a desideratum in Church History to be met; and however defective the present Sketch may be in itself, and even


in the views and wishes of the writer, it is matter of no small satisfaction, that having been drawn accidentally to the study of the Ecclesiastical History of the Reformed Church of France, I should have pursued it in a form which so far accords with the views of the immortal biographer of Knox.

I have an additional motive for the publication, and it is to be found in the present prospects of Popery, both at home and abroad, and the liberalized feeling with which it is regarded by many professed Protestants. Nothing is better fitted, with the Divine blessing, to correct erroneous views of Popery, than to survey its operation in France, and towards the Protestant Church of that country, during the last three hundred years. In the course of this survey, we behold it in all states of society -in peace and in war-under despotism, and in comparative freedom-in ignorance, and in days of civilization and refinement; and we find what experience testifies as to its ability to change for the better in any circumstances.

I make no apology for the frequency with which I give quotations, particularly from the official documents of the Protes. tant Church. These not only add authority and weight to the facts which they record, but the fine spirit and tone in which they are usually conceived, not unfrequently afford a far more correct impression of the talent of the writers, and religious temper of the Church, than any descriptions of a modern author. I have not always been careful to mark the page or the chapter of the quotation. The most important are given, and I can assure the reader of the accuracy of those which have not been recorded.

My earnest prayer is, that the Great Head of the Church may bless the present humble undertaking for the glory of His own name, and that this work may not only prove interesting to Christians at honie, but to Christians in France, and urge on the blessed revival which has so happily begun.


Glasgow, 27th Nov. 1840.




The friends of religion are at present much interested in the symptoms of revival which are appearing in the Protestant Church of France, and well may they be so. The influence of that country, with its thirty-two millions of population, and high state of civilization, must be immense throughout Europe. Few centres of Christian influence can be more extensively powerful, and the new life and growth of Popery in various parts of France, render the present revival of the truth the more interesting. In these circumstances, it may not be unseasonable to recall the public attention to the state and character of the Protestant Church, from its origin down to the present day. It is always pleasing to trace the steps of the Great Head of the Church towards his people; and memorials of past mercy are fitted, when gratefully acknowledged, to draw down the Divine blessing, and to suggest plans of present usefulness. My authority for the earlier statements shall be unexceptionable, consisting chiefly of the public acts and decrees of the national councils of the Reformed Church in France, collected by Quick, in his Synodicon, and published in two folio volumes, at London, in 1692. Various other works shall be referred to, particularly “Status Ecclesiæ Gallicanæ,” London, 1676; and, as the history proceeds, a series of rare and important pamphlets, almost inaccessible to the general reader; also, the Rev. Dr. Erskine's Sketches of Church History. My authority for most of the statements connected with the corresponding history of the Church of Scotland shall be the Acts of the

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