Jean Claude.

An essay on the composition of a sermon (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 49)
Online LibraryJean ClaudeAn essay on the composition of a sermon (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

tihravy of t:he theological ^tminavy


The John M, Krebs Donation

Claude, Jean, 1619-1687.
An essay on the compositio
of a sermon


A. N






Tranflated from the original French of


Minister of the French Reformed Church at
• Charenton.


Study to shew thyself approved u »{«''6 ^^o, ,a ^ ,.^ _ ! .

WORKMAN that NEEDETH NOT TO .&^ AfeAw»l| 'i*/ Ai MiiAll


: \ S. Paul.



Printed byFiiANcisHoDsoNi

Sold l3y J. BuckLand, Paterrofter-Row, London;

and T. Fletcher, Cambridge,




THE following elTay is publifhcd ia
its prefent form for the ufeof thofe
Iludious minillers in our proteltant dif-
fenting churches, who have not enjoyed
the advantage of a regular academical
education. Whatever end it may an-
fwer, our churches will allow me the
honour of having taken fome pains to
endeavour to ferve them.

One, of the many invaluable privi-
leges, which our congregations enjoy,
is that of choofmg their own minifters.
The principal obje£t of attention among
our people in choofmg their minifters is
the piety of candidates ; confequently,
the choice often falls on a man, whofe
religious principles are his whole quali-
fication: The far greater pare of thefe
minifters, however, are men of good na-
tural abilities, and fmcere piety ; they
have a thorough knowledge of the prac-
tical part of fcripture, juft notions of ci-
vil and religious liberty, an unblemiflied
moral deportment, an honeft and good
heart, and an extenfive ufefulnefs among
the people of their charge. They are the
minifters of the people's own choice, and
therefore highly efteemed by them.

The moft learned of their brethren,
who know the true intereft of ihcwhole

* boJy


body of non-conformifts, and the true
ground of non-conformity, encourage
and efteem thefe worthy characters, and
approve their minifterial conduft — be-
caufe the choice of them is conflitutional,
and agrees with the maxims of our po-
pular church polity — becaufe they fub-
mit to inconveniencies, fuffer hardfhips,
and carry principles of piety and non-
conformity into places, where minifters
more delicate and refined either cannot
go, or could not be underftood, were
they to go — becaufe thefe brethren not
unfrequently break up fallow ground,
found churches, and prepare the people
for a fucceflion of learned miniilers —
becaufe there are now, and always have
been fo many other learned men of the
party, ready to defend the out- works of
chriftianity, that want of literature may
well be difpenfed with in thefe ufeful
men— and becaufe alfo, the churches,
that chofe them, always retain a right
of difmiiring them from their own fer-
vice, and aifume no right of impofing
them on other churches. Religion and
good policy unite to patronize thefe gcod

When we allov/, tluit fome of our mi-
flers, are illiterate^ wc do not mean to
allow that any of them are ignorant.



Our churches would not choofe him for
a minifter, who was ignorant of religion^
that only fcience, which they eleft him
to teach. I will venture to affirm, in
fpite of Lord Clarendon and Dr. Burn,
that we have not a brother fo ignorant
and fo impudent as to dare to preach to
feven old women in a hogftye, what
Doftors and Bifhops have preached be-
fore univerfities and kings. *

The very high encomiums, which I
had always heard paffed on epifcopalian-
fermons, and the very fhocking ideas,
that I had been taught to entertain of a
fermon preached in a barn by a diffenter,
naturally led me to fuppofe, when I firft
read the following effay, that the firfl:
fort would exemplify Mr. Claude's
rules, which I perceived were rules of
good fenfe, and that the laft would ex-
emplify the vices, which he cenfures :
but I foon found my felf greatly deceived.
It was natural then to inquire, how one
fort acquired the reputation of being
learned, orthodox, pious (landards of
pulpit-excellence ; while the others were


* See the Preface to'the Non-conformifts memorial, writ-
ten by my worthy friend, the Rev. Mr. Palmer, of" Hackney,
page vi. — Then look in the indexes of thefe volumes for the
names — Gauden — Andrews—Brett — Bi/Ic— Byam—San-
croft—Wood— Langford—Beveridge— Clarendon—Niciiols


deemed ignorant, illiterate, contempt-
ible Ichifmaticks and hereticks, whofe
very reputation is fcandal, when their
enemies are forced to give it. I have
neither fecrets nor fears in religion, and,
as I have indulged a freedom of inquiry
fill through the follovv^ing notes, 1 think
it needlefs to enlarge here.

Twelve years ago f. firft met with this
eflay, and I immediately tranflated it
for my own edification, adding a few
critical notes from various authors. Six:
years after, I added feveral more quo-
tations, intending them for fmall exer-
cifes for one of my fons. About three
years ago, I was perfuaded by many
worthy minifters of my acquaintance,
who had occafionally feen the work, to
enlarge the notes for the ufe of our
brethren abovementioned, and to publifh
it. In May 1776, 1 had the misfortune,
by a fall from a coach, to fprain my
ancle. This laid me long afide from my
publick labours, and deprived me of
what above all things in the world I
loved, frequent preaching of leftures in
villages, where members of my congre-
gation lived, I endeavoured to conlble
myfelf, and afiill my brethren by re-
viling, enlarging, and publifhing this ef-
fay. To this feveral g.entlemen advifed



me, and at the fame time Chriftophcr
Anftey, Efq; of Bath, generoufly of-
fered me the ufe of the large Hbrary
of his good father, the late Dr. Anftey ;
and my good friends Mrs. and Mifs
Calwell, both generous benefaftors to
our education lociety at BriiLol, where
pious young men, recommended by our
churches, are prepared for the miniftry,
liberally furnifhed me with every ac-
commodation, hoping, as the excellent
tutors of that fociety have been pleafed
to think, that the Effay might be of
great advantage alfo to their pupils. This
plain tale is the befl account I can give
of a work, which it might appear arro-
gant in me to publifh, and of a collec-
tion of notes, which muft ieem an odd
farrago, unlefs the different view^s of the
compiler at different times be confidered.
I fee many faults in the two books.
I with the work had been better execu-
ted : but fuch as it is I commit it to the
candour of my brethren^ and the bleffing

of God.

R. R.

November 7, 1778.




TH E great and good Mr. John Claude,
author of the following Eflay, is in general
fo well known, that it may feem needlels to re-
late his hiftory. I cannot, however, deny my-
felf the pleafure of recounting a few of the memo-
rable adtions of this eminent fervant of God. In
them, I flatter myfelf, my readers will find an
apology fufficient at lead to excufe the following
fhort Iketch of the man and his converfation.
Encomiums given him by divines are innumera-
ble : but fuch men as he merit more than human
applaufe hath to bellow, (i)

Calvin and Beza, both natives of France, had
introduced the reformation into their country in
the fixteenth century ; and the dodrines of caivi-

VoL. I. b niH

(i) Dublto, an recentiori aetate aliquem majori omnes
profequuti fint ' veneratione quam Joannem Claudium*
Buddeus. Vid. etiam. Bayk^MoJkdm^Mf. Ltj>s.-'^"iC ^*
Chude^^Qvun. multis alii$.

The life of

nifm, along with the dlfclpline of prefbyterlanifm,
were generally embraced by the French proteftants.
It is foniewhat remarkable, that the reformed
church in France was the moft powerfully fup-
ported of any, and yet of all others the moft bar-
baroufly perfecuted •, for, during five fuccefTivc
reigns, the proteftant religion was profcfled by many
of the royal family, and by numbers of the nobi-
lity, and yet all its juft claims were confumed with
an iaextinguiihable rage of perfecution.

It was in the year 1598, foon after the accefTion
of Henry IV. that the reformed obtained, by an
edid drawn up at Nantz, entire liberty of con-
fcience, a free admiffion to all employments of
truft, honour and profit, the ufe of churches, and
univerfities, the liberty of holding fynods, and
whatever elfe was then thought necelTary to the fe-
curity of their civil and religious rights.

While the churches enjoyed thefe privileges,
the Rev, Francis Claude, father of our Author,
was fuccefTively paftor of feveral reformed congre-
gations in Lower Guienne, and was univerfally
efteemed for the pious and honourable manner, in
which he difcharged his ofiice. John was born at
Sauvetat in 1618 ; his father, who was a lover of
polite literature, took care of his education during
his youth ; and at a proper time fent him to
/^^Montauban to finifh his fludies. Having accom-
ly pliflied his courfe of philofophy, he applied him-
felf to the ftudy of divinity under profefTors
Garrifoles, and Charles. The fire of his imagina-
tion, the acutenefs of his judgment, the fincere
piety of his life, and particularly the modefty and
affalDility of his manners, obtained him as many-
friends as tutors. In him, from his earlieft years,




were united the gravity of a divine, and the ^tiCy
politenels of a courtier.

^ Claude, the father, happy beyond exprefTion in
his fon, was eager to fee him in the fanfluary.
The fon.^ whofe whole foul was bent on the mini-
fbry, and who could deny fuch a parent nothing,
funk his own defire of vifiting other univerfities in
the fuperior pleafure of gratifying the good old
man. He had let his heart on ordaining- his fon,
and the fynod of Upper Languedoc, after they had
examined, and fully approved of young Claude, 1645.
nominated his father to ordain him to the church
at La Treyne. He performed this office with un-
fpeakable fatisfadlion, being now at the fummit of
his ambition -, and died loon after, m the feventy
fourth year of his age.

Mr. Claude ferved this church only one year •,
for the Synod appointed him to fucceed Mr. r r
Mattel, in the church of St. Afrique in Rovergue.
Here he devoted much of his time to fludy, (for
the church was not large.) and his profiting appear-
ed to all. It was foon obferved, that he preached
with great facility. His genius quickly collcded *- "^
materials, his judgment prefently aiforted and ar-
ranged them, his language was fluent, eafy, juft
and manly, and his auditors declared, they could
not diftinguiili in hearing him what he Ipoke ex-
tempore from what he had written.

About two years after he had refided at St. Af- j^iS.
rique, he was defired to preach an occafional fer-
mon at Caftres. This church had the honour ot
polTeffing the officers of the chamber of the Edict
of Nantz, and a great number of other perfons
of quality and learning. 1 he whole auditory was
£lled with admiration of his iermon, and lb deep

b 2 a»

xii T H E L I F E o F

an impreflion did it make on them, that, as they
wanted a minifter, they endeavoured to obtain Mr.
Claude : but providence had deflgned him for
another place. The church, however, acquired a
kind of right in Mr. Claude, by giving him one
of the mofl amiable of their members for a wife.

1648. Here he married Mils Elizabeth de Malecare,
whofe father was an advocate in parliament. By
her he had one fon, born 1653, and named Ifaac.
Eight years Mr. Claude ferved the church of St.
Afrique, greatly efleemed by his people, known
and fought after by feveral other churches, and
very much honoured by the Synod of Upper
Languedoc, at which he was annually prefent.

1654. xhe church of Nifmes, which was one of the
moll confpicuous in France, being in want of a
minifter, applied to Mr. Claude, who, agreeably to
the advice of his brethren, complied with their re-
queft, and was appointed paftor of this large con-
gregation by the Synod of Upper Languedoc. The
fervice of this church was very great. Preaching
every day, vifiting a great number of fick people,
attending confiftories, and church-bufmefs, re-
quired much labour ; but Mr. Claude loved this
kind of employment, and fo difcharged his office
as to give the higheft fatisfaftion to his flock. He
found time, moreover, to give divinity-ledures to
a great number of ftudents, who were admitted to
make probationary fermons ; and from this private
fchool proceeded difciples of great merit, who ac-
credited the mafter, from whom they received their

Mr. Claude's great reputation excited the envy
and jealoufy of the epifcopal clergy, whofe hatred
of him grew with the growth of his ufefulnefs, and




at length outgrew all decency. They v/atched for
an opportunity to get rid of him, and they foon
found one, that ferved their purpofe. But, before
we relate the removal of Mr. Claude, it will be
proper to defcribe the then prefent general pofture
of affairs.

When the firft reformers claimed a right of pri- j r->o
vatejudgment in matters of religion, they claimed ^
it of domineering prelates, who both denied the
equity of the claim, and held the murdering of the
claimants to be a part of religion. Above a hun-
dred years after, the clergy of France employed Pro- Dec. 1560.
felTor Quintin, (who had form^erly profelTed him-
felf a Proteftant ; but had apoftatized fince to Po-
pery.) to harangue in their name the affembly of
the ftates of Orleans, and to give leflbns of cruelty
to the King and Queen-mother, in the prefence of
the three eilates of the kingdom. This humble and
devout orator for the clergy^ as he ftyles himfelf,
was pleafed to fay, " This, may it pleafe your
Majefty, is what your clergy of France propofes
with all imaginable fmiplicity, obedience, humi-
lity, fubmifiion and corredion, with regard to the
honour and fervice of God in your kingdom, that
all the inhabitants of the kingdom fnall be obliged
to turn Roman Catholicks -, that the non-chridians
fhall not be admitted into the converfation and fo-
ciety of chriftian fubjeds ; and that hence-forward
"all hereticks fhall be prohibited to trade in any
merchandize, whether books or other goods. Our
requeft is jufr, reafonable, holy andcatholick, and
grounded on the exprefs command of God, who
enjoins your Majefty to grant it to us. Hereticks
among Chriftians are reputed as Gentiles, and God
fays. Never contrad a friendfliip with them, never


kIv T h e L 1 F E o f

aflbciate or inarry among them, fuffer them not to
inhabit the earth, have not the leaft compafTion
for them, beat them and kill them. The whole is
amply and circumftantially difculTed in the memo-
rial of the clergy, to which we expedt axi anfwer.'*
The humane hearts of laymen revolt at the open
avowal of fuch cruelty -, and though thefe execra-
ble maxims had been long allowed the force of law,
yet the wits of France polled up fo many fatirical
pieces againft the clergy's humble orator^ that they
literally mcrtified him, and actually joked him into
his grave. (2j

Quintin's jurifprudence prevailed thirty eight

'59°' years after his death, and perfecution, a fort of
church polity, was adopted by the (late. When
the reformed church obtained liberty by the edi(3:
of Nantz, it acquired alfo a form of civil polity as
a fecurity for the maintenance of its religious liber-
ty. The prefervation of the peace of the kingdom
was impofTible without the protedion of the re-
formed. The ftate, therefore, prote6ted them :
but the implacable fouls of the ilate clergy never
gave up tlie idea of blood-fhedding ; tigers they
were created, tigers they continued : but for three

1621. snd twenty years tigers in chains. The god at
Rome, that made them, created them in his own

Rev. xiii. image, the image, faid an infpired prophet, of a
kqfi !

During this neceflary ceflation cf ecclefiaflical
arms, that very bad man Cardinal Richlieu firil
invented a new mode of attacking the reform>ed.
lie thought — pacifick operations became chrillians

— that

(2) Hcza;, Hi/. Eccl.—La Place, de Vejlat de la relig, ei
repuh^'—Varillas Char, ix.


— that it was high time to put a period to dlfien-
tion — yea that an union of proteftants and catho-
licks was very pradicable — Why could it not be
clFe6led ? They were all children of the lame
parent, and brethren in Chrift Jefus — their differ-
ences in opinion were lefs confiderable than the
over zealous on either fide imagined — their fyftems
indeed had fome apparent inconfiilencies : bur,
however, cool and candid explications might re-
concile them. In this fophiflical manner did this
firft-born of deceit attack the reformed ^ and
although heperfuaded his mailer, or rather his flave,
the deluded Lewis XIII. to deprive his proteftant
fubjedls of firit one civil privilege, and then ano-
ther, till he had (tripped them of all, by reducing
'Rochelle, and had brought them to an abfolute de- 162S,
pendence on the mere clemency of the crown, yet
he kept preaching concord and union all the time,
and beguiled many proteftants into the fnare.

Whether it were want of capacity, ignorance of
regal courts, unacquaintednefs with the true ground
of reparation from a papal hierarchy, love of the
world, or whatever were the caufe, it is certain,
many pious perfons were duped by this ecclefiafti-
cal artifice ; and, furprizing to tell ! gave epifco-
pal hirelings credit for religious liberty, and ai5lu-
ally concerted meafures for a projeded union.
Three forts of perfons were concerned in this
ruinous enterprize. The firft were had men ; a
bribe did their bufinefs. The fecond were credidGUS
pietifts ; fpecious pretences, foft words and lilkcn
noofes caught thefe wood-cocks. The third were
wife and good men: but prejudiced in profpecl ot
feeming ufefulnefs, and dazzled witii the fplcndor
oi the great names of fuch as patronized the plan.



The life of

Dury, FerrI, Amyraut, and Beaulieu, were all too
deep in this fcheme. (3) It was an obrervation of
this ufual flexibility, which induced a great ftatef-
man to affirm, that every man was purchafable, if
his price were bid.

Richlieu and Lewis XIII. went each to his own
place, while Claude was a ftudent at Montauban :
but their polity furvived them, and fell into the
hands of Lewis XIV. that is to fay, into the hands
of cardinals, confeflbrs, jefuits, queens, and prof-
titutes. It is a manifeft folecifm in hiftory to affirm
that all kings reign. Their majeilies are flandered;
one great foul now and then reigns, the reft allow
their names to authorize the imperious paffions of
thofe, who gull them and govern their kingdoms.

In this ftate of affairs, while coalition was all
the cry, the difinterefted Claude, as wife a poli-
tician as any of them all, now paitor of the church
of Nifmes, was chofen Moderator of the Synod of
Lower Languedoc. He was a man eminently qua-
lified to prefide in fuch aifemblies. He knew the
world, as able phyficians know poifons ; the infl-
dious artifices of bad men were tranfparent before
the penetrating eye of his judgment, and he knew
how to counterad them, . He efteemed all good
men : but he never thought of making their weak-
neffes maxims of church-government. He was ab^
folucely mailer of his own temper, and dexterous
at catching the happy moment, in which the mofl:
ftubborn and boiflerous declaimers are manageable.
His abilities were fo well known, that he was
liltened to with attention, and his upright attach-
ment to the reformed religion obtained a general


(3) See Eayle. Amyraut I'^BfauUeu Q-^Ferry'Di


confide in all he faid. He vifited the nobility,
dined with MelTieurs the Intendants, paid pretty
compliments to my lords, the prelates : but in
matters of religion and conicience, he was ever
known to be the inflexible, invariable, inconver-
tible John Claude.

In this Synod he broke all court-meafures of
coalition, and difmounted the machine of re-union
in this province. This rendered him obnoxious
to fome, ,lefs upright than himfelf ; and prefently
came a decree of council prohibiting the exercife
of his miniilry throughout the v/hole province of
Languedoc. Supported by a good confcience, he
forbore preaching, and went to court ; where,
after profecuting his caufe for fix months, he was
given to underlland, that the decree was irrevoca-
ble, and that reformed minifters not agreeable to
the governors of the provinces mufl: be removed.
We jQiall have occafion again to call over the pro-
ject of re-union, and we defer a juftification of Mr.
Claude's conduct till then.

(4) During Mr. Claude's refidence in Paris, fe- 1662'
vera! perfons of the firfl: quality, and of exemplary
piety informed him, that Marlhal Turenne, who
had refolved to quit the reformed religion, pre-
tended to do fo on convidion that the dodlrine of "^
tranfubilantiation had always been held by profeff-
ing chriftians, into which perfuafion he had been
led by a book written either by Dr. Arnaud, or
Dr. NicoUe, entitled Tbe Perpetuity of the Faith:

Vol. I. c Had

(4) I follow the dates of the Rev. Abel Rotolp dc h De-
veze, the biographer of Claude. They do not agree ecr.cHy
with thofe of Bayle. See Arnaud. Rem. O. But as itiinoC
a matter of great confeq^uence, I fliall not attempt to recon-
cile them.

The life of

Had Mr. Claude a6led on his own principles, he
would have declined all attempts to fix a man of
the Marfhal's charadler. He knew mankind too
well to wafle his theological treafure on men fuf-
ceptible of the ftronger imprefTions of character,
fortune, and worldly glory. However, he yielded
to the follicitations of his noble friends, and pub-
lilhed a complete anfwer to The Perpetuity, in thirty
anonymous pages. He traced the Sophifler through
all his doublings, maintained the arguments
brought by Blondell and Aubertine, and vigoroufly
purfued the fox, till he feemed to expire on the
fpot. The Janfenifls were ready to go mad, fo
were all the Parifian Catholicks ^ for, could they
have found out the author, their friends the Jefu-
its would foon have prevailed with the head of their
party to have anfwered his arguments. (5)

Mr. Claude, not being able to get his prohibi-
tion taken off, left Paris, and repaired to Mont-
auban, entirely refigned to the providence of God.
He could not but be happy, wherever he went,
for he carried along with him a mind, that could
refledl with approbation on the pail, a will fub-
miffive to the fupreme will of God, a confcience
unftained with guilt, a heart free from tormenting
paiTions, and an undaunted confidence in the future
prote6tion of his Lord.

He arrived at Montauban on the Saturday,
and the church infilled on his preaching next day.


(5) Lewis XIV. told the Duke of Orleans, he was dif-
pleafed with him, becaufe he took the part of Cardinal de
Noailles, and fpoke againft the Jefuits : that, faid the king,
is decUring againfi a party, at the head of ^which I my f elf am %
What a glorious thing is it, exclaims Bayle, for a king \q
own himfclf at the head of a party !



Contrary to his expe6lation, this people offered to
employ him, the fynod confirmed their choice, and
he was again reftored to his beloved paftoral la-
bours. Here, the worthy man often faid, he rr^
fpent the four happieft years of hi^ life. He loved ^ "'
Montauban, it was the place of his education.
He lived in the mod perfed union with his col-
leagues. There was a mutual efteem between
himfelf and the whole church ; and here, could he
have enjoyed his wifh, here would he have fpenc
the refidue of his days : but providence had
greater work for Claude to do.

Marfhal Turenne pretended, at firfl, to be fatis-
fied with Mr. Claude's anfwer to The Perpetuity :
but, about three years after, his doubts were all re- i^^r -
vived, yea llrengthened by reading an anfwer to it,
publifhed by one of his old friends, the author of
The Perpetuity. Claude was not fo filly as to ima-
gine that fuch men as the Marfhal troubled them-
felves with comparing quotations from Greek and
Latin fathers. The price of the next blue riband
was a queflion of more confequence to them.
However, as the Papills filled all France with
fhouts of victory obtained by this book, and as

Online LibraryJean ClaudeAn essay on the composition of a sermon (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 49)