Claude Brousson

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VirginiaHuguenot

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Claude Brousson was a French Huguenot lawyer and lay preacher. He was prolific in writing down his sermons (4000 pages of sermons). He was born in 1647 and was executed after years of leading the clandestine "Church of the Desert" following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. He died a martyr's death on November 4, 1698.

J.A. Wylie says of him:

But the martyr of greatest fame of that era is Claude Brousson. Brousson had been a distinguished member of the bar at Toulouse, where he pleaded the cause of the oppressed Churches. Silenced as an advocate, he opened his lips as a preacher of the Gospel. His consecration to his office took place in the wilds of the Cevennes, which were then continually resounding with the muskets of the murderous soldiery. The solitary hut, or the dark wood, or the deep ravine henceforth became his home, whence he issued at appointed times to preach to the flock of the desert. After awhile he was so hotly pursued that he judged it prudent to withdraw from France. But in his foreign asylum his heart yearned after his flock, and, finding no rest, he returned to those "few sheep in the wilderness." A sum of 500 louis was offered to any one who would bring him to the Intendant, dead or alive; nevertheless Brousson went on for five years in the calm exercise of his ministry. His sermons were published at Amsterdam in 1695, under the title of The Mystical Manna of the Desert. "One would have expected," says Felice, "that discourses composed by this proscribed man, under all oak of the forest, or on a rock by some mountain torrent, and delivered to congregations where the dead were frequently gathered as on a field of battle, would have been marked by eager and gloomy enthusiasm. Nothing of the kind is, however, to be found in this Mystical Manna. The preacher's language is more moderate and graceful than that of Saurin in his quiet church of the Hague; in the persecution he points only to the hand of God, and is vehement only when he censures his hearers."[7] At last, in 1698, he was arrested at Oleron and carried to Montpellier. Before his judges he freely admitted the graver charge of his indictment, which was that he had preached to the Protestant outlaws; but he repudiated energetically another accusation preferred against him, that he had conspired to bring Marshal Schomberg into France at the head of a foreign army. He was condemned to die. On the scaffold, which he mounted on the 4th of November, he would once more have raised his voice, but it was drowned by the roll of eighteen drums. Little did Louis XIV then dream that his great-grandson, and next successor save one on the throne of France, should have his dying words drowned by drums stationed round his scaffold.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

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