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Letter of congratulation from Du Plan.
"I am desired by several ministers and persons of distinction and merit to congratulate you on your deliverance, and to assure our Churches of the interest they take in all that concerns our welfare.
"I am delighted that Isabeau1 in her death has borne witness as a good Christian. God will strengthen the other prisoners; do not forget them. God will sit in judgment with the Council that shall try our brethren, and give them wisdom and firmness meet for the occasion. My special remembrances to the brave Baldy. Mile Cortiez 2 and her daughter thank you for your kind regards. They are at present well, thank God, and salute you; they praise God for your preservation. M. Ginoux à Genè.; Mme de Sal.; Me de G. ; M. T...; M. L. .; M. Vi...; M. Lavalette were all much rejoiced when they heard of your escape, and specially salute you. M. de Marley and his family are delighted. Finally, all the worthy people who know you by sight and reputation send good wishes. God will fulfill all these desires if we set ourselves to please Him. O God render us worthy of Thy love and that will suffice us! Read my letter again in order that you may better attend to what I have said. I often read your letters. It is necessary to reflect on everything and to take wise measures in order to arrive at wise results. Your last letter is in good style. Embrace my brethren on my behalf and assure them of my affection. Your prose is very good, but your poetry is worth nothing. Therefore abandon poetry, although you may have a lively imagination and a fertile mind. The verdict of all connoisseurs is, that there is more pleasure derived from the perusal of a subject if its sense and spirit be good." (April 1725.)
1. A prisoner for the cause of religion.
2. This was Madame Cortiez. The title of Mademoiselle was given to married women who were not noble, or being noble were not titled.
Notwithstanding the violence of the persecution, Antoine Court did not forget the important statement sent to him by his friend before taking flight for Geneva. No moment could be more opportune for pleading the cause of the Churches under the Cross. He convoked, on the 1st of May 1725, a Synod at which he expounded Du Plan's proposition. This proposition was greeted with the applause of the Assembly. Some scruples were raised, it is true, as to Du Plan himself. His merits and capacity could not be misunderstood, but it was regretted that he had compromised his authority by his relations with the Inspired. Antoine Court having re-assured the doubting, and answered for his friend, the Gentleman of Alais was elected unanimously. The following letter from Antoine Court to Du Plan gives us a description of this important sitting:
"Monsieur, and very dear friend,
"I am glad my last letter has given you so much pleasure; you say that M. Cortiez and I ought to confer together as to the appointment of the Synods and the subjects which should be there discussed; this is what we did a few days after I sent you my letter; a Synod was held on the first of
Letter of Antoine Court to Du Plan.
the present month. Three deputies from Churches of the Cevennes and two from each Church of Lower Languedoc were present. After having observed the usual formalities, and invoked the name of God, I opened the meeting by describing the sad state of our Churches, what God had already accomplished in their favour, and the means He would adopt to preserve them and render their condition more endurable. I then gave a syllabus of the subjects on which the Assembly should deliberate.
"One of these subjects was the proposed deputation of certain of our number to the Protestant Powers, as much to implore their powerful protection as to solicit them to use their influence and authority, on behalf of our Churches, with the Monarch in whose Empire and under whose sway we live; and not only to represent to him that his own judgment as well as that of his great-grandfather had been imposed upon in all the edicts, declarations and decrees which have been promulgated against our beloved Churches, and our Holy Reformation, but to obtain from his goodness the revocation of these same edicts, decrees, and declarations, all of which are opposed to our ancient privileges, and to the sweet and precious liberty of serving God in his Majesty's realm, according to the dictates of our consciences. I pressed the necessity of the deputation, and it was acknowledged and accorded. The only question to be considered was whether one person or several should be selected for this important commission, and on whom the choice should fall. The deputies from the Cevennes advised sending three, or at least two, according to the instructions given to them at certain colloquies held to discuss the subject. I represented that one ought to suffice, especially as the present state of the Churches would not permit of the absence of two pastors; and when it was agreed to send one only, I proposed to the Assembly that it could not do better than address itself to M. Du Plan who had already discharged many important commissions and evinced on all occasions an ardent and sincere zeal for the welfare of our Churches. As evidence,
He informs him of his nomination as Deputy. 101
I referred to the petitions he had been good enough to write in the name of the Churches, since his sojourn at Geneva, to the King of Great Britain, the King of Prussia, and my Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and in case they were ignorant of these facts I stated, that I had the permission of M. Du Plan himself to read aloud the petitions and a letter he had written to the Assembly to prove to them his affection and zeal. During the reading, there reigned a profound silence. It was a certain augury of approval and was only at last broken by one common exclamation, 'We give him our suffrage.' The act of attestation with full powers and recommendations was then prepared. This important document which I enclose herewith is not sent without fervent wishes for the happy issue of your mission and for the preservation of your beloved self." (May 1725.)
After having selected a deputy, the Synod occupied itself with his duties. Court declared that these should be to supplicate the protection of the Powers on behalf of the Churches, and to solicit them to intercede with Louis XV. in order to obtain a revocation of the Edicts.
The Synod finally fixed the remuneration of the deputy at fifty pistoles. This sum had to suffice for his correspondence, his journeys and all the expenses he would have to incur. By any other man this pittance had been scorned, but Du Plan, being rich and his relations providing for his ordinary expenditure, he demanded no remuneration, or if he accepted any it was that he might not be reduced to extremity and thereby hampered in his duties.
1. Twenty pounds sterling.
Official attestation of the Synod.
Cortiez, who was secretary of the Synod, hastened to send to Du Plan his officially attested credentials to the foreign courts as Deputy General of the Synods of the Reformed Churches of France. This document was thus worded :
"We Pastors, Students and Elders of the Reformed Churches of Lower Languedoc, of the Cevennes, and of Vivarais, assembled in Synod in the Desert, after having implored the Divine compassion in our sufferings, have judged it fitting to depute one of our number to the Protestant States to recommend our cause to their powerful and gracious intercession, as we consider that we should neglect no legitimate means to secure ourselves from the fury of our enemies and the persecution under which we have so long groaned.
"We have had less difficulty in deciding on this measure in that we know that God often makes use of the great of the earth to accomplish great things on behalf of His Church, and because we learn with singular satisfaction that the august princes of our communion, while taking deeply to heart the cause of God, interest themselves keenly in the misfortunes of those who suffer for the truth; we are thus led to hope that they will accord a favorable audience to him whom we have nominated and whom we charge with our interests.
"Stimulated by the aforesaid considerations, we have, by unanimous consent, chosen and admitted, and do choose, and admit, for our Deputy to the Protestant Powers, le Sieur Benjamin Du Plan, a man who, to his own honor and our edification, has given evidences of his zeal for God, and his love for our Churches, on several very important and delicate occasions.
"We supplicate very humbly all Kings, Princes, Magistrates, Consistories, Pastors and Churches of our religion, to recognise as our Deputy the said Sieur Benjamin Du Plan, bearer of these presents, and to place reliance on all that he