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Disinterested conduct of Du Plan.


may testify on our behalf and by our orders, he being well informed and well advised of our condition and our necessities.

"We recommend both him and ourselves to their gracious benevolence and compassionate sympathy, while we will never cease to present to heaven our earnest prayers on their behalf, asking God with all our heart to animate them with His good spirit, crown with success their just projects, and shower on their august, venerable, and pious persons His most excellent and abundant blessings.

"Given in the Desert, in France, in Lower Languedoc, and at our Synodal Assembly, the 1st of May, 1725. In confirmation of which some of us, as representing all our body have hereunto set our names.

"Signed: A. COURT, Pastor Moderator;

CORTIEZ, Pastor;
J. CHAPEL, Student;
BETRINE, Student;
BOYER, Student;
COMBES, Student;
JAUBERT, Student. 1 ”


Benjamin Du Plan cordially thanked Antoine Court and the Synod for this proof of confidence. Not, however, without sorrow did he learn that his name had provoked some opposition. As to the question of the expenses of the Delegation, he repeated to his friend what he had written to him. several times.

"To meet the expenses, so much dreaded, a small fund might be raised. I would sacrifice all that I possess in the world, sooner than be chargeable to the Church. It is from God alone and not from men that I look for my reward." (7th of February 1725.)

1. Extract from an original document.


His letter to the Synod.

A month later he wrote:

"I am determined not to accept anything of the Churches except in the last extremity, and in the event of Providence failing to furnish me with other means wherewith to prosecute my journey. I know the poverty of the faithful as well as the avarice of those who could, if they wished, benefit us without inconvenience to themselves."

(2nd of March 1725.)

The following is the letter which the new Deputy wrote to the Synod:

"Messieurs, my very dear and honoured brethren in our Lord Jesus Christ.

"The grace and peace of God be with you.

"I have learned with much joy that God continues to give you evidences of His protection and love, and you must have learned with like joy how He has blessed the means I have employed on your behalf; but as we should not rest on the peaceful road, and as we are surrounded by numerous enemies, both within and without, it is prudent that we should adopt new measure to evade the snares of Our enemies and to glorify God in a manner more perfect than we have hitherto done. I am as conscious as anyone of our weaknesses and that our ruin would be consummated if God were only to abandon us to ourselves or give the bridle to our enemies. But I am also conscious that if God is for us and if He takes our cause in hand, we shall be victorious over flesh and hell. All then that we have to do is to renew our alliance with God; this is easy of accomplishment if we humble ourselves before Him with reverence, redouble the ardour of our prayers for His succour, obey what He commands, and avoid what He forbids. These things we must do if we be true to our calling and wish to be happy. We have experienced the divine protection during several years, and it is in the power of God to give us still stronger proofs of His love. He can change the hearts of our adversaries and turn

His letter to the Synod.

towards us the favor of our King as He turned the favor of King Cyrus toward the people of Israel when captive in Babylon.

“If we are true to ourselves we shall not fail to perceive that our unfaithfulness, thoughtlessness and love of the world are so great, that it is alone through the infinite mercy of God we have our being. It is of the utmost importance we should overcome the jealousy and divisions that too much abound amongst us. I shall neglect nothing which can contribute to the removal of all pretexts for complaint against me personally. I am well aware that the spirit of the Gospel is a spirit of charity, mutual help and humility. St. Paul, to gain disciples for his Divine Master, became all things to all men; Jesus Christ Himselt associated with the Publicans and Pharisees, desiring to do good unto all men, and not wishing that any should perish. It appertains only to Anti-Christ and his agents to use violence, but we, my very dear and well beloved brethren, ought to be animated with the same Spirit as our Divine Saviour. It is by these means that we shall overcome all our enemies, visible and invisible. Let us distrust the bitterness which hides itself under a pretext of zeal for the glory of God. It costs nothing to a corrupt nature to denounce or blacken the reputation of a neighbour or persecutor; but it costs much to mortify one's passions and correct one's vices. For this reason we ought to work together, for it is certain that our good examples will produce more fruit both among our friends. and foes, than the most beautiful and touching preachings in the world.


"I have said enough at present both for you and for myself, and I will refer you once more to God and to His Holy Word which should be the constant rule of our faith and our morals; it should also be our daily bread and the delight of our souls; the more we meditate upon it and practise it, the more will God give us the witness of His love; we shall feel that God is truly our Father, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Elder Brother, and heaven our heritage.


Geneva, the resort of Refugees.

These blessings I wish for you all with my whole heart, while recommending myself to your friendship and your prayers I renew my assurance of love, and devotion to your service."




Since the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Geneva had become the refuge of fugitive Protestants, and especially of the Protestants of the South; its proximity to France, the remembrance of Calvin, and a community of religion, had all tended to promote brotherly love between the Protestants of the two countries, before even the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It was France that had given to Geneva her great political and religious Reformer, and in the day of trouble Geneva did not forget to acknowledge the gift; she opened her doors to the exiles and fugitives with the most generous hospitality.

She did so nevertheless with prudence. Louis XIV., and subsequently the Duke of Orleans, saw with displeasure crowds of refugees hurrying abroad, and experience having proved that the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes had driven from France her most industrious subjects and carried away the fruitful germs of a material and moral prosperity, not alone did the Court forbid the passage of the frontiers, it imposed upon its neighbours a greater

Personal preferences of Du Plan for Geneva. 107

caution in the reception of the runaways. Louis XIV. had uttered special menaces against the Swiss, and in 1723 they were repeated by the Regent, who also directed the French Chargé d'Affaires to remonstrate with the Protestant Church of Geneva. Professor Pictet was accused of corresponding with the Huguenots, of giving them instruction and counsel, and, among other things, of leading them to believe that they were free to choose their own pastors, to preach, and to administer the sacraments; these things being contrary to the orders of the King, Pictet was called before the Syndic where he succeeded in justifying his conduct.

Prudence therefore was necessary, but this prudence did not stifle the generous sentiments of the heart. From Geneva had been sent the packets of Bibles and religious books to replace those which had been torn and burnt by the persecutors, and from Geneva above all had proceeded the money which was mysteriously distributed to the prisoners and galley slaves for the alleviation of their tortures.

Benjamin Du Plan had personal motives for preferring Geneva to any other place of exile. Antoine Court had frequently told him about the eminent men who composed the pastoral body of that Church, such as Pictet, Vial and Maurice Turretin; and it was with no little pleasure that Du Plan now made their acquaintance. He was not an entire stranger to them, Court, during his stay in Geneva in 1720, having often referred to the Gentleman of Alais, his friend and indefatigable

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