Bertheau Charles

Bertheau Charles a French Protestant divine, was born at Montpellier in 1660. He studied philosophy and divinity partly in France and partly in Holland, and was admitted a minister in the synod held at Vigan in 1681; the next year he was chosen pastor of the Church of Montpellier; but was soon promoted to one of the churches of Paris. He was expelled from the latter city at the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1686. He was one of the ministers of the great church at Charenton, near Paris, which was capable of containing 14, 000 persons, and which was levelled to the ground — the work of demolition commencing on the very day of the revocation, and being completed in five days. Bertheau went to London, and became in 1687 minister of the Walloon Church in Threadneedle Street. This church, which was the oldest Huguenot church in the city, was established not far from A.D. 1546. It was regarded as the cathedral church of the Huguenots. We are told that thither the refugees usually repaired on their arrival in London, and such of them as had temporarily abjured their faith before flying, to avoid the penalty of death or condemnation to the galleys, made acknowledgment of their repentance and were received into membership. During the years immediately following the revocation, the consistory of the French Church met at least once every week in Threadneedle street chapel for the purpose of receiving such acknowledgments or 'reconnaissances.' At one of the sittings in May, 1687, not fewer than 497 members were again received into the Church which they had pretended to abandon. It was at this most important period in its history that Bertheau became one of the ministers of the Church, holding office forty-four years.

Associated with him for a part of this time was the celebrated Saurin, afterwards minister at the Hague, of whom it is said that "nothing can give an idea of the effect produced by his inspired voice, which for twenty-five years resounded beneath the vaulted roof of the temple at the Hague, unless it be the profound veneration and pious worship with which the memory of the great author, continually revived by a perusal of his writings, has remained surrounded in Holland." Bertheau died Dec. 25, 1732. He left two vols. of Sermons in French (1702-30). See Smiles, Huguenots, p. 399; Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v. (J. C. S.)

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