Briconnet, Guillaume (2)

Briconnet, Guillaume, a French bishop and quasi Reformer, was the son of the foregoing, and was born in Paris in 1470. His father trained him for the priestly office, and had ample opportunities to promote the son. " Rich benefices were heaped upon him. He was made archdeacon of Rheims and of Avignon, the abbot of the same rich foundation of St. Germain which his father had obtained, and finally he entered the episcopate as bishop of Lodeve, whence he was transferred to the see of Meaux, an important town in Brie, nearly thirty miles eastward of Paris, of which Bossuet was, at a later day, bishop. Brigonnet was a man of considerable learning, of singular fondness for the subtleties of a refined mysticism, and of a kind and gentle temper. While at Rome, whither he went as royal ambassador just before entering upon his duties as bishop of Meaux, he had become more and more convinced of the thorough reform which was needed throughout the whole Church. His first acts in his diocese were those of a reformer. He called upon the ecclesiastics who, neglecting their charges, had been in the habit of spending their time in pleasure at the capital, to return to their pastoral duties. He took steps to initiate a reformation of manners and morals among the clergy. He forbade the Franciscan monks to enter the pulpits of the churches under his supervision." He invited from Paris, in 1521, Jacques Lefevre, of Etaples (q.v.), and Farel (q.v.), who were employed in disseminating the N. Testament, and in preaching, throughout the diocese for nearly two years. Briqonnet himself was very active; and once, preaching to his people, warned them in these words: "Even should I, your bishop, change my teaching, beware that you change not with me." But his perseverance was not equal to the occasion. The Franciscans, whom he had offended, "called upon the Parisian University and Parliament to interpose; and the bishop, who at first had given tokens of courage, and had ventured to denounce the doctors of theology as Pharisees and false prophets, at length wavered and trembled before the storm he had raised. Three years (1523-1525) witnessed the gradual but sure progress of his apostasy from the profession of his convictions. Be. ginning with the mere withdrawal of his permission accorded to 'the evangelical doctors,' as they were called, to preach within his diocese, he ended by presiding over a synod of his own clergy, in which the reading of the works of Luther was prohibited on pain of excommunication, and by giving a public sanction to the abuses against which he had so loudly protested. The rapid advance of his conformity with the requisitions of the Papal Church was doubtless owing not a little to fresh complaints against his orthodoxy, and a summons to appear before an inquisitorial commission appointed by the Parliament, which, however, he succeeded in satisfying in respect to his future, if not as to his past course. Meanwhile, although himself the instrument of persecution in the hands of the fanatical portion of the French clergy, it is probable that Bri9onnet still retained his early sentiments. Such, at least, was the belief of the early reformers." He died at his castle in Aimans, Jan. 25,1534. See Bretonneau, Hist. General de la Maison de Brionnet; Dyer, Life of Calvin, p. 20; Ranke, History of the Reformation, i, 190; Baird, in Methodist Quarterly Review, 1864, p. 439.

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