Bridaine or Brydane, Jacques
Bridaine Or Brydane, Jacques a celebrated French preacher, was born March ,21, 1701, at Chuslan (department of the Gard). He first studied at the Jesuits' College at Avignon, and afterward at the Congregation of the Missions of Sainte- Croix. His teachers soon saw that he gave indications of extraordinary eloquence, and they exercised his talent by causing him to catechise the children. After receiving first orders, he was sent to Aiguemortes to preach during Lent. Finding the people slow in attending church on Ash- Wednesday, he sallied forth in his surplice, ringing a bell; and no sooner had he gathered a crowd than he commenced to pour upon them the thunders of his eloquence, which soon produced silence, attention, and terror. At that time he had written but three sermons; and he began to extemporise with so great success that he finished his Lent series in that way. He was afterward sent as a missionary into the Cevennes, Provence, Languedoc, Le Comptat d'Avignon, and other provinces. In 1744 he came to Paris, where, by his eloquence, he caused the rich and powerful to tremble. Cardinal Maury has preserved the famous exordium of this preacher on the subject of eternity, in the church of St. Sulpice, before an imposing congregation: "Eh! savez-vous ce que c'est que l'eternite ? C'est une pendule dont le balancier dit et redit, sans cesse, ces deux mots seulement, dans le silence des tombeaux, ' Toujours; Jamais!-Jamais;
Toujours!' Et toujours pendant ces effroyables revolutions, un reprouve s'ecrie: 'Quelle heure est il?' et la voix d'une autre miserable lui repond, 'L'eternite!'" "Do you know what eternity is? It is a pendulum, ever swinging, and, as it vibrates, saying, amid the silence of the tombs, Forever, never; forever, never. And ever, as these vibrations keep their ceaseless motion, a wretched voice may be heard from the condemned, What hour is it? and another condemned soul replies, Eternity." But Poujoulat (in his Cardinal Maury, sa vie et ses ceuvres, Paris, 1859) asserts that this famous exordium is not Bridaine's after all, but that it can be clearly proved to be Maury's own composition! Bridaine died of the stone, Dec. 22,1767. He has left some Antiques Spirituels a l'usage des missions du diocese d'Alais, which in 1812 had gone through forty-seven editions. The abbe Carron wrote his life under the title Le Modele des Pretres (Paris, 1804, 12mo). His Sermons appeared at Avignon (1823, 5 vols. 12mo).