Court, Antoine

Court, Antoine an eminent French Protestant divine, was born in 1696 at Villeneuve-de- Berg (according to others at La Tour d'Aigues), in Vivarais. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, the French Protestant Church was in danger of self-destruction through fanaticism. Under these circumstances, Court, in the synods of Delphinas in 1716 and of Languedoc in 1717, laid the foundation for an ecclesiastical constitution, based upon the old discipline of the French Church. In so doing he met great opposition, and even encountered personal peril, yet his work went on. To obviate the difficulty of entrusting the functions of the sacred office to persons lacking the proper ordination, he sent one of his colleagues to Zurich to receive it, and the latter imparted it to the others in a synod held in 1718. With the aid of the government of Berne and the archbishop of Canterbury, Court established in 1729 a seminary at Lausanne, where ministers were prepared for the churches "of the Desert," as they were called, very appropriately. All the ecclesiastical papers were dated from "the Desert." The duke of Orleans, while regent, was allied with England against Spain, and sought to induce Court to leave France, but the latter remained at his post until his death in 1760. Court wrote Histoire des troubles des Cervennes, Geneva, 1760, 3 vols. 12mo; Alais, 1819, 3 vols.; Le Patriote francois et impartial, ou Response a la lettre de M. l'Exeque d'Agen a M. le controleur-general contre la tolerance des Huguenots (Villefr. Genbve, 1751, 1753); Lettre d'un patriote sur la tolerance civile des Prot. de France (1765), etc. Weiss gives an account of numerous MS. writings of Court (preserved in the Geneva library) in his Histoire des Refugies, 2:288 (see Camisards). See also Coquerel, Bisfoire des l'Eglise du Desert; Peyrat, Hist. des Pasteurs, du Desert; Haag, La France Prot. (Paris, 1854); Bulletin de la Soc. de l'Hist. de Prot. Fr.; R. Sayons, Hist. de la Litterature Franfaise a l'E'tranger, 1:304, 313; Herzog, Real- Encykop. s.v.

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