Dutoit, Jean Philippe

Dutoit, Jean Philippe, also called Dutoit-Membrini, was born at Moudon (Switzerland) in 1721. He devoted himself at an early age to the study of theology at the academy in Lausanne, and in 1747 became a candidate for the ministry, but he never took a pastoral charge. In 1750 he had a severe illness, during which he underwent a thorough religious change. He was accustomed to preach extemporaneously, and although his sermons were generally long; he always attracted large audiences. It was not unusual to see, at the close of his discourses, men who had lived in enmity with each other be reconciled. In 1754, having accepted the appointment of missionary preacher and catechist, he resigned it after fourteen days. In 1759 impaired health obliged him to desist from preaching, and he caused his name to be stricken from the list of clergymen. He now devoted himself with all his energy to the study of the Church fathers, especially the Mystics. He himself became a strong representative of Mysticism in the French Reformed Church. His opposition to Voltaire, as well as his seclusion, made him many enemies, and on the 6th of January 1769, while on a bed of sickness, he was suddenly visited by the police, and, by order of the authorities, his papers and manuscripts were seized and forwarded to Berne; but, as his books were found to be of a very innocent character, nothing came of the affair. Upon Dutoit these proceedings made a lasting impression, much greater than could have been supposed of so pious a man. He never recovered from the shock, and died surrounded by a circle of friends and admirers, January 21, 1793. Dutoit is highly spoken of by the historians Monnard and Oliver, and of late attention has been called to his writings by a memoir of his life and works by Jules Chavannes, in the Chretien evangelique, 1861, pages 289, 369, 634. The most important works of Dutoit are Philosophie

divine, etc., par Keleph ben Nathan, 3 volumes, 1793; Philosophie chretienne, 4 volumes, 1800; and an edition of the Letters of Madame Guyon, with additional reflections. Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 19:441 sq.

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