French Prophets

French Prophets the name given in England to a sect formed by the Camisards, who came over to England about 1706, and who brought with them the "gift of prophecey," and soon made converts in England. The great subject of their predictions was the speedy establishment of Messiah's kingdom. "Their message was (and they were to proclaim it as heralds to every nation minder heaven), that the grand jubilee, 'the acceptable year of the Lord,' the accomplishment of those numerous scriptures concerning the new heavens and the new earth, the kingdom of the Messiah, the marriage of the Lamb, the first resurrection, or the new Jerusalem descending from above, was now even at the door; that this great operation was to be effected by spiritual arms only, proceeding from the mouths of those who should by inspiration, or the mighty gift of the Spirit, be sent forth in great numbers to labor in the vineyard; that this mission of God's servants should be witnessed to by signs and wonders from heaven by a deluge of judgments on the wicked universally throughout the world, as famine, pestilence, earthquakes, wars, etc.; that the exterminating angels should root out the tares, and there shall remain upon earth only good corn; and the works of mean being thrown down, there shall be but one Lord, one faith, one heart, and one voice among mankind. And they declared that all the great things they had spoken of would be manifest over the whole earth within the term of three years. These prophets also pretended to the gift of languages, of miracles, of discerning, etc.; discerning the secrets of the heart; the power of conferring the same spirit on others by the laying on of hands, and the gift of healing. To prove they were really inspired by the Holy Ghost, they alleged the complete joy and satisfaction their experienced, the spirit of prayer which was poured forth upon them, and the aanswer of their prayers by the Most High. These pretensions, however, laid the foundation of their detection and complete overthrow. They went so far as to pretend to raise the dead, and fixed upon one of their octn number for the experiment, who was to rise on a particular day. But Dr. Emes did not rise" (Adams, View of all Religions). They obtained, for some time, considerable success in Great Britain having their admiring followers not only in London but also in the chief provincial towns. They were even joined by some parties of influence, such as Sir Richard Bulkely, Lady Jane Forbes, John Lacey, Esq., and others. Mr. Lacey, who was originally a member of Dr. Calamy's congregation, entered, we are told, "into all their absurdities, except that of a community of goods, to which he strongly objected, having an income of £2000 per annum." The influence of the prophets speedily declined; but their proceedings left a stigma for a time upon the reputation of the Huguenot refugees settled in Britain. See Hughson, A Copious Account of the French and English Prophets, etc. (London, 1814). A curious tract, entitled A Brand snatched from the Burning, by Samuel Keaner, who was one of the sect, and afterwards became a Quaker and came to America, professes to give an account of the French prophets "by one of themselves." The claims of the French prophets resemble, in some respects those of the modern Irvingites (see English Review, 9:22 sq.).

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