Labadie, Jean De
Labadie, Jean De, a French enthusiast, and the founder of the religious sect known as Labadists. was born at Bourg, in Guienne, Feb. 13, 1610. Educated in the Jesuits' school at Bordeaux, he entered their order, began the study of theology in 1626, and soon distinguished himself as a preacher. Struck with the abuses existing in the Romish Church, he clamored for reform. but, meeting with no encouragement in his order, he left it to join the Fathers of the Oratory in 1639, and very shortly afterwards the Jansenists. In 1640 he was appointed canon of Amiens, and at once inaugurated various reforms. He held conventicles for the purpose of Bible reading, and administered the Lord's Supper in both kinds to the people. To prevent his progress, he was removed in 1646, and sent as preacher and inspector to the convents of the third order of St.
Francis in Guienne. Still persecuted by the Jesuits, he joined the Reformed Church at Montauban in 1650, and entered the Protestant ministry under very auspicious circumstances. In 1657 he became pastor in Orange, and in 1659 in Geneva. In both situations he exerted himself to the utmost for the restoration of apostolic religion on Pietistic principles, and gained many partisans, especially in Geneva. In 1666 he became pastor of a Walloon church in Middelburg, but, by the machinations of his enemies, was obliged to leave it, and in 1669 went to Amsterdam, where his followers soon formed a distinct religious sect, known as LABADISTS. Peter Yvon was one of their preachers. Having been expelled from the country as a separatist, Labadie went in 1670 to Hereford, where, through the influence of his disciple, the learned Anna Marie von Schurmann (who appears to have become his wife afterwards), he was protected by the princess Elizabeth. But, again driven away (in 1674) by the authorities as an Anabaptist, he went successively to Bremen and Altona. Here he managed, with the assistance of Peter Yvon and De Lignon, to hold private meetings and to disseminate his doctrines. He died at Altona Feb. 13, 1674. His principal works are, Le herault du grand roi Jesus (Amst. 1667, 12mo):- Le vseitable exorcisme, ou l'unique moyen de chasser le Diable du monde Chretien (Amsterd. 1667, 12mo):-Le chant royal du roi Jesus-Christ (Amsterd. 1670,12mo):-Les saintes Decades (Amst. 1671, 8vo):-L'empire du St. Esprit (Amst. 1671, 12mo): — La reformation de l'iglise; La jeune religieuse; L'carrivee apostolique; Abregy du Christianisme (transl. into German, Frankf. 1742); etc.
According to their confession of faith (Declaration d. reinen Lehre u. d. gesunden Glaubens d. Joh. de L., etc., Heref. 1671), the Labadists did not entirely differ from the Reformed Church, whose symbolic books they accepted. They supported themselves by manual labor. and, after the example of the primitive Church, possessed everything in common; they insisted that great stress is to be laid on the internal light, and that it alone can make the outer revelation intelligible. They, however, declared against infant baptism; also against the second baptism of the Anabaptists; and rejected the observance of the Sabbath on the plea that for them life was a perpetual Sabbath, etc. The reproach of immorality which some Roman Catholic writers have preferred against them is unfounded; they recognised and honored the institution of matrimony. After Labadie's death his followers removed to Wiewert, in the duchy of Cleves, but gained few adherents, and the sect gradually disappeared about the middle of the 18th century. At the opening of the 18th century they attempted to establish themselves in the United States of America; a few of their number settled on the banks of the Hudson River as missionaries, but they do not seem to have taken a special hold. See A. Pauli and J. Hund, Antilabadie (Hamm, 1671,4to); L. G. Engelschall, Richtige Vorurtheile d. heutigen Welt (1716), p. 652-682; Dr. Schotel, A. M. v. Schurmann (Hertogenb. 1853); Arnold, Kirchen u. Ketzergesch, ii, 680; Hagenbach, Gesch. der Reformation, 4:407 sq.; Gobel, Gesch. d. christl. Lebens in d. Rheinisch- Westpholischen evangel. Kirche (Coblenz, 1852), vol. ii; Zeitschr. d. histor. theol. 1853, 1854.