Melangists (or Convulsionists)

Melangists (Or Convulsionists)

is the name of a degenerate sect of Jansenists (q.v.). It originated in 1727, upon the decease of Francois de Paris. He had been noted for his piety and asceticism, and, now that he had left his earthly abode, multitudes flocked to his grave, and there, in various ways, testified their superstitious regard and veneration. Marvellous cures were claimed to be wrought there, and miracles were said to be performed. Strong religious emotions were manifested, and some were seized with convulsions. Some were endowed with the spirit of prophecy, and predicted the overthrow of Church and State. Many of the fanatics themselves claimed that their miraculous doings were divinely inspired, while others ascribed them to evil influences. Those who considered these curious works inspired by evil influences were called "Discernents," while the believers received the name of Melangists, because they supposed themselves partly actively, partly passively inspired. 'The superstition and fanaticism which prevailed at Francois's grave soon after his death were not wholly confined to the common people, but were shared by a considerable number of men of rank and learning. These religious excesses, however, tended to create a general prejudice against Jansenism, and really ruined the cause-at least in France; or, as Voltaire aptly remarks, "The grave of St. Francois of Paris became the grave of Jansenism."

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