Monod, Adolphe

Monod, Adolphe one of the distinguished divines of this century, was born at Copenhagen January 21, 1802. He belongs to a family to which France is indebted for an uncommonly large number of celebrated clergymen. His father, Jean Monod, who was a native of Switzerland, born about 1760, was at the time pastor of a French Protestant church; but in 1808, having received a call from a church at Paris, he removed thither with his family, and there enjoyed much distinction. He was president of the Reformed Consistory until 1834, and died in 1836. Adolphe was educated at the College Bonaparte at Paris, and after the completion of his studies there he pursued a course in theology in the University of Geneva, where he remained until 1824. In 1825 he made a journey to Italy, during which he felt drawn nearer to God, and decided to preach the Gospel to the little Protestant- congregation of Naples. There he remained until 1827. On his return he was appointed pastor of Lyons; here, however, his earnest Christian exhortations proved distasteful to a worldly congregation, and his removal was asked for and granted. Strengthened and encouraged by the spirit of the Lord, he now continued to preach, and to teach. The Church of the state was locked for him. His congregation met in a private room, which was, however, soon exchanged for a spacious chapel, where numerous people were fed with the bread of eternal life. Thirty years have passed since, and at present the Evangelical Church of Lyons is a great association, with four pastors, many evangelists, and eight chapels. The government either touched by the religious activity of Monod, or wishing to make good the wrong it had done to him appointed him professor of theology at Montauban, where he remained eleven years. During this time he held prayer-meetings every Sunday, and in the vacations travelled in Southern France to preach and to instruct. Wherever he appeared, multitudes of people followed him, attracted by the spiritual power of his orations. In 1847 the Consistory of Paris appointed him minister of the Reformed Church there, the government confirming the selection and he accepting. He labored there with remarkable success for seven years. The churches where he preached, especially the large Oratoire, were filled every Sunday by pious people. In the smaller room of the Oratoire he gave Bible- lessons every Sunday; and a great many of his hearers, surprised by his beautiful, practical remarks on the Word of God, by his great knowledge of the Scriptures, and by his spiritual experience, preferred the Bible-lessons to his greater sermons. In 1856 he was suddenly stricken down by disease; but, with his Christian resignation, he acknowledged in sickness also the voice of God to his servant — "Lo, I come quickly." The physicians pronounced his disease incurable; Monod quietly heard the announcement, and prepared himself for departure to his Master. His faith grew stronger daily; not only a full resignation to the will of God, but a great joy filled his soul even in his greatest pain. Every Sunday, in the afternoon, his friends gathered around his bed. One of them read the Scriptures, preached, and prayed; after this he himself began to speak to them, teaching them, and bearing testimony to the Word of God. Never were his words so impressive as just before his death, occurring April 6, 1856, which was Sunday, while in all the churches of Paris prayers were ascending to the throne of God for his recovery, the Protestant Church of France fairly trembling under the great loss that was befalling it.

Adolphe Monod was possessed of more than ordinary intelligence, a kind, sympathizing heart, and a lofty imagination. He had allied to these a great taste for the beautiful, and a mind aspiring after Christian perfection in wisdom. His knowledge of the German, English, and Italian languages supplied him with the treasures of the literatures of those nations, which he esteemed very much. Concerning his theological knowledge, his earlier studies might have been imperfect; but this imperfection was afterwards fully repaired, especially in the eleven years of his professorship. The Bible, which he daily read in the original languages, was the fountain from which he drew most of his theological knowledge. His Christian character was the foundation of his activity and his oratorical power. Of many a celebrated man it is said, "He was a perfect man;" all those who knew Monod say, "He was a perfect Christian." Since the moment when his heart was touched by Jesus, his whole life belonged to him. He saw and felt what he believed, and so he preached to others. Gifted with so many talents for the Christian ministry, he proved a perfect model as a preacher of the Gospel. One principle characterizes all his speeches — that is, to save immortal souls from destruction. His noble appearance, kind looks, classic style, combined with the purest pronunciation — his high seriousness, which impressed every hearer that his own heart was deeply touched by the feelings which he wished to awaken in them — his humility in confessing his own doubts and struggles, for the purpose of seeking together with his hearers the way of salvation and true happiness — all these qualities were combined for the one purpose, to gain souls for his Lord Jesus Christ.

The literary works of Adolphe Monod are few, being mainly sermons. In 1830 he published three of them; which bear evidence of his great talents. In the first of these sermons he speaks with a divine power about the relation of error and sin and that of virtue and truth. In his second and third sermons he treats of the wretchedness of sin and the great mercy of God. In 1844 he published a volume of sermons, the first of which (La credulite de l'incredule), covering 68 pages, is considered the most excellent apologetic of modern days. Before, as after his death, many other sermons of his were published; two of these about the duties of Christian women (Lafemme), and five about the apostle Paul, are especially celebrated. In these Monod answers the question, often heard, "Why has the preaching of the Gospel so little success in our century in comparison with the time of the apostles?" thus: "The Word of God is as living and powerful now as then, but our sinful example in life is the cause of the little success of our preaching. The life of the ancient Christians was the world-conquering power of their witness. Restore that life in the Church of Christ, and she will be able to perform wonders as of old." The apostle Paul was to him witness of this truth, which he unfolded in five sermons, entitled Thee Work of Paul, His Christianity or his Tears, His Conversion, His Weakness, and his Example for us. In the days of his sickness Monod gathered all his writings. Three volumes of sermons were published after his death, namely, two volumes containing those preached at Lyons and at Montauban, and a third volume containing the sermons preached at Paris. See Christian Qu. October 1873, page 565; New-Englander, July 1873, page 594; Herzog, Real--Encylopadie. s.v.; Hase, Ch. Hist. page 609; Vapereau, Diet. des Contemporains, s.v. (J.H.W.)

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