Morin, Simon

Morin, Simon a celebrated French religious visionary and fanatic of the 17th century, was born at Richemont, near Aumale. He was a very illiterate person, yet notwithstanding the want of all educational facilities he entered the field of authorship, and gave the world his extreme views on religion and philosophy. He meddled much in spiritual matters, and fell into great errors. His first book, which he caused to be privately printed in 1647, under the title of Pensees de Morin dediees au roy, is a medley of conceit and ignorance, and contains the most remarkable errors, which were afterwards condemned in the Quietists; but Morin carries them to a greater length than any one else had done, for he affirms that "the most enormous sins do not remove a sinner from the state of grace, but serve, on the contrary, to humble the pride of man." He says "that in all sects and nations God has a number of the elect, true members of the Church; that there would soon be a general reformation, all nations being just about to be converted to the true faith; and that this great reformation was to be effected by the second coming of Jesus Christ, and Morin incorporated with him." About the middle of the 17th century Morin was civilly prosecuted and for a time incarcerated, but he was finally set at liberty as a visionary, and suffered to continue so till 1661, when Des Marets de St. Sorlin, who, though a fanatic and visionary himself, with intent to injure, entered, under pretence of accepting all the views of Morin, into his whole scheme, only to have him taken up. Marets, in his treachery and dissimulation, went so far as to acknowledge Morin as "the Son of Man risen again," and thereby so pleased Morin that he conferred upon him as a particular grace the office of being his harbinger, calling him "a real John the Baptist revived." Then Des Marets impeached him and became his accuser, and Morin, after due trial, was condemned to be burned alive at Paris, March 14, 1663. He was burned, together with his book entitled Pensees de Morin, as also all his own papers and those of the trial. His ashes were thrown into the air, as a punishment for his having assumed the title of the "Son of God." His accomplices were obliged to assist at his execution, and then to serve in the galleys for life, after having been whipped and branded by the hangman. Morin in his last hours gave out that he would rise again the third day, which made many of the mob gather together at the place where he was burned. It is said that when De Lamoignon asked him whether it was written in any part of the Scriptures that the great prophet or new Messiah should pass through fire, he cited this text by way of answer, " Igne me examinasti, et non est inventa in me iniquitas" (Thou hast tried me in the fire, and no wickedness has been found in me). See Niebron, Memoires, volume 27; Bayle, Hist. Dict. s.v.; General Biog. Dict. s.v.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v. (J.H.W.)

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