Pierre du Moulin, 1658, and Charles Drelincourt, 1669, Pastors and Theologians

Pierre du Moulin was born in 1568, the son of Joachim du Moulin, a French Reformed (Huguenot) pastor in the Orleans region who had moved his family to Sedan, a city in the Ardennes that had become a haven for Protestant refugees during the sixteenth century Wars of Religion in France.  Pierre was educated in the Reformed academy in Sedan and later trained for ministry in London and at Cambridge.  In 1588 he became tutor to the young Earl of Rutland, though he returned from England to the Continent in 1592 to assume the post of professor of philosophy and Greek in the university at Leiden.  In 1598 he returned to France, and from 1599 to 1620 served as pastor of the new Reformed church at Charenton, the nearest yet to Paris that the Reformed Christians had been allowed to build a temple.  At the invitation of King James the First, he returned temporarily to England in 1615, where he received a doctorate in divinity from Cambridge and was made a prebendary of Canterbury Cathedral.  From 1620 until his death he served as a pastor and professor at Sedan, though he again returned to England in 1624 and was offered a cure in the Church of England (St John the Baptist, Chester).  He declined this benefice and returned permanently to Sedan, where he died in 1658.

Du Moulin took a prominent part in the theological controversies of the day, writing among other works a critique of the Roman Mass, Anatomie de la Messe, and a defense of the French Reformed Confession of Faith against Jesuit detractors, Bouclier de la Foi.  The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church notes that he upheld “a mediating position which irritated Catholic and Calvinists alike”.

His son Pierre (Peter) served as a rector in the Church of England and was rewarded at the Restoration for his support of the royalist cause during the English Civil War by being made a chaplain to King Charles the Second and by succeeding to his father’s prebend at Canterbury Cathedral.

Born in Sedan in 1595, Charles Drelincourt became one of the most influential pastors and theologians of the Reformed Church in France during the seventeenth century.  He was educated first at the academy in Sedan, then at the seminary at Saumur.  He was ordained a pastor in the Reformed Church in 1618 and appointed to a pastoral cure at Langres but failed to receive the necessary royal sanction.  Early in 1620 he moved to Paris, where the consistory appointed him pastor of the church at Charenton, succeeding Pierre du Moulin.  Drelincourt served as pastor of the temple at Charenton until his death.

A prolific writer, Drelincourt authored a number of works of devotional and polemical theology, many of which were translated into English, German, and Dutch.  His Catechism (Catéchisme ou instruction familière, 1652) and The Christian’s Defense against the Fears of Death (Consolations de l’âme fidèle contre les frayeurs de la mort, 1651) became well known in England by means of translations and underwent a number of printings.  Other texts included Prayers and meditations for the preparation of the Lord’s Supper (Charenton, 1621) and The triumph of the Church under the weight of the cross, or the glory of the martyrs (Geneva, 1629).  Drelincourt’s polemical works, written against the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, did much to strengthen and consolidate the Reformed Church in France.

Drelincourt married the daughter of a Parisian merchant.  Several of their sons were distinguished physicians or pastors. Laurent (­†1681) became a pastor.  Charles (†1697) was a professor of medicine in the University at Leiden, the leading Northern European medical school of the seventeenth century, and served as physician to the Prince of Orange.  Pierre or Peter (†1722) was educated at Geneva, ordained a priest in the Church of England, and became dean of Armagh Cathedral.

Drelincourt died on the third of November 1669.

The Collect

O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servants Pierre du Moulin and Charles Drelincourt to be pastors in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

________________________________________________________________________

Drelincourt’s The Christian’s Defense against the Fears of Death has been digitized and published online by Google Books.


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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Pierre du Moulin, 1658, and Charles Drelincourt, 1669, Pastors and Theologians

  1. Pingback: Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

  2. John Cosin, a High Church Anglican who became Bishop of Durham at the Restoration and who exerted a significant influence on the 1662 revision of the Book of Common Prayer, served as chaplain to the English exiles in Paris during the English Commonwealth and worshipped on occasion with the Reformed congregation at the church at Charenton (during Drelincourt’s pastorate). The consistory at Charenton gave him permission to officiate at services there and to use the Prayer Book when doing so.

    Like many Anglican High Churchmen of the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, Cosin believed that episcopal ordination was right and proper to the Church (and necessary to minister in the Church of England), but he was unwilling to deny the holy orders of those continental Protestant Churches who, like the Reformed Church of France, did not have access to episcopal orders. The seeming incongruity of his rejection of presbyterian ordination at home and his worshipping with, officiating amongst, and receiving communion with presbyterian Reformed Christians in France is clarified by this view of holy orders.

    As the careers of de Moulin and his sons and Drelincourt’s sons demonstrate, there was actually a fairly close affinity (nothing constitutional or formalized, though) between the (episcopalian) Church of England and the (presbyterian) Reformed Church of France during the seventeenth century. With the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685, removing the vestigial freedom of religion enjoyed by the Reformed Church in France, many Huguenots (French Reformed Christians) made their way to England or to the English colonies in North America and the Caribbean. While in a few places (including Charleston and New York City) they established their own Reformed churches, most of them became Anglicans, many of them using (at least initially) French translations of the Book of Common Prayer.

    The eucharistic theology of the Church of England and the Reformed Church of France during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were quite similar in a number of ways. John Wesley’s soteriological views (theology of salvation) were influenced by early seventeenth century French Reformed writers as well.

  3. Pingback: Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

  4. Pingback: Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

  5. Pingback: Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

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