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By W. CHARLES KENT.
VENUS! mother of the laughing,
Goblets brimmed 'mid feast and song;
Thou, too, O voluptuous Leisure!
Haunt of every wanton pleasure,
Bring me back youth's vanished treasureLove that yet may life prolong.
For again am I by glances
Slain, and snared by maiden wiles,
All the Paphian goddess, rushing Through my breast in rhythmic veins, For my heart's love-fountain gushing, Leaves forlorn fair Cyprus' plains: Songs of Scythian falchions ringing, Songs of Parthian arrows springing From reverted bows-Love's singing Hushes now as worthless strains.
Reared an altar blooming greenly,
Brims with vernal love life's prime.
THE PROTESTANT CHURCH AT METZ.*
THE worthy pastor of the Protestant church of Metz, addressing his congregation as the "faithful of the church of Metz," remarks that they are ignorant of the grievous persecutions by which the adversaries of reform endeavoured to annihilate that which he also terms as par éminence their "Eglise de France," so steadfast in its faith, and so pure in its manners; and that they are unacquainted with the sufferings of its brethren, because nothing has as yet been published upon the subject. It came to his knowledge, however, that a small volume had been printed in Germany by the Sieur Jean Olry, which narrated in the quaint and simple language of the time the misfortunes that befel himself and his family at the epoch of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes; and after many fruitless inquiries and researches, he at length succeeded in discovering a copy of this rare opuscule in the library of Cassel, in Hesse, and, struck with the deep and moving interest of the story which it relates, he had it reprinted, in order, he says, that its perusal may attach the members of his congregation still more strongly to the Church of which God has graciously permitted them to be members.
Jean Olry, it is necessary to premise, born at Metz, and christened there on the 21st of July, 1623, was one of a numerous and respectable 'family long resident in that city. Jean was brought up to the law, and he purchased a business as notary royal of a Protestant-Bourgeois by name- -in 1654. He married the same year Judith, daughter of a "noble homme," Jean du Tems du Portail, commissary of war in Lorraine, Germany, and Luxembourg. No less than eighteen children were born of this marriage, and the worthy pastor, who places on record from the books of the church not only their names, but those of their godfathers and godmothers, remarks that these names and their qualities attest what high consideration the family enjoyed among their co-religionaries. Jean Olry himself was elder of the church, and he possessed a farm at Flocourt, as well as his town offices as a notary. Only five out of the eighteen children were alive in 1687, the epoch of the persecution of the church at Metz, and two years after the bigotry of Louvois, who had succeeded to the great Colbert, added to the austere immorality of Madame de Maintenon, had won from a weak, profligate, and imbecile monarch-the same who had once been "le grand monarque"-the infamous revocation of the edict enacted by Henri IV., of glorious, but not untarnished, memory. The five children in question were Jean, Judith, Anne, Marie, and Susanne. Jean had been brought up to the law like his father, but shipwrecked on his way to Ireland, and made a prisoner of war at Dunkirk, he abjured his faith before returning to his native city; Judith, at this signal epoch of persecution and dragonnades, was imprisoned in the convent of the Propagation, and removed thence to that of the Bénédictines, at Besançon ; Marie, who had wedded the
* La Persécution de l'Eglise de Metz décrite par le Sieur Jean Olry, accompagnée de Notices et de Notes par Othon Cuvier, Pasteur de cette Eglise. Paris: Librairie A. Frank.
lord of Moichet, appears to have made her escape into Germany; Susanne, after having been, like her sister, incarcerated in the convent of the Propagation, was sent to the convent of the Annunciation, at Vaucouleurs; the mother underwent the same persecutions, and was removed to the convent of the Ursulines, at Besançon. Thus was this once united and pious family broken up in 1687, never to meet together again on this earth. Jean Olry died a magistrate at Cassel, in Hesse, in 1707, having lived to the advanced age of eighty-four.
One word as to the Protestant church at Metz. The evangelical doctrines, which, in the words of its gentle pastor, "were a return to the apostolic teaching," took early root in what he is also pleased to designate as the "Messine Republic." It is of no small importance in the present day, when the abrupt dislocation of religious ties, following upon a long social disorganisation, threaten the vast territory of France with proximate changes, to see how tenaciously localities abide by their traditions of old. Humble, quiet, but stubborn individuality is too often overlooked in the excitement and turmoil of politics. We wonder what Savoy is doing upon changing its allegiance, or Switzerland when its liberties and independence, nay, its very existence, is menaced? But we forget to sympathise with the deeply outraged feelings buried in the secret heart of the peasant and the mountaineer. Yet it is of such individualities that the mass is constituted; only in our times the mass is too often led by the nose, and the members follow, imagining, in their ignorance, that they must of necessity pursue the direction taken by their most prominent feature, and the one that is most readily made a handle or a tool of, as occasion may require.
But without going to Savoy or Helvetia, to the Béarnais, the Basque, or the Breton, we have only, and that in our own times, to cross the Vosges, and we become sensible of a local feeling, which is as refreshing as is the wine of the fair Moselle itself. Hence, Monsieur le Pasteur of the church of Metz is very particular in pointing out that the family of Tems du Portail, although Protestant and noble, and enjoying lucrative government and administrative appointments, was not originally Messine, whereas the family Olry, albeit of less import, obtains higher credit in the pastor's eyes as almost indigenous to the place.
The Reformation had some five hundred followers at Metz as early as 1519 to 1521. In 1524, a Cordelier, surnamed le Bon Disciple, a Franciscan, and an Augustine, Jean Chatelain by name, preached the Reformed doctrines publicly, and the latter was so successful, that he attracted the attention of the cruel Cardinal of Lorraine, who had him burnt alive on the 12th of January, 1526. One Jean Leclerc was committed to the flames at the same epoch for having broken an image of the Virgin in the burial-ground of St. Louis, outside the gate St. Thiébaut. William Farel, another of the most distinguished of the early reformers of Lorraine, was driven about from place to place, and upon one occasion his congregation, surprised at Gorze by the Lorrains, had several of their number slain. All meetings were after that held in secret, till, in 1559, a church arose in Metz, having its regular pastors and a congregation, which, in 1561, amounted to some eight or ten thousand souls. Although Metz belonged, as an imperial city, to Germany up to the year 1552, the language of the country was French, and Reform came from that country. Hence the church attached itself from the beginning, in what
regarded doctrine and discipline, to the French Reformed Church, but without ever uniting itself more closely. It always maintained its independence, and it became, in the seventeenth century, one of the most important Protestant churches in France, having a congregation of about ten thousand souls. It had, at that epoch, three places of worship: one at Metz, one at Horgue (au Sablon), and another at Courcelles-Chaussy, with five pastors. The Protestants inhabited various villages, and possessed a considerable number of châteaux, properties, and farms, all which the good pastor Cuvier takes manifest delight in enumerating, as also the counsellors, barristers, procureurs, notaries, government employés, professional men, merchants, and others who graced the Church by their sublunary dignities, or, equally probably, were indebted for their worldly success to the simplicity and purity of their faith. In 1664, the Carmelites petitioned that the Huguenots should be restricted from passing before their convent on their way to worship, on account of the disturbance created by their numerous carriages. So powerful had the Protestant community become at Metz, that before the unfortunate revocation of the Edict of Nantes they had been accused by the more bigoted Catholics with oppressing the Roman Church.
Religious controversies and hostilities had manifested themselves, indeed, ere this. In 1654, the Protestant pastors were interdicted the entrance to hospitals to comfort the sick. In 1656, the Jesuits aroused open manifestations of hostility against them. In 1657, a Huguenot song, which began,
Et laissez l'antechrist,
was burnt by the public executioner. In 1662, the Roman Catholics sought to eject the Protestants from the city. Individual persecutions became frequent. The schools were closed, and they were even only allowed to bury their dead at certain hours. It was forbidden to bring up children of mixed marriages in the Protestant faith, and young girls were carried off forcibly to the convent of the Propagation. At length the revocation of the Edict of Nantes came, to strike an almost fatal blow at this prosperous church. Not only did it utterly ruin the whole establishment, but it drove all the most respectable, the most wealthy, and the most enlightened citizens from the place. They took refuge in Holland, in Hesse, and in Brandenburg; and the commercial and industrial resources of the city were at the same time virtually annihilated. Few or none remained, except such as had either secretly or really abjured their faith. In 1738, there were only eight or nine Protestant families at the Sablons. A few families remained at Metz, at Jouy, at Lerry, at Chieulles, at Courcelles-Chaussy, and at Silly. But they were obliged to send their children abroad to receive their education. To contract marriage they had to go to Ludwiller, Deux-Ponts, Sarrebruck, or Altwiller. They communicated at the first-mentioned place, travelling through the woods at night; and even then they were often pursued and arrested. In 1790, the pastor Holzach, of Ludwiller, took up his residence at Courcelles ; and at last, in 1802, the Protestants of the " Messin" obtained a resident pastor and a place of worship at Metz, and the congregation has already doubled within the last fifty years. "Veuille le Seigneur," says the
present worthy pastor, "qu'elle voie luire encore pour elle les jours de son ancienne prospérité! Puisse-t-elle, pour cela, demeurer ferme dans sa foi et fidèle à l'Evangile du Seigneur!"
And now for the narrative of the Sieur Jean Olry. On the 20th of October, 1685, the Procureur-Général au Parlement de Metz, accompanied by the officers of justice and others, went to the Protestant church of that town, and, after putting his seals upon the boxes containing the communion plate, linen, &c., he placed padlocks on the doors. The pastors at once summoned a meeting of the elders of the Church and heads of families in the house of M. Ancillon, the oldest minister, and it was there resolved to send two elders as a deputation to the king. The deputation having met with no success, great consternation prevailed throughout the city; on the one hand were heard nothing but regrets and complaints, on the other mockery and insolence. Many, foreseeing the calamities to which the Church was about to be exposed, at once left the place with their families, to take refuge in other countries.
On Monday, the 22nd of the same month, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and of that of Nîmes, was publicly read, and orders were issued for the destruction of the "temple," as also of the buildings connected with it. The mob hastened to carry out the order, broke open the doors with hatchets and hammers, tumbled down the roof, and finally the walls, even to the foundations; and so great was their zeal, that by the evening of the same day scarcely a vestige of building remained. The Protestants continuing all this time to fly the city, guards were posted on the 24th at the gates to arrest the fugitives, and others were despatched to the bridges over the Sarre, along the roads, and even into the woods, in pursuit of the runaways. The peasants were at the same time ordered to assist in arresting all such; and those who were thus caught were, the men sent to the galères, and the females to the convents. Some of the former escaped from their prisons, and the latter, according to the Sieur Jean Olry, "gave glory to God by their constancy and firmness, which astonished even their keepers." The four pastors were alone permitted to hire a boat, with which they descended the Moselle, whence they ultimately reached the city of Frankfort-on-the-Maine. There were at that time nothing but tears and moans, relieved by zealous prayer, among the Protestants. The townspeople, hitherto so friendly, now insulted them with opprobrious epithets, as "cursed heretics, Calvinists, and schismatics, and as rebels;" whilst the soldiery boasted that their houses would be pillaged, and themselves massacred, unless they became Roman Catholics. The hostility between the parties was increased by a rumour that spread through the city, to the effect that it was the intention of the Protestants to fire the houses, and to make their escape in the tumult, defending themselves to the last against their oppressors. A sense of common danger led M. de Charruel, "intendant des trois évêchés," to temporise with the people; he summoned the elders into his presence, and told them that the articles of the treaty of Munster, of 1648, by which Metz was ceded to France, and which assured religious liberty, should be regarded.
Not trusting to these promises, a party of sixty, comprising several officers of rank, persons of quality, and professional men, besides women and children, made their escape under the guidance of the Marquis of Varenne, who commanded a battalion of the regiment of Turenne; but a village mayor having betrayed them to M. de la Bretesche, governor of