1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/La Badie, Jean de
LA BADIE, JEAN DE (1610–1674), French divine, founder of the school known as the Labadists, was born at Bourg, not far from Bordeaux, on the 13th of February 1610, being the son of Jean Charles de la Badie, governor of Guienne. He was sent to the Jesuit school at Bordeaux, and when fifteen entered the Jesuit college there. In 1626 he began to study philosophy and theology. He was led to hold somewhat extreme views about the efficacy of prayer and the direct influence of the Holy Spirit upon believers, and adopted Augustinian views about grace, free will and predestination, which brought him into collision with his order. He therefore separated from the Jesuits, and then became a preacher to the people, carrying on this work in Bordeaux, Paris and Amiens. At Amiens in 1640 he was appointed a canon and teacher of theology. The hostility of Cardinal Mazarin, however, forced him to retire to the Carmelite hermitage at Graville. A study of Calvin’s Institutes showed him that he had more in common with the Reformed than with the Roman Catholic Church, and after various adventures he joined the Reformed Church of France and became professor of theology at Montauban in 1650. His reasons for doing so he published in the same year in his Déclaration de Jean de la Badie. His accession to the ranks of the Protestants was deemed a great triumph; no such man since Calvin himself, it was said, had left the Roman Catholic Church. He was called to the pastorate of the church at Orange on the Rhone in 1657, and at once became noted for his severity of discipline. He set his face zealously against dancing, card-playing and worldly entertainments. The unsettled state of the country, recently annexed to France, compelled him to leave Orange, and in 1659 he became a pastor in Geneva. He then accepted a call to the French church in London, but after various wanderings settled at Middelburg, where he was pastor to the French-speaking congregation at a Walloon church. His peculiar opinions were by this time (1666) well known, and he and his congregation found themselves in conflict with the ecclesiastical authorities. The result was that la Badie and his followers established a separate church in a neighbouring town. In 1669 he moved to Amsterdam. He had enthusiastic disciples, Pierre Yvon (1646–1707) at Montauban, Pierre Dulignon (d. 1679), François Menuret (d. 1670), Theodor Untereyk (d. 1693), F. Spanheim (1632–1701), and, more important than any, Anna Maria v. Schürman (1607–1678), whose book Eucleria is perhaps the best exposition of the tenets of her master. At the head of his separatist congregation, la Badie developed his views for a reformation of the Reformed Churches: the church is a communion of holy people who have been born again from sin; baptism is the sign and seal of this regeneration, and is to be administered only to believers; the Holy Spirit guides the regenerate into all truth, and the church possesses throughout all time those gifts of prophecy which it had in the ancient days; the community at Jerusalem is the continual type of every Christian congregation, therefore there should be a community of goods, the disciples should live together, eat together, dance together; marriage is a holy ordinance between two believers, and the children of the regenerate are born without original sin, marriage with an unregenerate person is not binding. They did not observe the Sabbath, because—so they said—their life was a continual Sabbath. The life and separatism of the community brought them into frequent collision with their neighbours and with the magistrates, and in 1670 they accepted the invitation of the princess Elizabeth, abbess of Herford in Westphalia, to take up their abode within her territories, and settled in Herford to the number of about fifty. Not finding the rest they expected they migrated to Bremen in 1672, and afterwards to Altona, where they were dispersed on the death of the leaders. Small communities also existed in the Rhineland, and a missionary settlement was established in New York. Jean de la Badie died in February 1674.
La Badie’s works include La Prophétie (1668), Manuel de piété (1669), Protestation de bonne foi et saine doctrine (1670), Brieve declaration de nos sentiments touchant l’Eglise (1670). See H. van Berkum, De Labadie en de Labadisten (Sneek, 1851); Max Göbel (1811–1857), Gesch. d. christl. Lebens in der rheinisch-westphälischen Kirche (Coblenz, 3 vols., 1849–1860); Heinrich Heppe (1820–1879), Geschiehte des Pietismus (Leiden, 1879); Albrecht Ritschl, Geschichte des Pietismus, vol. i. (Bonn, 1880); and especially Peter Yvon, Abrégé précis de la vie et de la conduite et des vrais sentiments de feu Mr de Labadie, and Anna Maria v. Schürman, Eucleria (Altona, 1673, 1678). Cf. the article in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie.