A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/French Prophets
FRENCH PROPHETS. They first appeared in Dauphiny and Vivarais. In the year 1688, five or six hundred protestants, of both sexes, gave themselves out to be prophets inspired of the Holy Ghost, and they soon amounted to many thousands. They had strange fits, which came upon them with tremblings and faintings, as in a swoon, which made them reel and stagger till they dropped. They beat themselves, fell on their backs, shut their eyes, and heaved their breasts, as in fits; and when they came out of these trances said, they saw the heavens open, the angels paradise, and hell; and then began to prophesy.
The burden of their dicourses was, Repent, amend your lives: the end of all things draweth nigh! The walls of their assemblies, and, when in the open air, the hills rebounded with their loud cries for mercy; and with imprecations against the priests, the church, and the pope, with predictions of the appoaching fall of popery.
In the year 1706, three or four of these prophets came over into England, and brought their prophetic spirit with them, which discovered itself by extacies, agitations, and inspirations under them, as it had done in France; and they propagated the like spirit to others, so that before the year was out, there were two or three hundred of these prophets in and about London, of both sexes, of all ages; men, women, and children; and they had delivered four or five hundred prophetic warnings.
The great thing they pretended by their spirit was, to give warning of the near approach of the kingdom of God, the happy times of the church, the millenium-state. Their message was, that the grand jubilee, the acceptable year of the Lord, the accomplishment of those numerous passages in scripture concerning the new heavens, and the new earth, &c. was now even at the door-that this great work was to be wrought on the part of man by spiritual arms, only, proceeding from the mouths of those who should, by inspiration of the Spirit, be sent forth in great numbers, to labour in the vineyard-that this mission of his servants should be witnessed to by signs and wonders from heaven, by a deluge of judgments on the wicked throughout the world; as famine, earthquakes, &c.-that the exterminating angels should root out the tares, and leave upon earth only good corn; and that the works of men being thrown down, there should be but one Lord, one faith, one heart, and one voice, among mankind. They declared, that all these great things would be manifest over the whole earth within the term of three years.
These prophets also pretended to the gift of languages, of discerning the secrets of the heart; the power of conferring the same spirit on others, and the gift of healing by the laying on of hands. To prove that they were really inspired by the Holy Ghost, they alleged the complete joy and satisfaction they experienced, the spirit of prayer which was poured forth upon them, and the answer of their prayers by the Most High.
- Chauncey's Works, vol. iii. p. 2-39. Prophetical Warnings of the Eternal Spirit. A Brand snatched from the burning, &c.