A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Labbadists
LABBADISTS, a denomination in the seventeenth century. Their founder, John Labbadie, was a native of France, and remarkable for his natural eloquence and warm enthusiasm. He was educated in the bosom of the church of Rome, but in 1630 he embraced the protestant religion, and became a member of the reformed church, and performed with reputation the ministerial functions in France, Switzerland, and Holland. He at length erected a new community, who, according to the accounts of the Labbadists, did not differ from the reformed church so much in their tenets and doctrines, as in their manners and rules of discipline. Labbadie, however, maintained, that the holy scriptures were not sufficient to lead men to salvation, without certain particular illuminations and revelations from the holy spirit; and that in reading the scriptures, we ought to give less attention to the literal sense of the word, than to the inward suggestions of the spirit, and that the efficacy of the word depended upon him that preached it; that the faithful ought to have all things in common; that there is no subordination or distinction of rank in the true church of Christ; that Christ was to reign a thousand years upon earth ; that the contemplative life is a state of grace and union with God, and the very height of perfection; that the christian, whose mind is contented and calm, sees all things in God, enjoys the Deity, and is perfectly indifferent about every thing that passes in the world; and that the christian arrives to that happy state by the exercise of a perfect self denial, by mortifying the flesh and all sensual affection, and by mental prayer.
Labbadie had the address to ingratiate himself with Elizabeth Princess Palatine, and other ladies of rank and piety. Several persons of distinguished talents became members of this sect; among whom was the celebrated Anne Maria Sehurman of Utrecht, whose extensive erudition rendered her so famous in the republic of letters, during the last century.
- Mosheim, vol. v. p. 492.