Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Allix, Peter

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ALLIX, PETER, D.D. (1641–1717), preacher and theologian, son of Pierre Allix, pastor of the Reformed Church of France at Alençon, was born at Alençon, department of L'Orne, Normandy, in 1641. His father directed his early studies; afterwards he attended the protestant universities of Saumur and Sedan. He was especially distinguished in the study of Hebrew and Syriac, and worked at a new translation of the Bible, in conjunction with the well-known Claude. His first charge as a pastor was at St. Agobille, in Champagne. In 1670, owing to his distinguished abilities, he was translated to Charenton, Paris, the principal reformed church of the metropols, attended by most of the distinguished families of the reformed faith. Here he acquired great fame and power as a preacher, so much so, that in Bayle's Dictionary a high compliment is paid to his learning and abilities. In 1683 he was chosen moderator of the last provincial synod, held at Lisy, in the diocese of Meaux. The synod numbered fifty-four ministers, and sat for three weeks.

In 1685, in consequence of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, Allix was compelled to leave France. He came to England, where he at once obtained naturalisation as an English subject, and authority to found in London a French church for the refugees, on condition that the worship should be conducted on the Anglican model. He rapidly acquired a complete acquaintance with the English language.

Soon after his arrival he published a learned and powerful book, entitled ‘Reflections on the Books of the Holy Scripture, to establish the Truth of the Christian Religion.’ The book was dedicated to King James II, and in his dedication the author makes a cordial acknowledgment of the kindness which he and his fellow-exiles had received. Allix obtained the degree of D.D. from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1690 he was appointed treasurer of the church of Salisbury.

Allix was requested to write a history of the Church Councils, a work which would have extended to seven volumes, but for want of sufficient encouragement the undertaking had to be abandoned. He wrote many books, however, on various departments of theology and church history, and from his great stores of learning, both christian and rabbinical, many of his contributions acquired a peculiar value. In the latter part of his life he directed his attention especially to the prophecies of Scripture, and influenced in part, perhaps, by the calamities which had befallen himself and his protestant countrymen, he maintained that Jesus Christ was soon to return and reign on earth.

Louis XIV was very desirous to induce Allix to return to France, and, through his ambassador at London, made proposals to that effect, on the understanding, of course, that he would renounce his protestantism. But to such proposals Allix turned a deaf ear.

Allix was on intimate terms with many of the most eminent men of letters of the day, by whom, as indeed by all classes in England, he was highly esteemed for the firmness of his principles, the variety and extent of his learning, his social disposition, and the integrity and consistency of his character. He died at London on 3 March 1717, aged 76.

The works published by Allix, some in French, some in Latin, and some in English, were as follows:

  1. ‘Reponse à la Dissertation par Bertram, et Jean Scott, ou Erigene,’ 1670.
  2. ‘Ratramme, ou Bertram Prêtre; du corps et du sang du Seigneur,’ 1672.
  3. ‘Dissertatio de Trisagii origine,’ 1674.
  4. ‘Dissertatio de Sanguine Domini Nostri Jesu Christi.’
  5. ‘Dissertatio de Tertulliani vita et scriptis.’
  6. ‘Les Malheurs de l'impenitence, sermon de jeune, sur Proverbes i. 24–28, prononcé à Charenton en 1675.’
  7. ‘Les devoirs du Saint Ministère, sermon de consecration, sur Tit. ii. 7, 8, prononcé à Charenton en 1676.’
  8. ‘Dissertatio de Conciliorum quorumvis definitionibus ad examen revocandis,’ 1680.
  9. ‘Anastasii Sinaiticæ anagogicarum contemplationum in Hexahemeron lib. xii.’ 1682.
  10. ‘Défense de la Réformation, sermon sur Jeremie v. 16, prononcé à Charenton en 1682.’
  11. ‘Douze Sermons de P. A. sur divers textes,’ 1685.
  12. ‘Determinatio F. Joannis Parisiensis de modo existendi corporis Christi in sacramento altaris,’ 1686 (proving that the Church of Rome did not hold transubstantiation before the Council of Trent).
  13. ‘Les maximes du vrai Chrétien,’ 1687.
  14. ‘L'Adieu de St. Paul aux Ephesiens,’ 1688. This sermon was intended to be preached at Charenton on the day on which the church was closed.
  15. ‘A Discourse concerning Penance,’ 1688.
  16. ‘A Discourse concerning the Merit of Good Works,’ 1688.
  17. ‘An Historical Discourse concerning the Necessity of the Minister's Intention in administering the Sacrament,’ 1688.
  18. ‘Reflections upon the Books of the Holy Scripture to establish the Truth of the Christian Religion,’ two vols. (the first published in French, 1687, the second in English, 1688).
  19. ‘Preparation for the Lord's Supper,’ 1688.
  20. ‘An Examination of the Scruples of those who refuse to take the Oaths,’ 1689.
  21. ‘Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the ancient Church of Piedmont,’ 1690.
  22. ‘Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Albigenses,’ 1692. (In these two books Allix tries to prove that the Waldenses and Albigenses had preserved the truth unchanged from apostolic times.)
  23. ‘The Judgment of the ancient Jewish Church against the Unitarians,’ 1689. (He shows that the Jews always held the divinity of their expected Messiah.)
  24. ‘De Messiæ duplice Adventu.’ (He tries to make out that the second Advent would be in 1720, or at latest 1736.)
  25. ‘Animadversions on Mr. Hill's Vindication of the Primitive Fathers against Reverend Gilbert,’ 1695.
  26. ‘Dissertatio in Tatianum.’
  27. ‘Preface and Arguments on the Psalms,’ 1701.
  28. ‘Nectarii Patriarchæ Hierosolymitani Confutatio Imperii Papæ,’ 1702.
  29. ‘Augustini Hermanni Franche [of Halle] Manuductio ad lectionem SS. edita studio P. A.,’ 1706.
  30. ‘Dissertatio de Domini Nostri anno et mense natali,’ 1707.
  31. ‘A Confutation of the Hopes of the Jews,’ 1707.
  32. ‘Prophecies applied by Mr. Whiston, &c., considered,’ 1707.
  33. ‘Reflexions critiques et théologiques sur la controversie de l'Eglise’ (no date).

[Haag's La France Protestante; L'Encyclopédie des Sciences Religieuses; Weiss's L'Histoire des Réfugiés; Drion's L'Histoire Chronologique de l'Eglise Protestante de France; Bayle's Dictionary; Biographia Britannica; Agnew's French Protestant Refugees.]

W. G. B.