a website dedicated to the memory of Adolphe Monod (1802-1856)



Athanase Coquerel the Elder (1795-1868)

In his book Observations pratiques sur la prédication (Practical observations on preaching, 1860, p. 24) Athanase Coquerel the Elder (1795-1868) tells us about an encounter with Jean Monod (p. 24):

*** My translation from the French ***

“I remember that shortly after my return to Paris, following my graduation from the Montauban faculty, Jean Monod, the venerable pastor with whom my family has had the most intimate relationship, right until the baptismal fonts, and whose preaching was both so liberal and so full of unction, asked to see me. I had just sat down in his study when he rose, took one of Saurin’s volumes, opened it towards the end of the sermon on eternal punishment and said: “Please read this to me.” He listened very carefully, without ever interrupting me, and then encouraged me in a very well-meaning manner, and offered me some critical advice on the inflections and redundancies of the intonation of this passage, which I have tried to make use of and which is still present to my mind after so many years.”

Several aspects seem noteworthy:

  • Monod is referred to as “venerable pastor”. This is something that we can see in most witness testimonies: Jean Monod appears to have been a quite impressive person and the object of genuine veneration on behalf of his parishioners.
  • A liberal such as Coquerel qualifies Monod’s preaching as “so liberal and so full of unction”.
  • In Jean Monod’s (and his sons’) time Jacques Saurin (1677-1730) was considered to be the prince of the protestant preachers. Incidentally, we know that Adolphe Monod had a collection of Saurin’s sermons in his baggage when travelling.
  • Monod has a sermon on eternal punishment read out to him and then insists on the best intonation. The men of the Enlightenment did not take this doctrine quite seriously, unlike their successors of the Awakening movement.

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