GAUSSEN, : gō''sän', ETIENNE : French Protestant; b. at Nines at the beginning of the seven teenth century; d. at Saumur (100 m. s.w. of Orléans) 1675. He became professor of philosophy in the academy at Saumur in 1651 and in 1665 professor of theology. He was rector of the acad emy in 1667. The school of Saumur represented at that time a more liberal conception of French Protestantism than did the schools of Sédan and Montauban; and Gaussen contributed much to propagate this conception. His works were highly rated by his contemporaries, and up to the middle of the eighteenth century they were frequently reprinted, both in Holland and Germany. To be mentioned particularly are: De consensu gratiœ cum nature (Saumur,1659); De verbo dei (1665); and Quattuor dissertationes theologian (1670), including De rations studii theolagiei, De nature theologicœ, De rations concionandi, and De utilitate philosophiœ ad theologiam, forming, according to Bayle, the best manual of the time for the study of theology.

Bibliography: E. and It. Hang, La Prance protestante, ed. H. L. Bordier, vol. v., Paris, 1886; Bulletin du protestant%sme fran├žaia, i. 311, ii. 158, 327; Lichtenberger. EBB, v. 441-442.

GAUSSEN, FRANÇOIS SAMUEL ROBERT LOUIS: Swiss clergyman; b. at Geneva Aug. 25, 1790; d. there June 18, 1863. Two years after completing his studies at the university of his native city (1814), he was appointed minister at Satigny, near Geneva, where he succeeded Oellerier, one of the few members of the Swiss clergy who clung to orthodoxy, and who exercised a profound influence on the formation of Gaussen's theological convict:ons. The period was almost contemporaneous with the dawn of the religious revival in French Switzerland. This awakening resulted in the issuance of an order (May 7, 1817) by the Venerable compagnie den pasteurs, practically prohibiting the preaching of certain important doctrines of divinity. Gaussen and Cellerier protested against this ruling in 1819, chiefly by republishing the new French edition of the Helvetic Confession, to which they added a preface in which they declared that a Church must have a declaration of faith, and that the Second Helvetic Confession correctly voiced their personal convictions. In the meantime Gaussen pursued his clerical duties in Satigny, besides holding religious meetings in his own home, as well as in his mother's house in Geneva, striving to revivify the, national church, but not advocating separation from it. At Geneva, which gradually became the center of his activity, Gaussen founded a missionary society, which held meetings, first in private houses and later in the church. In 1828, through the intervention of the VEnfble compagnie, certain new members were elected to its committee whom Gaussen considered heterodox in their views, and he therefore withdrew from the society. This conflict with the clergy of Geneva was the precursor of frequent storms which influenced his future career. Calvin's catechism had long been used as a basis for the instruction of the young, but the Venerable compagnie now substituted another in its stead, and ordered Gaussen to use it. He tried to do so, but found it unsatisfactory:and laid it aside. The clergy of Geneva lodged a complaint against him, and after a lengthy dispute he was finally censured by the compagnie, and deprived of his right to take part in its meetings for a period of one year (cf. Lettrea de Mr. le Pasteur GauSaen d la vin&abk compagnie den pasteurs de Gen~w, 1831; and Expose historique den discussions &v&s entre la. rnmpagnie den paSteurs de Genwv et Mr. Gaussen, 1831) With his friends,


Merle d'Aubign6 and Galland, Gaussen now founded an "Evangelical Society" to distribute Bibles and tracts, and to interest the public in missionary work among the heathen. Shortly afterward the Evangelical Society decided to found a school for the dissemination of Evangelical teachings, and this resolve was imparted to the state councilor of Geneva, as well as to the churches, in circular letters signed by Galland, Merle d'Aubign6, and Gaussen. Gaussen was accordingly deposed by the consistory on Sept. 30, 1831, while his two colleagues were suspended. For a long time he traveled through Italy and England, awakening strong sympathy for his cause in the latter country, but viewing the Roman Catholic Church with extreme disfavor. In 1834 he returned to Geneva, and accepted the chair of dogmatics at the newly established theological school. He inclined strictly toward Reformed Orthodoxy, and deviated from its doctrines only with regard to his theory of predestination, accepting the teaching of election by grace but denying supralapsarianism. Three points of Evangelical theology were especially treated by Gaussen: the divinity of Christ, the prophecies, and the divine authority of Holy Scripture. In his Thdopneustie (Geneva, 1840; Eng. transl., Theopneustia; theplenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, London, 1841) he maintained that all passages. in the Old and New Testaments were verbally inspired, but his theory of inspiration was attacked by members of his own theological school, and later also by Edmund Scherer, and he accordingly wrote, in vindication, Le Canon des Saintes -0critures au double point de true de la. science et de la foi (Lausanne, 1860; Eng transl., Canon of the Holy Scriptures as Viewed. Through Science and Faith, London, 1862). He was also the author of numerous other works, including Legons sur Daniel (3 vols., uncompleted, 1861; Eng. transl., The Prophet Daniel Explained, 1873-74), consisting of several of his catechetical lectures on Daniel; and of Les premiers chapftres de l'Exode, and Le propWe Jonas (the latter two published posthumously). His works enjoyed a wide circulation both in England and in France.

(E. Barde.)

Bibliography: H. von der Goltz, Die retornsierte Kirche Gents im 19. Jahrhundert, pp. 103, 289, 467, Basel, 1862; Lichtenberger, ESR, v. 442-443.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 08/11/06. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely