COURT, ANTOINE, 1690-1760; called the "Restorer of Protestantism in France;" born of peasant parents, adherents of the reformed church, which was then undergoing cruel persecution. Court was 8 years old when the Camisard revolt was suppressed, and 19 when the infamous decree of Louis XIV. was published, declaring that all who pro fessed the reformed faith should be punished as relapsed heretics. When but 17 years old, Court began to speak at the secret meetings of the Protestants, held literally "in dens and caves of the earth," and often in darkness, with no pastor present to teach or counsel. He entertained a great desire to build up the church so ruthlessly persecuted; and to this end he proposed four things: 1. Regular religious meetings for teaching and worship; 2. Suppression of the fanaticism of those who professed to be inspired, and of the consequent disorders; 3. Restoration of discipline by the establish ment of consistories, conferences, and synods; and 4. The careful training of a body of
pastors. To the exercise of this great task he devoted his life. From audiences of half a dozen trembling in secret, he came to address openly 10,000 at one time. In 1724, further fury was hurled at the Protestants in a decree which assumed that there were no Protestants in France, and prohibiting the most secret exercise of the reformed i religion. A price was set on Court's head, and in 1730 he fled to Lausanne. There, after immense exertion, he founded a college for,the education of clergy, of which, during the remaining 30 years of his life, he was the chief director. This college sent forth all the pastors of the reformed church of France until the close of the 18th century. Court intended to write a history of Protestantism, and made extensive collections for the pur pose; but lie did not live to do the work. He was the father of the more widely known Court de Gibelin.