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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

More, Alexander

a very noted preacher of the French Protestants, who flourished in the 17th century in France and Switzerland, was born at Castres, Languedoc, September 25, 1616, of Scottish parents. He received his preparatory training under his father at Castres, and went from home at the age of twenty to study divinity at Geneva. But it so happened that the chair of Greek was vacant at this time, and though so young a man and a stranger, More was chosen to fill it. He promptly accepted the proffered honor, and three years later had the pleasure of being promoted to a professorship in divinity, he having improved his time in the study of that department. His rapid advance made him many enemies, and he was accused of heresy. But, notwithstanding much and able opposition, More advanced, and in 1645 was made rector of the high school with which he was connected. He was, however, destined soon to decline, for he was very arrogant and proud, and some even dared to assert that he was immoral. He was wise enough to perceive the near approach of his fall, and he therefore decided to quit Geneva. In 1649 he secured the divinity professorship and pastoral office at Middleburg, in Zealand, and there also he won a reputation for his learning and ability, which opened to him in 1652 the university at Amsterdam. He had been proffered before a position in that noble high school, but had refused it; now he accepted, and removed thither. In 1654 he vacated his chair, and went on a visit to Italy, and became well acquainted with the men of note and of rank in that country. He enjoyed a personal intercourse with the duke of Tuscany, and was a favorite at Venice. Returning to his charge, he encountered decided opposition, many of his congregation doubting his sincerity, and declaiming against the unholiness of his life.

Charges were brought against him, and he was condemned by the Synod of Torgau. He quitted his parish, and accepted a call from a Church in Paris, and though there was great variety of opinion as to his trustworthiness, he was confirmed in the position. He had not, however, occupied it long before he was openly attacked. Though his manner of preaching procured him applause from a crowd of hearers, his character was generally acknowledged to be ambiguous, and he had the mortification to see his reputation attacked by persons of merit, who accused him anew to the synod. He escaped further condemnation by quitting France in December 1661. He returned again in the summer following, and, finding that the opposition had not subsided, he sickened at heart, as it is generally believed, declined rapidly in health, and died at Paris in September 1670. By the confession of his friends, he was proud, vindictive, imperious, satirical, contemptuous; not to say that his character was not quite unblemished in point of chastity, although there is no occasion to believe all that Milton has said of him. Milton had had a quarrel with More, and this may have provoked much that was far from the truth, though the great English bard was not given to falsifying. The trouble had been produced by a publication of More in 1652, addressed under the printer's name to the king of Great Britain, entitled Regii sanguais clamor ad coelum adversus parricides Anglicanos. It is a very violent invective against the Parliament party; and Milton, in particular, is extremely abused in it. He is no better used in the epistle dedicatory than in the book itself. Milton therefore wrote a reply, in which he considered More as the author as well as the editor of the book. He is treated upon the footing of a dog, or rather of a goat; for he is accused of a thousand lewd tricks, particularly of several acts of debauchery. He was also charged with having been convicted of heresies at Geneva, and of having shamefully abjured them with his lips, though not with his heart. Milton accused him of having for many months been deprived of his salary at Geneva, and suspended from his offices as a professor and a minister on account of a process of adultery which had been entered against him; and for which, says he, he would have been condemned, if he had not avoided the decisive sentence by declaring that he would leave the place. But, whatever Milton's opinion, the pious Huetius favored More, and wrote in his be half. He even praised him in song (Pcenat p. 30 and 77, ed. 1700). More published some works: there is a treatise of his, De gratia et libero arbitrio (Geneva, 1644, 4to; Middleburg, 1652); and another, De Scriptura Sacra, sive de causa Dei (Middleburg, 1653, 4to): A Comment on the 53d Chapter of Isaiah: Notae ad loca quaedam Novi Faederis (Lond. 1661, 8vo): a reply to Milton, with the title of Alexandri Mori fides publica (La Haye, 1654, 12mo): some Orations and Poems in Latin. See Senebier, Hist. litter. de Geneve; Haag, La France Protestante, 7:543 sq.; Bayle, Hist. Dict. s.v. (J.H.W.)

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'More, Alexander'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/m/more-alexander.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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