Saturday, August 13, 2005

Gaspar Coligny

The Huguenots, the Reformed in France during the Reformation, are often over looked during studies of Reformation history. Probably because in the end, the failed to reform France. Yet, the Huguenots stand forth for all the ages to see a biblically minded, steadfast, loyal group of Christians. August is the month where the French Government slaughtered them in mass. So from now till St. Bartholomew’s Day, the day of the massacre, August 24th, I thought I would post a few profiles of these men, men who died for the faith.

Gaspar de Coligny was a man of devout faith, a picture of virtue. He succeeded in everything he did. He became a great warrior for the kingdom of France, and received the highest honor for his work, the title of Admiral. His prestige and position as a Count also made him a statesman. There too, no one could impugn his character. People tried to accuse him of murder, and plotting against the king, but all were easily refuted as lies of those who hated the Reformed faith. Indeed, it was Coligny that always counseled caution, that actively argued against open war and rebellion. He trusted God to care for their souls, and the mission of the church to reform France. A constant voice for religious toleration in France, and he found friends for his cause even in the Romish church. Perhaps it is because of his high standing and great success that Coligny was singled out for brutal treatment by those who made war on God’s people.
On August 24th, 1572, Admiral Gaspar Coligny died at the hand of a band of murders. Two days earlier he had been shot by an assassin, but lived. The King came to his bedside often, so often in fact that the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici, created lies and incited a plot to exterminate the Huguenots. The weak King, whipped into an emotional frenzy, agreed. The morning of the 24th found the King in his right mind, but the plan under way. A message went out from the King to stop, but the orders were ignored. A gang of thugs led by Romish nobles broke down the doors to Coligny’s place of residents and began slaughtering his guards. A servant woke the Admiral saying, “My Lord! God calls us to himself!” Coligny read prayers, told his servants to save themselves, and continued his devotions until the attackers found him. He was stabbed by everyone in the room, his body thrown outside to find positive identification, and then his head cut off and sent to the Queen Mother.

Coligny stands as a permanent reminder that one does not have to be a minister to be an effective Christian, one must only live his life in accordance with the will of Jesus Christ. May we remember him, and follow his example.