1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gerberon, Gabriel

GERBERON, GABRIEL (1628–1711), French Jansenist monk, was born on the 12th of August 1628 at St Calais, in the department of Sarthe. At the age of twenty he took the vows of the Benedictine order at the abbey of Ste Melaine, Rennes, and afterwards taught rhetoric and philosophy in several monasteries. His open advocacy of Jansenist opinions, however, caused his superiors to relegate him to the most obscure houses of the order, and finally to keep him under surveillance at the abbey of St Germain-des-Prés at Paris. Here he wrote a defence of the doctrine of the Real Presence against the Calvinists in the form of an apology for Rupert, abbot of Deutz (Apologia pro Ruperto abbate Tuitensi, Paris, 1669). In 1676 he published at Brussels, under the name of “Sieur Flore de Ste Foi” his Miroir de la piété chrétienne, an enlarged edition of which appeared at Liége in the following year. This was condemned by certain archbishops and theologians as the repetition of the five condemned propositions of Jansen, and Gerberon defended it, under the name of “Abbé Valentin” in Le Miroir sans tache (Paris, 1680). He had by this time aroused against him the full fury of the Jesuits, and at their instigation a royal provost was sent to Corbie to arrest him. He had, however, just time to escape, and fled to the Low Countries, where he lived in various towns. He was invited by the Jansenist clergy to Holland, where he wrote another controversial work against the Protestants: Défense de l’Église Romain contre la calomnie des Protestants (Cologne, 1688–1691). This produced unpleasantness with the Reformed clergy, and feeling himself no longer safe he returned to Brussels. In 1700 he published his history of Jansenism (Histoire générale du Jansénisme), a dry work, by which, however, he is best remembered. He adhered firmly to the Augustinian doctrine of Predestination, and on the 30th of May 1703 he was arrested at Brussels at the instance of the archbishop of Malines, and ordered to subscribe the condemnation of the five sentences of Jansen. On his refusal, he was handed over to his superiors and imprisoned in the citadel of Amiens and afterwards at Vincennes. Every sort of pressure was brought to bear upon him to make his submission, and at last, broken in health and spirit, he consented to sign a formula which the cardinal de Noailles claimed as a recantation. Upon this he was released in 1710. The first use he made of his freedom was to write a work (which, however, his friends prudently prevented him from publishing), Le Vaine Triomphe du cardinal de Noailles, containing a virtual withdrawal of the compulsory recantation. He died at the abbey of St Denis on the 29th of March 1711.