Allix, Peter

, a very learned and eminent divine of the church of England, although a native of France, and well known by his numerous and excellent writings, was born in 1641 at Alençon; and having received a liberal education, which highly improved his great natural parts, he became minister of the reformed church at Rouen. At this place, before he was thirty-five years of age, he | distinguished himself by publishing some very able pieces, which excited much notice, and he was invited to Charenton, then the principal church the reformed had in France, and whither the most considerable persons of the Protestant religion constantly resorted. As he now saw himself in a condition to promote the interest of the church, he applied himself to the task with all imaginable zeal, and preached several valuable sermons in defence of the faith, against the artful attempts of the bishop of Meaux, who was then labouring to overturn the reformed religion, by seeming concessions to its professors. Upon the revocation of the edict of Nants, Mr. Allix found himself obliged to quit France, and had prepared a pathetic discourse, which he intended to have delivered as his farewell to his congregation, but was obliged to omit it, although it was afterwards printed.

In 1685, when the above edict was revoked, and the Protestant religion banished from France, Mr. Allix came into England, either in that or the following year, and met with a most favourable reception, on account of his extensive learning, and especially his knowledge in ecclesiastical history. Soon after his arrival, his first object was to acquire the English language, which he attained in a high degree of perfection. In 1690, he was complimented with the degree of D. D. by the university of Cambridge, and in the same year he had the treasurership of the church of Salisbury given to him; and some foreign memoirs say he was made canon of Windsor, but this does not appear to have been the case. It was proposed that he should have published here an authentic “History of the Councils,” for which laborious and important work he was well qualified; but by some accidents intervening, and for want of encouragement, this undertaking miscarried. He wrote and published, however, several treatises relating to ecclesiastical history, which displayed great learning, were very interesting, and very useful to the Protestant cause, which was then in considerable danger. These pieces, of which we shall give a list, were remarkably well received, and the author became in as great credit here, as ever he had been in France, for his ingenious and solid defences of the reformed religion, from reason and authority, and from the practice of early ages, as well as the precepts of the gospel. In 1699 he wrote a very learned treatise in defence of the Trinity, which has always been considered as an able | and argumentative performance, and is mentioned with great respect by the late bishop Horsley, in his letters to Dr. Priestley. He wrote several other learned and ingenious treatises on curious and important subjects, and was, for upwards of thirty years, a strenuous and affectionate defender of the established church. Some of these pieces exposed him, however, to very severe censures; and among the rest, Bayle, who had formerly complimented him very highly, attacked him with contemptuous language; but the opinion of Bayle, where orthodoxy is concerned, is not deserving of much respect. One of his antagonists, Mr. Stephen Nye, rector of Hormead, accuses him of Tritheism; and in Moreri’s Dictionary, printed in 1740, it is insinuated that he was inclined to Socinianism, a charge the most absurd and incredible that could be brought. Dr. Allix, however, continued steady and fixed in his principles, and was so well known to be a zealous defender of the doctrine of the church of England on that subject, that Whiston thought proper to consult him, when he first proposed writing in support of his own opinions, as appears by what he says on this subject in his “Historical Preface,” which, however, Dr. Allix found it necessary to correct in a short relation of his interview with Whiston.

Dr. Allix enjoyed a very uncommon share of health and spirits, as appears by his latest writings, in which there is not only all the erudition, but all the quickness and vivacity that appeared in his earliest pieces. Those who knew him, derived the same pleasure from his conversation, that the learned found in his productions; for, with an extensive share of learning, he had a remarkable liveliness of temper, and expressed himself on the driest subjects with much sprightliness, and in a manner out of the common road. He was consulted by the greatest men of his age, on the deepest and most intricate parts of learning, and received the praise of the ablest critics of his time. It was not any single branch of literature, or a few related to each other, that could occupy his thoughts, but the whole circle of sciences which fall under the cognizance of a general scholar and sound divine. His sermons shew him to have been an admirable orator, and at the same time a profound scholar, and the several ancient authors whose writings he published, testify his skill in criticism, and his perfect acquaintance with antiquity. His treatises on ecclesiastical history discover a vast fund of reading, and | an exact comprehension of his subject, with a warm zeal for the Protestant religion. He laboured also to serve it by the tracts he rescued froro oblivion, to shew, which they did effectually, that the charge of novelty on which the Papists insisted so loudly, was not only unreasonable, but entirely groundless. His thorough acquaintance with Hebrew and Rabbinical learning was displayed in his laborious performance in defence of the doctrine of the Trinity, in which his sincerity is as conspicuous as his learning. If in the prosecution of those deep and recondite studies, he sometimes mistook his way, and erred in his computations, as when he fixed the year of Christ’s second coming at 1720, it was no more than had befallen the greatest men who have travelled this road before him, particularly Joseph Mede and bishop Lloyd; neither have these instances convinced other eminent men that the roads are impassable, since the very learned dean Prideaux, and the sagacious sir Isaac Newton, have devoted many of their hours to the like inquiries. Dr. Allix continued his application to the last, and died at London, Feb. 21, 1717, in the seventy-­sixth year of his age, leaving behind him the reputation of a man, equally assiduous in the right discharge of all the offices of public and private life, and every way as amiable for his virtues and social qualities, as venerable from his uprightness and integrity, and celebrated for his various and profound learning.

His works are, 1. “Response a la Dissertation sur Bertram et Jean Scot, ou Erigene,” printed at the end of Claude’s answer to M. Arnaud’s Perpetuity of the Faith, 1670. 2. “Ratramne, ou Bernard, Pretre, du Corps et du Sang du Seigneur,” Lat. et Fr. Rouen, 1672, 12mo. 3. “Dissertatio de Trisagii origine,” Rothomagi, 1674, 8vo. Maimbourg erroneously ascribes this to another person. 4. “Dissertatio de Sanguine D. N. J. Christi,” date uncertain. 5. “Dissertatio de Tertulliani vita, et scriptis.” 6. “Dissertatio de Conciliorum quorumvis definitionibus ad examen revocandis,” 8vo, circa 1680. 7. “Anastasii, Sinaitæ contemplationum in Hexahemeron liber xii hactenus desideratus,” Gr. et Lat. cum notis, &c. Lond. 1682, 4to. 8. “Douze Sermons sur divers textes,Rotterdam, 1685, 12mo. 9. “Les Maximes du vrai Chretien,” which was printed at Amsterdam, 1687, and joined with “Bonnes et saintes pensées pour touts les jours du mois.” 10. “L’Adieu de St. Paul aux Ephesiens, Sermon,” Amst. 1688, | 12mo. This was his intended farewell sermon noticed above. 11. “Reflections upon the books of the Holy Scripture, to establish the truth of the Christian Religion,” Loud. 1688, 2 vols. This work was dedicated to king James II. from whom the author had received some obligations. The dedication, which is wanting in some editions, may be seen in the Biographia Britannica. Bishop Watson, in his late “Tracts,” republished these Reflections, which he says have always been held in great repute for the plainness and erudition with which they are written. 12. “Determinatio F. Joannis Parisiensis cle modo existendi Corpus Christi in sacramento Allans, &c. cui est prefixa prefatio historica de dogmate Transubstantiationis,” Lond. 1686, 8vo. 15. “Some remarks upon the ecclesiastical history of the ancient Churches of Piedmont,” Lond. 1690, 4to. This is a very elaborate work, in which the author traces the history of opinions with great acuteness and fidelity. 14. “Remarks upon the ecclesiastical history of the ancient Churches of the Albigenses,” Lond. 1692, 4to; a performance of a similar kind with the former, and throwing much light on the opinions of the reformed churches. 15. “The judgment of the ancient Jewish Church, against the Unitarians, in the controversy upon the Holy Trinity, and the divinity of our blessed Saviour,” Lond. 1689, 8vo. This was occasioned by the controversy between bishop Bull and the Unitarians, and is the able defence of the doctrine of the Trinity to which we have already alluded. 16. “De Messiæ duplici adventu dissertationes duæ adversus Judeos,” Lond. 1701, 12mo. It was in this treatise our author fell into the erroneous computation respecting Christ’s second coming. 17. “Preface and arguments on the Psalms.” 18. “Nectarii Patriarchte Hierosolymitani confutatio Imperil Papæ in Ecclesiam,” Lond. 1702, 8vo; a translation from the original in Greek. 19. “Aug. Hermanni Franke manuductio ad lectionem Scrip. Sac.” Lond. 1706, 8vo; our author wrote only a short prefatory recommendation to this book. 20. “Dissertatio de J. C. Domini nostri anno et mense natali,” Lond. 1707 and 1710. 21. “The Prophecies which Mr. Whiston applies to the times immediately following the appearance of the Messiah, considered and examined,” Lond. 1707, 8vo. 22. “Preparations a la Cene,” 8vo, often printed at Geneva. 23. “Remarks upon some places of Mr. Whiston’s books, either printed or in | manuscript,” Lond. 1711, 8vo. This pamphlet is uncommonly scarce. Besides these, the late Dr. Flexman assured Dr. Kippis that the following pieces may be attributed to our author, “Theses Theologicæ de ultimo judicio,” Salmur, 1660, 4to, probably academical exercises; “A discourse concerning Penance,” Lond. 1688, 8vo; “An historical discourse concerning the necessity of the Ministers’ intention in administering the Sacrament,1688, 8vo; “An Examination of the scruples of those who refuse to take the Oaths,1689, 4to; “Animadversions on Mr. Hill’s Vindication of the primitive Fathers, against the right rev. Gilbert, bishop of Sarum,1695, 4to. 1


Biog. Brit.