Chais, Charles

, an eminent protestant divine, was born in 1701, at Geneva, where he probably received the first rudiments of education. The church being chosen for his profession, after passing through the usual probationary exercises, he was admitted into the order of | priesthood. In the ministry his reputation as a preacher and an orator soon became so popular and extensive, that in 1728 he was elected pastor at the Hague, and his conduct in this establishment, while it contributed to his own reputation, redounded no less to the honour of those who had appointed him. Having adorned his ministry by the purity of his manners, the excellence of the discourses which he delivered from the pulpit, and his numerous writings in defence of revealed religion, he died in 1786, at the age of eighty-five, after having punctually discharged his duty as a pastor during the period of fifty-eight years. The unfortunate supported by his consolation, the youth enlightened by his instructions, and the poor succoured by his charity, lamenting the loss which they had sustained by the death of a benefactor and a friend, proved more eloquent attestations of his merit, than any panegyric which might have been pronounced by the most sublime orator. His sermons were distinguished by a perspicuous style and a pure morality. They seemed to flow not only from a man who practised what he taught, but from one who, acquainted with the inmost recesses of the human heart, could exert his eloquence to win his hearers to the interests of virtue and religion. His portrait, which is prefixed to his translation of the Holy Bible, seems to confirm the relation of his friends, who say that his countenance was interesting and attractive. In his manners he was polite and attentive; in his address mild and insinuating. His literary excellence consisted in a judicious and happy arrangement of his subjects, delivered in a plain and unaffected style. He made no pretensions to originality, but he illustrated the works of other writers, by introducing them to his countrymen in a language that was more familiar to them.

His works were: 1. “La Sainte Bible, avec un commentaire literal & des notes choisies, tirees de divers auteurs Anglois,” printed at the Hague. The publication of this work was begun in 1742, and continued till 1777, forming 6 vols. in 4to. The 7th volume was left by the author in ms. and published in 1790, by Dr. Maclaine, who wrote also the preliminary dissertations. This volume completes the historical books of the Old Testament. 2. “Le sens literal de Tecriture sainte traduit de PAnglois de Stackhouse,” ibid. 1751, 3 vols. 8vo. 3. “Lettres historiques et dogmatiques sur les Jubilés,” ibid, 1750, 1751, 3 tom. | 8vo. 4. “Theologie de Tecriture S. ou la Science da Salut, comprise dans une ample collection de passages du V. & N. Testament,” ibid. 1752, 2 torn. 8vo. 5. “Essai apologetique sur F Inoculation,” ibid. 1755; and several volumes of “Sermons.” Besides these works, he superintended the publication of Hainault’s History of France, which was published at the Hague in 1747, 8vo. He was besides engaged as a writer in the “Bibliotheque Historique,” which was begun at the Hague in 1738, and also contributed some articles in the “Bibliotheque des sciences et beaux arts.1


From the preceding edit. of this Dict.—Life by Dr. Maclaime.