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Gobat, Samuel

GOBAT, SAMUEL (1799-1879), bishop of Jerusalem, was born at Cremine, Bern, Switzerland, on the 26th of January 1799. After serving in the mission house at Basel from 1823 to 1826, he went to Paris and London, whence, having acquired some knowledge of Arabic and Ethiopic, he went out to Abyssinia under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society. The unsettled state of the country and his own ill health prevented his making much headway; he returned to Europe in 1835 and from 1839 to 1842 lived in Malta, where he supervised an Arabic translation of the Bible. In 1846 he was consecrated Protestant bishop of Jerusalem, under the agreement between the British and Prussian governments (1841) for the establishment of a joint bishopric for Lutherans and Anglicans in the Holy Land. He carried on a vigorous mission as bishop for over thirty years, his diocesan school and orphanage on Mount Zion being specially noteworthy. He died on the nth of May 1879.

A record of his life, largely autobiographical, was published at Basel in 1884, and an English translation at London in the same year.

60BEL, JEAN BAPTISTE JOSEPH (1727-1794), French ecclesiastic and politician, was born at Thann, in Alsace, on the 1st of September 1727. He studied theology in the German College at Rome, and then became successively a member of the chapter of Porrentruy, bishop in partibus of Lydda, and finally suffragan of Basel for that part of the diocese situated in French territory. His political life began when he was elected deputy to the states-general of 1789 by the clergy of the bailliage of Huningue. The turning-point of his life was his action in taking the oath of the civil constitution of the clergy (Jan. 3rd, 1791); in favour of which he had declared himself since the sth of May 1790. The civil constitution of the clergy gave the appointment of priests to the electoral assemblies, and since taking the oath Gobel had become so popular that he was elected bishop in several dioceses. He chose Paris, and in spite of the difficulties which he had to encounter before he could enter into possession, was consecrated on the 27th of March 1791 by eight bishops, including Talleyrand. On the Sth of November 1792, Gobel was appointed administrator of Paris. He was careful to flatter the politicians by professing anti-clerical opinions, declaring himself, among other things, opposed to the celibacy of the clergy; and on the 17th Brumaire in the year II. (7th November 1793), he came before the bar of the Convention, and, in a famous scene, resigned his episcopal functions, proclaiming that he did so for love of the people, and through respect for their wishes. The followers of Hebert, who were then pursuing their anti-Christian policy, claimed Gobel as one of themselves; while, on the other hand, Robespierre looked upon him as an atheist, though apostasy cannot strictly speaking be laid to the charge of the ex-bishop, nor did he ever make any actual profession of atheism. Robespierre, however, found him an obstacle to his religious schemes, and involved him in the fate of the Hebertists. Gobel was condemned to death, with Chaumette, Hebert and Anacharsis Cloots, and was guillotined on the 12th of April 1794.

See E. Charavay, Assembtee electorate de Paris (Paris, 1890) ; H. Monin, La Chanson el l'glise sous la Revolution (Paris, 1892); A. Aulard, " La Culte de la raison " in the review, La Revolution Frangaise (1891). For a bibliography of documents relating to his episcopate see " Episcopal de Gobel " in vol. iii. (1900) of M. Tourneux's Bibliographie de I'histoire de Paris pendant la Rev. Fr.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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