Airay, Henry & Cartwright, Thomas
The warm and experimental Reformed Christianity of Daillé’s Expositions of Philippians (1643) and Colossians (1648) was immensely appreciated on this side of the English Channel. Last published in the UK by James Nichol (Edinburgh, 1863), the Huguenot preacher’s sermons have never failed to instruct and inspire. Daillé’s Nichol series editor James Sherman (1796-1862, formerly minister of Castle Street Chapel, Reading and the Surrey Chapel, London) quotes an unnamed ‘devoted servant of Christ’ who had written on his copy of the 1672 edition, ‘This is the most eloquent book in my library.’ In the eighteenth century, Henry Venn wrote to his son of the reviving influence of Daillé’s sermons: “This last week has been very gloomy, cold, misty weather: we have not had one visitor; but I have enjoyed a feast, in reading M. Daillé on the Colossians. What a judicious writer! What a masterly expositor! The truth, the fulness of Christ, are so set forth by him, as to make my heart glow; and I am the better for what I read.”
James Sherman’s own commendation of Daillé’s sermons is impressive: ‘They are marked by clear interpretation of Scripture great candour towards other expositors boldness for the faith and vigorous attacks on the errors of the papacy, which he exposes with singular skill, and refutes with masculine energy. His sanctified eloquence appears in every page, but especially in his perorations, which for close appeals to the conscience, ardent love to a precious Saviour, earnest exhortations to holy walking with God, and active service for Christ, exceed any which have fallen into the editor’s hands…’ Somewhat less striking, C. H. Spurgeon’s brief remark on Daillé’s expositions is not to be ignored: ‘Written in a deliciously florid style. Very sweet and evangelical: after the French manner.’
A recent commendation justifies continuing interest in Daillé. Dr Cyril J. Barber writes in the Klock & Klock facsimile edition (1983) of Daillé’s Colossians: ‘In contrast to some puritan works of this period, Daillé adhered more closely to the text of Scripture, expounded each verse fully, and generally leaves his readers astonished at his wisdom and insight.’
Jean Daillé (1594-1670) was a French Huguenot minister and Biblical commentator. He is mentioned in J.A. Wylie's History of Protestantism. Perhaps his most famous work is an Apology for the French Reformed Churches.