dimanche 6 mars 2016

Un petit tract américain de prosélytisme protestant qui a les Hautes-Alpes pour cadre.

C'est une petite chose que je présente, un petit fascicule de 16 pages, de 11 cm sur 7, édité par l'American Tract Society à New York : Mariette, the little shepherdess of the Alps.

C'est un petit livret de prosélytisme et de pédagogie protestantes, qui s'appuie sur l'histoire de Félix Neff dans les Hautes-Alpes pour l'édification des foules. Il s'agit de mettre en valeur l'action du pasteur qui a mis tout son énergie à convertir des “Roman Catholics” au protestantisme, malgré les oppositions rencontrées localement. L'histoire, extraite de A Memoir of Felix Neff, Pastor of the High Alps, par William Stephen Gilly, D.D., 1840, est celle de la conversion réussite d'une petite bergère de Pallon, à Freissinières, Mariette Guyon :
One day Neff met, at Palons, a little shepherdess, of twelve or thirteen years of age, whose air and language struck him with surprise. In answer to his inquiries about her, he was told that her name was Mariette Guyon, and that she lived in the adjacent hamlet of Punayer with her grandfather and grandmother, who were Roman Catholics; that she had expressed great anxiety to be instructed in the true principles of the Gospel, and that they could not attribute this desire merely to human influence, and to the persuasions of Protestant acquaintances, for she was not permitted to associate with Protestants. He asked the child if she could read? She burst into tears, and said, "Oh! if they would only let me come here to the Sunday-school, I should soon learn, but they tell me that I already know too much." The pastor's interest was further excited, by learning that what little she knew of the difference between the religion of the two churches was picked up by accident, and by stealthy conversations with the converts of the neighborhood.

Au passage, voici comment est décrite l'action de Félix Neff et le milieu haut-alpin dans lequel il a œuvré  :

FELIX NEFF was a pious Protestant minister who labored in the most barren and mountainous districts of the French Alps. In his zeal to make known the blessings of the gospel among the poor peasants who inhabit those desolate regions, he encountered almost inconceivable hardships, and wore out a constitution that was naturally good, at the early age of thirty-one.
Ce petit "tract" n'est pas daté, mais il semble, selon les informations que j'ai trouvées, qu'il a été distribué en 1848.

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