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THE first of the above series of works is an act of somewhat tardy justice to the great national Reformer of Switzerland. It was hardly to have been anticipated that three centuries should pass before the appearance of a really complete edition
* Hulderici Zwinglii Opera Omnia. Completa Editio Prima, curantibus M. SCHULERO et Jo. SCHULTHESSIO. 8 vols. 8vo. Turici. 1828-42. Ulrich Zwingli et son Epoque. Par J. F. HorTINGER. Traduit de l'Allemand. Lausanne. 1844.
of Zwingli's works. However, the task has now been competently performed; and although we could have wished for a Latin translation of the two volumes of German writings, so that the entire portion might be intelligible to those who could read three quarters of the whole, we are bound to speak in favorable terms of the manner in which Messrs. Schuler and Schulthess have performed their office. The introductory notices are at once terse and full of information; and the collection, especially under the head of Epistolæ, has been enriched with many additions. It was in this latter most Zwinglii Vita. A. MYCONIO. Berolini. 1841. unpretending portion of the volumes that Précis Historique de l'Abbaye et du Pélerinage de the greatest amount of research was inNotre Dame des Ermites, etc. Einsiedeln et New-volved; and M. Schulthess did not live Le Pélerin de Notre Dame des Ermites ou Instruc- to see the issue of the last volume from tion sur le Pèlerinage. Einsiedeln.
Zwingli: or, the Rise of the Reformation in Switzerland, etc. By R. CHRISTOFFEL. Translated from
the German by JOHN COCHRAN. Edinburgh: T.
& T. Clark. 1858.
VOL. XLVIII-NO. L
It is a favorable sign that
there should exist so great a demand for | In the summer season its inhabitants drive the writings of the Protestant champion their cattle to the loftiest regions, and, as to authorize such an undertaking.
It is of no small moment to the knowledge of any important epoch, that we should be thoroughly acquainted with the lives of the principal actors on the scene. Great and energetic men give an impulse to the events of their times; and this was especially true in the case of Zwingli. Yet although he commenced preaching the Gospel at so early a period as to make it doubtful whether he or Luther sounded the first note of war against Rome--although his views on the sacraments, and other most important subjects, are identical with those held by a vast body amongst ourselves and although the town of Zurich, of which he was pastor, became united to the English Reformers by closer ties than any other city on the continent of Europe, we believe that the facts of Zwingli's life are very little known in this country, as compared with the fame of Martin Luther. It will be from no lack of interest in the mode of treatment, or in the subject-matter itself, if this reproach be not largely remedied by Messrs. Clarks' edition of Christoffel's memoir. But other lives of Zwingli are not wanting there is one by M. Schulthess, the same (unless we are mistaken) who was joint editor of the works; another, by Hess, had been given in an English dress; Hottinger's admirable volume, perhaps even now the most popular of all in Switzerland, is a third; whilst the short sketches of Myconius, Zwingli's intimate friend, and that of Melchior Adam in the Vitae Germanorum Theologorum are now lying before us.
Zwingli was born at Wildhaus, in the valley of Toggenburg, on the first of January, 1484. His father was Ammann or magistrate of the village; his mother, Margaritha Meili, came of an honorable family. Eight sons and two daughters sprang from this worthy pair, of whom Ulrich was the third in order of birth. The house of Zwingli was in good repute amongst its neighbors, and to their free election the Ammann owed his magisterial rank; whilst two uncles, whose kindness greatly influenced Zwingli's future career, were respectively dean of Wesen and abbot of Fischingen, in the Canton Thurgau.
The little village of Wildhaus lies high beneath the summit of the snow-clad Alps.
leaving them under the charge of a few attendants, hasten to gather in their scanty harvest. In the winter, round the blazing log-fire, they recount the perils borne in defense of their freedom, or while away the long dark hours with the strains of rustic music. Such was the mode nearly three hundred years ago, such is their habit at the present day. The effects of such an early training may be traced in Zwingli's career. We are told that when he heard how their liberty had been won against the hosts of Charles the Bold, the young child eagerly seized a weapon, and vowed to fight for home and freedom: we know that he never showed any lack of boldness; that his heaviest cares in future life were soothed by his great musical skill; and we may readily believe that, as he owed these traits to his early associations, so also, (as Oswald Myconius writes,) from those sublime mountain hights, which stretch upwards towards heaven, he took something heavenly and divine. Certain it is, that at an early age the boy showed a great aptitude for learning. He soon surpassed his fellows at the village school at Wesen, and was thence sent to Basle, where he was placed under the care of George Binzli, a man remarkable for the sweetness of his disposition, and one who soon became attached to his young pupil. After a three years' residence at Basle, Zwingli was removed to Berne, to attend the lectures of Henry Lupulus.
The scholastic establishments of that period were not of a very satisfactory character. The masters roamed about as vagabonds, settling at any place where they could obtain permission from the authorities; and, for the most, were themselves grossly ignorant of the topics they professed to teach. In an inscription on à painting of such a school still preserved at Basle, the master gives the following advertisement of his powers: "Is there any one here who wants to learn to read and write German in the most expeditious method imaginable? You need not know a single letter of the alphabet, but in less than no time you shall be able to keep your accounts: and if any one is unable to learn this, I agree to give him my lessons for nothing, and to make him a present besides of whatever he may demand. Any shopkeeper or apprentice,
married woman or maiden, who needs instruction, let him knock and enter; he shall be faithfully cared for, and at a fair price. But boys and young girls must write down their names to begin their lessons at the Ember Fast-days, since it is the custom. 1516." It was in classes formed under such instructors as these, where children and grown-up persons were intermingled, that the great mass of the people were instructed.
went in a body to the woods, and, having there cut plants of birch rods, they returned with their spoils, singing a song, the burden of which was, that the birch was the appointed means of directing children in the right path, and that they accordingly presented a voluntary offering of this necessary and useful imple
But, despite this seeming severity, a frightful laxity prevailed in the manageAbove these, were the Latin colleges ment of most schools. The scholars such as that to which Zwingli resorted at wandered from place to place under the Basle. The masters were for the most pretext of seeking for instruction, but part priests, whose remuneration was pro- really in order that they might lead a vided for by some religious foundation, dissolute and vagabond life. In these or from the scanty payments of the wandering troops the eldest and strongest scholars. The educational curriculum ruled; and often, after having induced embraced Latin grammar, music, and some younger children to join them under dialectics; the latter being especially a promise of aid in their studies, no sooner valued as accustoming to a distinctive had they crossed the frontiers of their mode of expression, but which constantly canton than the latter were compelled to degenerated into the most pompous become the servants of their teachers, and verbiage. The most explicit instructions were laid down by the local governments for the guidance of the master, and the behavior of his pupils. He was to use his utmost diligence to get each one forward; was to examine them at convenient intervals; was to commence work at five in summer, six in winter; to have from ten to eleven for dinner, and to continue teaching from thence to four o'clock, except on saints' days, when there might be a half-holiday; was to teach psalms, chants, canticles, intonations, hymns, and requiems; and was to see that his pupils went quietly home, and did not become quarrelers, bravadoes, or turbulent. The pupils were to speak Latin only, save in case of necessity, in and out of school; they were to behave with decency and reverence in the church, belfry, cemetery, etc., and were not to touch or climb upon any of these ecclesiastical appurtenances. To fight with their book-bags, or to tear their clothes, or to throw stones, was strictly forbidden. For disobedience they might be birched; but the master was forbidden to hit them on the head, because, since they were young, it might injure their memory.
In those days the rod was the essential instrument of discipline. There was no sparing it and spoiling the child. There was an annual fête observed even some time after the period of the Reformation, called the "procession of the rods." On a fine summer's day, the school children
beg or steal provisions for them. Hottinger mentions the diary of a young Valaisan, who in his ninth year so attached himself to an older student, and was compelled to follow him through Germany and Poland, without learning even how to read; and who did not find any opportunity to teach himself for nine years. This person describes the miseries he endured, sleeping in winter on the bare boards of a school-house, and in summer in the long grass of the church-yards. When a band of scholars passed by, woe to the fowls, and eggs, and fruit trees in the neighborhood. Sometimes the peasants let loose their dogs upon their heels; sometimes they entertained them, listened to the story of their adventures, and joined in their debaucheries; sometimes a pedagogue appeared, strongly supported by a body-guard of attendants, who drove them into the school-room: in this latter case, the rebels would load their pockets with stones, and commence such an attack upon the enemy, that the police had to interfere.
Such were many of the schools of Switzerland in the day of Zwingli's childhood; but, by his uncle's care in the selection of a master, he was preserved from such evil influence. His mind was soon so imbued with a passion for study, that when he passed from Berne to Vienna, and at the latter place gained his first knowledge of Greek literature, (though at present only through the medium of a
translation,) his enthusiasm knew no bounds. At Vienna he first met with Vadian and Florian, who were so long his intimate friends, and with Faber and John von Eck, the future bitter enemies of the Reformation for the present, however, the young men were all cordial enough to one another. We are told, that from the excesses and immoralities of Vienna Zwingli and some of his friends were kept by their passion for music, in the study and practice of which they passed their evenings together. From Vienna, and the fruitless study of the scholastic philosophy, Zwingli returned once more to Basle, where new life and energy were beginning to spring up under the teaching of Wittenbach. From him probably Zwingli first learned to turn from the barren deserts of the scholastic wisdom to the living fountain of God's word. "The time is not far distant," the master used to cry, "when the scholastic philosophy will be swept away, and the old doctrine of the Church established in its room on the foundation of holy writ. Absolution is a Romish cheat, the death of Christ is the only payment for our sins." Such words sank deep into the heart of more than one hearer; at any rate they had their effect on Zwingli, and on Leo Juda. True it is, that Zwingli was as yet ignorant of saving truth; but there were not wanting fine features in his character at this period. He took the degree of Master of Arts out of deference to common prejudice, but he would never employ the title. " One," he was wont to say, "is our Master, even Christ."
In the year 1506, being then twentytwo, Zwingli quitted Basle a second time. The Independent community of Glarus claimed the right of electing their own minister, and although Zwingli was not yet in priest's orders, they chose him to this important post; his election being in all probability due to the influence of his uncle, the dean of Wesen, and to that of his friends at Glarus. He was accordingly ordained by the bishop of Constance; and, after preaching his first sermon at Rapperschwyl, whose name is rendered familiar to tourists by its long bridge across the Lake of Zurich, he entered upon the duties of his office.
It may be remarked of almost all great men in the world's history, that they have owed their renown more to their energy and untiring application to the duties of
the position which they have from time to time been called upon to fill, than to any fortunate concurrence of events which has afforded an opportunity for the display of their abilities. Great men, it has been well said, do not wait for opportunities-they make them. We are not, of course, denying that God fits his instruments for the purposes which he intends to carry out through their agency, and that he can effect this fitness in a brief season; but this is not God's general mode of dealing with mankind. At the feet of Gamaliel, instructed in all the learning of the Rabbis, after the strictest sect of the Pharisees, as well as thoroughly imbued with heathen literature, such was the preparatory training that fitted the Apostle of the Gentiles for his future career. Brought up from his childhood until forty years old in the court of Pharaoh, learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and then with abundant opportunity to meditate and digest his knowledge in the land of Midian-thus it was that a legislator was provided to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. So too, the year before Zwingli's call to Glarus, Luther had entered the cell of the Augustine monastery at Erfurt, and in his long internal struggle with the sin of his own heart, in the constant study of God's revealed truth, and in the duties of pastor and vicar-general of his order, went through a novitiate of fourteen years' duration, before he came forth to defy Romish authority by burning the Pope's bull. And we may trace a like course of previous drilling for his future warfare in Zwingli's career. Although he had little taste for its barren subtleties, Zwingli had painfully and accurately mastered point by point all the minutiae of the schools, whilst at Vienna, so as to be a fit match for the acutest dialectician; and now he entered on his new sphere with a like energy, determined not to be contented with a mere perfunctory performance of the duties of his office, but in all things, as far as man could, to prove himself a pastor that needed not to be ashamed. He now, therefore, applied himself intently to study, with a view to improvement in preaching-especially to the study of Holy Writ, which as yet he only read in the Latin version: he labored diligently to develop his powers as a public speaker, and to have an adequate knowledge of sacred things, on which those powers
quarter, and in a more seductive form. The lusts of the flesh are plainly contrary to a life of faith; the pride of life, when joined to a priestly career, is a bait that is far more skillfully disguised. Among the most influential men both in Switzerland and at Rome was Cardinal Schinner, a man of no mean powers, who had raised himself from being a herd-boy to the condition of a temporal and spiritual prince. He was at this time papal nuncio in Switzerland, and labored, and not unsuccessfully, to induce the Swiss to enlist under the Pope's banner, and expel the French from Italy. The rising fame of Zwingli, and his poverty, marked him out as a fitting agent to further the Papal inter
when developed might be exercised; "for he was well aware," writes his friend Myconius, "how much he must know to whom the flock of Christ is intrusted." One noble resolve filled his soul as he journeyed on: "I will be upright and true before God in every situation of life in which the hand of the Lord may place me. Hypocrisy and lying are worse than stealing. Man is in nothing brought so much to resemble God as by truth. Lying is the beginning of all evil. Glorious is the truth; full of majesty; commanding even the respect of the wicked." And his conduct accorded with this profession. It is a fine picture, this, of his young manly heart in all the bright glow of its early vigor. Full of a deep sense of re-ests, and Schinner told him that, in responsibility, of steady application and high resolve, and yet without one tinge of affectation, without any taint of the asceticism so common in his day-brighthearted, high-spirited, with a flow of good humor almost to gayety; at one time charmed with a new book or new branch of study, at another (as, indeed, his whole life long) indulging his passionate love for music-it would be hard to find a character with more amiable natural traits than was that of the young parson of Glarus.
But the picture has its dark side-why should we hide it? The sins of such men are beacons to us all, and, by bringing out more plainly the common weakness of humanity, lead us to see more clearly the grace by which alone we can be preserved. In Zwingli's day the relation of the sexes was most disorderly. A gross licentiousness characterized the Swiss population, and from this the clergy were not free. Bound to a life of celibacy, the priest only swore to observe chastity so far as it was possible to human weakness, and a very liberal interpretation was put upon this saving clause. In this regard, as in every other, Zwingli had determined, so he himself writes, to live holily; but he fell, not grossly, as the world then judged, but inexcusably in the sight of God. "By prayer and by diligent study he succeeded in subduing this enemy too, after in faith he had laid hold on Him who is mighty to save even in the weakest." It is characteristic of his truthfulness that we owe our knowledge of his incontinency to his own confession: he would not appear better than he really was.
Yet danger was approaching in another
turn for his exertions on their behalf, a pension of fifty florins would be supplied to further his studies. Zwingli at once repudiated the contract. But the temptation was intensely powerful. What a marked act of grace to a poor Swiss priest less than thirty years old! What a career seemed before him exemplified, far more strongly than words could have impressed it, in the actual success of Schinner himself. But the love of truth prevailed! He did not, indeed, at that time, think it unbecoming to receive money from the Pope, but he told his envoys in explicit terms they were not to fancy that he would for their money withhold one iota of the truth, let them give or retain it as they pleased. The truth of his avowal was soon manifested. His voice was raised loudly against the system then becoming prevalent with the Swiss, of hiring themselves out as mercenaries; as a Christian, he felt the wickedness of shedding blood for payment in another's quarrel: as a patriot, he foresaw the evils that would result from the receipt of pensions paid by foreign sovereigns, whose interests might be opposed to that of Switzerland. His opposition was unpopular; but no one can question his boldness or his judgment in adopting the side he took.
In 1513 Zwingli began to study Greek. He acquired it rapidly and unaided by a master; but such was his application, that he wrote out St. Paul's Epistles, and committed them to memory. Presently he followed the same course with the rest of the New Testament.* And now a flood