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of light was poured in upon his soul. The great means of regeneration was employed, and it began to tell, especially as he abandoned other commentaries to which he had been much devoted, and began to compare Scripture with Scripture. Learning from St. Peter that no Scripture is of any private interpretation, he became earnest in prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit; and, as he asked, it was granted him ever more and more to understand its meaning. Thus he learned how Rome's claim to unchangeableness is unfounded, and that God's word alone is eternal: other indications confirmed this conviction. He found an old Liturgy, which ordered the Eucharist to be delivered in both kinds. He fell in with the Litany of Ambrose, once used at Milan, and differing from the Roman. We have been taught these truths from our childhood, and can hardly realize their influence over one who had been educated in the belief of Rome's infallibility. As the light dawned, how often he must have hesitated, wondering whether it was indeed the true Sun shining out, or the glare of some destructive fire that would consume all faith in things Divine, or the false glitter of some will-o'-the-wisp emitted from the quagmires of heresy, that bugbear of Romanism! In the Architeles Zwingli has himself described the difficulty which at this period pressed on his mind. Persuaded as he was of the truth of Christianity, to which of its exponents should he turn? To those that at its origin were held to be taught in heavenly wisdom? or to those who, claiming to be their descendants, now exhibit folly ? 'Every one who is not a fool or altogether brutish will answer to them whom the Spirit of God has enlightened." Henceforward he applied every doctrine to the touchstone of God's word: if he found it could bear the brightness of that stone, he accepted it; if not, he cast it away. Here is the whole principle of Protestant truth admitted. All subsequent changes were but the result of its application to the different questions that from time to time arose.
It is in strange contrast with the position which he had thus taken, that Zwingli should have been soon after summoned to become preacher at the abbey of Einsiedeln. In no place throughout all Switzerland had tradition more successfully usurped the place of God's truth; in no
was a man
place were the tenets of Romanism more flagrantly displayed. The Convent of Benedictines of Einsiedeln professed to owe its origin to an anchorite of the eighth century; and its image of the Black Virgin, the great object to adore which pilgrims assembled from every quarter, had been the most precious pos session of its founder. Meinrad such was the pious hermit's name of noble birth, who had retired from the world to his solitary cell, but whose reputation for sanctity and wisdom deprived him of the solitude for which he longed: driven from the borders of the Lake of Zurich by crowds of intrusive, though admiring, visitors, he had selected Einsiedeln, which was then skirted by the Black Forest, as a more inaccessible abode. Still the fame of the monk increased, until after a residence of six years at his new home, passed in austerities and the contemplation of the mysteries and of the grandeurs of Mary, he fell a victim to two robbers, who murdered him under the expectation of finding vast treasures concealed within his cell. But the death of the holy man did not deprive the spot of its reputation; it was but the commencement of a series of miracles. Unseen the murderers had been by human eye, but St. Meinrad, like the Fathers of the Desert, had friends among the birds of the air. Two ravens pursued the assassins, followed them with cries as far as Zurich, and, having even forced their way through the windows of the auberge in which they had taken refuge, harassed them without cessation, until the strange sight attracted attention, and the terrorstricken men confessed their crime. To this day the monastery has two ravens on its escutcheon.
For forty years the cell remained untenanted, although an object of veneration to the surrounding people; when a canon of Strasburg, the future Saint Bennon, established a fraternity of anchorites upon this hallowed spot. Their leader was indeed for a time removed to the bishopric of Metz; but his holy ardor and efforts to reform the manners of his flock so inflamed them against him that they rose in insurrection, put out his eyes, and expelled him from the city. Then the saint, now doubly venerated for his piety and misfortunes, returned to his former retreat, and was soon surrounded by numerous imitators, whose cells were
Most valuable must, however, have been the opportunity thus afforded to the preacher of showing to his hearers a more excellent way; and of this he availed himself fully. To maintain the delusions of the place was admirably calculated to en rich the cloister; and the burden of most sermons had been the efficacy of the pilgrimage, and the miracles performed by the Black Virgin. But now a new doctrine was proclaimed.
scattered about the place. Another saint | and which are sold there in large numbers from Strasburg, Eberhard by name, gath- to the thronging devotees. If the story ered these dispersed hermits into a single of the abbey, taken from these authorized body, placed them under the Benedictine volumes, is so plainly promulgated in this rule, and built a house for their reception. day, how much credence must it have obTo construct the chapel was a far more tained in that more benighted time! important work: on the very spot on Thousands, indeed, then, as now, came which Meinrad's oratory once had stood, from every quarter of Europe, their long with the very same image of black wood travels and painful endurance to reach the before which he once had knelt, was the abbey showing how fully they believed in temple raised. The day was fixed for its the pretentious and blasphemous inscripconsecration. On the eve preceding, the tion over its gateway: "Here is complete bishop of Constance arrived with a goodly absolution for the guilt and punishment body of knights, and accompanied by UI- of sin." ric, prelate of Augsburg. It was September fourteenth, A.D. 948; all was prepared for the morrow's solemn service. At midnight the bishop and monks went down to the church, and engaged in prayer. On a sudden they saw the chapel illumined by a heavenly light. Christ himself and the four evangelists were at the high altar, performing the service of consecration. Angels scattered a thousand perfumes on left and right; St. Peter and St. Gregory, each in his pontifical robes, assisted; and before the altar was the Virgin Mother, resplendent as the dawn; celestial choirs, led by the archangel Michael, made the arches ring to angelic strains, and St. Stephen and St. Lawrence, the protomartyr deacons, performed the functions befitting their order. The bishop remained in prayer till eleven the next day, astonished at the unusual apparition; but those who had not been present, believed him to be under the influence of a dream, and persuaded him to proceed with the consecration. The prelate yielded most reluctantly, and had commenced the serv ice, when lo! another prodigy-an unutterable stupor fell on all present, as a superhuman voice filled the air with cries of, "Brother, cease. The chapel has been divinely consecrated."
'God,' the preacher cried, 'is every where present, and wherever we call upon him in spirit and in truth, he answers us in the words: "Here I am." Those, then, who bind the grace of God to particular localities, are altogether perverse and foolish; nay, it is not only foolish and perverse to do so, but anti-Christian; for to be obtained and cheaper in one place than they represent the grace of God as more easily in another; which is nothing but to limit the grace of God, and take it captive, not letting it be known how free it is. God is in every part of the earth where he is called upon, present and ready to hear our prayers and to help us. Wherefore Paul says: "I will therefore that That is, we are to know that God is not more men pray every where, likewise also the women." gracious in one place than in another. Finally, Christ calls such people as bind God to that place false Christians; that is, Antichrist. there shall arise false Christs and false prophets,' etc. "Wherefore, if they shall say to you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth: behold, O God! who else is a hypocritical Christian but he is in the secret chamber, believe it not." the Pope, who exalts himself in the place of Christ, and says he has his power? So he binds God to Rome and other sanctuaries. Thus they bring money in enormous quantities to enrich holy places; which, in case of need, might well be applied to our temporal advantage. And just in such places is more wantonness and vice perpetrated than any where else. He who ascribes to man the power to forgive sins blasphemes God; and great evil has sprung from this source, so that some, whose eyes the Popes have blinded, have imagined they had their sins
Such is the story of the place to which the Swiss Reformer was now bending his steps. The legend had been recognized by the Papal court, and all doubts as to its authenticity removed by a Bull of Pope Leo VIII., which was confirmed by several of his successors in the apostolic chair. Indulgences, privileges, absolution from crimes and penalties, were abundantly promised to those who should visit the shrine and confess their sins. Not many months since, we were at the spot, and there purchased the two volumes which close the list at the head of this article,
pp. 25, 26.
forgiven by sinful men. In this manner God | those that sought should surely find God, himself had been hid from them. To ascribe and peace with him, not through Mary, to man the power to forgive sins is idolatry; but through her blessed Son. So great for what is idolatry but the ascription of the was the impression made, that many were Divine honor to men, or the giving to the creature that which is God's?"-Christoffel, awakened to serious inquiry. Some embraced the truth as it is in Jesus, and returned bearing away the gifts which had been intended for the image; others were arrested on their way and turned back without completing their pilgrimage. Meanwhile the preacher's fame reached Rome; and even as he was denouncing the Papacy, Zwingli received a most courteous and flattering letter, creating him an acolyte chaplain of the Papal chair; and, with many expressions of approbation, counseling him, by his good offices to the see of Rome, to merit further testimonies of the Pope's favor.
Nor was Zwingli satisfied with attacking the special form of error developed in the pilgrimages to Einsiedeln: he laid axe to the root of the evil, and denounced that Virgin-worship which was then, as now, the crying abomination of Romanism. He protested in every way, and with every kind of argument, against such adoration. He urged that no creature was intended to receive it; that Paul and Barnabas had warned the Lycians against such a practice; that the whole tenor of the Gospels, and our Lord's mode of addressing his mother, was discordant with any such conception; that it must be most distasteful to the Virgin herself. She would say: "I am no goddess, nor any source of blessing; ye think ye honor me by worship, ye do greatly dishonor me. Worship is to be paid to none but the one living and true God."
After a residence of about two years at Einsiedeln, the office of Leut priest, or parish minister, of Zurich became vacant, and Zwingli was asked by one of the canons if he had any desire to succeed him. He replied in the affirmative. His friend Myconius and others worked day and night to secure his election, and their efforts were crowned with success. Zwingli entered on the duties of his new office towards the close of the year 1518.
It is difficult to estimate the effect of this preaching at such a time, and on such a spot. There were gathered there at It was no secret in the town of Zurich the fete of the angel-consecration, and, that a fresh mode of instruction would be indeed, through the whole year, great commenced by the new parish priest. In crowds of hearers from every quarter. reply to the address introductory to his Even now, when the principles of the Re-installation, Zwingli gave his hearers formation are so widely spread, nearly one hundred and forty thousand pilgrims visit annually this ancient shrine. On every one of the many paths intersecting the plain of Einsiedeln may be seen small bands of devotees clothed in every variety of costume, marching often painfully and wearily along to the low chant of some penitential psalm, and telling their beads as they wend on their journey. And when they were gathered at the pulpit's foot, and stood in a picturesque and motley crowd, what strange but heart-stirring doctrines would they hear, and bear away to their distant homes-to remote villages of Normandy and Picardy, to the far-away towns of Northern Germany! The bold Tyrolese, the swarthy Bohemian, the freehearted Hungarian, (for all these resorted to the place,) would tell, and did tell, that it was no longer to be believed that men needed by long travel to reach the throne of grace, but in every place, without saintly intervention or costly offering,
plainly to understand his intention to
The contest was likely to be a severe one in every sense; and the fidelity with which Zwingli attacked all kinds of existing vice was sure to raise a host of enemies. Certain elements of popularity were not wanting to the Reformer. As a preacher he had an agreeable delivery, a well-modulated, deep-toned voice, easy action. His language was simple, popular, and dignified; clear in exposition, serious and fatherly in reproof, affectionate in warning. He spoke as one in earnest, and his sermons had all the authority derived from an ample acquaintance with the word of God. And although he spared neither prince nor peasant, neither secret nor open sin, he had withal a tender consideration for the intellectual and spiritual deficiencies of his hearers; and he conjured more advanced Christians not to be over-hasty in proposing any change, "if for no other reason but this that they might prove that they were Christians indeed, by the patience with which they bore, for the sake of the weak, that which, according to the strict law of Christ, they ought not to bear." This union of courage with moderation and delicacy of feeling was traceable through his whole career, and especially appeared in his preaching. "Never," says Myconius, with a little of the exaggeration of a dear friend, "had there been seen a priest in the pulpit with such imposing appearance and commanding power; so that you were irresistibly led to believe that a man from the apostolic times was standing before you."
To estimate the need there was of such an union of prudence with fidelity, it may be well to pause for a moment, and consider the position of things at Zurich. The affairs of the town and canton were ruled by a Council elected by the body of the people, and greatly under the influence therefore of popular opinion in all domestic policy; whilst in matters foreign and ecclesiastic they had been wont to bend to the common voice of the Confederation, and to the acknowledged rule of the bishop of Constance. As Zwingli was without material authority, the reforms he desired could only be legally effected by the agency of the Council; and it was essential that some considerable portion of the citizens should support him, before that body could be induced to take any decisive steps. Against such action there were a host of opposing
voices. The French and Italians were intriguing for support and for mercenary troops from Switzerland, and Zwingli's patriotic denunciations of their proposals roused the enmity of all who were in the pay of either party, or who expected to heap a harvest of foreign gold. With these were leagued all the idle and dissolute, whose lives he reproved; all the priests and monks who had neither piety nor learning, and felt that their livelihood was in danger; and besides, and more than all, the bishop of the diocese, whose authority was imperiled, supported, we may well believe, by some who were conscientiously fearful of the results of the new teachings, and by all the authority of the Church of Rome. It was a most unequal struggle to all outward appearance, waged by a single man against enemies, many of whom were hampered by no scruples in the mode of their opposition. At one time they employed open violence; at another, plotted for his secret assassination. Then, when these attempts failed, and the Pope's sentence of excommunication had been pronounced against Luther, they tried to resuscitate the old prejudice against heretics, and called him Luther's imitator and scholar.
The reply to this last accusation is interesting, as deciding the question as to what Zwingli owed to Luther, and the conflicting claims of the partisans of either Reformer, as to which commenced the work of Reformation.
"Before a single individual," said Zwingli, "in our part of the country even heard of the this was in the year 1816. Who called me then name of Luther, I began to preach the Gospel; a Lutheran? When Luther's Exposition of the Lord's Prayer appeared, it so happened that I had shortly before preached from Matthew on the same prayer. Well, some good folks, who every where found my thoughts in Luther's work, would hardly believe that I had not written this book myself; they fancied that, being afraid to put my own name to it, I had set that lower of Luther? How comes it that the Romish cardinals and legates, who were at that very time in Zurich, never reproached me with being a Lutheran, until they had declared Luther a heretic, which, however, they could never make him? When they branded him a heretic, it was then for the first time they exclaimed Ỉ be a Lutheran, for you preach as Luther?' I was a Lutheran.....Do they say, 'You must answer, I preach, too, as Paul writes; why not call me a Paulian? Nay, I preach the word of Christ; why not much rather call me a Christ
of Luther instead. Who called me then a fol
ian?....I shall not bear Luther's name; for I have read but little of his doctrine, and have purposely abstained from a perusal of his books: what, however, of his writings I have seen, in so far as these concern the doctrines and thoughts of Scripture, this, in my opinion, is so well proved and established in them, that it will be no easy task for any man to overthrow it.....For my part I shall bear no other name than that of my Captain, Jesus Christ, whose soldier I am. No man can esteem Luther higher than I do. Yet I testify before God and all men that....I have purposely abstained from all correspondence with him, not that I feared any man on this account, but because I would have it appear how uniform the Spirit of God is, in so far that we, who are far distant from each other, and have held no communication, are yet of the same mind, and this without the slightest concert."-Christoffel, pp. 73-75.
Still the Romish authorities believed that they should be able to gain him over, if they only offered a bribe of sufficient value. The dictum of Sir R. Walpole was long anticipated at Rome; for, where every thing was venal, it was not likely that a high estimate of the honesty of others would prevail. So late as January, 1523, the Pope addressed a brief to Zwingli, in which he expressed his especial confidence in the priest of Zurich, and his desire to advance him to the highest honors. This letter was brought by the nuncio, who was ordered to confer with Zwingli in private, and to make the most brilliant offers to secure his adhesion to the Roman pontiff. Another emissary who was employed with the same purpose, on being asked by Myconius what the Pope would give to gain over his friend, replied: "Every thing, most assuredly, except the Papal chair itself." Whilst such influences were brought to bear from high quarters, far baser ones were at work, endeavoring to undermine his reputation. No calumnies were too disgraceful to be vented against him by the priestly party in Zurich. He had, they said, dissuaded from payment of tithes as tyranny. He had, in the pulpit, represented adultery as lawful. He wanted to be tyrant and Pope in one. He was the father to three bastard children. He was to be seen drunk at night in the streets of Zurich. He was at once in the pay of the Pope and the French king. Of course, these stories had effect in some quarters, and alienated those at a distance who could not inquire into their truth. But at home these falsehoods only recoil
|ed upon their authors. Then poison and murder were attempted, but God delivered him from all. Zwingli was to be deterred from his purpose neither by promises nor by assaults.
"Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat"- these words, we imagine, often recurred to Zwingli; and his private letters at this period show to what source he turned for strength to endure the many trials of his checkered career.
he writes to his brother, "that my own strength is not sufficient, and I know just as well how strong they are who contend against the doctrine of God. I can, however, like Paul, do all things through Christ strengthening me. For what is my speech, how could it avail to bring any sinners back to the way of life, if the power of the Spirit of God did not work with it?" In a letter to one of whose Christian sympathy and intelligence he was more fully assured-to his friend Myconius-he thus expressed himself:
"If I were not convinced that the Lord guarded the town, I had long since taken my he makes fast the ropes, hoists the yards, hand from the helm; but seeing as I do that spreads the canvas, and commands the winds, I were indeed a coward, undeserving the name of a man, if I were to leave my post; and, after all, I should still, in the end, die a death of shame. I will, therefore, trust myself entirely to his goodness; he shall lead and guide me; he shall accelerate or procrastinate; he shall calm or tempest to overwhelm me in the sea. I advance or delay the voyage; he shall send will not be impatient; I am verily but a weak vessel; he can employ me to honor or to dishonor. I often, indeed, pray to him that he would bring my flesh under his government, and destroy its lazy, wayward contradictoriness, which is ever slow to obedience, and, like a woman, wiil ever have the last word, and know Christian Church, originally purchased by the the reason of every thing. I still hold that the blood of Christ, can be renewed alone by the blood of the witnesses for the truth, and in no other way."-Christoffel, p. 98.
It would be superfluous to dilate upon the complete resignation to God's will, and upon the noble Christian courage, which this letter displays; but it may be well to remark, in passing, that these results were produced in Zwingli from no mere apathetic fatalism, and submission to an inevitable destiny, but from the firm conviction of His love to whom Zwingli had committed his soul, and the unfailing