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Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes. Volume I. The History of Creeds.
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§ 51. Zwinglian Confessions.

Literature.

H. Zwinglii Opera ed. Gualther (Zwingli's son-in-law), Tig. 1545 and 1581, 4 Tom.; ed. M. Schuler u. J. Schulthess, Tig. 1828–42, 8 Tom. The last and only complete edition contains the German and Latin works, with a supplemental volume of tracts and letters, published 1861. A judicious selection from his writings, in German, for popular use, was edited by Christoffel, Zurich, 1843–46, in fifteen small volumes, also in the second part of his biography of Zwingli.

Biographies of Zwingli by Myconius, Nüscheler, Hess, Rotermund, Schuler, Hottinger, Röder, Tichler, Christoffel (Elberfeld, 1857), and especially Mörikofer: Ulrich Zwingli nach den urkundlichen Quellen, Leipzig, 1867–69, 2 vols. Hottinger and Christoffel are translated into English, but the latter without the valuable extracts from Zwingli's writings. Güder's art. on Zwingli, in Herzog's Encykl. Vol. XVIII. pp. 701–766, is a condensed biography. Robbins, Life of Zwingli, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 1851.

Also A. Ebrard: Das Dogma vom heil. Abendmahl und seine Geschichte (Francf. 1846), Vol. II. pp. 1–112 (an able vindication of Zwingli against misrepresentations). Ed. Zeller: Das theologische System Zwingli's, Tüb. 1853. Ch. Sigwart: Ulrich Zwingli, der Charakter seiner Theologie, mit besonderer Rücksicht auf Picus von Mirandula, Stuttg. 1855. H. Spörri: Zwinglistudien, Leipz. 1866. Merle d’Aubigné: History of the Reformation, 4th vol. (French, English, and German). Hagenbach: Geschichte der Reform., 4th ed. Leipz. 1870, pp. 183 sqq. G. P. Fisher: The Reformation, New York, 1873, pp. 137 sqq.

 

Zwingli (1484–1531) represents the first stage of the Reformed Church in Switzerland. He began what Calvin and others completed. He died in the prime of life, a patriot and martyr, on the battle-field, when his work seemed to be but half done. His importance is historical rather than doctrinal. He was the most clear-headed and liberal among the reformers, but lacked the genius, depth, and vigor of Luther and Calvin. He held opinions on the sacraments, original sin (as a disorder rather than a state of guilt), and on the salvation of all infants (unbaptized as well as baptized) and the nobler heathen, which then appeared radical, dangerous, and profane. He could conceive of a broad and free Christian union, consistent with doctrinal differences and denominational distinctions. He was a patriotic republican, frank, honorable, incorruptible, cheerful, courteous, and affable. He took an active part in all the public affairs of Switzerland, and labored to free it from foreign influence, misgovernment and immorality. He began at Einsiedeln (1516), and more effectively at Zurich (since 1519), to preach Christ from the pure fountain of the New Testament, and to set him forth as the only Mediator and all-sufficient Saviour. Then followed his attacks upon the corruptions of Rome, and the Reformation was introduced step by step in Zurich, where he exercised a controlling influence, and in the greater part of German Switzerland, until its progress was suddenly checked by the catastrophe at Cappel, 1531.

Zwingli was scarcely two months younger than Luther, who survived him fifteen years. Both were educated and ordained in the Roman Church, and became innocently and providentially reformers of that Church. Both were men of strong mind, heroic character, fervent piety, and commanding influence over the people. Both were good scholars, great divines, and fond of poetry and music.715715   See Zwingli's poems, written during the pestilence, in Hagenbach, 1.c. p. 216, and another, p. 404. He published a moral poem, under the title The Labyrinth, as early as 1510, while priest at Glarus (Opera, Tom. II. B. pp. 243 sqq.; Mörikofer, Vol. I. pp. 13 sqq.). His preference for Puritanic simplicity in public worship gave rise to the fiction of his hostility to music. He was, on the contrary, singularly skilled in that art, and was called in derision by the Papists 'the evangelical lute-player.' A contemporary says that he never knew a man who could play on so many musical instruments—the lute, the harp, the violin, etc.
   [Zwingli's copy of the N. T. was confined to Paul's epistles and Hebrews.—Ed.]
Both labored independently for the same great cause of evangelical Protestantism—the one on a smaller, the other on a larger field. But their endowment, training, and conversion were different. Zwingli had less prejudice, more practical common-sense, clear discrimination, sober judgment, self-control, courtesy, and polish—Luther more productive genius, poetic imagination, overpowering eloquence, mystic; depth, fire, and passion; and was in every way a richer and stronger, though rougher and wilder nature. Zwingli's eyes were opened by the reading of the Greek Testament, which he carefully copied with his own hand, and the humanistic learning of his friend Erasmus; while Luther passed through the ascetic struggles of monastic life, till he found peace of conscience in the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Zwingli broke more rapidly and more radically with the Roman Church than Luther. He boldly abolished all doctrines and usages not taught in the Scriptures; Luther piously retained what was not clearly forbidden. He aimed at a reformation of government and discipline as well as theology; Luther confined himself to such changes as were directly connected with doctrine. He was a Swiss and a republican; Luther, a German and a monarchist. He was a statesman as well as a theologian; Luther kept aloof from all political complications, and preached the doctrine of passive obedience to established authority. They met but once in this world, and then as antagonists, at Marburg, two years before Zwingli's death. They could not but respect each other personally, though Luther approached the Swiss with the strongest prejudice, looking upon him as a fanatic and semi-infidel.716716   Once, at least, Luther speaks kindly of Zwingli, in a letter to Bullinger, of Zurich, May 14, 1588 (De Wette, Vol. V. p. 112): 'Libere enim dicam: Zwinglium, postquam Marpurgi mihi visus et auditus est, virum optimum esse judicavi, sicut et Œcolampadium.' In the same letter he says that Zwingli's death caused him much pain. But this personal respect did not prevent him from using the most violent language against his doctrine of the Lord's Supper, which he held in utter abhorrence to the last, and this all the more because his fanatical colleague Carlstadt, who gave him infinite trouble, had first proposed and defended it by an untenable exegesis. This accounts also for his absurd charge of fanaticism against the clear, sober-minded, jejune Zwingli. 'Es ist fast lächerlich,' says the mild and impartial Hagenbach (p. 280), 'wenn Luther mitten in seiner schwärmerisch tobenden Leidenschaft den ehrlichen Zwingli einen Schärmer nennt, ihn, der von aller Schwärmerei so fern war. Es sei denn, dass man den idealistischen Zug in ihm (und der war allerdings dem derben Realismus Luthers zuwider) mit diesem Namen bezeichnen wolle. Man betrachte auch nur sein Bildniss! Dieser energische, feste, satte Kopf, diese in Stein gehauene, markante Physiognomie, diese breite Stirn, dieses volle klare Auge, diesen geschlossenen Mund mit runden Lippen—genug! ich überlasse einem Lavater die vollendete Deutung des Bildes (der in ihm "Ernst, Nachdenken, männliche Entschlossenheit, eine sich zusammenziehende Thatkraft, einen schauenden, durchdringenden Verstand" erkennt), und berufe mich allein auf die Geschichte, welche den lebendigen Commentar zu diesem Bildniss ausmacht.' They came to an agreement on every article of faith except the real presence in the eucharist. Zwingli proposed, with tears, peace and union, notwithstanding this difference, but Luther refused the hand of Christian fellowship, because he made doctrinal agreement the boundary-line of brotherhood.717717    On the relation of Luther and Zwingli, see Ebrard, Vol. II. pp. 214 sqq.; Hagenbach, pp. 278 sqq.; and an essay of Hundeshagen in the Studien und Kritiken for 1862. Zwingli himself thus described his relation to Luther in 1523, when the German Papists began to denounce his doctrine as a Lutheran heresy: 'Ich habe, ehe noch ein Mensch in unserer Gegend etwas von Luther's Namen gewusst hat, angefangen das Evangelium Christi zu predigen, im Jahr 1516. Wer schalt mich damals lutherisch? . . . Luther's Name ist mir noch zwei Jahre unbekannt gewesen, nachdem ich mich allein an die Bibel gehalten habe. Aber es ist, wie gesagt, nur ihre Schlauheit, dass die Päpstler mich und Andere mit solchem Namen beladen. Sprechen sie: Du musst wohl lutherisch sein, du predigest ja, wie Luther schreibt; so ist meine Antwort: Ich predige ja auch wie Paulus; warum nennst du mich nicht vielmehr einen Paulisten? . . . Meines Erachtens ist Luther ein trefflicher Streiter Gottes, der da mit so grossem Ernste die Schrift durchforscht, als seit tausend Jahren irgend einer auf Erden gewesen ist. Mit dem männlichen, unbewegten Gemüthe, womit er den Papst von Rom angegriffen hat, ist ihm keiner nie gleich geworden, so lange das Papstthum gewähret hat, alle Andern ungescholten. Wessen aber ist solche That? Gottes oder Luthers? Frage den Luther selbst, gewiss sagt er dir: Gottes. Warum schreibst du denn anderer Menschen Lehre dem Luther zu, da er sie selbst Gott zuschreibt, und nichts Neues hervorbringt, sondern was in dem ewigen, unveränderlichen Worte Gottes enthalten ist? Fromme Christen! gebet nicht zu, dass der ehrliche Name Christi verwandelt werde in den Namen Luthers; denn Luther ist für uns nicht gestorben, sondern er lehrt uns den erkennen, von dem wir allein alles Heil haben. Predigt Luther Christum, so thut er's grade wie ich; wiewohl, Gott sei Dank! durch ihn eine unzählbare Menge mehr als durch mich und Andere, denen Gott ihr Mass grösser oder kleiner macht, zu Gott geführt wird. Ich will keinen Namen tragen, als meines Hauptmannes Jesu Christi, dessen Streiter ich bin. . . . Es kann kein Mensch sein, der Luther höher achtet, als ich. Dennoch bezeuge ich vor Gott und allen Menschen, dass ich all’ meine Tage nie einen Buchstaben an ihn geschrieben habe, noch er an mich, noch verschafft, dass geschrieben werde. Ich habe es unterlassen, nicht dass ich jemand desswegen gefürchtet, sondern weil ich damit allen Menschen habe zeigen wollen, wie gleichförmig der Geist Gottes sei, da wir so welt von einander entfernt und doch einmüthig sind, aber ohne alle Verabredung, wiewohl ich ihm nicht zuzuzählen bin; denn jeder thut, soviel ihm Gott weiset.'

Zwingli wrote four dogmatic works of a semi-symbolic character, which are closely interwoven with the history of the Reformation in German Switzerland, and present a clear exhibition of the Reformed faith in the first stage of its development. These are the Sixty-seven Articles of Zurich (A.D. 1523), the Ten Theses of Berne (1528), the Confession of Faith to the German Emperor Charles V. (1530), and the Exposition of the Christian Faith to King Francis I. of France (1531).718718   They are all embodied in the Collections of Niemeyer and Böckel. Niemeyer (Collectio, pp. 3–77) gives the first two in Swiss-German and in Latin, the last two in Latin only. Böckel {Bekenntniss-Schriften, pp. 5–107) gives them in High-German, and adds the 'Brief Christian Instruction' which Zwingli wrote in the name of the Magistrate of Zurich, Sept. 1523, for the preachers and pastors, treating of the Gospel and the Law, of Images, and of the Mass (pp. 13–34).

1. The Sixty-seven Articles, or Conclusions.719719    Articuli sive Conclusiones LXVII. H. Zwinglii, a. 1523. They were published by Zwingli himself before the disputation, with the title: 'The following 67 Articles and opinions I, Ulrich Zwingli, confess to have preached in the honorable city of Zurich, on the ground of the Scripture which is called theopneustos [i.e. inspired by God], and I offer to defend them. And should I not correctly understand the said Scripture, I am ready to be instructed and corrected, but only by the Scripture.' On the different editions, see the notices of Niemeyer, Præfatio, pp. xvi sqq.

They were prepared for a public disputation held January 29, 1523, in the city of Zurich, where Zwingli was chief pastor from 1519, and were victoriously defended by him, in the presence of the civil magistrate and about six hundred persons, against Dr. Faber, the General Vicar of the Bishop of Constance, who appeared to superintend the meeting rather than to defend the old doctrines, and was unwilling or unable to answer the arguments of a learned and powerful opponent. The magistrate passed a resolution on the same day approving of Zwingli's position, and requiring all the ministers of the canton to preach nothing but what they could prove from the holy gospel. A second disputation followed in October, on the use of images and the mass, before about nine hundred persons, including three hundred priests and delegates from different cantons; a third disputation took place in January, 1524. The result was the emancipation from popery, and the orderly and permanent establishment of the Reformed Church in the city and canton of Zurich.

These Articles resemble the Ninety-five Theses of Luther, which opened the drama of the Reformation in Germany, October 31, 1517, but they mark a considerable advance in Protestant conviction. They are full of Christ, as the only Saviour and Mediator, and clearly recognize the Word of God as the only rule of faith. They attack the primacy of the Pope, the mass, the invocation of saints, the meritoriousness of human works, fasts, pilgrimages, celibacy, and purgatory, as unscriptural traditions of men. They are short, and, in this respect, like the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, better adapted for a creed than the lengthy confessions of that age. But they never had more than local authority. We give a few specimens:

 

1. All who say that the gospel is nothing without the approbation of the Church, err and cast reproach upon God.

2. The sum of the gospel is that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, has made known to us the will of his heavenly Father, and redeemed us by his innocence from eternal death, and reconciled us to God.

3. Therefore Christ is the only way to salvation for all who were, who are, and who shall be.

4. Whosoever seeks or shows another door, errs—yea, is a murderer of souls and a robber.

7. Christ is the Head of all believers.

8. All who live in this Head are his members and children of God. And this is the true Catholic Church, the communion of saints.

15. Who believes the gospel shall be saved; who believeth not shall be damned. For in the gospel the whole truth is clearly contained.

16. From the gospel we learn that the doctrines and traditions of men are of no use to salvation.

17. Christ is the one eternal high-priest.

18. Christ, who offered himself once on the cross, is the sufficient and perpetual sacrifice for the sins of all believers. Therefore the mass is no sacrifice, but a commemoration of the one sacrifice of the cross and a seal of the redemption through Christ.

19. Christ is the only Mediator between God and us.

22. Christ is our righteousness. From this it follows that our works are good so far as they are Christ's, but not good so far as they are our own.

24. Christians are not bound to any works which Christ has not commanded.

26. Nothing is more displeasing to God than hypocrisy.

27. All Christians are brethren.

34. The power of the Pope and the Bishops has no foundation in the Holy Scriptures and the doctrine of Christ.

49. I know of no greater scandal than the prohibition of lawful marriage to priests, while they are permitted for money to have concubines. Shame! (Pfui der Schande!)

50. God alone forgives sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord alone.

57. The Holy Scripture knows nothing of a purgatory after this life.

2. The Ten Theses of Berne.

After the Conference between the Reformed and the Roman divines (headed by Dr. Eck), held at Baden, in Aargau, May, 1526, which formed a turning-point in the history of the Swiss Reformation (more decided than the similar disputation between Luther and Eck in Leipzig, 1519), the Reformation triumphed in Berne, the most conservative and aristocratic as well as most influential canton of the confederacy. Three ministers, Berthold Haller, Francis Kolb, and Sebastian Meyer, friends of Zwingli, and a gifted layman, Nicolas Manuel, who was a statesman, poet, and painter, had previously prepared the way under great opposition. The magistrate convened a convocation of the clergy and laity, which continued nineteen days, from January 6 to 26, 1528, discussing ten theses which Zwingli had revised and published at the request of Haller. Delegates appeared from other cantons (except the Roman Catholic), and the South German cities of Constance, Ulm, Lindau, and Strasburg. The Bishops of Constance, Basle, Lausanne, and Sion were also invited, but declined to attend, except the Bishop of Lausanne, who sent a few doctors. Dr. Eck, who had figured as the champion of Romanism in Baden (as well as previously at Leipzig), prudently disdained at this time to follow 'the heretics into their corners and dens.' The principal champions of the Reformed cause were Zwingli (who also preached two very effective sermons on the Apostles' Creed, and against the mass), Œcolampadius, Haller, Kolb, Pellican, Megander, Bucer, and Capito. They carried a complete victory, and hereafter Berne, Zurich, and Basle—the three most enlightened and influential German cantons—were closely linked together in the Reformed faith.720720   See Samuel Fischer, Geschichte der Disputation zu Bern, Berne, 1828; Melch. Kirchhofer, Berthold Haller, oder die Reformation in Bern, Zurich, 1828; C. Pestalozzi, B. Haller, nach handschriftlichen und gleichzeitigen Quellen, Elberfeld, 1861, pp. 35 sqq. (in Vol. IX. of the Lives and Writings of the Fathers and Founders of the Reformed Church); Zwingli's Werke, ed. Schuler and Schulthess, Vol. II. I. pp. 630 sqq. Luther was not well pleased with this triumph of Zwinglianism, and wrote to Gabriel Zwilling, March 7 (De Wette, Vol. III. No. 959): 'Bernæ in Helvetiis finita disputatio est; nihil factum, nisi quod missa abrogata et pueri in plateis cantent, se esse a Deo pisto liberatos.' He also prophesied an evil end to Zwingli.

The Bernese Theses are as follows:

1. The holy Christian Church, whose only Head is Christ, is born of the Word of God, and abides in the same, and listens not to the voice of a stranger.

2. The Church of Christ makes no laws and commandments without the Word of God. Hence human traditions are no more binding on us than they are founded in the Word of God.

3. Christ is the only wisdom, righteousness, redemption, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Hence it is a denial of Christ when we confess another ground of salvation and satisfaction.

4. The essential and corporeal presence of the body and blood of Christ can not be demonstrated from the Holy Scripture.

5. The mass as now in use, in which Christ is offered to God the Father for the sins of the living and the dead, is contrary to the Scripture, a blasphemy against the most holy sacrifice, passion, and death of Christ, and on account of its abuses an abomination before God.

6. As Christ alone died for us, so he is also to be adored as the only Mediator and Advocate between God the Father and the believers. Therefore it is contrary to the Word of God to propose and invoke other mediators.

7. Scripture knows nothing of a purgatory after this life. Hence all masses and other offices for the dead are useless.

8. The worship of images is contrary to the Scripture. Therefore images should be abolished when they are set up as objects of adoration.

9. Matrimony is not forbidden in the Scripture to any class of men, but permitted to all.

10. Since, according to the Scripture, an open fornicator must be excommunicated, it follows that unchastity and impure celibacy are more pernicious to the clergy than to any other class.721721   The German copy adds: 'Alles Gott und seinem heiligen Wort zu Ehren.'

In his farewell sermon, Zwingli thus addressed the Bernese: 'Victory has declared for the truth, but perseverance alone can complete the triumph. Christ persevered unto death. Ferendo vincitur fortuna. Behold these idols, behold them conquered, mute, and scattered before us. The gold you have spent upon these foolish images must henceforth be devoted to the comfort of the living images of God in their poverty. In conclusion, stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal. v. 1). Fear not! the God who has enlightened you, will enlighten also your confederates; and Switzerland, regenerated by the Holy Ghost, shall flourish in righteousness and peace.'

3. The Confession of Faith to Emperor Charles V.722722   Ad Carolum Rom. Imperatorem Germaniæ comitia Augustæ celebrantem fidei Huldrychi Zwinglii ratio (Rechenschaft). Anno MDXXX. Mense Julio. Vincat veritas (Zurich). In the same year a German translation appeared in Zurich, and in 1543 an English translation. See Niemeyer, p. xxvi. Comp. also Böckel, pp. 40 sqq.; Mörikofer, Vol. II. pp. 297 sqq.; and Christoffel, Vol. II. pp. 237 sqq.

Zwingli took advantage of the meeting of the famous Diet at Augsburg, held A.D. 1530, to send a Confession of his faith addressed to the German Emperor Charles V., shortly after the Lutheran Princes had presented theirs (June 25). It is dated Zurich, July 3, and was delivered by his messenger at Augsburg on the 8th of the same month, but it shared the same fate as the 'Tetrapolitan Confession' of Bucer and Capito: it was never laid before the Diet, and was treated with undeserved contempt. Dr. Eck wrote in three days a refutation,723723   Repulsio Articulorum Zwinglii. Zwingli replied in Ad illustrissimos Germaniæ principes Augustæ congregatos, de convitiis Eckii (Opera, Vol. IV. pp. 19 sqq.). slanderously charging Zwingli that for ten years he had labored to root out from the people of Switzerland all faith and all religion, and to stir them, up against the magistrate; that he had caused greater devastation among them than the Turks, Tartars, and Huns; that he had turned the churches and convents founded by the Hapsburgers (the Emperor's ancestors) into temples of Venus and Bacchus; and that he now completed his crime by daring to appear before the Emperor with such an impudent piece of writing. The Lutherans (with the exception of Philip of Hesse, who sympathized with Zwingli) were scarcely less indignant, and much more anxious to conciliate the Catholics than to appear in league with Zwinglians and Anabaptists. They felt especially offended that the Swiss Reformer took strong ground against the corporeal presence, and incidentally alluded to them as persons who 'were looking back to the flesh-pots of Egypt.'724724   'Quod Christi corpus,' says Zwingli, 'per essentiam et realiter, hoc est corpus ipsum naturale in cœna aut adsit aut ore dentibusque nostris manducatur, quemadmodum Papistæ, et quidam qui ad ollas Egyptiacas respectant, perhibent, id non tantum negamus, sed errorem esse qui verbo Dei adversatur, constanter asseveramus.' Melanchthon, who was at that time not yet emancipated from the Catholic tradition on that article, judged him insane.725725   See his letter to Luther of July 14, 1530, quoted on p. 263.

Zwingli, having had no time to consult with his confederates, offered the Confession in his own name, and submitted it to the judgment of the whole Church of Christ, under the guidance of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

In the first sections he declares, as clearly and even more explicitly than the Lutheran Confession, his faith in the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and the Person of Christ, as laid down in the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds (which are expressly named). He teaches the election by free grace, the sole and sufficient satisfaction of Christ, and justification by faith, in opposition to all human mediators and meritorious works. He distinguishes between the internal or invisible, and the external or visible Church; the former is the company of the elect believers and their children, and is the bride of Christ; the latter embraces all nominal Christians and their children, and is beautifully described in the parable of the Ten Virgins, of whom five were foolish. Church may also designate a single congregation, as the church in Rome, in Augsburg, in Leyden. The true Church can never err in the foundation of faith. Purgatory he rejects as an injurious fiction which sets Christ's merits at naught. On original sin, the salvation of unbaptized infants, and the sacraments, he departs much further from the traditional theology than the Lutherans. He goes into a lengthy argument against the corporeal presence in the eucharist. On the other hand, however, he protests against being confounded with the Anabaptists, and rejects their views on infant baptism, civil offices, the sleep of the soul, and universal salvation.

The document is frank and bold, yet dignified and courteous, and concludes thus: 'Hinder not, ye children of men, the spread and growth of the Word of God—ye can not forbid the grass to grow. Ye must see that this plant is richly blessed with rain from heaven. Consider not your own wishes, but the demands of the age concerning the free course of the gospel. Take these words kindly, and show by your deeds that you are children of God.'

4. The Exposition of the Christian Faith to King Francis I.726726    Christianæ Fidei ab H. Zwinglio predicatæ brevis et clara Expositio ab ipso Zwinglio paulo ante mortem ejus ad Regem Christianum scripta. Under this title Bullinger edited the work, with some omissions and changes, from the author's MS., with a preface, 1536. He calls Zwingli fidelissimus evangelii præco et Christianæ libertatis assertor constantissimus. Leo Judæ prepared a free German translation: Eine kurze, klare Summe and Erklärung des christl. Glaubens, etc., Zurich (no date). Niemeyer took his text directly from a copy of the manuscript made by Bibliander, in the library at Zurich (pp. xxviii. and 36 sqq.). Christoffel (Vol. I. p. 368) states that the original MS. of Zwingli is still in the public library of Paris. A High-German translation in Böckel, pp. 63 sqq., and Christoffel, Vol. II. pp. 262 sqq.

This is, as Bullinger says, the swan song of Zwingli, in which he surpassed himself. He wrote it in July, 1531, three months before his death, at the request of his friend Maigret, the French ambassador to Switzerland, and sent it in manuscript to Francis I., King of France (1515–1547), who, from political motives, showed himself favorable to the Protestants in Germany and Switzerland, while he persecuted them at home. A few years before he had dedicated to him his 'Commentary on the true and false Religion' (1525), and a few years afterwards (1536) Calvin dedicated to him his Institutes, with a most eloquent and powerful letter; but the frivolous monarch probably never read these voices of warning, which, if properly heeded, might have changed the whole history of France.

This last document of Zwingli is clear, bold, spirited, full of faith and hope. In a brief preface he warns the most Christian King of France against the lies and slanders circulated against the Protestants. He first treats of God, the ultimate ground of our faith and only object of worship. We do not despise the saints and sacraments, we only guard them against abuse; we honor Mary as the perpetual Virgin and Mother of God,727727   Zwingli retained this term, but with a restriction to the human nature united to the Logos. but we do not worship her in the proper sense of the term, which we know she herself would never tolerate. The sacraments we honor as signs or symbols of holy things, but not as the holy things themselves. Then he speaks of the holy Trinity, and the incarnation of the eternal Son of God for our salvation, who made a full satisfaction for all our sins. He gives an able exposition of the two natures in the one person of Christ, his death, resurrection, ascension, and return to judgment. He rejects purgatory as a papal fiction. He dwells very fully on the doctrine of the Sacraments, especially the eucharistic presence (rejecting ubiquity). The remaining chapters are devoted to the Church, the Magistrate, the remission of sins, faith and works, eternal life, and an attack on the Anabaptists, with whom the Protestants were often confounded in France. In conclusion, he entreats the king to give the gospel free course in his kingdom; to imitate the example of some pious princes in Germany; to judge by the fruits of the Reformed faith wherever it was fairly established; and to forgive the boldness with which he approached his majesty. The urgency of the case demanded it. An appendix is devoted to the mass, with proofs from the fathers, especially from Augustine, in favor of his view on the Lord's Supper.


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