Capito, Wolfgang Fabricius

, an eminent Lutheran reformer, was born at Hagenau in Alsace, in 1478. His father was of the senatorian rank, and being averse to the lives of the divines of his time, had him brought up to the profession of physic at Basil, where he took his doctor’s degree, and likewise made great proficiency in other studies. After his father’s death, however, in 1504, he studied divinity, and also civil law, under Zasius, an eminent civilian, and took a degree in that faculty. At Heidelberg he became acquainted with Oecolampadius, with whom he ever after preserved the strictest intimacy and friendship. On their first acquaintance they studied Hebrew together under the tuition of one Matthew Adrian, a converted Jew, and Capito then became a preacher, first at Spire and afterwards at Basil, where he continued for some years. From thence he was sent for by the elector Palatine, who made him his counsellor, and sent him on several embassies, and Cliarles V. is said to have conferred upon him the order of knighthood. From Mcntz he followed Bucer to Strasburgh, where he astonished his hearers by preaching the reformed, or rather reforming religion, at 8t. Thomas’s church in that city, beginning his ministry by expounding St. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. The fame of Capito and Bucer spread so wide, that James Faber and Gerard Rufus were sent privately from France to hear him, by Margaret queen of Navarre, sister to the French king; and by this means the protestant doctrine was introduced into France. Capito was a man of great learning and eloquence, tempered with a prudence which gave weight to his public services as well as to his writings. In all disputes, he insisted on brotherly love and peaceable discussion.

In 1525 he was recalled into his own country where he continued to preach the reformed principles, and administered the ordinances of baptism and of the Lord’s supper without any of the popish ceremonies. He likewise made frequent excursions into the neighbouring parts of Switzerland, preaching and confirming the converts to the new doctrines. He distinguished himself particularly in a solemn disputation held at Bern, in 1528, against the mass, &c. and likewise at the diet at Ratisbon, in 15H, where he was one of the delegates from the protestants. As he | was returning home from this last, he died of the plague, about the end of the year 1541, in. the sixty-third year of his age.

Capito was esteemed one of the first men of his age for learning, and had a very extensive correspondence with his learned contemporaries, Among others, he was very importunate with Erasmus, to throw off the disguise, and appear more decidedly for the protestant religion; but Oecolampadius was his principal friend, and after the death of that reformer, he married his widow, by whom he had several children. He had before married another lady of great literary accomplishments, who lived but a short time. Moreri and the editors of the Dictionnaire Historique make this lady to have been his second wife, and tell us that she would sometimes preach when he was indisposed, but both accounts appear improbable. Capito left the following works “Institutionum Hebraicarum libri duo” “Enarrationes in Habacuc et Hoseam prophetas,” Strasburgh, 1526, 8vo; “Vita Johannis Oecolampadii” “De formando puro Theologo” “Explicatio doctissima in Hexhameron opus Dei.” He was also the editor of Oecolampadius’s Commentary on Ezekiel, published at Strasburgh, 1534, 4to. His life of Oecolampadius was translated into English, and published along with those of Luther and Zuinglius, by Henry Bennet Callesian, Lond. 1561, 8vo. 1


Melchior Adam. Fuller’s Abel Redivivus. Freheri Theatrum.