Hospinian, Ralph

, a learned Swiss writer, who rendered important service to the Protestant cause, was born at Altdorf near Zurich, where his father was minister, in 1547. He began his studies with great diligence and success at Zurich, under the direction of Woltius, his uncle by his mother’s side; and losing his father in 1563, found an affectionate patron in his godfather Rodolphus Gualterus. He left Zurich in 1565, in order to visit the other universities and spent some time in Marpurg and Heidelberg. He was afterwardsrecalled, and received into the ministry in 1568; the year following he obtained the freedom of the city; and was made provisor of the abbey school in 1571. Though his school and his cure engrossed much of his time, he had the courage to undertake a noble work of vast extent, “An History of the Errors of Popery.” He considered, that the Papists, when | defeated by the Holy Scriptures, had recourse to tradition; were for ever boasting of their antiquity, and despised the protestants for being modern. To deprive them of this plea, he determined to search into the rise and progress of the Popish rites and ceremonies; and to examine by what gradations the truth, taught by Christ and his apostles, had been corrupted by innovations. He could not, however, complete his work, agreeably to the plan he had drawn out; but he published some considerable parts of it, as, 1. “De Templis: hoc est, de origine, progressu, usu, & abusu Templorum, ac omnino rerum omnium ad Templa pertinentium,1587, folio. 2. “De Monachis: seu de origine & progressu monachatus & ordinum monasticorum,1588, folio. 3. “De Festis Judaeorum, et Ethnicorum: hoc est, de origine, progressu, ceremoiiiis, et ritibus festorum dierum Judaeorum, Graecorum, Romanorum, Turcarum, & Indianorum,1592, folio. 4. “Festa Christianorum,” &c. 1593, folio. 5. “Historia Sacramentaria hoc est, libri quinque Je Ccsnae Dominicae prima institutione, ejusque vero usu & abusu, in primaeva ecclesia necnon de origine, progressu, ceremoniis, & ritibus Missas, Transubstantiationis, & aliorum pene infinitorum errorum, quibus Ccenx prima institutio horribiliter in papatu polluta & profanata est,1598, folio. 6. “Pars altera: de origine et progressu controversies sacramentarias de Coena Domini inter Lutheranos, Ubiquistas, & Orthodoxos, quos Zuinglianos seu Calvinistas vocant, exortae ab anno 1517 usque ad 16,02 deducta, 1602,” folio. These are all of them parts of his great work, which he enlarged in succeeding editions, and added confutations of the arguments of Bellarmin, Baronius, and Gretser. What he published on the Eucharist, and another work entitled “Concordia Discors,” &c. printed in 1607, exasperated the Lutherans in a high degree; and they wrote against him with great animosity. He did not publish any answer^ though he had almost finished one, but turned his arms against the Jesuits and published “Historia Jesuitica hoc est, de origine, regulis, constitutionibus, privileges, incrementis, progressu, & propagatione ordinis Jesuitarum. Item, de eorum dolis, fraudibus, imposturis, nefariis faci- ­noribus, cruentis consiliis, falsa quoque, seditiosa, & sanguinolenta doctrina,1619, folio.

These works justly gained him high reputation, and considerable preferment. He was appointed archdeacon | of Caroline church in 1588; and, in 1594, minister of the abbey-church. He was deprived of his sight for near a year by a cataract, yet continued to preach as usual, and was happily couched in 1613. In 1623, being 76 years of age, his faculties became impaired, and so continued till his death in 1626. The public entertained so high an opinion of his learning from his writings, that he was exhorted from all quarters to refute Baronius’s “Annals;” and no one was thought to have greater abilities for the task. A new edition of his works was published at Geneva, 1681, in seven thin volumes, folio. 1


Gen. Dict. —Niceron, vol. XXXVIII, —Saxii Onomast.