Zanchius, Jerome

, an eminent divine, and ranked among the illustrious band of reformers, was a cousin of the preceding, and most probably born at Bergamo, Feb. 2, 1516, the year before the reformation appeared in Germany under Luther. He was deprived of both his parents, by death, when very young, and resolving on a monastic life, entered the society of the canons regular, where he found some of his relations, and where he had an opportunity of improvement in literature. Here he studied philosophy, the languages, and school divinity, for nineteen years. His first departure from the tenets of the Romish church may be dated from his having an opportunity of hearing Peter Martyr’s lectures on the epistle to the Romans and on the Psalms, which he appears to have done along with count Maximinian and Tremellius, both afterwards converts to the reformed opinions. From this time he began to study the scriptures and the fathers, particularly St. Austin, and preached according to the new light he had received. In 1550, when Peter Martyr was no longer permitted to preach, and was obliged to leave Italy, eighteen of his disciples followed him, and among the rest Zanchins. He first went to the territory of the Orisons, and from that to Geneva, where, after he had resided about a year, he received invitation to fill a divinity professorship in England. This was probably at Oxford, where Peter | Martyr was now settled, and had recommended him; but he preferred a similar invitation from Strasburgh, and in 1553, succeeded Caspar Hedio, as divinity professor there.

In this office he continued about eleven years, not without much opposition, which, however, was considerably moderated by the friendship of Sturmius, then at the head of the university. It was here that, in 1562, Zanchius presented to the senate the declaration of his faith concerning predestination, final perseverance, and the Lord’s supper. But as the old divines and senators dropped off, his situation at Strasburgh became more and more uncomfortable, and at length he was required to subscribe the Augsburgh confession, on pain of losing his professorship. This he did, after mature deliberation, with a salvo that " it should be understood only in the orthodox sense; 7 * but it would appear that he was not quite satisfied in his own mind, nor did his compliance prevent the divisions and dissentions which distracted the church of Strasburgh, and finally induced him to accept an invitation to become pastor of the church of Chiavenna, on the borders of Italy, and in the territory of the Grisons. Having therefore obtained the consent of the senate to resign his canonry of St. Thomas, and his professorship, he left Strasburgh in Nov. 1563, and entered on his charge at Chiavenna in January following. This he fulfilled for four years, interrupted only on one occasion by the plague, after which Frederick, elector Palatine, prevailed with him to accept a divinity professorship at Heidelberg, on the decease of Zachary Ursin. He entered on this new office in 1568, with an excellent oration on the means of preserving the pure word of God in the church. In the same year he received his doctor’s degree, the elector Palatine and his son, prince Casimir, honouring the ceremony with their presence.

He had not been long settled in the Palatinate, when the elector strongly solicited him to take up his pen against the Socinians, who had fixed their bead quarters in Poland and Transylvania, and were displaying every artifice to propagate their opinions. This produced Zanchius’ s two masterly treatises “De Dei natura,” and “De tribus Elohim uno eodemque Jehovah.” After this he retained his professorship at Heidelberg ten years, until the death of thqi elector, and the accession of a successor of different principles, who obliged him to remove to Newstadt, the residence of prince John Casimir, count Palatine. Here he | remained upwards of seven years, ana when excused^ an account of his age and infirmities from public services, he removed once more to Heidelberg, where he died Nov. 1&, 1590, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, and was interred in the college chapel of St. Peter. Zanchius, while one of the most learned of the reformers, was also one of the most pious, and distinguished for great moderation in controversy, united with sufficient firmness in maintaining what he considered to be the truth. His works were printed at Geneva in 1619, 9 vols. folio, usually bound in three. 1


Melchior Adam. Fuller’s Abel Redivivus. —Tiraboschi.