Zuinglius, Ulricus

, an able and zealous reformer of the church, who laid the foundation of a division from Rome in Switzerland, at the time that Luther did the same in Saxony, was born at Wildehausen in the county of Tockenburg (a distinct republic in alliance with the Switzers, or Helvetic body) in 1487. He was sent to school at Basil, early, and thence removed to Berne, where he learned the Greek and Hebrew tongues. He studied philosophy at Vienna, and divinity at Basil, where he was admitted doctor in 1505. He began to preach with good success in 1506, and was chosen minister of Glaris, a chief town in the canton of the same name, where he continued till 1516. Then he was invited to Zurich, to undertake the principal charge of that city, and to preach the word of God there, where his extensive learning and uncommon sagacity were accompanied with the most heroic intrepidity and resolution. From his early years he had been shocked at several of the superstitious practices of the church of | Rome, and now began to explain the Scriptures to the people, and to censure, though with great prudence and moderation, the errors of a corrupt church. He might have no doubt been animated by the example and writings of Luther, afterwards; but it appears that even now, he entertained very extensive views of a general reformation, while Luther retained almost the whole system of popery, indulgences excepted.

In 1519 a Franciscan of Milan, being sent from Leo X. as general visitor of his order, came to publish indulgences at Zurich, and preached according to the usual manner; namely, “That the pope had granted an absolute pardon of sins to those who. purchased such indulgences with money, and that men might by this means deliver souls infallibly from purgatory.” Zuinglius declaimed powerfully not only against the preacher, but even against the indulgences, or at least the use that was made of them. Hugh, bishop of Constance, supposing that he was displeased only with th.e abuse of them, exhorted him to go on, aad promised him his patronage; but Zuinglius went farther, and solicited the bishop, and the pope’s legate in Switzerland, to favour the doctrine he was about to establish, and which he called evangelical truth. The bishop and the legate refusing to hearken to his proposals, he told them, that he would oppose the errors of the court of Rome, and propagate his own doctrines, in defiance of them; and thus continued to preach, from 1519 to 1523, not only against indulgences, but other articles of the catholic church.

Zuinglius made no less progress with the reformation in Switzerland than Luther did in Saxony, yet, though by four years preaching he had prepared the magistrates and people, and knew that they were disposed to cast off the doctrine and discipline of the church of Rome, and to receive his new opinions, he would not attempt to make any alterations in the external worship without the concurrence of the civil powers, and to that end caused an assembly to be called of the senate of Zurich in 1523, that the differences among- preachers in matters of religion might be composed. The senate, by their edict, invited all ecclesiastics of their canton, and gave the bishop of Constance notice of it, that he might either be present by himself or his deputies; and the assembly met at the day appointed. Here Zuinglius declared, “that the light of the gospel having been much obscured, and almost | extiuguished by human traditions, several persons of late had endeavoured to restore it by preaching the word of God in its purity; that he himself was one of that number; and, though he had for five years past taught nothing but what was contained in holy scripture, yet he had been treated as a heretic and seducer; that it was for this reason he had desired to give an account of his doctrines before the senate of Zurich, and the bishop of Constance, or his deputies; and, that they might the more easily understand them, he had drawn them out into sixty-seven propositions.” The doctrine contained in these propositions may be reduced to the following articles: 1. “That the gospel is the only rule of faith.” 2. “That the church is the communion of saints.” 3. “That we ought to acknowledge no head of the church but Jesus Christ.” 4. “That all traditions are to be rejected.” 5. “That there is no other sacrifice but that of Jesus Christ.” 6. “That we have need of no other intercessor with God but Jesus Christ.” 7; “That all sorts of meat may be eaten at all times.” 8. 66 That the habits of monks partake of hypocrisy.“9.” That marriage is allowed to all the world, and no man obliged to make a vow of chastity and that priests are not at all debarred from the privilege of being married.“10.” That excommunication ought not to be inflicted by the bishop alone, but by the whole church and that only notorious offenders ought to be excommunicated.“11.” That the power which the pope and bishops assume to themselves, is errant pride, and hath no foundation in scripture.“12.” That none can forgive sins but God; and that confession of sins to a priest is only to beg his ghostly advice,“13,” That the scripture teaches no such place as purgatory.“14.” That the character which the sacraments are said to impress, is a modern invention.“15.” That the scripture acknowledges none for priests and bishops but such as preach the word of God."

He also offered to deliver his judgment respecting tithes, the revenues of the church, the condition of infants not baptised, and confirmation, if any person should be willing to dispute with him upon those points. John Faber, one of the three deputies whom the bishop of Constance had seait, and his chief vicar, answered, that he was not come to dispute about ceremonials and customs, which had for many ages been used in the church; nor did he think fit to debate about that affair then, but would refer it to the | general council, which was to meet shortly, according to the constitution of the diet of Nuremberg. Zuinglius replied, “that they ought not to regard how long a thing has been or has not been in use, but to observe only, whether or not it be agreeable to truth, or the law of God, to which custom could not be opposed; and that there were learned men in the present assembly who could very well determine the matters in question, without referring them to a council, since even private Christians, enlightened by the spirit of God, could discern between those that did and did not^understand the Scripture.” The result of this conference was in favour of Zuinglius; for the senate ordained by an edict, *‘ that he should go on to teach and preach the word of God, and the doctrine of the gospel, after the same manner that he had hitherto done; and that no pastors, either in the city or country, should teach any thing that could not be proved by the gospel, and should also abstain from accusations of heresy."

After an edict so favourable, the doctrines of Zuinglius, which most of the pastors had before embraced, were preached under the name of Evangelical Truth in almost all the churches of the canton of Zurich; but, because the outward worship was contrary to their doctrines, images still remaining, and mass being celebrated, and they durst not abolish it without authority, Zuinglius, to complete his design, engaged the senate to call a new assembly in October the same year, when the bishops of Constance, Coine, and Basil, with the university of the latter city, and the twelve cantons of Switzerland, were invited to send their deputies. The senate assembled upon the day appointed, debates were held upon the points in question; and the result was an edict, by which the priests and monks were forbidden to make any public processions, to carry the holy sacrament, or to elevate it in the church, that it might be worshipped: reliques were taken out of the churches, and it was forbidden to play upon organs, to ring the bells, to bless palm-branches, salt, waters, or tapers, and to administer the supreme unction to the sick.

He appears to have aimed at establishing in his country, a method and form of divine worship, remarkable for its simplicity, and as far remote as could be from every thing that could have the smallest tendency to nourish a spirit of superstition. His design, says the translator of Mosheim, was certainly excellent; but in the execution of it, | perhaps, he went too far, and consulted rather the dictates of reason than the real exigencies of human nature in its present state. The present union between soul and body, which operate together in the actions of moral agents, even in those that appear the most abstracted and refined, renders it necessary to consult the external senses, as well as the intellectual powers, in the institution of public worship. Besides, between a worship purely and philosophically rational, and a service grossly and palpably superstitious, there are many intermediate steps and circumstances, by which a rational service may be rendered more affecting and awakening without becoming superstitious. A noble edifice, a solemn music, a well-ordered set of external gestures, though they do not, in themselves, render our prayers more acceptable to the Deity, than if they were offered up without any of these circumstances, produce, nevertheless, a ^ood effect. They elevate the mind, they give it a composed and solemn frame, and thus contribute to the fervour of its devotion.

Besides his public preaching, Zuinglius wrote several booksin defence of his doctrines, which were published betwe/en 1522 and 1525 inclusive. In April 1525, he petitioned the senate of Zurich to abolish the mass and the adoration of the elements in the sacraments; and he easily obtained what he petitioned. He explained the eucharist, and prescribed a form in celebrating the Lord’s Supper, not only different from that of the church of Rome, but that of Luther also; and this engaged him in violent disputes and animosities even with his brethren, who were jointly labouring with him in the great work of reformation. In the mean time, the other Swiss cantons, disallowing the proceedings of that of Zurich, assembled at Lucern in 1524, and decreed, that none should change the doctrines which had been established for 1400 years; that they should not teach the doctrines of Zuinglius; and that the magistrates should take care of the execution of this decree. They sent deputies at the same time to the senate of Zurich, to complain of the innovations they had made in their canton; who returned a firm answer, and stood with resolution to what they had done. They then called an assembly at Baden in 1526, where the most ingenious and able advocates of each side had the liberty of saying what they could, in justification of their respective doctrines; and accordingly Oecolampadius maintained the part of Zuinglius, while | Eckius was representative for the catholics. Other assemblies were afterwards called; but things, instead of appreaching; nearer to peace and good order, tended every day more and more to tumult and civil discord.

In 1531 a civil war began in Switzerland, between the five catholic cantons, and those of Zurich and Bern. The Zurichese were defeated in their own territories, with the loss of four hundred men. Zuinglius, who accompanied them, was killed in this action, Oct. 11, 1531, in the fortyfourth year of his age. He was not present in the office of a soldier at this engagement, but with a view to encourage and animate, by his counsels and exhortations, the valiant defenders of the protestant cause. But had he, as the popish writers assert, been actually engaged, we must refer for an apology to the manners of his country, all the inhabitants of which were trained to arms, and obliged to take the field when the defence of their country required it. In the time of Zuinglius this obligation was so universal, that neither the ministers of the gospt- 1, nor the professors of theology, were exempted from military service, On receiving the mortal wound, he was heard to utter, “Can this be considered as a calamity? Well! they can indeed kill the body, but they are not able to kill the soul.

He was a man of acute parts and uncommon learning; and, in his character of Reformer, his zeal was tempered with a good degree of prudence. He held several notions peculiar to himself, and different from those of Luther, which produced no small misunderstanding between them; for Luther was riot at all well affected to Zuinglius; nor did Zuinglius pay much deference to Luther. Their principal disagreement, however, was concerning the manner in which the body and blood of Christ were present in the eucharist. Luther and his followers, though they had rejected the doctrine of the church of Rome with respect to the transubstantiation, were still of opinion, that the partakers of the Lord’s-supper received along with the bread and wjne, the real body and blood of Christ. Zuinglius’s doctrine, first maintained, although not so ably, by Carlostadt, who was Luther’s colleague, amounted to this, that the body and blood of Christ were not really present in the eucharist;’ and that the bread and wine were no more than external signs or symbols, designed to excite in the minds of Christians the remembrance of the sufferings and death of the Saviour, and of the benefits | which arise from it. This opinion was embraced by all the friends of the reformation in Switzerland, and by a considerable number of its votaries in Germany, who were termed Zuinglians, in contradistinction to the Lutherans.

Zuinglius also maintained doctrines respecting the divine decrees very opposite to those of some of his brethren, and had a system of his own concerning original sin, and contended for the salvation of infants dying without baptism, as well as of virtuous Pagans, both which points were rejected generally by the Protestants of his time. His works amounted to four volumes in folio, the greatest part of which were written in German, and afterwards were translated into Latin; they were printed at Basil in 1544, at Zurich in 1581, and at Basil again in 159.T. They consist of Commentaries on various books of the Old and New Testament, and of controversial or theological tracts. His commentaries are said to have great merit, and he was one of the first of the reformers who reduced theology to a certain kind of order in his book “Concerning true and false Religion,” which contains a brief exposition of the principal doctrines of Christianity. A few of his lesser pieces were translated into English, and published not many years after his death. His doctrines were afterwards spread into France, with some alterations by Calvin, Beza, and others, who were commonly called Calvinists; while the disciples of Zuinglius, who lived in Switzerland, retained the name of Zuinglians, or Sacramentarians. 1


Melchior Adam. Mosheim and M liner’s Ch. Hist.