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Independent Course.


was no one man there of character and power, who protected the friends of the reformation; and not indeed in Basle, the nursery of learning and culture, but situated at the extremity of Switzerland, and on that account not fitted steadily and effectively to operate upon the heart of the father-land. In Zurich, among free citizens, at a time when the greatest and purest patriotism prevailed, when a wise and noble-hearted council was at the helm of government, when rich ecclesiastical foundations furnished abundant means for schools and institutions of liberal culture,—there in the centre of free Switzerland, must it find its true home."1

Soon after Zuingli's arrival at the place of his destination, he presented himself before the provost and chapter, and thanked them for making him their choice. They then proceeded to make known to him the regulations of the chapter in reference to the pastor's duties, which proved to have reference mainly to the increasing and management of the revenues. Religious duties, such as the administration of the sacraments and preaching, especially the latter, although required by the statutes, yet might be, for the most part, performed by his substitute.

Zuingli, undaunted by these instructions of the chapter, so foreign to his notions of the real duties of the priest's office, proceeded, on his part, to make known what course he should pursue in his ministrations. As he had before suggested to Myconius in a letter, he did not propose to preserve the order of the dominical lessons, but in the beginning of his ministry he proposed to give his hearers an account of the life of Christ, according to the order in the Gospel of Matthew. "Too long," he said, "has the life of Jesus been concealed, to the injury of Christian souls. The Evangelists shall no longer bear their name in vain. I will preach the Gospel not in accordance with human teachers, but in the sense of the Divine Spirit itself, which I shall discover by a comparison of Scripture with itself, which I will accompany with sincere and hearty prayer. This will I do with a view only to the glory of God, and the instruction and edification of the faithful."8

This plan pleased a majority of the chapter, but some regarded it

1 S. 289, 290.

2 "You will," they say, use your utmost diligence in collecting the revenues of the chapter not overlooking the smallest item. You will exhort the faithful, both from the pulpit and in the confessional, to pay all dues and tithes," etc. See D'Aubigne, p. 340, for a more extended account of these instructions of the chapter.

3 See Schuler, S. 310, and Hess, p. 84.

as an innovation, that would not be favorable in its results; if such things were begun, where would the end be? One, Hofmann, a canon, who had been desirous of obtaining Zuingli, was specially scandalized by this announcement of the new pastor. He was opposed to all change in religion. He claimed that Zuingli should not be permitted to carry out his plan, which would prove more injurious than beneficial to the people. He also entreated the provost, to warn him that he would make the people sceptical in reference to the objects of their former faith. This warning was duly communicated, but our reformer could not easily be shaken in a resolution which he had thoughtfully and honestly made. He replied, "that he was only returning to the practice of the primitive church, which had been retained down to the time of Charlemagne; that he should observe the method made use of by the fathers of the church in their homilies, and that by Divine assistance he hoped to preach in such a manner that no friend of the Gospel should have reason to complain." The wisdom of this course of Zuingli cannot be questioned. He could go forward step by step in counteracting previous erroneous teachings and belief, with the sanction of the inspired word, even as it were, led on by the guidance of the Spirit of God, which ought to shut the mouths of gainsayers.

His First Preaching at Zurich, and its Results.

On the first day of January, 1519, his 36th birth-day, Zuingli preached his first sermon at Zurich, in accordance with the plan that he had announced to his superiors. The fame of him that had gone abroad, the novelty of any divergence from the established order of religious worship, brought together a great multitude. He explained to them the course that he proposed to pursue, and did not lose the favorable opportunity presented, of showing that Christ is the sole author of salvation, and inveighing against all vice, especially superstition and hypocrisy. "It is to Christ," he said, "that I wish to guide you to Christ, the true spring of salvation. This Divine word is the only food that I seek to minister to your hearts and souls." He also insisted on the necessity of amendment; thundered against idleness, intemperance, the excesses of luxury, and the passion for foreign service; he enjoined upon the magistrates to distribute impartial justice, and to protect widows and orphans," etc.

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1 Bullinger, Schweitz. Chron. T. III. A, as quoted by Hess, pp. 84, 85. 2 Hess, pp. 85, 86.


Preaching and its Results.

691 On the next day, the first Sabbath in the year, he began his regular course of sermons, upon the life of Christ, as recorded by Matthew, to a more numerous auditory than that of the previous day. He, in these sermons, read the text, which was generally several verses, and explained it according to his own understanding of it, without restraint from the authorized translation, the Vulgate, or from ancient or modern expositions, although he used them as helps. The Greek text alone was ultimate and unchangeable authority with him. He pursued much the same course with the ancient fathers in their homilies. After he had explained the text, he brought forward all the circumstances of time or design, which could make the text profitable to his hearers, and applicable to the common affairs of life, thus teaching not only the meaning, but varied applications of Scripture. One thing which gave peculiar force to his preaching, was its appropriateness to the time and circumstances, to the feelings, thoughts, the religious, political, and moral position of the people of his charge. This gave clearness, life, power, to all that he said, and, as it were, compelled his hearers to apply it individually to themselves. "He was," says Schuler, "a preacher for all ranks and conditions of the men of his age. For he spake out of every heart, concerning those objects which are demanded by the nature of all the wisest as well as the weakest, and in clear and strong language, which bears the impress of truth, and enlightens every sound understanding and heart at the first view. Whilst for the learned he traced to their origin the most lofty and profound ideas, in which only the most practised thinkers could follow him; he preached the Gospel in so simple and sincere a manner, in the dialect of his people; discussed the most sublime truths with such simple clearness, that he, as his spiritual brother Paul, became all things to all. Must we not both admire and love this noble man, who with the boldest thinkers of all ages, ventured on the most lofty flights towards the sun of truth, who, with the feeling of one who expresses a well known and firmly believed truth, opposed doctrines which had been objects of common belief for centuries; but who, when he was once reminded by a child, that he had said something that was not right, was not ashamed openly to confess his error.'

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The influence of preaching so new and strange could not be small; it was at first various, as we should expect. The severity of his doctrines, expressed with so much sincerity and fervor and indeed elo

1 Schuler, S. 314, 315.

quence, did not repel all in even so depraved an audience as that at Zurich. Passion would not unfrequently flash from the eye or curl the lip of those of all classes, magistrates, ecclesiastics and common men, yet they could not resist the force of truth so simply and definitely exhibited, nor the power of eloquence at once so attractive and persuasive. They could not lose his sermons, and finally, convinced of their errors, were ready to "thank God for having sent among them this preacher of the truth." Others, however, enraged at his censures of their vices and opinions, and fearing that their private interests would receive detriment, if his influence should become dominant, exerted themselves to injure him. Sometimes they represented him as "a knave who by his hypocritical preachings was aiming to destroy the respect and submission of the subjects for magistrates;" sometimes, he was a fanatic, "whose unbounded pride led him to put his own reveries in the place of the decisions of the church;" and then he was a man destitute of religion and morals, who would, unless silence were imposed upon him, not only sap the foundations of virtue and religion, but introduce anarchy and discord into the State. But such calumnies did not move Zuingli. He says: "I have for a long time permitted incredible falsehoods to be told about me, without giving myself any anxiety about it. For I have supposed that the disciple is not above his master; and if they defamed Christ falsely, it is not strange that they should calumniate me." He proceeded on in the even tenor of his ways without ever turning aside for the ill-natured growlings and cynic attacks that beset his path, and the most marked success attended his labors. "At the expiration of a year, notwithstanding much formidable opposition, he was able to reckon as many as two thousand persons who were so far, at least, his converts, as to avow his sentiments."


Zuingli's own account, written in 1523, of the manner in which he had fulfilled the pastoral office, cannot be without interest: "It is now," he says, "four years ago that I preached through the whole Gospel of Matthew. I then proceeded to the Acts of the Apostles, that the church of Zurich might see in what manner and by what persons the Gospel was at first propagated in the world. Next followed the First Epistle of Paul to Timothy; which, as exhibiting the rules of the conduct that become Christians, seemed admirably calculated to form a consistent and well ordered flock. As some now

1 Compare Hess, pp. 86, 87. Myconius says of him at this time: "Insidüs adeo scatebant omnia ut ab eis nullum fere momentum esset vacuum.”

2 Calvin and the Swiss Reformation, p. 20, and Ruchat, p. 71.


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appeared not to be sound in the faith, I deferred the Second Epistle to Timothy, till I had gone through that to the Galatians, and then I explained it also. Some pretenders to wisdom then began impiously to say: Who after all is Paul? Is he not a man like ourselves? Though he might be an apostle, he was but of an inferior order not one of those who personally conversed with Christ. Aquinas or Scotus is more to be relied on than he.' Such being the case, I next brought forward the two Epistles of Peter, the chief of the apostles, that they might clearly see whether one spirit did not animate both him and Paul, and whether both did not speak the same things. I have since entered upon the Epistle to the Hebrews, that the people might more fully understand the benefits and the glory of Christ. Hence they will learn, and indeed have in some degree learned, that he is the great High Priest;-and that he 'by his one offering of himself, once made, hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified.' Such are the things which we have planted: Matthew, Luke, Paul, Peter have watered them; and God hath given a wondrous increase - which I will not be the person to proclaim, lest I should seem to seek my own glory, and not that of Christ. Go now and say, if you can, that this plantation is not of our heavenly Father's planting. Thus, by no cunningly devised modes of address, but in the use of simple words of our own country's native growth, I have led the people to the knowledge of their disease-following our Lord's example, who commenced from this point. I have withdrawn no man from connection with his proper pastor, provided he were a true pastor and not a thief and a robber. From what source I derived the discipline of the church, I have already shown. I have earnestly exhorted the people to hold fast the glory of our profession; having a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God, who is passed into the heavens; and not to seek honor one of another a practice which led away the Jews from faith in Christ. As much as in me lieth I withdraw men from confidence in any creature, to the only true God, and Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; in whom, 'whosoever believeth shall never die.' With all the earnestness of which I am capable I urge them to seek pardon from him who invites us to turn to him even when we have sinned, saying: "Come unto me, ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. This word of his I so firmly believe, that should circumstances require, I think I have no need of either bishop or priest to make satisfaction for me; for Christ hath done that, who 'gave himself an offering for us, and hath washed us from our sins in his own blood.' I reverence the

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