Ulrich Zwingli.

Selected works of Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531) : the reformer of German Switzerland online

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BR 346 .A2513 1901
Zwingli, Ulrich, 1484-1531.
Selected works of Huldreict
Zwingli (1484-1531)

SELECTED WORKS ^^^ ^^ Pfi'■^

- ( DEC1519/





The German Works by Lawrence A. McLouth, Professor of German in New

York University, and the Latin by Henry Preble, New York City,

and Professor George W. Gilmore, Meadville, Pennsylvania.










91 and 93 Fifth Avenue, New York.

Copyright, 1901,




This volume presents a selection from the contents of the
eight volumes in which the works of Huldreich ZwingH, the
Reformer of German Switzerland, are preserved in the only
edition now accessible, namely, that published in Zurich between
1828 and 1842, with a supplement in 1861. Egli and Finsler's
edition in the Corpus Reformaiorum is announced but will not
be finished for at least ten years. The selection has been made
purposely from th.ose papers which had never been translated
— at least not in their entirety — into modern German or English.
These papers have been arranged in chronological order, and
when read consecutively present a, documentary history of several
phases of the Zurich Reformation. They have been utilized
in my biography of ZwingH, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons,
New York city, in the series of '' Heroes of the Reformation,"
and are here printed in full by the courtesy of the publishers of
the series. As appears, the translations from the Latin were
made by Mr. Henry Preble, of this city, and by Prof. George
W. Gilmore, and those from the Zurich German by Mr. Law-
rence A. McLouth, Professor of German in the New York
University. They will be found accurate and spirited, and I am
very proud to be able to put into the hands of the English
reader for the first time matter of so interesting and important a
character. My highest ambition is that Huldreich Zwingli may
win in this way a large number of friends. My own part in this new
volume is a very modest one. I have made the selections, sup-
plied some introductory matter, and a few notes. Those who
would like to read more of the writings of Zwingli I refer to



my biography alluded to above, in which will be found Pro-
fessor Mc Louth's translation in full of the sermon upon fasting,
preached in the spring of 1522, which was the first published
reformation document in Switzerland ; and the Confession of
Faith presented by Zwingii at the Diet of Augsburg, 1530,
translated by Rev. Henry E. Jacobs, D. D., LL. D., Professor
in the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Philadelphia, Pa. ; re-
printed by permission, from Dr. Jacobs' edition of the Book of
ComorJ, Philadel])hia, the best edition of that important collec-
tion and its accompanying documents. Also, I would say that
in 1S99, in CoUegeville, Pa., there appeared a translation of
Zwingli's " Christian Education of Youth,", by Professor Reichen-
bach, of Ursinus College, Philadelphia. I am not aware that
there are any other accessible English translations of Zwingli's
prose writings, but in my biography appear in English many
extracts from Zwingli's correspondence and from documents
bearing upon him.

Samuel Macauley Jackson.
New York City, April S, igoi.


HuLDREiCH ZwiNGLi was bom in the outskirts of the village of
Wildhaus, forty miles east by south of Zurich, in Switzerland, on
the first of January, 1484. His family on both sides were peas-
ants, but persons of more or less prominence and of high char-
acter. His father was the village magistrate and his father's
brother the village priest. This uncle was in 1487 transferred to
a higher position at Wesen, upon the Lake of Walenstadt, twelve
miles to the southwest of Wildhaus, and took Zwingli with him.
So there the child received his first book learning, and then he
was sent by his uncle, who was providentially a friend of the New
Learning, to Bern, Vienna and Basel for school and university
training. In 1506 Zwingli, who had just taken the degree of
Master of Arts at the University of Basel, became the priest of
the parish of Glarus, about seven miles south of Wesen. There
he remained ten years, and would have stayed much longer,
probably, had it not been that his very vigorous attacks upon the
mercenary military service of the Swiss, which service he recog-
nized as a disgrace to his country and a sure and swift means of
their moral ruin, awakened so much opposition on the part of the
principal families in the Canton, who were interested in hiring
out these mercenaries, that he was compelled to leave. He next
appears as preacher in the famous monastery of Einsiedeln, in
which is the Chapel of Meinrad, containing the wonder-working
wooden image of the Virgin and Child. Thousands of pilgrims
have every year for a millennium visited this sacred spot, and
among them have been the most distinguished in the Church.
When Zwingli went there he was already a fine scholar, an admired



preacher and a recognized patriot. He inspired high and low
with respect, and easily made the acquaintance of the cardinals
and bishops and learned men who came in a continuous stream
to the shrine. He also read diligently the books he found in the
remarkably rich library of the monastery. Thus was he prepared
for the prominent part he was destined to play. After two years
he was called to the principal church of Zurich, and there he
maintained himself as preacher and reformer and author for the
rest of his life.

When he began his preaching in Zurich he had apparently no
profound spiritual conceptions. He was an extremely pleasant,
witty and agreeable man, and had a host of friends, for whose
advantage he was ready at any time to do his best, so that he
fastened them to himself as with hooks of steel. He was moreover
a friend of the New Learning and felt the breath of the new era.
He had been taught by Wyttenbach and Erasmus that the tradi-
tional church theology had very small basis in the Bible ; had
also come to the conclusion that the Bible was the great source
of theolog}', so had been reading attentively the New Testament
in the original Greek, and had even begun the study of Hebrew in
order that he might get at the meaning of the Old Testament at
first hand. In his zeal to drink in the water of life from the
fountain he even had gone so far as to commit to memory the
Epistles of St. Paul in (ireek. From the beginning of his Zurich
ministry he sliowed himself well acquainted with the text of Scrip-
ture, and able to quote it at pleasure. He began his preaching
in Zurich with a contmuous exposition of the Gospel of Matthew,
and went on to expound other New Testament "books in the same
way. Living thus in the hearing of the divine oracles, thinking
much upon their utterances, he was one of the first upon whom
the vision of the purer, more unshackled, less hide-bound church
fell. And without passing through any profound spiritual
experience, entering rather as a devout scholar than as a religious
enthusiast into the temple of God, he arrived at those concep-


tions of the truth which bear the name of Protestant. It was his
exposure of the unbiblical character of much of the teachings
ajid ceremonies of the Roman Church which roused the people
of Zurich into open revolt against that church, and it was the
distressing rumor of the probable defection of the Zurich people
which was the occasion of the visit of the delegation from the
Bishop of Constance, which is described in the first paper in this

In this volume Zwingli is exhibited in various relations as
leader in reform and the defense of reform. Thus the earnest
petition (1522) which Zwingli wrote, to allow priests to marry,
showed how enforced celibacy hindered holy living. The First
Disputation (1523) showed the popularity of the proposed
reforms. The Marriage Ordinance (1525) is a contribution
to the history of the times. The reply to the Baptist arguments
and exposure of their social disorders (1527), for the Baptists
were the disturbers of the standing order in Zurich and fomenters
of no one end of trouble for the, Reformers there and in Ger-
many, and the treatment they received, showed how far the
Reformers were from being ready to grant to others the freedom
of speech they exercised themselves. Still the Baptists were
attacked on grounds of state polity rather than religiously.

The busy life of Zwingli, on whom fell the burden of directing
the churches which received his leadership, was cut short by a
violent death. He was involved in the struggle between the
Forest cantons (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Luzern, Zug) up
amid the mountains of Northern Switzerland, which were intensely
Old Church, and the Reformed cantons (chiefly Zurich and
Bern) . The former would not gi^nt freedom to gospel pieaching,
so the latter in punishment cut them oil from necessary supplies,
as they could do, since they commanded the commerce of the
country. This brought matters to a crisis, and the opposing
cantons met at Cappel, only 10 miles south of Zurich, October
II, 1 53 1. Zwingli, as chief city pastor, went to the field as a


non-combatint, although armed for defense, and perished the
same day. He was a good man, a valiant fighter for the truth
as he conceived it, and the Reformed churches, as contrasted
with the Lutheran churches, look to him as one of their great



Preface , 3


I. Visit of the Episcopal Delegation to Zurich, April, 1522 9

II. The Petition of Eleven Priests to be Allowed to Marry, July,

1522 25

III. The Acts of the First Zurich Disputation, January, 1523 40

IV. Zurich Marriage Ordinance, 1525 .' 118

V. Refutation of the Tricks of the Catabaptists, 1527 * 123

* This is the literal rendering of the title of the Treatise, but as the Baptists are meant
called them so on p. 123. Subsequent reflection led me to think it would have been better to
have kept the original form, but the book being printed from type I was not able to restore
the correct title in this edition. «



How the Reverend Lord Bishop of Constance, through his
delegates, the suffragan Melchior [Watth], John Wanner (who,
however, I know took part in the affair against his will), and
N[icholas] Brendlin, dealt with Huldreich Zwingli, preacher at
Zurich, before the Board of Ecclesiastics and the Senate f on the
7th, 8th and 9th days of April.


On the seventh day of April the before mentioned Fathers
came to our city pretty early, and I, knowing that they were
coming, was trying to discover what their design was, and yet
could not until late at night, when our beloved deacon, Henry
Lutius, came and gave me warning that the clerk, as they call
him, was getting together the whole body of priests for a meeting

* Zwingli's Works, ed. Schuler u. Schulthess, iii., 7-16. Translated from
the original Latin by Mr. Henry Preble, New York city.

1 1, e., City Council, hence the members in it are called councillors, but the
Latin form Zwingli used has been allowed to stand. This body was in two
parts, the Small Council, which contained only 50 members, and only half of
these were on duty at any one time, and the Great Council, also called the
Council of the Two Hundred, which included the Small Council. The Great
Council was the deciding body on all legislative matters of importance, the
Small was the exeutive committee, and both were representative bodies. The
chief officer was the burgomaster, here called the President of the Senate.
See my biography of Zwingli, pp. 42-44.


lo znvin(;li selections.

early next morning at the usual place of assembly of the canons.
I regarded it as a happy omen that the thing had been thus neatly
set on foot by a courier both lame and without grace, and began
to consider in my mind how they were likely to begin their job.
At length I understood, as I thought, and when day dawned and
we had come together the suffragan began in the fashion that will
follow when I come to describe how the matter was carried on
before the Senate. His whole speech was violent and full of
rage and arrogance, though he took pains to hide the fact that
he had any quarrel with me. For he avoided mentioning my
name as scrupulously as if it were sacred, though meanwhile there
was nothing that he didn't say against me.- When the tragedian
had finished shrieking out his part, I stepped forward, feeling
that it was unbecoming and disgraceful to allow a speech which
might do so much damage to go un rebutted, especially as I saw
from their sighs and their pale and silent faces that some of the
feebler priests who had recently been won for Christ had been
troubled by the tirade. Therefore I made answer upon the spur
-of the moment to the words of the suffragan, with what spirit or
feeling the good men who heard me may judge. The general
gist of what I said, however, you shall hear when we come to the
proceedings before the Senate. The delegates abandoned this
wing as routed and put to flight, and hurried quickly to another,
to the Senate, namely, where, as I have learned from Senators,
the same ha^^angue was delivered and my name was avoided in the
same way, and the Senate was persuaded not to have me sum-
moned. For they said they had no concern whatever with me.
After this the opinions varied for some time, but finally they
decided that the Commons (that is, two hundred men, called
the Greater Senate), should meet in full assembly on the follow-
ing day, and that the bishops * of the city, of whom there are three

♦ Zwingli uses this term of the people's priests or preachers of the three
parish churches in Zurich, viz., the Great Minster, Minster of our Lady,
and St. I'etcr's. He explains it below.


of US, should be warned not to be present. For nothing was
going to be said in reply to our friends, no one could contradict
€0 sound a speech, and so on. When I discovered this, I devoted
all my energy to getting us admitted to the meeting of the Senate
to be held on the following day. For a long time I turned every
stone in vain, for the chief men of the Senate said it could not
be done, inasmuch as the Senate had voted otherwise. Then I
began to cease my efforts and to plead with sighs to him who
heareth the groans of those in bondage not to abandon the truth,
but to come to the defense of his gospel, which he had willed to
have us preach. At length on the ninth the citizens assembled,
and loudly vented their indignation at their bishops not being
admitted, but they of the Senate which from its number is called
the Less resisted because they had voted otherwise previously.
The Greater Senate, however, compelled them against their will
to put the matter to vote, and it was decided that their bishops
should be present and hear everything, and if need be make
answer. Thus, not, as Livy says,' did the greater part prevail
over the better ; for here both the greater and the better part
prevailed. And this I have allowed myself to write, not for the
sake of laying any blame upon the Lesser Senate, but to show
what plotting and underhand action can accomplish. For what
else were the delegates of the Bishop of Constance after but to
say without witnesses whatever came into their mouths before
the simple minded commons? Thanks be to God. For when the
delegates were brought into the Senate, we bishops of Zurich were
also admitted, Henry Engelhard, LL.D., of the nunnery, Rudolph
Roschlin, bishop of St. Peter's, and I, Huldreich Zwingli. * Then

* Henry Engelhard had been people's priest at the cathedral of Our Lady
since 1496. He had also been a canon of the Great Minster, but in 1521
resigned so that Zwingli might be appointed. This act of disinterestedness shows
what a fine character he was. He remained ever one of Zwingli's friends.
Tie died in 1551, a very old man. Rudolph Roschlin, people's priest at St.
Peter's, was very slow in accepting the Reformation, was at the time of this
episcopal visit an old man, and a few weeks after it resigned his place and was
succeeded by Zwingli's bosom friend, Leo Jud.


when they had been given permission to speak, and the sufTragan
had extended to the assembly greeting and blessing from his Most
Illustrious Leader and Bishop (for this must now at least be ad-
mitted), he began with that wonderfully sweet voice of his, than
which I have scarcely ever heard one sweeter in speech. Indeed,
if his heart and brain were as good, you might say that he could ex-
cel Orpheus and Apollo in sweetness, Demosthenes and the Gracchi
in persuasive power. I should like to set down his speech in its
entirety, but I cannot, partly because he spoke in an involved
and jumbled together style, without order, and partly because so
long a speech could not, I think, be remembered even by a
Porcius Latro. But since I had my note-book at hand and took
down the main headings, in order to be able to meet and answer
them more fitly, I will fiist put down these headings and then
subjoin what I said in reply to each of them.

With the manner of a consummate tragedian he said that
(i) certain persons were teaching new, obnoxious and seditious
doctrines (wieder wartig und aufrahrig lehren, in German), to
wit: that (2) no human prescriptions and no ceremonials ought
to be regarded. If this doctrine prevailed, it would come to pass
that not only the laws of the state but even the Christian faith
would be done away with, although (3) ceremonies were a sort
of manuductio or '' leading by the hand " to the virtues (for he
was pleased "p use this word manuductio even before people who
did not understand Latin, because, no doubt, the German term
eine einleitung, " an introduction," did not seem to him strong
enough (or, if you will, fine enough). Ceremonials were in fact,
he said, a source of virtue (ein ursprung), though he afterwards
had the boldness to deny before all those witnesses that he used
the word ; (4) they were also teaching that Lent ought not to be
kept, for certain persons in this city had ventured to withdraw
from other Christians and from the Christian Church, though
this statement also he afterwards denied with as much shameless-
ness as stubbornness. My lord Brendlin bore witness that he


had not used that expression, though the whole Senate still bears
witness that he used it. So persistently do these people fancy
that they are free to say off-hand whatever they please and to
deny off-hand what they have said, almost at the moment of
saying it. He said (5) that they had eaten meat in Lent to the
scandal of the whole republic of Christ; though (6) this was
evidently not permitted by the gospels, they yet ventured to
declare that they might do it in accordance with the writings of
the EvangeHsts and Apostles ; they had violated (7) the decrees
of the Holy Fathers and the councils, and (8) a most ancient
custom which (9) we never could have kept so long if it had not
emanated from the Holy Spirit. For Gamaliel in the Acts of the
Apostles had said : '' Let them alone ; for if this work is of God,"
etc. Then he urged the Senate (to) to remain with and in the
Church, for outside of it no one had salvation. For (11) the
things which were being taught so wrongheadedly were being
taught without grounds. And not having satisfied himself in what
he had said before about ceremonials, he fell (12) to speaking of
them again, saying that they were the only means by which the
humbler Christians were brought to the recognition of salvation,
and that it belonged to the duties of the people's priests (for
that is the way bishops and preachers are named now-a-days by
those counterfeit bishops, to keep their name sacred) to teach
the simple-minded populace that there were certain symbols
which denoted certain things, and that it was their function to
explain and set forth the meaning and value thereof. At length,
after the above turn in his speech, he began to discourse (13)
upon grounds of offence, not unlearnedly, I confess, only I wish
that he had cited as happily the things against himself as those for
him. Lie added that Christ enjoined with as much emphasis as
he put upon any precept, that offences be avoided, for he added
that most clear mark of indignation, " Woe !" " Woe to the
world from offences !" Going back also to Paul, from whose
epistles he had quoted many things before he discoursed upon


"Woe," he called to witness (14) that in order not to offend
the Jews he had suffered Timothy to be circumcised. And what
he ought to have said among his first remarks about seditious
teachings, he talked on after everything else, saying (15) that
no one ought to trust his own ideas ; for that even Paul had been
unwilling to depend upon his own notions, and had gone to
Jerusalem to compare his gospel with the Apostles, etc. And
after a very beautiful peroration to his remarks he rose, and was
on the point of going away with his allies, when I addressed
them in the following terms :

" My Lord suffragan " (and in this I made an indiscreet and
ignorant enough blunder; for they tell me I should have said
" most merciful Lord," but being unskilled in polished ways I
take hold like a clophopper) " and fellow-ecclesiastics," I said
" wait, I pray, until I make explanation in my own behalf." For
that my fellow-bishops allowed me to do. To this he said : " It has
not been enjoined upon us to engage in discussion with any one."
"And I," said I, " have no intention of entering into discussion,
but what I have thus far been teaching these excellent citizens I
would willingly and gladly set forth to you who are both learned
men and delegates sent here, so to speak, with full powers ; that
the greater faith may be had in my teachings if you shall have
voted them right, and if not, that the opposite may take place."
" We have said nothing," said he, " in opposition to you, and
therefore there is no need for you to make explanation." But I
said : " Though you have refrained from mentioning my name,
yet all the force and power of your words were aimed and hurled
at me. For, as a matter of fact, they were dealing with me in
the style of the old gladitorial combats between Mirmillons and
Gauls, wherein the Mirmillon cried : " It is not you I am aiming
at, Ciaul, it is the fish I am aiming at." So my name was kept
out of sight and not mentioned, in order that most serious
charges, if it please the gods, might be developed against me,
whose name is Zwingli. While we were thus contending together,


M. Roest, President of the Senate, tried by entreaty to persuade
the men of Constance to listen, to which entreaty the suffragan
replied that he knew with whom he should have to deal if he
listened. Huldreich Zwingli was too violent and choleric to make
any duly and moderately carried on discussion possible with him.
I answered : " What wrong have I ever done you? And what
kind of a way of doing is this, to worry so harshly and bitterly a
guiltless man who has done his duty by Christianity, and to refuse
to hear any explanation? I have always felt myself bound to
hope, unless I am mistaken (but perhaps I am mistaken), that if
any one ever came forward to contradict the truth and teachings
of the gospel, it would come to pass that the High Prelate of
Constance would rush to its aid before all others and hear the
whole case, and this by your help especially, whom he has even
now employed as delegates because of your preeminent learning.
For what would ye do if I wanted to go to him without your
knowledge? If I feared to meet you? If I refused to have
your opinion in the matter? Now, when I do nothing of the
kind, but ask your presence in order to give an account of my
faith and teachings, how have you the face to venture to refuse it?
It could not have failed to rouse suspicion if I had allowed you

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