151. THE REFORMATION IN SWITZERLAND.
These things thus hitherto discoursed, which fully may be seen in the Commentaries of John Sleiden, it remaineth next after the story of Martin Luther, somewhat to adjoin likewise touching the history of Zuinglius, and of the Helvetians. But before I come to the explication of this story, it shall not be inconvenient, first to give some little touch of the towns, called pages, of these Helvetians, and of their league and confederation first begun amongst them.
The history of the Helvetians, or Switzers, how they first recovered their liberty, and afterwards were joined in league together.
The Helvetians, whom otherwise we call Switzers, are divided principally into thirteen pages. The names of whom are Tigurini, Bernates, Lucernates, Urani, Suicenses, Untervaldii, Tugiani, Glareanti, Basilienses, Solodurii, Friburgii, Scafusiani, Apecelenses. Furthermore, to these be added seven other pages, albeit not with such a full bond as the other be conjoined together; which be these: Rheti, Lepontii, Seduni, Veragri, Sangalli, Mullusiani, Rotulenses. Of these thirteen confederate pages above recited, these three were the first, to wit, Urania, Suicenses, and Sylvanii, or (as some call them) Untervaldii, which joined themselves together.
If credit should be given to old narrations, these three pages or valleys first suffered great servitude and thraldom under cruel rulers or governors; insomuch that the governor of Sylvania required of one of the inhabitants a yoke of his oxen; which when the townsmen denied to give him, the ruler sent his servant by force to take his oxen from him. This when the servant was about to do, cometh thepoor man's son, and cutting off one of his fingers, and upon the same avoided. The governor, hearing this, taketh the poor man and putteth out his eyes.
At another time in the said Sylvania, as the good man of the house was absent abroad, the governor who had then the rule of the town, entering into the house, commanded the wife to prepare for him a bath, and made other proposals to her; whereunto she being unwilling, deferred the bath as long as she might, till the return of her husband. To whom then she, making her complaint, so moved his mind, that he, with his axe or hatchet which he had in his hand, flew upon the adulterous ruler and slew him.
Another example of like violence is reported of the ruler of Suicia and Sylvania, who, surprised with the like pride and disdain against the poor underlings, caused his cap to be hung up upon a pole, charging and commanding by his servant, all that passed by to do obeisance to the cap; which when one named William Tell refused to do, the tyrant caused his son to be tied, with an apple set upon his head, and the father with a cross-bow, or a like instrument, to shoot at the apple. After long refusing, when the woeful father could not otherwise choose, by force constrained, but must level at the apple; as God would, he missed the child, and struck the mark. Thus Tell, being thus compelled by the tyrant to shoot at his son, had brought with him two shafts; thinking that if he had struck the child with one, the other he would have let drive at the tyrant: which being understood, he was apprehended and led to the ruler's house; but by the way escaping out of the boat between Urania and Brun, and passing through the mountains with as much speed as he might, he lay in the way secretly as the ruler should pass, where he discharged his arrow at the tyrant and slew him, A.D. 1307.
Illustration -- William Tell
And thus were these cruel governors utterly expelled out of these three valleys or pages aforesaid; and after that, such order was taken by the emperor Henry the Seventh, and also by the emperor Ludovicus, duke of Bavaria, that henceforth no judge should be set over them, but only of their own company, and town dwellers.
It followed after this, A.D. 1315, that great contention and war fell between Frederic, duke of Austria, and Ludovic, duke of Bavaria, striving and fighting the space of eight years together about the empire. With Ludovic held the three pages aforesaid; who had divers conflicts with Leopold, brother to the aforenamed Frederic, duke of Austria, fighting in his brother's quarrel. As Leopold had reared a mighty army of twenty thousand footmen and horsemen, and was come to Egree, so to pass over the mountains to subdue the pages; he began to take advice of his council, by what way or passage best he might direct his journey towards the Switzers. Whereupon as they were busy in consulting, there stood a fool by, named Kune de Stocken, who hearing their advice, thought also to shoot his bolt withal, and told them, that their counsel did not like him: "For all you," quoth he, "consult how we should enter into yonder country; but none of you giveth any counsel how to come out again after we be entered." And in conclusion, as the fool said, so they found it true. For when Leopold with his host had entered into the straits and valleys between the rocks and mountains, the Switzers, with their neighbours of Urania and Sylvania, lying in privy wait, had them at such advantage; and with tumbling down stones from the rocks, and sudden coming upon their backs in blind lanes, did so encumber them, that neither they had convenient standing to fight, nor room almost to fly away; by reason whereof a great part of Leopold's army there, being enclosed about the place called Morgayten, lost their lives, and many in the flight were slain. Leopold, with them that remained, retired and escaped to Turgoia. This battle was fought A.D. 1315, the sixteenth of November.
After this, the burghers of these three villages, being continually vexed by Frederic, duke of Austria, for that they would not knowledge him for emperor, assembled themselves in the town of Urania, A.D. 1316; and there entered a mutual league and bond of perpetual society and conjunction, joining and swearing themselves, as in one body of a commonwealth and public administration together. After that came to them the Lucernates; then the Tugiani; after them the Tigurines; next to them followed the Bernates; the last almost of all were the Basilians: then followed after, the other seven pages above recited.
And thus have ye the names, the freedom, and confederation of these Switzers, or cantons, or pages of Helvetia, with the occasions and circumstances thereof, briefly expressed. Now to the purpose of our story intended, which is to declare the success of Christ's gospel and true religion received among the Helvetians; also touching the life and doctrine of Zuinglius, and order of his death, as here ensueth.
The acts and life of Uldricus Zuinglius; and of receiving the gospel in Switzerland.
Illustration -- Zurich
In the tractation of Luther's story, mention was made before of Uldricus Zuinglius, who first abiding at Glarus, in a place called then our Lord's Hermitage, from thence removed to Zurich about A.D. 1519, and there began to teach, dwelling in the minster, among the canons or priests of that close; using with them the same rites and ceremonies during the space of two or three years, where he continued reading and explaining the Scriptures unto the people with great travail, and no less dexterity. And because Pope Leo the same year had renewed his pardons again through all countries, (as is above declared,) Zuinglius zealously withstood the same, detecting the abuses thereof by the Scriptures, and of other corruptions reigning then in the church; and so continued by the space of two years and more, till at length Hugo bishop of Constance (to whose jurisdiction Zurich then also did belong) hearing thereof, wrote his letter to the senate of the said city of Zurich, complaining grievously of Zuinglius; who also wrote another letter to the college of canons, where Zuinglius was the same time dwelling, complaining likewise of such new teachers who troubled the church; and exhorted them earnestly to beware, and to take diligent heed to themselves. And forasmuch as both the pope and the emperor's Majesty had condemned all such new doctrine by their decrees and edicts, he willed them therefore to admit no such new innovations of doctrine, without the common consent of them to whom the same did appertain. Zuinglius hearing thereof, referreth his cause to the judgment and hearing of the senate, not refusing to render to them an account of his faith. And forasmuch as the bishop's letter was read openly in the college, Zuinglius directeth another letter to the bishop again, declaring the said letter proceeded not from the bishop, not that he was ignorant who were the authors thereof; desiring him not to follow their sinister counsels, for that truth, said he, is a thing invincible, and cannot be resisted. After the same tenor certain others of the city likewise wrote unto the bishop, desiring him that he would attempt nothing that should be prejudicial to the liberty and free course of the gospel; requiring moreover, that he would bear no longer the filthy and infamous lives of priests, but that he would permit them to have their lawful wives, &c. This was A.D. 1522.
Besides this, Zuinglius wrote also another letter to the whole nation of the Helvetians, monishing them in no case to hinder the passage of sincere doctrine, nor to infer any molestation to priests that were married: for as for the vow and coaction of their single life, it came, saith he, of the devil, and a devilish thing it is. And therefore whereas the said Helvetians had such a right and custom in their towns and pages, that when they received any new priest into their churches, they used to premonish him before to take his concubine, lest he should attempt any misuse with their wives and daughters; he exhorted them that they would no less grant unto them to take their wives in honest matrimony, than to live with unmarried women against the precept of God.
Thus as Zuinglius continued certain years labouring in the word of the Lord, offence began to rise at this new doctrine, and divers stepped up, namely, the Dominic Friars, on the contrary side, to preach and inveigh against him. But he, keeping himself ever within the Scriptures, protested that he would make good by the word of God that which he had taught. Upon this, the magistrates and senate of Zurich sent forth their commandment to all priests and ministers within their dominion, to repair to the city of Zurich, against the twenty-ninth of January next ensuing, (this was A.D. 1523,) there every one to speak freely, and to be heard quietly, touching these controversies of religion, what could be said; directing also their letters to the bishop of Constance, that he would either make his repair thither himself, or else to send his deputy. When the day appointed came, the bishop's vicegerent, which was John Faber, was also present. The council first declaring the cause of this their frequency and assembly, (which was for the dissension newly risen about matters of religion,) required that if any there had to object or infer against the doctrine of Zuinglius, he should freely and quietly utter and declare his mind.
Zuinglius had disposed his matter before, and contrived all his doctrine in a certain order of places, to the number of sixty-seven articles; which articles he had published also abroad before, to the end that they which were disposed, might resort thither the better prepared to the disputation. When the consul had finished that which he would say, and had exhorted others to begin, Faber, first entering the matter, began to declare the cause of his sending thither, and afterwards would persuade, that this was no place convenient, nor time fit, for discussing of such matters by disputation, but rather that the cognition and tractation thereof belonged to a general council, which, he said, was already appointed, and now near at hand. Notwithstanding Zuinglius still continued urging and requiring him, that if he had there any thing to say or to dispute, he would openly and freely utter his mind. To this he answered again, that he would confute his doctrine by writing. This done, with a few other words on both sides had to and fro, when no man would appear there to offer any disputation, the assembly brake, and was discharged; whereupon the senate of Zurich incontinent caused to be proclaimed through all their dominion and territory, that the traditions of men should be displaced and abandoned, and the gospel of Christ purely taught out of the Old and New Testament. A.D. 1523.
When the gospel thus began to take place, and to flourish in Zurich and certain other places of Helvetia, in the following year, (A.D. 1524,) another assembly of the Helvetians was convented at Lucerne, where this decree was made on the contrary part:
Constitutions decreed in the assembly of Lucerne.
"That no man should deride or contemn the word of God, which had been taught now above a thousand and four hundred years heretofore: nor the mass to be scorned, wherein the body of Christ is consecrated, to the honour of God, and to the comfort both of the quick and the dead.
"That they which are able to receive the Lord's body at Easter, shall confess their sins in Lent to the priests, and do all other things, as the use and manner of the church requireth.
"That the rites and customs of holy church be kept.
"That every one obey his own proper pastor and curate, and receive the sacraments of him, after the manner of holy church, and pay him his yearly duties.
"That honour be given to priests.
"Item, to abstain from flesh-eating on fasting-days, and in Lent to abstain from eggs and cheese.
"That no opinion of Luther be taught privily or apertly, contrary to the received determination of holy church; and that in taverns and at table no mention be made of Luther, or any new doctrine.
"That images and pictures of saints in every place be kept inviolate.
"That priests and ministers of the church be not compelled to render account of their doctrine, but only to the magistrate.
"That due aid and supportation be provided for them, if any commotion do happen.
"That no person deride the relics of the Holy Spirit, or of our Lady, or of St. Anthony.
"Finally, That all the laws and decrees set forth by the bishop of Constance, be observed.
"These constitutions whosoever shall transgress, let them be presented to the magistrate, and overseers to be set over them that shall so transgress."
After these things concluded thus at Lucerne, the cantons of Helvetia together directed their public letter to the Tigurines, or men of Zurich, to this effect:-
"Wherein they do much lament and complain of this new-broached doctrine which had set all mentogether by the ears, through the occasion of certain rash and newfangled heads, which had greatly disturbed both the state of the church and of the commonwealth, and have scattered the seeds of discord, where beforetime all things were well in quiet. And although this sore (said they) ought to have been looked to betimes, so that they should not have suffered the glory of Almighty God, and of the blessed Virgin, and other saints, so to be dishonoured, but rather should have bestowed their goods and lives to maintain the same; yet, notwithstanding, they required them now to look upon the matter, which otherwise would bring to them destruction both of body and soul: as for example, they might see the doctrine of Luther, what fruit it brought. The rude and vulgar people now (said they) could not be holden in, but would burst forth to all licence and rebellion, as hath appeared by sufficient proofs of late; the like is to be feared also among themselves, and all by the occasion of Zuinglius, and of Leo Juda, which so took upon them to expound the word of God after their own interpretation, opening thereby whole doors and windows to discord and dissension. Albeit of their doctrine they were not certain what they did teach; yet what inconvenience followed upon their doctrine, they had too much experience. For now all fasting was laid down, and all days were alike to eat both flesh and eggs, as well one as another. Priests and religious persons, both men and women, brake their vows, ran out of their order, and fell to marrying; God's service was decayed, singing in the church left, and prayer ceased; priests grew in contempt, religious men were thrust out of their cloisters; confession and penance were neglected, so that men would not stick to presume to receive at the holy altar, without any confession made to the priest before. The holy mass was derided and scorned; our blessed Lady and other saints blasphemed; images plucked down and broken in pieces, neither was there any honour given to the sacraments. To make short, men now were grown unto such a licence and liberty, that scarcely the holy host could be safe within the priest's hands, &c.
"The disorder of all which things, as it is of no small importance, so it was to them so grievous and lamentable, that they thought it their part to suffer the same no longer. Neither was this the first time (they said) of this their complaining, when in their former assembly they sent unto them before the like admonition, writing to them by certain of the clergy, and craving their aid in the same; which seeing it is so, they did now again earnestly call upon them touching the premises, desiring them to surcease from such doings, and to take a better way, continuing in the religion of their old ancestors, which were before them. And if there were any such thing, wherein they were grieved and offended against the bishop of Rome, the cardinals, bishops, or other prelates, either for their ambition in heaping, exchanging, and selling the dignities of the church, or for their oppression in pilling men's purses with their indulgences, or else for their usurped jurisdiction and power, which they extend too far, and corruptly apply to matters external and political, which only ought to serve in such cases as be spiritual; if these and such other abuses were the causes, wherewith they were so grievously offended, they promised that, for the correction and reformation thereof, they would also themselves join their diligence and good will thereto; forasmuch as themselves also did not a little mislike therewith, and therefore would confer their counsels together with them, how and by what way such grievances might best be removed."
To this effect were the letters of the Helvetians, written to the senate and citizens of Zurich. Whereunto the Tigurines made their answer again on the 21st of March, the same year, in manner as followeth
"First, declaring how their ministers had laboured and travailed among them, teaching and preaching the word of God unto them the space now of five years; whose doctrine at the first seemed to them very strange and novel, because they never heard the same before. But. after that they understood and perceived the scope of that doctrine only to tend to this; to set forth Christ Jesus unto us, to be the pillar and refuge of all our salvation, which gave his life and blood for our redemption, and which only delivereth us also, sinful misers, from eternal death, and is the only Advocate of mankind before God; they could no otherwise do, but with ardent affection receive so wholesome and joyful a message.
"The holy apostles and faithful Christians, after they had received the gospel of Christ, did not fall out by and by in debate and variance, but lovingly agreed and consented together: and so they trusted (said they) that they should do, if they would likewise receive the word of God, setting aside men's doctrines and traditions dissonant from the same. Whatsoever Luther or any other man doth teach, whether it be right or wrong, it is not for the names of the persons, why the doctrine which they teach should be either evil or well judged upon, but only for that it agreeth or disagreeth from the rule of God's word: for that were but to go by affection, and were prejudicial to the authority of the word of God, which ought to rule man, and not to be measured by man. And if Christ only be worshipped, and men taught solely to repose their confidence in him, yet neither doth the blessed Virgin, nor any saint else, receive any injury thereby; who, being here on earth, received their salvation only by the name of him.
"And whereas they charge their ministers with wresting the Scripture after their own interpretation, God had stirred up such light now in the hearts of men, that the most part of their city have the Bible in their hand, and diligently peruse the same; so that their preachers cannot so wind the Scriptures awry, but they shall quickly be perceived. Wherefore there is no danger why they should fear any sects or factions in them; but rather such sects are to be objected to those, who, for their gain and dignity, wrest the word of God after their own affections and appetites. And whereas they, and others, have accused them of error, yet was there never man that could prove any error in them, although divers bishops of Constance, of Basil, of Coire, with divers universities besides; also they themselves have been sundry times desired so to do; yet to this present day neither they nor ever any others so did; neither were they, nor any of all the aforesaid bishops, at their last assembly, being requested to come, so gentle to repair unto them, save only the Schashusians and Sangallians. In which aforesaid assembly of theirs, all such as were then present, considering thoroughly the whole case of the matter, condescended together with them. And if the bishops haply will object again, and say, that the word of God ought not so to be handled of the vulgar people; they answered the same not to stand with equity and reason. For albeit it did belong to the bishops' office, to provide that the sheep should not go astray, and most convenient it were, that by them they should be reduced into the way again; yet because they will not see to their charge, but leave it undone, referring all things to the fathers and to councils; therefore right and reason it is, that they themselves should hear and learn, not what man doth determine, but what Christ himself doth command in his Scripture. Neither have their ministers given any occasion of this division; but rather it is to be imputed to such, which for their own private lucre and preferments, contrary to the word of the Lord, do seduce the people into error; and grievously offending God, do provoke him to plague them with manifold calamities; who, if they would renounce the greediness of their own gain, and would follow the pure doctrine of his word, seeking not the will of man, but what is the will of God, no doubt but they should soon fall to agreement.
"As for the eating of flesh and eggs, although it be free to all men, and forbidden to none by Christ; yet they have set forth a law to restrain rash intemperance, and uncharitable offension of other.
"And as touching matrimony, God is himself the author thereof, who hath left it free for all men. Also Paul willeth a minister of the church to be the husband of one wife. And seeing that bishops for money permit their priests to have concubines, which is contrary both to God's law and to good example; why then might not they as well obey God in permitting lawful matrimony which he hath ordained, as they to resist God in forbidding the same? The like is to be said also of women vowing chastity; of whom this they judge and suppose, that such kind of vows and coacted chastity, are not available nor allowed before God: and seeing that chastity is not all men's gift, better it were to marry, (after their judgments,) than filthily to live in single life.
"As for monasteries, and other houses of canons, they were first given for relief only of the poor and needy; whereas now they which inhabit them are wealthy, and able to live of their own patrimony, in such sort as many times some one of them hath so much, as might well suffice a great number; wherefore it seemeth to them not inconvenient, that those goods should be converted again to the use of the poor. Yet, nevertheless, they have used herein such moderation, that they have permitted the inhabitants of those monasteries to enjoy the possession of their goods, during the term of their natural life, lest any should have cause of just complaint.
"Ornaments of churches serve nothing to God's service; but this is well agreeing to the will and service of God, that the poor should be succoured. So Christ commanded the young man in the gospel, that was rich, not to hang up his riches in the temple, but to sell them, and distribute them to the needy.
"The order of priesthood they do not contemn. Such priests as will truly discharge their duty, and teach soundly, they do magnify. As for the other rabble, which serve to no public commodity, but rather damnify the commonwealth, if the number of them were diminished by little and little, and their livings put to better use, they doubted not but it were a service well done to God. Now whether the singing and prayers of such priests be available before God, it may be doubted, forasmuch as many of them understand not what they say, or sing, but only for hire of wages do the same.
"As for secret confession, wherein men do detect their sins in the priest's ear, of what virtue this confession is to be esteemed, they leave it in suspense. But that confession whereby repenting sinners do fly to Christ our only Intercessor, they account notonly to be profitable, but also necessary to all troubled consciences. As for satisfaction, which priests do use, they reckon it but a practice to get money, and the same to be not only erroneous, but also full of impiety. True penance and satisfaction is, for a man to amend his life.
"The orders of monkery came only by the invention of man, and not by the institution of God.
"And as touching the sacraments, such as be of the Lord's institution, them they do not despise, but receive with all reverence; neither do suffer the same to be despised of any person, nor to be abused otherwise than becometh, but to be used rightly, according to the prescript rule of God's word. And so with the like reverence they use the sacrament of the Lord's supper, according as the word prescribeth, not (as many do use it) to make of it an oblation and a sacrifice.
"And if the messengers sent to them of the clergy, in their letters mentioned, can justly charge them with any hinderance, or any error, they will be ready either to purge themselves, or to satisfy the offence. And if they cannot, then reason would, that those messengers of the clergy should hereafter look better to their own doings, and to their doctrine, and to cease from such untrue slanders and contumelies.
"Finally, Whereas they understand by their letters how desirous they are to have the pope's oppressions, and exactions, and usurped power abolished, they are right glad thereof and joyful, supposing that the same can by no means be brought to pass, except the word of God only and simply be received: for otherwise, so long as men's laws and constitutions shall stand in force, there will be no place nor hope of reformation. For, by the preaching of God's word, their estimation and dignity must needs decay, and that they well perceive; and therefore, by all means do provide how to stop the course of the word: and because they see themselves too weak to bring their purpose about, they fly to the aid of kings and princes. For the necessary remedy whereof, if they shall think good to join their consent, there shall nothing be lacking in their behalf, what they are able either in counsel or goods to do in the matter: declaring moreover, that this should have been seen to long before. Which being so, they prayed and desired them to accept in good part, and diligently to expound, that which they did write. As for their own part, they required nothing else more than peace, both between them and all men; neither was it ever their intent to stir any thing that should be prejudicial against their league and band agreed upon between them. But in this cause, which concerneth their eternal salvation, they can do no otherwise but as they have done, unless their error by learning might be proved and declared unto them. Wherefore, as they did before, so now they desire again, that if they think this their doctrine to be repugnant to the Holy Scripture, they will gently show and teach them their error; and that, before the end of the month of May next ensuing: for so long they will abide waiting for an answer, as well from them, as from the bishop of Constance, and also from the university of Basil."
And thus much containeth the answer of the Tigurines unto the letter of their other colleagues of Helvetia.
In the mean time, as this passed on, and the month of May, above-mentioned, was now come, the bishop of Constance, with the advice of his council about him, did answer the Tigurines, as he was requested of them to do, in a certain book, first written, and afterward printed; wherein he declareth what images and pictures those were, which the profane Jews and Gentiles in the old time did adore, and what images these be which the church hath from time to time received and admitted; and what difference there is between those idols of the Jews and Gentiles, and these images of the Christians. The conclusion hereof was this; that whereas the Scripture speaketh against images, and willeth them not to be suffered, that is to be understood of such images and idols, as the Jews and idolatrous Gentiles did use; yet nevertheless such images and pictures which the church had received, are to be used and retained.
From this he entereth next into the discourse of the mass, where he proveth, by divers and sundry testimonies, both of the pope's canons and councils, the mass to be a sacrifice and oblation.
This book being thus compiled and written, he sent it unto the senate of Zurich, about the beginning of June, willing and exhorting them by no manner of means to suffer their images, or the mass, to be abrogated; and shortly after he published the said book in print, and sent it to the priests and canons of the minster of Zurich, requiring them to follow the custom of the church received, and not to suffer themselves to be persuaded otherwise by any man.
The senate again, answering to the bishop's book, about the middle of August, did write unto him, first, declaring that they had read over and over again his book with all diligence: the which book, forasmuch as the bishop had divulged abroad in print, they were therefore right glad, because the whole world thereby might judge between them the better. After this, they explained unto him the judgment and doctrine of their ministers and preachers: and finally, by the authority and testimonies of the Scripture, convinced his opinion, and proved the doctrine of his book to be false. But before they sent their answer to him, about the thirteenth of June, they commanded all the images, as well within the city as through their dominion, to be taken down and burned quietly, and without any tumult. A few months after, an order was taken in the said city of Zurich, between the canons of the church and city, for disposing the lands and possessions of the college.
It would grow to a long discourse, to comprehend all things by order of circumstance, that happened among the Helvetians upon this new alteration of religion; but, briefly to contract, and to run over the chief specialties of the matter, here is first to be noted, that of the Helvetians which were confederate together in the thirteen pages, chiefly, six there were, which most disdained and maligned this religion of the Tigurines: to wit, the Lucernates, the Urani, the Suitenses, the Untervaldii, the Tugiani, and the Friburgenses; these in no case could be reconciled. The rest showed themselves more favourable. But the other, which were their enemies, conceived great grudge, and raised many slanderous reports and false rumours against them, and laid divers things to their charge: as, first, for refusing to join their consent to the public league of the other pages with Francis the French king; then for dissenting from them in religion; and thirdly, for refusing to stand to the popish decree made the year before at Ratisbon, by Ferdinand, and other bishops above-mentioned.
They laid moreover to their accusation, for aiding the Vualsutenses their neighbours, against Ferdinand their prince; which was false. Also for joining league secretly with other cities, without their knowledge; which was likewise false. Item, That they should intend some secret conspiracy against them, and invade them with war; which was as untrue as the rest. Many other quarrels besides they pretended against the Tigurines, which were all false and cavilling slanders: as that they should teach and preach, that Mary the mother of Christ had more sons; and that James the younger, the apostle, did die for us, and not Christ himself. Against these and such other untruths being mere matters of cavillation and slander, the Tigurines did fully and amply purge and acquit themselves by writing, and did expostulate vehemently with them, not only for these false and wrongful suspicions, of their parts undeserved, but also for other manifold injuries received and borne at their hands, among which other wrongs and injuries, this was one: that the burghermaster of Zurich had apprehended a certain preacher, named John Oxline, and led him home as prisoner unto his house; being taken within the precinct and limits of the city of Zurich, contrary to law and order.
Finally, after much discoursing, wherein they in a long letter declared their diligence and fidelity at all times, in keeping their league, and maintaining the liberty and dignity of their country; as touching the cause of religion, if that were all the matter of their offence, they offered themselves willing to hear, and more glad to amend, if any could prove any error in them by the Scripture. Otherwise, if none so could or would prove wherein they did err by the word of God, they could not, they said, alter any thing in the state of that religion wherein their consciences where already staid by the word of God and settled, whatsoever peril or danger should happen to them for the same.
Although here was no cause why these pages or cantons, which were so confederate together in the league of peace, should disagree amongst themselves; yet herein may we see the course and trade of the world, that when difference of religion beginneth a little to break the knot of amity, by and by how friends be turned to foes; what suspicions do rise; what quarrels and grudges do follow; how nothing there liketh men, but every thing is taken to the worst part: small motes are made mountains; virtues made vices, and one vice made a thousand; and all for lack only of a little good will betwixt party and party. For as love and charity commonly among men, either covereth or seeth not the faults of their friends, so hatred and disdain, taking all things to blame, can find nothing in their foes that they can like. And thus did it happen between these good men of Zurich, and these other Switzers above-named.
These letters of the Tigurines to the other cantons, were written upon the occasion of their apprehending the preacher, John Oxline, above-named, on the fourth of January, 1525; and in the month of April next following, the magistrates and senate of the said city of Zurich commanded the mass, with all his ceremonies and apurtenances thereto belonging, to be put down, as well within the city, as without, throughout all their jurisdiction; and instead thereof was placed the Lord's supper, the reading of the prophets, prayer, and preaching. Also a law was made against whoredom and adultery, and judges ordained to hear the causes of matrimony, A.D. 1525.
All this while the gospel was not as yet received in any other page of Helvetia, but only in Zurich. Wherefore the other twelve pages, or towns, appointed among themselves concerning a meeting or a disputation to be had at Baden: where were present, among other divines, John Faber, Eckius, and Murner, above-mentioned. The bishops also of Lucerne, Basil, Coire, and Lausanne, sent thither their legates. The conclusions there propounded were these: That the true body and blood of Christ is in the sacrament: that the mass is a sacrifice for the quick and dead: that the blessed Virgin, and other saints, are to be invocated as mediators and intercessors: that images ought not to be abolished: that there is a purgatory.
Which conclusions or assertions Eckius took upon him stoutly to defend. Against him reasoned ?colampadius, (who was then chief preacher at Basil,) with certain other more. Zuinglius at that time was not there present, but by writing confuted the doctrine of Eckius: declaring withal the causes of his absence; which were for that he durst not, for fear of his life, commit himself unto the hands of the Lucernates, the Urani, the Suitenses, the Untervaldii, and the Tugiani, his enemies: and that he refused not to dispute, but the place only of the disputation; excusing moreover that he was not permitted of the senate to come: nevertheless, if they would assign the place of disputation either at Zurich, or at Berne, or at Sangallum, thither he would not refuse to come. Briefly, the conclusion of the disputation was this, that all should remain in that religion which hitherto they had kept, and should follow the authority of the council, neither should admit any other new doctrine within their dominions, &c. This was in the month of June, the said year above-mentioned.
Illustration -- Berne
As the time proceeded, and dissension about religion increased, it followed the next year, A.D. 1527, in the month of December, that the senate and people of Berne, (whose power among all the Switzers chiefly excelleth,) considering how neither they could have the acts of the disputation of Baden communicated unto them, and that the variance about religion still more and more increased, assigned another disputation within their own city, and sending forth writings thereof, called unto the same all the bishops bordering near about them, as the bishops of Constance, Basil, Sion, Lausanne; warning them both to come themselves, and to bring their divines with them; or else to lose all such possessions which they had lying within the bounds of their precinct. After this they appointed out certain ecclesiastical persons of their jurisdiction to dispute; prescribing and determining the whole disputation to be decided only by the authority of the Old and New Testament. To all that would come thither, they granted safe-conduct. Also they appointed, that all things there should be done modestly, without injury and brawling words; and that every one should have leave to speak his mind freely, and with such deliberation, that every man's saying might be received by the notary, and penned: with this proviso made before, that whatsoever there should be agreed upon, the same should be ratified, and observed through all their dominions. And to the intent men might come thither better prepared before, they propounded in public writing ten conclusions in the said disputation to be defended of their ministers by the Scriptures; which ministers were, Franciscus Colbus and Bertholdus Hallerus. The themes or conclusions were these:
"I. That the true church, whereof Christ is the head, riseth out of God's word, and persisteth in the same, and heareth the voice of no other.
"II. That the same church maketh no laws without the word of God.
"III. That traditions, ordained in the name of the church, do not bind but so far forth as they be consonant to God's word.
"IV. That Christ only hath made satisfaction for the sins of the world: and therefore if any man say, that there is any other way of salvation, or mean to put away sin, the same denieth Christ.
"V. That the body and blood of Christ cannot be received really and corporally, by the testimony of the Scripture.
"VI. That the use of the mass, wherein Christ is present and offered up to his heavenly Father for the quick and the dead, is against the Scripture, and contumelious to the sacrifice which Christ made for us.
"VII. That Christ only is to be invocated, as the Mediator and Advocate of mankind to God the Father.
"VIII. That there is no place to be found by the Holy Scripture, wherein souls are purged after this life: and therefore all those prayers and ceremonies, yearly dirges and obits, which are bestowed upon the dead, also lamps, tapers, and such other things, profit nothing at all.
"IX. That to set up any picture or image to be worshipped, is repugnant to the Holy Scripture; and therefore, if any such be erected in churches for that intent, the same ought to be taken down.
"X. That matrimony is prohibited to no state or order of men, but, for eschewing of fornication, generally is commanded, and permitted to all men by the word of God. And forasmuch as all fornicators are excluded, by the testimony of Scripture, from the communion of the church, therefore this unchaste and filthy single life of priests, is most of all inconvenient for the order of priesthood."
When the senate and people of Berne had sent abroad their letters with these themes and conclusions to all the Helvetians, exhorting them both to send their learned men, and to suffer all others to pass safely through their countries; the Lucernates, Uranites, Switzers, Untervaldians, Tugians, Glareans, Soloturnians, and they of Friburg, answered again by contrary letters, exhorting and requiring them in any case to desist from their purposed enterprise; putting them in remembrance of their league and composition made, and also of the disputation of Baden above-mentioned, of which disputation they were themselves (they said) the first beginners and authors. Saying moreover, that it was not lawful for any nation or province to alter the state of religion, but the same to belong to a general council: wherefore they desired them that they would not attempt any such wicked act, but continue in the religion which their parents and elders had observed. And in fine, thus in the end of their letters they concluded, that they would neither send, nor suffer any of their learned men to come, nor yet grant safe-conduct to any others to pass through their country. To this and such-like effect tended the letters of these Switzers above-named.
All which notwithstanding, the lords of Berne, proceeding in their intended purpose, upon the day prescribed, (which was the seventh of January,) began their disputation. Of all the bishops before signified, which were assigned to come, there was not one present. Nevertheless the cities of Basil, Zurich, and Schaffhausen, and Appenzel, St. Gallen, Mulhausen, with the neighbours of Rhetia; also they of Strasburg, Ulm, Augsburg, Lindau, Constance, and Isny, sent thither their ambassadors.
The doctors above-mentioned of the city of Berne, began the disputation; whereat the same time were present Zuinglius, ?colampadius, Bucer, Capito, Blaurer, with others more, all which defended the affirmative of the conclusions propounded. On the contrary side, of them which were the opponents, the chieftain was Conrad Treger, a friar Augustine; who, to prove his assertion, when he was driven to shift out of the Scripture to seek help of other doctors, and the moderators of the disputation would not permit the same, (being contrary to the order before appointed,) he departed out of the place, and would dispute no more.
The disputation endured nineteen days; in the end whereof it was agreed, by the assent of the most part, that the conclusions there disputed, were consonant to the truth of God's word, and should be ratified not only in the city of Berne, but also proclaimed by the magistrates in sundry other cities near adjoining: furthermore, that masses, altars, and images, in all places, should be abolished.
At the city of Constance, certain things began to be altered a little before; where also, among other things, laws were made against fornication and adultery, and all suspect or unhonest company; whereat the canons (as they are called) of the church, taking great grief and displeasure, departed the city. In the said city was then teacher, Ambrose Blaurer, a learned man, and born of a noble stock, who had been a monk a little before, professed in the monastery of Alperspake, in the duchy of Wittenberg, belonging to the dominion of Ferdinand. Which Blaurer, by reading of Luther's works, and having a good wit, had changed, a little before, his religion, and also his coat, returning again home to his friends; and when his abbot would have had him again, and wrote earnestly to the senate of Constance for him, he declared the whole case of the matter in writing; propounding withal certain conditions, whereupon he was content (as he said) to return. But the conditions were such, that the abbot was rather willing and contented that he should remain still at Constance; and so he did.
After this disputation thus concluded at Berne, (as hath been said,) the images and altars, with ceremonies and masses, were abolished at Constance.
They of Geneva also, for their parts, were not behind, following likewise the example of the city of Berne, in extirpating images and ceremonies; by reason whereof the bishop and clergy there left, and departed the city in no small anger.
The Bernates, after they had redressed with them the state of religion, they renounced the league made before with the French king; refusing and forsaking his war stipend, whereby they were bound at his call to feed his wars; following therein the example of the Tigurines, which before had done the like, and were contented only with their yearly pension that the king payeth to every page of the Helvetians, to keep peace.
The day and year when this reformation from popery to true Christianity with them began, they caused on a pillar to be engraven with golden letters, for a perpetual memory to all posterity to come. This was A.D. 1528.
After that the rumour of this disputation and alteration of Berne was noised in other cities and places abroad, first the ministers of Strasburg, encouraged by this occasion, began likewise to affirm and teach, that the mass was wicked, and a great blasphemy against God's holy name, and therefore was to be abrogated; and instead thereof the right use of the Lord's supper to be restored again; which unless they could prove by the manifest testimonies of the Scriptures to be true, they would refuse no manner of punishment. On the contrary part, the bishop of Rome's clergy did hold and maintain, that the mass was good and holy; whereupon kindled great contention on both sides: which when the senate and magistrates of the city would have brought to a disputation, and could not because the priests would not condescend to any reasoning; therefore, seeing they so accused the other, and yet would come to no trial of their cause, the said magistrates commanded them to silence.
The bishop, in the mean while, ceased not with his letters and messengers daily to call upon the senate, desiring the senate to persevere in the ancient religion of their elders, and to give no ear to those new teachers; declaring what danger and peril it would bring upon them. The senate again desired him, as they had done oftentimes before, that such things as appertained to the true honour and worship of God might be set forward, and all other things which tended to the contrary might be removed and taken away; for that properly belonged to his office to see to. But the bishop, still driving them off with delays, pretended to call an assembly for the same, appointing also day and place for the hearing and discussing of those controversies; where, indeed, nothing was performed at all; but with his letters he did often solicit them to surcease their enterprise, sometimes by way of entreating, sometimes with menacing words terrifying them: and at last, seeing he could nothing by that way prevail, he turned his suit to the assembly of the empire, which was then at Spires collected, entreating them to set in a foot, and to help what they could with their authority.
They, ready to satisfy the bishop's request, sent a solemn embassy to the senate and citizens of Strasburg, about December in the year above-said, with this request:
"Requiring them not to put down the mass; for neither it was (said they) in the power of the emperor, nor of any other estate; to alter the ancient religion received from their forefathers, but either by a general, or by a provincial, council; which council if they be supposed to be far off, at least that they would take a pause till the next sitting of the empire, which should be with speed; where their requests being propounded and heard, they should have such reasonable answer, as should not miscontent them. For it was (said they) against all law and reason, for a private magistrate to infringe and dissolve those things, which by general consent of the whole world have been agreed upon; and therefore good reason required, that they should obtain so much at their hands; for else if they should obstinately proceed in this their attempt, so with force and violence to work as they began, it might fortune the emperor, their supreme magistrate under God, and also Ferdinand his deputy, would not take it well, and so should be compelled to seek such remedy therein, as they would be sorry to use. Wherefore their request was, and advice also, that they should weigh the matter diligently with themselves and follow good counsel; who, in so doing, should not only glad the emperor, but also work that which should redound chiefly to their own commendation and safety."esides the messengers thus sent from the council of Spires, the bishop also of Hildesheim had been with them a little before, exhorting them in the emperor's name, after like manner. Neither did the bishop of Strasburg also cease with his messengers and letters daily to labour his friends there, and especially such of the senators as he had to him bound by any fealty, or otherwise by any gifts of friendship; that, so much as in them did lie, they should uphold the mass, and gainstand the contrary proceeding of the others.
The senate of Strasburg, in the mean time, seeing the matter did so long hang in controversy, the space now of two years, and the preachers daily and instantly calling upon them for a reformation, and suit also being made to them of the citizens, assembled their great and full council, to the number of three hundred, (as in great matters of importance they are accustomed to do,) and there with themselves debated the case; declaring on the one side, if they abolished the mass, what danger they should incur by the emperor; on the other side, if they did not, how much they should offend God: and therefore, giving them respite to consult, at the next meeting required them to declare their advice and sentence in the matter. When the day came that every man should say his mind, it so fell out, that the voices and judgments of them which went against the mass, prevailed: whereupon immediately a decree was made, on the twentieth of February, A.D. 1529, that the mass should be suspended and laid down, till the time that the adversary part could prove by good Scripture, the mass to be a service available and acceptable before God.
This decree being established by the consent of the whole city, the senate eftsoons commanded the same to be proclaimed, and to take full place and effect, as well within the city, as also without, so far as their limits and dominion did extend; andafterwards, by letters, certified their bishop touching the doing thereof. Who bearing these news, as heavy to his heart as lead, did signify to them again, how he received their letters, and how he understood by them the effect and sum of their doings: all which he was enforced to digest with such patience as he could, though they went sore against his stomach, seeing for the present time he could no otherwise choose: hereafter would serve (he said); he would see thereunto, according as his charge and office should require.
Thus how the mass was overthrown in Zurich, in Berne, in Geneva, and in Strasburg, you have heard. Now what followed in Basil remaineth likewise to understand. In this city of Basil was ?colampadius, a preacher, (as is above signified,) by whose diligent labour and travail the gospel began there to take such root, that great dissension there also arose among the citizens about religion, and especially about the mass: whereupon the senate of Basil appointed, that after an open disputation it should be determined by voices, what was to be done therein. This notwithstanding, the papists, still continuing in their former purpose, began more stoutly to inveigh against the other part; and because they were so suffered by the magistrate without punishment, it was therefore doubted by the commons, that they had some privy maintainers among the senators: whereupon certain of the citizens were appointed, in the name of the whole commons, to sue to the senators, and to put them in remembrance of their promise. Whose suit and request was this: that those senators which were the aiders and supporters of the papists, might be displaced, for that it did as well tend to the contempt of their former decree made, as also to the public disturbance of the city. But when this could not be obtained of the senate, the commons, on the eighth day of February, in the year abovesaid, assembled themselves in the Grey Friars' church, and there, considering with themselves upon the matter, repaired again with their suit unto the senate, but not in such humble wise as before; and therewithal gathered themselves in the public places of the city, to fortify the same; albeit as yet without armour. The same evening, the senate sent them word, that, at their request they granted, that those senators, although remaining still in office, yet should not sit in the council at what time any matter of religion should come in talk.
By this answer the commons, gathering that the whole state was ruled by a few, took thereat grief and displeasure, protesting openly, that they would take counsel by themselves hereafter, what they had to do, not only in cases of religion, but also in other matters of civil government; and forthwith took them to armour, keeping the towers and gates, and other convenient places of the city, with watch and ward, in as forcible wise as if the enemy had been at hand.
The next day the senate, requiring respite to deliberate, was contented to commit the matter to them, whom the commons before had sent as suitors unto them; which offer the citizens did not refuse, but with this condition, that those senators who were guilty, should in the mean season follow their plea as private persons, upon their own private costs and charges; and that the others, who defended the public cause for the behoof of their posterity, should be maintained by the public charges of the city. This the senate was glad to grant, with some other like matters of lighter weight, to appease their rage.
It happened the very same day, that certain of the citizens, (such as were appointed to go about the city for the viewing of things,) came into the high church, where one of them thrusting at a certain image with his staff, eftsoons it fell down and brake; by the occasion whereof, other images also, in like sort, were served after the same devotion. But when the priests came running to them, which seemed to be greatly offended therewith, they, because they would not pass their commission, staid their hands and departed.
It followed upon this, that when word hereof was brought to the citizens which stood in the marketplace, and the matter being made worse unto them than it was, they incontinently discharged out three hundred armed men, to rescue their fellows in the church, supposing them to be in danger: who, coming to the church, and not finding their fellows there, and all things quiet, save only a few images broken down, they likewise, lest they should have lost all their labour, threw down all the other idols and images which they found there standing; and so passing through all churches in the city, did there also the like. And when certain of the senate came forth to appease the tumult, the citizens said, "That which you have stood about these three years, consulting and advising whether it were best to be done or not, that shall we despatch in one hour, that from henceforth never more contention shall grow between us for images." And so the senate permitted them free leave, without any more resistance; and twelve senators were displaced from their order, albeit without note of reproach or dishonesty. Also a decree the same time was made, that as well within the city of Basil, as without, throughout all their jurisdiction, the mass, with all idols, should be abandoned: and further, that in all such matters and cases as concerned the glory of God, and the affairs of the public wealth, besides the number of the other senators, two hundred of the burghers or citizens should be appointed out of every ward in the city to sit with them in council. These decrees being established, after they had kept watch and ward about the city three days and three nights, every one returned again to his house quiet and joyful, without any blood or stroke given, or anger wreaked, but only upon the images.
On the third day, which was Ash Wednesday, (as the pope's ceremonial church doth call it,) all the wooden images were distributed among the poor of the city, to serve them for firewood. But when they could not well agree in dividing the prey, but fell to brawling among themselves, it was agreed that the said images should be burnt altogether; so that in nine great heaps all the stocks and idols there the same day were burnt to ashes before the great church door. And thus by God's ordinance it came to pass, that the same day wherein the pope's priests are wont to show forth all their mourning, and do mark men's foreheads with ashes, in remembrance that they be but ashes, was to the whole city festival and joyful, for turning their images to ashes; and so is observed and celebrated every year still, unto this present day, with all mirth, plays, and pastimes, in remembrance of the same ashes; which day may there be called a right Ash Wednesday of God's own making. The men of Zurich, of Berne, of Soleure, hearing what business was at Basil, sent their ambassadors to be a mean between them; but before the ambassadors came, all was ceased and at quiet.
All this mean space the emperor and the French king were together occupied in wars and strife; which as it turned to the great damage and detriment of the French king, who, in the said wars, was taken prisoner by the emperor, so it happened commodious and opportune for the success of the gospel: for else it is to be thought that these Helvetians and other Germans should not have had that leisure and rest to reform religion, and to link themselves in league together, as they did. But thus Almighty God, of his secret wisdom, disposeth times and occasions to serve his will and purpose in all things; albeit Ferdinand the emperor's brother, and deputy in Germany, remitted no time nor diligence to do what he could in resisting the proceedings of the protestants, as appeared both by the decree set forth at Ratisbon, and also at Spires; in the which council of Spires, Ferdinand, at the same time, which was A.D. 1529, had decreed against the protestants in effect as followeth:
"First, That the edict of the emperor made at Worms, should stand in force through all Germany till the time of the general council which should shortly follow. Also, that they which already had altered their religion, and now could not revoke the same again for fear of sedition, should stay themselves, and attempt no more innovations hereafter, till the time of the general council.
"Item, That the doctrine of them which hold the Lord's supper otherwise than the church doth teach, should not be received, nor the mass should be altered: and there, where the doctrine of religion was altered, there should be no impediment to the contrary, but that they which were disposed to come to mass, might safely therein use their devotion. Against Anabaptists likewise; and that all ministers of the church should be enjoined to use no other intepretation of the Holy Scripture, but according to the exposition of the church doctors: other matters that were disputable not be touched. Moreover, that all persons and states should keep peace, so that for religion, neither the one part should infer molestation to the other, nor receive any confederates under their protection and safeguard; all which decrees they which should transgress, to be outlawed and exiled."
Unto this sitting at Spires, first, the ambassadors of Strasburg were not admitted, but repelled by Ferdinand, because they had rejected the mass; and therefore the said city of Strasburg denied to pay any contribution against the Turk, except they, with other Germans, might be likewise admitted into their councils. The other princes which were received and not repelled, as the duke of Saxony, and George of Brandenburg, Ernest and Francis, earls of Lunenburg, and the landgrave Anhaldius, did utterly gainstand the decree, and showed their cause, in a large protestation written, why they so did: which done, all such cities as subscribed and consented to the said protestation of the princes, eftsoons conjoined themselves in a common league with them, whereupon they had their name called therefore protestants. The names of the cities were these: Argentina or Strasburg, Nuremberg, Ulm, Constance, Reutlingen, Windsheim, Memmingen, Lindau, Kempton, Hailbrun, Isny, Weisseburg, Nordlingen, St. Gallen.
Furthermore, as touching the Helvetians, (from whence we hare somewhat digressed,) how the cities of Berne and Zurich had consented and joined together in reformation of the true religion, ye heard before. Wherefore the other pages in Helvetia, which were of the contrary profession, in like manner confederated themselves in league with Ferdinand: the number and names of which pages especially were five; to wit, the Lucernates, the Urani, the Suitcases, the Untervaldii, and the Tugiani, which was in the year abovesaid; to the intent, that they, conjoining their power together, might overrun the religion of Christ, and the professors of the same: who also, for hatred and despite, hanged up the arms of the aforesaid cities of Zurich and Berne upon the gallows, besides many other injuries and grievances which they wrought against them; for the which cause the said cities of Berne and Zurich raised their power, intending to set upon the aforesaid Switzers, as upon their capital enemies. But as they were in the field, ready to encounter one army against the other, through the means of the city of Strasburg, and other intercessors, they were parted for that time, and so returned.
As touching the council of Augsburg, which followed the next year after the assembly of Spires, A.D. 1530, how the princes and protestants of Germany in the same council exhibited their confession, and what labour was sought to confute it, and how constantly Duke Frederic persisted in defence of his conscience against the threatening words and replications of the emperor; also in what danger the said princes had been in, had not the landgrave privily by night slipped out of the city; pertaineth not to this place presently to discourse.
To return therefore unto Zuinglius and the Helvetians, of whom we have here presently to treat, you heard before how the tumult and commotion between the two cities of Zurich and Berne, and the other five cities of the cantons, was pacified by the means of intercession; which peace so continued the space of two years. After that, the old wound waxing raw again, began to burst out and gather to a head; which was by reason of certain injuries, and opprobrious words and contumelies, which the reformed cities had received of the other; wherefore the Tigurines and the Bernates, stopping all passages and straits, would permit no corn nor victual to pass unto them. This was A.D. 1531. And when great trouble was like to be thereby, the French king, with certain other townships of Switzerland, as the Glarians, Friburgians, Soloturnians, and other coming between them, laboured to set them at agreement, drawing out certain conditions of peace between them; which conditions were these: That all contumelies and injuries past should be forgotten: that hereafter neither part should molest the other: that they which were banished for religion, should again be restored: that the five pages might remain without disturbance in their religion, so that none should be restrained amongst them from the reading of the Old and New Testament: that no kind of disquietness should be procured against them of Berne and Zurich: and that either part should confer mutual helps together, one to succour the other as in times past. But the five pagemen would not observe these covenants made, neither would their malicious hearts be brought to any conformity. Wherefore the Bernates and Tigurines, showing and declaring first their cause in public writing, to purge and excuse the necessity of their war, being pressed with so many wrongs, and in manner constrained to take the sword in hand, did, as before, beset the highways and passages, that no furniture, or victual, or other forage, could come to the other pages; by reason whereof, when they of the five towns began to be pinched with want and penury, they armed themselves secretly, and set forward in warlike array towards the borders of Zurich, where then was lying a garrison of the Zurich men, to the number of a thousand and more; whereupon word was sent incontinent to the city of Zurich, to succour their men with speed. But their enemies approached so fast, that they could hardly come to rescue them; for when they were come to the top of the hill, whereby they must needs pass, they saw their fellows being in great distress in the valley under them. Whereupon they, encouraging themselves, made down the hill with more haste than order, who might go fastest; but the nature of the hill was such, that there could but one go down at once: by reason whereof, forasmuch as they could not keep their ranks to join altogether, it followed that they, being but few in number, were discomfited and overmatched of the multitude; which was on the eleventh of October in the year aforesaid. Among the number of them that were slain, was also Uldricus Zuinglius, the blessed servant and saint of God. Also the abbot of Capella, and Commendator Kunacensis, with thirteen other learned and worthy men, were slain; being, as is thought, falsely betrayed, and brought into the hands of their enemies.
As touching the cause which moved Zuinglius to go out with his citizens to the war, it is sufficiently declared and excused, both by John Sleidan and especially by ?colampadius, in his epistle, where first is to be understood, that it is an old received manner among the Zurich men, that when they go forth in warfare, the chief minister of the church goeth with them. Zuinglius also of himself, being (saith Sleidan) a man of a stout and bold courage, considering if he should remain at home when war should be attempted against his citizens, and if he, who in his sermons did so encourage others, should now faint so cowardly, and tarry behind at home when time of danger came, what shame and disdain might worthily rise to him thereby, thought not to refuse to take such part as his brethren did.
?colampadius moreover addeth, that he wentnot out as a captain of the field, but as a good citizen with his citizens, and a good shepherd ready to die with his flock. "And which of them all," saith he, "that most cry out against Zuinglius, can show any such noble heart in him, to do the like?" Again, neither did he go out of his own accord, but rather desired not to go; foreseeing belike what danger thereof would ensue. But the senate, being importune upon him, would have no nay, urging and enforcing him most instantly to go: among whom were thought to have been some false betrayers, saying and objecting to him, that be was a dastard if he refused to accompany his brethren as well in time of danger as in peace. Moreover the said Zuinglius, among other secular arts, had also some skill in such matters of warfare. When he was slain, great cruelty was shown upon his dead corpse; such was their hatred toward him, that their malice could not be satisfied, unless also they should burn his body being dead.
The report goeth, that after his body was cut first in four pieces, and then consumed with fire, three days after his death his friends came to see whether any part of him was remaining, where they found his heart in the ashes whole and unburned; in much like manner as was the heart of Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, which in the ashes also was found and taken up unconsumed, as by credible information is testified.
Furthermore, such was then the rage of these five pages against the aforesaid abbot of Capella, that they took him, being slain, and putting out both his eyes, clothed him in a monk's cowl, and so set him in the pulpit to preach, railing and jesting upon him in a most despiteful manner. Uldricus Zuinglius was, when he died, of the age of forty-four years; younger than Martin Luther by four years.
The Bernates, who were purposed the same time to achieve war against the Untervaldians, bordering near unto them, when they heard of this discomfiture of the Tigurines, to comfort them again, desired them to be of good cheer and courage, promising that they would not fail, but come and revenge their quarrel. Again, when the Tigurines had assembled their power together, which was the eighth day after the battle, and had received aid from the Schaffhausen, Mulhausen, St. Gallen, and from Basil, (the Bernates at this time were nothing hasty,) out of the whole number they chose out certain ensigns, which setting forth in the night, lay in the hill beside Menzig, intending when the moon was up, to take the town of Zug, lying near at hand, upon the sudden: which when their enemies had perceived, which were encamped not far from them, with all speed and most secret manner came upon them being at rest, the twenty-fourth of October, and to put them in more fear, made a wonderful clamorous outcry. So it fell out in conclusion, that many on both parties were slain; and albeit the five pagemen had the upper hand, yet would they of Zurich nothing relent in their religion. At the last, through mediation, a peace was concluded, and thus the matter agreed, that the Tigurines, Bernates, and Basilians, should forsake the league which they had lately made with the city of Strasburg and the landgrave: likewise that the five pagemen should give over their league and composition made with Ferdinand: and hereof obligations were made and sealed in the latter end of November.
?colampadius, the preacher of the city of Strasburg above recorded, hearing of the death of Zuinglius his dear friend, took thereat inward grief and sorrow, insomuch that it is thought to have increased his disease; and so he also departed this life, the same year and month of November above-mentioned, being of the age of forty-nine years, older than Martin Luther by one year. Although this ?colampadius then died, yet his learned and famous Commentaries upon the Prophets, with other worthy works which he left behind him, still live and shall never die.
The next year following, which was A.D. 1532, in the month of August, died also the worthy and memorable prince, John Frederic, duke of Saxony, who, for testimony of Christ and his gospel, sustained such trials, so many brunts, and so vehement conflicts with the emperor, and that especially at the council assembled at Augsburg; that unless the almighty hand of the Lord had sustained him, it had not been possible for him or any prince to have endured so constant and unmovable against so many persuasions and assaults, as he did to the end. After him succeeded John Frederic his son, &c.
And thus have ye the history of Zuinglius, and of the church of Switzerland, with their proceedings and troubles, from the first beginning of their reformation of religion, set forth and described. Whereunto we will add one certain epistle of the said Zuinglius, taken out of his other epistles, and so therewith close up his story; which epistle I thought here to record, especially for that in the same, among other matters, profitably is expounded the true meaning of the apostle, writing to the Corinthians concerning how to judge the Lord's body, to the intent that the simple thereby may the better be informed. The words of his letter be these, as follow:
"Unto your questions propounded to me in your former letters, well-beloved brother! I have sent you here mine answer. First, I am also in the same mind with you, that the Lord's supper is a very thanksgiving; for so the apostle himself meaneth, saying, Ye shall show forth the Lord's death: where the word of showing forth, signifieth as much as praising or thanksgiving. Wherefore seeing it is a Eucharist, or a thanksgiving, in my judgment no other thing ought to be obtruded on men's consciences, but only with due reverence to give thanks. Nevertheless, this is not to be neglected, that every man do prove and examine himself; for so we ought to search and ask our own consciences, what faith we have in Christ Jesus? which if it be sound and sincere, we may approach without stay to this thanksgiving. For he that hath no faith, and yet feigneth or pretendeth to have, eateth his own judgment; for he lieth to the Holy Ghost. And whereas you suppose, that Paul in this place doth not reprove them which sit at the table eating of meats offered to idols, I dissent from you therein. For Paul, a little before, writeth vehemently against those arrogant persons, which bragging upon their knowledge, thought they might lawfully eat of such meats offered to idols, sitting and eating at the Lord's table: You cannot, saith he, be partakers both of the Lord's table, and the table of devils, &c. Wherefore St. Paul's meaning is, that every one should try and examine himself what faith he hath. Whereupon it followeth, that he which hath a right faith, must have no part nor fellowship with those things which be given to idols: for he is now a member of another body, that is, of Christ; so that he cannot join himself now to be one body with idolaters. And therefore those be they which do not judge or discern the Lord's body, that make no difference between the church of Christ and the church of idolaters. For they which sit at the Lord's table, eating of idol meats, do make no difference at all between the Lord's supper and the supper of the devils: which be they whom Paul saith not to judge the body of our Lord, that is, which make no discrepance, nor give any more regard to Christ's church, than to the church of devils. Whereas if we would judge ourselves; that is, if we would thoroughly search and examine our ownconsciences as we should, in coming to the table of the Lord, we, finding any faith in us, would: never go the table, or make thereof the feast, of devils: wherefore your judgment 'herein is not amiss in expounding the word of judging in St. Paul, to signify as much a considering, perpending, and inquiring.
"To your second question I answer, that Jesus took bread, and brake, &c. Also he took the cup, &c. These words declare the action of one which properly doth a thing; and not the hospitality of one which inviteth another to eat.
"Touching your third question, out of the 6th chapter of John, Doth this offend you? herein I do fully agree with you.
"As for this word 'Ostren,' which is your fourth question, I understand thereby the time of the great feast or solemnity, which we keep in remembrance of the great deliverance of God's people from the thraldom of Satan; before, from the thraldom of Pharaoh: neither is it greatly material with what word we express the thing, so the thing itself be one, and the analogy and constancy of the Scripture be kept; for both the Scripture calleth Christ the Lamb, and St. Paul calleth him our Easter or Passover. Now your word, 'Wanderfest,' well pleaseth me, for the Passover, or Pæsah.
"To your fifth interrogation, of Christ's descending into hell; I suppose this particle was inserted into the Creed by the sentence of the fathers, to declare how the fathers were redeemed by the death of Christ, which died in the faith. For Christ led away captivity, wherewith they were holden, with him up into heaven: so that his going down into hell be not so understood as circumscriptively, which is, when a thing is present by circumscription of any one place; but by power, which is by the operation of his Spirit, which is not comprehended in any certainty of place, but without prescription of certain place is diffused every where: so that the article of Christ's descending into hell importeth as much as that his death redeemed them which were in hell. Whereunto St. Peter also seemeth to have respect, where he saith, The gospel also was preached to them which were dead; that is, that they also did feel the good tidings of the gospel, their redemption by the Son of God: and that they which rose again with Christ in the Spirit, be now with him in heaven, who nevertheless in flesh shall be judged, what time the Son of God and of man shall come to judge both the quick and the dead. Return to the places of Peter, the one in his First Epistle, the other in the latter; and so be you contented with this present answer rashed up in haste. Fare ye heartily well; and comfort my William, the good aged father, by the grace of God which is in you. Commend me to John Eggenberge.
"From Zurich, September 1, A.D. 1527."
From the first beginning of this whole book and history hitherto, good reader! thou hast heard of many, and sundry troubles, and much business in the church of Christ, concerning the reformation of divers abuses and great errors crept into the same, namely in the Church of Rome; as appeareth by the doings of them, in divers and sundry places,whereof mention hath been made heretofore in this said history. For what godly man hath there been, within the space of these five hundred years, either virtuously disposed, or excellently learned, which hath not disproved the misordered doings and corrupt examples of the see and bishop of Rome from time to time, unto the coming of this Luther? wherein this appeareth to me, and may also appear no less to all godly disposed men to be noted, not without great admiration, that seeing this aforesaid Romish bishop hath had great enemies and gainsayers continually from time to time, both speaking and working, preaching and writing against him, yet, notwithstanding, never any could prevail before the coming of this man. The cause whereof, although it be secretly known unto God, and unknown unto men, yet so far as men by conjectures may suppose, it may thus not unlikely be thought, that whereas other men before him, speaking against the pomp, pride, whoredom, and avarice of the bishop of Rome, charged him only, or most specially, with examples and manners of life; Luther went further with him, charging him not with life, but with his learning; not with his doings, but with his doctrine; not picking at the rind, but plucking up the root; not seeking the man, but shaking his seat; yea, and charging him with plain heresy, as prejudicial and resisting plainly against the blood of Christ, contrary to the true sense and direct understanding of the sacred testament of God's holy word. For whereas the foundation of our faith, grounded upon the Holy Scripture, teacheth and leadeth us to be justified only by the worthiness of Christ, and the only price of his. blood; the pope, proceeding with a contrary doctrine, teacheth us otherwise to seek our salvation, not by Christ alone, but by the way of men's meriting and deserving by works: whereupon rose divers sorts of orders and religious sects among men, some professing one thing, and some another, and every man seeking his own righteousness, but few seeking the righteousness of him, which is set up of God to be our righteousness, redemption, and justification.
Martin Luther therefore, urging and reducing things to the foundation and touchstone of the Scripture, opened the eyes of many who before were drowned in darkness: whereupon it cannot be expressed what joy, comfort, and consolation came to the hearts of men, some lying in darkness and ignorance, some wallowing in sin, some being in despair, some macerating themselves by works, and some presuming upon their own righteousness, to behold that glorious benefit of the great liberty and free justification set up in Christ Jesus. And briefly to speak, the more glorious the benefit of this doctrine appeared to the world after long ignorance, the greater persecution followed upon the same. And where the elect of God took most occasion of comfort and of salvation, thereof the adversaries took most matter of vexation and disturbance, as commonly we see the true word of God to bring with it ever dissension and perturbation; and therefore truly it was said of Christ, that he came not to send peace on earth, but the sword. And this was the cause why that after the doctrine and preaching of Luther, so great troubles and persecutions followed in all quarters of the world; whereby rose great disquietness amongst the prelates, and many laws and decrees were made to overthrow the same, by cruel handling of many good and Christian men. Thus, while authority, armed with laws and rigour, did strive against simple verity, lamentable it was to hear how many poor men were troubled, and went to wrack: some tossed from place to place, some exiled out of the land for fear, some caused to abjure, some driven to caves in woods, some racked with torment, and some pursued to death with faggot and fire. Of whom we have now (Christ willing) in this history following to treat; first beginning with certain that suffered in Germany, and then to return to our own stories and martyrs here in England.