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love and gratitude towards Him who had voluntarily endured a cruel and ignominious death to save repentant sinners, terininated this solemn and affecting ceremony. Zwingle was of opinion, that to celebrate the Lord's Supper in this manner, was to bring it back to its ancient simplicity, and to unite all that could render it useful. The event proved that he was not mistaken; the churches could scarcely contain the immense crowd that came to participate in this religious solemnity, and the good works and numerous reconciliations which followed it, proved the sincerity of the devotion with which it was attended.” pp. 199—201. Nor did he stop here. In process of time the temporal powers of the ecclesiastics were lessened; the union of the church and the executive accomplished; the monasteries suppressed; and a college so founded, and such professors seated in its chairs, as ensured, under God, a body of enlightened men to water the seed which Zuinglius had planted. We have dwelt so long upon the first Part of this volume, that we shall do little more than advert to some of the chief topics of the second Part, the rise of the Anabaptists; the contest with Luther; and the war of the Swiss Cantons, unhappily terminating with the death of Zuinglius. On the subject of the Anabaptists, so much is known by all the readers of the most common history of this period, that we think ourselves at libertv to be almost silent. Muntzer was the head of the sect; he, arriving on the borders of Switzerland, communicated his notions to Mantz and Grebel, two disappointed partizans of Zuinglius. They henceforward preached against infant baptism; attacked Zuinglius by the title of the “Old Dragon;” entered the town girded with ropes and branches of willow; proclaimed approaching judgment upon all sects but their own; displayed on all occasions the most insulting contempt for the authority of their rulers; preached a community of goods; denied the necessity of all laws and magistrates; forbid 'all Christians
to take arms for their country, or to pay tax or impost; and, at length, suffered the punishment due to those who erect the religion of Christ into an instrument of tumult and rebellion.
The contest of Zuinglius with Luther, is an event of still higher interest. It is universally known that the father of the Reformation, though the triumphant enemy of prejudice, remained himself a sad victim to his early opinions on the subject of the Eucharist. Though he would not allow, with the Papists, the bread and wine, before his eyes, to be nothing but the body and blood of Christ, he asserted them.
to be, at the same time, bread and
wine, and the sacred body and blood. To this error Zuinglius opposed himself: at first with caution; then, as his views cleared, with greater force; and at length he, together with his distinguished friend GEcolampadius, both published upon the subject, and discussed it in a public conference with Luther at Marpurg. It is characteristic of human nature, that those who are wrong are the most violent; and certainly Luther, in this instance, made good this aphorism. But it is the transcendent merits of Luther alone which make such errors a matter of surprise to us. He has been called the morning star of the Reformation: but even these luminous bodies, though perhaps the mighty suns of systems, are sometimes shaded by a cloud, and shed a diminished lustre. Perhaps the faults of Luther yield his enemies. no higher triumph than that of saying, he was not a perfect man; a title for which he would have been the last to contend. The conflicts of the Swiss Cantons are, however, the main subject of the second part of this interesting volume. Through these we feel it impossible to follow the author, it may be sufficient to observe, that Zurich, for a time, stood the sole bulwark of Protestantism amidst her native mountains; that, after a time, Bern and some other cantons ranged themselves under her banner; that five cantons, adhering more closely to ancient prejudices, joined in more intimate alliances with the Catholic powers; that, exasperated, partly by the religious defection of their brethren, and partly by the abuse of a temporary ascendancy gained by the Zurichians, they took arms against them; that Zurich, deaf to the entreaties of Zuinglius, heard “the note of preparation” in the opposite cantons, without arming herself for the battle; that, at length, surprised into an unequal fight, her forces were defeated, and Zuinglius himself, who was appointed chaplain to the army, killed at the first onset. We give this last interesting event in the words of the author.
“In the beginning of the battle, while Zwingle was encouraging the troops by his exhortations, he received a mortal wound, fell in the press, and remained senseless on the field of battle while the enemy were pursuing their victory. On recovering his consciousness, he raised himself with difficulty, crossed his feeble hands upon his breast, and listed his dying eyes to heaven. Soue Catholic soldiers who had remained behind, found him in this attitude. Without knowing him, they offered him a confessor: Zwingle would have replied, but was unable to articulate ; he refused by a motion of the head. The soldiers then exhorted him to recommend his soul to the Holy Virgin. A second sign of refusal enraged them. “ Die then, obstinate heretic' cried one, and pierced him with his sword.
“It was not till the next day that the body of the resoriner was found, and exposed to the view of the army. Among those whom curiosity attracted, several had known him, and without sharing his religious opinions, had admired his eloquence, and done justice to the uprightness of his intentions: these were unable to view his features, which death had not changed, without emotion. A former colleague of Zwingle's, who had left Zurich on account of the reformation, was among the crowd. He gazed a long time upon him who had been his adversary, and at length said with emotion, ‘Whatever may have been thy faith, I am sure that thou wast always sinsere, and that thou lovedst thy country.
After this fatal catastrophe, the cantons of Zurich and Bern felt themselves compelled to make a separate peace; and Protestantism seemed to be reduced to her last resources. But such is the power of God to educe good out of evil, that the very defeat of the Protestants roused them to those exertions, and to that unanimity, which finally triumphed over every obstacle. “When,” says the author, “the first emotion of terror was past, they blushed to have believed that the fate of their cause was attached to the life of a single man. The establishments founded by the reformer became the source of new prosperity. An active charity, a patriarchal simplicity, and manners still more powerful than laws, formed the noble legacy bequeathed by Zuinglius to his country.”
Such is the brief sketch which the work before us has enabled us to lay before our readers, of the life of Zuinglius; and however dull or obscure our narrative may have been, we take,all the shame to ourselves, for M. Hess is wanting neither in spirit nor luminousness. Still there are defects in his work, which, though harsher critics might be disposed to impute to a different cause, we are content to set down to a want of space. These defects are chiefly the absence of those discriminating touches by which his readers would have gained a more intimate acquaintance with the reformer; the want of a fuller developement of his fundamental principles of action, and of those peculiarities, whether good or bad, which gave a distinct character to that reformation, which, under God, he organized and accomplished. Some hints, indeed, the author has thrown out upon each of these points, but by no means enough to satisfy the inquiring mind. Will our readers forgive us, if we now proceed to attempt, o other sources, to supply
this defect, and to strike the balancé of good and evil, as well in the genius and character of Zuinglius, as in his doctrinal sentiments. In the first place, there were many qualities in the mind of Zuinglius, which eminently fitted him for the mighty work he was called, under God, to accomplish. He combined, to an extraordinary degree, two qualities which rarely incorporate — zeal, and prudence. His piety was ardent; his moral conduct such as almost to defy slander. A certain sweetness of manner, like the setting of the jewel, presented his high qualities under the most attractive form. Whether in the library of Einsiedeln, or in the chapter and senate of Zurich, he “bowed the hearts” of his associates “like the heart of one man.” Indeed, the spirit of union which §. among the reformers of witzerland has no parallel in history, except in the first ages of Christianity. A community of interests or schemes may unite political adventurers for a season. But in that case, as “every man seeks his own,” when any individual has gained his peculiar end, the general camp is deserted. The union of Christians was an union of principle. Each man was carried out of himself; each cast his individual gain into the general stock; each stood ready to sacrifice himself, that he might assist to save a world.— But to return to Zuinglius. In addition to his moral qualities, the love and successful pursuit of letters was a powerful instrument in his hands. Men listened with deference to the instructions of teachers, who, like our reformer and CE.colampadius, were the most learned men of their country. Those might with impunity decry the systems of heathen or scholastic philosophy, who were known to have grappled with their difficulties; or might boldly suggest new comments upon Scripture, who were able to found them upon a fuller comprehension of those original lan
guages in which they were composed. In weighing out the evil qualities which entered into the character of Zuinglius, we find little to set against the qualities in the opposite scale. It will be seen, in the estimate of his doctrinal opinions, that his moderation and candour were not always proof against the heated atmosphere of the times. But these are rather the few wrinkles of the countenance than the features or lines of which it was made up. There was, on the whole, a moral grandeur in the man, well suited to the vastness of his enterprise. Like the mountains of his own Switzerland, he seems to rise above the turbulent atmosphere by which he is enveloped. §. to describe him in these noble lines, dictated to the bard perhaps amidst those very mountains; “As some tall cliff, that lists its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm; Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head."
In delineating the opinions of Zuinglius, it can scarcely be necessary to notice his rejection of the doctrine of transubstantiation, of image worship, of private confession to the priest, of purchased absolution, or the formal commutation of crime for money. Neither should we feel it necessary to dwell upon two other master principles which he held, in common with all the reformers, but that some in the present age seem, in a measure, to have forgotten that these were the principles of the Reformation. The first of these was, that the “Bible was to be freely circulated amongst the people; and they themselves suffered, under God, and with the aid of their parochial ministers, to search for their creed amidst the pages of their Bible.” Zuinglius found that book which “ the Lamb” died to “unseal,” a “ sealed ” volume, to the bulk of his countrymen. His first step in reform was to open and dis. play it to the world. For the can nonical lessons he substituted the whole word of God. Instead of the partial selections, or measured comments of the Church of Rome, he bestowed on then the whole legacy of Christ to his creatures. He suspected no evil to religion, or to the reformation, from the widest diffusion of the Bible, even though no comment should accompany it; and did not dam up the word of God till he could pour his own theses into the same channel. Could he have lived to see, instead of the scanty distribution of the oracles of God by a single hand, the hands and hearts of a great nation conspiring and co-operating for this great end, he would, perhaps, early as he died, have said, in the spirit of old Simeon, “I.ord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” But had he lived also to see Christian doctors and professors draining their inkstands to paint the evils of such a combination, and, not satisfied with calm discussion, in their, we had almost said, unholy servour shewing a disposition to change “their pens for truncheons; ink . blood;” he would have discovered that the hydra of Popery had many heads; that the fathers of the reformation could not transfer to their children, with their chairs and gowns, that spirit of manly appeal to the Bible by which they were characterised; and that a disguised fear of the circulation of the Scriptures in one age was likely to effect what the violent suppression of them had accomplished in another. Another principle, strong enough to be called a passion, in Zuinglius and the whole band of reformers, was that of proclaiming to mankind the doctrine of justification by faith in the merits of Jesus Christ. Some modern writers are fond of representing the reformation as a mere effort on the part of the reformers to shake off the burden of papal ceremonies. But it ought rather to be contemplated as the re-assertion of this grand principle, the establishment of which was sure to
level to the ground all the gingerbread fabric of ceremonies which the Church of Rome had substituted in its place. The image of Dagon must fall when the ark of God is introduced. It was not the mere desire to abolish ceremonies that influenced the reformers; for a ceremonial religion is better than none. But it was to substitute the Saviour for real or sancied saints; it was to elevate him to the throne which they had so long usurped; it was to teach men to “glory” not in themselves, or in canonised men or bones, but “ in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ;” that they lived and died. The reformation is ever to be considered as the triumph of principle over force; and of the particular principle of justification by grace, through faith in a crucified Redeemer, over every device which priestcraft, or pride, or superstition, had conceived, for propitiating an offended God. Is it not incredible, then, that men should be continually starting up to expose this principle as a sort of new effervescence of Methodism, a fresh wart or wen upon the fair countenance of the Protestant faith? We are convinced that a vast majority of the errors in religion may be traced to that unremitting and indefatigable desire of the natural mind to do without Christ. In this respect, Popery is to be considered not as the mere chance-religion of a country or an age—as a church accidentally founded and cemented by the labours or arts of a few cardinals and pontiffs: it is to be considered as the real antiChrist, the religion of human nature; as the great confederation of mankind to get rid of Christ; as an organised effort to substitute a sort of gilded machinery for that grand pillar of salvation, pardon by the free grace of God, and through the atoning blood of his Son. It was to such a confederation, then deeply entrenched and guarded by its rich temporalities, and invested, by its mere age, with a fictitious sanctity, that Zuinglius and his brethren opposed themselves. Carried, by the grace of God, and the force of this their master principle, through every obstacle, they triumphed in defiance of the strength of their enemies, and even of their own deficiencies, and built up that church which is the mother of us all. But it is time to notice some of the defects in the opinions of Zuinglius—defects almost merged, indeed, in his general adherence to the fundamental principles of the Gospel. M. Hess should, however, have felt, that the notice of these was essential to his fidelity as a biographer. In resisting the attempt, then, of Luther to substitute consubstantiation for transubstantiation, he rendered a service to religion.
But when he went further, and re
solved the sacrament into a mere memorial of the death of Christ, denying even his spiritual presence, and the spiritual participation by faith in his body and blood, he stript that sacrament of all that most deeply interests the devout communicant. Upon the subject of original sin, there is an occasional ambiguity in the sentiments of this reformer. Yet upon this cardinal point, as well as on those of justification by faith, and the necessity of a new creation unto holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit, the early Confessions of the Helvetic Church, framed only four years after the death of Zuinglius, are so very clear, express, and unambiguous, so perfectly accordant with Scripture and with the articles of our own church, that we must suppose either that his doubtful expressions were the effect of haste or inadvertence, or that our reformer gradually acquired more just views on the subject”. In his hostility to Rome, also, he was tempted, in some instances, to push his reforms to excess. Though he was far, for example, from maintaining (with Calvin afterwards) the complete equality of the clergy, we find him denominating bishops “the
* See Christ. Obs, for 1802, p. 678,
wens and swellings of the church.” In the same spirit, and inconsistently with his own more moderate proceedings, he says in one place, even of such ceremonies as are not founded in superstition nor are contrary to the word of God, that they may be tolerated till the day star become more bright; but that even these had better be abolished, provided it can be done without great offence. In like manner, passages are to be found in his works which go to establish a ceremonial of religion, not merely in opposition to papal pageantry, but cold, naked, ill constituted for a being like man compounded of body and spirit, whose perception of right depends much upon the medium through which it is seen, who rarely examines truth in the abstract but truth with its various associations, and who, if he does not receive religion through the senses, yet seldom receives it where the senses are violently offended. Some attempt, it should be added, has been made to establish the laxity of the reformer's opinions upon the duties of subjects to their government; and, in the pages of a man controverting the despotic dogmas of Popery, questionable sentiments upon this point are not unlikely to be found. But his general strain of writing; the steady cooperation he experienced from the senate of Zurich; his uniform resistance to the insubordination of the Anabaptists; the charges frequently brought against him of investing the state with too much power in the government of the church; are facts which seem sufficient to repel the imputation. It should be remembered also, that his political principles were not learned on the fat level of Germany, or expressed amidst , the prostrate cities or circles of the empire; but imbibed on the mountains of Switzerland, and taught to a nation of freemen. It must also be admitted, that some of the sentiments occasionally