By these proceedings the malcontents were silenced for the present, but the government felt that something more was needed for the restoration of order. At a time, when the religious movements occasioned new and unforseen expenses to the State, it could not abandon any of its former sources of revenue. Hence the tithe-question was clothed with special importance. All the tithes were not church-property; a part of them belonged to strangers, to whom the government was bound to give its protection, and to the same protection the church also had a claim, which was not done away, but only changed. Besides a mere declaration on the part of the government, that the tithe must be paid, nothing more was done. But conviction had to be wrought in the public mind, and to do this, again devolved on Zwingli.
But before he laid the subject before the people, he endeavored to settle whatever was unstable and wavering in the opinions of the Great Council, so that the authorities might proceed the more firmly in their line of action. Still the belief prevailed among many of the members, that the tithe was purely a religious affair, and this position was strongly maintained by the Secretary, am Gruet, who, Bible in hand, met Zwingli with his own weapons. It is true, that here he could only appeal to the Old Testament, but this yet held too important a place in Zwingli's system of doctrines, to suffer the Reformer lightly to reject its authority for an isolated case. He showed, however, in a long and spirited debate with am Gruet, before the Great Council and a crowd of other hearers, that the Levitical priesthood, for whom the tithe had been introduced into the Old Testament, came to an end with the Gospel; and by this, according to his view, the question had been brought back from the sphere of religion into that of civil law. But neither am Gruet, on the one side, nor the Anabaptists on the other, were disposed to let him slip with so cheap a victory. Am Gruet would yield nothing, and in fact the following passage is found in the protocol of the Great Council, "that neither of the two contending parties has so triumphed that the other is obliged to yield, and that My Lords are not displeased with the warning and exposition of their Secretary, but think he has acted according to his duty and his oath." But the decisive battle, which now drew near, was first to be fought with the Anabaptists.
During the interval, Zwingli prepared for the people a detailed exposition of the rights of the church and state to the tithe, which the government then used as a general and final decree for the disturbed districts. The scrupulous payment of the great tithe for the future was also enjoined upon them in an earnest tone. In regard to the so-called little tithe, the government promised strict inquiry, the removal of abuses, and a diminution of it, as far as possible.
In the greater part of the canton, through the cautious language of the Council, the exhortations of the more sensible, and the conviction, which won its way into the minds of many, civil order was re-established. One of the creators of disturbance, Suesstrunk by name, was indeed put to death by the sword, and the pastor of Westenbach, who especially distinguished himself by his ill-timed discourses, was thrown into prison for several days and punished with a fine—acts easy to be explained, when we consider the severity of punishments in that age and the grievous losses, which the state suffered by this insurrection.
Only one district of the Canton was not yet pacified: the territory of Grueningen. Here the Anabaptists still retained numerous adherents, and these Anabaptists and their fierce battle with Zwingli are the objects to which we must now turn our attention.
The Holy Scripture is the great record of the religious education of the human race. It shows us man primeval in the unconscious innocence of nature; then the patriarchal era with its simple, uniform manners along with its untamed passion; and then again the most active intercourse of nations, the most savage wars, the hierarchical state and the elective and hereditary monarchy. It gives us lofty poetry in the Psalms, the grandest didactic poem in the Book of Job, and a collection of proverbs, the fruit of the ripest experience and knowledge of life. It makes us acquainted with idolatry in its most fearful degeneracy, and then, with the adoration of one God and the conflict, rising to the highest pitch of heroism, against this degeneracy. But this God is a mere national God, to be known only within the confined limits of the Jewish state, living personally only here, in and with the people. We see the consequences of this contracted view: hate instead of love, stubbornness instead of docility, stagnation instead of progress. With this first period the books of the Old Testament close.
Is it possible to understand the Gospel, which now follows, in its grandeur, truth, purity and love, without a knowledge of the age, which preceded it? or the prejudices, against which, He, who revealed it, had to contend? We find varying opinions among those who wrote it—the stamp of diverse authorship; here Judaistic narrowness, there freer elevation, homely simplicity, and again deep glow and feeling. We even find contradictions, historical and chronological, and yet, what unity in all that is essential—what agreement in all that contributes to peace in life and comfort in the hour of death; in all that determines our actions and confers worth upon them! Are there any other writings, for whose investigation, for whose explanation, so much sagacity, so much science, so much conscientiousness are demanded? Such are the questions, which very naturally crowd upon us, when we once more survey the man, in whom all these qualifications are joined, as he goes forth to battle with a multitude of others, who possess them only partially and hence dangerously.
And thus we return again to those disturbers, before alluded to, in the bosom of the Reformed party, who assailed Zwingli more boldly than any monk, and whose scientific culture, adroitness, and, in the end, desperation, prepared for him a far more violent conflict. Conrad Grebel has already been represented to us as morally and physically depraved. The higher spirit, which once attracted Zwingli's entire love to him as a youth, richly endowed by nature, had not yet sunk so far, that it did not show some clear sparks, and sometimes even break out into a momentary blaze.
But when he saw that Zwingli penetrated his inmost soul, understood, pitied and then despised him, he conceived the most intense bitterness against him, which at last deepened into hatred—hatred that stopped at no means to secure revenge. Gathering all his strength, nerving all his powers to their highest pitch, his self-confidence increased; the various modes of interpretation, which isolated passages of the Holy Scriptures admit, made it possible for him to maintain, with a tolerable appearance of truth and certainty, dogmas at variance with those of Zwingli. The support, which he found from those of like mind, the followers who adhered to him, awakened in the head of this fanatic the delusion that he had received a call to be a prophet, and pictured to him a final victory over Zwingli, or at least placed in view the crown of martyrdom, in which latter, one and another of them, perhaps, saw, not without an inward satisfaction, an atonement for the conscious guilt of their former lives. Here again, the simple presentation of the facts will furnish proof for this opinion.
"May God and our Lord Jesus Christ grant it!" wrote Martin Luther, in the beginning of the year 1525, "since a new storm is brewing. I had almost settled down to rest, thinking the battle over, when all at once this rises up, and it happens to me as the wise man says: If a man leave off, then he must begin again. Doctor Andrew Carlstadt has deserted us and become our bitterest enemy." This defection of Carlstadt, who wished to proceed in the work of reformation more thoroughly than Luther, demanding the destruction of images, and setting very little value on external worship, was spoken of with praise everywhere, and especially at Waldshut, by Thomas Muenzer, during his visit to the borders of Switzerland, about the middle of the year 1524. Muenzer likewise professed these same principles, yea, was ready, for his part, to go still further than Carlstadt himself. Just at this time, the fanatical proceedings in Zollikon, before described, the breaking of the images there and the removal of the baptismal font, took place. That Grebel and Manz were privy to this, and made frequent journeys to and from Zollikon, appears with entire certainty from reports afterward received. With Muenzer they did not become personally acquainted. Before they could accomplish this, he had traveled back to Germany; but his influence on Swiss affairs is evident from two letters sent to him soon after by Grebel and his friends.
"Dear brother Thomas," began one of them, "for God's sake, do not be surprised, that we address thee without title and urge thee as a brother to communicate with us by writing in the future, and that we, uninvited and unacquainted with thee, have ventured to open up a correspondence. God's Son, Jesus Christ, has prompted and impelled us to this act of friendship and brotherhood, and to make known the following points. Moreover thy work in two small volumes, on 'Faith Feigned,' have encouraged us. Hence, if thou wilt take it kindly, it shall be a source of good to us, if God will. Thou shouldst also know that thou along with Carolostadtius art esteemed amongst us as the purest proclaimer and preacher of the pure Word of God, although ye are little thought of by the lazy theologians and doctors at Wittemberg. We are also thus reprobate toward our learned pastors. With them everything depends on man, everything is done by him, so that they preach a sinful, pleasant Christ, and good discrimination is wanting to them, as thou shewest in thy little books, which have beyond measure instructed and strengthened us poor folks." But then, passing over the chief point, re-baptism, which had won for them a party in Zurich, and as a badge of confession, as a banner, had enabled them to keep together—they thus continue: "Because thou also hast uttered thy protest against infant-baptism, we trust thou actest not against the eternal word, wisdom and command of God, according to which we ought to baptise believers alone, and thou baptisest no child. If thou, or Carolostadius will not write in full against infant-baptism with all that belongs thereto, why and how we ought to baptise, then will I, Conrad Grebel, try my hand and complete what I have begun, against all who hitherto (except thee) have written on baptism at large and deliberately, and maintained the senseless, blasphemous form of infant-baptism; but if God do not prevent then am I, and then will I and all of us be sure of persecution from the learned and other people." Grebel also wrote to Luther and informed Muerner of it, in his second letter, in which, moreover, he warns him not to preach resistance against princes with carnal weapons. "For if thou must suffer on account of thy doctrines know indeed that it cannot be otherwise. Christ must still suffer in his members. But he will strengthen them and keep them firm unto the end. God grant his grace to thee and us. For our parsons are also fierce and wrathful toward us, and call us villains in the open pulpit and Satannas in angelos lucis convertos (wicked spirits in the garb of angels of light). In time we will see this persecution pass over us. Therefore pray God for me."
In accordance with this view, Grebel and his friends prudently avoided stirring up any formal rebellion. And there is nothing at all to show that they had any direct share in the political movements, which we have already narrated, although their doctrines concerning the fraternal communion of Christians and the unscripturalness of tithes and rents, as they uttered them in general terms, could not but exert an indirect influence upon them. But in these discourses they always added exhortations to a resistance merely passive. By this means they attracted a crowd of followers, persons of excitable feelings and women especially, just in proportion as the doctrine of martyrdom stood high in the Catholic church. Indeed it often seemed as if persecution was only delayed too long for these people. Grebel thus wrote to Vadianus: "They talk of disturbers. They can be known by their fruits—decrees of exile and executions by the sword. I do not think the persecution will be delayed." But neither Zwingli nor the government thought of such a proceeding. They freely confessed that this would only aggravate the evil.
First then, because already, at sundry times, whole troops of these deluded creatures from Zollikon and the neighboring country, had come into the city, clad in sackcloth and ashes, and girt about with ropes, and cried out in the public squares: "Wo to Zurich!" and because a so-called confession of one of their number, a former monk, who usually went by the name of George Blaurock (Bluecoat) and whom his disciples hailed as a second Paul, was spread far and wide and made a great noise, the government ordered a conference to be held with them at the council-house. The following are the literal contents of Blaurock's Confession: "I am a door. He who enters by me will find pasture, but he who enters elsewhere, is a thief and a murderer, as it is written: I am a good shepherd; a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep; so I also give my body and life and soul for my sheep, my body to the tower and my life to the sword, or fire, or the wine-press, where it will be pressed out of the flesh as the blood of Christ on the cross. I am a beginner of baptism and the bread of the Lord, along with my chosen brethren, Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz. Therefore, the Pope with all his followers is a thief and a murderer; in like manner, Luther with all his followers is a thief and a murderer; Zwingli also and Leo Judae with all their followers are thieves and murderers, until they make this same confession also. I have asked my gracious Lords of Zurich, and still ask them, for leave to dispute with Ulrich Zwingli and Leo Judae; I may not obtain it, but yet I await the hour, which my Heavenly Father has ordained therefor."
This hour came on the 17th of January, 1525. Bullinger, who was personally present, gives a description, but only a brief one, of the event. The Great Council, the scholars and the clergy were there; Manz, Grebel, Blaurock, R[oe]ubli, Ludwig Haetzer, of whose work against images we have before spoken, were the chief antagonists of Zwingli. The latter began with an acknowledgment, that for some years he had himself been of the opinion, that it were better to postpone the baptism of infants to a more advanced age, but, after mature reflection, had reached a different conviction, which he thought sustained by the true sense of the Holy Scriptures, and then he unfolded this in an extended conversation with the Anabaptists. Whoever desires a more thorough knowledge of his views on this point will find them in his work on "Baptism, Re-baptism and Infant Baptism." His main arguments for the latter were the following: Baptism is the external sign of admission into the society of Christians. To have received it once is sufficient. Adults were baptised by the Apostles, because they who first joined the church were of full age. The Holy Scriptures contain indeed no example of infant-baptism; but then just as little can be proven from them, that it was not practised. Mention of it occurs in the very oldest church-fathers. It took the place of circumcision, which had been commanded in the Old Testament, and strengthened the obligations of Christian parents, whilst it became to the children themselves a pledge and perpetual token of fidelity to Him who lovingly bade little children even to be brought to Him.
Light triumphed over darkness, science over sophistry, calmness over passion and stubbornness, the church over the sect, and the friend of reason and order over the demagogues. But it was a victory known only to the higher and educated classes; the people remained, and now the fanatics appealed to them, giving out everywhere, that Zwingli had not been able to withstand them. They held firmly to the letter, that resort of all intriguers and wranglers. Meanwhile, the Council resolved, the next day, that all children should be baptised within a week, that they, who would not permit it, should be banished from the canton; and that the congregation in Zollikon should restore the baptismal font. Grebel and Manz were enjoined to keep the peace. There was to be no more controversy about baptism, but, if desired, other articles of faith might be discussed. R[oe]ubli, Br[oe]dlein and Ludwig Haetzer received an order to leave the district within eight days.
But now resistance began with appeals to the Scripture, that we ought to obey God rather than men. R[oe]ubli, Br[oe]dlein and Haetzer left the canton; but the first kept up an exciting correspondence with his followers, from Waldshut, whither he had betaken himself, and Br[oe]dlein, from Hallan. The latter wrote: "John, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to preach the Gospel, to the pious Christians, called of God, in the Christian congregation at Zollikon. Ye know, dear brethren, how I proclaimed to you the Word of God faithfully, clearly, simply, and did not deal with it as treacherous landlords, who pour water into the wine; ye know, how I have had courage, to live among you, to labor with my own hands and burden no one; ye know also, that for the truth's sake I have been driven from you by the will of God; finally, ye know, how faithfully I have warned you not to fall away from grace. This very day I call heaven and earth to witness that I taught you the truth. Abide in it, and ye are God's, and He is yours, and ye are blessed. Fall away from it, and ye are children of wrath, and God is far from you; ye are wretched orphans, and will flee before the moth. O how ardent and joyful have I been, since I came from you! Verily, I have not wept, but sung. O how glad I will be, if God suffers me to return to you again! When I had gone some distance, Christ came to us; yea, Christ in the person of his disciple; for a pious brother of Bern, Christian by name, traveled with us as far as Kloten, and left us the next day. Verily, verily, I often slipped on the road, but did not fall. Verily, verily, when we got over Eglisau, I and Wilhelm (R[oe]ubli) despaired of our lives. I thought God had forsaken us. We lost the right path, and wandered about all that day, even among sticks and bushes. But God had thus willed it. Shortly we came to pious people and at last to Hallan. I left my wife and children there, and we went over to Schaffhausen. Verily, we found there our dear brother, Conrad Grebel. We visited Doctor Sebastian (Hofmeister) and took supper with him. Verily, he is of one accord with us in the matter of baptism. Would to God, it stood better with him in other things. We returned again to Hallan. The day after, Wilhelm went to Waldshut. On the next Sunday after Candlemas, I preached in Hallan and found a great harvest there, but few reapers. The people earnestly desired to hear me, and to this very day desire it. The clergy are as they may be. Antichrist still rules powerfully among the people. Pray God to enlighten them. Dear brethren, abide in faith, love and hope. Let no one terrify you. He who preaches to you any other Gospel, than I have preached, let him be accursed. Greet one another with the kiss of peace. Beware of every brother, who acts disorderly and not according to that, which he and you have learned. Beware of false prophets, who preach for pay. Shun them. Exhort ye one another and continue in the doctrine, which ye have received. The peace of God be with you all!"
That a letter of this sort—that the incessant exhortation and preaching of the leaders of the fanatics, who remained behind, bore legitimate fruit, was soon apparent from a succession of extravagant scenes in all parts of the canton. In entire districts the women particularly rose up. Troops of them streamed together, if any of these apostles came into the neighborhood, and begged from them re-baptism, or a sermon. The edicts of the government were praised by some, but scorned by others; even the clergy assailed them and strife sprang up in the churches. We have a lively picture of a scene of this kind in a letter from the Commander Schmied. "In the action taken"—he writes—"before the congregation at Eck, on account of your edict. My Lords, Pastor Bodmer, of Esslingen, called for Christian excommunication, i.e. the overthrow and rejection of your authority in the matter of baptism. Thereupon Master Laurence told him, that he and his followers had hitherto prevented Christian excommunication. Then Pastor Bodmer walked up and said to Master Laurence: You lie like a vagabond and knave, and if he abused him as a Baptist, he did not speak like a gentleman. Sir Burgomaster! That such a worthy and Christian man as Master Laurence should be called a vagabond and knave before his own church, and that by a Baptist, as was certainly done, is to me intolerable, and I ask that he may be helped to his just rights, so that such things occur not again. There was such an uproar in the church—they all rose up, joined together, pressed forward and crowded so knavishly through each other, that Master Laurence could not observe who did it. Then the subvogt commanded peace. Such an outbreak did this Baptist produce."
This, and reports of a similar character, which were sent in from the canton, induced the government to place Grebel, Manz, and some dozen of the most stiff-necked rebels of respectable education in the monastery of the Augustines, where Zwingli and the two other people's priests of the city received orders to visit them frequently. It was hoped they would be finally set right. But what a triumph it was for them, when they succeeded in puzzling Zwingli with one of his own assertions! He had said that no one, according to the New Testament, had been baptised a second time. Did he not know that Paul rebaptised those twelve in Ephesus, who had already been baptised by John? The report of this victory over the hitherto invincible champion spread through the canton with amazing rapidity. "He is fallen," so they cried, "the false prophet, the great dragon; the Spirit of the Lord is with us. The Gospel will now be everywhere brought to light. Away with taxes! Away with the sword! No Christian will wish to be a ruler! We are all brethren. Sell your goods, lay all together on one heap. Let there be no poor any longer and no rich!" A second conference before a select assembly had now but little influence. The matter must be decided before the people, and Zwingli began to arm himself for the work. Meanwhile, he grappled with the subject in his sermons. He showed the difference between the baptism of John and that of Paul, brought out the antagonism between the letter and the spirit, and unfolded the consequences of the doctrines of the deluded fanatics, in such a clear, lively and convincing manner, that a storm of applause resounded through the church at the close of one of these sermons. The city was won.
But the canton yet remained. "Zwingli has the advantage in the protection of the government and the city," they cried. "Those, who are best able to contend with him, have been exiled, or not permitted to appear. Had it been otherwise, he must have yielded." Many honest, well-meaning people believed this; and the following petition, sent into the government, seems to have sprung from such a belief: "Honorable, wise, gracious Lords, we are indeed free to confess, that you have trouble and labor on our account, and on the other hand, that we are daily involved in great anxiety. Now, we are willing to suffer, and call upon God to help you and us to peace, which can indeed be brought about, if Your Worships propose a public conference, and invite other people to it; let them be those, who have been cast out because of this business, and others also. Then, whatever is established from the Word of God, to that we pledge you our bodies and our lives, our honor and our goods. But if indeed you wish an answer from us, it can be nothing else, than the public confession, that we have not grace from God to talk with Master Ulric, so that he can understand us, or ability to speak straight from the heart.
"Therefore, we pray you, gracious Lords, to permit one or two men at our cost to enter your city with a sufficient assurance of a safe return, since they durst not travel every road for the sake of the Divine Word, because Master Ulric himself has not hitherto shown them much favor. These shall point out on our behalf all the Scriptures, so that every man may thoroughly perceive whether he has been right or wrong in his views of them. Oh God! we desire nothing else than truth and righteousness, in which by the grace of God we wish to continue till death. Then, as we have always declared to you, gracious Lords, we will pledge our bodies and lives to Your Worships and to the Word of God and Divine righteousness, gracious Lords! Let the matter, for God's sake, come before a public conference, as in the case of images and the mass. Believe us truly; we wish to do what is right. May God help us thereto! We hope and know that the truth of the Divine Word will come clearly to light, and Your Worships will be content with us. Give us, therefore, for the sake of God and his mercy, a favorable answer."
Upon this, Zwingli himself requested the government to institute a public conference, and the order for it was drawn up on Monday, November 6th, 1525, with a full and free safe-conduct for all those, who thought themselves in a condition to defend their variant doctrines. Zwingli, Leo Judae and Caspar Grossman, people's priests at the Dominican church, were selected as champions to make reply; and Wolfgang Joner, abbot at Cappel, the Commander Schmied, Sebastian Hofmeister of Schaffhausen, and Vadianus of St. Gall, as presidents for the occasion. The Anabaptists appeared in numbers under their leaders, Manz, Grebel and Blaurock; many of them had come from distant countries; the department of Grueningen, at the command of the government, sent thither twelve deputies. Scarcely had the conference opened at the Council House, in presence of the Two Hundred and a crowd of hearers, who filled up all the chamber, when a newly arrived troop of fanatics pressed in with the cry: "O Zion! O Zion! Rejoice O Jerusalem!" and threw everything into confusion. To prevent such disturbances and to obtain more room, the assembly removed to the church of the Great Minster. Here the battle continued for three days, from morning till late in the evening. Speech was denied to no one: access to none, who wished to hear. Public opinion grew more favorable to the people's priests. On the third day the attacks of the Anabaptists became weaker; their self-confidence vanished. Only one of them, who had repeatedly asserted that he could end the contest with one word, but had still been held back by his associates, who themselves thought him too wild, broke through at last and placed himself, with an inflamed visage, and all the motions of a conjurer, before the people's priest, and cried out: "Zwingli, I conjure thee, by the living God, to tell us the truth." The latter answered very calmly: "That shalt thou hear. Thou art as clownish and seditious a peasant, and as simple as any Our Lords have in the canton." A universal roar of laughter followed, and the act was closed.
The government then issued a public statement concerning the events of this controversy, which, along with other things, concluded with the following words: "After the Anabaptists and their followers have disputed three days, from morning till evening, in our Council House and the Great Minster, in our presence and that of a large crowd of men and women, and every Baptist has spoken all he had to say, without let or hindrance, it has at last been found from the most powerful arguments, based upon the Word of God, that Master Ulric Zwingli and his associates have fairly conquered the Anabaptists, annihilated re-baptism, and upheld the baptism of infants. It has also been clearly evident, during the entire conference, that the creators, defenders, sectarians and wranglers of Anabaptism have played their part in a wicked, bold, and shameless spirit, in that they, a sect and conspiracy against the commandment of God, have undertaken and devised means to bring us over to them, in their contempt of all temporal authority and planting of disobedience, and destruction of love toward our fellow-men; for they think themselves better than other Christians and without sin, as all their words and works, and even their behavior plainly show." Subjoined was an order forbidding any further cases of re-baptism on pain of a fine, or threats of severer punishment, if that did not prove sufficient. Manz, Grebel, Blaurock and the other leaders of the sect were brought before the Council and earnestly exhorted to confess their errors, but in vain. They were thrown into the Tower. Whilst there, means were found to compose an address, which was soon widely spread and roused up the most stubborn of their followers to new resistance. Hence, when the landvogt Berger made known the edict of the government in Grueningen, many of the inhabitants publicly declared they would not submit to it. He then summoned more than a hundred of the most zealous men and women to the castle. Here the twelve deputies, who were at the conference in Zurich assured them with one accord, that Zwingli had conquered, begged them to renounce their errors, reasoned with them, along with the landvogt, the whole day, and when at last each was asked for his decision, thirteen yielded; all the others persevered in their opposition.
Meanwhile, the prisoners in Zurich led the government to hope, that if their liberty were restored, they would behave peacefully. It was granted; but immediately they scattered themselves through the canton, and the flame broke out anew. This was also increased by Hubmeyer, who after the taking of Waldshut by the Austrians in December, 1525, came to Zurich as a fugitive, and, having likewise held a conference with Zwingli, Leo Judae and Myconius, in presence of the Councils, declared himself overcome and ready for a recantation from the pulpit of the Frauminster Church. Instead of which, to the great surprise of the congregation, he began again to advocate rebaptism. Zwingli, who occupied the second pulpit, on the opposite side, interrupted him at once and brought him to silence. He excused himself afterwards by saying, that he knew not what he did, the devil must have been in him, and then once more recanted in the Frauminster and the church at Gossau, in the department of Grueningen.
But now the lovers of order and quiet were everywhere fully aroused. The government was universally censured for its forbearance, and most of all in the department of Grueningen itself. The landvogt was importuned for severer measures. "It is truly a great thing"—he wrote to the Council—"that you, gracious Lords, have for the third time caused a conference to be held with these people, who speak openly of all the conferences and your desire to do justice, in the most insolent fashion, in spite of your edict, and are not willing to acknowledge they have done wrong. Hence the magistracy have written and prayed the Council and advised, that they come together again on Tuesday, to take the business boldly in hand, for it is publicly declared: 'I hear indeed, if My Lords only receive five pounds, it matters little what the Baptists talk or say concerning all the conferences and edicts; they do no wrong.' In this way great injustice will be done you. Therefore do not take this amiss from me; for the magistracy with your assistance would have passed a far different judgment on the Baptists, and plans would have been formed, which would have produced peace, quiet and obedience. The fines would have been laid on the great disturbers, strife-makers, hedge-preachers and baptisers, and not on poor, simple, miserable men, not on women and children, of whom many have been deluded; yet these are fined as heavily as the chief actors in the play. Henceforth the business must be taken in hand boldly; you will not find me wanting."
In fact the government was now fully alive to the emergency. As soon as any one was convicted of having repeated baptism, he was seized and thrown into prison. The prisons became crowded; Manz, Grebel, Blaurock and fifteen others were confined in the so-called New Tower. Their sentence was severe: "Nothing shall be given them but bread and water, and they shall lie on straw and thus be left to die in the Tower. Let it then be the business of every one to forsake his projects and errors and be obedient."
The extravagances of the Anabaptists of St. Gall, which were then carried to the maddest extreme, might really have contributed to the severity of this sentence. Grebel, during an earlier sojourn there, had sown the seed, of which these were the ripened fruits. They burnt the Bible, because it said: "The letter kills." They sported with puppets; led about dancing apes tied to a string; wept childishly, and were comforted with apples, and cast off all their clothes, because they must become like little children, of whom alone was the kingdom of heaven. Yea, in the end, one of them, Leonard Schucker, desired the death of his brother, because God had commanded it. He drew his sword and struck off his head in the presence of his father and all his sisters.
Thus, at last, the fruits showed, in a more lively manner than all the learned conferences, what was to be thought of the dogmas of this sect; and yet the prisoners in Zurich still had secret friends. An opportunity was given them to escape by night, which they used, and once more spread through the canton, pretending that the Angel of the Lord had delivered them from prison, as he formerly had Paul and Silas. But now the pious jugglery came to a close. A law was passed, that whoever, belonging to the canton, would hereafter rebaptise an adult, he should be drowned without mercy. Nevertheless it was done by Blaurock and Manz, as well as by Filk and Raimann, two natives of the department of Grueningen They were all apprehended. Blaurock, because a foreigner, was whipped with rods and banished from the canton; the other three were drowned in the Limath on the 5th of January, 1525. They persevered to the last in their stubbornness, or constancy, to maintain which Manz was even encouraged by his aged mother. Their behavior left no impression on the people, who were sick of these foul doings.
The great length of the sentence delivered shows how anxious the government was to be justified in its acts, and in deed the public weal seemed, after what had gone before, to demand such an issue. Of Grebel's end no report has reached us. But to later times has been left the problem of the thorough instruction of the people, toleration in matters of faith, contempt where morals, and punishment, sore punishment, where the sanctity of the law has been invaded.
NOTES TO CHAPTER FOURTH
Footnote 1: In substance, they had reference to the relation of the people to the government, the tithes, the rate of interest, villanage, freedom of trade, the property of the monasteries and the right to choose preachers.
Footnote 2: R[oe]ubli, Stumpf, and Br[oe]dlein, whom we have mentioned.
Footnote 3: Outside of the Confederacy. In what relation, is not clear from the connection.
Footnote 4: This included not only the seven articles, (corn, rye, oats, barley, wheat, wine, hay), but whatever else each district had paid into the great tithe from time immemorial.
Footnote 5: The subscription of this letter is characteristic: Conrad Grebel, Andreas Castelberg, Felix Manz, Heinrich Aberly, Johannes Br[oe]dlin, Hans Oggenfuss, Hans Huiuf, thy countrymen of Hall, and seven new disciples of Muenzer rather than Luther.
Footnote 6: Huldreich Zwingli's Werke. Herausg. von Schuler und Schulthess. Band II. Abthg. 1. S. 230. ff.
Footnote 7: Acts of the Apostles, xix, 3-5.
Footnote 8: Bullinger has a description of the occurrence in his "Origin of the Anabaptists."
Footnote 9: Called in latter times among the people, The Heretic's Tower.
DEFENCE OF THE OLD ORDER. RISE OF THE NEW.
To hold firmly to the existing order of things is not always proof of evil design, obstinacy or narrowness, as innovators are wont to assert; it may spring from strength of character, the experience of wisdom, and, if the existing order be good, even from a conviction of duty. Was this true of Catholicism? Let us apply the test. In the heart of man there lies a world full of rest and peace, full of blessed love, full of confidence in eternal duration and a God of power to uphold and protect; and this gives us the victory over all the darkness and plagues of earth. It speaks in living tones in the innocent child. To children, said Christ, belongs the kingdom of heaven. With growing years, with the birth of self-consciousness guilt comes to life, earlier in this one, later in that one, but once to all. It is the inheritance of earth. The nursery, the school, personal experience, the history of the world teaches it.
In one alone there was no guilt to be found. How came He? How did he walk? What need anxiously to inquire, when actions speak? He did not teach from the pulpit; he wrote nothing; He uttered isolated sentences, a few parables; He comforted; He healed; He labored only three years, and three years sufficed to shake the world and to bring peace again to the world. Who of the gray sages of Greece and Rome did so much? Well could He say, in his crown of thorns, when the judge asked him: "Art thou the King of the Jews?"—Thou sayest! And can He, who lives in the Gospel, since we have it everywhere, need a vicar on earth—a vicar on a worldly throne, in a gorgeous palace? Has no one ever blushed at the thought? Catholicism is still here, still stands erect. It must have a better foundation than a mere untenable assumption. But where can this be found?
It lies in the power of the senses and in faith in this power. It is justified of this faith, justified again by all experience. A sound body, with the senses in full vigor, bears up and sustains the spirit also. Indeed, the world of sense, like that of the spirit, has a higher position. Its centre, its life-organ, is the heart, and this same heart is the field for all the conquests of earth. It was left for Christianity to reveal this secret. In right relations, and if the spiritual is the leading element, the creations of art, belonging to the world of sense, are aids to Christianity. They elevate the spirit and complete the consecration of divine worship. Whenever this right relation was observed, the Catholic church grew and prospered. But two deviations from it, which the Papacy needed and used for the strengthening of its dominion, weakened and finally in the sixteenth century brought it nigh to destruction: monkery and the celibacy of the clergy. Whatever there was of good in the monasteries, derived its origin from the most ancient times, when, for example, into our own fatherland Christian men, of scientific culture, Gallus, Collomban and Siegfried, wandering hither from distant Ireland and Scotland, brought science and agriculture into regions that lay waste, at a time when the rule of Benedict, although one of the best, had not yet been introduced into the oldest monastic foundations, St. Gall and Disentis. But as soon as this was inoculated upon the life-giving stem, it gradually degenerated. Just as little was celibacy practised by the clergy of the Catholic church before the age of Gregory VI. (Pope from 1073-1085). The priests lived like other men, members of families, and did not stand over the people, but among them and with them. But monasticism and celibacy rest upon the principle, that the senses are to be feared, which, like all fear, except the fear of God, is inwardly untrue. This principle is also unchristian. Christianity does not teach us to fear our senses, but to watch over them, use them and honor them; for "the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost." Christianity admits no death, not even that of the body—no impersonality. Only a rude, broken covering of earth remains behind. "Destroy this temple," said Christ, "and in three days I will build it up again." Hence let us take care not to lay unnatural restraint upon our bodies, lest at the same time we destroy the spirit.
But the Papacy, which strove to produce in the pastor a complete mortification and in the flock an undue excitement of the senses, engendered in the former severity and pride, in the latter laxity or stubbornness, and in this way created an unnatural separation between the priests and the people, which can not exist along with brotherly communion, as taught by the Gospel—and thus, because inwardly untrue and at war with nature, it hastened toward destruction and was already on the verge of it in the sixteenth century. Why then did it only partially succumb? Why did it afterwards again rise to greater power? Every one-sided movement is struggled against in the most active and even passionate manner by that which it opposes. Its only argument lay, therefore, in the faults of its assailants, of which it cunningly knew how to take advantage. We will now see how these faults began gradually to develope. The facts will speak for themselves.
On the watch, to spy out every weak point, the defenders of the old order followed the firm course of the courageous Reformer. Nothing could be discovered before the year 1523. But now came the war on images, then the burning of Ittingen, then the insurrection of the peasantry, then the passing of armed Zurichers to and from Waldshut, endangering the peace with Austria; then the Anabaptists rose from the very bosom of the new church, and lastly, Zwingli was attacked in the Great Council by the secretary Am Gruet, touching the matter of tithes, and again, a second time, in regard to the Lord's Supper—a prelude to his subsequent controversy with Luther. "Here," cried they, "you have the fruits." We have seen the best answer to this reproach in the triumphant victory of Zwingli over all these difficulties. Another path must be chosen. They began to learn from their antagonist.
"We will take the reformation into our hands," said the most sensible. At a diet in Luzern, to which Zurich and Schaffhausen were not invited, a proclamation was drawn up and ratified by nine cantons, of which the following are the substantial contents: "Since, to our sorrow, it has come to pass, by the preaching, writing and teaching of Luther and Zwingli, that our ancient Christian faith is put to scorn, the ordinances of the Church despised and nothing any longer left; therefore, in order that men may not live more inclined to evil than to good, wholly abandoned, without fear and punishment for self-will; in order that no one may make a creed for his own head and understanding, and because the Chief Shepherd of the Church is silent amid our cares and perplexities, and sleeps, we Confederates have thought it necessary to take care of ourselves, and, until the time arrives when a Council will allay the discord, set forth the following articles: By no one, whether clergyman or layman, shall the XII. articles of the Christian creed be assailed; and just as little shall the Seven Sacraments, as the Church has ordained them and heretofore held them. No layman shall go to the Sacrament without confession and absolution; and no one shall receive it under two forms. No chancre shall be made in the ceremonies, which, derived from the Word of God, have come down to us from the Holy Fathers and our worthy ancestors. Because the rules of fasting, based on reasonable and Christian arguments, have reached us through the Holy Fathers, we will not suffer the scandal arising from their transgression to exist amongst us. They shall be observed according to the order and pleasure of each Canton. We will suffer no reviling of the Most Holy Virgin. We believe, that She, and the other saints, by their intercession with God, can protect us and obtain for us grace. He who speaks to the contrary shall be severely punished according to the sentence of his lords. No one shall undertake to abuse, carry off, or break to pieces images, paintings and crucifixes. Whatever of church-revenues they possess, shall be guaranteed to the houses of God. And because much discord and perversity have been stirred up by the preachers, so that this may be done away and the Gospel in its true meaning preached to us and the common people, as the ancient teachers have left it behind recorded in many valuable books, it is our serious intention, that no one shall preach the Word of God, wherever we have power to rule, unless he has been first examined by his spiritual ordinary, duly admitted and duly consecrated, and has a credible certificate of this, as every priest should. No layman shall preach; no hedge-preacher shall any where be tolerated, but driven off and punished with severity. Our preachers shall also preach, teach and instruct without any covetousness and seek naught therein, but the salvation of souls and their improvement. Item, since wrong views and contradictions have been groundlessly revived by the Zwinglian or Lutheran sect, touching purgatory and prayers for the dead, in which all Christian souls, our ancestors and we ourselves have believed, we warn all true men not so wantonly to forsake our true faith for the false sayings of Luther. We wish also that no one preach, write or speak such things in our territory. He who does so, shall be punished according to the judgment of his lords. The houses of God, cloisters, foundations and churches, shall be permitted to retain their rights and privileges; no violence shall be used against them, nor their dues kept back, or taken from them without law.
"Item, although it may be true that the Canon Law, many ordinances and statutes have been framed by the Holy Fathers, teachers, Pope and Councils with a good design, yet since this Canon Law and these statutes have been increased by degrees and made more severe; since many of them are exorbitant and have been misused against us laity, so as to cause us great injury and ruin; and since in this sad time, when the wolf has broken into the sheep-fold of Christ, the Chief Watchman and Shepherd slumbers, we deem it our duty, as civil authorities, to come to the rescue in some measure; not that we at all wish thereby to cast off our allegiance, or place ourselves in opposition to the Roman and universal Christian Church, but only for the suppression and prevention of further disasters, rebellion and the division of our Confederacy. But if by a general Christian Council or competent assembly, to which deputies are invited and are present from our Confederacy, this schism is removed and unity again restored to the Church, we will not be sundered therefrom, but act like our forefathers, as a good, pious, obedient Christian people.
"And therefore, we ordain first, that our people's priests and pastors shall not addict themselves to avarice, as has too often been the case heretofore, namely: that they and their curates shall not keep back the Holy Sacrament from us and ours for the sake of money. Still, it is our purpose that, whatever from ancient times has been assigned in each canon to the pastor or sacristan, it shall continue to him and yield him a fair support; but if any one in the collection thereof is dealt with severely and dangerously, it shall concern the civil authority, so that the common man be not overmatched. Item, the priests of every rank shall conduct themselves in a decent and pious manner, and set a good example to us laity, for hereafter that will not be endured from them, which has been hitherto. Every pastor shall also remain with his parishoners during the death-struggle, and minister to them and comfort them faithfully, according to the Christian rule, at the risk of losing his benefice. Since, moreover, there has been great abuse in this, that a priest has employed two or more curates to perform the duties of his parish and then taken his leave, we will suffer it no longer, and henceforth, no priest shall possess more than one parish and cure of souls, and shall live there himself. Also, no one shall make a secret agreement with another, at the peril of losing his benefice. Yet, we make this exception; a pastor may receive several livings in the foundations and monasteries, where hitherto it has been the custom and privilege not to reside therein personally, so that the excellent foundations and monasteries be not curtailed in their privileges. Item, where a young man has a benefice, or, being still under age, is too young to become a priest, he may indeed be permitted to enjoy the benefice, on condition of procuring the services of a fit and worthy priest in his stead. But, if he reaches the proper age, and does not then become a priest, or is not capable and virtuous enough for the office, he shall be deprived of the benefice.
"Item, because several priests have already ventured to take wives, it is our opinion, that no benefices should be bestowed on them, and they ought to be forbidden the exercise of their priestly office; and those persons belonging to the monastic orders, who have left their cloisters and their order, or have married, ought to be deprived of their benefices and expelled from their monasteries; still, be it reserved to each canton and each authority to deal further with them, or show mercy. Item, in regard to spiritual jurisdiction and excommunication we have considered and ordered at this time, since matters have gone so sadly and no one has given them any attention, that no clergyman shall cite, summon, or call up a layman, and no layman a clergyman, or one of his own estate, before a spiritual tribunal, except alone in the matter of marriage, and in what concerns error and dispute about the holy sacraments, or the monasteries and churches, or the welfare of the soul, or infidelity. But in so doing, it is our opinion, if it chance in regard to marriage-affairs and other business, that we laymen might be summoned and tried before a spiritual court; still, the whole business shall not come first either before the bishops, or their officials, or commissaries, or before a spiritual judge, but before each civil authority, and then after each civil authority has investigated the matter, it shall then proceed to give judgment and explanations thereon, or else hand over the business, if they think it necessary, to the spiritual judge. All judicial proceedings before the spiritual judge, and especially at Constance, shall be transacted in German and written out in German, as the custom is in several bishoprics, so that we laity also may hear and understand what is done. Item, since between the Sunday, when the Alleluia is omitted, and Shrove Tuesday, during which season every other person indulges in worldly pleasures, wedding festivals are forbidden to the common man, and because this prohibition is remitted for money, it is our order and opinion, that it be granted without pay. Since we and ours have been burdened with manifold Romish indulgences, it is our opinion, that from this time forth no indulgences should be granted for the sake of money, in any place or corner of our cantons. Furthermore, the Pope and bishops hold and reserve for themselves alone certain sins and transgressions, and hence it happens, they will not give the people absolution without the payment of a large sum, and no dispensation is granted to any one, even in a case of decent and honorable emergency, unless it be outweighed with gold—therefore, it is our opinion, that what may be brought to pass by popes and bishops for gain, shall be granted to the people and the poor common man, by every pastor without charge, notwithstanding the power of the Pope and the bishops, until it be further determined. Every canton also shall and may consult with its pastors and clergy, and devise a plan, as to how and in what form the gross abuses of the confessional may be punished. In regard to the courtesans, who invade our livings, it is our plain order and opinion, that where such Romish knaves come, they shall be cast into prison and punished in such a manner, as that henceforth we shall be rid of them. Because the priesthood, in some part at least, have been guilty of wicked deeds, altogether improper and indecent, which, if they had been committed by the laity, would have been punished with death; and these evil-doers, when handed over to the bishops and the superiors of their orders, have been lightly dealt with and set free, and because crime and follies increase among them, and give rise to every kind of discord and disturbance—in order that this evil may be cured, whoever perpetrates such a crime as to forfeit his life, each authority, under which such a clergyman has been seized, shall execute him for that crime, just like a layman, notwithstanding his consecration."
"Item, because the common people have been greatly disturbed in their faith by the printers, and the books published by Luther or Zwingli and their followers, it is our will, that no one shall print or keep such books for sale in our cities, cantons and territories; and, when they are seized on a colporteur, he shall be heavily punished; and whoever has such books for sale and takes them to a merchant, the merchant shall tear them to pieces, or throw them into the mire, and not be accountable therefor. But such works as the Old and New Testament, the Holy Gospels, the Bible and other Christian books of the twelve Apostles and Saints, their lives and doctrines, may be bought and sold. Item, whereas it is very plain that the poor common man who has been everywhere subjected to restrictions of a hard and severe character, by clerical prelates and convents, as well as by noble and plebeian judges, in their restraints on marriage, their lowering of prices, their rents and other feudal claims and privileges, and especially among our bailiwicks and dependencies, which now highly grieves and surprises us Confederates, and because, according to the terms of the federal compact no one canton can break off from the others in its rights, claims and privileges, and as in our bailiwicks collectively abuses and grievances have been very much practised against the common people, by the monasteries, nobles and judges, therefore, be it hereby resolved, that we take measures to alleviate and pass judgment therein, so that the poor common man may not be burdened by the lowering of prices, and heavy ground-rents, and so severely bound, but that favor and a remedy may be discovered. Item, in regard to the restraints on marriage, that is, when a man takes a wife, and a woman a husband, beyond the jurisdiction of his feudal lord, and the lord undertakes to punish him therefor, it is our will and ordinance, that no one be so punished, seeing that marriage is a sacrament, and every one should be free in such a case. But whoever desires a partner, and is able to pay a ransom, and procure his or her liberty, it shall not be refused, but granted for a reasonable sum of money. Should the lord be too severe, it shall be the duty of the magistrate, in every place and corner, where it occurs, to mediate therein and settle it according to equitable principles. Item, it shall be the bounden duty of every convent to hand in to the authorities a faithful account of its revenue, outlay, possessions and all its business. Item, although the clergy have hitherto been free and exempt from all burdens and incumbrances, and have so overawed the secular authorities with the ban of excommunication, that they never dared to lay upon them taxes, fines, school-money, customs, tolls, licenses, fees and other burdens, yet as there is no foundation for this custom in the Holy Scriptures, it having been introduced among simple Christian people by spiritual laws of their own invention, so that they might not be loaded with the same burdens; therefore, it is the will and purpose of our Lords and rulers, that all priests, whether secular or belonging to the monastic orders, shall share in all these, so that the common people may continue obedient to the civil authorities, according to the Christian rule; none of them shall oppose this, and it shall also be sent everywhere in the city and canton. And, finally, we Confederates reserve the right to add to, to take from, and to alter the articles here drawn up, if, in the meantime, anything better be discovered, even as our Confederacy stands responsible toward God and the world, and may be praiseworthy, useful and honorable."
This long document, which Bullinger alone has preserved entire, we here present with slight abbreviation, because it exhibits, in a manner more lively than any description could, the position in the state then held by the church, wherever the Reformation had not yet taken deep root. Great defects were acknowledged by all the governments, and the will was at hand to apply the remedy. But points of faith must be left untouched. Hence, these were summed up in the introduction. On the contrary, no special reverence is shown for the Pope and the higher position assumed by the clergy; indeed, in several essential particulars, a decided purpose is expressed to hold them in check, and if necessary even to resist them. There is room to conjecture, that if these articles had been carried into practice, they would have exerted a powerful influence against the Reformation, so far, perhaps, as to have confined it to Zurich, and even in the end to have suppressed it here.
But the impossibility of this soon appeared. The Great Councils of Bern, Solothurn and especially Basel durst no longer venture to enforce the general enactments against the married clergy, for the maintenance of rules of fasting and for the preservation of purgatory among the doctrines of faith, whilst on the other side, wherever they still had firm footing, the priesthood opposed all the articles, which would set limits to their greediness and love of power. Hence the general resolutions were not carried out, and only showed the more strongly the inward weakness of the Papacy.
But already, before this time, the first inconsistency, to which Zwingli himself was obliged to submit, came to the aid of his opponents. He had declared that the Gospel was able to endure any trial; that to prove the right and utter the results of his examination should be free to every one, and as he claimed this right in full measure for himself, he, for his part, denied it to no other man. Yet the State did this, and Zwingli fell in with the measure. As early as January, 1523, the following ordinance was published: "Masters Ulric Zwingli and Henry Utiger of the Canons, and Master Henry Walder and Master Binder of the Councils, are appointed to inspect everything which shall be printed in the city of Zurich, and the printer shall be informed and command given him, to undertake to print nothing without their knowledge and approval." Thus, the censorship of the press, which, till now, had only been exercised by the bishops and the Pope, was introduced by the State, by a republican state, and at a time when this state was subjecting the exclusive, established faith, to every kind of investigation. Whence this inconsistency? It did not spring from the Reformer, but only from the unavoidable necessity of his age, in which the capability of judging had not yet penetrated the mass of the people.
This was immediately perceived and made use of by the Papacy. Her skillful orators did not in the least blame the censorship of the press in Zurich, but thought it very judicious; but, "why then," asked they, "do you attack us for restrictions and watchfulness, when you yourselves cannot do without them? To-day you declare faith shall be free, that it can sustain any trial, and to-morrow suppress the writings of those who will not prove it in your way. Truly, like us, you need an authoritative creed. Only with us the old Church gives the command, with you the new Zwingli. This is very far from being a sufficient reason to induce us to go over to your party." What adequate reply can be made? In fact the time had not yet come, when the Reformation could stand by its own strength; the distinguished man alone sustained it. In this, lies the reason why Zwingli was indispensable to Zurich—in this the secret of his power in the State as well as the Church.
Also aware of this, the defenders of the Old Order were more and more convinced, that its maintenance or new establishment in the Confederacy, could only become possible, if they succeeded in putting Zwingli to silence, and for the attainment of this end they mustered all their powers. Hence, an offer from Doctor Eck, of Ingolstadt, known through his earlier famous disputation with Luther, and mentioned before in the beginning of this work, to come personally to Switzerland and do battle with the Reformer, was very welcome to the leaders of this party. As soon as Zwingli heard of it, he wrote to this champion and invited him to Zurich: here he could attack him and point out to his hearers, who needed it most, the errors of their teacher. "It is time," he concludes, "for me to leave off, if I have been a false prophet. But rather would I find out a way, if there be time, to prevent thee from deceiving the poor people with thy imposture. May God have pity on thee, take away thy stony heart and give thee one so warm, that one can write to thee with joy!" The Council of Zurich also sent an invitation to Eck, along with a letter of safe-conduct, pledging him a safe passage through the canton, coming and going. Eck declined it with the remark, that he must appear wherever the diet would appoint. The latter, after manifold negotiations with the bishops, after a final weighing of the different views of the governments themselves, resolved, in March of the year 1526, to accept the offer of Eck, to whom the general-vicar Faber had joined himself, and assemble a religious conference at Baden, in the middle of October. To these preparatory consultations and to the sessions of the diet Zurich had not been invited for a long time. In vain had she complained of it. But now she received a cold letter, almost hostile in its tone, from her sister-confederates, of which the following are the essential contents: "It cannot be concealed from you, that for a good while there has been much talk of a disputation. Transactions of this sort have not at all been displeasing and repugnant to your feelings heretofore. Well! Now we are to act for a final restoration of peace. Require Zwingli and his associates to appear here along with your deputies, and thus show yourselves as those, who would willingly suffer discord, ill-will and disturbance to be put away, and themselves be taught what is better." It is easy to imagine, that, on such an invitation, Zurich found the matter worthy of more mature consideration before she could accept.
The government had undoubtedly begun and proceeded, without heeding the frequent prayers and warnings of her Confederates, in a thorough work of reformation within the limits of her own canton; beyond these she had neither exercised, nor sought to exercise, a direct ecclesiastical influence. What she had done, was in strict accordance with her rights; no law of the Confederation had been violated by her. And yet the confederates continued to assume more and more the attitude of judges over her. When the deputies from the Zurich Council appeared in the midst of the diet, at the close of the discussion in regard to the conference at Baden, they were excluded, called in again, if they thought fit to come, not asked for their opinion, and simply informed of what had been determined without their assistance, and what they were now expected to carry into execution. In the same form, a knowledge of these decrees was a second time communicated to the government. The doctrines of Zwingli were styled heretical beforehand, and he was charged with being the author of sedition; then it was resolved: "It is not our will that any changes be made in the faith, and, as dutiful members, we have no thought of sundering ourselves from the Holy Church; but in order that Zwingli may be obliged to leave off his seditious teachings in our Confederacy, and the common people in some measure redeemed from error and rendered peaceful, we make arrangements for the disputation."
After such a declaration, what was the part demanded of the free state of Zurich? That she should appear in the circle of her confederate sisters in the attitude of a poor sinner; take back whatever she had established after mature trial; seize the Reformer and arraign him before an inquisition, by which he had already been prejudged as a heretic. And then what anxiety, what memories connected themselves with Baden, the place of the conference? It stood in close dependence on the most embittered cantons. The majority of its own citizens were hostile to the Reformation. Here, a short time before, the blood of the men of Stammheim and Burkhard Ruetiman had been shed by an unrighteous sentence, out of mere religious hatred and in violation of pledges; from thence, the same year, Nicolas Hottinger, of whom we have already spoken, had been delivered up to Luzern, to fall by the sword, in spite of all the intercessions of the Zurich government. The principles of the Romish Church in regard to those, whom she esteemed heretics, were well known. It had been openly declared by several, and believed by many, that they were not bound to keep faith with such persons. Just about this time, (December 11, A. D. 1525), Pope Clement VII., to whom the Zurichers had sent the Secretary Am Gruet, to collect the arrears due for military services, wrote thus: "If you do not forsake your new, ungodly errors, how can you expect us to satisfy these claims, lawful as they may be, without going counter to righteousness and the fear of God, since that cannot be justly allowed to heretics, which they have inherited from their forefathers?" In Freiburg, Zwingli's writings were burnt, and his effigy in Luzern. Several states had given orders to seize him, wherever he could be found. His brother-in-law, Leonard Tremp, wrote to him from Bern: "As you value your life, take care you go not to Baden; for no safe-conduct will be observed in your case; that I know." Can the government of Zurich be blamed for not wantonly exposing the man, in whose existence the entire development of its political and religious life was closely bound up?
And yet, when we see how the Messiah, whose Gospel the Reformer proclaimed, delivered himself up to the unjust judges; when we read his declaration: "Whoso loveth his life shall lose it;" when we hear Martin Luther say, as he began his journey to Worms; "And, if there were as many devils there, as tiles on the houses, I will yet go," and see him step forth courageously before the wrathful monarch and the empire;—indeed we might almost wish that Zwingli had not declined the challenge to battle, nor given his enemies occasion to triumph, and cry out to all the world that he did not dare to defend his own cause. [OE]colampadius, who, sent by his government, had appeared there with unflinching courage, wrote to him from Baden: "Elsewhere than here, on the field of battle, we cannot meet these our opponents with befitting energy. Mere writing is not sufficient. Thou wilt expose thyself to danger, as is the case with us all. Yet perhaps thou knowest more than I. Do as thou thinkest best for the Gospel of Christ, to whom our life, as much or as little of it as still remains, alone belongs."
Not for one moment did Zwingli falter in the path, which he had marked out for himself. Though his faith continued firm and strong till the hour of his death, still there lay also in his character a spirit of worldly prudence, which rendered intolerable the thought of becoming a sacrifice to the craft of his opponents, who, instead of honoring his courage, would rather perhaps have laughed at him as a credulous dupe, in their joy over the success of their unworthy plan. The author of this work will neither justify, nor blame him on this account. His duty is, to present a faithful picture of the great man, leaving the reader to form his own judgment. But let us hear a few passages touching this point, from a long letter of his to the government of Bern, which had urged Zurich to accept the invitation to take part in the Conference: "I beseech you, wise and pious Lords, in the most pressing manner, to have my answer to your letter, which was sent to my Lords, but had reference to myself, read aloud and weighed with earnest and mature consideration; for I am not all opposed to, but in favor of a disputation. It is only the place that I cannot abide, and these are my reasons: No place stands open to me, since the cantons of Luzern, Uri, Schwytz, Unterwalden and Zug have the supremacy; for the aforenamed cantons have called me a heretic, summoned me to appear before them, rejected my doctrines, burnt my books and reviled me without any hearing whatever. It is a manifest pre-judgment. They themselves confess, that the disputation was only planned, in order to silence Zwingli. This is also a pre-judgment. As the aforenamed cantons have commanded me to be taken prisoner, how could I trust their safe-conduct? In the safe-conduct itself there is a proviso, that every one must behave agreeably to that safe-conduct; a common article where there is no danger; but it would not be enough for me at Baden; for just as soon as I would say: 'The Pope is Antichrist'—just so soon would they cry out against me, that I had forfeited my safe-conduct. Then, the Five Cantons, along with Faber and Eck, have made arrangements beforehand, behind our backs, in regard to the disputation, which ought to be impartial; and they have permitted the most scandalous writings of Faber and Eck against me to be sold freely, nay, to be hawked about at the Diet, whilst they would neither hear nor look at my answers. For these and other reasons, I would give a friendly caution to my gracious, loving Lords, to believe no one, who pretends that I wish to avoid the disputation. I do not; but only the place. Besides, there are three most excellent articles altogether omitted in the safe-conduct, viz: that the Bible alone should be the source and ground of argument; that no judge should be placed over God's Word; and finally, that the controversy should be carried on freely, and without interruption, on all points in dispute. But, indeed, there is no need to speak of safe-conduct or articles, whilst they will hold the disputation at Baden. I will not baden (bathe)."
[OE]colampadius now headed the Reformed party at the Conference, in Zwingli's stead. Berchthold Haller, preacher at Bern, joined him. They two, and several others of like mind, kept up the battle for sixteen days, against Eck, Faber, the not unlearned but extremely passionate Doctor Murner of Strassburg, preacher at Luzern, and their friends, who were present in great numbers. Meanwhile Zwingli was not idle. Every evening a report of the proceedings was brought to him from Baden, for inspection, counsel and advice. According to his own statement, he did not see his bed for nearly three weeks. [OE]colampadius and his friends had to contend with no despicable antagonists, in the presence of hearers, the majority of whom were prejudiced against them. And the difficulty was increased by the fact that Eck and Faber, to whom it was assigned to draw up theses for dispute, cunningly enough passed over the perplexing points touching the Church, the power of the Pope, the celibacy of the clergy, the rules of fasting and the like, but pushed into the foreground, on the contrary, as the most important, those touching the Muss, because they could assail the view of Zwingli and [OE]colampadius on the Lord's Supper in part with Luther's own arguments. A letter from Erasmus against this view also came to their aid, which was, according to a report, extant in the university of Paris, read at Baden with great applause, and did the more injury to the Reformers, the higher the opinion of Erasmus was prized by liberal theologians.
Amid all this, [OE]colampadius knew how to keep his ground manfully. His quiet demeanor and moderation served him no less than his learning, in which he was scarcely inferior to Zwingli himself. One of the Catholic party is said to have cried out, whilst he was speaking: "O if the long, yellow man were only on our side!" His external appearance, as, clad in simple clothing, he appeared in a rough-hewn, unadorned pulpit, was only the more dignified in contrast with the richly carved throne on which Eck, Faber and their distinguished friends sat in silken robes, puffed up, and hung around with golden chains and crosses. At the close of the Conference, the latter declared the victory theirs. This decision was likewise ratified by the four presidents, the majority of the deputies of the Diet and by far the greater number of the attendant scholars and clergymen. Only ten of the latter came out, over their own signatures, in favor of [OE]colampadius, and with him against the justness of the theses put forth by Eck and Faber. Berchthold Haller, along with several others, retired before the termination of the Conference. Before the assembly broke up, Thomas Murner appeared, by permission of the presidents, and read aloud forty propositions, which he had posted up as the errors and blasphemous assertions of Zwingli, on the church-doors at Baden, and declared himself ready publicly to prove as such against him; but since the challenged party had staid away in a cowardly fashion, he could, in accordance with all law, human and divine, proclaim him, this tyrant of Zurich, and his followers, dishonorable, perjured, sacrilegious and God-forsaken people, of whose company every honest man ought to be ashamed, and shun them as persons unclean and ripe for damnation. Zurich had to endure this, which was reported to her, and a haughty letter from the deputies of the Twelve Cantons besides. Much was said in it about Zwingli's lies; he was accused of ridiculing the Confederates, of making seditious speeches, and of a never-ceasing hostility. They were now tired of this disorder, and if the government of Zurich would not banish the everlasting disturber, they then would be compelled to make known to their subjects in city and canton the injury they suffered,—to appear before the bailiwicks, so that the honest people might become acquainted, not with Zwingli's little book and slanderous invectives alone, but the reply of their Confederates also. What would come out of this, the Council of Zurich might consider in their wisdom.
Meanwhile, the tidings, that a victory was gained, spread on all sides, "We thank the Most High"—wrote the deputies of the Twelve Cantons from Baden to Duke William of Bavaria—"that Your Princely Grace sent over to us the highly-renowned Doctor Eck; for truly he has defended, according to the Holy Divine Scriptures, his Christian theses—the chief points, which the Lutheran or Zwinglian deluding, heretical sect have ventured to assail and pervert—so bravely and with such skill, that undoubtedly good will come of it; and it will be admitted by every sensible man, possessed of a good conscience, that truth and victory are on our side—with our old, undoubted Christian faith." Reports of the triumph of the Catholics reached Zwingli from his friends also. Comander, pastor in Chur, told him of letters received there, and of the alarm of all the friends of reform. George Mangolt wrote from Constance: "Every day letters arrive here from Baden. O how the Papists rejoice! They say that [OE]colampadius is overthrown; that he has been vanquished in three points already, and will be completely so in a few days; that he is like a child—as soon as he is laid hold of with a little more earnestness than usual he begins to tremble, yea, even to weep." Indeed, great hopes were built on the issue of the Conference by all the friends of the Old Order. Zurich appeared to stand alone, deserted by all her sister-confederates. Berchthold Haller was intimidated; [OE]colampadius, though he did not yield, looked into a dark future, for he could number as many enemies as friends in Basel. Under these circumstances, everything depended on Zurich, and especially the firmness of Zwingli.
After taking earnest counsel, it was resolved to send the following declaration to all the Twelve Cantons: "We have examined your letter touching ourselves and our preachers, and are filled with great surprise, grief and regret. We and our preachers are attacked therein with haughty, sharp, and violent words, although in our own opinion we are innocent. We had indeed thought that the many things, which he and we have sent to you from pen and press, would have been honorably considered and well received by you and your advisers. Nevertheless, Master Ulric will vindicate himself. But to you, dear Confederates, because you desire an answer from us at the next Annual Reckoning, we send what follows: We have violated no treaty, given ear only to the Divine Word, and invited any one to prove us in error. No one has come to do this. It is well known how we have been excluded from the Diet, and how, without consulting us and in the face of our protest, the Conference was transferred to Baden. You ask us to prohibit Master Ulric Zwingli from publishing books and writings against you, because it is contrary to our treaties, and yet it is clear to you and all men, that Doctor Eck and Faber, and their adherents, have issued sundry little books and writings for the dishonor, shame and derision of us and our preachers, which were carried, sent over and circulated at the Diet, and in many other places, far and near, with boastful pomp and rejoicing, and have been read and listened to with evident relish; and truly it ought and must deeply pain and grieve us, as pious, honest, faithful Confederates, that such strange, foreign, slanderous and wicked people, who, beyond doubt, wish not only to lessen and obstruct the profit, honor, piety and welfare of our glorious Confederacy, but according to their race and nation, under a false show of good, to obliterate and utterly destroy it, should receive almost more respect, confidence and esteem than we. And yet, God knows, we have never had any higher wish than to live on friendly terms with you, our dear Confederates, and assist in all things, which might serve to the praise, profit, honor and welfare of the United Confederacy; and as formerly, in the pressure of war and other secular affairs, we faithfully pledged to you our persons, honor and property, like good, honest Confederates, and poured out our blood, so would we now do, without looking back, as our pious forefathers, when our country calls for it. If then, you had written, that you wished to appear before our congregations, we indeed would have made no objections; but since it is contrary to treaties and old, praiseworthy custom and usage to do so without our consent, we hope you will follow them. If complaints only were to be made, truly we would have more reason to urge them than you. What hard and unbecoming speeches are not we and ours compelled to hear, when we meet you and yours in market-places, for buying and selling! And did not that foreign monk. Doctor Murner of Luzern, for the first time, at this Diet, publish against us a little book, full of scandal and lies, and go to the furthest lengths of malice, when out of an envenomed, envious heart, he defamed and abused us and ours in the highest degree, in the presence of natives and foreigners, after the disputation held at Baden, and all with such knavery, that, amid many pious, honest men, who heard him, there was little displeasure, and yet no one called him to order? Indeed it were much better if we sought to put away such people, who bring no honor or profit to either party. Heretofore matters proceeded very differently at the Diet, when we conversed together about that which might promote the honor, the happiness and the welfare of our Confederacy, and lived in old friendship, brotherly fidelity and love."
The answer of Zwingli, who was the most aggrieved, was thought to be more rude and independent: "That I"—he wrote—"have reviled the Twelve Cantons, is, honorable Lords, unjustly charged against me; but that I would expose the practices of Faber, who can justly blame me for that? Faber himself could not stand, if he would visit me in the place, where we have pledged sufficient security to Eck and him. That more words of scandalous abuse stick in me than words of Holy Writ and truth, I must allow you to say. You, the Five Cantons, have proclaimed me a heretic before all the conferences or disputations, which cannot be made out, though I should not stand up to answer you. If there be real, genuine desire to learn the Word of God in truth, we must not attempt it with courtesans, the whole Papacy and such dishonest people, who like Eck have spoken so scandalously in regard to an estimable Confederacy. That I have often been blamed by you for lying, falsehood and deceit, I must likewise commend to God. But I do indeed think, if this letter of your deputies were read at home before the Twelve Cantons, the smaller number would be pleased with it. Pardon me, dear Lords, I also know in part how things went at the Diet."
"Since then, it is your opinion, that my Lords ought to thrust me aside and the like, I tell you, they are too pious for that; because they know well that you first assailed me and so often, that I was obliged on their account to write, for the preservation of God's Word, their honor and my own. It seems to me, that your faith is but ill kept toward my Lords and me; (forgive me, gracious Lords) though heretical opinions are tolerated in the pulpits of several cantons, I must keep silence in mine, and their honest people, when they do business among you, are often and disgracefully abused, and there is no punishment or redress."
"Finally, you say, if my Lords do not cast me off, you will take occasion to make known at Zurich, before the city and the canton, what you have suffered from them and me; to which I answer: If the Articles of Confederation would permit, I would be willing that you, my Lords, and I should freely explain how matters have been going, not only before the communities of my Lords, but before all the people of the entire Confederacy. But since this may not be, do you keep to the Articles of Confederation and your own communities, and leave the communities of my Lords in peace; for if you were to come before them, there is no doubt they would give you in their simplicity, in all honor and fairness, as good and earnest answers as my Lords themselves. In regard to these things, gracious Lords, O that for God's sake you were willing to go into yourselves and not always act in a passion!"
Of course, language of this kind was not just calculated to calm the minds of his opponents, and could not but wound deeply the pride of the Five Cantons, who were implacable enough without it. It appeared the more intolerable to them, because they regarded themselves as conquerors, yea if they could only agree, in a certain measure, the second authors and founders of the Old Confederacy, that held fast to the faith and customs of their ancestors. Nearly all the Confederate deputies in Baden happened to belong also to the friends of the Old Order, and particularly the ambassador from Bern, Caspar von Muelinen. Their agreement in opinion gave assurance to the cantons, who now undertook to publish the acts of the disputation. It is probable that this was not done without the consent of the remaining deputies, with the exception perhaps of Adelberg Meier. Leaving Basel out of view, in Bern, Glarus, Schaffhausen, Appenzell and partly even in Solothurn, the confidence in the Five Cantons was not so strong as among the deputies of these states at the Diet, and when they brought home a report of the proceedings in Baden, a very decided feeling was manifested among the councils and people. Our attention must now be directed chiefly to Basel and Bern.
In Basel, the higher classes, with but few exceptions, were unfavorable to the Reformation. The bishop and the chapter of the Cathedral exercised considerable influence. The University also, in the greater part of its members, was not the least inclined to the new dogmas and forms. [OE]colampadius, who, a short time before, had become a professor there, stood nearly isolated among his colleagues, especially since Pellican (Conrad Kuersner), former teacher of the Hebrew language, his tried friend and companion in the faith, had accepted a call to Zurich. Erasmus, startled from his proud and comfortable ease—summoned from his student's chamber, whence he was accustomed to lord it over the learned world, to conflicts before turbulent assemblies of the people, began to exhibit more and more dislike toward this revolutionary agitation. When he met [OE]colampadius, to whom he had before shown much good-will, on the street, he turned away from him with an aversion, which he did not strive to conceal. It is true, he disdained also to take part in the dark doings of the monks, those heresy-hunters of the Roman See; but appears to have seen, not without pleasure, the quarrel, then already rising between the Reformers themselves, touching the doctrine of the Lord's Supper, and used it so, as to decide in favor of no party, read lectures to all, and maintain as long as possible his former superior position over against them. His correspondence, indeed, all his connection with Zwingli had ceased. But the latter had to experience something still more severe in the behavior of Glareanus, the first and warmest friend of his youth. As late as the first Religious Conference in Zurich he had expressed to Zwingli his joy and approval of the result, and for a time took his part with Erasmus. Now he turned away from the Reformers more decidedly than the old theologian himself, became more and more violent in his enmity to them and their cause, and like Erasmus, though two months earlier, left Basel, which had become hateful to him, in order to settle as an academical teacher in the still Catholic University at Freiburg, in the Breisgau. In the Small Council there was a minority, few in numbers, with Adelberg Meier at their head, in favor of reform; in the Great Council the number was larger, but also a minority. Among the burghers, on the other hand, the party of [OE]colampadius increased daily. To this, his behavior at Baden, which drew praises even from his opponents, contributed no little. The fluctuating opinions, in regard to the doctrine of the Lord's Supper, had caused him, previous to the Conference at Baden, to make known his view on the subject in a special work. The Council forbade its publication, because nothing so stirred up the passions of men like this. But now, since the matter had been publicly handled by him, in the Religious Conference, there was no longer any reason to keep it back from the press. Sent forth by one of the most famous professors in the University, contradicted by none of his colleagues, it came to be looked upon in a certain measure as a confession of faith on the part of the faculty. At the same time, also, [OE]colampadius, to the great annoyance of his adversaries, succeeded in obtaining the introduction of church-singing in German; for the government, in accordance with the feeble advice of Erasmus, in answer to the question as to how it should act amid the zeal for innovation breaking out on all sides, adopted vacillating measures; to-day it suffered the departure of individual monks and nuns from their cloisters; to-morrow, in order to make such cases less frequent, it denied the rights of citizenship to those who had gone out, and rendered the practice of any worldly calling difficult; now it ratified episcopal laws, and then arbitrarily abolished festival-days; in one church it supported the celebration of the mass, in another allowed it to be abolished, so that Basel was as good as given up by the Five Cantons. They refused the Council there permission to examine the acts of the Religious Conference at Baden before their publication, and on the 13th of July, 1526, resolved, in connection with Freiburg and Solothurn, to keep the oath of confederation as little with Basel as with Zurich and St. Gall.