Transcriber's Notes: 1. Source: Web Archive at "http://www.archive.org/stream/lifetimesofulric00hott/lifetimesofulric00 hott_djvu.txt"
2. The diphthongs oe and OE are represented as [oe] and [OE].
LIFE AND TIMES
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN
J. J. HOTTINGER.
THE REV. PROF. T. C. PORTER, OF FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL COLLEGE, LANCASTER, PA.
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HARRISBURG: PUBLISHED BY THEO. F. SCHEFFER. 1856.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by THEO. F. SCHEFFER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * *
"Biographers should not busy themselves so much with deeds, as their moving causes; with what motives, by what means, for what ends and under what circumstances they were performed. If we limit ourselves to a simple detail of facts, our judgment is determined by success; and upright men are condemned as evil or imprudent, because of the unfavorable issue of their endeavors. To set forth the views of Zwingli and the high mark to which he strove to carry everything, were dangerous—would open a wide door to envy and calumniation, and would not be permitted by the government of Zurich; since it would be a violation of the Landfriede, various resolutions of the cities and the Hereditary Union with Austria. Without this, however, the history of his life would be dry, and posterity would neither admire nor love Zwingli, but regard him as a thoughtless, foolish man. The unhappy catastrophe has placed everything in a false light."
The foregoing remarks of Bullinger show with what caution our forefathers were obliged to speak of Zwingli's political acts. Indeed, after the battle of Cappel they were looked upon with little favor, even in the Reformed portion of the Confederacy. Bullinger himself, Zwingli's successor, was for the moment filled with despondency. He wrote to his friend, Myconius: "We will never come together again. No one trusts his neighbor any longer. Surely, surely, we live in the last times. It is all over with the Confederacy." The passage above-cited was written perhaps at this juncture. But he soon recovered his courage. His confidence in God returned with renewed strength, and he then began that career, which was so active, so noble and so full of blessing. He continued the work of his illustrious predecessor, and described it also with a powerful pen and a reverent heart, leaving behind, for thoughtful readers at least, intimations of what he durst not wholly reveal to his contemporaries. Three centuries have since gone by, and unrestricted access to archives and multiplied investigations have brought to light reports and documents hitherto unknown. From these materials, the author endeavored, fifteen years ago, to delineate the life and times of Zwingli. That volume was designed for those, who study history as a science: the aim of this one is to present the same results in a popular form. And as our people, now a-days, pay so much attention to what is written and spoken, let them hear once more the voice of one of the noblest statesmen of former ages; let them consider his acts, and ponder over his sad fate. If we regard him merely as a reformer of the Church, he may perhaps appear to us surrounded by a brighter glory; but history demands a full representation, and such a representation exhibits him as a man "possessed of like passions with ourselves." Yet, just in the acknowledgement of his own infirmities by Zwingli, and in his submission with humble faith to a Higher Power, do the unmistakable features of true religion shine victoriously above that worship of self which springs only from vain conceit.—May the following work produce the same conviction in the mind of the reader!
The volume, here translated, was published in Zurich in the year 1842, and may be regarded as the fullest and most reliable history of Zwingli and his times that has yet appeared; for, in addition to the numerous works, in Latin and German, which relate to this particular period, the author has had free access to an immense mass of important and necessary state-papers, long buried in the archives of the Canton.
CHAPTER FIRST. Page.
Zwingli's youth. His labors in Glarus and Einsiedeln, 7
Zwingli in Zurich. Beginning of the Reformation. Political and ecclesiastical affairs up to the first Religious Conference, 53
Religious Conference in Zurich. The government takes the place of the Bishop for the protection and superintendence of the National Church, 106
Danger of the Reformation and Zwingli's battle against them, 164
Defence of the Old Order. Rise of the New, 203
Organization of the parties. Breach of the general peace, 258
First Campaign. Zwingli and Luther, 283
Internal condition of Switzerland after the first campaign. The Abbot of St. Gall. Political results of the Marburg Conference, 322
Vain attempts at reconciliation. Exportation of corn prohibited. Outbreak of War. Battle of Cappel. Zwingli's death, 370
ZWINGLI'S YOUTH. HIS LABORS IN GLARUS AND EINSIEDELN.
Near the source of the river Thur, in Wildhaus, a mountain-village of the Toggenburg, lived the bailiff Ulric Zwingli, with his wife Margaretta Meili, in moderate circumstances and universal esteem. Eight sons and two daughters were the fruit of their marriage. The third of these sons, born on the first of January 1484, seven weeks after Luther's birth-day, received the name of his father. A brother of the bailiff, Bartholomew Zwingli, was chosen by the burghers of Wildhaus, who a short time before had separated from the mother-church of Glarus, as the first pastor of the new congregation. The mother also had a brother of the clerical order, John Meili, abbot of Fischingen. A pious and friendly man, he loved the children of his sister, as if they were his own. In the bosom of an honest family, breathing the pure cool air of a green Alpine region, amid the simple pleasures of a shepherd's life, the little Ulric grew up vigorously, quick-witted, looking out into the world with clear eyes, and though somewhat rude like his countrymen, yet gifted with senses fully alive to the beauties of nature and the harmonies of voice and instrument.
The early signs of promise, which he gave, were the means of opening for him the path to scientific culture. His uncle, being made deacon at Wesen, left Wildhaus in 1487, and took the boy with him. By his help and that of the teacher at Wesen, he was prepared in his tenth year to enter the Theodore School at Little Basel, whither he now went, again supported and recommended, as is probable, by his uncle.
It may not be amiss to introduce some notice of the educational system of that age.
Lowest in rank appear the German schools. Here and there teachers were provided for them by the parish-officers, but in other places the supply was left to accident. Older students, under the name of lehrmeister, traveled around, oftentimes with wives, practising their vocation and hiring themselves out for longer or shorter periods. Two well-painted placards of these strolling masters are preserved in the library at Basel. They exhibit the interior of a school-room. On one the children are sitting and kneeling on the floor with their books, whilst the master, rod in hand is teaching a boy at his desk and his wife a girl in the opposite corner; the other represents a chamber in which older scholars are receiving instruction. The following advertisement is written beneath both:
"Whoever wishes to learn to write and read German in the very quickest way ever found out, though he does not know a single letter of the alphabet, can in a short time get enough here to cast up his own accounts and read; and if any one be too stupid to learn, as I have taught him nothing so will I charge him nothing, be he who he may, burgher or apprentice, woman or girl; whoever comes in, he will be faithfully taught for a small sum, but the young boys and girls after the Ember weeks, as the custom is. 1516."
To all, who were unable to obtain the necessary elementary instruction at home, or even perhaps in the monasteries, these schools were open. Children and adults frequently sat on the same bench. Of course, there was nothing like thorough knowledge among the masters, nothing like a division into classes, or a comprehensive plan of instruction. Just as the natural talent of the teacher was greater or less, were the results better or worse. And yet such was the only education of a large majority of the burghers. Indeed thousands were destitute even of this.
Boys, designed for a higher training, sons of the wealthy, or of the poor, who were so fortunate as to meet with encouragement to a noble effort, passed over into the Latin schools, into one of which we now see Zwingli enter.
In these schools, found in most of the larger and sometimes also in the smaller towns, the teachers were usually clergymen, who received annually a moderate salary and a coat from the public treasury, or oftener still from the revenues of pious foundations. For their better maintenance, where the foundation could not give them a full support, they were permitted to accept school-money and even provisions. The poor scholars earned this money by singing in companies before houses on new-year and other holidays.
The course of instruction embraced three branches: Latin Grammar, Music, (especially the art of singing,) and Logic. The study of the latter, which ought to teach how to give clear expression to thought, was for the most part time wasted amid useless subtleties and verbiage. The reputation of the school depended altogether on the character of the teacher. As soon as he had made himself master of the prescribed course, he either added to it new branches, or at least understood how to render it profitable. But his main endeavor was to stimulate the youthful mind by his own mental activity. To such a teacher hundreds of scholars flocked from all quarters.
The following regulations, taken from one at Bruck, will give us some insight into the state of discipline among schools of this kind.
"The schoolmaster shall take in school at five o'clock in the morning, in summer, and at six in the winter, give lessons to each one according to his rank, age and capacity, and explain them well and mannerly, hearing them at the proper time, and pointing out to the boys their mistakes and failures, so that by this means they may acquire skill and honor. After lunch, he shall come to school at eleven o'clock, except on festival days, and then at twelve, to give lessons and instruction till four, if that be the usual hour of leaving off work for the day. In the evenings he shall teach them Latin and penmanship faithfully and modestly, and keep them as busy as possible, so that they may get a good and gentle training and be preserved from idle talk, quarrels, and brawls. He shall charge them to talk little and use few words, and when in and out of school to speak with each other in Latin; but with their parents and the people at home they may talk German. He shall teach them the cantum in verse, antiphonies (alternate chanting in choirs), intonations (singing along with the priest), hymns and requiems in various ways, suited to the time and occasion. He shall earnestly exhort them to behave with decorum in the church, the choir, the church-yard and the belfry, to abstain from disputing, shouting, huzzaing and bell-ringing, either in, upon or around the church, and also not to touch the bells, at peril of being stripped and flogged soundly from top to toe. When school is out they shall go together before the charnel-house and each one shall repeat with devotion a pater noster, an ave maria or the psalm de profundis and then return home quietly. Striking each other with satchels, pinching, spitting, fighting and stone-throwing, shall be punished by the rod. The schoolmaster shall beat them with rods, and not with his fist or staff, and particularly not on the head, lest, on account of their youth, he might thereby do great damage to the organ of memory."
Thus the rod was formerly the chief means of school-discipline. And even far into the era of the Reformation a yearly holiday was observed under the name of "The Procession of the Rods," in which all the pupils of the schools went out in the summer to the woods, and came back heavily laden with birch-twigs, cracking jokes by the way and singing:
Ye fathers and ye mothers good, See us with the birchen wood Loaded, coming home again; For our profit it shall serve, Not for injury or pain. Your will and the command of God Have prompted us to bear the rod On our own bodies thus to-day, Not in angry, sullen mood, But with a spirit glad and gay
The greater part of the male students were animated by a wild and reckless spirit, the result of a fickle roving from town to town. The pretext for this course was the necessity of hunting up skilful teachers; but with many it was only love for a career of frolic and idleness. The oldest and strongest scholars, young men of twenty and upwards, each of whom had a different plea to urge, set the example. By the promise of a living free of cost and instruction in the rudiments they attracted to themselves younger boys, who, as soon as they had crossed the boundaries of their father-land, were converted into servants and compelled to beg or steal money and provisions for the common treasury. Thomas Platter, a native of Valais, when a child, nine years of age, followed such a wandering student and traveled with him through Germany as far as the borders of Poland without ever learning to read, until in his eighteenth year, he received for the first time better instruction in Schlettstadt and afterwards in Zurich. He has left us a picture of his student-life in an autobiography, extracts from which are found in a number of works. It can easily be imagined how several thousand scholars of this roving cast, who all subsisted on alms, should frequently meet together in one town. The younger ones, called archers, spent the night in the schoolhouses, and the older (bacchanalians) in little chambers specially reserved for their accommodation. In summer they all lay together in the church-yards with the grass for a bed. Wo to the chickens, the geese and the fruit-trees, where such a troop passed by! Here one man hissed his dogs on them, while there another gave them a friendly welcome, and in return for as much beer as they could drink, obtained information about foreign countries and stories of their travels. The roughest class of teachers often joined them in their revels and often others at the head of their trusty followers sallied out to drive the truants into school, who, when assailed, retreated to the roofs of the houses, sending down showers of stones, till the citizens or the watchmen broke in among them and quelled the riot.
It was Zwingli's good fortune to be saved from such a life of adventure. George Binzli, his teacher in Basel, was, in the words of an old writer, an excellent, not unlearned man, of a very amiable disposition. He took a great liking to Zwingli, who soon stood in the foremost rank among his school-fellows, a master in debate and the possessor of an extraordinary talent for music. At the end of three years he finished his course in the Theodore School, and departed, cherishing an esteem and gratitude, not lost in after life, toward Binzli, by whose advice also he now went to Bern, and entered a higher class under the care of Henry W[oe]lfli.
At an earlier day Latin was taught chiefly for the purposes of divine worship, which consisted, for the most part, of chanting and the saying of masses in this language, to the common people an unknown tongue. A knowledge of it was derived from stupid manuals, that only furnished the scholars with a stock of words, which, though not well understood even by themselves, were stuffed into their sermons, in order to gain credit for learning with the ignorant multitude.
But after the invention of the art of printing, the most important works of the ancient Romans, extant only in a few very costly manuscripts, were given to the world by the press. These, teachers of ability first took up and studied, and then explained to their scholars. What a wide contrast between such education and that of a former period! Here, instead of corrupt monk's Latin, the young men became acquainted with a highly cultivated, clear, powerful language, and, at the same time also, with the history of the most celebrated republic of antiquity, which, to the Swiss, themselves the citizens of a free country, was full of interest. W[oe]lfli, we know, followed this path in his teaching. "From him," says Myconius, the biographer and friend of Zwingli, "he obtained his first knowledge of the classic authors (so well preserved through so many centuries), acquired a flowing, harmonious style, and learned how to distinguish facts and exercise his judgment upon them." W[oe]lfli had visited Jerusalem as a zealous pilgrim, and would often speak of the journey to his scholars, who also saw that he was busied with the history of his native land and that every story of the olden time was sacred in his eyes. But to Zwingli the most pleasant hours were those spent in the practice of music. With astonishing rapidity he learned to play on all the kinds of instruments then known. This attracted the attention of the heads of the Dominicans at Bern. Envious at the greater concourse of people, that crowded to the Franciscans, these monks sought to raise against the fallen reputation of their monastery. To secure for themselves talent, so promising as that of Zwingli, was a thing much to be desired; but happily for himself and for his father-land, the young man rejected their offers. A short time after, four of these cursed hypocrites had to atone by death at the stake for a diversion, just as cruel as it was horrible, the performing of bloody miracles for the deception of pious simplicity.
Zwingli had now lived three years in Bern, and was already fully ripe for the university. With loving remembrances he bade farewell to his faithful teacher, who was yet to become his pupil and in old age dedicate a few sad verses to the hero, who fell at Cappel.
At that time the young Swiss chiefly resorted to the universities of Basel, Paris, Vienna, Cracow and Pavia. That of Vienna was selected for Zwingli, which he entered in the same year (1490), that saw his country triumph over the dangers of the Swabian war. He there united himself in close intimacy with two other gifted fellow-countrymen, Joachim of Waat (Vadianus) from St. Gall, and Henry Loriti (Glareanus) from Glarus. Meanwhile he appears to have devoted more attention to general culture than to such branches of knowledge as might aid him in the exercise of a particular calling. Above all, philosophy had to be studied; a truly noble science, if by it be understood the acquisition of truth, as far as it can be reached by the deductions of human reason. But such was not the character of philosophy then in vogue. Under the tyranny of a degenerate church, the powers of the mind, not permitted to unfold in an element of freedom, were wasted amid trifling and often silly examinations and questions, conducted with a ludicrous show of importance. A certain kind of sagacity often displayed itself in their ingenious replies, and he who could produce the most singular was regarded by many as the most learned.
It does fall within the scope of this description to hold up to ridicule opinions, which others esteem holy. Examples, familiar to those versed in books, are therefore omitted. The dangerous side of this so-called philosophy did not lie so much in isolated expressions as in its whole tendency to cripple the spirit and harden the heart, so that victory might be rendered more sure and easy to the cunning talker, who strove, not for the cause of truth, but for his own private advantage. In the school of the clear-seeing, free-speaking Romans Zwingli soon learned how to sift the scandalous game, carried on under the banners of wisdom, to distinguish fallacy from truth, and to despise from the bottom of his soul this false philosophy, the art of passing off black for white, and of leading both parties by the nose with the same blinding torrent of words, in brief, the whole brood of lies and everything belonging to it.
Although it could only have been through the medium of translations or abridgments, he already seems to have made some acquaintance with the works of the Greeks. In profound speculation and in matters of art and taste they were the teachers of the Romans, who, in spite of national pride, were willing to acknowledge them as such. Even to this day, their sages, Plato and Aristotle, must be studied by all, who are not content with a mere superficial knowledge of philosophy. Their historians entered fully into the character of the persons and of the times, which they portrayed, and in their poets a loftier inspiration ruled. One of these, Pindar, is thus described by Zwingli at a later period: "He is the prince of poets. He has a true, holy, incorruptible mind. Every expression, that he uses, be it ever so common, he makes noble. No one can either give to him or take from him without injury. In him is found a worthy, powerful representation of antiquity. It lives again before our eyes. His poetry flows like a clear stream; all is noble, charming, perfect. In a lofty style he discourses of the gods, and it can be easily seen that he meant thereby the one, divine, heavenly power. No Grecian author serves so well for the interpretation of Holy Scripture, especially of the Psalms and Job, which rival him in sublimity."
The young men turned their attention also to the mysteries of nature, the discoveries in geography and the illimitable kingdom of worlds, revealed to us by a glance at the darkened heavens. In after life Glareanus won for himself considerable fame by his researches in the department of ancient geography, and Vadianus, when quite an old man, gathered around him a troop of burghers from St. Gall, full of wonder and a desire to learn, as they lay encamped, one starry night, on the summit of the Freudenberg, and spoke to them of the motion of the heavenly bodies and the laws, that govern them, and strengthened their hopes of an eternal existence in the immeasurable realms of space.
The three friends, thus closely joined in noble endeavor, lived in daily, social, intercourse with others, whom hereafter, when the more earnest days of manly activity have arrived, we shall find arrayed, as in the cases of Eck and Faber, among the most bitter opponents of Zwingli.
The morals of that period, as every one knows, were loose and corrupt, and only too much opportunity was afforded for indulging in pleasures of every kind, especially in a large city. For young men, left to their own guidance in the heyday of life, it was difficult to keep within proper bounds on all sides. But his love of music, that very thing so severely blamed in after times by hypocritical pietists, was the means of preserving Zwingli from every thing low and mean. His early conviction of the value of time taught him to be very sparing of it, and the lofty ideal, which floated before him and his friends, their youthful plans of future greatness, kept them unsoiled amid the swamps of temptation, till at a later period their place was more effectually supplied by the purer influence of religion.
After a residence of two years abroad the young Switzer came back again to his native mountains, full of vigor, sound in mind and body, and amply prepared to enter upon any professional pursuit. He appears to have remained only a short time at home. The country village was little suited to the prosecution of his further designs. A situation as teacher of languages was offered him in the school of St. Martin at Basel, and he there began his public career in the year 1502. No intelligence has reached us concerning the nature of his labors. He had probably only elementary branches to teach; for the university, as formerly constituted, exerted on the teachers of the foundation-schools under its control, an influence rather paralyzing than encouraging. Nevertheless he conscientiously applied himself to his studies and associated for this purpose with Leo Judae, who, born two years earlier than Zwingli at Rappersweier in Alsace, stood faithfully at his side in all his later course and will yet receive frequent mention in this history. He also shared with him his love of music.
But now the period had arrived, when in the study of religious doctrine, the end and meaning of their future life began to dawn upon the minds of Zwingli and his friend. At the same time a teacher came to Basel, who was well fitted to waken their love for this science and give a right direction to their active zeal. That man was Thomas Wittenbach of Biel, hitherto professor at Tubingen.
The world had then grown weary of the corruption of the clergy, of their stupid arrogance, of the intolerance, which would restrict the divine favor to the limits of their narrow earthly horizon, and of the search after miracles, which was counted faith, although a denial of true faith, because it would grasp with the hand that which is spiritual and not to be apprehended, except when a beam of divine grace is glowing on the altar of a pure heart. Yet only so much the more did a longing after the communication of clearer light prevail.
It is true indeed that here and there were found pious men, who in humility and childlike simplicity wrought works of love and edified their neighbors, by a redeeming activity and a spotless life. But characters of this kind were suited only to peaceful, not stormy times, which called for bolder leaders. Enemies must be met on their own field, the weapons of the understanding used, and the arguments of science advanced, not in such a way however as to injure simple-minded faith. This was the manner in which Christ opposed the scepticism of the Sadducees and the sophistry of the Pharisees, and this is what is meant by that saying of his, concerning the wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove. High hung this garland; but it was worthy of the sweat of the noblest.
Wittenbach knew well how to encourage his pupils to enter the lists and strive after its attainment. Leo Judae has given authentic testimony to this effect in a letter to the council of Biel. "From your city," writes he, "came forth this man, regarded by the most learned men of that age as a the ph[oe]nix on account of his manifold acquirements. Zwingli and I enjoyed his instructions at Basel in the year 1505. Under his guidance, from polite literature, in which he was equally at home, we passed over to the more earnest study of the Holy Scriptures. His sagacity discerned clearly beforehand the events of coming years, the overthrow of the papal doctrine of indulgences and other groundless dogmas, by which, for many centuries, Rome had held unthinking mankind in bondage. Whatever of thorough knowledge we possess, we owe it to him and must remain his debtors as long as we live."
While yet in Basel Zwingli had received the title of Magister (Master of the Liberal Arts,) but he never made any use of it himself. One is our master, he was accustomed to say, Christ.
But now, in the twenty-second year of his age, he must leave Basel also, and enter on the proper business of his life. John Stucki, pastor at Glarus, died in the year 1506. Recommended probably by his uncle, perhaps by his friend Glareanus, the young man was chosen for the important post. The Bishop of Constance consecrated him to the priesthood and ratified the choice.
Through Rappersweil, where he preached his first sermon; through Wildhaus, where he read his first mass, he passed on towards the close of the year, to his new home. Glarus, the chief town of the canton, was inhabited by an active, intelligent population, full of energy and independence. The new teacher, who does not intend to act the part of an unprincipled hireling, must count on finding watchful enemies as well as friends. There is only one means, by which to maintain an erect position, under such circumstances, in a firm adherence to duty and principle, and that is an unfailing support,—trust in a higher power, which never deserts an honest endeavor. With this resolve, under this shield, Zwingli began the practice of his calling, not at all anxious about the judgments of men, nor troubled at the remarks of the multitude. In him ruled the ardent spirit of vigorous youth, averse to every thing that smacked of devotional hypocrisy, full of life and mirth, sometimes verging even on wantonness, and yet so earnest, where the affairs of science, so profound, where those of faith, and so conscientious, where those of the congregation entrusted to his care, were concerned, or those of his country, in whose welfare and honor his heart was bound up. If on this account he was called a friend of sport; if Glareanus wrote to him gaily in monk's Latin: "I am coming to you shortly, and then we will be of good cheer and play on the jews' harp;" and if Dingnauer, who promised him, that neither envy, nor jealousy, nor the moroseness of old age, nor gold, nor iron should cripple his friendship, believed that he must add the warning: "Watch over your heart, conceal your glowing wishes, lest joy be turned into bitter vexation;" we yet read, on the other hand, what he himself wrote to Vadianus at Vienna: "I am now resolved to devote myself to the Greek language and to be drawn away from it no more. This is not done out of vanity, for how little does pretension become me! but from the necessity of a thorough understanding of the Holy Scriptures." We find also that he wrote off the original Greek text of the Epistles of Paul in the form of a small book, in order to have it continually with him, and added in the margin the observations of the most approved commentators. In the year 1522, we hear him thus speak of the manner, in which he tried at that time to penetrate into the spirit of these records: "In my youth I made as much advance in human learning as any one of my age, and when, six or seven years ago, I devoted my whole strength to the study of the Holy Scriptures, the philosophy and theology of the controversialists threw continual difficulties in my way. At last I came to this conclusion. I thought: Thou must lay aside all these and get the meaning of God fresh from his own, simple word. Then I began to implore God for his light, and the Scripture became much clearer to me, although I read it merely, as I would have read many commentaries and interpreters." The letters written by him and to him at this time show us plainly, that those who were committed to his training, especially young men of promise, crowded around him, full of love and reverence, and that he never was weary of giving them counsel, support and recommendation in foreign countries, of watching over their progress and morals, whilst there, and of rejoicing in every evidence of talent and noble purpose and helping to turn them to practical account. Glareanus thanked him for permission to continue his studies abroad, though obliged to give up a benefice in Mollis, where, "like a goat-herd," he had to receive a new election every year. The same friend wrote to him on another occasion: "You are always helping those, who deserve it." Argobast Strub of Vienna was about to dedicate a commendatory poem to him, when death surprised the ingenious youth and the sorrowful Vadianus sent his literary remains to his former teacher as a pledge of love from the departed one. Peter Tschudi wrote to him from Paris, "You are like a tutelar god to us;" and his brother Aegidius in Basel begged him, "Help, that I may be called back to you again, for with no one have I wished rather to live than with you." Valentine Tschudi, the cousin of the two first named, was yet more strongly attached to their beloved master. "Never will I cease," he expresses himself, "to be thankful for your kindnesses, especially when a quartan fever troubled me of late, after my return from abroad and because, on another occasion, when I had left my books behind in Basel, you, although I would not out of modesty venture to be troublesome, called me to you, encouraged me, and offered me your books, your assistance and your influence. And thus your good will toward all students was extended to me also and that not in a general way, for, with special regard to my wants, your extensive and varied stores of knowledge lay at my service." This Valentine Tschudi and Ludwig Rosch, "a yet unbearded youth of the best kind," Zwingli had formerly recommended to Vadianus in Vienna for the study of polite literature. He did a similar favor for his brother Jacob, who "was possessed of extraordinary gifts," and he charged his friend "to clip, to plane and to polish the country youth as long as it was necessary, and should he ever kick at it," he concluded, "you may throw him into prison, until the fit is over."
Thus did this spirited man endeavor to stir up all around him to improvement, and exerted the same influence over the older generation as he did over the young. With the venerable Aebli, who on the first march to Cappel prevented the shedding of fraternal blood, he formed a close friendship. Of his own accord he traveled to Basel to become personally acquainted with the celebrated Erasmus and gained his undivided esteem, for, at a later period, he wrote to him, "Hail to the Swiss people, whose character particularly pleases me, whose studies and morals you and those like you will improve!" And the judge, Falk of Freiburg, who was, it is true, a violent partisan of that period, but at the same time a patron of science, offered him, in case he desired to prosecute his studies for a season in quiet, a beautiful country-seat, which he possessed in the neighborhood of Pavia, with the gratuitous enjoyment of its revenues for two years. Nevertheless, it is possible that he was actuated by the concealed design of winning over a powerful champion to his own purposes.
With all the activity of his spirit, Zwingli appears, during his stay in Glarus, to have kept within the limits of the established church-doctrine in his public discourses. In the exposition of his closing speech he himself places the first beginning of his attempt at the reformation of the church in the year 1516, the same, in which he had already received a call to Einsiedeln. He must first stand firm on his own feet, before he can begin the attack. Hitherto, the Holy Scriptures had been his daily and nightly study, and he knew the greater part of them literally by heart. Before this, he had made his debut as a political reformer, but of his doings in this sphere, we will only be able to judge rightly, when we have taken a view of the relations of the confederates to their neighbors in Upper Italy.
Long before the original articles of the confederacy, the alliance of the three Forest Cantons of Dec. 9, 1315, were concluded, the highways over Mt. Gotthard had become the channels of an active commerce between Germany and Italy. When they were opened for this purpose cannot be clearly shown, but they were certainly so used in the twelfth century. The inhabitants of Uri, and partly also those of Schwytz and Unterwalden supplied the Italian markets with their cattle, and the mountain-valley of Urseren flourished particularly by means of this trade. But they had dangerous neighbors in the turbulent Lavinians on the south side of Gotthard. Here the Swiss and Italians met each other in hostile attitude at an early period; for the first time, as far as we know, in the year 1331. The Lavinians had plundered some merchants on their way to Switzerland, as well as harrassed the people of Urseren who drove their cattle to Bellinzona. They were supported in this course by their landlords, the Visconti, Dukes of Milan. Uri called on Schwytz and Unterwalden for help, and on Zurich also, although it was not then included in the confederacy. The allies marched out and pressed on to Faido, spreading universal terror. The General Vicar of Como mediated a peace; but from that time forth we find the confederates continually entangled in the affairs of Upper Italy. Campaigns of a greater or less extent are undertaken, and treaties struck, broken, and again renewed. The chief business seems to have been the settlement of boundaries.
Perhaps it would have been better, if all that lay on the further side of Gotthard and the Bundtner Alps had remained without any direct communication with Switzerland. There is too wide a difference between the Italian and the German character. But the struggle to secure for their chief products an advantageous market had greater weight with the three shepherd cantons. Sustained by their confederation they soon endeavored, sword in hand, to extend their boundaries southward, and in 1476 Livinen came under the acknowledged sovereignty of Uri, and in 1500 Bellinzona with the adjoining country under that of the Three Cantons. In 1503 these changes were confirmed by France, which then had the upper hand in Lombardy.
This and not as yet a corrupt liking for mercenary service was the original occasion of the campaigns of the confederates in Italy. The battles of Arbedo and Gierniko were fought in support of brethren whom they were bound by oath to help. But by long-continued habit the view, that what was passing on the other side of Gotthard could not be indifferent to their own land, took firm root in the minds of the Swiss statesmen, and therefore it was, that the scandalous game of intrigue and bribery, begun by Louis XI, by which France aimed at the destruction of the Swiss national character, had a good opportunity of unfolding itself on Italian ground, where France under Charles VIII and Louis XII, contrived to increase her own power, by arraying Switzers against Switzers. Nevertheless, there were yet, even in the beginning of the sixteenth century, some among the Swiss soldiers, engaged in the Italian campaigns, who were animated by motives nobler than a thirst for gold or plunder. The duty of upholding sworn treaties, and the hope of working out a lasting peace for a frontier so exposed to invasion might have prompted the more distinguished, but very often the common soldiers were only stimulated by a love for weapons streaming with blood.
The betrayal of Ludovico Sforza, surnamed Il Moro, at Novara, in 1501, had indeed greatly shaken the confidence, hitherto nearly universal, in the fidelity and honor of the Swiss; but even at home indignation was awakened by it, a severe examination instituted, and the chief actor executed at Altorf. Indeed it seems generally to have roused the better feelings of the nation. An oath was demanded against the acceptance of pensions and mercenary service under foreign lords; and a levy was not only refused to the French ambassadors, who had come into the country with new bribes, but their safe-conduct even was recalled. Although such things were enacted by their diet, yet corrupt leaders again practised their lures, and a crowd of reckless youth again gave ear to them. But when France, now strongly established in her domination over Italy by the repeated aid of these deserters, began by degrees to treat them more coldly, and in the end with contempt even, they appear to have become more wise. Instead of remaining quiet within their own borders, they gave free rein to a growing national hatred, which the Emperor and then the Pope, Julius II, well understood how to turn to their own profit.
Indulgences, blessings, consecrated gifts from the Papal Chair were held up before their eyes by their countryman, the cunning, eloquent, indefatigable Cardinal Schinner, whilst the knightly Emperor reminded them that it would be nobler to aid a plundered prince to regain what he had lost than to stand by the haughty robber; and the young Duke of Milan, son of that Ludovico Sforza, since dead, who was taken prisoner at Novara and afterwards escaped to Austria, promised them, in return for their help, the most profitable alliance and the possession of Lugano and Locarno. And here for once, both private advantage and public honor seemed to ran together, and hence resulted an expedition, more numerous and better organized than any former one, not under foreign banners, but under their own, and led by able and experienced commanders, the so-called March, to Pavia. This was the first campaign in which Zwingli was personally present.
In the ardent years of youth the national love of battle glowed even in his bosom. From the most eminent authors of Greece and Rome he had learned much of war and the history of war. He himself tells us with what eagerness he pored over the campaigns of Alexander, narrated by Curtius, and those of Caesar, written by his own hand. But he did not rest content with deeds of arms merely. The nature of the countries and the character of the people were full of interest to him. He inquired into the causes of wars, and considered their operations and results. In a letter to a friend he thus advises, "Read Sallust's description of the wars of Jugurtha and Cataline's conspiracy. See in the former the insolence, the artifices and the lust of power of a single aristocrat and how far the love of money can lead; in the latter, what gifts can do, and how they can embolden those who are bribed by them. Let Appian of Alexandria then picture to you the distraction of citizens and civil war, with banishment and its consequences. He understands well how to relate briefly every thing that is noteworthy. Whoever begins, can not lay his book down, until he has finished it."
We are by no means to regard Zwingli as an advocate of war. It appeared to him a calamity; but as a calamity, which cannot always be avoided, for which one must be prepared, and that the times of its coming are determined in the plans of superhuman wisdom.
Holding such views and persuaded that the expedition was lawful—in the line of right and duty, he now, in 1512, followed the banner of the Canton Glarus into Italy. According to ancient custom, this was the duty of the pastor of the chief congregation, for where the banner waved, there was the highest power of the country. To every one in the warlike assembly gathered around it, his voice was boldly lifted up. In order to counsel and to guide, it was necessary, that the most intelligent should not be wanting there.
In a Latin letter to his friend Vadianus in Vienna, Zwingli himself has thus narrated the events of this campaign:
"Since an evil report about the Confederates has been spread far and wide, and since even that, which the result proves to have been just and innocent, is abused and misrepresented, I have undertaken to give you a picture, short indeed, but true, of the actual condition of our affairs. Passing over the terms of a treaty of alliance, concluded between the Most Holy Vicegerent of Christ, Julius II, and the Confederates, I would only state, that the King of the French (to whom, even while attacking the Church of Christ, some one gave the flattering title, 'Most Christian') wearied out the Venetians by protracted war, conquered in several hard-fought battles, and captured or laid waste their towns; and also that he took up arms against the anointed Head of the Church; set up, under the guidance of a wicked demon, an antipope, as he is styled, and robbed the Holy See of many large cities, among which was Bologna, mother of the sciences and nurse of the common law. When, at the close of the Easter festival, the august King of Spain beheld the ship of Peter tossing in danger on the threatening waves, the condition of the Church filled him with sorrow. As quick as possible he gathered an army and sent it to the aid of the Papal troops, who since winter had lingered in Middle Italy. Full of valor and skilled in military science, they approached Ravenna by forced marches. But the French tyrant also sent out a strong force to meet the Spaniards and their allies, the Venetians."
"When the enemy came in sight, the Spaniards did not decline battle. They had with them an engineer, possessed of the talent of an Archimedes and a Daedalus. He had invented light sickle-wagons, on each of which stood a small mortar. These they pushed before them. The French army was commanded by the Grandmaitre. In front he placed the Swabian landsknechts; behind these the Gascons, and a large body of cavalry, on the wings. The most select of these, himself at their head, formed the corps of observation. At the signal of battle, a shower of red-hot balls was discharged by the Spanish army. The landsknechts were startled. 'Why do ye stand?'—the French marshal is said to have cried out. 'Will ye wait to be shot down? O that I had the brave Confederates with me yet!—they who at the sight of any enemy roared like raging lions, fell on him, and pressed into him! Forwards! Whip them, whom you have often whipped before! Set your swords and halberds against the balls!' The landsknechts begin to advance. And now, the Spaniards put fire to the old wheeled-wagons, and, sheltered by them, press on against the centre. A terrific melee ensues. From sheer fatigue they must often rest and repair their broken ranks. The battle lasts from morning till evening. Already the greater part of the landknechts are killed, and the rest fly. The cavalry also, and the Gascons waver. Eight thousand victims cover the field. The Grandmaitre looks toward heaven, gnashes his teeth, and cries out, 'The victory of the Spaniards shall not be bloodless, or I die this day.' He puts spurs to his horse. His trusty followers come after. Bravely fighting he falls. But the enemy, who expected no new attack, are thrown into disorder. The French again press forward, conquer, and take possession of the city. Night only ends the conflict. Hannibal, after the victory at Cannae, spread no greater terror over Rome and Italy. The fear of the French rule produced universal lamentation. Comfort and assistance were begged for on all sides. The Confederates, in view of this state of things, think, what a dangerous example it would be, if such a raging tyrant were allowed to make war on the Common Mother of all faithful Christians. They quickly assemble and resolve with zeal, to put the affairs of the Church and of Italy into a better condition. A legate of the cardinal (Schinner) makes his appearance, begging and imploring them by their treaty-obligations to set out at once; yet he can offer no more than a gold-florin to the man. It is scarcely credible; but in six days, notwithstanding, 20,000 chosen infantry are brought together, who immediately rush through Graubunden, over the Adige, and down the narrow defiles to Verona, then in the possession of the landsknechts and the Gascons. On the approach of the Confederates they evacuate the city. The Cardinal again appears in the Swiss army and is received with many marks of honor. Intelligence reaches us from the Venetians; who soon come up with 800 mail-clad troopers and 500 light-horse. Full of glad anticipation they behold the imposing array of the Confederates. We advance to a river (whose name I have not learned) on the other side of which the powerful French army stands strongly intrenched. The bridge, behind which Valleggio lies, was defended by three massive towers. The artillery of the Venetians compels the French to fall back. They take with them what provision they can raise. The army advances to Pontevico, where the enemy again makes a momentary stand. Here a castle is built in the middle of the bridge, up to which point it had been broken down. In the presence of the foe, but under the protection of the Venetian cannon, a number of volunteers swim over and fetch back the boats, which had been carried to the other side. A bridge is quickly constructed. But by the time the army crossed over, the Frenchmen are in full flight. Only a few shots from the field-pieces are sent after them. Conscious that the state of their affairs is desperate, deprived of the support of the Germans, knowing the enemy with whom they have to deal, believing themselves secure no where, they take refuge in Pavia and await the result. The boldest of the Confederate youth had cut off from them a considerable herd of cattle, on which the army could have subsisted for a long time. Ulric von Sax, leader of the Confederates, just as prudent as he was active, resolves to besiege Pavia for a while, because he thinks it not yet advisable to take it by storm. The French still endeavor to prevent a passage over the Po. Here an incident happens almost as incredible as it is amusing. In the French camp were 800 landsknechts, survivors of the defeat at Ravenna. Some of our men swim over the Po, in order to take measures for the fastening of a bridge. The landsknechts sally out to prevent this. All the youth of the Confederate army, skilled in swimming, running, jumping, cast off their clothes and, halberd in hand, leap into the Po, to fight with enemies, of whom they say, 'Would that God had given us such for a daily exercise in the art of war.' In fact, they raised a warlike laugh as often as they caught a glimpse of the landsknechts, not because they esteemed them cowardly and despicable antagonists, but because they were found by them on the side of the enemy and beaten oftener than they conquered. Although the landsknechts saw the naked, white bodies, they still fled, giving a free passage over the river. The Confederates now marched on to Pavia, which was surrounded and taken in a few days in the following manner. Some single combats had preceded. Six Frenchmen had called out four confederates and were killed. Two others challenged a chamois-hunter from the Canton of Glarus. This pleased him. One he shot down with his gun; the other he attacked with the sword. The French, trusting the walls as little as their courage, meditate flight and wish to cover it by the landsknechts, whom they address thus, 'You see, brave comrades, be it chance or be it fate, the luck of war has forsaken France. We must think of retreat, if we cannot count on victory. Our camp is full of despair. Your former boldness must expect to-day the most illustrious trial. Act up to your reputation! We, the heavy and the light armed, will occupy that part of the city, which stretches along the Mincio, before the enemy presses in there and cuts off the way of escape. Thus will we secure the safety of all. If we cannot conquer now, we must try to keep our lives to do it hereafter, as Demosthenes says. So that no one may suspect us of treachery we leave with you the artillery, the pledge of our hope.' The credulous foot-soldiers (landsknechts), trusting their fair speeches, permitted them to march out. But the French have scarcely placed the Mincio (Ticino) behind them, when they take to flight and leave the landsknechts in the lurch. As soon as the citizens of Pavia observe this, they promise, on condition that they are exempted from pillage, a month's pay to each individual in the Confederate and Venetian camps. The former thirsted for a contest with the landsknechts, but this desire was yet to cost them much bitter sweat. The clumsy artillery of the besieging army was drawn up in the park, outside of the city, under the guard of a hundred picked men, from different corps. It was not yet noon, when the women and the more aged citizens, unsuspected by the foot-soldiers, appeared on the walls and let down scaling ladders over them. The hundred, employed as a watch in the park, with some others who joined them, hasten up, climb the walls, and without the knowledge of the rest of the army, try to penetrate into the heart of the city. But the landsknechts have artillery, and they only their short weapons and their fiery courage. Had not the narrow streets checked the former, the Confederates would all have been slain. They try to conceal themselves for the moment behind projections and sheltering walls; but then they suddenly rush out, make themselves masters of two pieces, and turn them against the enemy, who were thus gradually driven back. And now one of the combatants mounts the wall, and proclaims victory and the capture of the city. It is not believed; a stratagem is feared, and it is forbidden to approach the wall. At last, encouraged by the prolonged stentorian cry, some venture to climb up. The landsknechts resist in vain. They become wearied out and are driven into the river. Of 800, only 50 are taken alive. Meanwhile the Confederates march through the gate. The Venetian horsemen pursue the fugitives, but can only overtake a few. Anon, a shout resounds through the city, 'Julius, the Swiss are conquerors.' On the third day, the garrison of the castle surrenders. Eight battering-rams, ten culverins, and ten pieces of smaller artillery are among the trophies. Several had previously belonged to the Venetians. And now at sight of them they embrace and wet them with tears and kiss the escutcheon of St. Mark. So much had the disgraceful loss pained them. The remaining towns send embassies and give in their adherence to the Cardinal and the Confederates. Even Genoa is conquered by the Spaniards, and Asti acknowledges, begging for peace with tied hands, the power of the Holy League. All Italy, the seacoasts of Liguria, and the Lombards are made free by the Confederates. 'We owe to them,' they confess, 'what liberated Greece once owed to Titus Quinctius.' The sound of the trumpet re-echoes through cities, towns, and villages; and bells ring. Scholars, clergy and preachers proclaim from the pulpit; 'Ye are God's people. Ye have humbled the enemies of the Bride of the Crucified.' The army, tarrying some days in Pavia, suppresses a rebellion, which I pass over, because the matter was brought to a happy issue. Then messengers hasten to all parts, in order to bring about a settlement of the affairs of Milan. The Confederate Diet is assembled in Baden, and the following embassies arrive there: legates from his Holiness, Pope Julius II, from the Emperor, from the Cardinal of St. Potentiana (Schinner), legates by proxy of the King of Spain, from the King of France (these half by stealth), from the Duke of Savoy, from the Duke of Lorraine, from the Venetians, from the Milanese; all bent on furthering their own wishes and aims. Here the foresight and craftiness of men must be studied, how they try to bring each other into difficulty, in order to prosecute their own advantage more securely amid the confusion; and how they pretend to desire one thing, in order to gain the contrary. The Emperor in particular ties the knot. He had resolved in secret to restore Maximilian, son of the banished Duke, Ludovico Sforza, to the princely seat. To the astonishment of all, he comes out with the assertion that Lombardy, as a fief of the empire, durst receive its ruler from no one but the head of the empire. This gave little satisfaction to the Confederates. 'The Emperor,' say they, 'had promised to assist us with cavalry; but he went no further than fair words. We, the Pope, and the Venetians have borne the burden of the war. And now, he, who did nothing, comes to carry off the prize.' Yet it does not break out into an open quarrel. Another embassy arrives from the Holy Father, Julius, and the cardinals. It brings to the Confederates the title of honor, 'Liberators of the Church.' Most welcome is this title to them, and most welcome what is added, 'They may ask what they please, the most sacred will be granted to them.' The greater part, yea, all ask for the privilege of bearing the image of the Crucified on their banner; the men of Glarus wish the risen Savior. In the end the resolution is passed to bring back Maximilian, the son of Louis, to the throne of his father. I would have written to you more fully, my dear Vadianus, for this is not the hundredth part, had not a pressure of business prevented me. Judge of this hasty letter with indulgence. It has been the work of not more than three hours."
This, the earliest historical production of Zwingli, that has come down to us, is translated as literally as possible, in order to show the opinion then entertained by him, of political and ecclesiastical relations, his strong youthful spirit, which delighted in the chances of war, and his study of the military art and history of the warlike Romans. The latter is seen in the occasional, mostly well chosen, technical terms, the insertion of short speeches, and the concise, graphic mode of representation. The defective knowledge of geography displayed need not be wondered at, since maps, those indispensable helps, were wholly wanting in that age. In his eyes the Romish church is surrounded with the highest glory, and its sacred head, the Pope, worthy of reverence almost divine. He regards the expedition to Pavia as lawful, exults with national pride in the laurels won, and even the sight of disorders among the haughty conquerors appears to make only a transient impression upon him. But with keen glance he discovers the moving spring of the diplomatic transactions, the elements of discord, and the quarter, from which the most destructive inroads on the life of the republic were to be feared.
For two years it had become plain to him, with what danger this impure game of false statesmanship, this system of bribes, frauds, flatteries, and intimidations threatened the Confederacy, exposed to it on all sides. Two poems, written about the year 1510 or 1511, "The Labyrinth" and "A poetic Fable concerning an Ox and several Beasts," are to be received partly as pictures of the time, and partly as lessons of warning. Vigorous, rich in thought, original in conception, but somewhat rude in language, they exhibit a row of well-drawn single figures, without light and shade, rather than a group disposed by art, and owe more to the exercise of the understanding than to the impulses of the imagination. They deserve to be handed down to posterity only as the productions of an author, who has done greater things. The second winds up in the following nervous style:
"Where Bribery can show its face, There Freedom has no dwelling place. And such a blessing Freedom is, That boldly Sparta, as we wis, Unto Hydarmes gave reply: 'Freedom must stand by Bravery Sheltered and guarded evermore.' Amid the bloody ranks of war, Amid the fearful dance of death, Let gleaming swords drawn from the sheath, And sharp-edged spears and axes be Thy guardians, golden liberty. But, where a brutish heart is met And by a tempting bribe beset, There noble Freedom, glorious boon! And name and blood of friends too soon Are cheaply prized and rudely torn The oaths in the holy covenant sworn."
In Italy, the honorable closing act of the year 1512 now took place. At the gates of Milan, in presence of the imperial, papal and Spanish deputies, the burgomaster Schmied of Zurich handed over to the young duke Maximilian Sforza the keys of his conquered capital, and the bailiff Schwarzmauer of Zug received him with a Latin oration. It were well, if the intervention of the Confederates in Italian affairs had ended here, and a strong national resolve, to keep what they had won, and leave what is foreign to the care of foreigners, had gained the ascendency. But already baits were again thrown out by the Pope, the Emperor and France, and were soon followed by scenes, more stormy, more disgraceful, more tragic, out of which the battles of Novara and Marignano rise in bloody trappings.
For several years the eyes of Zwingli had been fully opened to the destructive influence, which foreign mercenary service exerted on a free state. Whether he accompanied the banner of Glarus twice, or only once more into Italy cannot now be accurately determined. Bullinger alone states that he was present at Novara, confounding probably this expedition with one of an earlier date. It is certain, however, that he took part in the campaign of 1515, for, six days previous to the battle of Marignano, he preached in the square before the town-hall in Monza. "Had we followed his counsel," says Werner Steiner, who at the side of his father, the landamman of Zug, listened to the sermon,—"much less blood would have been shed, and the Confederates saved from great harm." But dissension reigned in their ranks, which were crippled by French gold and promises, and they, who did remain faithful, lacked one leader around whom to rally.
The terrific battle of Marignano had ended in a dreadful defeat. Voices of lamentation, reproach, and repentance met those, who found their way back to their native land and resounded here and there also from the pulpit. Zwingli, who himself had been an eye-witness of the whole calamity, believed it his duty, as teacher in the chief-town of the little republic, not to keep silent.
Before men of rank and influence, who even in Glarus, though compelled for the moment to remain quiet, soon gave themselves up again, at first cautiously but afterwards without shame, to the seductions of renewed bribery, sticking to that conqueror, who before had rewarded them so gloriously, and began to further the interests of France, instead of those of their own country, he unveiled, without fear or restraint, the ruinous consequences of this scandalous trade, laid bare its secret hiding places and tricks, and encouraged the better spirit of the people to a wholesome resistance. But notwithstanding, the cunning seducers knew how to restrain themselves, and in spite of all, they gained firmer footing, and although the Perpetual Peace, lately concluded with France, did not give them all they sought for, they still received by it a more secure position for further intrigues.
But at length their hatred broke out into open flame against the bold, troublesome speaker—the preacher, who dabbled in politics—the fanner's son of a remote district, who had the presumption to attack the great ones of the land, the old patrician families, and who, though himself not pure, nevertheless cast blame on others. Full of avarice, envy and hypocrisy, the proud, the fault-finders and the spiritual dwarfs met together. They whispered, fanned their rage, shook their heads, reviled, threatened; in a short time they had no rest, till he wished himself away; and hence, at a later period, he thus wrote to Vadianus, "Nothing else could have induced me to change my situation but the intrigues of the French. I am now at Einsiedeln. I would tell you what injury the French faction has done me, if I did not think that you knew it already. I had to take part in affairs, and have suffered and learned to suffer much evil."
We will now examine the charges, that were brought against Zwingli, keeping steadily in view the position as to science, character, and fitness for his calling, which he occupied, when he left Glarus. As the indispensable fruits of a republican form of government we look for freedom to be good and true, decision of character, and the unrestricted development of every nobler feeling and of every kind of profound knowledge. When it protects and fosters such tendencies, and makes good its title to an honorable place among other forms. But when it fails so to do, because of democratic, or aristocratic degeneracy, it then writes its own condemnation. Zwingli began his labors as a republican, in whom the citizen was not lost in the priest. And this we must always bear in mind, so as not to do him injustice, when we see him working as resolutely in the state as in the church. Whether this course can be defended in our time does not concern us. It seemed well in his age, and that it is our business now to describe. The republican feeling of equality gave him, moreover courage to face every opponent with boldness, yet always with argument. He honored the old families, when they practised the old virtues. The man of rank, who sinned against his country, was in his eyes more worthy of punishment than a common person. Meanwhile these views found too much sympathy in the free Canton of Glarus, to allow his enemies to attack him, except in an indirect way. They harped, therefore, so much the more on the third charge, that he even, the fault-finder himself, was not innocent. "Why," say they, "does he rail out continually against French intrigue? Only because he has sold himself to the Papal interest. Is he not in close league with Cardinal Schinner? Is he not his spy, his minion, commissioned by him to distribute the presents of the Pope? Does he not receive letters, testimonials of honor, from the Nuncio? Yes, he—even he who calls us takers of bribes, draws a yearly pension from the Pope."
And certainly it was so, but with this difference—an honorable intention on his part, and a base one on theirs. The scientific and practical qualifications of Schinner and his clear insight into the relations of life were highly esteemed by Zwingli, who looked on him as a strong champion in the contest against French corruption. And in truth this son of a poor shepherd in Valais was no common man. By talent and industry he had raised himself to the bishopric of that Canton. Defeated by an opposing party he had to flee, but was already known to the Pope, from whom he received a Cardinal's hat. Of course he now labored to advance the interests of Rome and the Empire among the Confederates, but at the time when Zwingli became acquainted with him, not by such disreputable means, as afterwards. Any separation from the church was as yet far from the thoughts of the Reformer, although he already desired the correction of existing abuses. What was more natural for him than to seek to win over to his assistance those, who could exert a direct influence in Rome, the Cardinal and the Nuncio? And indeed, a few years later, when he came out manfully against the politics of Rome, he yet distinguished between the person of the Cardinal and his cause, and true to earlier feelings of friendship, defended the former, as long as it was possible. "They,"—wrote he to Myconius—"who blame me for yielding too much to the Cardinal, I suspect are only friends and well-wishers in appearance, and censure me for that which, though it were not altogether reasonable, ought to be allowed on the score of friendship. Rather would I err in thinking well of a bad man, if I did not know him to be bad, than in thinking ill of a good one." The fifty florins, which he drew yearly on the order of the Pope, were laid out only in books and scientific helps, needed for the better exercise of his calling. This pension he gave up of his own accord at a later day.
The main charge, however, was directed against his moral conduct. Not merely gloomy hypocrites, habitual fault-finders, who took offence at every joke, to which his gay humor may have prompted him, and condemned his love of music and society, but unprejudiced, worthy men also regretted that his attentions to the women were not always kept within proper bounds. It were idle to deny, what he himself openly confessed, when he bewailed the errors of his youth and strove to do them away by redoubled zeal and faithfulness to duty. Some excuse may be found for him in the customs of his age. The failings of superiors were then treated with indulgence, and a transgression of this kind received but a mild sentence at the bar of public opinion. His honorable dismissal from Glarus, given to him only with reluctance, shows, also, that in spite of occasional short-comings, his character was held in general esteem. Certainly Catholic writers, since then and even in modern times, have sought to cast a stain on his later work by laying undue stress on this weakness of the Reformer's youth. The simple question may be put to them, 'Are not Augustine and Jerome counted among your most distinguished saints? And yet you know, or ought to know, what they have confessed—things that Zwingli had never to renounce.'
He was now past his thirty-first year, and in the full vigor of manhood. His national sympathies, the extent of his knowledge, his courage and ability were well known to the inhabitants of Glarus and to many also beyond the limits of the little Canton. As to matters of faith the struggle was yet going on in his own bosom. Here, on the one hand, stood the Church, to whose priesthood he had been consecrated, with her stiff, unbending dogmas, and her stale, lifeless forms, yet esteemed holy, to touch which was regarded as an unpardonable crime in the individual; and there, on the other, eternal truth, superior to the narrow restrictions of human power, raised above decretals and the decisions of Councils, drawing to herself all noble spirits with an irresistible charm, of all objects the most worthy of pursuit and untiring effort—and besides these a third, easily overlooked by the inexperienced youth—by the thinker in his quiet chamber, but not by the practical man, who must mingle directly with the people—the necessity of a higher, a more infallible authority than his own, an authority acceptable to all good men and acknowledged by all. It was well for him that he knew how to connect this with the results of his investigation. Not by ignoring the understanding, not by a cowardly retreat, where others ventured freely to inquire, not by an assent, that feared to ask for proof, lest one should cry out, "Wo to the heretic!"—No! but by boldly examining for himself and using his reason, he only arrived at the more settled conviction of the truth of the Holy Scripture and of the divine power of the faith built thereon. "Take good, strong wine," wrote he to the nuns in Oedenbach, at a later period, "it tastes good to the healthy, makes him glad of heart, strengthens him, warms his blood. But he, who lies sick of a distemper, or fever, and cannot taste it, much less drink it, wonders how those who are healthy can drink it. The fault is not in the wine, but in the disease. So the Divine Word is altogether right in itself, and revealed for the good of men. But he, who cannot bear it, nor understand it, and will not receive it, is sick. Thus let them be answered, who wickedly say, God would not have his Word understood," (we must subject reason to faith) "as if God wished to expose us to danger."
In order to attain completely that firm ground, where settled conviction is the result of the union of faith and knowledge, he could scarcely have done a wiser thing, than to withdraw into the more quiet retreat, which was opened for him in the neighboring Einsiedeln.
Far and wide, throughout the Confederacy, and the surrounding countries, was spread the name and glory of this monastery, which, like St. Gall and Muri, was subject to the rule of Benedict. It dates its origin as far back as the ninth century, and was built on that spot, occupied in the beginning by the hermit's cell of Meinhard, a German count. A legend of a voice, that fell from heaven, when in the following century the Bishop of Constance was dedicating a new chapel there, and of a song of angels repeatedly and distinctly heard, gave rise to the yearly festival of the "Consecration of the Angels," which, when it happened on a Sunday, as it did every seventh year, was celebrated with increased splendor. The story of Meinhard's death and the discovery of his murderers by means of ravens, who followed them, survived among the traditions of the people, and the miracle being accredited by Pope Leo VIII, and the power of granting plenary indulgences allowed to the monastery, vast crowds of pilgrims were attracted thither. By their offerings and the donations of the great it became wealthy. The Abbos enjoyed the rank of a Prince, and the monks, as a body, were descended from noble families. They were a proud, irritable race, and could talk as much almost about the history of their quarrels as of their pious exercises. Conrad of Hohenrechberg, who, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, stood at their head, troubled himself little about incense and choral singing, and thought it a wicked thing in his relations to have forced him to take the cowl. He took a knightly pleasure in the chase, and his heart leapt at the sight of a drawn sword. To cunning and hypocrisy his nature was averse. Whoever was open, simple, and sincerely pious found a friend in him. For learned men he had a great esteem, but from lack of elementary knowledge, was not able to follow their investigations. This he modestly confessed. The reading of the mass he avoided as often as it was possible, and was free to say, "If Christ be in the bread, then indeed I know not how highly you prize yourselves; but I, poor monk, am not worthy to look on him once, and hence decline to offer him. Is he not there?—wo is me! if I offer bread, instead of God, and suffer the people to adore it." When disputes ran too high, he sometimes broke them off with the words, "Why so much talk? Now and at my last hour, I say with David—Have mercy, O God, upon me, according to thy loving-kindness. Enter not into judgment with thy servant. More I do not wish to know." He was a diamond, unpolished, it is true, and carelessly set, but always powerful enough to prevent any interference in the government of his foundation.
At his side, Theobald of Geroldseck, filled the influential post of Administrator. Zwingli himself writes of him, "His share of knowledge is quite moderate, but he knows the value of learning, and particularly seeks intercourse with those, who are possessed of it." By the aid of such persons he desired to increase the prosperity of the monastery, for the advantage and maintenance of whose privileges, he was clothed with power. He was glad therefore to learn that Zwingli was able to accept a call, and in fact an agreement was entered into by the attorneys of the two parties on the 14 April, 1516, at Pfaffikon, on Lake Zurich, in consequence of which Zwingli undertook the office of preacher and pastor, in the capacity of vicar to the people's priest at Einsiedeln, for which boarding at the convent-table, 20 florins at the quarter-fastings, the revenues arising from the penny-offering and requiems, and his own share of the confession-fees were guaranteed to him, and the first complete benefice at the disposal of the Administrator besides. Nevertheless, at their own urgent request, he still remained pastor of his congregation in Glarus, and discharged his duties there by the help of a vicar.
In the summer of the same year, trained as he already was in the school of the world, he entered into the quiet shades of the cloister. It can scarcely be expected that he will remain there long. First of all, let us take a view of monastic life on its most favorable side, as a school of self-denial, as a place of refuge for more profound study, as a field for the exercise of practical charity. In all these respects it has no doubt served valuable ends. And who will deny that, in times when the will of the strong would endure no restraint, when bloody revenge was thought to be a duty, and when iron bodies, broken by no excess, added deeds of violence to deeds of violence, a milder spirit was awakened in the walls of the cloister, and that pride was humbled there, and self-will subdued?—that in the God's peace, which protected its environs, the mechanic, as well as the peasant, found labor and encouragement? And who does not acknowledge the services rendered by particular monasteries, especially those of the Benedictines, in the preservation and multiplication of rare manuscripts—the works of the ancients, that had survived the downfall of the Western Empire and the irruption of barbarian hordes? And even in later times, in our own country, who will not freely own his indebtedness to a Kopp in Muri, a Van der Meer in Rheinau, and the monks of the neighboring St. Blaise,—-a Herrgott, Neugart, Eichhorn, and the Abbot Gerbert himself, for a knowledge of the diplomacy and history of the Middle Ages? Who does not honor the Augustines of Mt. St. Bernard, the Gray Sisters and the excellent schools of particular monasteries?
But then, on the other side, who will not admit that indolence, false views of life, narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy, and secret and impure practices found a home in a multitude of these establishments? In Zwingli's days, these dark features were most prominent and, we may even say, altogether prevailed. To prove this, not only Protestant, but enough of Catholic witnesses also are at hand. It was well for a man of his spirit and aspirations to spend a few years in the quiet cells of the cloister for the completion of his theological studies, especially since he was exempt from the duty of wasting time in empty ceremonial rites. But after this end was attained, it was easy to foresee that he would again wish himself beyond the narrow walls.
To this the peculiar character of the monastery of Einsiedeln, as a far-famed place of pilgrimage, contributed. In general there is little to admire in the disposition of any one, who does not find his soul elevated in places hallowed by departed greatness. A noble feeling lay at the bottom of the expeditions to the Holy Sepulchre during the Middle Ages, although they partook of all the rudeness of the time that produced them; and even yet, how many spots are there in the land of Palestine, that awaken, in the bosom of the traveler, meditations, in which earnestness and sorrow mingle. On fields of battle, in haunts, where ruled the leaders and the teachers of mankind, memory works with double power, and even around graves known only to perishing tradition, there lingers for some an imperishable charm. No censure therefore on pilgrimages that spring from such deep impulses!
But when the hand of man ventures to write down in such a place: "Here is plenary absolution from guilt and punishment," when the mortal will forestall the eternal judge, and by the fancy of expiation obtained through such a pilgrimage, the frivolity of the sinner is directly enhanced and the perpetration of grosser crimes encouraged, when money rings in the sanctuary, in whose courts a market is opened for relics and consecrated amulets—who can be angry, if a feeling of indignation flashes through the mind of the clear-sighted thinker, as well as through the believing heart of the truly pious?
But Zwingli was now compelled to witness frequent scenes of this kind. And in what troubled shapes, did not the events of the day, the delusion of the crowd, and the avarice of those who made again of them, array themselves, when in the stillness of the evening or the night, the Gospel opened to him its fountains of light, warmth, and living sacrifice. No doubt this conviction of the unworthiness of this trade, carried on with lost men, was confirmed, and the impulse to come out at once and maintain stout battle against all these powers of darkness, more and more strengthened. Though somewhat before, yet now more than ever the feeling, that such a conflict must come, paved his way; the eyes of thousands were seeking some, who would undertake it, and were turned with desire to every one, gifted with a resolute spirit; and many friendly voices told him, that on his efforts the hopes of the father-land chiefly rested. "This is he"—said John [OE]chslin in Stein to his friend Fabricius—"of whom I cannot say enough,—he, who towers above all other Swiss,—he, who has spread around him here a better civilization." "He"—the German Nesenus wrote to him—"who has humbled our monks, those spiritual tyrants, has done more for the true doctrine of Christ, than he who has beaten the ferocious Turks. Go on, my Zwingli, in the work begun for the blessing of your nation." "You show us"—is contained in a letter of Rhenanus from Basel—"the true doctrine of Christ, sketched intuitively, as it were, on a tablet; you inform us, that Christ was sent into the world for this purpose—to communicate to us the will of his Father; that he commands us to despise earth with its riches, its honors, its power, its pleasures and every thing of this kind, and seek after the heavenly father-land; that he teaches us peace, unity and all the lovely charities of life (nothing else is Christianity), as of old, Plato, who is truly worthy of being counted a great prophet, dreamed of them in his republic; that he would lift us above a state of abject dependence on country, parents, kindred, health, and all the blessings of earth, and convince us that poverty and the other miseries of life are in no wise evil. These doctrines Christ has confirmed by his life, more glorious than that of any man. Would that Helvetia had many, who could so exhibit Him to us! Such alone have power to improve our national character. And our people are by no means incapable of improvement."
The relation in which Zwingli stood to Geroldseck gave him encouragement to take a bolder step. Whatever he needed in the way of scientific help Geroldseck permitted him to buy for the monastery and was glad to add thus to its treasures. Zwingli was always grateful for his protection and support, and at a later period, when he had left Einsiedeln, gave utterance to the following expression, "You have never looked back, after you laid your hand to the plough. You are indeed the friend of all scholars, but me you have loved like a father, having not only admitted me to your friendship, but to the most intimate confidence of your heart. Go on, as you have begun; stand firmly at your post. God will in the end lead you to the goal. No one can gain the crown, who does not fight bravely for it." Most willingly did he respond to the order of the unprejudiced Administrator, to go, with his friends, Zink, [OE]chslin, and Schmied, to the convent under the supervision of Einsiedeln, there to relieve the nuns from the duty of singing matins, to recommend to them the reading of the German Bible, and to grant permission to any, who might wish it, to leave the convent and marry.
But the most powerful weapon of his spirit was the living word. Proceeding cautiously, step by step, he as yet only attacked abuses in Einsiedeln; nevertheless his pulpit discourses made a deep impression, and already the number of pilgrims began to diminish, yea, many brought back again the presents, which they had carried away. Reports are still extant of the sermons preached at the festival of the Consecration of the Angels, in 1517, and those of Whitsuntide, 1518. The first must have been bold, and according to the testimony of Hedion, who was present, the second were "beautiful, thorough, solemn, comprehensive, penetrating, evangelical, in the power of their language reminding one of the oldest church-fathers." A part of the monks were scandalized, but the Abbot and Geroldseck encouraged and protected the orator.
The attention of Rome was drawn to these things; but it did not at all abandon the hope of winning him back again. A literal and faithful translation of the letter, sent to him from Zurich, on the 14 August 1518, by Antonio Pucei, nuntio of the Apostolic See, is here added:
"Glorious by virtues and merits, commended as well by experience as by the testimony of your honorable fame, you have found such favor in the eyes of our Lord, the Pope and the Apostolic See, that we, full of paternal kindness, keeping in view your person adorned with scientific culture, graciously purpose, according to the authority granted as by our aforesaid Lord, the Pope, to confer on you a title of special dignity. But hereby you perceive in truth, whither our kind disposition toward you would tend, when we now create you—who are a master of arts, whom, we, out of regard to merits already alluded to, would promote and adorn with the title and privileges of a special post of honor,—you, whom we, if you have fallen in any way under any ban, suspension, interdict, or other ecclesiastical sentence, or under any censure or penalty of any court, or of individual men, be its origin what it may, partaking in the operations of our favor, and turning your prayer toward us in relation to the matter, we would now absolve and have known as absolved—you, we now, in the name of our holy Lord, the Pope and the Apostolic See, in accordance with these presents, create an acolyte-chaplain, by the apostolical authority, granted us by the most holy Father in Christ, our Lord, the Lord Leo X, Pope by the decree of God, and exercised by us, and graciously enroll you in the number and society of the other chosen acolyte-chaplains of our Lord, the Pope, and the Romish See. At the same time we grant you the possession and enjoyment of all the privileges, prerogatives, honors, exceptions, favors, liberties, immunities and indulgences, singly and collectively, which belong to the other acolyte-chaplains of our Lord, the Pope and the Apostolic See, or which they in any way hereafter shall be allowed to possess and enjoy, to be used by you freely and in a lawful manner, unrestricted by the apostolic constitutions and commands, or any other kind of impediment whatsoever. Then will you by aspiring after virtue advance from good to better, and become worthy of a still higher place in the presence of our Lord, the Pope and ourselves, and he himself, our Lord, the Pope, and we will thereby be moved to bestow on you more extensive favors and honors. The present document is dispatched to bear witness, and we have allowed it to be ratified by our seal appended thereto."
"An official style," the scientific reader, who looks at this letter may exclaim; but the people, in whose ranks Zwingli ranged himself, understood and needed another kind of language. That which the Church granted to her pliant acolyte-chaplains—freedom from excommunication, the dwellers in the Alps had sometimes ventured to bestow upon themselves on their own authority in moments of power. The complicated sentences and the promises contained in them, in case of fidelity and submission, made, therefore, little impression upon the Reformer. How independent he was, in this respect, even at Einsiedeln, appears from his letter, of 1525, to Valentine Compar, former state-secretary in Uri. "Observe," says he, "dear Valentine, what I will yet publicly make known to the people, now living, that I, both before and since the schism arose, have discoursed and treated with distinguished cardinals, bishops and prelates concerning errors in doctrine, and warned them to begin the correction of abuses, or else they would be involved in greater trouble. Eight years ago at Einsiedeln and then at Zurich I often proved to the Lord Cardinal of Sion, that the whole Papacy rested on a rotten foundation, and this always by appealing to the Holy Scriptures. The noble Sir Diebold von Geroldseck, Master Francis Zink and Doctor Michael Sander, all three yet living are my witnesses; and the above-named Cardinal has frequently expressed himself to me in this way, 'If God restores me again to favor (for he was at that time in disgrace with the Pope), I would then willingly see the pride and falsehood of the Roman Bishop exposed and corrected.' And then, he has not seldom conversed with me about doctrine and the Holy Scripture, and every time would acknowledge the falsehood and his displeasure at it. But how he behaved afterwards, need not be told here."
When, therefore, the Bishop of Constance himself, just at this time, in a pastoral letter to the clergy of his diocese, uttered, in the strongest terms, complaints of their thoroughly corrupt condition, and deplored, that "many of them, without regard to shame and the fear of God, kept lewd women in their houses, and would neither put them away nor do better, and that others were addicted to gambling and oftener to be met with in taverns than in their own rooms, wrangled in the streets, scolded, giving rise to uproar as well as blasphemy against the Savior, his blessed mother, and all the saints of God, wore weapons and clothes altogether unsuited to their condition, entered into unlawful agreements, crept into nunneries and otherwise led abandoned lives at variance with the priestly character," and acknowledged the urgent necessity of a remedy, was it a seditious movement, or not rather a noble effort to help on a good cause, when Zwingli thanked his chief pastor for this, but at the same time begged him to act as well as speak?