This volume constitutes the second part of
THE HISTORY OF THE REFORMATION
by Philip Schaff
It is included as Volume VIII in the 8-volume
HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Volume VII in this series, on the German
Reformation, constitutes the first part of
this 2-volume unit on he The History of the
by PHILIP SCHAFF professor of church history in the union theological seminary
Christianus sum: Christiani nihil a me alienum puto
MODERN CHRISTIANITY THE SWISS REFORMATION ———————————
This is a reproduction of the Third Edition, Revised
This volume concludes the history of the productive period of the Reformation, in which Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin were the chief actors. It follows the Protestant movement in German, Italian, and French Switzerland, to the close of the sixteenth century.
During the last year, the sixth-centenary of the oldest surviving Republic was celebrated with great patriotic enthusiasm. On the first day of August, in the year 1291, the freemen of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden formed, in the name of the Lord "a perpetual alliance for the mutual protection of their persons, property, and liberty, against internal and external foes. On the same day, in 1891, the great event was commemorated in every village of Switzerland by the ringing of bells and the illumination of the mountains, while on the following day—a Sunday—thanksgiving services were held in every church, Catholic and Protestant. The chief festivities took place, from July 31 to Aug. 2, in the towns of Schwyz and Brunnen, and were attended by the Federal and Cantonal dignitaries, civil and military, and a vast assembly of spectators. The most interesting feature was a dramatic representation of the leading events in Swiss history—the sacred oaths of Schwyz, Brunnen, and Grütli, the poetic legend of William Tell, the heroic battles for liberty and independence against Austria, Burgundy, and France, the venerable figure of Nicolas von der Flue appearing as a peacemaker in the Diet at Stans, and the chief scenes of the Reformation, the Revolution, and the modern reconstruction. The drama, enacted in the open field in view of mountains and meadows and the lake of Luzern, is said to have equalled in interest and skill of execution the famous Passion Play of Oberammergau. Similar celebrations took place, not only in every city and village of Switzerland, but also in the Swiss colonies in foreign lands, notably in New York, on the 5th, 6th, and 7th of September.2
Between Switzerland and the United States there has always been a natural sympathy and friendship. Both aim to realize the idea of a government of freedom without license, and of authority without despotism; a government of law and order without a standing army; a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, under the sole headship of Almighty God.
At the time of the Reformation, Switzerland numbered as many Cantons (13) as our country originally numbered States, and the Swiss Diet was then a loose confederation representing only the Cantons and not the people, just as was our Continental Congress. But by the revision of the Constitution in 1848 and 1874, the Swiss Republic, following the example of our Constitution, was consolidated from a loose, aristocratic Confederacy of independent Cantons into a centralized federal State,3 a popular as well as a cantonal representation. In one respect the modern Swiss Constitution is even more democratic than that of the United States; for, by the Initiative and the Referendum, it gives to the people the right of proposing or rejecting national legislation.
But there is a still stronger bond of union between the two countries than that which rests on the affinity of political institutions. Zwingli and Calvin directed and determined the westward movement of the Reformation to France, Holland, England, and Scotland, and exerted, indirectly, a moulding influence upon the leading Evangelical Churches of America. George Bancroft, the American historian, who himself was not a Calvinist, derives the republican institutions of the United States from Calvinism through the medium of English Puritanism. A more recent writer, Douglas Campbell, of Scotch descent, derives them from Holland, which was still more under the influence of the Geneva Reformer than England. Calvinism breeds manly, independent, and earnest characters who fear God and nothing else, and favors political and religious freedom. The earliest and most influential settlers of the United States—the Puritans of England, the Presbyterians of Scotland and Ireland, the Huguenots of France, the Reformed from Holland and the Palatinate,—were Calvinists, and brought with them the Bible and the Reformed Confessions of Faith. Calvinism was the ruling theology of New England during the whole Colonial Period, and it still rules in great measure the theology of the Presbyterian, Congregational, and Baptist Churches.
In the study of the sources I have derived much benefit from the libraries of Switzerland, especially the Stadtbibliothek of Zürich, which contains the invaluable Simler collection and every important work relating to the Reformation in Switzerland. I take great pleasure in expressing my obligation to Dr. G. von Wyss, president, and Dr. Escher, librarian, for their courtesy and kindness on repeated visits to that library.
The sources on the Reformation in French Switzerland are now made fully accessible by the new critical edition of Calvin’s works, by Herminjard’s collection of the correspondence of the French-speaking Reformers (not yet completed), and by the publications of the documentary history of Geneva during the period of Calvin’s labors, including the registers of the Council and of the Consistory.
I have freely quoted from Calvin’s works and letters, which give us the best insight into his mind and heart. I have consulted also his chief biographers,—French, German, and English: his enthusiastic admirers,—Beza, Henry, Stähelin, Bungener, and Merle D’Aubigné; his virulent detractors—Bolsec, Galiffe, and Audin; and his impartial critics,—Dyer, and Kampschulte. Dr. Henry’s work (1844) was the first adequate biography of the great Reformer, and is still unsurpassed as a rich collection of authentic materials, although not well arranged and digested.4 Dr. Merle D’Aubigné’s "History of the Reformation" comes down only to 1542. Thomas H. Dyer, LL. D, the author of the "History, of Modern Europe," from the fall of Constantinople to 1871, and other historical works, has written the first able and readable "Life of Calvin" in the English language, which is drawn chiefly from Calvin’s correspondence, from Ruchat, Henry, and, in the Servetus chapter, from Mosheim and Trechsel, and is, on the whole, accurate and fair, but cold and unsympathetic. The admirable work of Professor Kampschulte is based on a thorough mastery of the sources, but it is unfortunately incomplete, and goes only as far as 1542. The materials for a second and third volume were placed after his death (December, 1872) into the hands of Professor Cornelius of Munich, who, however, has so far only written a few sections. His admiration for Calvin’s genius and pure character (see p. 205) presents an interesting parallel to Döllinger’s eloquent tribute to Luther (quoted in vol. VI. 741), and is all the more valuable as he dissented from Calvin’s theology and church polity; for he was an Old Catholic and intimate friend of Reusch and Döllinger.5
The sole aim of the historian ought to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
I have dedicated this volume to my countrymen and oldest surviving friends in Switzerland, Dr. Georg von Wyss of Zürich and Dr. Fréderic Godet of Neuchâtel. The one represents German, the other French Switzerland. Both are well known; the one for his historical, the other for his exegetical works. They have followed the preparation of this book with sympathetic interest, and done me the favor of revising the proof-sheets.6
I feel much encouraged by the kind reception of my Church History at home and abroad. The first three volumes have been freely translated into Chinese by the Rev. D. Z. Sheffield (a missionary of the American Board), and into Hindostani by the Rev. Robert Stewart (of the Presbyterian Mission of Sialkot).
I have made considerable progress in the fifth volume, which will complete the history of the Middle Ages. It was delayed till I could make another visit to Rome and Florence, and study more fully the Renaissance, which preceded the Reformation. Two or three more volumes will be necessary to bring the history down to the present time, according to the original plan. But how many works remain unfinished in this world! Ars longa, vita brevis.
The above Preface was ready for the printer, and the book nearly finished, when, on the 15th of July last, I was suddenly interrupted by a stroke of paralysis at Lake Mohonk (where I spent the summer); but, in the good providence of God, my health has been nearly restored. My experience is recorded in the 103d Psalm of thanksgiving and praise.
I regret that I could not elaborate chs. XVII. and XVIII., especially the influence of Calvin upon the Reformed Churches of Europe and America (§§ 162 and 163), as fully as I wished. My friend, the Rev. Samuel Macauley Jackson, who happened to be with me when I was taken sick, aided me in the last chapter, on Beza, for which he was well prepared by previous studies. I had at first intended to add a history of the French Reformation, but this would make the volume too large and delay the publication. I have added, however, in an appendix, a list of literature which I prepared some time ago in the Library of the Society of the History of French Protestantism at Paris, and brought down to date. Most of the books are in my possession.
I may congratulate myself that, notwithstanding this serious interruption, I am enabled to publish the history of the Reformation of my native land before the close of the fiftieth anniversary of my academic teaching, which I began in December, 1842, in the University of Berlin, when my beloved teacher, Neander, was in the prime of his usefulness. A year afterwards, I received, at his and Tholuck’s recommendation, a call to a theological professorship from the Synod of the German Reformed Church in the United States, and I have never regretted accepting it. For it is a great privilege to labor, however humbly, for the kingdom of Christ in America, which celebrates in this month, with the whole civilized world, the fourth centennial of its discovery.
Thankful for the past, I look hopefully to the future.
Union Theological Seminary
New York, October 12, 1892.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The first edition (of 1500 copies) being exhausted, I have examined the volume and corrected a number of typographical errors, mostly in the French words of the last chapters. There was no occasion for other improvements.
August 9, 1893.
HISTORY OF THE REFORMATION SECOND BOOK. THE SWISS REFORMATION. CHAPTER I.
introduction. § 1. Switzerland before the Reformation.
§ 2. The Swiss Reformation.
§ 3. The Genius of the Swiss Reformation compared with the German.
§ 4. Literature on the Swiss Reformation.
zwingli's training. a.d. 1484-1519. § 5. The Zwingli Literature.
§ 6. Zwingli’s Birth and Education.
§ 7. Zwingli in Glarus.
§ 8. Zwingli in Einsiedeln.
§ 9. Zwingli and Luther.
the reformation in zürich. 1519–1526.
§ 10. Zwingli called to Zurich.
§ 11. Zwingli’s Public Labors and Private Studies.
§ 12. Zwingli and the Sale of Indulgences.
§ 13. Zwingli during the Pestilence.
§ 14. The Open Breach. Controversy about Fasts. 1522.
§ 15. Petition for the Abolition of Clerical Celibacy. Zwingli’s Marriage.
§ 16. Zwingli and Lambert of Avignon.
§ 17. The Sixty-seven Conclusions.
§ 18. The Public Disputations. 1523.
§ 19. The Abolition of the Roman Worship. 1524.
§ 20. The Reformed Celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
§ 21. Other Changes. A Theological School. The Carolinum. A System of Theology.
§ 22. The Translation of the Bible. Leo Judae.
§ 23. Church and State.
§ 24. Zwingli’s Conflict with Radicalism.
§ 25. The Baptismal Controversy.
§ 26. Persecution of the Anabaptists.
§ 27. The Eucharistic Controversy. Zwingli and Luther.
§ 28. The Works of Zwingli.
§ 29. The Theology of Zwingli.
spread of the reformation in german switzerland and the grisons. § 30. The Swiss Diet and the Conference at Baden, 1526.
§ 31. The Reformation in Berne.
§ 32. The Reformation in Basel. Oecolampadius.
§ 33. The Reformation in Glarus. Tschudi. Glarean.
§ 34. The Reformation in St. Gall, Toggenburg, and Appenzell. Watt and Kessler.
§ 35. Reformation in Schaffhausen. Hofmeister.
§ 36. The Grisons (Graubuenden).
§ 37. The Reformation in the Grisons. Comander. Gallicius. Campell.
§ 38. The Reformation in the Italian Valleys of the Grisons. Vergerio.
§ 39. Protestantism in Chiavenna and the Valtellina, and its Suppression. The Valtellina Massacre. George Jenatsch.
§ 40. The Congregation of Locarno.
§ 41. Zwinglianism in Germany.
the civil and religious war between the roman catholic and reformed cantons. § 42. The First War of Cappel. 1529.
§ 43. The First Peace of Cappel. June, 1529.
§ 44. Between the Wars. Political Plains of Zwingli.
§ 45. Zwingli’s Last Theological Labors. His Confessions of Faith.
§ 46. The Second War of Cappel. 1531.
§ 47. The Death of Zwingli.
§ 48. Reflections on the Disaster at Cappel.
§ 49. The Second Peace o of Cappel. November, 1531.
§ 50. The Roman Catholic Reaction.
§ 51. The Relative Strength of the Confessions in Switzerland.
§ 52. Zwingli. Redivivus.
the period of consolidation. § 53. Literature.
§ 54. Heinrich Bullinger. 1504–1575.
§ 55. Antistes Breitinger (1575–1645).
§ 56. Oswald Myconius, Antistes of Basel.
§ 57. The Helvetic Confessions of Faith.
THE REFORMATION IN FRENCH SWITZERLAND, OR THE CALVINISTIC MOVEMENT. CHAPTER VII.
the preparatory work. from 1526 to 1536. § 58. Literature on Calvin and the Reformation in French Switzerland.
§ 59. The Condition of French Switzerland before the Reformation.
§ 60. William, Farel (1489–1565).
§ 61. Farel at Geneva. First Act of the Reformation (1535).
§ 62. The Last Labors of Farel.
§ 63. Peter Viret and the Reformation in Lausanne.
§ 64. Antoine Froment.
john calvin and his work. § 65. John Calvin compared with the Older Reformers.
§ 66. Calvin’s Place in History.
§ 67. Calvin’s Literary Labors.
§ 68. Tributes to the Memory of Calvin.
from france to switzerland. 1509-1536. § 69. Calvin’s Youth and Training.
§ 70. Calvin as a Student in the French Universities. A.D. 1528–1533.
§ 71. Calvin as a Humanist. Commentary on Seneca.
§ 72. Calvin’s Conversion. 1532.
§ 73. Calvin’s Call.
§ 74. The Open Rupture. An Academic Oration. 1533.
§ 75. Persecution of the Protestants in Paris. 1534.
§ 76. Calvin as a Wandering Evangelist. 1533–1536.
§ 77. The Sleep of the Soul. 1534.
§ 78. Calvin at Basel. 1535 to 1536.
§ 79. Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.
§ 80. From Basel to Ferrara. The Duchess Renée.
calvin's first sojourn and labors in geneva. 1536-1538. § 81. Calvin’s Arrival and Settlement at Geneva.
§ 82. First Labors and Trials.
§ 83. The Reformers introduce Order and Discipline.
§ 84. Expulsion of the Reformers. 1538.
calvin in germany. from 1538 to 1541. § 85. Calvin in Strassburg.
§ 86. The Church of the Strangers in Strassburg.
§ 87. The Liturgy of Calvin.
§ 88. Calvin as Theological Teacher and Author.
§ 89. Calvin at the Colloquies of Frankfurt, Worms, and Regensburg.
§ 90. Calvin and Melanchthon.
§ 91. Calvin and Sadolet. The Vindication of the Reformation.
§ 92. Calvin’s Marriage and Home Life.
calvin's second sojourn and labors in geneva. 1541-1564. § 93. The State of Geneva after the expulsion of the Reformers.
§ 94. Calvin’s Recall to Geneva.
§ 95. Calvin’s Return to Geneva. 1541.
§ 96. The First Years after the Return.
§ 97. Survey of Calvin’s Activity.
constitution and discipline of the church of geneva. § 98. Literature.
§ 99. Calvin’s Idea of the Holy Catholic Church.
§ 100. The Visible and Invisible Church.
§ 101. The Civil Government.
§ 102. Distinctive Principles of Calvin’s Church Polity.
§ 103. Church and State.
§ 104. The Ecclesiastical Ordinances.
§ 105. The Venerable Company and the Consistory.
§ 106. Calvin’s Theory of Discipline.
§ 107. The Exercise of Discipline in Geneva.
§ 108. Calvin’s Struggle with the Patriots and Libertines.
§ 109. The Leaders of the Libertines and their punishment:—Gruet, Perrin, Ameaux, Vandel, Berthelier.
§ 110. Geneva Regenerated. Testimonies Old and New.
the theology of calvin. § 111. Calvin’s Commentaries.
§ 112. The Calvinistic System.
§ 113. Predestination.
§ 114. Calvinism examined.
§ 115. Calvin’s Theory of the Sacraments.
§ 116. Baptism.
§ 117. The Lord’s Supper. The Consensus of Zuerich.
§ 118. Calvin as a Controversialist.
§ 119. Calvin and Pighius.
§ 120. The Anti-Papal Writings. Criticism of the Council of Trent. 1547.
§ 121. Against the German Interim. 1549.
§ 122. Against the Worship of Relics. 1543.
§ 123. The Articles of the Sorbonne with an Antidote. 1544.
§ 124. Calvin and the Nicodemites. 1544.
§ 125. Calvin and Bolsec.
§ 126. Calvin and Castellio.
§ 127. Calvinism and Unitarianism. The Italian Refugees.
§ 128. Calvin and Laelius Socinus.
§ 129. Bernardino Ochino. 1487–1565.
§ 130. Caelius Secundus Curio. 1503–1569.
§ 131. The Italian Antitrinitarians in Geneva. Gribaldo, Biandrata, Alciati, Gentile.
§ 132. The Eucharistic Controversies. Calvin and Westphal.
§ 133. Calvin and the Augsburg Confession. Melanchthon’s Position in the Second Eucharistic Controversy.
§ 134. Calvin and Heshusius.
§ 135. Calvin and the Astrologers.
servetus: his life, trial, and execution. § 136 The Servetus Literature.
§ 137. Calvin and Servetus.
§ 138. Catholic Intolerance.
§ 139. Protestant Intolerance. Judgments of the Reformers on Servetus.
§ 140. The Early Life of Servetus.
§ 141. The Book against the Holy Trinity.
§ 142. Servetus as a Geographer.
§ 143. Servetus as a Physician, Scientist, and Astrologer.
§ 144. Servetus at Vienne. His Annotations to the Bible.
§ 145. Correspondence of Servetus with Calvin and Poupin.
§ 146. "The Restitution of Christianity."
§ 147. The Theological System of Servetus.
§ 148. The Trial and Condemnation of Servetus at Vienne.
§ 149. Servetus flees to Geneva and is arrested.
§ 150. State of Political Parties at Geneva in 1553.
§ 151. The First Act of the Trial at Geneva.
§ 152. The Second Act of the Trial at Geneva.
§ 153. Consultation of the Swiss Churches. The Defiant Attitude of Servetus.
§ 154. Condemnation of Servetus.
§ 155. Execution of Servetus. Oct. 27, 1553.
§ 156. The Character of Servetus.
§ 157. Calvin’s Defence of the Death Penalty for Heretics.
§ 158. A Plea for Religious Liberty. Castellio and Beza.
calvin abroad. § 159. Calvin’s Catholicity of Spirit.
§ 160. Geneva an Asylum for Protestants from all Countries.
§ 161. The Academy of Geneva. The High School of Reformed Theology.
§ 162. Calvin’s Influence upon the Reformed Churches of the Continent.
§ 163. Calvin’s Influence upon Great Britain.
closing scenes in the life of calvin. § 164. Calvin’s Last Days and Death.
§ 165. Calvin’s Last Will, and Farewells.
§ 166. Calvin’s Personal Character and Habits.
theodore beza. § 167. Life of Beza to his Conversion.
§ 168. Beza at Lausanne and as a Delegate to the German Princes.
§ 169. Beza at Geneva.
§ 170. Beza at the Colloquy of Poissy.
§ 171. Beza as the Counsellor of the Huguenot Leaders,
§ 172. Beza as the Successor of Calvin, down to 1586.
§ 173. Beza’s Conferences with Lutherans.
§ 174. Beza and Henry IV.
§ 175. Beza’s Last Days.
§ 176. Beza’s Writings.
Appendix. Literature on the Reformation in France. (With a Portrait of Jacques Le Fevre)
HISTORY of THE REFORMATION SECOND BOOK. THE SWISS REFORMATION. ———————————
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION. § 1. Switzerland before the Reformation. Switzerland belongs to those countries whose historic significance stands in inverse proportion to their size. God often elects small things for great purposes. Palestine gave to the world the Christian religion. From little Greece proceeded philosophy and art. Switzerland is the cradle of the Reformed churches. The land of the snow-capped Alps is the source of mighty rivers, and of the Reformed faith, as Germany is the home of the Lutheran faith; and the principles of the Swiss Reformation, like the waters of the Rhine and the Rhone, travelled westward with the course of the sun to France, Holland, England, Scotland, and to a new continent, which Zwingli and Calvin knew only by name. Compared with intellectual and moral achievements, the conquests of the sword dwindle into insignificance. Ideas rule the world; ideas are immortal.
Before the sixteenth century, Switzerland exerted no influence in the affairs of Europe except by the bravery of its inhabitants in self-defence of their liberty and in foreign wars. But in the sixteenth century she stands next to Germany in that great religious renovation which has affected all modern history.7
The Republic of Switzerland, which has maintained itself in the midst of monarchies down to this day, was founded by "the eternal covenant" of the three "forest cantons," Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden, August 1, 1291, and grew from time to time by conquest, purchase, and free association. Lucerne (the fourth forest canton) joined the confederacy in 1332, Zurich in 1351, Glarus and Zug in 1352, Berne in 1353, Freiburg and Solothurn (Soleur) in 1481, Basle and Schaffhausen in 1501, Appenzell in 1513,—making in all thirteen cantons at the time of the Reformation. With them were connected by purchase, or conquest, or free consent, as common territories or free bailiwicks,8the adjoining lands of Aargau, Thurgau, Wallis, Geneva, Graubündten (Grisons, Rhätia), the princedom of Neuchatel and Valangin, and several cities (Biel, Mühlhausen, Rotweil, Locarno, etc.). Since 1798 the number of cantons has increased to twenty-two, with a population of nearly three millions (in 1890). The Republic of the United States started with thirteen States, and has grown likewise by purchase or conquest and the organization and incorporation of new territories, but more rapidly, and on a much larger scale.
The romantic story of William Tell, so charmingly told by Egidius Tschudi, the Swiss Herodotus,9and by Johannes von Müller, the Swiss Tacitus, and embellished by the poetic genius of Friedrich Schiller, must be abandoned to the realm of popular fiction, like the cognate stories of Scandinavian and German mythology, but contains, nevertheless, an abiding element of truth as setting forth the spirit of those bold mountaineers who loved liberty and independence more than their lives, and expelled the foreign invaders from their soil. The glory of an individual belongs to the Swiss people. The sacred oath of the men of Grütli on the Lake of Lucerne, at the foot of Seelisberg (1306 or 1308?), and the more certain confederation of Dec. 9, 1315, at Brunnen, were renewals of the previous covenant of 1291.10
The Swiss successfully vindicated their independence against the attacks of the House of Habsburg in the memorable battles of Morgarten ("the Marathon of Switzerland" 1315), Sempach (1386), and Näfels (1388), against King Louis XI. of France at St. Jacob near Basle (the Thermopylae of Switzerland, 1444), and against Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy at Granson, Murten (Morat), and Nancy (1476 and 1477).
Nature and history made Switzerland a federative republic. This republic was originally a loose, aristocratic confederacy of independent cantons, ruled by a diet of one house where each canton had the same number of deputies and votes, so that a majority of the Diet could defeat a majority of the people. This state of things continued till 1848, when (after the defeat of the Sonderbund of the Roman Catholic cantons) the constitution was remodelled on democratic principles, after the American example, and the legislative power vested in two houses, one (the Ständerath or Senate) consisting of forty-four deputies of the twenty-two sovereign cantons (as in the old Diet), the other (the Nationalrath or House of Representatives) representing the people in proportion to their number (one to every twenty thousand souls); while the executive power was given to a council of seven members (the Bundesrath) elected for three years by both branches of the legislature. Thus the confederacy of cantons was changed into a federal state, with a central government elected by the people and acting directly on the people.11
This difference in the constitution of the central authority must be kept in mind in order to understand why the Reformation triumphed in the most populous cantons, and yet was defeated in the Diet.12 The small forest cantons had each as many votes as the much larger cantons of Zurich and Berne, and kept out Protestantism from their borders till the year 1848. The loose character of the German Diet and the absence of centralization account in like manner for the victory of Protestantism in Saxony, Hesse, and other states and imperial cities, notwithstanding the hostile resolutions of the majority of the Diet, which again and again demanded the execution of the Edict of Worms.
The Christianization of Switzerland began in the fourth or third century under the Roman rule, and proceeded from France and Italy. Geneva, on the border of France and Savoy, is the seat of the oldest church and bishopric founded by two bishops of Vienne in Southern Gaul. The bishopric of Coire, in the south-eastern extremity, appears first in the acts of a Synod of Milan, 452. The northern and interior sections were Christianized in the seventh century by Irish missionaries, Columban and Gallus. The last founded the abbey of St. Gall, which became a famous centre of civilization for Alamannia. The first, and for a long time the only, university of Switzerland was that of Basle (1460), where one of the three reformatory Councils was held (1430). During the Middle Ages the whole country, like the rest of Europe, was subject to the Roman see, and no religion was tolerated but the Roman Catholic. It was divided into six episcopal dioceses,—Geneva, Coire, Constance, Basle, Lausanne, and Sion (Sitten). The Pope had several legates in Switzerland who acted as political and military agents, and treated the little republic like a great power. The most influential bishop, Schinner of Sion, who did substantial service to the warlike Julius II. and Leo X., attained even a cardinal’s hat. Zwingli, who knew him well, might have acquired the same dignity if he had followed his example.
§ 2. The Swiss Reformation. The Church in Switzerland was corrupt and as much in need of reform as in Germany. The inhabitants of the old cantons around the Lake of Lucerne were, and are to this day, among the most honest and pious Catholics; but the clergy were ignorant, superstitious, and immoral, and set a bad example to the laity. The convents were in a state of decay, and could not furnish a single champion able to cope with the Reformers in learning and moral influence. Celibacy made concubinage a common and pardonable offence. The bishop of Constance (Hugo von Hohenlandenberg) absolved guilty priests on the payment of a fine of four guilders for every child born to them, and is said to have derived from this source seventy-five hundred guilders in a single year (1522). In a pastoral letter, shortly before the Reformation, he complained of the immorality of many priests who openly kept concubines or bad women in their houses, who refuse to dismiss them, or bring them back secretly, who gamble, sit with laymen in taverns, drink to excess, and utter blasphemies.13
The people were corrupted by the foreign military service (called Reislaufen), which perpetuated the fame of the Swiss for bravery and faithfulness, but at the expense of independence and good morals.14 Kings and popes vied with each other in tempting offers to secure Swiss soldiers, who often fought against each other on foreign battle-fields, and returned with rich pensions and dissolute habits. Zwingli knew this evil from personal experience as chaplain in the Italian campaigns, attacked it before he thought of reforming the Church, continued to oppose it when called to Zurich, and found his death at the hands of a foreign mercenary.
On the other hand, there were some hopeful signs of progress. The reformatory Councils of Constance and Basle were not yet entirely forgotten among the educated classes. The revival of letters stimulated freedom of thought, and opened the eyes to abuses. The University of Basle became a centre of literary activity and illuminating influences. There Thomas Wyttenbach of Biel taught theology between 1505 and 1508, and attacked indulgences, the mass, and the celibacy of the priesthood. He, with seven other priests, married in 1524, and was deposed as preacher, but not excommunicated. He combined several high offices, but died in great poverty, 1526. Zwingli attended his lectures in 1505, and learned much from him. In Basle, Erasmus, the great luminary of liberal learning, spent several of the most active years of his life (1514–1516 and 1521–1529), and published, through the press of his friend Frobenius, most of his books, including his editions of the Greek Testament. In Basle several works of Luther were reprinted, to be scattered through Switzerland. Capito, Hedio, Pellican, and Oecolampadius likewise studied, taught, and preached in that city.
But the Reformation proceeded from Zurich, not from Basle, and was guided by Zwingli, who combined the humanistic culture of Erasmus with the ability of a popular preacher and the practical energy of an ecclesiastical reformer.
The Swiss Reformation may be divided into three acts and periods, —
I. The Zwinglian Reformation in the German cantons from 1516 to Zwingli’s death and the peace of Cappel, 1531.
II. The Calvinistic Reformation in French Switzerland from 1531 to the death of Calvin, 1564.
III. The labors of Bullinger in Zurich (d. 1575), and Beza in Geneva (d. 1605) for the consolidation of the work of their older friends and predecessors.
The Zwinglian movement was nearly simultaneous with the German Reformation, and came to an agreement with it at Marburg in fourteen out of fifteen articles of faith, the only serious difference being the mode of Christ’s presence in the eucharist. Although Zwingli died in the Prime of life, he already set forth most of the characteristic features of the Reformed Churches, at least in rough outline.
But Calvin is the great theologian, organizer, and discip-linarian of the Reformed Church. He brought it nearer the Lutheran Church in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, but he widened the breach in the doctrine of predestination.
Zwingli and Bullinger connect the Swiss Reformation with that of Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia; Calvin and Beza, with that of France, Holland, England, and Scotland.
§ 3. The Genius of the Swiss Reformation compared with the German. On the difference between the Lutheran and the Reformed Confessions see Göbel, Hundeshagen, Schnekenburger, Schweizer, etc., quoted in Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. I. 211.
Protestantism gives larger scope to individual and national freedom and variety of development than Romanism, which demands uniformity in doctrine, discipline, and worship. It has no visible centre or headship, and consists of a number of separate and independent organizations under the invisible headship of Christ. It is one flock, but in many folds. Variety in unity and unity in variety are the law of God in nature and history. Protestantism so far has fully developed variety, but not yet realized unity.
The two original branches of evangelical Christendom are the Lutheran and the Reformed Confessions. They are as much alike and as much distinct as the Greek and the Roman branches of Catholicism, which rest on the national bases of philosophical Greece and political Rome. They are equally evangelical, and admit of an organic union, which has actually been effected in Prussia and other parts of Germany since the third anniversary of the Reformation in 1817. Their differences are theological rather than religious; they affect the intellectual conception, but not the heart and soul of piety. The only serious doctrinal difference which divided Luther and Zwingli at Marburg was the mode of the real presence in the eucharist; as the double procession of the Holy Spirit was for centuries the only doctrinal difference between the Greek and Roman Churches. But other differences of government, discipline, worship, and practice developed themselves in the course of time, and overshadowed the theological lines of separation.
The Lutheran family embraces the churches which bear the name of Luther and accept the Augsburg Confession; the Reformed family (using the term Reformed in its historic and general sense) comprehends the churches which trace their origin directly or indirectly to the labors of Zwingli and Calvin.15 In England the second or Puritan Reformation gave birth to a number of. new denominations, which, after the Toleration Act of 1689, were organized into distinct Churches. In the eighteenth century arose the Wesleyan revival movement, which grew into one of the largest and most active churches in the English-speaking world.
Thus the Reformation of the sixteenth century is the mother or grandmother of at least half a dozen families of evangelical denominations, not counting the sub-divisions. Lutheranism has its strength in Germany and Scandinavia; the Reformed Church, in Great Britain and North America.
The Reformed Confession has developed different types. Travelling westward with the course of Christianity and civilization, it became more powerful in Holland, England, and Scotland than in Switzerland; but the chief characteristics which distinguish it from the Lutheran Confession were already developed by Zwingli and Calvin.
The Swiss and the German Reformers agreed in opposition to Romanism, but the Swiss departed further from it. The former were zealous for the sovereign glory of God, and, in strict interpretation of the first and second commandments, abolished the heathen elements of creature worship; while Luther, in the interest of free grace and the peace of conscience, aimed his strongest blows at the Jewish element of monkish legalism and self-righteousness. The Swiss theology proceeds from God’s grace to man’s needs; the Lutheran, from man’s needs to God’s grace.
Both agree in the three fundamental principles of Protestantism: the absolute supremacy of the Divine Scriptures as a rule of faith and practice; justification by free grace through faith; the general priesthood of the laity. But as regards the first principle, the Reformed Church is more radical in carrying it out against human traditions, abolishing all those which have no root in the Bible; while Luther retained those which are not contrary to the Bible. As regards justification by faith, Luther made it the article of the standing or falling Church; while Zwingli and Calvin subordinated it to the ulterior truth of eternal foreordination by free grace, and laid greater stress on good works and strict discipline. Both opposed the idea of a special priesthood and hierarchical rule; but the Swiss Reformers gave larger scope to the popular lay element, and set in motion the principle of congregational and synodical self-government and self-support.
Both brought the new Church into Close contact with the State; but the Swiss Reformers controlled the State in the spirit of republican independence, which ultimately led to a separation of the secular and spiritual powers, or to a free Church in a free State (as in the free churches of French Switzerland, and in all the churches of the United States); while Luther and Melanchthon, with their native reverence for monarchical institutions and the German Empire, taught passive obedience in politics, and brought the Church under bondage to the civil authority.
All the evangelical divines and rulers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were inconsistently intolerant in theory and practice; but the Reformation, which was a revolt against papal tyranny and a mighty act of emancipation, led ultimately to the triumph of religious freedom as its legitimate fruit.
The Reformed Church does not bear the name of any man, and is not controlled by a towering personality, but assumed different types under the moulding influence of Zwingli and Bullinger in Zurich, of Oecolampadius in Basle, of Haller in Berne, of Calvin and Beza in Geneva, of Ursinus and Olevianus in the Palatinate, of Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley in England, of Knox in Scotland. The Lutheran Church, as the very name indicates, has the stamp of Luther indelibly impressed upon it; although the milder and more liberal Melanchthonian tendency has in it a legitimate place of honor and power, and manifests itself in all progressive and unionistic movements as those of Calixtus, of Spener, and of the moderate Lutheran schools of our age.
Calvinism has made a stronger impression on the Latin and Anglo-Saxon races than on the German; while Lutheranism is essentially German, and undergoes more or less change in other countries.
Calvin aimed at a reformation of discipline as well as theology, and established a model theocracy in Geneva, which lasted for several generations. Luther contented himself with a reformation of faith and doctrine, leaving the practical consequences to time, but bitterly lamented the Antinomian disorder and abuse which for a time threatened to neutralize his labors in Saxony.
The Swiss Reformers reduced worship to the utmost simplicity and naked spirituality, and made its effect for kindling or chilling-devotion to depend upon the personal piety and intellectual effort of the minister and the merits of his sermons and prayers. Luther, who was a poet and a musician, left larger scope for the esthetic and artistic element; and his Church developed a rich liturgical and hymnological literature. Congregational singing, however, flourishes in both denominations; and the Anglican Church produced the best liturgy, which has kept its place to this day, with increasing popularity.
The Reformed Church excels in self-discipline, liberality, energy, and enterprise; it carries the gospel to all heathen lands and new colonies; it builds up a God-fearing, manly, independent, heroic type of character, such as we find among the French Huguenots, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the Waldenses in Piedmont; and sent in times of persecution a noble army of martyrs to the prison and the stake. The Lutheran Church cultivates a hearty, trustful, inward, mystic style of piety, the science of theology, biblical and historical research, and wrestles with the deepest problems of philosophy and religion.
God has wisely distributed his gifts, with abundant opportunities for their exercise in the building up of his kingdom.
§ 4. Literature on the Swiss Reformation. Compare the literature on the Reformation in general, vol. VI. 89–93, and the German Reformation, pp. 94–97. The literature on the Reformation in French Switzerland will be given in a later chapter (pp. 223 sqq.).
The largest collection of the Reformation literature of German Switzerland is in the Stadtbibliothek (in the Wasserkirche) and in the Cantonalbibliothek of Zürich. The former includes the 200 vols. of the valuable MSS. collection of Simler (d. 1788), and the Thesaurus Hottingerianus. I examined these libraries in August, 1886, with the kind aid of Profs. O. F. Fritsche, Alex. Schweizer, Georg von Wyss, and Dr. Escher, and again in July, 1890.
For lists of books on Swiss history in general consult the following works: Gottlieb Emanuel von Haller: Bibliothek der Schweizer-Geschichte und aller Theile, so dahin Bezug haben (Bern, 1785–’88, 7 vols.); with the continuations of Gerold Meyer Von Knonau (from 1840–’45, Zür., 1850) and Ludwig Von Sinner (from 1786–1861, Bern and Zürich, 1851). The Catalog der Stadtbibliothek in Zürich (Zürich, 1864–’67, 4 Bde, much enlarged in the written catalogues). E. Fr. von Mülinen: Prodromus einer Schweizer. Historiographie (Bern, 1874). The author promises a complete Lexicon of Swiss chroniclers, etc., annalists and historians in about 4 vols.
I. Sources: The works Of Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Leo Judae, Bullinger, Watt (Vadianus), and other Reformers of the Swiss cantons.
Herminjard: Correspondance des Reformateurs. Genève, 1866–’86. 7 vols.
Bullinger (Heinrich, Zwingli’s successor, d. 1575): Reformationsgeschichte, nach den Autographen herausgeg. von J. J. Hottinger und H. H. Vögeli. Frauenfeld, 1838–’40, 3 vols. 8°. From 1519 to 1532. In the Swiss-German dialect.
Kessler (Johannes, Reformer of St. Gallen): Sabbata. Chronik der Jahre 1523–’39. Ed. by E. Götzinger. St. Gallen, 1866–’68. 2 parts. Kessler was the student whom Luther met at Jena on his return to Wittenberg (see vol. VI. 385).
Simler (Joh. Jac.): Sammlung alter und neuer Urkunden zur Beleuchtung der Kirchengeschichte, vornehmlich des Schweizerlandes. Zürich, 1757–’63. 2 Bde in 6 Theilen. 8°. Also the first 30 vols. of his above-mentioned collection of MSS., which includes many printed pamphlets and documents.
Die Eidgenössischen Abschiede. Bd. III. Abth. 2: Abschiede von 1500–’20, bearbeitet von Segesser (Luzern, 1869); Bd. IV. I a: a.d. 1521–’28, bearbeitet von Strickler (Brugg, 1873); Bd. IV. 1 b: a.d. 1529–’32 (Zürich, 1876); Bd. IV. 1 c: a.d. 1533–’40, bearbeitet von Deschwanden (Luzern, 1878); Bd. IV. 1 d: a.d. 1541–’48, bearbeitet von Deschwanden (Luzern, 1882). The publication of these official acts of the Swiss Diet was begun at the expense of the Confederacy, a.d. 1839, and embraces the period from 1245 to 1848.
Strickler (Joh.): Actensammlung zur Schweizerischen Reformationsgeschichte in den Jahren 1521–’32. Zürich, 1878–’84. 5 vols. 8°. Mostly in Swiss-German, partly in Latin. The fifth vol. contains Addenda, Registers, and a list of books on the history of the Reformation to 1533.
Egli (Emil): Actensammlung zur Geschichte der Zürcher Reformation von 1519–’33. Zürich, 1879. (Pages vii. and 947.)
Stürler (M. v.): Urkunden der Bernischen Kirchenreform. Bern, 1862. Goes only to 1528.
On the Roman Catholic side: Archiv für die Schweizer. Reformations-Geschichte, herausgeg. auf Veranstaltung des Schweizer. Piusvereins. Solothurn, 1868’-76. 3 large vols. This includes in vol. I. the Chronik der Schweizerischen Reformation (till 1534), by Hans Salat of Luzern (d. after 1543), a historian and poet, whose life and writings were edited by Baechtold, Basel, 1876. Vol. II. contains the papal addresses to the Swiss Diet, etc. Vol. III. 7–82 gives a very full bibliography bearing upon the Reformation and the history of the Swiss Cantons down to 1871. This work is overlooked by most Protestant historians. Bullinger wrote against Salat a book entitled Salz zum Salat.
II. Later Historical Works: Hottinger (Joh. Heinrich, an eminent Orientalist, 1620–’67): Historia Ecclesiasticae Novi Test. Tiguri [Turici], 1651–’67. 9 vols. 8°. The last four volumes of this very learned but very tedious work treat of the Reformation. The seventh volume has a chapter of nearly 600 pages (24–618) de Indulgentiis in specie!
Hottinger (Joh. Jacob, 1652–1735, third son of the former): Helvetische Kirchengeschichten, etc. Zür., 1698–1729. 4 vols. 4°. Newly ed. by Wirz and Kirchhofer. See below.
Miscellanea Tigurina edita, inedita, vetera, nova, theologica, historica, etc., ed. by J. J. Ulrich. Zür., 1722–’24. 3 vols. 8°. They contain small biographies of Swiss Reformers and important documents of Bullinger, Leo Judae, Breitinger, Simler, etc.
Füsslin (or Füssli, Joh. Conr. F., 1704–1775): Beiträge zur Erläuterung der Kirchenreformationsgeschichten des Schweizerlands. Zür., 1740–’53. 5 vols. 8°. Contains important original documents and letters.
Ruchat (Abrah., 1680–1750): Histoire de la Réformation de la Suisse, 1516–1556. Genève, 1727, ’28. 6 vols. 8°. New edition with Appendixes by L. Vulliemin. Paris and Lausanne, 1835–’38. 7 vols. 8°. Chiefly important for the French cantons. An English abridgment of the first four vols. in one vol. by J. Collinson (Canon of Durham), London, 1845, goes to the end of a.d. 1536.
Wirz (Ludw.) and Kirchhofer (Melch.): Helvet. Kirchengeschichte. Aus Joh. Jac. Hottinger’s älterem Werke und anderen Quellen neu bearbeitet. Zürich, 1808–’19. 5 vols. The modern history is contained in vols. IV. and V. The fifth vol. is by Kirchhofer.
Merle D’Aubigné (professor of Church history at Geneva, d. 1872): Histoire de la Réformation du 16 siècle. Paris, 1838 sqq. Histoire de la Réformation au temps du Calvin. Paris, 1863–’78. Both works were translated and published in England and America, in various editions.
Trechsel (Friedr., 1805–1885): Beiträge zur Geschichte der Schweiz. Reformirten Kirche, zunächst derjenigen des Cantons Bern. Bern, 1841, ’42, 4 Hefte.
Gieseler (d. 1854): Ch. History. Germ. ed. III. A. 128 sqq.; 277 sqq. Am. ed. vol. IV. 75–99, 209–217. His account is very valuable for the extracts from the sources.
Baur (d. at Tübingen, 1860): Kirchengeschichte. Bd. IV. 80–96. Posthumous, Tübingen, 1863.
Hagenbach (Karl Rud., professor of Church history at Basel, d. 1874): Geschichte der Reformation, 1517–1555. Leipzig, 1834, 4th ed. 1870 (vol. III. of his general Kirchengeschichte). Fifth ed., with a literary and critical appendix, by Dr. F. Nippold, Leipzig, 1887. English translation by Miss E. Moore, Edinburgh and New York, 1878, ’79, 2 vols.
Chastel (Étienne, professor of Church history in the University of Geneva, d. 1885):Histoire du Christianisme, Tom. IV.: Age Moderne (p. 66 sqq.). Paris, 1882.
Berner Beiträge zur Geschichte der Schweizerischen Reformationskirchen. Von Billeter, Flückiger, Hubler, Kasser, Marthaler, Strasser. Mit weiteren Beiträgen vermehrt und herausgegeben von Fr. Nippold. Bern, 1884. (Pages 454.)
On the Confessions of the Swiss Reformation see Schaff: Creeds of Christendom, New York, 4th ed. 1884, vol. I. 354 sqq.
Biographies of Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Leo Judae, Bullinger, Haller, etc., will be noticed in the appropriate sections.
III. General Histories Of Switzerland. Müller (Joh. von, the classical historian of Switzerland, d. 1809): Geschichte der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft, fortgesetzt von Glutz-Blotzheim (d. 1818) und Joh. Jac. Hottinger. Vols. V. and VII. of the whole work. A masterpiece of genius and learning, but superseded in its earlier part, where he follows Tschudi, and accepts the legendary tales of Tell and Grütli. The Reformation history is by Hottinger ( b. 1783, d. 1860), and was published also under the title Gesch. der Eidgenossen während der Zeit der Kirchentrennung. Zürich, 1825 and ’29, 2 vols It was continued by Vulliemin in his Histoire de la confédération suisse dans les XVIIe et XVIIe siècles. Paris and Lausanne, 1841 and ’42. 3 vols. The first of these three volumes relates to the Reformation in French Switzerland, which was omitted in the German work of Hottinger, but was afterwards translated into German by others, and incorporated into the German edition (Zürich, 1786–1853, 15 vols.; the Reformation period in vols. VI.–X.). There is also a complete French edition of the entire History of Switzerland by Joh. von Muller, Glutz-Blotzheim, Hottinger, Vulliemin, and Monnard (Paris et Genève, 1837–’51, 18 vols. Three vols. from Vulliemin, five from Monnard, and the rest translated).
Other general Histories of Switzerland by Zschokke (1822, 8th ed. 1849; Engl. transl. by Shaw, 1848, new ed. 1875), Meyer von Knonau (2 vols.), Vögelin (6 Vols.), Morin, Zellweger, Vulliemin (German ed. 1882), Dändliker (Zürich, 1883 sqq., 3 vols., illustr.), Mrs. Hug and Rich. Stead (London, 1890), and Dieraür (Gotha, 1887 sqq.; second vol., 1892).
Bluntschli (J. C., a native of Zürich, professor of jurisprudence and international law at Heidelberg, d. 1881): Geschichte des Schweizerischen Bundesrechts von den ersten ewigen Bünden his auf die Gegenwart. Stuttgart, 2d ed. 1875. 2 vols. Important for the relation of Church and State in the period of the Reformation (vol. I. 292 sqq.). L. R. von Salis: Schweizerisches Bundesrecht seit dem 29. Mai 1874. Bern, 1892. 3 vols. (also in French and Italian).
E. Egli: Kirchengeschichte der Schweiz bis auf Karl d. Gr. Zürich, 1892.
Comp. Rud. Stähelin on the literature of the Swiss Reformation, from 1875–1882, in Brieger’s "Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte," vols. III. and VI.