« FöregåendeFortsätt »
his sphere of usefulness, he was in- ing monastery dedicated to St. vited by Christopher of Uttenheim, Bridget. But he stipulated with the Bishop of Basle, to accept the monks, that he should be at liberchief parish in that city, whither ty to pursue his studies, entertain he removed in 1515. One of his his own views on religious subjects, first works at leisure hours was to and depart when he pleased. His .compose six Christian tragedies; mind was ill at ease; for, while he which might indeed be a pleasant saw the propriety of further quaemploy for one who had a peculiar lification for the work of the mifacility in poetical composition, and nistry, by retirement, prayer, and were doubtless
opposed to the silly study, yet he could not but feel mysteries, or plays, enacted by conscious that he was deserting an friars in the middle ages; but there important post, and that he might were many sentiments contained in be constrained to resume the task them which a better knowledge of of public instruction. The monks, Christianity led him to renounce, thinking themselves honoured by and which induced him to refrain the presence of so distinguished a from printing them. Had they, guest, were very flattering in their however, been unexceptionable in attentions, and wrought so much point of doctrine and expression, on his easy temper, that he seemed the eligibility of this mode of con- no way inclined to quit his lodging. veying religious instruction is very The zealous Capito did not cease questionable, though similar pro- from exhorting him to consider the ductions have issued from most culpability of his conduct in thus respectable members of reformed hiding his light under a bushel. communities.
Beginning at length to rouse himAcceding to the wishes of his self, and finding a stimulating friends in accepting the doctorate, counteraction to the narcotic influhe was associated with the learned ence of the walls of the monastery Erasmus in editing Annotations on in the very superstition of its inhathe New Testament, and that emi- bitants, he was stirred up to comnent scholar acknowledged in the pose a treatise on confession, in preface the obligation he was under which he spoke so plainly against to him for his valuable assistance. many absurdities of the Papists, - He was nextingited by the Canons that the monks began to dislike -of Augsburg to preach in their ca- - him as much as they before adthedral, but though he undertook mired him, and feared lest they the office he soon relinquished it. should be brought into trouble by It appears by his own confession his longer continuance among -afterwards, made to Pirkheimer, the Some of his adversaries a Nuremberg noble, and counsel- threatening death or imprisonment, lor to Charles V. that a timidity of the monks advised him to consult disposition, and reservedness of both his own safety and their quiet, character, operating on a weak by seeking another residence. He constitution and distrust of per- did not, however, yield to their sonal fitness, induced him to retire desire till he had sharply rebuked from a pulpit in which he might them for their doctrinal and prachave preached the doctrines of jus- tical errors, and exhorted them to tification and sanctification, embrace those truths which it which he had clear notions, though would be their condemnation to not as yet free from admission of reject, now that he had faithfully the authority of the Pope and tran- proclaimed them. substantiation. He suffered him- The tenets of Zuinglius, meanself to be led away so far by his while, were countenanced by the diffidence, as to enter a neighbour- most able Basilian divines. Čapito
lectured with much purity on the God, and so resting satisfied. Gospel of St. Matthew, and was Which is, indeed, of little benefit; seconded by Hedio, Luthart, and and I almost think they might as Pellican. Ecolampadius, having well be employed in their usual passed two years in his monastic occupations. For the whole world retreat, became more and more as- is the Christian's temple, and he similated to those worthy men in delights to pray always, and worsentiment. In 1521, he repaired ship God in spirit and in truth, as to the castle of Ebenburg, belong- he requires, and with ejaculations ing to Francis of Seckingen, a no- and thanksgiving. The principal bleman who protected such learned object of ecclesiastical structures characters as inclined to the doc- is, the more convenient proclamatrines of the Reformers. Here the tion of the word, and celebration fruits of his prayer and study more of the sacraments; not so much evidently appeared. He had search- for praying and singing: although, ed for understanding as for hid trea- indeed, in our day the word of sure, and had proved the truth of God is made to give place to many those words, “ He that seeketh noises and shoutings, for so some findeth.” He thus writes to Hedio people's singing is called by the in defence of performing service in Prophets, and placed in the back the vulgar tongue; “ As F. Von ground. It was for this reason Seckingen, a very distinguished that I proposed to my patron to knight of Germany, and Captain instruct his household by some in the Emperor's army, hath sent daily sacred reading; and it was for me to instruct his household; thought by him, as a man of good yea, rather to feed it with spiritual sense, and by those noble persons sermons, being long since instruct- Diether of Talburg, and Hartmut ed; I thought it my first duty to of Cronberg, both real Christians, take care that the evangelical law as yoų well know, that it would be should be made familiar in it, for the advantage of the pious whereby it might grow in the true poor, if the ordinary custom of and sincere study of Christianity; preaching only on the Lord's day, even peace, gentleness, modera- and saying mass the whole week, tion, charity, piety, and, above all, were inverted: that rather the becoming confidence in God. And word of the Lord should be pubthrough Lent, I had the opportu- lished every day, and service pernity of expounding and translating formed on Sundays and holydays the Gospel, read in Latin, and ex- alone, if indeed there should not horting my hearers, in a simple be time then for both mass and manner, to the cultivation of reli- sermon. I was of the same opigion. But after Easter this prac- nion. I entered also on a new tice was less convenient, as the fa- plan, and read in the vernacular mily having other calls could not dialect the Epistle and Gospel. so often attend worship. There That this was right and lawful, I are also a few individuals in whom was taught by the testimony of I perceive a little impatience, Paul; and so I held forth the word though the service is short. Ge- and did not withhold the sacrament, nerally speaking, however, here, though I did all in the usual time. as elsewhere, it is found that they The change was agreeable to all love daily hearing and the sight the congregation. And that I of the minister; even the hearing might not give unnecessary ofunintelligible mutterings, beholding fence by the suddenness of the ceremonies, attending the bene- alteration, I made it my busidiction, and in a perfunctory man- ness to prepare their minds by a ner commending themselves to familiar discourse, which I send you with this letter, as more fully customed: we are not yet come to explaining my motives; and in the thorns, the scourge, the cross, which you
will perceive that I im- the gall, &c. Let us prepare our proved to my purpose that text in minds; yea, let us pray, that at the Gospel, The hour cometh when whatever hour Christ shall call us, I will no more speak unto you in we may not be found lacking, no, parables *.”
not even in word; certain, that The sketch of the discourse is the greatest happiness of this life remarkable for its pathetic elo- is to venture for the sake of Christ! quence and affectionate piety; and I know, my friend, that you do the interesting epistle which ac- not require such exhortation; but companied it, which was sent in suffer me thus, in the mean time, June 1522, sufficiently shows the to confirm myself*.” Protestant turn of the writer's mind On the death of his patron he at this early period. It is pleasing returned to Basle, and, awaiting also to observe the contrast between the direction of Providence, he dehis present and former sentiments voted the interval to a translation on the subject of preaching. As of the sixty-six homilies of Chryif afraid that his friends should fall sostom on Genesis, and preached into his own snare, he exhorted or expounded to such as resorted them in his correspondence to zeal, to him, being chiefly supported by and boldness, and ministerial in- Cratander, a liberal printer. The tercession. In this very letter, he senate appointed him Professor of warns Hedio to expect opposition Divinity, when he publicly lecfrom the people of Mentz, to whom tured on Isaiah to a great conhe was at this time addressing some course of hearers, receiving an anfaithful discourses. He had also nual stipend. He afterwards pubwritten to him to the same effect a lished his Lectures dedicated to few months before. It was after the senate; and nker, the ingoing through his ministration on cumbent of St. Martin's, falling ill the last Sunday in Lent, he took of the gout, he was requested by up
his pen to pour out the fulness him and the churchwardens to take of his heart. “ How are you, my the office of preacher and assistant very dear Hedio? We have both minister, to the great joy of all who read aloud to-day, you to a large desired religious information, but flock, I to a little number, how to the extreme annoyance of the boldly Christ went forth to meet popish sophists. He gave them to his enemies; that he might set us understand, that he should deem an example of humility, patience, himself at liberty to attack the erand constancy. But what good rors of the Romish church. He celewould it do, if we were to bawl brated divine service, and baptized ourselves hoarse? This is done by infants, in the vulgar tongue; adsuch as are least in the kingdom of ministered the communion in both heaven. Let it be our aim to have kinds; declaimed against popish an unyielding courage, whenever traditions, purgatory, images, massLucifer stirs up war, and begins to es, holy water, palm-branches, &c. rage with loosened chain! To this and enlarged on the perfection and day we have experienced but slight sufficiency of the merits of Christ. trials: some inferior characters, of John Cochlæus, a learned and small consideration and less Chris- artful Romanist, wrote him a plautianity, blame the Gospel liberty, sible and flattering letter from Stutto which they have been little ac- gard in 1524, lamenting that sọ
* Gerdesius, v. i. Mon. Ant. p. 148. 169.
* Epist. (Ecol. et Zuing. L. iv. fol. 210, a.
excellent and able a character of the Lord prosper in his band. should wander in the paths of he- Labouring with much diligence, resy, beseeching him to return to many of the citizens as well as the orthodox faith, as he deemed peasants were brought to the knowit, and promising him a dispensa- ledge of the truth. At length, in tion from the Pope, and the situa-. the year 1529, the Reformation was tion of prior, if he would enter formally established. This was again into the monastery. He not, however, before great dissenwas proof, however, against this sions had taken place on account temptation, and unmoved at the of religion. The bishop and chapthreats of some bigoted clergy, who ter, disgusted at the growth of Prosought to stir up the people against testantism, had removed to Porenhim. The senate prudently sanc- trui, where they entered into allitioned his zeal, by commanding ance with the popish cantons for the preachers to abstain from railing support of the ancient system. The against each other.
reformed doctrine, however, contiAbout this time Blaurer, a gen- nued to be upheld by four coltleman of birth, who had entered leagues of Ecolampadius, Weisthe monastery of Alberspack in senburg, Birs, Luthart, and Geirthe duchy of Wirtemburg, having falk *. The senate ordered, that read Luther's works, left the order there should be an uniformity of and came home to his friends at doctrine; and that because mass Constance. The abbot got the continued in some churches, there Austrian governor to write to the should be a public conference, senate to send him back, on which he when they might come to a fixed composed a narrative of the whole resolution. But the Papists could affair, and proposed conditions of not be brought to terms, supported return, which his superior did not probably by some of the leading think proper to accept. He sent magistrates; on which the comhis work to Capito, who in his turn monalty reminded the senate of exhorted him to refrain from giving their order, and prayed its execuit circulation. colampadius also tion. They even demanded that addressed an epistle to him, in those senators who encouraged the which he dissuades him from the Romish pastors should be expelled, course which he was taking of as instigators' of tumult. This re: publishing excuses for his conduct. quest being rejected by that body, * The world,” says he, “ is sick of the citizens assembled in the Franapologies. Your case does not re- ciscan church, and considered that quire them, sanctioned as it is by their liberties were endangered by the senate of your country. It is a party who were forming an arisuseless to think of removing all tocracy. They therefore sent destumbling-blocks out of the way of puties, who were charged not to the Pharisees. My brother, we petition as before, but to admonish must learn to bear with those who the senate of its duty; wbile cerrevile, execrate, and abominate tain persons paraded the streets to
We must bear with them for watch the motions of the governthe sake of Him who was number- ment, but without arms. Towards ed with the transgressors.” In an evening an answer came from the other letter he entreated him with senate, that its obnoxious members much seriousness “to lay aside the should retain their places, but not monastic habit, and become a attend when affairs of religion were preacher of the true Gospel *. discussed; which so much dis
This holy pastor found the work pleased them, that they protested
* Epist. L. ir. bol. 196 ct 175.
* Schultetus, Annal. Dec. i. p. 216.
they would take measures, not for country throughout their jurisdicmaintaining the cause of the Gos- tion; and also, that two hundred pel, but in support of their civil and sixty of the commons should rights. They accordingly ran to be associated with the senate in arms, and occupied the principal their deliberations on religious and stations, not in a way of insurrec- secular matters. With these contion, but precaution.
cessions which showed the popular The next day, which was the ascendancy, the citizens were satisninth of February, the consul Mel- fied, and returned to their homes. tinger with the senator Eglin Of- On the third day, which hapfenburger made their escape down pened to be Ash-wednesday, the the river, unknown to the rest of government thought it expedient to the government. The senate mean- gratify the populace by distributing while desired time to deliberate, the wooden images among them for and proposed an arbitration, to the purpose of fuel. But finding which the citizens-agreed, on con- that the measure only led to quardition that the obnoxious members rels and fights, they ordered them should prosecute their suit at their to be burnt in the open space before own private charges, but that the the cathedral.
" And so it hapexpenses of the commons should be pened,” observes the Reformer with defrayed out of the public purse. some point but quaintness, “ that The citizens did not, however, relax on the very day in which the popish their guard, and some of those who clergy used to sprinkle the forewere going the rounds of the city heads of the people with ashes to entered the cathedral, where in remind them that themselves were joke they opened a case of images, dust and ashes, the citizens had and pushed at one, which fell down the satisfaction of seeing the idols and broke in pieces, the accident reduced to ashes *.” being immediately followed by the Having thus attained his highest destruction of others; but on the wishes in his own state, he was acremonstrance of the priests, they tively employed in promoting the desisted and left the church. A cause of the Reformation in every rumour however reaching the mar- direction. In March, he wrote to ket-place, that there was an affray Capito, requesting him to find out between the Papists and Protest- some pious and judicious minister ants, three hundred armed men whom they might send to Soleure. rushed to the supposed scene of In April, he was the instrument of action; but not finding their bre- persuading the learned Simon Grythren, they forced an entrance into næus, who had embraced the rethe cathedral, and destroyed every formed doctrines, to accept the image, and afterwards proceeded post of Greek professor at Basle. to the other churches, where they In Septemher, October, and Nocompleted the same work of ruin. Vember, he addressed some apoSome of the senators hastening to stolic exhortations to the clergy of the rioters, the latter called out, Mulhausen, with a view to encou“What you have been consulting rage them in scriptural truth, and about these three years, we have holy living, and mutual peace. He despatched in one hour.” This had the pleasure of seeing the outrage alarmed the senators so work of Protestantism succeed at much, that they granted all that Constance under Blaurer; while was required of them. Twelve with his revered and beloved Zuinmembers were expelled their body, glius be maintained that faithful and and it was decreed that mass should affectionate correspondence, which be abolished, and images broken down, both in the city, and in the * Epist. ad Capitonem, 13th Feb. 1529.