We shall be Christians glorified together with Christ, blessed in God, rejoicing with perpetual pleasure always in the sight of God, and evermore giving thanks to God. For he cannot choose but be merry always and thankful, who, being once in danger and fear of death, is now made secure in immortality. - Heinrich Bullinger
I like several of them anyway:
For your Reformation(s) day reading pleasure, a snippet from the longest serving of all the Reformers- Heinrich Bullinger:
BULLINGER AN WERNER [STEINER]
Bremgarten, 31. Oktober 1530
— — — qui a , si pollicitationem suam stultam et incogitatam aut vino inscripsisset aut remisisset, posteaquam cerneret voti atrocitatem, minus peccasset et venia dignus erat; nunc vero cum atrocem etiam pollicitationem opere, iam non nescius quid ageret, crudeliter perficit, scelus etiam designavit.
Verum equidem esse fateor id omnino opere complendum esse, quod semel voveris, idem enim suadet veritatis honestas et decus, mendatii item et inconstantiae infamia, sed si interim votum eiusmodi sit, ut opere perfectum in nephas non abeat aut infamiam inurat. Quod si aut infamat aut scelus est, praestat quidem verbis tantum peccasse, quam male sana facta malis iungere verbis.
Habemus autem huius rei typum in sacris fortissimum illum et prudentissimum Hebreorum imperatorem Iephthae. Is enim deo vovebat parricidium, sed nescius, quod rem usqueadeo funestam voveret. At ubi depraehendit, an non prudentius et melius egisset, si a parricidio sibi temperasset? Nemo negat, cum etiam losephus Judaeus alias factum Iephthae plurimum accuset , quod eius sacrifitium sive votum deo non fuerit charum neque legitimum, quin et apud omnes ecclesiasticos inolevit Iephthae quidem in vovendo fuisse stultum, sed in solvendo etiam impium. Notissima enim omnibus est ista Hieronymi sententia . Hic vero audi, quam constanter in voto pergat Iephthae: «Aperui», inquit, «os meum ad dominum, et aliud facere non potero» [Ri 11,35]. Sic enim sibi persuaserat nullo alio argumento nisi quod vovisset, non secus atque tu iam iam obiecisti te omnino vovisse, unde etiam incunctanter preastandum sit. Interim rectius fecisset Iephthae, si hoc, quod per votum fecit, non fecisset. Iccirco velimus nolimus conditionem admittunt haec legis verba: Quicquid voveris verbo, facto adimplebis ; hanc videlicet: si iuste, sancte et legitime voveris. Neque enim frustra additur: «Si voveris domino deo tuo»[Dtn 23,21]. Nam quod impium est vel illegitimum, deo gratum non est, ergo votum non est; proinde melius fuerit ab impio facto abstinere, quam stulta verba seu vota impie perficere.*
Bullinger wrote over 10,000 letters… just, wow. He was, by far, the most influential theologian in Europe for the last half of the 16th century. His reach extended to every corner of the continent and the British Isles. Indeed, when the Swiss were trying to come to some agreement concerning the Lord’s Supper it was Calvin who asked for Bullinger’s advice and who visited Zurich to consult the great man.
Bullinger, whose work has, besides the Decades and a few small tracts, never been translated, wrote so much instructive material (328 titles) that it’s high time he receive the recognition his life and work deserve.
Copyright: Uni Zürich Theologische Fakultät
Band 1, p. 200
- Heinrich Bullinger’s Death (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- In Which Bullinger Explains the Function of Trials in the Christian’s Life (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Fun Facts From Church History: Bullinger and Denmark (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Fun Facts from Church History: Bullinger’s Thoughts on Servetus (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Second Only To Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger (1504 – 1575) (thesimplewomansdaybook.com)
Is the freedom to read and read and read some more. Presently I’m enjoying a bit of Bullinger’s correspondence- mentioned the other day as freely available here.
Mercifully the local airport has free wi-fi (all airports should) so I can access to my heart’s content all the Bullinger and Zwingli I want.
It’s a glorious time to be alive. More as the journey to #cpc2013 continues.
Heinrich Bullinger was very interested in persuading the Danes that the Swiss Reformation was worth considering (rather than the Lutheran) and he wrote De gratia Dei justificante nos propter Christum per solam fidem absque operibus bonis, fide interim exuberante in opera bona, libri IV. ad sereniss. Daniæ regem Christianum to prove it.
It is such a well written book that none less than Philip Melanchthon thought very highly of it!
Nevertheless, the Danish Reformation, led by Hans Tausen, was and remained essentially Lutheran (which explains why Danes are not as Reformed as they should be…)
Yesterday we received the documents in the case of Servetus, and have since been studying them in view of our reply. But we should like to know what your answer is before we send ours. We therefore entreat you immediately to inform us of its tenor. Yet wherefore so much ado! the man is a heretic, and the Church must get rid of him. Let me, however, I beseech you, speedily know the conclusion you have come to.
R. Willis remarks
The Zürich pastor would seem to have been the most active of all the ministers in collecting and imparting information of a kind that would lead to unanimity of conclusion among the Churches and Councils. His friend, Ambrose Blaurer, acknowledging receipt of a letter from him communicating the decision of Zürich, says that he ‘had thought the pestilent Servetus, whose book he had read twenty years ago, must long since have been dead and buried.’ But the … man must add further: ‘We are surely tried by heresies and satanic abortions of the sort, in order that they who are steadfast in the faith may be made known.’*
*R. Willis, Servetus and Calvin: a study of an important epoch in the early history of the reformation, p. 460.
This flesh of ours, truly, in peace and quietness is indolent, lazy, drowsy, and slow to good and honest work; it is content, and seeks no further than earthly things; it is wholly given to pleasures; it utterly forgets God and godly things: now therefore it is not expedient only, but also very necessary, to have this dull and sluggish lump stirred up and exercised with troubles, afflictions, and sharp persecutions. The saints herein are like to iron, which by use is somewhat worn and diminished, but by lying still unoccupied is eaten more with rust and canker. – Heinrich Bullinger
Put in simpler terms- trials stir the indolent to action and preserve believers from uselessness.
How much the more noble and wise the princes were, so much the more diligence they employed in repairing schools, and restoring ecclesiastical order.
That is, the wiser the government the more it invested in good schools and the morality which religion (specifically, Christianity) brought to citizens.
It’s a shame our own government doesn’t understand the value of good schools and good people. It only values greed. And that’s why our state is unstable and our citizenry driven by immorality.
We invest more in war than we do in learning. And those who live by the sword… well, do you know what? They die. By the sword.
This letter was written and sent to Zurich by the Geneva City Council on 22 September 1553 and concerns the Servetus affair-
To the Burgomaster and Council of Zürich.
Geneva, September 22, 1553.
High and mighty Lords!—We know not if your Lordships are aware that we have in hand a prisoner, Michael Servetus by name, who has written and had printed a book containing many things against our religion. This we have shown to our ministers; and, although we have no mistrust of them, we desire to communicate the work to you, in order that, if it so please you, you may lay it before your clergy, together with the replies and rejoinders that have been made in connection therewith. We therefore pray you to be good enough to submit the documents now sent to your ministers and request them to give us their opinion of their merits, to the end that we may bring the business, to which they refer, to a close.*
Zurich, its clergy led by Bullinger and its council willing to accept his theological judgment, gave Geneva the green light (though Bullinger urged again and again that Servetus be persuaded of the error of his ways- if at all possible). The cancer must be removed lest the entire body die.
*Willis, R., M. D. (1877). Servetus and Calvin: a study of an important epoch in the early history of the reformation (p. 448).
As for those which do earnestly affirm, that all points of godliness were taught by the apostles to the posterity by word of mouth, and not by writing, their purpose is to set to sale their own, that is, men’s ordinances instead of the word of God.
But against this poison, my brethren, take this unto you for a medicine to expel it. Confer the things, which these fellows set to sale under the colour of the apostles’ traditions, taught by word of mouth and not by writing, with the manifest writings of the apostles; and if in any place you shall perceive those traditions to disagree with the scriptures, then gather by and by, that it is the forged invention of men, and not the apostles’ tradition.
For they, which had one and the same Spirit of truth, left not unto us one thing in writing, and taught another thing by word of mouth. Furthermore, we must diligently search, whether those traditions do set forward the glory of God, rather than of men; or the safety of the faithful, rather than the private advantage of the priests.
And we must take heed of men’s traditions, especially since the Lord saith, “In vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines the precepts of men.” So that now the surest way is, to cleave to the word of the Lord left to us in the scriptures, which teacheth abundantly all things that belong to true godliness.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Heinrich.