We know that the sabbath is ceremonial, so far forth as it is joined to sacrifices and other Jewish ceremonies, and so far forth as it is tied to a certain time: but in respect that on the sabbath-day religion and true godliness are exercised and published, that a just and seemly order is kept in the church, and that the love of our neighbour is thereby preserved, therein, I say, it is perpetual, and not ceremonial.
Even at this day, verily, we must ease and bear with our family; and even at this day we must instruct our family in the true religion and fear of God. Christ our Lord did no where scatter abroad the holy congregations, but did, as much as he could, gather them together.
Now, as there ought to be an appointed place, so likewise must there be a prescribed time, for the outward exercise of religion, and so, consequently, an holy rest. They of the primitive church, therefore, did change the sabbath-day, lest, peradventure, they should have seemed to have imitated the Jews, and still to have retained their order and ceremonies; and made their assemblies and holy restings to be on the first day of sabbaths, which John calleth Sunday, or the Lord’s day, because of the Lord’s glorious resurrection upon that day.
And although we do not in any part of the apostles’ writings find any mention made that this Sunday was commanded us to be kept holy; yet, for because, in this fourth precept of the first table, we are commanded to have a care of religion and the exercising of outward godliness, it would be against all godliness and christian charity, if we should deny to sanctify the Sunday: especially, since the outward worship of God cannot consist without an appointed time and space of holy rest.*
*The Decades of Henry Bullinger: The First and Second Decades, (pp. 259–260).
Daniel Timmerman has graciously sent along Luca Baschera’s two volumes of Bullinger’s New Testament commentaries- on Rom, 1 Cor, 2 Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, and Col. So I want to thank him publicly for the kindness. And Luca Baschera as well for his astonishing work. And TVZ for publishing things that most other publishers would deem unworthy because not destined to become New York Times best seller stuff.
TVZ publishes scholarship, and primary sources, and excellence and that’s why I love them so.
On “Monday after Dionysius’ Day,” i. e., on October 10, 1530, the Landgrave wrote urging him to hasten his admittance into the Christian Burgher Rights, and informing him that he had heard that the Gospel was making great headway in England, and that it would help the truth if some pious and learned man could be sent there to report.*
It wouldn’t, however, fall to Zwingli to see to it. In exactly one year and one day he would be murdered by the Papists at Kappel. Instead, his successor Heinrich Bullinger would develop the most expansive ‘network’ of friends of any of the Reformers and those contacts in England would keep him thoroughly advised and even send English clerics to Zurich for their education.
*Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (p. 334).
Before- the very letters of Bullinger himself-
After- the very letters of Bullinger himself transcribed and annotated and brilliantly edited-
via TVZ on FB
Get your own copy from TVZ here. This volume is the most recent to appear in the extremely useful series.
It is required at the hands of wedded couples to be mindful of the faith which they give and take, that they do not falsely deceive one another, but holily keep the promise that they make and troth that they plight, and to keep it sincerely both in body and mind. Let neither of them lust after the body of a stranger, nor conceive an hatred or loathsomeness of their wedded spouse. And thy body, thou that art a married man, is not thy body, but thy wife’s; as also thy wife’s body is not thy wife’s, but thine.
Thou stealest and dost commit a robbery, if thou take away another body’s goods; and, when thou hast conveyed it from the proper owner, dost give it to another. Let the mind of wedded mates be unspotted, and the body untouched. Every one, when he first cometh to solemnize wedlock by the holy ceremony ordained for that purpose, doth promise with an oath in the name of the Lord before God and the church, that he will use the company of no woman but her, that he will cleave to, love, and cherish her alone without any other. This faith once given whosoever doth violate, he is falsely forsworn, and is a breaker of a godly promise and God’s holy truth.*
If you find one in ten that act in marital purity (before and during the marriage) you have found a rarity.
*The Decades of Henry Bullinger: The First and Second Decades, (p. 406).
In 1535 Bullinger published this tractate, along with others, against the Catabaptists. Take a little time today and give it a read. It’s Memoriam Bullinger Day.
The old saying goes something like ‘we can only see so far as we do because we stand on the shoulders of giants’. In theology that is certainly true and one of the giantest of the giants is Heinrich Bullinger.
Heinrich Bullinger died on the 17th of September, 1575, after having served as the Pastor of the Great Minster in Zurich for over 4 decades. He wrote over 10,000 letters (!) – corresponding with persons all across Europe, including Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon and hundreds and hundreds of others.
In his heyday, he was far more influential in Britain and Switzerland than Calvin, and he authored dozens of books. But he is probably most well known (when he is known at all) as the author of the Second Helvetic Confession. Of his final months and death, Philip Schaff writes
His last days were clouded, like those of many faithful servants of God. The excess of work and care undermined his health. In 1562 he wrote to Fabricius at Coire: “I almost sink under the load of business and care, and feel so tired that I would ask the Lord to give me rest if it were not against his will.”
The pestilence of 1564 and 1565 brought him to the brink of the grave, and deprived him of his wife, three daughters, and his brother-in-law. He bore these heavy strokes with Christian resignation. In the same two fatal years he lost his dearest friends, Calvin, Blaurer, Gessner, Froschauer, Bibliander, Fabricius, Farel. He recovered, and was allowed to spend several more years in the service of Christ. His youngest daughter, Dorothea, took faithful and tender care of his health. He felt lonely and homesick, but continued to preach and to write with the aid of pastor Lavater, his colleague and son-in-law.
He preached his last sermon on Pentecost, 1575. He assembled, Aug. 26, all the pastors of the city and professors of theology around his sick-bed, assured them of his perseverance in the true apostolic and orthodox doctrine, recited the Apostles’ Creed, and exhorted them to purity of life, harmony among themselves, and obedience to the magistrates. He warned them against intemperance, envy, and hatred, thanked them for their kindness, assured them of his love, and closed with a prayer of thanksgiving and some verses of the hymns of Prudentius. Then he took each by the hand and took leave of them with tears, as Paul did from the elders at Ephesus.
A few weeks afterwards he died, after reciting several Psalms (51, 16, and 42), the Lord’s Prayer, and other prayers, peacefully, in the presence of his family, Sept. 17, 1575. He was buried in the Great Minster, at the side of his beloved wife and his dear friend, Peter Martyr. According to his wish, Rudolph Gwalter, Zwingli’s son-in-law and his [that is, Bullinger's] adopted son, was unanimously elected his successor. Four of his successors were trained under his care and labored in his spirit.
There has been a revival of interest in Bullinger in the last decade or so, with many of his more important works being published in a modern German edition of 7 volumes (along with the massive complete edition of his works which is still underway).
Heinrich Bullinger Werke. Zweite Abteilung. Briefwechsel. Band 16. Briefe von Januar bis Mai 1546.
Heinrich Bullinger Werke, Band WA2 = BW16
hg. von/ed. by Reinhard Bodenmann, Alexandra Kess, Judith Steiniger
Theologischer Verlag Zürich, Zürich, 2014, 443 S./pp.
Zur Verlagsseite/publisher’s website:
Great news from a great, great project! Remember, you can acquire TVZ publications in North America from ISD.