The First Disputation had set the stage for Zwingli’s Reformatory efforts and the Second, which was held for 3 days with over 900 participants, sealed the deal. At the end of the Disputation there would be no turning back. Zwingli would live another 8 years and would achieve much, but the solidification of his work would have to wait for Bullinger.
Of the Disputation, Schaff writes
Konrad Schmid of Küssnacht took a moderate position, and produced great effect upon the audience by his eloquence. His judgment was, first to take the idolatry out of the heart before abolishing the outward images, and to leave the staff to the weak until they are able to walk without it and to rely solely on Christ. The Council was not prepared to order the immediate abolition of the mass and the images. It punished Hottinger and other “idol-stormers” by banishment, and appointed a commission of ministers and laymen, including Zwingli, Schmidt and Judae, who should enlighten the people on the subject by preaching and writing. . Zwingli prepared his “Short and Christian Introduction,” which was sent by the Council of Two Hundred to all the ministers of the canton, the bishops of Constance, Basle, and Coire, the University of Basle, and to the twelve other cantons (Nov. 17, 1523).
S.M. Jackson writes in his biography of Zwingli –
The first day was given to a debate upon the proposition: the Church images are forbidden by God and Holy Scripture, and therefore Christians should neither make, set up, nor reverence them, but they should be removed. It was resolved to remove them wherever it could be done without disturbance or wounding tender consciences.
Those in prison for the offence of removing them were recommended to mercy, and the burgomaster promised to spare them.
The second and third days were taken up in discussing this proposition: the mass is no sacrifice, and hitherto has been celebrated with many abuses, quite different from its original institution by Christ. The debate being now on a burning question was livelier. Zwingli shrewdly avoided a plain statement as to the exact nature of the elements, for the time had not come for his radical stand, but he showed wherein a representation differed from a repetition of Christ’s sacrifice. He confessed that transubstantiation and its defenders, especially the monks, had too frequently been attacked by abuse rather than by argument, but stoutly declared that the monks were hypocrites, and monasticism was of the devil. The debate on the third day began at noon, and was in continuation of the preceding. But although so much time was consumed, no decision was arrived at, except to let the Council handle it.
It was perhaps noticed that the debate on the third day did not begin till noon. The explanation is that Zwingli preached that morning. So many country preachers could not separate without having a sermon from the leading city preacher. Many months later he expanded the discourse by urgent request, and published it March 26, 1524. It is called “The Shepherd.” In it he contrasts the good and the false shepherds. He set plainly before them the prospect that fidelity would lead to martyrdom. Such was the fate he expected for himself, as appears from his letters.