Throughout Zwingli’s time in Zurich his Catholic foes were itching to rid the Cantons of his influence. Their efforts naturally extended into the political realm and as a result by 1529 things were coming to a head. In early June, 1529, Zwingli wrote the Reformed cantons
“Be firm and do not fear war. For that peace which some are so urgently pressing upon us is not peace but war. And the war for which I am so insistent is peace, not war; for I do not thirst for the blood of anyone, nor will I drink it even in case of tumult. This is the end I have in view—the enervation of the oligarchy. Unless this takes place neither the truth of the Gospel nor its ministers will be safe among us. I have in mind nothing cruel, but what I do is friendly and paternal. I desire to save some who are perishing through ignorance. I am labouring to preserve liberty. Fear nothing; for we shall so manage all things with the goodness and the alliance of God that you shall not be ashamed nor displeased because of us.”
And then S. Jackson reports
But the first Cappel war was over as soon as it was begun. On June 10th the allies received a moving appeal from the chief magistrate of Glarus to await a proposition from the Five Cantons. Zwingli perceived the folly of treating with them and patching up a peace which secured none of the objects of the threatened war. He said to the bearer of the appeal: “You will have to give an account to God for this. While the enemy is weak and without arms, he speaks fair: you believe him and make peace. But when he is fully armed, he will not spare us, and then no peace will he make with us.” The man replied: “I trust in God that all will turn out well. Let us act always for the best.”
On June 11th, Zwingli wrote from the field to the Small and Great Councils of Zurich a long letter, in which he gave his idea of the necessary conditions for a lasting peace: I. The Forest Cantons must allow the Word of God to be freely preached among them. II. Pensions were to be for ever foresworn. III. Distribution of such pensions was to be punished corporally and by fine. IV. The Forest Cantons were to pay indemnity to Zurich and Bern.
Zwingli also composed the ‘Articles of Peace‘ which were published on the 16th of June, 1529. They begin
Artickel des fridens, den ünser herren möchtind annemen, doch uff hindersichbringen an ünser herren 1. Sittenmal in kurtzen jaren erst angefangen ist, gottes wort ynzwengen, und aber by ünseren vordren von ye welten har gottes wort nach vermög nüws und alts testaments ze predgen fry gewesen, so sol fürhin gottes wort nach vermög nüws und altes testaments fry gepredget werden ungestrafft und in allweg ungehindret in allen orten der Eydgnoschafft, in den undertonen und zuogewandten, soverr einer, das er predget, mit gottes wort erhalten mag.
Etc. They cover the same ground as the previously mentioned letter.
S.M. Jackson continues his description of the ‘War’-
While the negotiations were going on the camp of the Reformed was under strict discipline and daily religious services were held. Zwingli discovered that the pensioners were secretly working against him and naturally they had plenty of allies. Even Bern was indifferent in the matter. He then composed this hymn:
Lord, guide the car [of War] Thyself!
All our course becomes.
That would be joy
To our enemies,
Despise so wickedly.
God, elevate Thy Name
To the punishment
Of the wicked goats!
Love so ardently!
Help, so that all bitterness
May be far removed,
And old fidelity
May come back
And grow anew;
Ever may sing Thy praises!