Today With Zwingli: Why He Wrote His “Suggestio deliberandi super propositione Hadriani Nerobergae facta”

zw.jpgA friend, writing from Ravensburg, in Wurtemberg, twenty-two miles east-north-east of Constance, had informed Zwingli, under date of November 2, 1522, that at the Imperial Diet at Nuremberg that year it was declared that the Pope had four plans in hand: “peace between Cæsar and Pompey [i. e., between the Emperor and the King of France]; the annihilation of the cause of Luther; the reform of the Church; and a war against the Turks.”

This was the occasion of Zwingli’s Latin pamphlet, hastily written as usual, entitled: “A suggestion of the advisability of reflecting upon the proposal made by Pope Adrian to the princes of Germany at Nuremberg; written by one who has deeply at heart the welfare of the Republic of Christ in general and of Germany in particular.”

It is characterised by Zwingli’s qualities of clear-mindedness, candour, modesty, and Christian zeal. It contains several skilful quotations of Scripture. It expresses great scepticism as to the reality of the alleged papal schemes except the crushing of Luther; and against that it utters an emphatic protest. No reformation could come from Rome.*

Zwingli concludes this little Flugschrift thusly:

Summa summarum: Nemo tam hebes sit, ut propter Romanenses, qui Germaniam tot sęculis riserunt, quicquam tumulti excitet etiamsi Christi causa non ageretur; iterum nemo tam servili ac abiecto animo, ut, ultro oblata libertate, nolit ea iuxta Pauli verbum potius uti, quam infructuosę imo detrimentosę, servitutis loris teneri. Esaię 8 [Jes. 8. 9f.]: Congregamini populi et vincemini, et audite universę procul terrę! Confortamini et vincemini, accingite vos et vincemini, inite consilium et dissipabitur, loquimini verbum et non fiet, quia nobiscum deus.

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*Samuel Macauley Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (Heroes of the Reformation; New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Knickerbocker Press, 1901), 176–177.