… was born in 1482, the son of a priest in Alsass, studied with Zwingli at Basle, and became his successor as priest at Einsiedeln, 1519, and his colleague and faithful assistant as minister of St. Peter’s in Zurich since 1523. He married in the first year of his pastorate at Zurich. His relation to Zwingli has been compared with the relation of Melanchthon to Luther. He aided Zwingli in the second disputation, in the controversy with the Anabaptists, and with Luther, edited and translated several of his writings, and taught Hebrew in the Carolinum.
Zwingli called him his “dear brother and faithful co-worker in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He was called to succeed the Reformer after the catastrophe of Cappel; but he declined on account of his unfitness for administrative work, and recommended Bullinger, who was twenty years younger. He continued to preach and to teach till his death, and declined several calls to Wurtemberg and Basle.
He advocated strict discipline and a separation of religion from politics. He had a melodious voice, and was a singer, musician, and poet, but excelled chiefly as a translator into German and Latin.
He wrote a Latin and two German catechisms, and translated Thomas à Kempis’ Imitatio Christi, Augustin’s De Spiritu et Litera, the first Helvetic Confession, and other useful books into German, besides portions of the Bible. He prepared also a much esteemed Latin version of the Old Testament, which is considered his best work. He often consulted in it his colleagues and Michael Adam, a converted Jew. He did not live to see the completion, and left this to Bibliander and Pellican. It appeared in a handsome folio edition, 1543, with a preface by Pellican, and was several times reprinted.
He lived on a miserable salary with a large family, and yet helped to support the poor and entertained strangers, aided by his industrious and pious wife, known in Zurich as “Mutter Leuin.”
Four days before his death, June 19, 1542, he summoned his colleagues to his chamber, spoke of his career with great humility and gratitude to God, and recommended to them the care of the church and the completion of his Latin Bible. His death was lamented as a great loss by Bullinger and Calvin and the people of Zurich. — Philip Schaff