Daily Archives: 25 Nov 2017
In a letter to Bullinger, dated November 25, 1544, he adjured him to treat the great man, meaning Luther, with respect:—
“I hear that Luther assails not only you, but all of us, with horrible abuse. Now I can scarcely ask you to be silent, since it is not right to allow ourselves to be so undeservedly abused, without attempting some defence. It is difficult moreover to believe that such forbearance could do any good. I wish however that the following may be clearly understood:—in the first place, how great a man Luther is; by what extraordinary gifts he is distinguished; and with what energy of soul, with what perseverance, with what ability and success he has continued up to the present day to overthrow the kingdom of antichrist, and to extend at the same time the doctrine of salvation.
I have already often said, that were he to call me a devil, I should still continue to venerate him as a chosen servant of God, uniting with extraordinary virtues some great failings. Would to heaven that he had striven more to subdue those tempests of feeling which he has so continually allowed to break forth! Would that he had only employed that violence, so natural to him, against the enemies of the truth, and not against the servants of God! Would that he had exercised more care to discover his own defects!
Unhappily there was too great a crowd of flatterers about him, who added still more to the self-confidence peculiar to his nature. It is even our duty to view his failings in such a light, that we may the more properly estimate his extraordinary gifts.
I beg you therefore to bear in mind, that we have to do with one of the first servants of Christ; with one to whom we all owe much. I would also have you consider, that you could not possibly gain any advantage by entering into a struggle with him. You would only, by such a course, afford pleasure to the enemy, who would delight not so much in our defeat as in that of the Gospel.
People will everywhere willingly believe what is said, when we vilify and condemn each other. You must consider this, rather than what Luther may have deserved on account of his violence; lest that should happen to us of which Paul speaks, namely, that while we bite and devour one another, all may go to the ground. Nay, even should he challenge us to the contest, we must rather turn away than hazard by our twofold fall the injury of the church.”*
Calvin understood Luther better than Luther understood himself.
*Paul Henry and Henry Stebbing, The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer, vol. 2 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 15–16.
And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; to knit God’s holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ, until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. Then we shall no longer be children, or tossed one way and another, and carried hither and thither by every new gust of teaching, at the mercy of all the tricks people play and their unscrupulousness in deliberate deception (Eph. 4:11-14).
Incertus animi sum, an mala, quę nobis occurrunt (si tamen mala sunt), tibi significanda sint, homini supra modum clementię misericordięque dedito; vereor enim, nisi pręmuniero pectus tuum ἀλεξιφαρμάκοις, ne in tristiciam immoderatam incidas, tam es nostri studiosus. At mea precor tu eo animo feras, quo ipse fero; fero autem nunc ęquiter, qui tamen primum in eiulatum et luctum plus quam fęmineum prorupi, quod scilicet affectu repentino atque improviso obruerer; at mox me recepi, ut iam rursus mihi constem. Deo sit gratia. Ęque itaque feras, ut tandem rem aperiam, mortem germani nostri Andreę, optimę indolis adolescentis et spei maximę, quem heu pestis, sanguini, ut reor, nostro et glorię invidens, ipso die Elisabeth [19. Nov.] necavit, ad summum post annum, modo vixisset, ad te iturum, ut et tibi et filio per eum licuisset sine sudore gręcari. At tantum abest, ut cum deo expostulem, ut et me offeram. Hęc satis. Epistolam tuam aduc expecto et cantiones illas multivarias Xilotecto commodatas, quas nostri quottidie postulant.
Vale, et me iam orbum ama, ut solitus es. Pestis alioqui nihil crudescit; nam intra mensem haud scio, an supra 4 aut 5 homines ea interierint. Salvos opto uxorem, liberos, Xilotectum, provisorem, omnes.
Ex Tiguro ipso die Katarinę virginis anno etc. MCCCCCXX. Non habito domi nostrę, compulsus amicorum suasionibus potius, quam mortis metu etc. Mox redibo. Hęc scribo, ne mireris literas non solito more signatas. Salutat te Franciscus Zinggius. Myconio suo, rhetori Lucernano. – Dem schuolmeister gen Lucern.
I’ve decided to stop voting for any man for any public office. It’s time to give women a chance to fix the mess we’ve made of this country with its absurd politics and depraved politicians. #GiveWomenYourVotes
So please do.
Zwingli’s brother was with him in Zurich when he died of the plague. Zwingli, on the 25th of November, 1520, wrote the following to Myconius:
“Zwingli to Myconius. Greeting. I am doubtful whether the evils which befall me (if they are evils), ought to be communicated to you, who are a man of most sympathetic disposition. For I fear that if I do not warn you beforehand you will fall into unrestrained grief, so regardful are you of me. And yet I beseech that you will endure my misfortunes with a calm mind, even as I myself endure them. Because now I endure with equanimity what formerly threw me into spasms of grief and mourning more than feminine, when I was suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with sorrow.
Still I recovered myself, so that now once more I stand firm. Thanks be to God! And so do you take it calmly when I tell you of the death of my brother Andrew, a youth of great promise and excellent parts, whom the plague slew on St. Elizabeth day [November 19], envious (I think) of our blood and renown. Had he lived a year longer he would have come to you [at Lucern] to be instructed by you and your son in Greek. But so far am I from remonstrating with God that I am ready to offer myself. Enough of this.
“I am awaiting your letter and those manifold songs recommended by Zimmerman, for which our people here are looking daily.
“Farewell, and love me in my bereavement as you are accustomed to do. Except for my loss the plague grows no worse, for I do not know that within a month or so more than four or five have died. I send my good wishes for your wife and children, Zimmerman, the Provisor, and all.
“ZURICH, November 25, 1520.
“P. S. I am not at home, driven out rather by the persuasions of my friends, than by my own fears of death, and I shall soon return. So you will not wonder that this letter is not sealed in my usual fashion. Francis Zinck greets you.”
After Andrew died, Zwingli went to Einsiedeln for a visit with his old friends.
There’s a fantastic overview of Knox here- by the Germans! I guess the Scots can’t be bothered with Knox these days (and anyway, he’d hate the Church of Scotland with a passionate fire only Knox himself could muster).
Als wuchtige Steinfigur ist John Knox auf dem internationalen Reformationsdenkmal in Genf verewigt. Auch in seiner Heimatstadt Edinburgh erinnert eine Statue in der St. Giles’ Cathedral an den Schotten. Genf und Edinburgh sind zwei Stationen im Leben des streitbaren und unbeugsamen Theologen, der sich als wichtiger Wegbereiter der Reformation in Schottland einen Namen gemacht hat.
Read the whole brief but spectacular piece.