Tag Archives: predestination

Today With Zwingli

First, in 1524, on 20 August, Zwingli published his delightful REPLY OF HULDREICH ZWINGLI TO JEROME EMSER, DEFENDER OF THE CANON OF THE MASS and second, on 20 August, 1530, his justly famous SERMON ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD appeared in print.  August 20 was a momentous day on at least two occasions for our dear Huldrych.

The latter work is introduced in its English rendering thusly:

AD ILLVSTRISSIMVM CATTORVM PRINcipem Philippum, sermonis De providentia Dei Anamnema.
VENITE AD ME OMNES QUI LAboratis et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos. Matth. XI.
Tigvri apvd Christophorvm Froschouer, Anno M.D. XXX.

160 octavo pages, numbered by leaves (2–80). Signed on p. 159: Tiguri XX. Augusti M.D. XXX. Opera Zwinglii, Tom. I, fol. 352a–379b; Schuler and Schulthess ed. Vol. IV, pp. 79–144. A German edition, translated by Leo Juda and printed by Froschouer in 1531, has the following title:

An den Durchlüchtigesten Fürsten vnd Herren, Herrn Philippen, Landgraff in Hessen, Von der Fürsichtigkeyt Gottes, ein büchlin inn Latin beschribenn durch Meister Huldrich Zwinglin. Vertütschet durch Leo Jud. Matth. XI. At the end, on p. 221: Getruckt zu Zürich by Christoffel Froschouer. M. D. XXXI. 224 unnumbered octavo pages. Finsler, Zwingli Bibliographie, Nos. 94 and 95.

The following English translation is based on one by Mr. Henry Preble. It was revised throughout by the editor.

The work of Zwingli “On the Providence of God” is a free reproduction from memory of a sermon, delivered by Zwingli at Marburg during the Marburg Colloquy, October 1–4, 1529. As rewritten by Zwingli the sermon has become a philosophical treatise. In his philosophy he follows principally Aristotle and the Stoics. The doctrine of God, starting from the conception of the Highest Being, is developed into a cosmological argument for the Being of God. Upon this basis the discussion of the Divine Providence proceeds, culminating in the question of Divine Predestination. It is the most abstruse as well as the most penetrating Latin work of Zwingli.

Even now it is a delightful read.

The Folly of Contending With God’s Decrees of Election or Reprobation

Foolish men contend with God in many ways, as though they held him liable to their accusations. They first ask, therefore, by what right the Lord becomes angry at his creatures who have not provoked him by any previous offense; for to devote to destruction whomever he pleases is more like the caprice of a tyrant than the lawful sentence of a judge. It therefore seems to them that men have reason to expostulate with God if they are predestined to eternal death solely by his decision, apart from their own merit. — Calvin

God is God, for Calvin, and free to decide whatever he wants to decide and if you don’t like it, well, too bad.  The universalists hate that so much that for them God elects everyone to salvation (in spite of the complete absence of any such notion in Scripture) and the angry atheists hate that so much that they attack a God which they don’t believe in (which is, by all accounts, more an indication of madness or mental illness than anything else).

God is God and he can indeed do whatever he wants.  And, truthfully, if you think God should do what you want instead of what he wants you really are quite unhinged.

Zwingli’s Understanding of Predestination