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After the disaster at Cappel, he removed to Zürich, and was unanimously elected by the Council and the citizens preacher of the Great Minster, Dec. 9, 1531. It was rumored that Zwingli himself, in the presentiment of his death, had designated him as his successor. No better man could have been selected. It was of vital importance for the Swiss churches that the place of the Reformer should be filled by a man of the same spirit, but of greater moderation and self-restraint.*
Bullinger now assumed the task of saving, purifying, and consolidating the life-work of Zwingli; and faithfully and successfully did he carry out his task. When he ascended the pulpit of the Great Minster on Dec. 23, 1531, many hearers thought that Zwingli had risen from the grave.† He took a firm stand for the Reformation, which was in danger of being abandoned by timid men in the Council. He kept free from interference with politics, which had proved ruinous to Zwingli. He established a more independent, though friendly relation. between Church and State. He confined himself to his proper vocation as preacher and teacher.
In the first years he preached six or seven times a week; after 1542 only twice, on Sundays and Fridays. He followed the plan of Zwingli in explaining whole books of the Scriptures from the pulpit. His sermons were simple, clear, and practical, and served as models for young preachers. He was a most devoted pastor, dispensing counsel and comfort in every direction, and exposing even his life during the pestilence which several times visited Zürich. His house was open from morning till night to all who desired his help. He freely dispensed food, clothing and money from his scanty in
* Pestalozzi, p. 25: "Zwingli und Bullinger—welche Verschiedenheit! Zwingl's rasches, feuriges Temperament, Bullinger's Ruhe und Gelassenheit; Zwingli's schneidender, stechender Witz, Bullinger's einlässliche Gründlichkeit; daher auch Zwingli's Kürze, Bullinger's Ausführlichkeit in den meisten seiner Arbeiten. Wie geeignet zur gegenseitigen Ergänzung!"
+"Talem concionem detonavit," wrote Myconius to Schenck, "ut multi putarent Zwinglium non defunctum, sed ad Phænicis modum renatum esse.” Hottinger, Helv. K. Gesch, III. 28.
come and contributions of friends, to widows and orphans, to strangers and exiles, not excluding persons of other creeds. He secured a decent pension for the widow of Zwingli, and educated two of his children with his own. He entertained perse
cuted brethren for weeks and months in his own house, or procured them places and means of travel.*
He paid great attention to education, as superintendent of the schools in Zürich. He filled the professorships in the Carolinum with able theologians, as Pellican, Bibliander, Peter Martyr. He secured a well-educated ministry. He prepared, in connection with Leo Judæ, a book of church order, which was adopted by the Synod, Oct. 22, 1532, issued by authority of the burgomaster, the Small and the Great Council, and continued in force for nearly three hundred years. It provides the necessary rules for the examination, election, and duties of ministers (Predicanten) and deans (Decani), for semi-annual meetings of synods with clerical and lay representatives, and the power of discipline. The charges were divided into eight
districts or chapters. †
Bullinger's activity extended far beyond the limits of Zürich. He had a truly Catholic spirit, and stood in correspondence with all the Reformed Churches. Beza calls him "the common shepherd of all Christian Churches; " Pellican, "a man of God, endowed with the richest gifts of heaven for God's honor and the salvation of souls." He received fugitive Protestants from Italy, France, England, and Germany with open arms, and made Zürich an asylum of religious liberty. He thus protected Celio Secondo Curioni, Bernardino Ochino, and Peter Martyr, and the immigrants from Locarno, and aided in the organization of an Italian congregation in Zürich. Following the example of Zwingli and Calvin, he appealed twice to the king of France for toleration in behalf of the Huguenots. * See the beautiful description of Pestalozzi, pp. 153 sqq.
There are copies of several editions of this book in the City Library at Zürich, of 1532, 1535, 1563, etc. It is also printed in Simler's Sammlung alter und neuer Urkunden, I. 25–73.
He dedicated to Henry II. his book on Christian Perfection (1551), and to Francis II. his Instruction in the Christian Religion (1559). He sent deputations to the French court for the protection of the Waldenses, and the Reformed congregation in Paris.
The extent of Bullinger's correspondence is astonishing. It embraces letters to and from all the distinguished Protestant divines of his age, as Calvin, Melanchthon, Bucer, Beza, Laski, Cranmer, Hooper, Jewel, and crowned heads who consulted him, as Henry VIII., Edward VI., of England, Queen Elizabeth, Henry II. of France, King Christian of Denmark, Philip of Hesse, and the Elector Frederick of the Palatinate. Bullinger came into contact with the English Reformation from the time of Henry VIII. to the reign of Elizabeth, especially during the bloody reign of Mary, when many prominent exiles fled to Zurich, and found a fraternal reception under his hospitable roof. The correspondence of Hooper, Jewel, Sandys, Grindal, Parkhurst, Foxe, Cox, and other church dignitaries with Bullinger, Gwalter, Gessner, Simler, and Peter Martyr, is a noble monument of the spiritual harmony between the Reformed Churches of Switzerland and England in the Edwardian and Elizabethan era. Archbishop Cranmer invited Bullinger, together with Melanchthon, Calvin, and Bucer, to a conference in London, for the purpose of framing an evangelical union creed; and Calvin answered that for such a cause he would be willing to cross ten seas. Lady Jane Grey, who was beheaded in 1554, read Bullinger's works, translated his book. on marriage into Greek, consulted him about Hebrew, and addressed him with filial affection and gratitude. Her three letters to him are still preserved in Zürich. Bishop Hooper of Gloucester, who had enjoyed his hospitality in 1547, addressed him shortly before his martyrdom in 1554, as his "revered father and guide," and the best friend he ever had, and recommended his wife and two children to his care. Bishop Jewel, in a letter of May 22, 1559, calls him his "father and much esteemed master in Christ," thanks him for his "courtesy and
kindness," which he and his friends experienced during the whole period of their exile, and informs him that the restoration of the reformed religion under Elizabeth was largely due to his own "letters and recommendations;" adding that the Queen refused to be addressed as the head of the Church of England, feeling that such honor belongs to Christ alone, and not to any human being. Bullinger's death was lamented in England as a public calamity.*
Bullinger faithfully maintained the doctrine and discipline of the Reformed Church against the Roman Catholics and Lutherans, with moderation and dignity. He never returned the abuse of fanatics, and when, in 1548, the Interim drove the Lutheran preachers from the Swabian cities, he received them hospitably, even those who had denounced the Reformed doctrines from the pulpit. He represents the German Swiss type of the Reformed faith in substantial agreement with a moderate Calvinism. He gave a full exposition of his theological views in the Second Helvetic Confession.
His theory of the sacrament was higher than that of Zwingli. He laid more stress on the objective value of the institution. We recognize, he wrote to Faber, a mystery in the Lord's Supper; the bread is not common bread, but venerable, sacred, sacramental bread, the pledge of the spiritual real presence of Christ to those who believe. As the sun is in heaven, and yet virtually present on earth with his light and heat, so Christ sits in heaven, and yet efficaciously works in the hearts of all believers. When Luther, after Zwingli's death, warned Duke Albert of Prussia and the people of Frankfort not to tolerate the Zwinglians, Bullinger replied by sending to the duke a translation of Ratram nus' tract, De corpore et sanguine Domini, with a preface. He rejected the Wittenberg Concordia of 1536, because it concealed the Lutheran doctrine. He answered Luther's atrocious attack on the Zwinglians (1545) by a clear, strong, and temperate statement; but Luther died soon after* See the letters of Barlow to Simler (Bullinger's son-in-law), and Bishop Cox to Gwalter, in Zürich Letters, pp. 494 and 496.
wards (1546) without retracting his charges. When Westphal renewed the unfortunate controversy (1552), Bullinger supported Calvin in defending the Reformed doctrine, but counseled moderation.* He and Calvin brought about a complete agreement on the sacramental question in the Consensus Tigurinus which was adopted in 1549 at Zürich, in the presence of some members of the Council, and afterwards received the approval of the other Swiss Reformed churches.†
On the doctrine of Predestination, Bullinger did not go quite as far as Zwingli and Calvin, and kept within the infralapsarian scheme. He avoided to speak of the predestination of Adam's fall, because it seemed irreconcilable with the justice of the punishment of sin. The Consensus Genevensis (1552), which contains Calvin's rigorous view, was not signed by the pastors of Zürich. Theodor Bibliander, the father of biblical exegesis in Switzerland, and a forerunner of Arminianism, opposed it. He adhered to the semi-Pelagian theory of Erasmus, and was involved in a controversy with Peter Martyr, a strict Calvinist, who taught in Zürich since 1556. Bibliander was finally removed from his theological professorship (Feb. 8, 1560), but his salary was continued till his death (Nov. 26, 1564).§
On the subject of toleration and the punishment of hereties, Bullinger agreed with the prevailing theory, but favorably differed from the prevailing practice. He opposed the
Anabaptists in his writings, as much as Zwingli, and, like Melanchthon, he approved of the unfortunate execution of Servetus, but he himself did not persecute. He tolerated
* 1 Apologetica Defensio, etc., February, 1556.
Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, I. 471 sqq., and the literature there quoted.
In the Second Helvetic Confession, ch. VIII., he dismisses the curious questions, whether God would have Adam fall, or whether he forced him to fall, or why he did not hinder his fall, and such like," and says that it is sufficient to know that God did forbid our first parents to eat of the fruit, and punished them for disobedience.
A fuller statement in Schaff, Creeds, I. 474 sqq., and especially Schweizer, Central-dogmen, I. 139, 158-292.