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    Chapter 13

    A French Monk—He teaches in Switzerland—Dispute between Zwingle and the Monk—Discourse of the Commander of the Johannites—The Carnival at Berne—The Eaters of the Dead—The Skull of St. Anne—Appenzel—The Grisons—Murder and Adultery—Zwingle’s Marriage

    On Saturday the 12th of July there appeared in the streets of Zurich a monk of tall, thin, and rigid frame, wearing the gray frock of the Cordeliers, of foreign air, and mounted on an ass, which hardly lifted his bare feet off the ground. In this manner he had journeyed from Avignon, without knowing a word of German. By means of his Latin, however, he was able to make himself understood. Francis Lambert, for such was his name, asked for Zwingle, and handed him a letter from Berthold Haller. “This Franciscan father,” said the Bernese parish priest, “who is no other than the apostolical preacher of the convent-general of Avignon, has been teaching the christian truth for these last five years; he has preached in Latin before our priests at Geneva, at Lausanne before the bishop, at Friburg, and lastly at Berne, touching the church, the priesthood, the sacrifice of the mass, the traditions of the Romish bishops, and the superstitions of the religious orders. It seems most astonishing to me to hear such things from a gray friar and a Frenchman characters that presuppose, as you are aware, a whole sea of superstitions.” The Frenchman related to Zwingle how Luther’s writings having been discovered in his cell, he had been compelled to quit Avignon without delay; how, at first, he had preached the Gospel in the city of Geneva, and afterwards at Lausanne, on the shores of the same lake. Zwingle, highly delighted, opened the church of Our Lady to the monk, and made him sit in the choir on a seat in front of the high altar. In this church Lambert delivered four sermons, in which he inveighed forcibly against the errors of Rome; but in the fourth, he defended the invocation of Mary and the saints.HRSCV2 295.2

    “Brother! thou art mistaken,” immediately exclaimed an animated voice. It was Zwingle’s. Canons and chaplains thrilled with joy at the prospect of a dispute between the Frenchman and the heretical priest. “He has attacked you,” said they all to Lambert, “demand a public discussion with him.” The monk of Avignon did so, and at ten o’clock on the 22nd of July the two champions met in the conference hall of the canons. Zwingle opened the Old and New Testament in Greek and Latin; he continued discussing and explaining until two o’clock, when the French monk, clasping his hands and raising them to heaven, exclaimed: “I thank thee, O God, that by means of such an illustrious instrument thou has brought me to so clear a knowledge of the truth! Henceforth,” added he, turning to the assembly, “in all my tribulations I will call on God alone, and will throw aside my beads. Tomorrow I shall resume my journey; I am going to Basle to see Erasmus of Rotterdam, and from thence to Wittenberg to visit Martin Luther, the Augustine monk.” And accordingly he departed on his ass. We shall meet with him again. He was the first man who, for the cause of the Gospel, went forth from France into Switzerland and Germany; the humble forerunner of many thousands of refugees and confessors.HRSCV2 295.3

    Myconius had no such consolations: on the contrary, he was destined to see Sebastian Hofmeister, who had come from Constance to Lucerne, and there boldly preached the Gospel, forced to leave the city. Upon this Oswald’s sorrow increased. The humid climate of Lucerne was against him; a fever preyed upon him; the physicians declared that unless he removed to some other place, he would die. “Nowhere have I a greater desire to be than near you,” wrote he to Zwingle, “and nowhere less than at Lucerne. Men torment me, and the climate is wasting me away. My malady, they say, is the penalty of my iniquity: alas! whatever I say, whatever I do, turns to poison with them There is One in heaven on whom all my hopes repose.”HRSCV2 296.1

    This hope was not delusive. It was about the end of March, and the feast of the Annunciation was approaching. The day before the eve of this anniversary a great festival was observed in commemoration of a fire which in 1340 had reduced the greater part of the city to ashes. The streets of Lucerne were already crowded with a vast concourse of people from the surrounding districts, and several hundreds of priests were assembled. The sermon at this solemn feast was usually delivered by some celebrated preacher. The commander of the Johannites, Conrad Schmidt of Kussnacht, arrived to perform this duty. An immense congregation filled the church. Who shall describe the general astonishment, when the commander, laying aside the custom of preaching in Latin, spoke in German, so that all might understand him, explaining with authority and holy fervor the love of God in sending his Son, and proving eloquently that mere external works have no power to save, and that the promises of God are truly the essence of the Gospel! “God forbid,” exclaimed Conrad before the astonished people, “that we should acknowledge for our head a chief so full of sin as the Bishop of Rome, and reject Christ! If the Bishop of Rome distributes the nourishment of the Gospel, let us acknowledge him as our pastor, but not as chief; and if he distribute it not, let us in nowise acknowledge him.” Oswald could not contain himself for joy.” “What a man!” cried he, “what a sermon! what majesty! what authority! how full of the spirit of Christ!” The effect was general. A solemn silence succeeded the agitation that filled the city; but this merely transient. If the people stop their ears to the voice of God, his calls becomes less frequent every day, and even cease entirely. This was the case with Lucerne.HRSCV2 296.2

    While the truth was thus proclaimed from the pulpit at Berne, the papacy was attacked in the festive meetings of the people. Nicholas Manuel, a distinguished layman, celebrated for his poetical talents, and who had reached the highest offices of state, indignant at seeing his fellow-countrymen so unmercifully plundered by Samson, composed some carnival dramas, in which he assailed the covetousness, pomp, and haughtiness of the pope and clergy with the stinging weapons of satire. On the Shrove Tuesday “of the lords” (the lords were then the clergy, and began their Lent eight days before the people), nothing was talked of in Berne but a drama or mystery, entitled, The Eaters of the Dead, which some young persons were to act in the Rue de la Croix. The citizens crowded to the show. As a matter of art, these dramatic sketches at the commencement of the sixteenth century possess some interest; but it is with a very different view that we quote them in this place. We should prefer, doubtless, not to be obliged to quote, on the part of the Reformation, attacks of this nature; it is by other arms that truth prevails. But history does not create, she can only adduce what she finds.HRSCV2 296.3

    At last the show begins, to the great delight of the impatient crowd assembled in the Rue de la Croix. First appears the pope, covered with glittering robes, and sitting on a throne. Around him stand his courtiers, his guards, and a motley crowd of priests of every degree; behind them are nobles, laymen, and mendicants. Soon a funeral procession appears; it is a wealthy farmer they are carrying to his last home. Two of his relatives walk slowly in front of the coffin, with handkerchiefs in their hands. When the procession came before the pope, the bier was placed at his feet, and the acting began:—HRSCV2 296.4

    First Relation, in a sorrowful tone.Noble army of the saints!Hear, oh! hear our sad complaints:Our cousin’s dead… the yawning tomb Has swallow’d him in life’s first bloom.HRSCV2 296.5

    Second Relation.No cost to monk or priest we’ll spare;We’ve a hundred crowns for mass and prayer, If thus from purgatorial fire We can but save our ‘parted sire.HRSCV2 297.1

    The Sexton, coming out of the crowd around the pope, and running hastily to the parish priest, Robert More-And-More. A trifle to drink, sir priest, I crave! A farmer stout now goes to his grave.HRSCV2 297.2

    The Priest.But one! I only thirst the more!One dead! would it were half a score!The more the merrier then live we!Death is the best of games for me.HRSCV2 297.3

    The Sexton.Would it were so! ‘twould then be well!I’d rather toll a dead man’s knell Than from morn to night a field be tilling: He never complains, and to pay is willing.HRSCV2 297.4

    The Priest. If the death-knell opes the gate of heavenI know not.—But what’s that to me? With salmon and pike, with barbel and trout, It fills my house right merrily.HRSCV2 297.5

    The Priest’s Niece. ‘Tis well! But, look ye, I claim my share; Today this soul must for me prepare A gown of white, black, green, or red, And a pretty kerchief to deck my head.HRSCV2 297.6

    Cardinal High-Pride, wearing a red hat, and standing near the pope. Did we not love the heritage of death, Could we sweep off in life’s young prime On corpse-encumbered field such countless bands, Lured by intrigue, or else by envy urged? On Christian blood Rome fattens. Hence my hat And robe derive their sanguinary hue. My honors and my wealth are gain’d from death.HRSCV2 297.7

    Bishop Wolf’s-Belly. In the pope’s laws firm will I live and die. My robes are silken and my purse is full; The tournament and chase are my delight. In former times, when yet the Church was young, Clothed as simple villagers we went. We priests were shepherds—now, the peers of kings. And yet at times a shepherd’s life I love.HRSCV2 297.8

    A Voice. A shepherd’s life!HRSCV2 297.9

    Bishop Wolf’s Belly. Ay! at shearing time.—Shepherds and wolves are we: They, the poor sheep; and if they feed us not, They fall unpitied, by our ruthless fangs. Connubial sweets we are forbid to taste. ‘Tis well!—beneath this heavy yoke The purest falter:—this is better still. Scandals!—I heed him not: they fill my purse, And serve but to augment my princely train. The smallest profit never comes amiss. A priest with money only has to choose Among the fair—pays florins four—I’m blind. Has he a child?—again his purse must bleed. ‘Tis thus a good round sum I net each year,—Two thousand florins; but not e’en two pense Would fall to me, were they discreet and wise. All honor to the pope! With bended knee I bow before him. In his faith I’ll live, Defend his church, and own him as my god.HRSCV2 297.10

    The Pope. Now doth the faithless world at last believe That an ambitious priest can ope or shut At will the gates of heaven. Preach faithfully The ordinances of the conclave’s choice. Now are we kings—the layman, a dull thrall. Wave but the Gospel standard in the air, And we are lost. To offer sacrifice Or fee the priest, the Gospel teacheth not. Did we obey its precepts, we should live—Alas!—in poverty, and meanly die. Ah! then farewell to richly harness’d steeds, To sumptuous chariots—than a sullen ass Would bear the portly majesty of Rome No!—firmly Saint Peter’s rights I’ll guard, And rash intruders with my thunders blast. Let us but will—the universe is ours, And prostrate nations worship us as God. I walk upon their bodies to my throne. Avaunt, ye unclean laymen, from our treasure Three drops of holy water fill your measure.HRSCV2 297.11

    We will not continue our translation of Manuel’s drama. The anguish of the clergy on discovering the efforts of the reformers, and their anger against those who threatened to put a stop to their disorders, are painted in the liveliest colors. The dissolute manners, of which this mystery presents so vivid an image, were too common for each one not to be struck with the truth of the representation. The people were excited. Many were their jests as they departed from the show in the Rue de la Croix; but some individuals were more seriously affected; they spoke of christian liberty and of the papal despotism; they contrasted the simplicity of the Gospel with the pomp of Rome. The contempt of the people soon went beyond all bounds. On Ash Wednesday the indulgences were paraded through the streets, accompanied with satirical songs. A heavy blow had been struck in Berne and in all Switzerland at the ancient edifice of Popery.HRSCV2 297.12

    Not long after this representation, another comedy was acted at Berne; but in this there was nothing invented. The clergy, council, and citizens were assembled in front of the Upper Gate, awaiting the skull of Saint Anne, which the famous knight Albert of Stein had gone to fetch from Lyons. At length Stein appeared, carrying the holy relic enveloped in a silken cloth, before which the Bishop of Lausanne had humbly bend the knee as it passed through his city. The precious skull was borne in procession to the Dominican church; the bells rang out; the train filed into the temple; and with great solemnity the skull of Mary’s mother was placed on an altar specially consecrated to it, and behind a sumptuous trellis work. But in the midst of these rejoicings, a letter was received from the abbot of the convent of Lyons, in which reposed the relics of the saint, announcing that the monks had sold the knight a profane skull taken from the cemetery, from among the scattered fragments of the dead. This mystification deeply incensed the inhabitants of the illustrious city of Berne.HRSCV2 297.13

    The Reformation was advancing in other parts of Switzerland. In 1521, a young man of Appenzel, Walter Klarer by name, returned from the university of Paris to his native canton. Luther’s works fell into his hands, and in 1522 he preached the evangelical doctrine with all the energy of a youthful Christian. An innkeeper named Rausberg, member of the council of Appenzel, a rich and pious man, opened his house to all the friends of the truth. A famous captain, Bartholomew Berweger, who had fought for Julius II and Leo X, having returned from Rome about this time, persecuted the evangelical ministers. One day, however, remembering what wickedness he had seen at Rome, he began to read his Bible, and to attend the sermons of the new preachers: his eyes were opened, and he embraced the Gospel. On witnessing the crowds that could not find room in the churches, he said: “Let the ministers preach in the fields and public places;” and despite a violent opposition, the meadows, hills, and mountains of Appenzel often afterwards re-echoed with the tidings of salvation.HRSCV2 297.14

    This doctrine, proceeding upwards along the banks of the Rhine, spread even as far as the ancient Rhaetia. One day a stranger coming from Zurich crossed the stream, and entered the house of a saddler in Flasch, the first village of the Grisons. The saddler, Christian Anhorn, listened with astonishment to the language of his guest. The whole village invited the stranger, whose name was Jacques Burkli, to preach to them. He took his station in front of the altar; a troop of armed men, with Anhorn at their head, stood round to protect him from any sudden attack while he was proclaiming the Gospel. The rumor of this preaching spread far and wide, and on the following Sunday an immense crowd flocked to the church. In a brief space a large proportion of the inhabitants of these districts demanded the Eucharist according to our Lord’s institution. But on a sudden the tocsin rang in Mayenfeldt; the affrighted people ran together to know the cause; the priests described the danger that threatened the Church; and then at the head of this fanatic crowd, ran hastily to Flasch. Anhorn, who was working in the fields, surprised at hearing the sound of bells at so unusual a time, returned home immediately, and hid Burkli in a deep hole in his cellar. The house was surrounded, the doors burst in; they sought for the heretical preacher, but in vain: at last, the persecutors left the place.HRSCV2 298.1

    The Word of God spread through the whole league of the ten jurisdictions. The priest of Mayenfeldt, having returned from Rome, whither he had gone in his irritation at the progress of the Gospel, exclaimed: “Rome has made me evangelical!” and he became a fervent reformer. Erelong the Reformation extended over the league of “the house of God:” “Oh! that you could see how the dwellers in the Rhaetian mountains are throwing off the yoke of the Babylonian captivity!” wrote Salandronius to Vadian.HRSCV2 298.2

    Disorders of a revolting character hastened the time when Zurich and the neighboring cantons snapped asunder the Roman yoke. A married schoolmaster, desiring to enter holy orders, obtained his wife’s consent with this view, and they separated. The new priest, finding it impossible to observe his vow of celibacy, and unwilling to wound his wife’s feelings, quitted the place where she lived, and went into the see of Constance, where he formed a criminal connection. His wife heard of this, and followed him. The poor priest had compassion on her, and dismissing the woman who had usurped her rights, took his lawful spouse into his house. The procurator-fiscal immediately drew up a complaint; the vicar-general was in a ferment; the councilors of the consistory deliberated and ordered the curate either to forsake his wife or his benefice. The poor wife left her husband’s house in tears, and her rival re-entered it in triumph. The Church declared itself satisfied, and from that time the adulterous priest was left undisturbed.HRSCV2 298.3

    Not long after, a parish priest of Lucerne seduced a married woman and lived with her. The husband, having returned to Lucerne, availed himself of the priest’s absence to recover his wife. As he was taking her home, the seducer met them; fell upon the injured husband, and inflicted a wound of which the latter died. All pious men felt the necessity of re-establishing the law of God, which declares marriage honorable in all. The evangelical ministers had discovered that the law of celibacy was of human origin, imposed by the pontiffs, and contrary to the Word of God, which, describing a faithful bishop, represents him as a husband and father (1 Timothy 3:2, 4). At the same time they observed, that of all abuses that had crept into the Church, none had been a cause of more vice and scandal. They thought, therefore, that it was not only lawful, but, even more, a duty to God to reject it. Many of them now returned to this ancient usage of apostolical times. Xyloctect was married. Zwingle also took a wife about this period.HRSCV2 298.4

    No woman had been more respected in Zurich than Anna Reinhardt, the widow of Meyer von Knonau, Gerold’s mother. From Zwingle’s arrival, she had been one of his most attentive hearers; she lived near him, and he had noticed her piety, her modesty, and affection for her children. They young Gerold, who had become, as it were, his adopted son, drew him still closer to the mother. The sufferings undergone by this christian woman, who was one day to be more cruelly tried than any of her sex recorded in history, had communicated a seriousness that contributed to show forth her evangelical virtues more brightly. At this time she was about thirty-five years old, and her fortune only amounted to four hundred florins. It was on her that Zwingle fixed his eyes as a companion for life. He comprehended all the sacredness and sympathy of the conjugal state. He entitled it “a most holy alliance.”—“In like manner,” said he, “as Christ died for his followers, and gave himself entirely for them, so should married persons do all and suffer all for one another.” But Zwingle, when he took Anna Reinhardt to wife, did not make his marriage known. This is undoubtedly a blamable weakness in a man at other times so resolute. The light that he and his friends had acquired on the question of celibacy was not general. Weak minds might have been scandalized. He feared that his usefulness in the Church would be paralyzed, if his marriage were made public. He sacrificed a portion of his happiness to these fears, excusable perhaps, but which he ought to have shaken off.HRSCV2 298.5

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