Vol.8, Chapter IV. Spread of the Reformation in Switzerland

30. The Swiss Diet and the Conference at Baden, 1526

Thomas Murner: Die Disputacion vor den XII Orten einer loeblichen Eidgenossenschaft … zu Baden gehalten. Luzern, 1527. This is the official Catholic report, which agrees with four other protocols preserved in Zurich. (Mueller-Hottinger, VII. 84.) Murner published also a Latin edition, Causa Helvetica orthodoxae fidei, etc. Lucernae, 1528. Bullinger, I. 331 sqq. The writings of Zwingli, occasioned by the Disputation in Baden, in his Opera, vol. II. B. 396-522.

Hottinger: Geschichte der Eidgenossen waehrend der Zeit der Kirchentrennung, pp. 77-96. Moerikofer: Zw., II. 34-43. Merle: Reform., bk. XI. ch. 13. Herzog: Oekolampad, vol. II. ch. 1. Hagenbach: Oekolampad, pp. 90-98. A. Baur: Zw.’s Theol., I. 501-518.

The Diet of Switzerland took the same stand against the Zwinglian Reformation as the Diet of the German Empire against the Lutheran movement. Both Diets consisted only of one house, and this was composed of the hereditary nobility and aristocracy. The people were not directly represented by delegates of their own choice. The majority of voters were conservative, and in favor of the old faith; but the majority of the people in the larger and most prosperous cantons and in the free imperial cities favored progress and reform, and succeeded in the end.

The question of the Reformation was repeatedly brought before the Swiss Diet, and not a few liberal voices were heard in favor of abolishing certain crying abuses; but the majority of the cantons, especially the old forest-cantons around the lake of Lucerne, resisted every innovation. Berne was anxious to retain her political supremacy, and vacillated. Zwingli had made many enemies by his opposition to the foreign military service and pensions of his countrymen. Dr. Faber, the general vicar of the diocese of Constance, after a visit to Rome, openly turned against his former friend, and made every effort to unite the interests of the aristocracy with those of the hierarchy. “Now,” he said, “the priests are attacked, the nobles will come next.” At last the Diet resolved to settle the difficulty by a public disputation. Dr. Eck, well known to us from the disputation at Leipzig for his learning, ability, vanity and conceit, offered his services to the Diet in a flattering letter of Aug. 13, 1524. He had then just returned from a third visit to Rome, and felt confident that he could crush the Protestant heresy in Switzerland as easily as in Germany. He spoke contemptuously of Zwingli, as one who “had no doubt milked more cows than he had read books.” About the same time the Roman counter-reformation had begun to be organized at the convent of Regensburg (June, 1524), under the lead of Bavaria and Austria.

The disputation was opened in the Catholic city of Baden, in Aargau, May 21, 1526, and lasted eighteen days, till the 8th of June. The cantons and four bishops sent deputies, and many foreign divines were present. The Protestants were a mere handful, and despised as “a beggarly, miserable rabble.” Zwingli, who foresaw the political aim and result of the disputation, was prevented by the Council of Zurich from leaving home, because his life was threatened; but he influenced the proceedings by daily correspondence and secret messengers. No one could doubt his courage, which he showed more than once in the face of greater danger, as when he went to Marburg through hostile territory, and to the battlefield at Cappel. But several of his friends were sadly disappointed at his absence. He would have equalled Eck in debate and excelled him in biblical learning. Erasmus was invited, but politely declined on account of sickness.

The arrangements for the disputation and the local sympathies were in favor of the papal party. Mass was said every morning at five, and a sermon preached; the pomp of ritualism was displayed in solemn processions. The presiding officers and leading secretaries were Romanists; nobody besides them was permitted to take notes. The disputation turned on the real presence, the sacrifice of the mass, the invocation of the Virgin Mary and of saints, on images, purgatory, and original sin. Dr. Eck was the champion of the Roman faith, and behaved with the same polemical dexterity and overbearing and insolent manner as at Leipzig: robed in damask and silk, decorated with a golden ring, chain and cross; surrounded by patristic and scholastic folios, abounding in quotations and arguments, treating his opponents with proud contempt, and silencing them with his stentorian voice and final appeals to the authority of Rome. Occasionally he uttered an oath, “Potz Marter.” A contemporary poet, Nicolas Manuel, thus described his conduct: — 

“Eck stamps with his feet, and claps his hands,

He raves, he swears, he scolds;

‘I do,’ cries he, ‘what the Pope commands,

And teach whatever he holds.’”

Oecolampadius of Basle and Haller of Berne, both plain and modest, but able, learned and earnest men, defended the Reformed opinions. Oecolampadius declared at the outset that he recognized no other rule of judgment than the Word of God. He was a match for Eck in patristic learning, and in solid arguments. His friends said, “Oecolampadius is vanquished, not by argument, but by vociferation.” Even one of the Romanists remarked, “If only this pale man were on our side!” His host judged that he must be a very pious heretic, because he saw him constantly engaged in study and prayer; while Eck was enjoying rich dinners and good wines, which occasioned the remark, “Eck is bathing in Baden, but in wine.”

The papal party boasted of a complete victory. All innovations were forbidden; Zwingli was excommunicated; and Basle was called upon to depose Oecolampadius from the pastoral office. Faber, not satisfied with the burning of heretical books, advocated even the burning of the Protestant versions of the Bible. Thomas Murner, a Franciscan monk and satirical poet, who was present at Baden, heaped upon Zwingli and his adherents such epithets as tyrants, liars, adulterers, church robbers, fit only for the gallows! He had formerly (1512) chastised the vices of priests and monks, but turned violently against the Saxon Reformer, and earned the name of “Luther-Scourge” (Lutheromastix). He was now made lecturer in the Franciscan convent at Lucerne, and authorized to edit the acts of the Baden disputation.

The result of the Baden disputation was a temporary triumph for Rome, but turned out in the end, like the Leipzig disputation of 1519, to the furtherance of the Reformation. Impartial judges decided that the Protestants had been silenced by vociferation, intrigue and despotic measures, rather than refuted by sound and solid arguments from the Scriptures. After a temporary reaction, several cantons which had hitherto been vacillating between the old and the new faith, came out in favor of reform.


31. The Reformation in Berne

I. The acts of the disputation of Berne were published in 1528 at Zurich and Strassburg, afterwards repeatedly at Berne, and are contained, together with two sermons of Zwingli, in Zwingli’s Werke, II. A. 63-229. Valerius Anshelm: Berner Chronik, new ed. by Stierlin and Wyss, Bern, 1884, ‘86, 2 vols. Stuerler: Urkunden der Bernischen Kirchenreform. Bern, 1862. Strickler: Aktensammlung, etc. Zurich, 1878 (I. 1).

II. Kuhn: Die Reformatoren Berns. Bern, 1828. Sam. Fischer: Geschichte der Disputation zu Bern. Zürich, 1828. Melch. Kirchhofer: Berthold Haller oder die Reformation zu Bern. Zürich, 1828. C. Pestalozzi: B. Haller, nach handschriftl. und gleichzeitigen Quellen. Elberfeld, 1861. The monographs on Niclaus Manuel by Grueneisen, Stuttgart, 1837, and by Baechthold, Frauenfeld, 1878. Hundeshagen: Die Conflicte des Zwinglianismus, Lutherthums und Calvinismus in der Bernischen Landeskirche von 1532-’58. Bern, 1842. F. Trechsel: articles Berner Disputation and Berner Synodus, and Haller, in Herzog2, II. 313-324, and V 556-561. Berner Beitraege, etc., 1884, quoted on p. 15. See also the Lit. by Nippold in his Append. to Hagenbach’s Reform. Gesch., p. 695 sq.

III. Karl Ludwig von Haller (a distinguished Bernese and convert to Romanism, expelled from the Protestant Council of Berne, 1820; d. 1854): Geschichte der kirchlichen Revolution oder protestantischen Reform des Kantons Bern und umliegender Gegenden. Luzern, 1836 (346 pages). French translation, Histoire de la revolution religieuse dans la Swiss occidentale. Paris, 1839. This is a reactionary account professedly drawn from Protestant sources and represents the Swiss Reformation as the mother of the Revolution of 1789. To the French version of this book Archbishop Spalding of Baltimore (he does not mention the original) confesses to be “indebted for most of the facts” in his chapter on the Swiss Reformation which he calls a work established “by intrigue, chicanery, persecution, and open violence!” Hist. of the Prot. Ref. in Germany and Switzerland, I. 181, 186 (8th ed., Baltimore, 1875).

Berne, the largest, most conservative and aristocratic of the Swiss cantons, which contains the political capital of the Confederacy, was the first to follow Zurich, after considerable hesitation. This was an event of decisive importance.

The Reformation was prepared in the city and throughout the canton by three ministers, Sebastian Meyer, Berthold Haller, and Francis Kolb, and by a gifted layman, Niclaus Manuel, — all friends of Zwingli. Meyer, a Franciscan monk, explained in the convent the Epistles of Paul, and in the pulpit, the Apostles’ Creed. Haller, a native of Würtemberg, a friend and fellow-student of Melanchthon, an instructive preacher and cautious reformer, of a mild and modest disposition, settled in Berne as teacher in 1518, was elected chief pastor at the cathedral 1521, and labored there faithfully till his death (1536). He was often in danger, and wished to retire; but Zwingli encouraged him to remain at the post of duty. Without brilliant talents or great learning, he proved eminently useful by his gentle piety and faithful devotion to duty. Manuel, a poet, painter, warrior and statesman, helped the cause of reform by his satirical dramas, which were played in the streets, his exposure of Eck and Faber after the Baden disputation, and his influence in the council of the city (d. 1530). His services to Zwingli resemble the services of Hutten to Luther. The Great Council of the Two Hundred protected the ministers in preaching the pure gospel.

The Peasants’ War in Germany and the excesses of the Radicals in Switzerland produced a temporary reaction in favor of Romanism. The government prohibited religious controversy, banished Meyer, and ordered Haller, on his return from the Baden disputation, to read Romish mass again; but he declined, and declared that he would rather give up his position, as he preferred the Word of God to his daily bread. The elections in 1527 turned out in favor of the party of progress. The Romish measures were revoked, and a disputation ordered to take place Jan. 6, 1528, in Berne.

The disputation at Berne lasted nineteen days (from Jan. 6 to 26). It was the Protestant counterpart of the disputation at Baden in composition, arrangements and result. It had the same effect for Berne as the disputations of 1523 had for Zurich. The invitations were general; but the Roman Catholic cantons and the four bishops who were invited refused, with the exception of the bishop of Lausanne, to send delegates, deeming the disputation of Baden final. Dr. Eck, afraid to lose his fresh laurels, was unwilling, as he said, “to follow the heretics into their nooks and corners”; but he severely attacked the proceedings. The Reformed party was strongly represented by delegates from Zurich, Basel, and St. Gall, and several cities of South Germany. Zurich sent about one hundred ministers and laymen, with a strong protection. The chief speakers on the Reformed side were Zwingli, Haller, Kolb, Oecolampadius, Capito, and Bucer from Strassburg; on the Roman side, Grab, Huter, Treger, Christen, and Burgauer. Joachim von Watt of St. Gall presided. Popular sermons were preached during the disputation by Blaurer of Constance, Zwingli, Bucer, Oecolampadius, Megander, and others.

The Reformers carried an easy and complete victory, and reversed the decision of Baden. The ten Theses or Conclusions, drawn up by Haller and revised by Zwingli, were fully discussed, and adopted as a sort of confession of faith for the Reformed Church of Berne. They are as follows: — 

1. The holy Christian Church, whose only Head is Christ, is born of the Word of God, and abides in the same, and listens not to the voice of a stranger.

2. The Church of Christ makes no laws and commandments without the Word of God. Hence human traditions are no more binding on us than as far as they are founded in the Word of God.

3. Christ is the only wisdom, righteousness, redemption, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Hence it is a denial of Christ when we confess another ground of salvation and satisfaction.

4. The essential and corporal presence of the body and blood of Christ cannot be demonstrated from the Holy Scripture.

5. The mass as now in use, in which Christ is offered to God the Father for the sins of the living and the dead, is contrary to the Scripture, a blasphemy against the most holy sacrifice, passion, and death of Christ, and on account of its abuses an abomination before God.

6. As Christ alone died for us, so he is also to be adored as the only Mediator and Advocate between God the Father and the believers. Therefore it is contrary to the Word of God to propose and invoke other mediators.

7. Scripture knows nothing of a purgatory after this life. Hence all masses and other offices for the dead are useless.

8. The worship of images is contrary to Scripture. Therefore images should be abolished when they are set up as objects of adoration.

9. Matrimony is not forbidden in the Scripture to any class of men; but fornication and unchastity are forbidden to all.

10. Since, according to the Scripture, an open fornicator must be excommunicated, it follows that unchastity and impure celibacy are more pernicious to the clergy than to any other class.

All to the glory of God and his holy Word.

Zwingli preached twice during the disputation. He was in excellent spirits, and at the height of his fame and public usefulness. In the first sermon he explained the Apostles’ Creed, mixing in some Greek and Hebrew words for his theological hearers. In the second, he exhorted the Bernese to persevere after the example of Moses and the heroes of faith. Perseverance alone can complete the triumph. (Ferendo vincitur fortuna.) Behold these idols conquered, mute, and scattered before you. The gold you spent upon them must henceforth be devoted to the good of the living images of God in their poverty. “Hold fast,” he said in conclusion, “to the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free (Gal_5:1). You know how much we have suffered in our conscience, how we were directed from one false comfort to another, from one commandment to another which only burdened our conscience and gave us no rest. But now ye have found freedom and peace in the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ. From this freedom let nothing separate you. To hold it fast requires great fortitude. You know how our ancestors, thanks to God, have fought for our bodily liberty; let us still more zealously guard our spiritual liberty; not doubting that God, who has enlightened and drawn you, will in due time also draw our dear neighbors and fellow-confederates to him, so that we may live together in true friendship. May God, who created and redeemed us all, grant this to us and to them. Amen.”

By a reformation edict of the Council, dated Feb. 7, 1528, the ten Theses were legalized, the jurisdiction of the bishops abolished, and the necessary changes in worship and discipline provisionally ordered, subject to fuller light from the Word of God. The parishes of the city and canton were separately consulted by delegates sent to them Feb. 13 and afterwards, and the great majority adopted the reformation by popular vote, except in the highlands where the movement was delayed.

After the catastrophe of Cappel the reformation was consolidated by the so-called “Berner Synodus,” which met Jan. 9-14, 1532. All the ministers of the canton, two hundred and twenty in all, were invited to attend. Capito, the reformer of Strassburg, exerted a strong influence by his addresses. The Synod adopted a book of church polity and discipline; the Great Council confirmed it, and ordered annual synods. Hundeshagen pronounces this constitution a “true masterpiece even for our times,” and Trechsel characterizes it as excelling in apostolic unction, warmth, simplicity and practical wisdom.

Since that time Berne has remained faithful to the Reformed Church. In 1828 the Canton by order of the government celebrated the third centenary of the Reformation.


32. The Reformation in Basel. Oecolampadius

I. The sources are chiefly in the Bibliotheca Antistitii and the University Library of Basel, and in the City Library of Zürich; letters of Oecolampadius to Zwingli, in Bibliander’s Epistola Joh. Oecolampadii et Huldr. Zwinglii (Basel, 1536, fol.); in Zwingli’s Opera, vols. VII. and VIII.; and in Herminjard, Correspondance des Réformateurs, passim. Several letters of Erasmus, and his Consilium Senatui Basiliensi in negotio Lutherano anno 1525 exhibitum. Antiquitates Gernlerianae, Tom. I. and II. An important collection of letters and documents prepared by direction of Antistes Lukas Gernler of Basel (1625-1676), who took part in the Helvetic Consensus Formula. The Athenae Rauricae sive Catalogus Professorum Academics Basiliensis, by Herzog, Basel, 1778. The Basler Chroniken, publ. by the Hist. Soc. of Basel, ed. with comments by W. Vischer (son), Leipz. 1872.

II. Pet. Ochs: Geschichte der Stadt und Landschaft Basel. Berlin and Leipzig, 1786-1822. 8 vols. The Reformation is treated in vols. V. and VI., but without sympathy. Jak. Burckhardt: Kurze Geschichte der Reformation in Basel. Basel, 1819. R. R. Hagenbach: Kirchliche Denkwuerdigkeiten zur Geschichte Basels seit der Reformation. Basel, 1827 (pp. 268). The first part also under the special title: Kritische Geschichte und Schicksale der ersten Basler Confession. By the same: Die Theologische Schule Basels und ihrer Lehrer von Stiftung der Hochschule 1460 bis zu De Wette’s Tod 1849 (pp. 75). Jarke (R. Cath.): Studien und Skizzen zur Geschichte der Reformation. Schaffhausen (Hurter), 1846 (pp. 576). Fried. Fischer: Der Bildersturm in der Schweiz und in Basel insbesondere. In the “Basler Jahrbuch “for 1850. W. Vischer: Actenstuecke zur Geschichte der Reformation in Basel. In the “Basler Beitraege zur vaterlaendischen Geschichte,” for 1854. By the same: Geschichte der Universitaet Basel von der Gruendung 1460 bis zur Reformation 1529. Basel, 1860. Boos: Geschichte der Stadt Basel. Basel, 1877 sqq. The first volume goes to 1501; the second has not yet appeared.

III. Biographical. S. Hess: Lebensgeschichte Joh. Oekolampads. Zürich, 1798 (chiefly from Zürich sources, contained in the Simler collection). J. J. Herzog (editor of the well-known “Encyclopaedia” d. 1882): Das Leben Joh. Oekolampads und die Reformation der Kirche zu Basel. Basel, 1843. 2 vols. Comp. his article in Herzog2, Vol. X. 708-724. K. R. Hagenbach: Johann Oekolampad und Oswald Myconius, die Reformatoren Basels. Leben und ausgewaehlte Schriften. Elberfeld, 1859. His Reformationsgesch., 5th ed., by Nippold, Leipzig, 1887, p. 386 sqq. On Oecolampadius’ connection with the Eucharistic Controversy and part in the Marburg Colloquy, see Schaff, vol. VI. 620, 637, and 642.

The example of Berne was followed by Basel, the wealthiest and most literary city in Switzerland, an episcopal see since the middle of the eighth century, the scene of the reformatory Council of 1430-1448, the seat of a University since 1460, the centre of the Swiss book trade, favorably situated for commerce on the banks of the Rhine and on the borders of Germany and France. The soil was prepared for the Reformation by scholars like Wyttenbach and Erasmus, and by evangelical preachers like Capito and Hedio. Had Erasmus been as zealous for religion as he was for letters, he would have taken the lead, but he withdrew more and more from the Reformation, although he continued to reside in Basel till 1529 and returned there to die (1536).

The chief share in the work fell to the lot of Oecolampadius (1482-1531). He is the second in rank and importance among the Reformers in German Switzerland. His relation to Zwingli is similar to that sustained by Melanchthon to Luther, and by Beza to Calvin, — a relation in part subordinate, in part supplemental. He was inferior to Zwingli in originality, force, and popular talent, but surpassed him in scholastic erudition and had a more gentle disposition. He was, like Melanchthon, a man of thought rather than of action, but circumstances forced him out of his quiet study to the public arena.

Johann Oecolampadius was born at Weinsberg in the present kingdom of Würtemberg in 1482, studied law in Bologna, philology, scholastic philosophy, and theology in Heidelberg and Tübingen with unusual success. He was a precocious genius, like Melanchthon. In his twelfth year he composed (according to Capito) Latin poems. In 1501 he became Baccalaureus, and soon afterwards Master of Arts. He devoted himself chiefly to the study of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures. Erasmus gave him the testimony of being the best Hebraist (after Reuchlin). At Tübingen he formed a friendship with Melanchthon, his junior by fifteen years, and continued on good terms with him notwithstanding their difference of opinion on the Eucharist. He delivered at Weinsberg a series of sermons on the Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, which were published by Zasius in 1512, and gained for him the reputation of an eminent preacher of the gospel.

In 1515 he received a call, at Capito’s suggestion, from Christoph von Utenheim, bishop of Basel (since 1502), to the pulpit of the cathedral in that city. In the year following he acquired the degree of licentiate, and later that of doctor of divinity. Christoph von Utenheim belonged to the better class of prelates, who desired a reformation within the Church, but drew back after the Diet of Worms, and died at Delsberg in 1522. His motto was: “The cross of Christ is my hope; I seek mercy, not works.”

Oecolampadius entered into intimate relations with Erasmus, who at that time took up his permanent abode in Basel. He rendered him important service in his Annotations to the New Testament, and in the second edition of the Greek Testament (concerning the quotations from the Septuagint and Hebrew). The friendship afterwards cooled down in consequence of their different attitude to the question of reform.

In 1518 Oecolampadius showed his moral severity and zeal for a reform of the pulpit by an attack on the prevailing custom of entertaining the people in the Easter season with all kinds of jokes. “What has,” he asks, “a preacher of repentance to do with fun and laughter? Is it necessary for us to yield to the impulse of nature? If we can crush our sins by laughter, what is the use of repenting in sackcloth and ashes? What is the use of tears and cries of sorrow? … No one knows that Jesus laughed, but every one knows that he wept. The Apostles sowed the seed weeping. Many as are the symbolic acts of the prophets, no one of them lowers himself to become an actor. Laughter and song were repugnant to them. They lived righteously before the Lord, rejoicing and yet trembling, and saw as clear as the sun at noonday that all is vanity under the sun. They saw the net being drawn everywhere and the near approach of the judge of the world.”

After a short residence at Weinsberg and Augsburg, Oecolampadius surprised his friends by entering a convent in 1520, but left it in 1522 and acted a short time as chaplain for Franz von Sickingen at Ebernburg, near Creuznach, where he introduced the use of the German language in the mass.

By the reading of Luther’s writings, he became more and more fixed in evangelical convictions. He cautiously attacked transubstantiation, Mariolatry, and the abuses of the confessional, and thereby attracted the favorable attention of Luther, who wrote to Spalatin (June 10, 1521): “I am surprised at his spirit, not because he fell upon the same theme as I, but because he has shown himself so liberal, prudent, and Christian. God grant him growth.” In June, 1523, Luther expressed to Oecolampadius much satisfaction at his lectures on Isaiah, notwithstanding the displeasure of Erasmus, who would probably, like Moses, die in the land of Moab. “He has done his part,” he says, “by exposing the bad; to show the good and to lead into the land of promise, is beyond his power.” Luther and Oecolampadius met personally at Marburg in 1529, but as antagonists on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, in which the latter stood on the side of Zwingli.

In Nov. 17, 1522, Oecolampadius settled permanently in Basel and labored there as preacher of the Church of St. Martin and professor of theology in the University till his death. Now began his work as reformer of the church of Basel, which followed the model of Zürich. He sought the friendship of Zwingli in a letter full of admiration, dated Dec. 10, 1522. They continued to co-operate in fraternal harmony to the close of their lives.

Oecolampadius preached on Sundays and week days, explaining whole books of the Bible after the example of Zwingli, and attracted crowds of people. With the consent of the Council, he gradually abolished crying abuses, distributed the Lord’s Supper under both kinds, and published in 1526 a German liturgy, which retained in the first editions several distinctively Catholic features such as priestly absolution and the use of lights on the altar.

In 1525 he began to take an active part in the unfortunate Eucharistic controversy by defending the figurative interpretation of the words of institution: “This is (the figure of) my body,” chiefly from the writings of the fathers, with which he was very familiar. He agreed in substance with Zwingli, but differed from him by placing the metaphor in the predicate rather than the verb, which simply denotes a connection of the subject with the predicate whether real or figurative, and which was not even used by our Lord in Aramaic. He found the key for the interpretation in Joh_6:63, and held fast to the truth that Christ himself is and remains the true bread of the soul to be partaken of by faith. At the conference in Marburg (1529) he was, next to Zwingli, the chief debater on the Reformed side. By this course he alienated his old friends, Brentius, Pirkheimer, Billican, and Luther. Even Melanchthon, in a letter to him (1529), regretted that the “horribilis dissensio de Coena Domini” interfered with the enjoyment of their friendship, though it did not shake his good will towards him (“benevolentiam erga te meam”). He concluded to be hereafter, “a spectator rather than an actor in this tragedy.”

Oecolampadius had also much trouble with the Anabaptists, and took the same conservative and intolerant stand against them as Luther at Wittenberg, and Zwingli at Zürich. He made several fruitless attempts in public disputations to convince them of their error.

The civil government of Basel occupied for a while middle ground, but the disputation of Baden, at which Oecolampadius was the champion of the Reformed doctrines, brought on the crisis. He now took stronger ground against Rome and attacked what he regarded as the idolatry of the mass. The triumph of the Reformation in Berne in 1528 gave the final impetus.

On the 9th of February, 1529, an unbloody revolution broke out. Aroused by the intrigues of the Roman party, the Protestant citizens to the number of two thousand came together, broke to pieces the images still left, and compelled the reactionary Council to introduce everywhere the form of religious service practised in Zürich.

Erasmus, who had advised moderation and quiet waiting for a general Council, was disgusted with these violent, measures, which he describes in a letter to Pirkheimer of Nürnberg, May 9, 1529. “The smiths and workmen,” he says, “removed the pictures from the churches, and heaped such insults on the images of the saints and the crucifix itself, that it is quite surprising there was no miracle, seeing how many there always used to occur whenever the saints were even slightly offended. Not a statue was left either in the churches, or the vestibules, or the porches, or the monasteries. The frescoes were obliterated by means of a coating of lime; whatever would burn was thrown into the fire, and the rest pounded into fragments. Nothing was spared for either love or money. Before long the mass was totally abolished, so that it was forbidden either to celebrate it in one’s own house or to attend it in the neighboring villages.”

The great scholar who had done so much preparatory work for the Reformation, stopped half-way and refused to identify himself with either party. He reluctantly left Basel (April 13, 1529) with the best wishes for her prosperity, and resided six years at Freiburg in Baden, a sickly, sensitive, and discontented old man. He was enrolled among the professors of the University, but did not lecture. He returned to Basel in August, 1535, and died in his seventieth year, July 12, 1536, without priest or sacrament, but invoking the mercy of Christ, repeating again and again, “O Lord Jesus, have mercy on me!” He was buried in the Minster of Basel.

Glareanus and Beatus Rhenanus, humanists, and friends of Zwingli and Erasmus, likewise withdrew from Basel at this critical moment. Nearly all the professors of the University emigrated. They feared that science and learning would suffer from theological quarrels and a rupture with the hierarchy.

The abolition of the mass and the breaking of images, the destruction of the papal authority and monastic institutions, would have been a great calamity had they not been followed by the constructive work of the evangelical faith which was the moving power, and which alone could build up a new Church on the ruins of the old. The Word of God was preached from the fountain. Christ and the Gospel were put in the place of the Church and tradition. German service with congregational singing and communion was substituted for the Latin mass. The theological faculty was renewed by the appointment of Simon Grynaeus, Sebastian Münster, Oswald Myconius, and other able and pious scholars to professorships.

Oecolampadius became the chief preacher of the Minster and Antistes, or superintendent, of the clergy of Basel.

On the 1st of April, 1529, an order of liturgical service and church discipline was published by the Council, which gave a solid foundation to the Reformed Church of the city of Basel and the surrounding villages. This document breathes the spirit of enthusiasm for the revival of apostolic Christianity, and aims at a reformation of faith and morals. It contains the chief articles which were afterwards formulated in the Confession of Basel (1534), and rules for a corresponding discipline. It retains a number of Catholic customs such as daily morning and evening worship, weekly communion in one of the city churches, the observance of the great festivals, including those of the Virgin Mary, the Apostles, and the Saints.

To give force to these institutions, the ban was introduced in 1530, and confided to a council of three pious, honest, and brave laymen for each of the four parishes of the city; two to be selected by the Council, and one by the congregation, who, in connection with the clergy, were to watch over the morals, and to discipline the offenders, if necessary, by excommunication. — In accordance with the theocratic idea of the relation of Church and State, dangerous heresies which denied any of the twelve articles of the Apostles’ Creed, and blasphemy of God and the sacrament, were made punishable with civil penalties such as confiscation of property, banishment, and even death. Those, it is said, “shall be punished according to the measure of their guilt in body, life, and property, who despise, spurn, or contemn the eternal, pure, elect queen, the blessed Virgin Mary, or other beloved saints of God who now live with Christ in eternal blessedness, so as to say that the mother of God is only a woman like other women, that she had more children than Christ, the Son of God, that she was not a virgin before or after his birth,” etc. Such severe measures have long since passed away. The mixing of civil and ecclesiastical punishments caused a good deal of trouble. Oecolampadius opposed the supremacy of the State over the Church. He presided over the first synods.

After the victory of the Reformation, Oecolampadius continued unto the end of his life to be indefatigable in preaching, teaching, and editing valuable commentaries (chiefly on the Prophets). He took a lively interest in French Protestant refugees, and brought the Waldenses, who sent a deputation to him, into closer affinity with the Reformed churches. He was a modest and humble man, of a delicate constitution and ascetic habits, and looked like a church father. He lived with his mother; but after her death, in 1528, he married, at the age of forty-five, Wilibrandis Rosenblatt, the widow of Cellarius (Keller), who afterwards married in succession two other Reformers (Capito and Bucer), and survived four husbands. This tempted Erasmus to make the frivolous joke (in a letter of March 21, 1528), that his friend had lately married a good-looking girl to crucify his flesh, and that the Lutheran Reformation was a comedy rather than a tragedy, since the tumult always ended in a wedding. He afterwards apologized to him, and disclaimed any motive of unkindness. Oecolampadius had three children, whom he named Eusebius, Alitheia, and Irene (Godliness, Truth, Peace), to indicate what were the pillars of his theology and his household. His last days were made sad by the news of Zwingli’s death, and the conclusion of a peace unfavorable to the Reformed churches. The call from Zürich to become Zwingli’s successor he declined. A few weeks later, on the 24th of November, 1531, he passed away in peace and full of faith, after having partaken of the holy communion with his family, and admonished his colleagues to continue faithful to the cause of the Reformation. He was buried behind the Minster.

His works have never been collected, and have only historical interest. They consist of commentaries, sermons, exegetical and polemical tracts, letters, and translations from Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Cyril of Alexandria.

Basel became one of the strongholds of the Reformed Church of Switzerland, together with Zürich, Geneva, and Berne. The Church passed through the changes of German Protestantism, and the revival of the nineteenth century. She educates evangelical ministers, contributes liberally from her great wealth to institutions of Christian benevolence and the spread of the Gospel, and is (since 1816) the seat of the largest Protestant missionary institute on the Continent, which at the annual festivals forms a centre for the friends of missions in Switzerland, Würtemberg, and Baden. The neighboring Chrischona is a training school of German ministers for emigrants to America.


33. The Reformation in Glarus. Tschudi. Glarean

Valentin Tschudi: Chronik der Reformationsjahre 1521-1533. Mit Glossar und Commentar von Dr. Joh. Strickler. Glarus, 1888 (pp. 258). Publ. in the “Jahrbuch des historischen Vereins des Kantons Glarus,” Heft XXIV., also separately issued. The first edition of Tschudi’s Chronik (Beschryb oder Erzellung, etc.) was published by Dr. J. J. Blumer, in vol. IX. of the “Archiv für schweizerische Geschichte,” 1853, pp. 332-447, but not in the original spelling and without comments.

Blumer and Heer: Der Kanton Glarus, historisch, geographisch und topographisch beschrieben. St. Gallen, 1846. DR. J. J. Blumer: Die Reformation im Lande Glarus. In the “Jahrbuch des historischen Vereins des Kantons Glarus.” Zürich and Glarus, 1873 and 1875 (Heft IX. 9-48; XI. 3-26). H. G. Sulzberger: Die Reformation des Kant. Glarus und des St. Gallischen Bezirks Werdenberg. Heiden, 1875 (pp. 44).

Heinrich Schreiber: Heinrich Loriti Glareanus, gekroenter Dichter, Philolog und Mathematiker aus dem 16ten Jahrhundert. Freiburg, 1837. Otto Fridolin Fritzsche (Prof. of Church Hist. in Zürich): Glarean, sein Leben und seine Schriften. Frauenfeld, 1890 (pp. 136). Comp. also Geiger: Renaissance und Humanismus (1882), pp. 420-423, for a good estimate of Glarean as a humanist.

The canton Glarus with the capital of the same name occupies the narrow Linththal surrounded by high mountains, and borders on the territory of Protestant Zürich and of Catholic Schwyz. It wavered for a good while between the two opposing parties and tried to act as peacemaker. Landammann Hans Aebli of Glarus, a friend of Zwingli and an enemy of the foreign military service, prevented a bloody collision of the Confederates in the first war of Cappel. This is characteristic of the position of that canton.

Glarus was the scene of the first public labors of Zwingli from 1506 to 1516. He gained great influence as a classical scholar, popular preacher, and zealous patriot, but made also enemies among the friends of the foreign military service, the evils of which he had seen in the Italian campaigns. He established a Latin school and educated the sons of the best families, including the Tschudis, who traced their ancestry back to the ninth century. Three of them are connected with the Reformation, — Aegidius and Peter, and their cousin Valentin.

Aegidius (Gilg) Tschudi, the most famous of this family, the Herodotus of Switzerland (1505-1572), studied first with Zwingli, then with Glarean at Basel and Paris, and occupied important public positions, as delegate to the Diet at Einsiedeln (1529), as governor of Sargans, as Landammann of Glarus (1558), and as delegate of Switzerland to the Diet of Augsburg (1559). He also served a short time as officer in the French army. He remained true to the old faith, but enjoyed the confidence of both parties by his moderation. He expressed the highest esteem for Zwingli in a letter of February, 1517. His History of Switzerland extends from a.d. 1000 to 1470, and is the chief source of the period before the Reformation. He did not invent, but he embellished the romantic story of Tell and of Gruetli, which has been relegated by modern criticism to the realm of innocent poetic fiction. He wrote also an impartial account of the Cappeler War of 1531.

His elder brother, Peter, was a faithful follower of Zwingli, but died early, at Coire, 1532.

Valentin Tschudi also joined the Reformation, but showed the same moderation to the Catholics as his cousin Egidius showed to the Protestants. After studying several years under Zwingli, he went, in 1516, with his two cousins to the classical school of Glarean at Basel, and followed him to Paris. From that city he wrote a Greek letter to Zwingli, Nov. 15, 1520, which is still extant and shows his progress in learning. On Zwingli’s recommendation, he was elected his successor as pastor at Glarus, and was installed by him, Oct. 12, 1522. Zwingli told the congregation that he had formerly taught them many Roman traditions, but begged them now to adhere exclusively to the Word of God.

Valentin Tschudi adopted a middle way, and was supported by his deacon, Jacob Heer. He pleased both parties by reading mass early in the morning for the old believers, and afterwards preaching an evangelical sermon for the Protestants. He is the first example of a latitudinarian or comprehensive broad-churchman. In 1530 he married, and ceased to read mass, but continued to preach to both parties, and retained the respect of Catholics by his culture and conciliatory manner till his death, in 1555. He defended his moderation and reserve in a long Latin letter to Zwingli, March 15, 1530. He says that the controversy arose from external ceremonies, and did not touch the rock of faith, which Catholics and Protestants professed alike, and that he deemed it his duty to enjoin on his flock the advice of Paul to the Rom_14:1-23, to exercise mutual forbearance, since each stands or falls to the same Lord. The unity of the Spirit is the best guide. He feared that by extreme measures, more harm was done than good, and that the liberty gained may degenerate into license, impiety, and contempt of authority. He begs Zwingli to use his influence for the restoration of order and peace, and signs himself, forever yours” (semper futurus tuus). The same spirit of moderation characterizes his Chronicle of the Reformation period, and it is difficult to find out from this colorless and unimportant narrative, to which of the two parties he belonged.

It is a remarkable fact that the influence of Tschudi’s example is felt to this day in the peaceful joint occupation of the church at Glarus, where the sacrifice of the mass is offered by a priest at the altar, and a sermon preached from the pulpit by a Reformed pastor in the same morning.

Another distinguished man of Glarus and friend of Zwingli in the earlier part of his career, is Heinrich Loriti, or Loreti, better known as Glareanus, after the humanistic fashion of that age. He was born at Mollis, a small village of that canton, in 1488, studied at Cologne and Basel, sided with Reuchlin in the quarrel with the Dominican obscurantists, travelled extensively, was crowned as poet-laureate by the Emperor Maximilian (1512), taught school and lectured successively at Basel (1514), Paris (1517), again at Basel (1522), and Freiburg (since 1529). He acquired great fame as a philologist, poet, geographer, mathematician, musician, and successful teacher. Erasmus called him, in a letter to Zwingli (1514), the prince and champion of the Swiss humanists, and in other letters he praised him as a man pure and chaste in morals, amiable in society, well versed in history, mathematics, and music, less in Greek, averse to the subtleties of the schoolmen, bent upon learning Christ from the fountain, and of extraordinary working power. He was full of wit and quaint humor, but conceited, sanguine, irritable, suspicious, and sarcastic. Glarean became acquainted with Zwingli in 1510, and continued to correspond with him till 1523. He bought books for him at Basel (e.g. the Aldine editions of Lactantius and Tertullian) and sought a place as canon in Zürich. In his last letter to him he called him, the truly Christian theologian, the bishop of the Church of Zürich, his very great friend.” He read Luther’s book on the Babylonian Captivity three times with enthusiasm. But when Erasmus broke both with Zwingli and Luther, he withdrew from the Reformation, and even bitterly opposed Zwingli and Oecolampadius.

He left Basel, Feb. 20, 1529, for Catholic Freiburg, and was soon followed by Erasmus and Amerbach. Here he labored as an esteemed professor of poetry and fruitful author, until his death (1563). He was surrounded by Swiss and German students. He corresponded, now, as confidentially with Aegidius Tschudi as he had formerly corresponded with Zwingli, and co-operated with him in saving a portion of his countrymen for the Catholic faith. He gave free vent to his disgust with Protestantism, and yet lamented the evils of the Roman Church, the veniality and immorality of priests who cared more for Venus than for Christ. A fearful charge. He received a Protestant Student from Zürich with the rude words: “You are one of those who carry the gospel in the mouth and the devil in the heart;” but when reminded that he did not show the graces of the muses, he excused himself by his old age, and treated the young man with the greatest civility. He became a pessimist, and expected the speedy collapse of the world. His friendship with Erasmus was continued with interruptions, and at last suffered shipwreck. He charged him once with plagiarism, and Erasmus ignored him in his testament. It was a misfortune for both that they could not understand the times, which had left them behind. The thirty works of Glarean (twenty-two of them written in Freiburg) are chiefly philological and musical, and have no bearing on theology. They were nevertheless put on the Index by Pope Paul IV., in 1559. He bitterly complained of this injustice, caused by ignorance or intrigue, and did all he could, with the aid of Tschudi, to have his name removed, which was done after the seven Catholic cantons had testified that Glarean was a good Christian.

The Reformation progressed in Glarus at first without much opposition. Fridolin Brunner, pastor at Mollis, wrote to Zwingli, Jan. 15, 1527, that the Gospel was gaining ground in all the churches of the canton. Johann Schindler preached in Schwanden with great effect. The congregations decided for the Reformed preachers, except in Naefels. The reverses at Cappel in 1531 produced a reaction, and caused some losses, but the Reformed Church retained the majority of the population to this day, and with it the preponderance of intelligence, enterprise, wealth, and prosperity, although the numerical relation has recently changed in favor of the Catholics, in consequence of the emigration of Protestants to America, and the immigration of Roman-Catholic laborers, who are attracted by the busy industries (as is the case also in Zürich, Basel, and Geneva).


34. The Reformation in St. Gall, Toggenburg, and Appenzell. Watt and Kessler

The sources and literature in the City Library of St. Gall which bears the name of Vadian (Watt) and contains his MSS. and printed works.

I. The historical works of Vadianus, especially his Chronicle of the Abbots of St. Gall from 1200-1540, and his Diary from 1629-’33, edited by Dr. E. Goetzinger, St. Gallen, 1875-’79, 3 vols. — Joachimi Vadiani Vita per Joannem Kesslerum conscripta. Edited from the MS. by Dr. Goetzinger for the Historical Society of St. Gall, 1865. — Johannes Kessler’s Sabbata. Chronik der Jahre 1523-1539. Herausgegeben von Dr. Ernst Goetzinger. St. Gallen, 1866. In “Mittheilungen zur vaterlaendischen Geschichte” of the Historical Society of St. Gall, vols. V. and VI. The MS. of 532 pages, written in the Swiss dialect by Kessler’s own hand, is preserved in the Vadian library.

II. J. V. Arx (Rom. Cath., d. 1833): Geschichte des Kant. St. Gallen. St. Gallen, 1810-’13, 3 vols. — J. M. Fels: Denkmal Schweizerischer Reformatoren. St. Gallen, 1819. — Joh. Fr. Franz: Die schwarmerischen Graeuelscenen der St. Galler Wiedertaeutfer zu Anfang der Reformation. Ebnat in Toggenberg, 1824. — Joh. Jakob Bernet: Johann Kessler, genannt Ahenarius, Buerger und Reformator zu Sankt Gallen. St. Gallen, 1826. — K. Wegelin: Geschichte der Grafschaft Toggenburg. St. Gallen, 1830-’33, 2 Parts. — Fr. Weidmann: Geschichte der Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallens. 1841. — A. Naef: Chronik oder Denkwuerdigkeiten der Stadt und Landschaft St. Gallen. Zürich, 1851. — J. K. Buechler: Die Reformation im Lande Appenzell. Trogen, 1860. In the “Appenzellische Jahrbuecher.” — G. Jak. Baumgartner: Geschichte des Schweizerischen Freistaates und Kantons St. Gallen. Zürich, 1868, 2 vols. — H. G. Sulzberger: Geschichte der Reformation in Toggenburg; in St. Gallen; im Rheinthal; in den eidgenoessischen Herrschaften Sargans und Gaster, sowie in Rapperschwil; in Hohensax-Forsteck; in Appenzell. Several pamphlets reprinted from the “Appenzeller Sonntagablatt,” 1872 sqq.

III. Theod. Pressel: Joachim Vadian. In the ninth volume of the “Leben und ausgewaehlte Schriften der Vaeter und Begruender der reformirten Kirche.” Elberfeld, 1861 (pp. 103). — Rud. Staehelin: Die reformatorische Wirksamkeit des St. Galler Humanisten Vadian, in “Beitraege zur vaterlaendischen Geschichte,” Basel, 1882, pp. 193-262; and his art. “Watt” in Herzog2, XVI. (1885), pp. 663-668. Comp. also Meyer von Knonau, “St. Gallen,” In Herzog2, IV. 725-735.

The Reformation in the northeastern parts of Switzerland — St. Gall, Toggenburg, Schaffhausen, Appenzell, Thurgau, Aargau — followed the course of Zürich, Berne, and Basel. It is a variation of the same theme, on the one hand, in its negative aspects: the destruction of the papal and episcopal authority, the abolition of the mass and superstitious rites and ceremonies, the breaking of images and relics as symbols of idolatry, the dissolution of convents and confiscation of Church property, the marriage of priests, monks, and nuns; on the other hand, in its positive aspects: the introduction of a simpler and more spiritual worship with abundant preaching and instruction from the open Bible in the vernacular, the restoration of the holy communion under both kinds, as celebrated by the congregation, the direct approach to Christ without priestly mediation, the raising of the laity to the privileges of the general priesthood of believers, care for lower and higher education. These changes were made by the civil magistracy, which assumed the episcopal authority and function, but acted on the initiative of the clergy and with the consent of the majority of the people, which in democratic Switzerland was after all the sovereign power. An Antistes was placed at the head of the ministers as a sort of bishop or general superintendent. Synods attended to legislation and administration. The congregations called and supported their own pastors.

St. Gall — so-called from St. Gallus (Gilian), an Irish missionary and pupil of Columban, who with several hermits settled in the wild forest on the Steinach about 613 — was a centre of Christianization and civilization in Alemannia and Eastern Switzerland. A monastery was founded about 720 by St. Othmar and became a royal abbey exempt from episcopal jurisdiction, and very rich in revenues from landed possessions in Switzerland, Swabia, and Lombardy, as well as in manuscripts of classical and ecclesiastical learning. Church poetry, music, architecture, sculpture, and painting flourished there in the ninth and tenth centuries. Notker Balbulus, a monk of St. Gall (d. c. 912), is the author of the sequences or hymns in rhythmical prose (prosae), and credited with the mournful meditation on death (“Media vita in morte sumus”), which is still in use, but of later and uncertain origin. With the increasing wealth of the abbey the discipline declined and worldliness set in. The missionary and literary zeal died out. The bishop of Constance was jealous of the independence and powers of the abbot. The city of St. Gall grew in prosperity and longed for emancipation from monastic control. The clergy needed as much reformation as the monks. Many of them lived in open concubinage, and few were able to make a sermon. The high festivals were profaned by scurrilous popular amusements. The sale of indulgences was carried on with impunity.

The Reformation was introduced in the city and district of St. Gall by Joachim von Watt, a layman (1484-1551), and John Kessler, a minister (1502-1574). The co-operation of the laity and clergy is congenial to the spirit of Protestantism which emancipated the Church from hierarchical control.

Joachim von Watt, better known by his Latin name Vadianus, excelled in his day as a humanist, poet, historian, physician, statesman, and reformer. He was descended from an old noble family, the son of a wealthy merchant, and studied the humanities in the University of Vienna (1502), which was then at the height of its prosperity under the teaching of Celtes and Cuspinian, two famous humanists and Latin poets. He acquired also a good knowledge of philosophy, theology, law, and medicine. After travelling through Poland, Hungary, and Italy, he returned to Vienna and taught classical literature and rhetoric. He was crowned poet and orator by Maximilian (March 12, 1514), and elected rector of the University in 1516. He published several classical authors and Latin poems, orations, and essays. He stood in friendly correspondence with Reuchlin, Hutten, Hesse, Erasmus, and other leaders of the new learning, and especially also with Zwingli.

In 1518 Watt returned to St. Gall and practised as physician till his death, but took at the same time an active part in all public affairs of Church and State. He was repeatedly elected burgomaster. He was a faithful co-worker of Zwingli in the cause of reform. Zwingli called him “a physician of body and soul of the city of St. Gall and the whole confederacy,” and said, “I know no Swiss that equals him.” Calvin and Beza recognized in him “a man of rare piety and equally rare learning.” He called evangelical ministers and teachers to St. Gall. He took a leading part in the religious disputations at Zürich (1523-1525), and presided over the disputation at Berne (1528).

St. Gall was the first city to follow the example of Zürich under his lead. The images were removed from the churches and publicly burnt in 1526 and 1528; only the organ and the bones of St. Othmar (the first abbot) and Notker were saved. An evangelical church order was introduced in 1527. At the same time the Anabaptists endangered the Reformation by strange excesses of fanaticism. Watt had no serious objection to their doctrines, and was a friend and brother-in-law of Grebel, their leader, but he opposed them in the interest of peace and order.

The death of the abbot, March 21, 1529, furnished the desired opportunity, at the advice of Zürich and Zwingli, to abolish the abbey and to confiscate its rich domain, with the consent of the majority of the citizens, but in utter disregard of legal rights. This was a great mistake, and an act of injustice.

The disaster of Cappel produced a reaction, and a portion of the canton returned to the old church. A new abbot was elected, Diethelm Blaurer; he demanded the property of the convent and sixty thousand guilders damages for what had been destroyed and sold. The city had to yield. He held a solemn entry. He attended the last session of the Council of Trent and took a leading part in the counter-Reformation.

Watt showed, during this critical period, courage and moderation. He retained the confidence of his fellow-citizens, who elected him nine times to the highest civil office. He did what he could, in co-operation with Kessler and Bullinger, to save and consolidate the Reformed Church during the remaining years of his life. He was a portly, handsome, and dignified man, and wrote a number of geographical, historical, and theological works.

John Kessler (Chessellius or Ahenarius), the son of a day-laborer of St. Gall, studied theology at Basel, and Wittenberg. He was one of the two students who had an interesting interview with Dr. Luther in the hotel of the Black Bear at Jena in March, 1522, on his return as Knight George from the Wartburg. It was the only friendly meeting of Luther with the Swiss. Had he shown the same kindly feeling to Zwingli at Marburg, the cause of the Reformation would have been the gainer.

Kessler supported himself by the trade of a saddler, and preached in the city and surrounding villages. He was also chief teacher of the Latin school. In 1571, a year before his death, he was elected Antistes or head of the clergy of St. Gall. He had a wife and eleven children, nine of whom survived him. He was a pure, amiable, unselfish, and useful man and promoter of evangelical religion. His portrait in oil adorns the City Library of St. Gall.

The county of Toggenburg, the home of Zwingli, was subject to the abbot of St. Gall since 1468, but gladly received the Reformed preachers under the influence of Zwingli, his relatives and friends. In 1524 the council of the community enjoined upon the ministers to teach nothing but what they could prove from the sacred Scriptures. The people resisted the interference of the abbot, the bishop of Constance, and the canton Schwyz. In 1528 the Reformation was generally introduced in the towns of the district. With the help of Zürich and Glarus, the Toggenburgers bought their freedom from the abbot of St. Gall for fifteen hundred guilders, in 1530; but were again subjected to his authority in 1536. The county was incorporated in the canton St. Gall in 1803. The majority of the people are Protestants.

The canton Appenzell received its first Protestant preachers — John Schurtanner of Teufen, John Dorig of Herisau, and Walter Klarer of Hundwil — from the neighboring St. Gall, through the influence of Watt. The Reformation was legally ratified by a majority vote of the people, Aug. 26, 1523. The congregations emancipated themselves from the jurisdiction of the abbot of St. Gall, and elected their own pastors. The Anabaptist disturbances promoted the Roman-Catholic reaction. The population is nearly equally divided, — Innerrhoden, with the town of Appenzell, remained Catholic; Ausserrhoden, with Herisau, Trogen, and Gais, is Reformed, and more industrious and prosperous.

The Reformation in Thurgau and Aargau presents no features of special interest.


35. Reformation in Schaffhausen. Hofmeister

Melchior Kirchofer: Schaffhauserische Jahrbuecher von 1519-1539, oder Geschichte der Reformation der Stadt und Landschaft Schaffhausen. Schaffhausen, 1819; 2d ed. Frauenfeld, 1838 (pp. 152). By, the same: Sebastian Wagner, genannt Hofmeister. Zürich, 1808. — Edw. Im-Thurm und Hans W. Harder: Chronik der Stadt Schaffhausen (till 1790). Schaffhausen, 1844. — H. G. Sulzberger: Geschichte der Reformation des Kant. Schaffhausen. Schaffhausen, 1876 (pp. 47).

Schaffhausen on the Rhine and the borders of Wuerttemberg and Baden followed the example of the neighboring canton Zürich, under the lead of Sebastian Hofmeister (1476-1533), a Franciscan monk and doctor and professor of theology at Constance, where the bishop resided. He addressed Zwingli, in 1520, as “the firm preacher of the truth,” and wished to become his helper in healing the diseases of the Church of Switzerland. He preached in his native city of Schaffhausen against the errors and abuses of Rome, and attended as delegate the religious disputations at Zürich (January and October, 1523), which resulted in favor of the Reformation.

He was aided by Sebastian Meyer, a Franciscan brother who came from Berne, and by Ritter, a priest who had formerly opposed him.

The Anabaptists appeared from Zürich with their radical views. The community was thrown into disorder. The magistracy held Hofmeister and Myer responsible, and banished them from the canton. A reaction followed, but the Reformation triumphed in 1529. The villages followed the city. Some noble families remained true to the old faith, and emigrated.

Schaffhausen was favored by a succession of able and devoted ministers, and gave birth to some distinguished historians.