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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

Heinrich Loriti 12 of Glarus Glareanus


four years the lad had outgrown the teacher's powers of instruction, and young Zwingli was sent to Bern to a school taught by the Humanist Heinrich Woelfflin (Lupulus), who was half a follower of Erasmus and half a Reformer. He was passionately fond of music, and lodged in one of the Dominican convents in the town which was famed for the care bestowed on musical education. Zwingli was so carried away by his zeal for the study, that he had some thoughts of becoming a monk merely to gratify his musical tastes. His family, who had no desire to see him enter a monastery, removed him from Bern and sent him to the University of Vienna, where he spent two years (1500-1502). There he had for friends and fellow-students, Joachim von Watt[11] (Vadianus), Heinrich Loriti[12] of Glarus (Glareanus), Johann Heigerlin[13] of Leutkirch (Faber), and Johann Maier of Eck, the most notable of all Luther's opponents. In 1502 he returned to Switzerland and matriculated in the University of Basel. He became B.A. in 1504 and M.A. in 1506, and in the same year became parish priest of Glarus.

The childhood and youth of Zwingli form a striking contrast to Luther's early years. He enjoyed the rude plenty of a well-to-do Swiss farmhouse, and led a joyous young life. He has told us how the family gathered in the _stube_ in the long winter evenings, and how his grandmother kept the children entranced with her tales from the Bible and her wonderful stories of the saints. The

family were all musical, and they sang patriotic folk-songs, recording in rude verse the glories of Morgarten, Sempach, and the victories over the tyrant of Burgundy. "When I was a child," says Zwingli, "if anyone said a word against our Fatherland, it put my back up at once." He was trained to be a patriot. "From boyhood I have shown so great, eager, and sincere a love for our honourable Confederacy that I trained myself diligently in every act and discipline to this end." His uncle Bartholomew was an admirer of the New Learning, and the boy was nurtured in everything that went to make a Humanist, with all its virtues and failings. He was educated, one might almost say, in the art of enjoying the present without discriminating much between what was good and evil in surrounding society. He was trained to take life as it came. No great sense of sin troubled his youthful years. He never shuddered at the wrathful face of Jesus, the Judge, gazing at him from blazoned church window. If he was once tempted for a moment to become a monk, it was in order to enjoy musical society, not to quench the sin that was burning him within, and to win the pardon of an angry God. He took his ecclesiastical calling in a careless, professional way. He belonged to a family connected on both sides with the clergy, and he followed the family arrangement. Until far on in life the question of personal piety did not seem to trouble him much, and he never belonged, like Luther and Calvin, to the type of men who are the leaders in a revival of personal religion. He became a Reformer because he was a Humanist, with a liking for Augustinian theology; and his was such a frank, honest nature that he could not see cheats and shams done in the name of religion without denouncing them. To the end of his days he was led more by his intellect than by the promptings of the heart, and in his earlier years he was able to combine a deep sense of responsibility about most things with a careless laxity of moral life.

Sec. 3. _At Glarus and Einsiedeln._

At Glarus he was able to follow his Humanist studies, guided by the influences which had surrounded him during his last year at Basel. Among these his friendship with Thomas Wyttenbach was the most lasting. Wyttenbach taught him, he tells us, to see the evils and abuses of indulgences, the supreme authority of the Bible, that the death of Christ was the sole price of the remission of sins, and that faith is the key which unlocks to the soul the treasury of remission. All these thoughts he had grasped intellectually, and made much of them in his sermons. He prized preaching highly, and resolved to cultivate the gift by training himself on the models of antiquity. He studied the Scriptures, joyfully welcomed the new Greek Testament of Erasmus, published by Froben of Basel in 1516, when he was at Einsiedeln, and copied out from it the whole of the Pauline Epistles. On the wide margins of his MS. he wrote annotations from Erasmus, Origen, Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Jerome. It was his constant companion.

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