Schaff, P. (1878).
The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes: The History of Creeds
(Vol. 1). New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers.
This is substantially Zwingli’s doctrine, as he preached it during the Conference in Marburg (1529),
and taught it in his book on
It was afterwards more fully and clearly developed by the powerful intellect of Calvin,
who made it the prominent pillar of his theology, and impressed it upon the majority of the Reformed Confessions, although several of them simply teach a free election to salvation, without saying a word of the decree of reprobation. On this subject, however, as previously stated, there was no controversy among the early Reformers. They were
all Augustinians. Luther heard Zwingli’s sermon on Providence in Marburg, and
made no objection to it, except that he quoted Greek and Hebrew in the pulpit He had expressed himself much more strongly on the subject in his famous book against Erasmus (1525). There was, however, this difference, that Luther, like Augustine, from his denial of the freedom of the human will, was driven to the doctrine of absolute predestination, as a logical consequence; while Zwingli, and still more Calvin, started from the absolute sovereignty of God, and inferred from it the dependence of the human will; yet all of them were controlled by their strong sense of sin and free grace much more than by speculative principles. The Lutheran Church afterwards dropped the theological inference in part
namely, the decree of reprobation
and taught instead the universality of the offer of saving grace; but she retained the anthropological premise of total depravity and inability, and also the doctrine of a free election of the saints, or predestination to salvation; and this after all is the chief point in the Calvinistic system, and the only one which is made the subject of popular instruction. In the Lutheran Church, morever, the election theory is moderated by the sacramental principle of baptismal regeneration (as was the case with Augustine), while in the Reformed Church the doctrine of election controls and modifies the sacramental principle, so that the efficacy of baptism is made to depend upon the preceding election. 3. The most original and prominent doctrine of Zwingli is that of the
, and especially of the
. He adopts the general definition that the sacrament is the visible sign of an invisible grace, but draws a sharp distinction between the sacramental sign (
) and the thing signified (
), and allows no necessary and internal connection between them. The baptism by water may take place without the baptism of the Spirit (as in the case of Ananias and Simon Magus), and the baptism by the Spirit, or regeneration, without the baptism by water (for the apostles received only
John’s baptism; the penitent thief was not baptized at all, and Cornelius was baptized after
Zwingli, being requested by Philip of Hesse (Jan. 25, 1530) to send him a copy of his sermon, which he had preached without manuscript, reproduced the substance of it, and sent it to him, Aug. 20, 1530, under the title,
Ad illustrissimum Cattorum principem Philippum sermonis de Providentia Dei anamnema. Opera
IV. pp. 79
–144. See a full extract in Schweizer’s
, Vol. I. pp. 102 sqq. Ebrard makes too little account of this tract.
In the later editions of his
for in the first edition he confines himself to a very brief and indefinite statement of this doctrine.