Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX. - Selected Works of Huldrich Zwingli
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APPENDIX. - Huldrych Zwingli, Selected Works of Huldrich Zwingli 
Selected Works of Huldrich Zwingli, (1484-1531) The Reformer of German Switzerland, translated for the First Time from the Originals, ed. Samuel Macauley Jackson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1901).
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Though I ever expend most liberally what little talent the Lord has given me, I am compelled to restrain my hand in the appendix, not out of niggardliness, but because you are already wearied, good reader, of so great prolixity, and because I am compelled to yield to the importunity of the Fair that presses.* With the help of God then I will refute the foolish, impious and absurd arguments advanced by the Catabaptists, a few passages of Scripture being adduced, but such as that whole crowd cannot resist.
I. The Catabaptists teach that the dead sleep, both body and soul, until the day of judgment, because they do not know that “sleeping” is used by the Hebrews for “dying.” Then they do not consider that the soul is a spirit, which, so far from being able to sleep or die, is nothing but the animating principle of all that breathes, whether that gross and sensation-possessing spirit that quickens and raises up the body, or that celestial spirit that sojourns in the body. That celestial spirit then that we call soul the Greeks call entelecheia [i. e., actuality]; this is so lively, enduring, strong, tenacious and vigilant a substance that its nature forbids the absence of action or existence. Its nature is incessant action or motion. So that it can as little sleep as the light or the sun can be an obscure body. Wherever you drive the sun it glows and kindles, as Phaethon experienced.† So the soul, no matter whither you drive it, animates, moves and impels, so that even when united firmly to the body, which itself under its own inertia sleeps, yet the soul sleeps not. For we recall what we have seen in sleep. Much more when freed from the body is it incapable of sleep, since it is a substance suited for continuous activity, incapable of weariness. So the body sleeps, the soul never, but when it is freed from the body this last sleeps the eternal night Finally the Catabaptists are ignorant that by the Hebrews the resurrection of the dead is not always received of the supreme resurrection of the flesh, which we shall some time see; sometimes it means this, sometimes that, continuance and existence of mind, by which, freed from the body, it persists and exists in life, oppressed neither by sleep nor death, for it cannot be so overcome.*
In Josh. vii. 12 the Lord says: The children of Israel could not stand (surgo) before their enemies, and a little after [verse 13]: Thou canst not stand before thy enemies. Here in both places to rise is put for to stand fast and steady. For Jerome also translates “to stand.” In Matt. xxii. 31 Christ says: Touching the resurrection of the dead have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. By which reply he taught nothing else but that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are living, though dead. Of whom the Sadducees either denied the resurrection, i. e., living, or at least, after Catabaptist fashion, asserted that they [the dead] slept. For Christ’s reply referred not to the resurrection of the flesh, but to the fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived, though dead. So Paul speaks in Heb. xi. 35: But others were tortured (or crucified), not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Notice here how resurrection is used for the life of souls, which they are to have when released from the body. In this sense they so embraced the life that follows this that they would not accept the present life even when it was offered. So firm was their faith that they were sure the life that followed would be better. Whence also the saying of Christ in John vi. 40: I will raise him up at the last day, ought not to be distorted to any sense other than: “I will preserve him in life when he dies who trusts in me.” So he either implies that they who trust him will never die or will ever live most joyously. For that “last day” here is not so much that final day of all things of the present world as the final day of each when he leaves this world. This is easily understood from John v. 24: He cometh not into judgment, but hath passed from death unto life. In 1 Cor. xv. the apostle, speaking of the resurrection, makes this which is understood as continuance or persistence in life, so to speak superior, of which he speaks in general, until he comes to the passage: How do the dead rise, or with what body do they come? There finally he reaches the discussion of that resurrection of the flesh which is to come at length. Do you, reader, that you may see that I assert nothing rashly, come to this passage, dismissing the rest. Notice how “From man came death, and from man the resurrection from the dead, for as in Adam all die, so in Christ all are made alive,” pertains not only to the resurrection of the flesh, but to that life which follows this at once. For through Adam we die, but through Christ we are preserved in life. For he says: He who believeth in me shall live even though he die. Then consider what follows: Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead? You see the ancients had a custom of baptizing themselves in behalf of the dead, not that this is approved by Paul or us (it was a foolish thing which followed the faithful out of unbelief even unto belief, for some things cling which perversely have the appearance of piety, especially toward parents and relatives). But the apostle acutely employed the foolish abuse of bapitism—which in my judgment was nothing else than the sprinkling with lustral water the graves of their dead, as some do to-day—against those who denied that the soul lived after it left the body until it was raised for judgment. And he thus catches them: If then the soul sleeps, why do you, too, moisten with lustral water the graves of the dead? What benefit do you do those who do not live, but are either nothing or asleep? You may note here in passing, reader, that this argument is used partly in behalf of infant baptism. For if they supposed that with baptismal or lustral water they accomplished something for the dead, much less would they refuse it to children. For they would do this according to the Lord’s word, for that they would have no document. Third, consider this, which he adds: And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I die daily, etc. For this, too, tends hither. Paul means: If either no life follows this, or a sleep more than Epimenidean,* I should be foolish to undergo every danger daily. But it is very different. Eternal life follows this immediately, for otherwise I would not expose myself rashly to dangers of this kind. Fourth, he says: Let us eat, etc., and even “Perverse communications corrupt good manners” points this way. For nothing equally corrupts manners with teaching that the soul dies, or, as the Catabaptists now blaspheme, sleeps till the last day, and then they affirm that the devil and all are saved. What penalty then awaits the faithless and criminal? This corruption would not spread so widely if they only denied that the flesh would live again. Fifth, consider this, too: Eknepsate dikaiōs, i. e., be vigilant. These words reflect Paul’s keenness. For when they, pressed in the sleep of ignorance, suppose (like the wolf which believes that all animals eat raw flesh because it does so itself) that souls sleep, he says therefore wake up. And when because of their keenness these little scholars seem to themselves by no means to sleep, he rightly says wake up. For you think that you are awake and have hit the nail on the head when you are dreaming so somnolently about sleep. After this weigh carefully the following, reader, and when you see that the apostle at first is speaking in general about the life of the soul after this life, and thence comes to the resurrection of the flesh, return to this and you will see that the Catabaptists are oppressed not so much by sleep as by evil, and teach whatever occurs to them.
II. The Catabaptists teach this, too, that the devil and all impious will be blessed. Why then do they threaten us with eternal damnation unless we join them? See how consistent is their teaching! When we die we shall sleep till the last day, then we shall be cleared in the judgment. So the lower world is done away with, and Gehenna, and the inextinguishable fire, and the flames which devour the tares gathered into bundles. But they have learned that לעלס,i. e., the Hebrew word meaning forever, does not mean interminable duration. Here they do just as they do everywhere. When they have learned one thing, what they either are ignorant of or will not see they turn aside and reject. Let them therefore take Luke i. 33: He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever. Is this forever used for some ages? Another witness is Matt. xxv. 41: Depart from me, ye cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Tell me here, when will that fire have an end if eternal is always a definite time? How many ages, I ask, will there be when this age shall be finished? So that you are able to say how long that fire will endure before it is extinguished. But why do I ask, as if you said anything but what is most vain! And so do you, O reader, listen: In that last judgment, after which there shall be no other, after which there shall be no age but sheer eternity, Christ will say: Depart hence from me into eternal fire. What end will that have that can find no end? For if that “eternal” were temporary, as it cannot be, for then all time ceases, then the salvation of the blessed would be temporary. But the foolish talk foolishness.
III. Catabaptists assume to themselves all, the office of preaching, and of others who are legitimately set apart by Christian churches they inquire, Who elected you? For they are not sent even by their evil church. But here they do not regard Scripture. It has no force. We do not read that any of the true apostles assumed to himself the ministry of the word. So no they preach unless they are sent? let him hear, Catabaptists. By what authority, pray? That of the father of lies and strife.
IV. Wherever it suits, the Catabaptists deny Scripture and assert their own spirit. But we know that Scriptures are to be interpreted by the spirit, but not by that contentious and rash spirit which the Catabaptists excite, rather by the true, eternal, peaceful and self-consistent spirit. We know also that Christ appealed to Scripture, who yet gave by sign and teaching sufficient proof whether he spoke from God, so that neither a Catabaptist nor any other should dare to demand credence for himself when he speaks without Scripture authority. So that very wonderful is the effrontery with which they dare to demand Scripture proof for infant baptism, rather from non-Scripture. For they have nothing by which they may trust in Scripture, but only a negative basis alone when they say: We do not read that the apostles baptized infants, therefore they should not be baptized. They ward off all Scripture by the boss of an asserted spirit. Spurn not prophecy, they say, and do not extinguish the spirit. Right enough! But what is added? Prove all things. We shall then prove the spirit, for the divine John warns not to trust every spirit, but to prove them whether they are of God. You deny that Christ is by nature the Son of God, the propitiation for the sins of all the world. Your spirit is then not of God by John’s test. So we spurn your prophecy no otherwise than as when Saul put himself into the company of prophets. You extinguish the spirit by your rebaptism. Why not, when it is so often submerged? For it is not that spirit which at the foundation of the world brooded over the waters, but that which hurled itself into swine with the great damage of the neighbors, itself doubtless swimming out and leaving those amid the swamps of Gennesaret who ought to have solaced the winter of the poor. Attend to the allegory.
[* ]Allusion to the Frankfort (on the Main) Autumnal Fair, which was the great book mart at that time; the date of this treatise being July 31, 1527.
[† ]He ventured to the drive the chariot of the sun across the heavens, and came so near the earth that he almost set it on fire!
[* ]The theory here rejected is known as “Psychopannychia,” the doctrine of the sleep of the soul. It received very elaborate refutation from the youthful Calvin: Psychopannychia, qua refellitur quorundam imperitorum error, qui animas post mortem usque ad ultimum judicium dormire putant. Libellus ante septem annos compositus, nunc tamen primum in lucem aeditus. Reprinted in Calvini Opera, ed. Baum et al., v., col. 165-232; Eng. trans., Calvin’s tracts, vol. iii., 413—490.
[* ]According to the tale Epimenides slept fifty-seven years.