Bullinger, Heinrich

Bullinger, Heinrich one of the most important of the Swiss reformers, was born at Bremgarten, near Zurich, where his father was parish priest, July 18, 1504. In 1516 he was sent to school at Emmerich, in Cleves, where Mosellanus was one of the masters. In order to train the boy to careful habits, his father gave him no money, and he was compelled to sing in the streets for bread like Luther. He was inclined, while at Emmerich, to enter the order of Carthusians; but his brother kept him from doing so, and in 1519 he went to Cologne, where he became bachelor of arts in 1520. He began to study the scholastic theology, but was soon disgusted, and even wrote against the scholastics. He then took up the fathers, especially Chrysostom and St. Augustine, and finding that they drew their premises from Scripture, he set himself earnestly to study the N.T. The writings of Erasmus led him to the study of the classics. He was thus quite ready to be impressed by Luther's writings when they fell in his way; and the De Captivitate Babylonica and De Bonis Operibus of Luther, with the Loci Communes of Melancthon, satisfied him that the Roman Church needed reformation. In 1522, after taking his master's degree, he returned to Switzerland, and was called by Wolfgang Rupli, abbot of Cappel, to teach in the cloister school of his abbey. Here he lectured on the N.T. and on the Loci Communes of Melancthon. In 1527 he was sent by his abbot to Zurich, and there he attended for five months the preaching and lectures of the celebrated Zuinglius, while he perfected his knowledge of Greek, and commenced the study of Hebrew under Pellicanus. On his return to Cappel, the abbot and his monks adopted fully the reformation, to which they had been before inclined. In 1528 he went with Zuinglius to the disputation at Berne. In 1529 he was made pastor at Bremgarten, his native place, and married Ann Adlischweiter, a nun retired from the convent at Zurich. At Bremgarten he engaged in controversy with the Anabaptists, against whom he wrote six books. In 1531, after the battle of Cappel, where Zuinglius fell, and with him, for a time, the cause of reform, Bullinger was compelled to leave Bremgarten, and was elected successor to Zuinglius at Zurich as antistes, or chief pastor. He began his work with a conflict. The Council of Berne, on the very day of his election, demanded a pledge that the clergy of Berne should refrain from all political discussions. 'Bullinger defended the freedom of the pulpit with so much energy that the council yielded. His supremacy as a leader of the reform was soon acknowledged. Luther attacked Zuinglius and his doctrine of the sacraments with great bitterness;

Bullinger defended both with calm but earnest arguments, in a series of writings on the sacraments extending over many years. Bucer's (q.v.) attempts to reconcile Luther's views with those of the reformed at first met with Bullinger's sympathy and approval; but he came at last to doubt Bucer's sincerity, or, at least, his thoroughness of conviction. In the midst of all his controversies he continued his faithful pastoral labors, and by these, with his powerful and popular preaching, he established the Reformation firmly in Zurich. His theology was Augustinian, but of a milder type than Calvin's. When division was threatened (1547) between the Reformed churches of Zurich and Geneva on the sacramental question, Bullinger and Calvin, by correspondence and personal conference, came to an agreement of views, which was expressed in the Consensus Tigurinus (1549), in which the corporal presence is denied, but a real and spiritual communication in the Supper of Christ to the believer is admitted. Bullinger was long in close correspondence with many men of note in the English Church, with whom he became acquainted during their sojourn abroad while the Marian persecution lasted, and his influence contributed greatly toward settling the doctrines of the English reformers. Many of their letters and of his own are preserved in the library of the city of Zurich. One of the most important labors of his later life was the preparation of the Confessio et Expositio brevis, etc. (the Second Helvetic Confession), adopted as authoritative in 1566. SEE CONFESSIONS. After severe suffering from calculus, he died Sept. 17, 1575, repeating the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and several of the Psalms just before his departure. His son- in-law, Simler, preached his funeral sermon, afterward printed (De Vita et Obita Bullingeri). Many of his works have been translated into English, viz., One hundred Sermons on the Apocalypse (1561, 4to): — Twenty-six Sermons on Jeremiah (1583, 4to): — Exhortation to Ministers (1575, 4to): — Commonplaces of Christian Religion (1572, 4to): — The Sum of the Four Evangelists; Fifty godly and learned Sermons (1577, 4to). His works as collected and published amount to ten folio vols. (Zurich). Such was the reputation of his writings in England that Archbishop Whitgift obtained an order in convocation that every clergyman should procure a copy of his sermons and read one of them once a week. A new edition of his Decades, from the edition of 1787, was printed for the Parker Society in 1849 (Camb. 4 vols. 8vo). There is also a reprint of the Sermons on the Sacrament (Camb. 1840, 8vo). See also Bullinger's Leben u. ausgewahlte Schriften, nach handschrift. u. gleichzeitigen Quellen von C. Pestalozzi (Elberfeld, 1857, 8vo); Hess, Lebsesgeschichte Bullinger's; Franz, Ziuge

aus dem Leben Bullinger's (1828); Mosheim, Ch. History, 3, 192; Burnet, Hist. of Reformation, 3, 302, et al.; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 2, 452.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.