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In this city was our author born, February 2, 1516. At the time of his birth, part of the public service then poríurming was, a light to lighten the Gentiles, &c. And, by GOD's good providence, the Reformation broke forth, the very next year, in Germany, under the auspices of Luther; and began to spread far and wide.
At the age of twelve years, Zanchiùs lost his father, who died of the plague, A. D. 1528. His mother survived her husband but three years. Deprived thus of both his parents, Zanchius resolved on a monastic life : and accordingly joined himself to a society of Canons Regular. He did this, partly to improve himself in literature, and partly for the sake of being with some of his relations, who had before entered themselves of that house, Here he continued nineteen years ; chiefly devoting his, studies to Aristotle, the languages, and school-divinity.
It was his happiness to become acquainted, very early in life, with Celsus Maximinian, count of Martinengo: Who, from being, like Zanchius, a bigoted Papist, by education ; became, afterwards, a burning and shining light in the Reformed church. Of our Author's intimacy with this excellent nobleman, and its blessed effects, himself gives us the following account: “I “ left Italy for the gospel's sake; to which I was not
a little animated, by the example of count Maximinian, 6 a learned and pious personage, and my most dear bro« ther in the Lord. We had lived together, under one « roof, and in a state of the strictest religious friendship, $ for the greater part of sixteen years ; being, both of “ us, canons regular; of nearly the same age and stand
ing; unisons in temper and disposition; pursuing the “ same course of studies; and, which was better still, “ joint hearers of Peter Martyr, when that apostolic man “ publicly expounded St Paul's Epistle to the Romans, " and gave private lectures on the Psalms to us his « monks.” From ibis memorable period we are, evidently, to date the æra of Zanchius's awakening to a true sight and experimental sense of divine things. His friend the count, and the learned Tremellius, were also converted, about the same time, under the ministry of Martyr.
This happy change being effected, our Author's studies began to run in a new channel. « The count (says " he) and myself betook ourselves to a diligent reading of “ the lioly scriptures : To which we joined a perusal of the best of the fathers, and particularly St Austin. For some
6 years, we went on thus in private ; and, in public, we « preached the gospel, as far as we were able, in its pu, “ rity. The count, whose gifts and graces were abun“ dantly superior to mine, preached with much greater “ enlargement of spirit, and freedom of utterance, than I I could ever pretend to : It was, therefore, no wonder " that he found himself constrained to fly his country « before I was. The territory of the Grisons was his im« mediate place of retreat : From whence removing soon « after, he settled ạt Geneva; where he commenced the “ first pastor of the Protestant Italian church in that " city. Having faithfully executed this sacred office, “ for some years, he at length comfortably fell asleep in « Christ," A. D. 1558, after having, on his deathbed, commended the oversight of his flock to the great Calvin.
It was in the year 1550, that Peter Martyr himself was obliged to quit Italy, where he could no longer preach, nor even stay, with safety. Toward the latter end of the same year, eighteen of his disciples were forced to follow their master from their native land ; of which number Zanchius was one. Being thus a refugee, or, as himself used to express it, “ delivered from his Babylonish cape “ tivity;" he went into Grisony, where he continued upwards of eight months; and then to Geneva, where, after a stay of near a twelvemonth, he received an invitation to England (upon the recommendation of Peter Martyr, then in this kingdom) to fill a divinity professorship here; I suppose, at Oxford, where Martyr had been for some time settled. Zanchius embraced the offer, and began his journey; but was detained on his way by a counter invitation to Strasburg, where the divinity chair had been late, ly vacated by the death of the excellent Caspar Hedio.
Zanchius was fixed at Strasburg, A. D. 1553, and taught there almost eleven years : But not without some uncasiness to himself, occasioned by the malicious opposition of several, who persecuted him for much the same reason that Cain hated righteous Abel, 1 John iii, 12. Matters, however, went on tolerably, during the life-time of Sturmius; who was then at the head of the university, and Zanchius's fast friend. At Strasburg it was that he presented the famous declaration of his faith concerning predestination, final perseverance, and the Lord's supper. He gave it to the senate October 22, 1562.
In proportion as the old senators and divines died off, one by one, Zanchius's situation at Strasburg grew more and more uncomfortable. Matters at length came to that
height, height, that he was required to subscribe to the Augsburg confession, on pain of losing his professorship. After mature deliberation, he did indeed subscribe ; but with this declared restriction, modò orthodoxè intelligatur ; " that “ it should be understood only in an orthodox sense.” Norwithstanding the express limitation with which he fettered his subscription, still this great and good man seems, for peace sake, to have granted too much, concerning the manner of Christ's presence in the Lord's supper ; as appears by the first of the three theses, maintained by him about this time.
Not content with Zanchius's concessions, several of the Strasburg bigots persisted in raising a controversial dust; particularly John Marbach, native of Schawben, or Swa. bia : A turbulent, unsteady theologist ; pedantic, and abusive; a weak, but fiery disputer, who delighted to live in the smoke of contention and virulent debate. He was, among the rest of his good qualities, excessively loquacious; which made Luther say of him, on a very public occasion, Ori hujus Suevi nunquam araneæ poterunt telas texere : this talkative Swabian need not be afraid of spi. « ders ; for he keeps his lips in such constant motion, that
no spider will ever be able to weave a cobweb on his « mouth. His opponents tendered accusations against him, of errors in point of doctrine ; particularly for his supposed heterodoxy concerning the nature of the Lord's supper; his denial of the ubiquity of Christ's natural body, and his protesting against the lawfulness of images, &c. Nay, they even went so far, as to charge him with unsound opinions concerning predestination and the perseverance of the truly regenerate: So early did some of Luther's pretended disciples, after the death of that glorious Reformer (and he had not been dead at this time above fifteen years) begin to fall off from the doctrines he taught, though they still had the effrontery to call thema selves by his name!
A grand occasion of this dissention, was a book concerning the eucharist, and in a defence of consubstantiation, written by one Heshusius ; a fierce, invidious preacher, who lavished the opprobrious names of heretic and atheist on all, without distinction, whose religious system went an hair's breadth above or below his own standard. In his preface, he grossly reflected on the elector palatine, (Frederic III.) Peter Martyr, Bullinger, Calvin, Zuinglius, Oecolampadius, and other great divines of, that age. Zanchius, in mere respect to these venerable names, did, in
concert with the learned Sturmius, prevail with the magistrates of Strasburg to prohibit the impression. Mr Boyle is so candid as to acknowledge, that · Zanchius < caused this book to be suppressed, not on account of < its doctrine, which he left to the judgment of the $ church; but for the calumnies of the preface. Zanchius was a zealous friend to religious liberty. He had too great a share of good sense and real religion, to pursue any measures, which simply tended either to restrain men from declaring their principles with safety, or to shackle the human mind in its enquiries after truth, But he ardently wished to see the contending parties of every denomination, carry on their debates with Christian meekness, modesty, and benevolence : And, where these amiable ingredients were wanting, he looked upon disputation as a malignant fever, endangering the health, peace, and safety of the church. When candour is lost, truth is rarely found.
Notwithstanding the precautions taken by the magistrates, Heshusius's incendiary piece stole through the press: And Zanchius's efforts, to stifle its publication, were looked upon, by the author's party, as an injury never to be fora given. They left no methods unessayed, to remove him from his professorship. Many compromising expedients were proposed, by the moderate of both parties. The chapter of St Thomas (of which Zanchius himself was a canon) met, to consider what course should be pursued. By them, it was referred to a select committee of thirteen. Zanchius offered to debate the agitated points, in a friendly and peaceable manner, with his opponents : Which offer not being accepted, he made several journies to other churches and universities in different parts of Germany; and requested their opinions : Which he brought with him in writing. Things, however, could not be settled, till the senate of Strasburg convened an assembly, from other districts, consisting partly of divines, and partly of persons learned in the laws. These referees, after hear-, ing both sides, recurred to the old fruitless expedient, of agreeing on certain articles, to which they advised each party to subscribe. Zanchius, desirous of laying the unchristian heats, and, at the same time, no less determined to preserve integrity and a good conscience ; subscribed in these cautious terms: Hanc doctrine formulam ut piam agnosco, ita etiam recipio : “ I acknowledge this summary şr of doctrine to be pious, and so I admit it.” This condescension on Zanchius's part, was not followed by
those peaceful effects, which were expected. The peace was too loosely patched up, to be of any long duration, His adversaries began to worry him afresh; and, just as measures were bringing on the carpet, for a new and more lasting compromise, our divines received an invitation to the church of Chiavenna, situate on the borders of Italy, and in the territory of the Grisons.
Augustine Mainard, pastor of that place, was lately dead; and a messenger arrived, to let Zanchius know that he was chosen to succeed him. Having very slender prospect of peace at Strasburg, he obtained the consent of the senate to resign his canonry of St Thomas, and professorship of divinity. Whilst the above debates were depending, he had received separate invitations to Zurich, Geneva, Leyden, Heidelberg, Marpurg, and Lausanne : But, till he had seen the result of things at Strasburg, he did not judge any of these calls sufficiently providential to determine his removal.
He left Strasburgh in November, 1563, and entered on his pastoral charge at Chiavenna, the beginning of January following. But he had not long been there, before the town was visited by a dismal pestilence, which, within the space of seven months, carried off twelve hundred of the inhabitants. Zanchius, however, continued to exercise his ministry, as long as thert was an assembly to preach to. At length, the for greater part of the towns-men being swept away, he retreated for a while, with his family, to an adjoining mountain. His own account is this (tom. vii. part 1. col. 36, 37.) « Mainard, my pious « predecessor, had often foretold the calamity, with which “ the town of Chiavenna has been since visited.. All the « inhabitants have been too well convinced, that that holy “ man of GOD did not prophesy at random.---When “ the plague actually began to make hayock, I enforced “ repentance and faith, while I had a place to preach in, 6 or any congregation to hear.- Many being dead, and 66 others having fled the town (like ship-wrecked mari“ ners, who, to avoid instant destruction, make toward “ what coast they can ;) but very few remained : Apd, 66 of these remaining few, some were almost terrified to « death, others were solely employed in taking care of the “ sick, and others in guarding the walls. They con« curred in advising me to consult my own safety, by 56 withdrawing, for a time, till the indignation should to be overpast. I betook myself, therefore, with all my for family, to an high mountain, not a vast way from the