Church History: Zwingli’s Abrasive Letter To Eck
March 24, 2011
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This week in church history we take a break and courageously read through a letter that was written by Huldrych Zwingli. I would like to believe this letter never got mailed to the intended recipient a mischievous character called Johannes Eck.
“Look out, you impudent chap, now you will experience an examination which can’t be borne by you, but only by a Hercules. You actually deserve it, that one would hurl against you everything that gives insult, derision, and offense… Is it not almost insane that you think so much of yourself, that you write against me to the Confederation in such a shameless, rude and disgusting manner?
Were you born to cause only confusion everywhere? You lacked the strength to act, after you exposed your stupidity in the presence of all, and you also still need to abandon your wickedness, so that the world has not only Eck’s foolishness, but also his meanness for a very long time as a deterring example before its eyes…
Everything manifests externally what it is internally; whether you look like a human or like an ape on the outside. You are indeed in action nothing other than a cow. You still need, as it appears to me, and everyone else, to be broken like a mule or a donkey. I could never find a man more miserable than you, even if I scanned the whole of Germany…
Since one cannot bend you into shape with either mildness nor sharpness, nothing else can be done but to treat you like a runaway slave or a miller’s ass which needs to be flogged with a club. Or is one to send you into the mad house? Oh, there is no mad house good enough to bring so wicked a man back to order. Even if one made every effort to restore him again, he will always be completely insane and raving; nothing different than a completely mad and common chap. You have always naturally been like that… ” ~Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531)
Excerpted from Zwinglius Redivivus.