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§ 55. Antistes Breitinger (1575–1645).


In the same year in which Bullinger died (1575), Johann Jakob Breitinger was born, who became his worthy successor as Antistes of Zürich (1613–1645).320320    The immediate successors of Bullinger were Gwalter, Zwingli’s son-in-law (1575-1586), Lavater (1585-1586), Stumpf (1582-1592), Leemann (1592-1613). He called him a saint, and followed his example. He was one of the most eminent Reformed divines of his age. Thoroughly trained in the universities of Herborn, Marburg, Franeker, Heidelberg, and Basel, he gained the esteem and affection of his fellow-citizens as teacher, preacher, and devoted pastor. During the fearful pestilence of 1611 he visited the sick from morning till night at the risk of his life.

He attended as one of the Swiss delegates the Synod of Dort (1618 and 1619). He was deeply impressed with the learning, wisdom, and piety of that body, and fully agreed with its unjust and intolerant treatment of the Arminians.321321    Comp. Schweizer, Centraldogmen, II. 26, 116 sq., 140 sq., 143. On his return (May 21, 1619) he was welcomed by sixty-four Zürichers, who rode to the borders of the Rhine to meet him. Yet, with all his firmness of conviction, he was opposed to confessional polemics in an intensely polemic age, and admired the good traits in other churches and sects, even the Jesuits. He combined with strict orthodoxy a cheerful temper, a generous heart, and active piety. He had an open ear for appeals from the poor and the numerous sufferers in the murder of the Valtellina (1620) and during the Thirty Years’ War. At his request, hospitals and orphan houses were founded and collections raised, which in the Minster alone, during eight years (1618–1628), exceeded fifty thousand pounds. He was in every way a model pastor, model churchman, and model statesman. Although be towered high above his colleagues, he disarmed envy and jealousy by his kindliness and Christian humility. Altogether he shines next to Zwingli and Bullinger as the most influential and useful Antistes of the Reformed Church of Zürich.322322    J. C. Mörikofer (author of the Life of Zwingli), Johann Jakob Breitinger Leipzig, 1873. Karl Meyer, in Herzog2, II. 597.



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