The Second Helvetic Confession (Latin: Confessio Helvetica posterior) was written by Bullinger in and revised in as a private exercise. It came to the. The Second Helvetic Confession was written in by Heinrich Bullinger ( ), whose life we considered in our previous article. A discussion on the Second Helvetic Confession of Faith. A source of information for deeper understanding of religious subjects.
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The Second Helvetic Confession, A. Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes — Various. The Latin text, Zurich,, etc. The German text appeared frequently — Zurich, helvetoc Basle, ; Berne,etc. London Caryl Book Societycomplete, but inaccurateand a third by Prof. Good of Tiffin, O. Basel,pp. Helvetische Confession, in Herzog’s Theol.
Nach handschriftlichen und gleichzeitigen Quellen. Before we proceed to the Calvinistic Confessions, we anticipate the Second Helvetic Confession, the last and the best of the Zwinglian helvehic.
It is the work of Henry Bullingerthe pupil, friend, and successor of Zwingli, to whom he stands related as Beza does to Calvin. He was a learned, pious, wise, and faithful man, and the central figure in the second period of the Reformation in German Switzerland.
Born at Bremgarten, in Aargau,  educated in Holland and Cologne, where he studied patristic and scholastic theology, and read with great interest the writings of Luther and the Loci of Melanchthon, he became on his return intimately acquainted with Zwingli, accompanied him to the Conference at Berneand after laboring for some years at Cappel and Bremgarten, he was chosen his successor as chief pastor Antistes at Zurich, Dec.
This was shortly after the catastrophe at Cappel, in the darkest period of the Swiss Reformation. Bullinger proved to be the right man in the right place. He raised the desponding spirits, preserved and completed the work of his predecessor, and exerted, by his example and writings, a commanding influence throughout the Reformed Church inferior only to that of Calvin. Some of them had found an hospitable refuge in his house and with his friends during the bloody reign of Maryand after their return, when raised to bishoprics and other positions of influence under Queen Elizabeth, they asked his counsel, and kept him informed about the progress of reform in their country.
This correspondence is an interesting testimony not only to his personal worth, but also to the fraternal communion which then existed between the Anglican and the Swiss Reformed Churches. He opened his house also to Italian Protestants, and treated even the elder Sozino, who died at Zurich, with great kindness and liberality, endeavoring to restrain his heretical tendency.
In the latter years of his life he was severely tried by the death of his best friends Bibliander, Froschauer, Peter Martyr, Pellican, Gessner, Blaarer, Calvin, Hyperiusand by a fearful pestilence which deprived him of his beloved wife and three daughters, and brought him to the brink of the grave.
He bore all with Christian resignation, recovered from disease, and continued faithfully to labor for several years longer, until he was called to his reward, after taking affectionate farewell of all the pastors and professors of Zurich, thanking them for their devotion, assuring them of his love, and giving each one of them the hand with his blessing. He assumed the care of the Church of Zurich when it was in a dangerous crisis; he left it firmly and safely established.
Bullinger was one of the principal authors of the First Helvetic Confession, and the sole author of the Second.
In the intervening thirty years Calvin had developed his amazing energy, while Romanism had formularized its dogmas in the Council of Trent. Bullinger composed the Second Helvetic Confession inin latin, for his own use, as an abiding testimony of the faith in which he had lived and in which he wished to die. He showed it to Peter Martyr, who fully consented to it, shortly before his death Nov.
Two years afterwards lie elaborated it more fully during the raging of the pestilence, and added it to his will, which was to be delivered to the magistrate of Zurich after his death, which he then expected every day. But events in Germany gave it a public character. Bullinger sent him a manuscript copy of his Confession.
The Elector was so much pleased with it that he desired to have it translated and published in Latin and German before the meeting of the Imperial Diet, which was to assemble at Augsburg into act on his alleged apostasy. In the mean time the Swiss felt the need of such a Confession as a closer bond of union. The First Helvetic Confession was deemed too short, and the Zurich Confession ofthe Zurich Consensus ofand the Geneva Consensus of touched only the articles of the Lord’s Supper and predestination.
Conferences were held, and Beza came in person to Zurich to take part in the work.
Bullinger freely consented to a few changes, and prepared also the German version. Gall, and Muhlhausen expressed their agreement. Basle alone, which had its own Confession, declined for a long time, but ultimately acceded.
The new Confession appeared at Zurich, March 12,in both languages, at public expense, and was forwarded to the Elector and to Philip of Hesse. In the same month the Elector Frederick made such a manly and noble defense of his faith before the Diet at Augsburg, that even his Confessipn opponents were filled with admiration for his piety, and thought no longer of impeaching him for heresy. The Helvetic Confession is the most widely adopted, and hence the most authoritative of all the Continental Reformed symbols, with the exception of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Besides the Swiss Confessin and the Palatinate, in whose name it was first issued, the Reformed Churches of NeufchatelBasle, France at the Synod of La Rochelle,Hungary at the Synod of Debreczin,Poland andand Scotland  gave it their sanction.
It was well received also in Holland and England. Like most of the Confessions of the sixteenth century, the Helvetic Confession is expanded beyond the limits of a popular creed into a lengthy theological treatise.
It is the matured fruit of helvwtic preceding symbolical labors of Bullinger and the Swiss Churches. It is in substance a restatement of the First Helvetic Confession, in the confwssion order of topics, but with great improvements in matter and form. Connfession is scriptural and catholic, wise confesssion judicious, full and elaborate, yet simple and clear, uncompromising towards the errors of Rome, moderate in its dissent from the Lutheran dogmas.
It proceeds on the conviction that the Reformed coonfession is in harmony with the true Catholic faith of all ages, especially the ancient Helbetic and Latin Church. Hence it is preceded by the Imperial edict of from the recognized Justinian codewhich draws the line between orthodoxy and heresy, and excludes as heresies only the departures from the Apostolic and Nicene faith. It inserts also the brief Trinitarian creed ascribed to the Roman Pope Damasus from the writings of Jeromeand referred to in said decree as a standard of orthodoxy.
As in former Confessions, so also in this, Bullinger distinctly recognizes, in the spirit of Christian liberty and progress, the constant growth in the knowledge of the Word of God, and the consequent right of improvement in symbolical statements of the Christian faith.
Upon the whole, the Second Helvetic Confession, as to theological merit, occupies the first rank among the Reformed Confessions, while in practical usefulness it is surpassed by the Heidelberg and Westminster Shorter Catechisms, and in logical clearness and precision by the Westminster Confession, which is the product of a later age, and of the combined learning and hevletic of English and Scotch Calvinism.
In view of helvetlc importance of this Confession, I give here a condensed translation of the original. We believe and confess that the Canonical Scriptures helveti the Old and New Testaments are the true Word of God, and have sufficient authority in and of themselves, and not from men; since God himself through them still speaks to us, as he did to the Fathers, the Prophets, and Apostles. They contain all that is necessary to a saving faith and a holy life; and hence nothing should be added to or taken from them Deut.
From the Scriptures must be derived all true wisdom and piety, and also the reformation and government of the Churches, the proof of doctrines, and the refutation of errors 2 Tim. God may illuminate men directly by the Holy Spirit, without the external ministry; yet he has chosen the Scriptures and the preaching of the Word as the usual method of instruction. The apocryphal books of the Old Testament, though they hevetic be read for edification, are not to be used as an authority in matters of conession.
We do not despise the interpretation of the Greek and Latin fathers and the teaching of Councils, but subordinate them to the Scriptures; honoring them as far as they agree with the Scriptures, and modestly dissenting from them when they go beyond or against the Scriptures. In matters of faith we can not admit any other judge than God himself, who through his Word tells us what is true and what is false, what is to be followed, and what is to helvettic avoided.
We reject traditions which contradict the Scriptures, though they may claim to be apostolical. For the Apostles and their disciples could not teach one thing by writing, and another by word of mouth. Paul preached the helgetic doctrine to all the churches 1 Cor. The Jews likewise had their traditions of the elders, but they were refuted by our Lord as ‘making void the Word of God’ Matt.
Of God, his Unity and Trinity. The Father hath begotten the Son from eternity; the Son is begotten in an unspeakable manner; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeds from both, and is conffssion be worshiped with both as one God. There are not three Gods, but three persons — consubstantial, coeternal, helvetci as to person and order, yet without any inequality.
The divine essence or nature is the same in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit Luke i. In short, we accept the Apostles’ Creed, which delivers to us the true faith. We hslvetic condemn the Jews and Mohammedans, and all who blaspheme this holy and adorable Trinity. We also condemn all heretics, who deny the Deity of Christ and the Holy Ghost. And although Christ assumed man’s nature, yet he did so not in order to afford a model for sculptors and painters.
He instituted for the hlevetic of the people the preaching of the Gospel, and the sacraments, but not images. Epiphanius tore down an image of Christ and some saint in a church, because he regarded it contrary to the Scriptures.
And he is to be worshiped ‘in spirit and in truth’ John iv. Hence we neither adore nor invoke the departed saints, and give no one else the glory that belongs to God alone Isa. Nevertheless, we neither despise nor undervalue the saints, but honor them as the members of Christ and the friends of God, who have gloriously overcome the flesh and the world; we love them as brethren, and hold xonfession up as examples of faith and virtue, desiring to dwell helvetix them eternally in heaven, and to rejoice with them in Christ.
Much less do we believe that the relics of saints should be worshiped. Nor do we swear by saints, since it is forbidden to swear by the name of strange gods Exod.
The Providence of God. We therefore condemn the Epicureans, who blasphemously affirm that God neither sees nor cares for men Psa.
The Second Helvetic Confession
confeession We do not despise as unnecessary the means whereby divine Providence works, but make use of them as far as they are commended nelvetic us in the Word of God.
We disapprove of the rash words of those who say that our efforts and endeavors are vain. Paul well knew that he was sailing under the providence of God, who had assured him that he must bear witness at Rome Acts xxiii. For God has appointed the means by which we attain to the end.
Helvetic Confession | Protestant religion |
hwlvetic He made all things very good and for the use confessio man Gen. Angels and men stand at the head of all creatures.
Angels are ministers of God Psa. The devil was a murderer and liar from the beginning John viii. Some angels persevered in obedience, and are ordained unto the faithful service of God and men; but others fell of their own accord and ran into destruction, and have become enemies of God and men.
Man was made in the image and likeness of God, and placed by God in paradise as ruler over the earth Gen. This is celebrated by David in the 8th Psalm. Moreover, Heovetic gave him a wife and blessed them Gen.
Man consists of two diverse substances in one person — of an immortal soul, which, when separated from the body neither sleeps nor dies, and of a mortal body, which at the last judgment, shall be raised again from the dead.
Ehlvetic condemn those who deny the immortality, or affirm the sleep of the soul, or teach that it is a part of God. But by the conffssion of the serpent, and through his own guilt, he fell from goodness and rectitude, and became, with all his offspring, subject to sin, death, and various calamities.
Sin is that inborn corruption of man, derived and propagated from our first parents, whereby we are immersed in depraved lusts, averse to goodness and confession to all evil, and unable of ourselves to do or think any thing that is good.
And as years roll on, we bring forth evil thoughts, words, and deeds, as corrupt trees bring forth corrupt fruits Matt. Therefore we are all by nature under the wrath of God, and subject to just punishment. By death we understand not only the uelvetic of the body, but also the eternal punishments of sin Eph. We therefore acknowledge that there is original sin in all men, and that all other sins, whether mortal or venial, also the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost, spring from this same source.