The quotation below from H. Merle D’Aubigné, History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century in part 1, concerning the Colloquy of Marburg, is continued:
Luther was, however, by no means shaken. “This is my body,” repeated he, pointing with his finger to the words written before him. “This is my body. The devil himself shall not drive me from that. To seek to understand it, is to fall away from the faith.”
“But, doctor,” said Zwingle, “St. John explains how Christ’s body is eaten, and you will be obliged at last to leave off singing always the same song.”
“You make use of unmannerly expressions,” replied Luther. The Wittembergers themselves called Zwingle’s argument “his old song.” Zwingle continued without being disconcerted: “I ask you, doctor, whether Christ in the sixth chapter of St. John did not wish to reply to the question that had been put to him.
Luther.—“Master Zwingle, you wish to stop my mouth by the arrogancy of your language. That passage has nothing to do here.”
Zwingle, hastily.—“Pardon me, doctor, that passage breaks your neck.”
Luther.—“Do not boast so much! You are in Hesse, and not in Switzerland. In this country we do not break people’s necks.”
Then turning towards his friends, Luther complained bitterly of Zwingle; as if the latter had really wished to break his neck. “He makes use of camp terms and blood-stained words,” said he. Luther forgot that he had employed a similar expression in speaking of Carlstadt.
Zwingle resumed: “In Switzerland also there is strict justice, and we break no man’s neck without trial. That expression signifies merely that your cause is lost and hopeless.”
Great agitation prevailed in the Knight’s Hall. The roughness of the Swiss and the obstinacy of the Saxon had come into collision. The landgrave, fearing to behold the failure of his project of conciliation, nodded assent to Zwingle’s explanation. “Doctor,” said he to Luther, “you should not be offended at such common expressions.” It was in vain: the agitated sea could not again be calmed. The prince therefore arose, and they all repaired to the banqueting hall. After dinner they resumed their tasks.
“I believe,” said Luther, “that Christ’s body is in heaven, but I also believe that it is in the sacrament. It concerns me little whether it be against nature, provided that it be not against faith. Christ is substantially in the sacrament, such as he was born of the Virgin.”
Œcolampadius, quoting a passage from St. Paul: “We know not Jesus Christ after the flesh.”
Luther.—“After the flesh means, in this passage, after our carnal affections.”
Œcolampadius.—“You will not allow that there is a metaphor in these words, This is my body, and yet you admit a synecdoche.”
Luther.—“Metaphor permits the existence of a sign only: but it is not so with synecdoche. If a man says he wishes to drink a bottle, we understand that he means the beer in the bottle. Christ’s body is in the bread, as a sword in the scabbard, or as the Holy Ghost in the dove.”
The discussion was proceeding in this manner, when Osiander, pastor of Nuremberg, Stephen Agricola, pastor of Augsburg, and Brentz, pastor of Halle in Swabia, author of the famous Syngramma, entered the hall. These also had been invited by the landgrave. But Brentz, to whom Luther had written that he should take care not to appear, had no doubt by his indecision retarded his own departure as well as that of his friends. Places were assigned them near Luther and Melancthon. “Listen, and speak if necessary,” they were told. They took but little advantage of this permission. “All of us, except Luther,” said Melancthon, “were silent personages.”
The struggle continued.
When Zwingle saw that exegesis was not sufficient for Luther, he added dogmatical theology to it, and, subsidiarily, natural philosophy.
“I oppose you,” said he, “with this article of our faith; Ascendit in cœlum—he ascended into heaven. If Christ is in heaven as regards his body, how can he be in the bread? The Word of God teaches us that he was like his brethren in all things (Heb., 2:17). He therefore cannot be in several places at once.”
Luther.—“Were I desirous of reasoning thus, I would undertake to prove that Jesus Christ had a wife; that he had black eyes, and lived in our good country of Germany. I care little about mathematics.”
“There is no question of mathematics here,” said Zwingle, “but of St. Paul, who writes to the Philippians, μορφἡν δοὑλου λαβὡν.” [“Taking the form of a servant.”]
Luther, interrupting him.—“Read it to us in Latin or in, German, not in Greek.
Zwingle (in Latin).—“Pardon me: for twelve years past I have made use of the Greek Testament only.” Then continuing to read the passage, he concluded from it that Christ’s humanity is of a finite nature like our own.
Luther, pointing to the words written before him.—“Most dear sirs, since my Lord Jesus Christ says, Hoc est corpus meum, I believe that his body is really there.”
Here the scene grew animated. Zwingle started from his chair, sprung towards Luther, and said, striking the table before him:
“You maintain then, doctor, that Christ’s body is locally in the Eucharist; for you say Christ’s body is really there—there there,” repeated Zwingle. “There is an adverb of place. Christ’s body is then of such a nature as to exist in a place. If it is in a place, it is in heaven, whence it follows that it is not in the bread.”
Luther.—“I repeat that I have nothing to do with mathematical proofs. As soon as the words of consecration are pronounced over the bread, the body is there, however wicked be the priest who pronounces them.”
Zwingle.—“You are thus re-establishing Popery.”
Luther.—“This is not done through the priest’s merits, but because of Christ’s ordinance. I will not, when Christ’s body is in question, hear speak of a particular place. I absolutely will not.”
Zwingle.—“Must every thing, then, exist precisely as you will it?”
The landgrave perceived that the discussion was growing hot; and as the repast was waiting, he broke off the contest.