A PREVIOUS chapter1 has traced the history of the schism of the two great reformed Churches as far as the unsuccessful attempt to reconcile them at the Marburg colloquy of October, 1529. To the Diet of Augsburg in the following year Zwingli sent a confession of faith in which he designated the Lutherans as men who longed after the flesh pots of the old Egypt. Still another confession, more irenic in tone, was brought by the German Zwinglians. Their representative, Martin Bucer of Strassburg, since 1518 a friend and admirer of the Wittenberg reformer, visited Feste Coburg in hopes of bringing about a union. He succeeded in convincing Luther of the good intentions of the South German cities, and, wishing to push his advantage, sent to him, not long after the close of the Diet, a very conciliatory creed, for which he received the following acknowledgment: —


Grace and peace in Christ. I have received the confession sent by you, dear Bucer; I approve it and thank God that we are united in confessing, as you write, that the body and blood of the Lord is truly in the supper, and is dispensed by the consecrating words as food for the soul. I am surprised that you say that Zwingli and (Ecolampadius believe this too, but I speak not to them but to you. [Here follows an exposition of the minute differences in the belief of Luther and of Bucer.]

I cannot, therefore, admit a full, solid peace with you without violating my conscience, for did I make peace on these terms I should only sow the seeds of far greater theological disagreement and more atrocious discord between us in future. . . . Let us rather bear a little

discord with an imperfect peace, than, by trying to cure this, create a more tragic schism and tumult. Please believe what I told you at Coburg, that I would like to heal this breach between us at the cost of my life three times over, for I see how needful is your fellowship to us and what damage our disunion has done the gospel. I am certain that, were we but united, all the gates of hell and all the papacy and all the Turks and all the world and all the flesh and whatever evil there is could not hurt us. Please impute it not to obstinacy but to conscience that I decline the union you propose. After our conference at Coburg I had high hopes, but as yet they have not proved well founded. May the Lord Jesus illumine us and make us more perfectly at one. . . .