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Swiss Defenders of the Old Faith – Articles of the Nine Members’ Delegates (1525)

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[5.] At this time, we also desire to make no changes in the Christian churches' other ordinations, statutes, and good praiseworthy customs – such as fasting, prayer, confession, works of penance, singing and reading, pilgrimages, offerings, and other ceremonies, etc. – but rather everything should be held as it flowed from the holy fathers out of God's word and from our other predecessors, and has come to us.

[6.] And since the old custom regarding meat and eating other forbidden foods during fasts and other banned days was established by the holy fathers because of good reasonable causes based on holy scripture, and has come to us laudably according to each country's custom, we therefore do not wish to introduce the aggravation that follows from the violation of such established customs into our towns, lands, and territories, but shall rather sustain things as before, and punish violators according to each canton's ordinances and pleasure, as was also decided at earlier assemblies.

[7.] ITEM, we do not wish to tolerate or suffer that anyone should revile or dishonor the most holy Virgin Mary, also all of God's saints. Rather, as all of our ancestors and the Christian church have always held, we shall virtuously believe that our dear lady and the other dear saints may well include us in their petitions to God and obtain mercy for us. And any person who speaks or acts against this should be gravely punished on this account, according to the determination of his lords and superiors.

[8.] ITEM, no one should undertake to revile, remove, break or otherwise attack the images and figures of our lord, our dear lady, the crucifix, or the other dear saints, whether in the churches, chapels, shrines, or other locations. Rather, everyone should let all monasteries and churches, with their decorations, praiseworthy customs, and traditions, remain as they have been from the old days and have come to us.

[9.] ITEM, since great division and unpleasantness has arisen all over because of the preachers and their preaching and teaching; and so that all of this, insofar as it is in our power, may be terminated and prevented with God's help; and so that the holy Gospel, God's word, and the holy scriptures may be understood correctly and uniformly preached, expounded, and taught to our common man everywhere (because the holy old teachers left many laudable and well-founded books that thoroughly explained and demonstrated the correct true Christian meaning of God's words and the holy scripture): So it is our ordination and firm conviction that everywhere in our towns, bailiwicks, jurisdictions, domains, and territories, no one shall preach and teach God's word and the holy scriptures unless he has been first examined by his spiritual superiors,* recognized as suitable and adequate to such duties, and possesses a credible license from the worldly authorities in the location where he is licensed. And no street preachers [Winckelprediger] should be permitted.

[10.] And any preachers who wish to preach to us and our subjects in our lands and territories should also preach, teach, and present the holy Gospel, the holy scriptures, and the New and Old Testaments according to their correct, true understanding as the Christian church has received and admitted, just as the holy old teachers doubtlessly did out of God's spirit and not of private opinion. And they should seek and intend nothing other than the benefit of souls and improvement here during our lives, and in doing so they should avoid any other [unnecessary] complications** or circumstances, as well as any other teachers not accepted by the churches and not in conformity with the holy scripture. And especially, no preacher should bend God's word or the holy scripture according to his own understanding, nor preach in such a way that his teachings are against the holy sacraments, against God's honor, against our Lady and the dear saints, or against the Christian church, as unfortunately now happens in many places.

* That is, the bishop or his vicar-general or the abbot, some of whom exercised episcopal powers – trans.
** The German text's "stempfeneyen" is a pure Helveticism – trans.

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