Heinrich Bullinger was a good pastor and a better father. He was born in 1504 to a priest who embraced Reformation views. Though it cost him his church, it gained him his son. Young Heinrich loved Luther’s writings, Melanchthon’s books, and the study of the Bible. At the age of 27, he took the place of slain Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli as pastor of the Grossmunster of Zurich, on December 23, 1531.
Bullinger continued Zwingli’s practice of preaching through books of the Bible, verse by verse. His home was open from morning till night, and he freely distributed food, clothing, and money to the needy. His wisdom and influence spread across Europe.
No one was more affected than his own son, Henry. When the young man packed his bags and set out for college in Strasburg, Heinrich gave him ten rules for living:
1. Fear God at all times, and remember that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
2. Humble yourself before God, and pray to him alone through Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate.
3. Believe firmly that God has done all for our salvation through his Son.
4. Pray above all things for a strong faith active in love.
5. Pray that God may protect your good name and keep you from sin, sickness, and bad company.
6. Pray for the fatherland, for your dear parents … for the spread of the Word of God.
7. Be reticent, be always more willing to hear than to speak, and do not meddle with things you do not understand.
8. Study diligently. … Read daily three chapters of the Bible.
9. Keep your body clean and unspotted, be neat in your dress, and avoid above all things intemperance in eating and drinking.
10. Let your conversation be decent, cheerful, moderate.
The advice was taken; and Henry Bullinger became, like his father and grandfather, a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Parents, don’t be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Dec. 23.