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    THE ANABAPTISTS AND OTHERS

    Not every man, who broke the yoke of Rome, walked in Luther’s gigantic steps; nor was he always equal. Many, trained by long use to spiritual bondage, could not live without a master; and not a few in the enjoyment of the liberty of reading the Scriptures, came to the interesting conclusion, that with the end of the pope’s administration a new administration commenced, which, by way of dignity and scripture authority, was likely to be the reign and kingdom of the saints; and so they called it. These were the most dangerous foes of the Reformation, being an enemy in its own bosom. They began to separate from Luther, under the impression that his doctrine was not perfect enough: that he had only opened the way of reform, which others must clear up and confirm by direct inspiration. They taught a new doctrine of baptism, and also the criminality of an oath, and of being a civil magistrate, and of bearing arms. Under the banner of gospel liberty, they combined to shake off the yoke of servitude imposed by the German barons on the Israel of faith. They wished all men to be free and independent, inspiring them with contempt for the nobility and the civil authority; seeing that civil magistrates and lords are of no use in “the kingdom of heaven,” which being come, the monarchs of this world have no better right to usurp than the pope himself had; but every Christian should walk in the liberty wherewith the Lord makes him free. 1Ency. Methodique Anabaptist. They had a variety of doctrine, but one sign identified them all, to wit, the immersion of their adult followers.
    Their oppression under the yoke of the barons may be understood by a reference to the fact, that, so late as the time of Washington, they were sold by the tale at so much a head, to be paid to their master, if they fell in the battles of a strange country.
    HDM 25.1

    They shook the peace of nations and the confidence of princes; they caused dissensions between brethren; they rejected authority and despised governments, having in mind the reign of the saints, which saints their leaders would sometimes feign to be. Luther sought to moderate this portion of his flock, and to extract their ill humors; but they could not stop for him, in the career of perfection.HDM 25.2

    Their reply to Luther’s remonstrances, therefore, had force in it: that having been made free by the blood of Christ, they ought not to be accounted the slaves of the nobles. This naturally led them to forget one article of their faith, while they maintained the residue by the force of arms. Multitudes were infected with the leaven of their doctrines, and were uncertain to what precise point reformation should go, and there stop; while many, in the desk and in the field, proclaimed the freedom of the holy people from the thraldom and oppression, which only the impious were worthy to endure at the hands of the German barons.HDM 25.3

    At length Luther published a severe book against them, entreating the honest, but deluded, to forsake them; and inviting the princes to subdue the stubborn by force. Count Mansfield defeated them in battle, A. D. 1525, took Muncer and Pfiffer, their leaders, prisoners, who were publicly executed at Mulhausen. The sect did not perish in this overthrow. It was curbed, however, and made to feel, in the gory wounds of many thousands, 1It is estimated that in the controversies of this sect in that age, a hundred thousand souls perished. that it had no kingdom over this world, in the abused name of heaven.HDM 26.1

    Yet many indulged the hope of soon realizing the dominion of the saints, when the righteous shall possess the government of the world, and the wicked be everywhere subdued or destroyed.HDM 26.2

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