Page:Balthasar Hübmaier.djvu/208

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140
[1524—
Balthasar Hübmaier
my great sickness, adversity, banishment and poverty, since I have no coat of my own to put on, thus unclad came I away. Also be pleased to remember the great wrath and fury which my adversaries have embraced against me, and be pleased therefore to look upon me in mercy for God's sake, that as much as lies in your wisdom I may not come or be delivered into the hands of my enemies, especially as I am an infirm man and in this infirm body cannot do without bodily care. So will I pray to God for your wisdom, and will never forget your Christian government my life long. Neither shall any evil be shown by me to your wisdom nor anybody else, either with words or works. This your wisdom may truly trust me."[1]

Except for the first paragraph, this is not a recantation, but an apology. The first paragraph is a guarded admission that he had previously been in error respecting infant baptism and rebaptism—an admission that Hübmaier should never have made, and the making of which must considerably modify the admiration that otherwise may justly be entertained for his character and conduct. It is only just, however, to remind ourselves that fortitude in the endurance of excruciating pain is not the gift of

  1. Stachelin (Huldreich Zwingli, i., 516) differs from Egli in holding that this is the original recantation of December or January, not the final document. It seems plain that Egli's view is sustained by the closing paragraph and its appeal for help, which was not likely to have been inserted in the first document. The original text is given in Egli's Actensammlung, No. 940.