Page:Balthasar Hübmaier.djvu/209

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1526]
141
Becomes an Anabaptist

every man. Let him who is quite certain that his own fortitude would not give way under torture, cast the first stone at such men as have yielded their convictions on the rack.

It is certain that Hübmaier himself was deeply repentant in after years for this error. In his Short Apology (Op. 13) he says:

"I may err—I am a man—but a heretic I cannot be, because I ask constantly for instruction in the word of God. But never has any one come to me and pointed out a single word, but one single man and his followers —against his own previous preaching, word and print, whose name I spare for the sake of God's word—who against common justice and appeal in behalf of his own government, the confederacy, and also the Emperor, by capture, imprisonment, sufferings and the hangman, tried to teach me the faith. But faith is a work of God and not of the heretics' tower, in which one sees neither sun nor moon, and lives on nothing but water and bread. But God be praised, who delivered me from this den of lions, where dead and living men lay side by side and perished. O God, pardon me my weakness. It is good for me (as David says) that thou hast humbled me."

Having obtained this recantation, such as it was and by such methods, the council decreed that Hübmaier should depart immediately from the country. It was in fear of such a decision that the closing paragraph of the document was written.