Page:Balthasar Hübmaier.djvu/251

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Teachings of Hübmaier

combined to make preacher and reformer rather than thinker and doctor. He was not by any means a religious opportunist; he did not lack definite theological ideas because he restrained himself from giving them expression. To his apprehension, truth presented itself in sharp and clear outlines; it was a well-defined body; he did not refrain from systematic statement of doctrine because his ideas were hazy, or because he was indifferent, but because other matters seemed to him of more pressing importance. In times more quiet he would have given more attention to theology.

We shall not waste time, then, if we undertake to dissect out of Hübmaier's writings a skeleton of doctrine, which underlies all his teaching and gives it consistency, coherence, and firmness. And we shall do well to begin at the point where he himself began; for he was led to his clear views of Scripture truth, as we have seen, by the independent study of the Scriptures themselves. Prior to 1522 he had been content with the scholastic theology of which his old master and friend, Eck, continued to the last to be so ardent and eminent an exponent. The authority of the Fathers and great doctors of