Page:Balthasar Hübmaier.djvu/326

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Balthasar Hübmaier

hand, they dared not openly oppose. At the same time, they did what they could to discourage the more extreme and fanatical among the Anabaptists, and thus lessen the pretext for severe measures against them; though we do not again read of so energetic proceedings as the imprisonment of Hans Hut in the Nikolsburg Castle.

As the danger of a Turkish invasion became more pressing, in the summer of 1528 it became more and more a practical question among the Nikolsburg brethren whether a Christian man could lawfully take up arms in self-defence, or pay a war-tax for defence against this foe. The party that had agreed with Hübmaier became known as the Schwertler, or men of the sword; while their opponents were named the Stäbler, or men of the staff, i. e., of peace and non-resistance. Jacob Widemann was the leader of the Stäbler, and gradually the idea of community of goods became even more important in their eyes than opposition to the sword. It was at length with them the doctrine of a standing or falling Church, since they were firmly convinced that a true Christian brotherhood could exist on no other basis. Peace was not so