Friday, March 17, 2017

Balthasar Hübmaier

Balthasar Hübmaier, according to Vedder:
The ethical tone of Hübmaier’s writings also marks him for distinction among the writers of his age. He is scrupulously fair to his adversaries—always fair in intention, and usually fair in deed. He never charges misconduct and heresy upon his adversaries with that light-hearted carelessness of fact which is characteristic of his age and of most of its writers—of Luther and Zwingli, for example.
And the difference in tone between his controversial writings and those of the period is marvellous. To read an average pamphlet of Luther’s, written to confute some adversary,—Wider Hans Wurst, for instance, or Contra Henricum Regem,—and then to turn to any writing of Hübmaier’s, is like escaping from the mephitic odours of a slum into a garden of spices. It is not merely that scurrilous abuse has been exchanged for courteous speech,—the whole atmosphere is different. There is a “sweet reasonableness” in Hübmaier’s attitude toward men and truth, a confident belief that he is right, but a genuine willingness to be instructed, which is rare in any age and was unique in his.
Of a brilliant English scholar it was said, as his fitting epitaph, “He died learning”; and of Hübmaier it may be said with equal truth that each year of his life saw him take a long stride forward, not only in knowledge of the truth, but in that love that is not easily provoked and thinketh no evil.
--Henry C. Vedder, Balthasar Hübmaier: The Leader of the Anabaptists (New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Knickerbocker Press, 1905), 157–158

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