THE ANABAPTISTS AND THE MUNSTER DISORDERS.
In the consideration of the Anabaptists and the Munster disorders:
(1.) There were several kinds of Anabaptists at the time of the Munster troubles. Says Hase: “These Anabaptists …were ... a class of enthusiasts resembling each other, but very unlike each other in moral and religious character. …Some of them were persons who renounced the world, and others were slaves of their own lusts; to some of them marriage was only an ideal religious communion of spirit; to others it resolved itself into a general community of wives; some did not differ from the reformers with respect to doctrine, but others rejected original sin and the natural bondage of the will, denied that we are to be justified by the merits of Christ alone, or that we can partake of his flesh and maintained that our Lord's body was from heaven, and not begotten of the virgin.”1
Mosheim: “It is difficult to determine, with certainty, the particular spot which gave birth to that seditions and pestilential sect of Anabaptists. …It is most probable that several persons of this odious class made their appearance at the same time in different countries. …The first Anabaptist doctors of any eminence were, almost all, heads and leaders of particular sects. For it must be carefully observed, that though all…
l Hase's Hist. Chr. Ch., p. 431.
…these projectors of a new, unspotted and perfect church were comprehended under the general name of Anabaptists, on account of their opposing the baptism of infants, and their rebaptizing such as had received the sacrament in childhood in other churches, yet they were, from their very origin, subdivided into various sects which differed from each other in points of no small moment. The most pernicious faction of all those that composed this motley multitude, was that which pretended that the founders of the new and perfect church, already mentioned, were under the direction of a divine impulse, and were armed against all opposition, by the power of working miracles. It was this detestable faction which began its fanatical work in the year 1521, under the guidance of Munzer, Stubner, Storck and other leaders of the same furious, complexion, and excited the most unhappy tumults and commotions in Saxony and other adjacent countries.”1
They were called Anabaptists, not because they were the same denomination, but solely because they rejected all baptisms not administered by themselves. Just as all immersionists of the United States are often, in books and newspapers, classed as Baptists, though radically different. Some who believed in infant baptism were classed as Anabaptists.
Says Dr. Ludwig Keller, the Munster archivist, a Lutheran, than whom there is no higher authority on this subject: “The name Anabaptist, which is used to designate alike all the South German societies, generally awakens the conception of a party homogeneous and of like religious views. The conception, however, is an entirely erroneous one. It has been usual since the time…
l Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, sec. 3, ch. 3, sec. 4.
of Luther to designate as Anabaptists, Catabaptists, or fanatics, all those who renounced the Catholic church, but would not become Lutherans. Indeed, Luther at the very outset designated Zwingli and his followers as the party associates of those who held views in reference to infant baptism that were different from his own. It is susceptible of proof that not even in reference to the last mentioned doctrine, which was the occasion of the designation of Anabaptist was there a perfect agreement among the so-called Baptists. Much less was this the case on other points which possessed a greater significance for a religious party than that special dogma. It were the more correct, therefore, when the reference is to the religious conflicts of the period of the reformation in general, to speak not of the spread of the Anabaptists, but of the anti-Lutheran parties in Germany. …Among the so-called Anabaptists, retaining here the usual designation, we must distinguish three principal parties which come upon the scene in three epochs, under the preponderating influence of different personalities. These three groups were not the only ones into which the party were divided — indeed, not less than forty are enumerated by their contemporaries — but there were three parties which in the number of their followers and in the importance of their leaders, were especially prominent in the whole movement. All other groups were only degenerate, independent interests of ephemeral and limited influence.”1
From the statement, that there were different kinds of Anabaptists, no reliable historian or well read and honest person, upon this subject will dissent.
While the absurdity and the injustice, therefore, of branding Baptists with the disgrace of the Munster riots,…
1 Preussische Jahrbucher, Sept. 1892—translated by Rev. H. S. Burrage, D. D., in Bap. Quar. Rev., vol. 7, pp. 33, 34.
…simply because they were then known under the word Anabaptists, is apparent, from the foregoing, yet, as so many Baptist opponents resort to this injustice, I will next notice the verdict of those who have carefully and honestly investigated the charge.
(2.) Historians and other writers exonerate Baptists from the disgrace of taking any part in the Munster riots.
Says Burrage, alluding to a conference between Thomas Munzer, Grebel and Mantz: “Nor do we find that the Swiss radicals had any subsequent dealings with him. As Grebel's letter shows, he and his associates were not in agreement with Munzer in reference to baptism. They did not believe in the use of the sword as he did. Doubtless, they now found that in purpose they and the Saxon reformer differed widely. Munzer's aims were social and political chiefly.”l
Says Mosheim, whom, we have seen, clearly recognizes different sects of Anabaptists: “It would betray, however, a strange ignorance, as an unjustifiable partiality, to maintain, that even all that professed, in general, this absurd doctrine, were chargeable that with furious and brutal extravagance, which has been mentioned, as the character of too great a part of their sect. This was by no means the case; several of these enthusiasts discovered a milder and more pacific spirit, and were free from any other reproach than that which resulted from the errors they maintained, and their too ardent effort of spreading them among the multitude. It may still further be affirmed with truth, that MANY of those who followed the wiser class of Anabaptists, nay, some who adhered to the most extravagant factions of that sect, were men of upright intentions and sincere piety, who were seduced into this mystery …
1 The Anabaptists of Switzerland, p. 89.
…of fanaticism and iniquity, by their ignorance simplicity on the one hand, and by a laudable desire reforming the corrupt state of religion on the other…those who had no other marks of peculiarity than their administering baptism to adult persons only, and their excluding the unrighteous from the external communion of the church ought undoubtedly to have met with milder treatment than what was given to those seditious incendiaries, who were for unhinging all government and destroying all civil authority. …It is true indeed, that MANY Anabaptists suffered death, not on account of their being considered rebellious subjects, but merely because they were judged to be incurable heretics for in this century the error of limiting the administration of baptism to adult persons only, and the practice of re-baptizing such as had received that sacrament in a state of infancy, were looked upon as most flagitous and in tolerable heresies. …A HANDFUL of madmen who got into their heads the visionary notion of a new and spiritual kingdom,” were the madmen of Munster.1
Says Armitage: “Gieseler says that 'no traces of Anabaptist fanaticism were seen' in the. Peasants' War.”2 “Some individual Anabaptists were drawn into the contest, as at Muhlhausen; under the lead of Munzer, who was not, in any proper sense of the term, an Anabaptist himself. On the contrary, Keller, in his late work on the Reformation, (p. 370), says that Cornelius has shown that in the chief points Munzer was opposed to the Baptists.'3 “But differing from Baptists, he practiced in font baptism twice a year, christening all born in his congregation. In 1522, at Alstedt, he threw aside the…
1 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, sec. 3, chap. 3, sec. 5, 6, 7.
2 Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 366.
3 Idem, Ibid.
Latin liturgy and prepared one in German, in which he retained the formula for infant baptism. …It is, therefore, a singular perversity that so many writers should have attempted to palm him off as a Baptist, and the father of them. Dr. Rule, in his 'Spirit of the Reformation,' says: 'He performed a ceremony on baptized persons which they mistook for baptism, and with his followers received the designation Anabaptist.' But Ulhorn says that he did not practice rebaptism, and did not form a congregation.”1 “ Few writers have treated this subject with greater care and clearness than Ypeij and Dermout in their 'History of the Netherland Churches.' They say of the Munster men that while they are known in history as 'Anabaptists,' they ought by no means to be known as Baptists. 'Let the reader,' they request, 'keep this distinction, in mind in the statement which we now make respecting them. Since the peculiar history of the Anabaptists and Baptists has exerted so powerful an influence on the reformation of the church in this country, the nature of our historical work requires that we present in its true light the whole matter from its origin. After speaking at length of the Munster men and their excesses, especially of their leaders, they say of Mathiesen: 'He laid as the foundation of his new system of doctrine, that teaching respecting the holy ordinance of baptism which, in part, had long before been. maintained by the Baptists. He considered infant baptism not to be of the least advantage to the religious interests of the Christian. In his opinion baptism should be delayed to years of discretion, and after a profession of faith on the part of the baptized. Therefore every one who passed over to the community of which he was the head…
l Idem, pp. 367, 368.
…must first be baptized, even if he had been baptized into another society at an adult age. When he renounced his confession of faith he renounced also his baptism. …It can now be easily understood how the followers of the Munster leaders received the name of Anabaptists, or re-baptizers. So far as their views of baptism are concerned, these could be easily tolerated and they need not have been hated by reasonable persons on account of these. But besides these, they taught doctrines fraught with important errors, partly founded on Pelagianism, † partly Unitarianism, partly Mysticism, and partly impure principles. Yet, with all these opinions they could have been suffered to exist had they behaved themselves properly as members of society. …Since the enlisting of the rebel Anabaptists happened in this manner, it is sufficiently evident that the great majority cannot be supposed to have been Baptists in belief. They were people of every variety of religious beliefs, and many of them of no religion at all in heart, although they aided the Protestant cause. From the nature of the case the majority of Romanists knew no difference between the various Protestant parties and sects, and would make no distinction. Hence, the abhorrence only deserved by some of the Anabaptists was bestowed upon all Protestants. The honest Baptist suffered most severely from their prejudice, because they were considered by the people to be same, and were called by the same name. …On this account the Baptists in Flanders and in Friesland suffered the most terrible persecutions. …We have nowhere seen clearer evidence of the injurious influence of prejudice; nowhere have we met with more obstinate…
† “Pelagianism,” “Unitarianism” are held by Campbellites in general, to a greater or less extent. Pelagianism is the boldest Arminianism. Hence the Munster disorders are chargeable to Campbellite principles and to Arminiansm as otherwise held.
…unwillingness to be correctly informed, and a more evident disposition to silence those who better understood the truth of the matter. Prejudice, when once deeply imbibed, blinds the eye, perplexes the understanding, silences the instincts of the heart, and destroys the love of truth and rectitude. …Their religious teachings were pure and simple and were exemplified in their daily
“Brandt attributes them to some 'enthusiastic Anabaptists,' but is careful to add: 'Not to the well meaning Baptists.' 'Schaff pronounces it the greatest injustice to make the Anabaptists, as such, responsible for the extravagances that led to the tragedy at Munster.' Uhlhorn says that 'sedition, or a call to sedition, is not chargeable against the Anabaptists of Southern Germany at this time; I have found no trace of any fellowship with the seditious peasants.' But their contemporaries who knew them well, bear the same testimony. Capito, their stern opponent at Strasburg, says that he must 'openly confess' that most of them manifest 'godly fear and pure zeal. Before God I testify that I cannot say that their contempt for life springs from blindness rather than from a divine impulse.' Wetzel, the Catholic, declared that 'Whosoever speaks of God and a Christian life, or earnestly strives after personal improvement passes as an arch Anabaptist.' And Frank, who wrote in 1531, says of them: 'They teach love, faith and the cross. They are long suffering and heroic in affliction. …The world feared they would cause an uproar, but they have proved innocent everywhere. If I were emperor, pope or Turk, I would not fear revolt less from any people than this. …All the Baptists oppose those who fight for the gospel with the sword. Some object to war or any use of…
1 Idem, pp. 369, 370.
…the sword, but the most favor self-defense and justifiable war.' Bayle tells us that Turenne remonstrated with Van Benning for tolerating them, when he replied: 'They are good people, and the most commodious to a State in the world, because they do not aspire to places of dignity. …They edify the people by the simplicity of their manners, and apply themselves to arts and business without dissipating their substance in luxury and debauchery.' Nay, Bayle himself says that their great enemy, De Bres, says nothing to insinuate that the Anabaptist martyrs suffered death for taking up arms against the State, or for stirring up the subjects to rebel, but represents them as a harmless sort of people. …'Tis certain many of them who suffered death for their opinions had no thought of making an insurrection. …Cornelius sums up the whole matter, covering the time from 1525 onward, when he says: 'Anabaptism and the Peasants' War had no conscious connection.' The two movements were generally distinct. The Baptists in the Schleitheim Articles, Article VI, said: 'Scandal has been brought in amongst us by certain false brethren, so that some have turned from the faith, imagining to use for themselves the freedom of the Spirit and of Christ. But such have erred from the truth and have given themselves (to their condemnation) to the wantonness and freedom of the flesh; and have thought faith and love may do and suffer all things, and nothing would injure or condemn them because they believed. They warn that ' faith ' does not thus prove itself, does not bring forth and do such things as these false brethren and sisters do and teach. …Beware of such, as they serve not our father, but the flesh, with its lusts and longings.'”1
1 Armitage's Bap. Hist., pp. 373, 374.
One of the Baptist martyrs, Dryzinger, in 1538, only three years after the craze, was examined as to whether he and his brethren approved of these vile proceedings. He answered: “They would not be Christians if they did.” Hans of Overdam, another martyr, complained of these false accusations of violence. He said: “We are daily belied by those who say that we defend our faith with the sword, as they of Munster did. The Almighty defend us from such abominations.” Young Dosie, a beautiful character, who was a prisoner to the Governor of Friesland, and endured cruel slaughter for his love to Christ, was asked by the governor's wife if he and his brethren were not of the disgraceful people who took up the sword against magistrates. With the sweet innocence of a child he replied: “No, madam; those persons greatly erred. We consider it a devilish doctrine to resist the magistrates by the outward sword and violence. We would much rather suffer persecution and death at their hands and whatever is appointed us to suffer.’ All this is no more than Erasmus said of them in 1529: ‘The Anabaptists have seized no churches, have not conspired against the authorities, nor deprived any man of his estate and goods.’ They had no sturdier foe than Bullinger, yet he renders this verdict; ‘Say what we will of the Baptists, I see nothing in them but earnestness, and I bear nothing of them except that they will not take an oath, will not do any wrong, and aim to treat every man justly. In this, it seems to me, there is nothing out of the way.’ But Cornelius tells us plainly: ‘All these excesses were condemned and opposed wherever a large assembly of the brethren afforded an opportunity to give expression to the religious consciousness of the Baptist membership.' …No one outside of their number has better described their advanced position as a people in all respects than Fusslin, in his preface to volume II of Beitrage: 'The reformers rejected the superstitious abuses attached to the sacraments; the Anabaptists restored the sacraments themselves to memorials for believers. The reformers preached against unnecessary bloodshed; the Anabaptists denounced war of every kind. The reformers protested against Catholic tyranny; the Anabaptists denied to any civil power authority in matters of religion. The reformers decried public vices; the Anabaptists excluded † the immoral from their fellowship. The reformers sought to limit usury and covetousness; the Anabaptists made them impossible by their practice of communion. The reformers educated their preachers; the Anabaptists looked for the inner anointing. The reformers condemned the priests for simony; the Anabaptists made every preacher dependent on the labor of his own hands and the free gifts of* the people. …There was a great difference between Anabaptists and Anabaptists. There were those among them who held strange doctrines, but this cannot be said of the whole sect. If we should attribute to every sect whatever senseless doctrines two or three fanciful fellows have taught, there is no one in the world to whom we could not ascribe the most abominable errors.' Grebel tells us that two hundred moral and moderate Baptists in Munster heroically withstood the iniquity, and it was not established until forty-eight of that number had been put to a bloody slaughter for their resistance. So that in the struggle nearly fifty Baptists fell martyrs to purity in the German Sodom; and at last…
† In this strict church discipline the German Baptists of today agree with these. Baptist churches of the United States surely need a revival of discipline.
* Thus, as Baptists of today—when people were able they supported their pastors; when they were unable their pastors supported themselves. They had educated men among them who were educated before they left the Church of Rome, but their persecuted condition prevented them from educating those who were raised among them.
…the ministers and most of the people yielded to the clamor for polygamy under this reign of terror. While this handful of madmen had not been educated in visions, violence and indecency by the Baptist leaders of Switzerland and Germany, others had impregnated them with these doctrines from the cradle. For centuries these teachings and practices had filled the air. The doctrine of wild visions, both of God and the devil, was taught in the monastic institutions, and wonders of this sort were blazoned abroad by bishops, cardinals and popes everywhere. The Catholic communion believed then and still believes in new revelations from God. Saints innumerable are mentioned who heard voices from heaven, had visits from the Virgin and Father, the Son and angels — as Ignatius Aquinas, Teresa, Felix and Anthony. Francis was not only inspired to read men's minds and consciences as well as their faces, but he received the rules of his new order of monks direct from God. Like John of Leydon, he appointed twelve apostles, and one of them hanged himself to boot. He also 'prophesied' that he should be a ‘great prince,' and be adored over the whole earth. Bridget, Catharine and Rosa, with endless nuns, were prophetesses. Teresa took the crucified Christ by the hand, was espoused to him, and went up to heaven in the shape of a white dove. The Munster men never had such dreams, raptures, apparitions, phantasms and ecstasies as the canonized saints of Rome. Neither did Luther help the lunatics to sounder doctrine, when he saw the devil in the form of 'dog,' a 'whisp of straw,' a 'wild boar,' and a 'star;' nor when he threw the inkstand at his head. As to violence, Catholics and Protestants light them that tradition, reason and Scripture made it the pious duty of saints to torture and burn men as heretics out of pure love for their holiness and salvation.
…Who educated these fanatics in Christian love and gentleness? The law of their times was to repel force with force. When the Munster men came into power they applied the reasonings of their tutors in atrocity, saying: 'Our bounden duty is to rid the earth of Christ's enemies and ours, as they would rid it of us.' And who will say that all these murderers did not stand on the same plane of outrage and barbarity in this respect? As to immoralities- every pure mind shrinks from the indecencies of Munster. And who had set them this example? They practiced polygamy; but ten long years before this, 1524, Luther had written: 'The husband must be certified in his own conscience and by the word of God that polygamy is permitted to him. As for me, I avow that I cannot set myself in opposition to men marrying several wives, or assert that such a course is repugnant to Holy Scripture.' About the same time he preached, his famous sermon on 'Marriage,' which chastity may well pass in silence, beyond this one expression: 'Provided one has faith, adultery is no sin.' …And what better example had the Catholics set the Munster men in that line of purity? From the ninth century down, as Bowden says in his 'Life of Hildebrand,' 'The infamies prevalent among the clergy are to be alluded to, not detailed.' The open licentiousness of the popes was appalling. The popes of the fifteenth century were profligate and debased beyond belief. Innocent III publicly boasted of the number of his illegitimate children. Alexander was a monster of iniquity, who gave dispensations for crimes that cannot be written. Baronius says that the vilest harlots domineered in the papal see at their pleasure changed sees, appointed bishops, and actually thrust into St. Peter's chair their own gallants, false popes. Take the simple case of John XII Bowden wrote: 'The Lateran palace was disgraced by becoming a receptacle for courtesans; and decent females were terrified from the pilgrimages to the threshold of the Apostles by the reports which were spread abroad, of the lawless impurity and violence of the representative and successor of two others equally vile.' But these were no worse than Sixtus, who entered a house of ill-fame in Rome, the inmates of which, according to Justin, paid his holiness a weekly tax, which amounted sometimes to twenty thousand ducats a year. The purest spirits in the hierarchy blush to tell the hard narrative of monastic life in the sixteenth century, although it made pretensions to spotless virtue. Archbishop Morton, 1490, accused the abbot of St. Albans with emptying the nunneries of Pray and Sapnell of modest women and filling them with vile females. The clergy kept concubines openly from the popes down. …For centuries the fanaticism of Rome had immersed all people in a state of nudity. …Rome practiced, the same indecencies in flagellation, borrowed from. the heathen feast of Lupercale, in which, according to Virgil and Plutarch, young noblemen walked through the streets naked, cutting themselves with whips and rods, in austerity, while sacrifices were burning to their gods. The same barbarity was practiced by Christian woman of France, Mezeray being authority. For two centuries this flagellation madness ran through Bavaria, Austria, the Upper Rhine and Italy, nay through Saxony itself. These morbid fanatics practiced all stages of undress, formed a brotherhood, swept in thousands through these lands, singing hymns, having revelations from angels and the Virgin, and with a letter from Christ himself, which they exhibited in their pilgrimages. Motley calls the Munster men 'Furious fanatics, who deserve the madhouse rather than the scaffold,' and how much better were Catholics and Protestants in practicing the same things?”1
Says Vedder, who is too ready to credit slanders on the ancient Baptists: “Fanatical outbreaks in South Germany had no connection with Hoffman. Their chief leader, if not instigator, was Thomas Muntzer. He is invariably called an Anabaptist, but in reality he never belonged to that body. It is true that he wrote and spoke against the baptism of infants, but he regularly practiced it, and was therefore a Pedobaptist. The disorders of his leadership. …cannot be laid to the charge of the Anabaptists.” 2
Says Prof. Geo. P. Fisher, D. D., of the Anabaptists: “The church they insisted must be composed exclusively of the regenerate, and they insisted, it is not a matter to be regulated and managed by civil rulers. Under the name of Anabaptists are included different types of doctrine and Christian life. It is a gross injustice to impute to all of them the wild destructive fanaticism with which a portion of them are chargeable. …This fanatical class are first heard of under Thomas Munzer, as a leader. …Grebel and other Anabaptists…were enthusiasts but not fanatics. They were peaceful in their spirit, and, as it would appear, sincerely devout.”3
The new American Encyclopedia is quoted: “There was another class of Anabaptists, widely different from those who have been described” as the Munster men.
Fessendens' Encyclopedia — a work quoted with approbation by Daubigne, is quoted: “Anabaptists: The English and Dutch Baptists do not consider the word…
1 Armitage's Hist. Bap., pp. 366, 378.
2 Vedder's Hist. Bap., p. 98.
3 Fisher's Hist. Chr. Ch., p.
…as applicable to their sect. It is but justice to add that the Baptists of Holland and England and the United States are to be regarded essentially distinct from those seditious and fanatical individuals.”
The New American Encyclopedia is quoted: “It is certain that the disturbances in the city of Munster were begun by a Pedobaptist minister of the Lutheran persuasion, …that he was assisted in his endeavors by other ministers of the same persuasion.”
Says Keller: '' Nothing can be more false than the assertion that any casual connection existed between these revolutionary efforts and the teachings of Denck and the better part of the Anabaptists generally.”1
In the Examiner and Chronicle, Dr. William Whitsitt, says: “I believe that we cannot avoid accepting the testimony of Sebastian Frank, to the effect that Munzer, though at one time he rejected infant baptism, like many other men of a 'like sentiment in that age, never went to the length of adopting Anabaptism.' Frank says: 'He himself never baptized any, as I am credibly informed. Erkbam, 495, note.'”
Daubigne is quoted concerning the Munster troubles, as saying they came out of the bosom of the Reformation: “Confusion and ruin had taken hold of the city. The Reformation had seen an enemy spring up from its own bosom more formidable than all the popes and emperors. It was on the very verge of the abyss.”2
Luther himself distinguished between the Anabaptists and the Munsterites. He said: “I have got over
three cruel storms — Munzer, the Sacramentarians and the Anabaptists.”3
1 Quoted from p. 200 Ein Apostel Der Weldertaufer, by Dr. Burrage.
2 Hist. Ref., vol. 3, p. 53.
3 Michelet’s Life of Luther, p. 72-quoted by E. T. Winkler, D. D.
In The Independent, the lamented specialist in Baptist history, Dr. Buckland, of Rochester Theological Seminary, refuting the Munster slander, called attention to the fact that Hase, Gerard, Gieseler, Fusslin, Brandt, Dorner, and indeed, that the consensus of candid, critical historians clear the Anabaptists of the Munster slander.
He adds: “That kingdom has attracted the attention of writers in a remarkable degree because of its excesses; still it was a mere episode of the Reformation, lasting from February, or more strictly, from December, 1534, to the 22d of June, 1535, or about six months in its full organization. But the peaceable Anabaptists — who made it a religious principle to bear no weapons, use no force, love their enemies and suffer all things unresistingly — existed by many tens of thousands, during and after the time in Switzerland, Germany, Moravia, and the low countries. In these distinctive principles they were identical with the Waldenses before them and the noble Mennonites after them.”
The late Dr. Philip Schaff, Presbyterian Professor in Union Theological Seminary, and the most prominent church historian of the United States: “The history of the Anabaptists of the Reformation period has yet to be written from, an impartial, unsectarian standpoint. † The polemical attitude of the reformers against them has warped the judgment of historians. They were cruelly treated in their lifetime by Romanists and Protestants, and misrepresented after their death as a set of heretical and revolutionary fanatics who could not be tolerated in a Christian state. The excesses of a misguided faction have been charged upon the whole body. They were made responsible for the peasant's war and the Munster tragedy, although the great majority of them were quiet, orderly and peaceful citizens, and would rather suffer persecution than do an act of violence. The Mennonites and regular Baptists of America are the true successors of the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century, and help us to understand and appreciate the latter. The official reports of the proceedings against the Anabaptists are from their enemies, and are more or less colored. The works of Anabaptists are few and scarce.”1
Of Roger Williams' departure to America and of the Baptists Palfry, one of the bitter enemies to Baptists, says: “The Baptists many years before his departure had stated and maintained the doctrine of religious liberty in the most unqualified terms.”2
May says of the Baptists: “Renouncing all connection with the State. …separation and isolation were the very foundation of their creed.” 3
Froude says of them: “In their deaths they assisted to pay the purchase money of England's freedom.”4
Bancroft says of them: “The plebeian sect of the Anabaptists, 'the scum of the Reformation,' with greater consistency than Luther applied the doctrine to the Reformation to the social relations of life and threatened an end to kingcraft spiritual dominion, tithes and vassalage. They were trodden under foot with foul reproaches and most arrogant scorn; and its history is written in the blood of myriads of the German peasantry; but its principles, safe in their immortality, escaped to Providence.”5
1 In The Bap. Quar. Rev., vol. 12, No. 43.
2 Palfry's Hist. New Eng., vol. 1, p. 414.
3 May's Const. Hist. Eng., vol. 2, p. 269.
4 Froude's Hist. Eng., vol. 2, p. 358.
5 Bancroft's Hist. U.S., vol. 2, p. 457—old ed.