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Balthasar Hübmaier

Zürich and Basel, and possibly one or two other cantons, aroused much indignation among the majority of the Swiss cantons, which were still Roman Catholic. It was an open question whether Schaffhausen would not be compelled to yield in the end, however unwillingly. In the meantime, Hübmaier could not be in the least in doubt as to his fate should the council finally decide to surrender him to his foes. It was while in this condition of peril and doubt that he composed one of his most characteristic tracts, "Concerning Heretics and Those who Burn Them." It is the earliest plea that has come down to us for complete toleration; and for this reason, as well as for its biographical value, it is herewith given in full:

"1. Heretics are those who wickedly oppose the Holy Scriptures, the first of whom was the devil, when he said to Eve, 'Ye shall not surely die' (Gen. iii., 4), together with his followers. 2. Those also are heretics who cast a veil over the Scriptures and interpret them otherwise than the Holy Spirit demands; as those who everywhere proclaim a concubine as a benefice, pasturing and ruling the church at Rome, and compelling us to believe this talk. 3. Those who are such one should overcome with holy knowledge, not angrily but softly, although the Holy Scriptures contain wrath. 4. But this wrath of the Scriptures is truly a spiritual fire and