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Balthasar Hübmaier

33. Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah acted wisely in withstanding Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, when he cast the book of Jehovah into the fire (Jer., xxxvi., 25). 34. But in that, after one book was burnt, Baruch by the express direction of Jeremiah, wrote another much better (Jer. xxxvi., 27-32), we see the just punishment of God on the unrighteous burning. For so it shall be that on those who fear the frost, a cold snow falls (Job. vi., 16?). 35. But we do not hold that it was unchristian to burn their numerous books of incantations, as the fact in the Acts of the Apostles shows (Acts xix., 19). It is a small thing to burn innocent paper, but to point out an error and to disprove it by Scripture, that is art. 36. Now it is clear to every one, even the blind, that a law to burn heretics is an invention of the devil. 'Truth is immortal.'"

The world was not ready for this doctrine in the year of our Lord 1524; indeed, now that a large part of the world has come to profess this same faith, those who really believe it are a lamentably small remnant. The old zeal for persecuting still survives, and often breaks out in utterly unconscious manifestations in the midst of every religious body. We do not really believe that the ark of God is safe unless our hand occasionally steadies it. We have no real confidence at bottom in the ability of the truth to conquer error in a fair field, and are impelled from time to time to lend our in-