Page:Balthasar Hübmaier.djvu/184

This page has been validated.
Balthasar Hübmaier

affair; the writer can conduct both sides of the controversy, make the arguments of his imaginary disputant as ridiculous and inconclusive as he pleases, and his own quite overwhelming. But the apparent victory thus gained is the most delusive of all dialectical triumphs, for it is open to his adversary to retort in the same way, and to win victories equally bloodless and equally indecisive. A mere tyro in rhetoric, theology, and all else can easily beat one who is not there to speak for himself. Hübmaier was rather fond of this form of controversial writing, however, which must be admitted to have the merit of interest for the reader, if it is skilfully done; and he had shortly before tried it in a dialogue on the same subject between himself and several adversaries at once, of whom the chief was Œcolampadius.[1] As to literary form, this latter dialogue is the best of his work, and an extract will give a better impression regarding it than pages of description:

"Œcolampadius. Parents will see with pleasure their children put to death in the name of Christ.
  1. The disputants were supposed to be, besides Hübmaier and Œcolampadius, Thomas, an Augustinian reader, Jacob Immelen, and Wolfgang Weissenburger.