Page:Balthasar Hübmaier.djvu/243

This page has been validated.
1528]
173
At Nikolsburg

the Scriptures the erring Anabaptists themselves, that this treatise On the Sword was composed. As the entire document is given in the Appendix, it is necessary to do no more here than call attention to its chief characteristics, and briefly summarise the argument. And, first of all, it is worth while to note carefully its tone and temper. Hübmaier found himself in practically the same dilemma that confronted Luther a few years earlier, at the time of the peasants' revolt. The peasants appealed to Luther's writings as affording justification for their claims, if not for their deeds, and the Catholic writers hastened to charge upon him the moral responsibility of the revolt. If the princes and rulers of Germany had taken this view of the case, no doubt there would have been a speedy end of Luther's reformation. What did Luther do under these trying circumstances? He lost his head completely, and instead of trying by expostulation and argument from the Scriptures, for which he professed so great respect, to win the peasants from their errors and bring them back to their loyalty and obedience, he hastily composed and printed his pamphlet, Against the Murdering and