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Balthasar Hübmaier

may never be discovered for such a history, though doubtless large additions will yet be made to our present knowledge by scholarly diligence. The broad outlines even are vague and conjectural. We can only infer from a few known facts, and from certain observed phenomena in connection with the Reformation, that the influence of this evangel upon the people has been too lightly estimated by many who have passed for critical historians.

However scholars may finally agree upon the question of the origin of the Anabaptists, certain things concerning them are now comparatively plain. The great majority of them were peaceable folk, law-abiding people, asking nothing but that they might be permitted to worship and serve God in their own way, and wishing no harm to those who held to different ways. There was a mystical element in their doctrines, the foundation stone of which was the conviction that to be a Christian is to be united by faith to the Son of God, so as to be a partaker of his nature. This cannot be, save by a complete change of nature, character, life. One cannot be a Christian, therefore, by inheritance, by education, by sacraments; repentance, faith, re-