Imatges de pÓgina

are a great many of those eastern Christians that put off the baptism forty days : but if any had delayed baptism till forty years (to which age half of mankind dues never arrive) we should have heard more of it than from that hour's conference.

This is the account of the practice of the national churches: but though there be no national church but what baptizes infants, yet there are, and have been for about 180 years last past, in several countries of Europe, considerable numbers of inen that differ from the established churches in this point. The history of their beginning and progress in Germany is so well known, and so much talked of, that I shail say the less of it. It is in short this :

No sooner had the Reformation, begun by Luther anno 1517 [1417), taken good footing in Saxony, and some other parts of Germany; great numbers of people and some princes (who were at this time generally weary of the abuses and corruptions of Popery, and longed for a reformation) greedily embracing it, but that within five or six years [1492] there arose a sort of men that pretended to refine upon him One Nicolas Stork, and Thomas Aluncer, seconded within a while by one Balthazar Hubmer, preached that the baptism of infants was also an abuse that must be reformed; and they baptized over again such as became their disciples. They added also other things ; — That it was not fit, nor to be endured in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, that some should be so rich, and others so poor; or that the boors should be held to such burthensome services by their landlords. Abundance of peuple flocked to them; and the more, for that there had been before discontents, and some insurrections, of those poorer sort of peeple, because of their foresaid hardships.

There was this difference between Luther's method and theirs, – That he and his partners preached up obedience to all lawful magistrates in temporal things; but they carried things with a higher hand, in defiance

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of magistracy; and Muncer called himself the Sword of the Lord and of Gideon.

Luther (1425] and the Protestants entered their protestation against their proceedings, as bringing a scandal on the new-begun reformation; but they went on'; and after some time (great numbers of disorderly people joining with them) became masterless, made a sort of army, committed great ravages on the estates of rich men, where they marched. And at last, anno 1534 [1434], a strong party of this sort of men coming mostly from Holland, seized on the city of Munster : where one John Becold, called John of Leyden, being advanced to be their king, they pretended to prophecy and revelation; and did, under the name of Christ's kingdom, practise several tyrannies and enormities; as polygamy, plundering, &c.

Some regular forces being brought against them, they were subdued; and the king and some of the heads of them being put to death, the rest were dispersed into several parts of Gerinany: and a great many

of them fled into the Low Countries, where there were already great numbers of them.

The Antipædobaptists that are now, do not love to hear of these men, nor do own them as predecessors; neither is there any reason that their miscarriages should be imputed to them, provided that they renounce and keep themselves from all such seditious practices ; especially since many of the people professing that opinion did a little after separate themselves from the tumultuous rabble, and made a declaration of better principles' under better leaders, - as I shal) shew by and by.

Almost all alterations in religion, either for better or worse, bave at the beginning some disorders. It is happy where magistrates, pastors, and people, do all at one time agree and conspire in any reformation that is thought necessary; – but it is seldom known.

That which is more material to the history of infant baptism, is to enquire Whether this Stork, Muncer, Hubmer, &c. did at that time, viz. anno 1522 [1422],


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set up this tenet as a thing then new or newly revived ? or whether it had been continued and handed down by some dispersed people (1050), from the times of the Petrobrusians (of whom I spoke in the last chapter, to this time? Danvers says *, that “ the present Belgic Anabaptists do with one mouth assert and maintain the latter." The chief reason he brings either of his own or of theirs is, because it appears that there were great numbers of them in several parts of Germany in Luther's time and that he and others of the first Protestants had disputations with them in Saxony (1422]. Thuringia [1425], Switzerland (1429), &c. whereby it is evident that they had a being in those parts before Luther's time; for it cannot rationally be supposed that they should all of a sudden be spread over so great a territory as the Upper Germany.

But of the sudden increase both of the Protestants and of these men, I gave some account before. He brings also some authorities; but they are out of books of no credit for any thing before their own time : : Dutch Martyrology, Frank, Twisk, Merning, &c.

If there were any continuation of the doctrine for the said two or three hundred years, it must have been very obscure, and by a very few men; because there is in all that interval no mention of them in any good author. The only authority that I remember to have read after 1260 (1160), and before 1522 (1422], which may seem to make any thing to the purpose of Antipædobaptism, is a letter written to Erasmus out of Bohemia by one Joannes Slechta Costelecius, dated October 10, 1519 [1419]; a part whereof is published by Colomesius in his Collection of Letters of Men of Noté, ep. 30. This letter, as it is dated three years before Stork and the rest are said to have begun, so it speaks of a sect that had been then in being in that country for some time. I will recite that part of the letter entire; because, though it be not all to this purpose, yet it is all worth the reading, that we may see

* Treatise, part 2, ch. 7, p. 257. ed. 2.

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what schemes of doctrine were abroad in the world a little before Luther began to oppose the Church of Rome.

“The third sect is of those whom we call Pyghards : they have their name froin a certain refugee of the same nation, who came hither ninety-seven years ago, when that wicked and sacrilegious John Zizka declared a defiance of the churchmen and all the clergy.” This was 1420 (1320].

“ These men have no other opinion of the pope, cardinals, bishops, and other clergy, than as of manifest Antichrists; they call the pope sometimes the Beast, and sometimes the Whore, mentioned in the Revelations. Their own bishops and priests they themselves do choose for themselves ; ignorant and unlearned laymen, that have wife and children. They mutually salute one another by the name of Brother and Sister.

They own no other authority than the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. They slight all the doctors, both ancient and modern; and give no regard to their doctrine.

“Their priests, when they celebrate the offices of the mass, or communion, do it without any priestly garments; nor do they use any prayer or collects on this occasion, but only the Lord's Prayer; by which they consecrate bread that has been leavened.

They believe or own little or nothing of the sacraments of the church. Such as come over to their sect, must every one be baptized anew in mere water. They make no blessing of salt, nor of the water ; nor make any use of consecrated oil.

"They believe nothing of divinity in the sacrament of the Eucharist; only that the consecrated bread and winc do, by some occult signs, represent the death of Christ; and accordingly, that all that do kneel down to it, or worship it, are guilty of idolatry; that the Sacrament was instituted by Christ to no other purpose but to renew the memory of his passion; and not to be carried about or held up by the priest to be gazed on; for

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that Christ himself, who is to be adored and worshipped with the honour of Latria, sits at the right hand of God; as the Christian Church confesses in the Creed.

“Prayers of the saints, and for the dead, they count a vain and ridiculous thing; as likewise auricular confession; and penance enjoined by the priests for sins. Eves and fast-days are, they say, a mockery, and the disguise of hypocrites.

They say, the holidays of the Virgin Mary, and the apostles, and other saints, are the invention of idle people; but yet they keep the Lord's Day, and Christa mas, and Easter, and Whitsuntide," &c. - He says there were great numbers of this sect then in Bohemia [1419).

Where it is here said that they rebaptized, it is not certain whether they did it as judging baptism in infancy invalid, or as judging all baptism received in the corrupt way of the Church of Rome to be so.

The coherence of the words seems to incline to the latter ; and Ottius (Hist. Anabap. anno 1521) affirms the latter to be true.

There is, I think, no doubt but these Pyghards were the same that Æneas Sylvius gives an account of in his Hist. Bohem. written sixty years before, and calls Picards. He, in that history, says nothing of their denying infant baptism, as I have observed in the last chapter. Balthazar Lydius and Burigenus do both of them recite the confessions of these men, offered by themselves to King Uladislaus; in which they expressly

wn it. John Huss, whose doctrine these men followed (1408], is never said to have denied it: only he is * accused [1315] to have consented to that opinion of Wickliff, - that a child that misses of baptism may

a possibly be saved.

The e Pyghards do in their confessions say, that they are falsely called IValdenses. I am apt to think they had this name of Picards, or Pyghards, from the


* Fox's Martyrol. John Huss, 1415.

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