By J. W Allen
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Additional resources for A history of political thought in the sixteenth century
They suffered, more or less, under a sense of injustice in ( the whole social order ; they were exasperated by the treatment accorded to them. Hence they tended to see the State, as they knew it and as we know it, not merely as hostile but as evil. The attitude of the mass of them can hardly be described as merely negative. The belief that all coercive government is evil seems to have been very widespread among ,them. Both Franck and Bullinger attribute this view to the mass of them. The true Christian, they declared, ' obeys Christ's command and resists not evil.
774. , 1541, ed. Lefranc, p. 756. Ed. 1559, Lib. IV, p. 550. ' 1 Precisely so said the Catholic Royalists of France ali the close of the century. It is always our duty ' nous rendre subjectz et obeissans a quel conques superieurs qui dominent au lieu ou nous vivons ' 2 We must show our obedience alike in keeping their laws and in paying the taxes they impose. Mere obedience, indeed, is not enough. There are some who regard magistracy as a necessary evil and obey the magis trate out of mere regard for public welfare.
In 1527 Ferdinand of Austria issued an edict against Anabaptism and an Imperial man date of 1528 made rebaptism punishable with death. Protestant sovereigns were not far behindhand and the equivalent decree of the Elector of Saxony was issued the same year. In that year Hub maier was burned at Vienna and in 1529 Ludwig Hetzer suffered death at Berne. Sebastian Franck reckoned that by 1530 some two thousand ' Anabaptists ' had been put to death. The movement, however, continued to gather strength.