NICHOLAS FELBINGER AND JOHN LEYTNER, IN THE YEAR 1560
In the year 1560 brother Nicholas Felbinger, or Schlosser, a willing minister of the Word of God, who was on trial yet, was apprehended, with another brother by the name of John Leytner, not far from Neumarkt, in Bavaria, where they had come on the first day after Judica,* in Lent, on their flight on account of the faith. They were taken to Neumarkt, where they were twice examined by the judge and his assessors, and interrogated especially with regard to infant baptism. But having clearly and thoroughly shown that Christ had not commanded it, but only the baptism of adults, who hear, understand, believe, and accept the Word of God, they were, early next morning, placed in a cart, and, escorted by horsemen and guards, sent to Landshut, where each was imprisoned separately, and Nicholas kept chained. Afterwards the council met, and summoned them before them; they spoke much with them, but could accomplish nothing.
They then sent two learned men, namely, two Dominicans, to them, who conversed with them about the sacrament, infant baptism, and why they had left the papal church; but the brethren answered them from the Word of God, that they had to leave it.
Hence they then tried them by torture, racking them severely, especially most severely when they wanted to know where they had lodged, and whither they intended to go. But Nicholas said, "We are not bound to tell you these things." They asked, "Why?" He said, "Because you confiscate their property, torture and kill them for it, and sin against them. Should we betray those who do us good? we do not betray even our enemies why then our friends?" They said:*"Then we will not cease to torture you, till you tell us," and left them lying on the rack a long time, until the executioner himself interceded in their behalf, and said, "Do desist; for though they be tortured all day, you will get nothing out of them."
* Fifth Sunday in Lent.
Then the judge became enraged, and called them rogues and condemners of others. But Brother Nicholas said, "We condemn no one; but your sins condemn you, if you do not desist from them, this we testify according to the truth."
The superior judge asked, "What is truth?" The brother replied, "You would not understand it, though I should tell you; for you know as much what truth is, as did Pilate, who asked the same question." John 18:38.
After this, two doctors were sent from the monks to them, a distance of over nine leagues; who endeavored in many and various ways to turn them, but were not able to do it. Likewise the chancellor and the lord of Landshut came to them once, and assailed them; but they found them steadfast in their faith, and had to leave them steadfast, being unable to gain them by their false and seductive counsels.
Two priests and a doctor in the Scriptures then came to them, and vehemently argued with them about infant baptism; but Nicholas vigorously withstbod them with the Scriptures, and drove them from him.
After these, the chancellor and several Dominicans came to them, and sought to move them by suavity; but they valiantly withstood all the gates of hell, fully assured that they stood in the divine truth, which they faithfully and thoroughly defended, and said that they wanted to adhere to it in the simplicity of Christ. Thereupon the chancellor said to Brother Nicholas, "Are you simple? I cannot believe this; a hundred might come, before there should be one who could defend himself like you; but I consider you an enthusiast, even as many are found at present, who roam about without reason." But they boldly confessed and defended their faith, and God gave them a mouth and wisdom which the others were not able to resist. Luke 21:15.
After all this, they were sentenced to death by the children of Pilate, and Brother Nicholas' tongue was tied fast, that he should not speak to the people at the place of execution; towards the close, however, his tongue was freed so much that the two brethren could converse together.
John Leytner, whom the executioner proceeded to execute first, said to Nicholas, "Dear brother, if my death should terrify you, go forward first, and I will wait for the last." But brother Nicholas said, "Oh, no, Oh, no; I do not dread it." And thus John valiantly offered his neck to the sword, and was beheaded, Nicholas beholding it with intrepidity and boldness, as though it did not concern him. He then advanced also, knelt down, and offered his head, which was struck off for his faith, as bad been done to the other. Thus these two testified to the divine truth with their blood, which took place on the 10th of July, 1560.