Appearing for the first time in English is this essay found in a handwritten book owned by an Emmenthaler farmer. It is the “rod and staff” of Anabaptist belief— the doctrine of separation from the world.

Little is known about Hans Schnell except that he was a Swiss Brethren Anabaptist who sometimes went by the name Hans Beck. In 1541 his wife Margarete was imprisoned for her faith; he himself left the faith for some 14 years, but had returned by 1575 and was an elder, baptizing and preaching at night in the fields in the area of Urbach and Gottingen in south Germany.

This version is excerpted from a translation by Leonard Gross and Elizabeth Horsch Bender.

There are two different kingdoms on earth—namely, the kingdom of this world and the peaceful kingdom of Christ. These two kingdoms cannot share or have communion with each other.

The people in the kingdom of this world are born of the flesh, are earthly and carnally minded. The people in the kingdom of Christ are reborn of the Holy Spirit, live according to the Spirit, and are spiritually minded. The people in the kingdom of the world are equipped for fighting with carnal weapons—spear, sword, armor, guns and powder. The people in Christ’s kingdom are equipped with spiritual weapons—the armor of God, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit to fight against the devil, the world, and their own flesh, together with all that arises against God and his Word. The people in the kingdom of this world fight for a perishable crown and an earthly kingdom. The people in Christ’s kingdom fight for an imperishable crown and an eternal kingdom.

Christ made these two kingdoms at variance with each other and separated. There will therefore be no peace between them. In the end, however, ...

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