David, George

, a most extraordinary fanatic, was the son of a waterman of Ghent, and educated a glazier, or, as some say, a glass-painter. He began about 1525 to preach that he was the true Messiah, the third David, nephew of God, not after the flesh, but after the spirit. “The heavens,” he said, “being empty, he was sent to adopt children worthy of that kingdom and to restore Israel, not by death, as Christ, but by grace.” With the Sadducees, he denied eternal life, the resurrection, and the last judgment: with the Adamites, he was against marriage, and for a community of women: and with the followers of Manes, he thought that the body only, and not the soul, could be defiled with sin. According to him, the | souk of unbelievers ought to be saved, and those of the apostles damned. Lastly, he affirmed it folly to believe that there was any sin in denying Jesus Christ; and ridiculed the martyrs for preferring death to apostacy. A prosecution being commenced against him and his followers, he fled first to Friesland, and from thence to Basil, where he lurked under the name of John Bruck. He died in that city in 1556, promising to his disciples, that he should rise again in three days; which, as it happened, was not altogether false; for the magistrates of Basil, understanding at length who he was, about that time, dug tip his corpse, which, together with his writings, they caused to be burned by the common executioner. This George David had many followers in his life-time, and it is even said that there are still some remains of them in Holstein, Friesland, and other countries, whose temper and conduct seem to discredit the exaggerated account which some writers have given of their founder. 1