Abecedarians, a sect of Anabaptists who affected an absolute disdain for all human knowledge, contending that God would enlighten His elect interiorly and give them knowledge of necessary truths by visions and ecstasies. They rejected every other means of instruction, and pretended that to be saved one must even be ignorant of the first letters of the alphabet; whence their name, A-B-C-darians. They also considered the study of theology as a species of idolatry, and regarded learned men who did any preaching as falsifiers of God’s word.
At Wittenberg, in 1522, Nicholas Storch (Pelargus) and the Illuminati of Zwickau began to preach this doctrine, mixing it up with other errors. Carlstadt allowed himself to be drawn away by these singular views, and to put them thoroughly into practice he abandoned his title of Doctor and became a street porter. He preached the new doctrine for some time to the people and to the students of Wittenberg. (See Anabaptists.)
JOHN J. A’ BECKET.