Francus, or Franck Sebastian
Francus, Or Franck Sebastian, a so-called enthusiast of the times of the Reformation, was born about 1500 at Donauwerth. He was first a Roman priest, then a Lutheran minister, afterwards soap manufacturer and printer, always a thinker and writer. He anticipated a class of modern divines in certain views: e.g. extolling the spirit of Scripture in distinction from the letter; viewing religion in a thoroughly subjective way; holding that one believes only on the united testimony of one's heart and conscience. Well read in ancient and mystical philosophy, he imbibed from it a sort of pietistic pantheism. He held that whenever man passively submits to God, then God becomes incarnate in him. The divines at Smalcald (1540) requested Melancthon to write against him, and, signed a severe declaration about his writings "as the devil's favorite and special blasphemer." He was driven out of Strasburg and Ulm, and died at Basie 1543. An account of him may be found in Wald, De Vita Franci (Erlangen, 1793); Ch. K. amn Ende, Nachlese zu F.'s Lelen u. Schriften (Nuremb. 1796). See also Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 4:450; Erbkum, Gesch. d. protest. Sekten im Zeitalter der Reformation; C.A. Hase, Seb. Franck von Word, der Schwarmgeist (Leip. 1869); Hase, Ch. History, § 373 Bayle, Dictionary, s.v.