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for, and, when hungry and thirsty, to be fed and refreshed. The fifteenth article interprets Christ as forbidding the use of all oaths, judicial and otherwise. The sixteenth treats of the ban, which is for amendment and not for destruction. Those who have been received into the company of saints, if they sin voluntarily or presumptuously against God, or unto death, must as offending members be reproved and excommunicated. The seventeenth article enjoins the duty of avoiding those who are separated from God and the church, not only in eating and drinking, but in all similar temporal matters; although if an offending member is hungry or thirsty or in distress of any kind, it is lawful to relieve him. The eighteenth article pertains to the resurrection of the dead and the last judgment. The righteous are to reign with Christ forever, and the wicked are to be thrust down into the everlasting pains of hell.
The Mennonites believe in baptism on profession of faith, but they do not baptize by immersion except in one or two branches, but by pouring. Candidates after having been under suitable instruction are catechized as to their faith in God and their desire to be received into the Church, and then receive baptism kneeling, the minister taking water with both hands from a vessel and putting it upon their heads and saying, “Upon the confession of thy faith which thou hast made before God and these witnesses, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Each candidate is then given the right hand of fellowship and the kiss of peace, the wife of the minister or deacon or some other sister giving the kiss to the female converts. Persons received from other denominations are not re-baptized unless they earnestly desire it.
In some cases candidates are baptized in the water, kneeling therein, the minister taking up water in both hands and pouring it upon their heads.
The Lord's Supper is observed twice a year, usually in the spring and fall. Church examinations are held before communion in order to inquire into the standing and condition of each member. Each member is examined privately, and asked whether he is at peace with God, with the church, and with all men, and desirous to partake of the Lord's Supper. If there are any difficulties between inembers an effort is made to have them all settled before the communion takes place. As the bread and wine are passed, those who receive them rise to their feet one after another. Sometimes the communicant goes forward to receive the bread and wine; in other cases the minister goes from seat to seat and from person to person.
After the Lord's Supper the ceremony of feet-washing is performed. The deacons bring in vessels of water, and the members proceed to wash and wipe one another's feet and to give the kiss of peace, the sexes separating for this purpose. The polity is of the Presbyterian type.
Ministers are chosen from the congregations to be served. A request is made to the conference, and a day is appointed for the purpose of making the choice. The bishop preaches an appropriate sermon, and then retires to the council-room with two fellow-ministers. All the members who desire to do so visit the council-room, one by one, and indicate the person of their choice. If only one brother has been chosen in this way, ordination is immediately proceeded with. When more than one is nominated, a day is appointed in which to make choice by lot between those nominated. When choice by lot is made, the deacons take as many hymn-books as there are candidates, and, retiring to the council-room, place in one of these books a slip of paper on which is written the words: “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord;” or, “ Herewith God has called thee to the ministry of the Gospel.” The books are then taken into the audienceroom and placed on the desk or table. After prayer has been made each of the brethren nominated takes a book, and the bishop proceeds to look for the lot. The one in whose book it is found is considered chosen, and the bishop then proceeds to ordain him with laying on of hands. The ceremony is concluded with the kiss of peace, which is given by the bishop and the other ministers.
Deacons are chosen from the congregation in the same manner as ministers. Their office is to care for the poor and sick, to assist in administering the ordinances, and to take charge of public meetings in the absence of the minister or bishop. Bishops or elders are ministers having pastoral charge of a district, in which there may be one or several places of worship. All the ministers in the district are under the direction of the bishop or elder. A bishop is selected in the same manner as a minister or deacon, and is consecrated in the same way. When difficulties arise between brethren they are settled by arbitration. Those who refuse to submit to arbitration are excommunicated, and the names of the excommunicated are publicly announced. The Mennonites do not accept public offices except in connection with the management of schools. They are a sober, industrious, and thrifty people, simple in their habits, and conscientious, devout, and faithful Christians. More than a third of them are found in Pennsylvania, the great German State. They are also strong
in Ohio, Kansas, Illinois, and Indiana. The Russian Mennonites have formed several settlements in the Northwest and across the northern border in Manitoba.
There are twelve branches of Mennonites, as follows:
7. General Conference,
1.—THE MENNONITE CHURCH.
This may be regarded as the parent body. It has nearly 18,000 communicants, considerably more than one third of the total of Mennonites in this country. Many of its congregations are very small, the average number of communicants to each congregation in Kansas being only about 25. There are 12 conferences, besides 23 congregations which sustain no conference relations. There are 29 halls, with a seating capacity of 1030.
SUMMARY BY STATES.
3 20 5
3,030 6,600 2,200 3,700 2,900 7,250
6 8 I 27
725 199 751
Jacob Huter, of Innspruck, in the Tyrol, is considered the founder of this branch. Huter was burned at the stake in 1536. He instituted the communistic idea, which is still maintained, the members “having all things in common." His followers were driven from Moravia into Hungary, thence to Roumania, and in 1769 to Russia. The entire community came to the United States from Russia in 1874. They are a German-speaking community, and their books, which are in manuscript, are written in that language. They are all settled in three counties in South Dakota.
The Amish constitute the second largest Mennonite branch. They take their name from Jacob Ammen, who