PHILADELPHIA REFLECTIONS
Musings of a Philadelphia Physician who has served the community for six decades

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To Germantown, a Short Appreciation
Seven miles from the heart of Philadelphia, Germantown was once a separate town, the cultural center of Germans in America. Revolutionary battles were fought here, it was briefly the capital of the United States, and it still has an outstanding collection of schools and colleges.

Religious Philadelphia
William Penn wanted a colony with religious freedom. A considerable number, if not the majority, of American religious denominations were founded in this city. The main misconception about religious Philadelphia is that it is Quaker-dominated. But the broader misconception is that it is not Quaker-dominated.

Cultural
Culture and Traditions (2)

Pre-Revolutionary Philadelphia
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Customs, Culture and Traditions (2)
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Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
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History of the Mennonites

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Menno Simons

"Hannibal is said to have complained that he made history, but the Romans wrote it. So the history of the subjects of this sketch has hitherto been written almost exclusively by their enemies (see E. K. Martin's Sketches, p. 17). .... In the noisy clamor for worldly recognition the Mennonites have fared ill indeed. The story of the suffering Puritans, which at most extended over a few generations and a small area of territory, has been told and re-told with almost distressing particularity. There is not an event or object, from the departure at Delfthaven to the chair of Carver and the pot and platter of Miles Standish, that has not been held up to veneration, by poet, painter and orator. Even the German school boy is taught to regard these Pilgrim sacrifices of a handful of Englishmen as the noblest ever laid upon the altar of conscience-and humanity. Yet if he but turned to the history of his own ancestors and read there the story of sufferings.... through eight centuries, in which cruel selfishness and heartless bigotry assumed the wardship of conscience, he would find the trials of these Puritans, great as they were, compared with the trials of his own people but the waters of Marah beside the plagues of Egypt; and while New England to-day laments the loss of its sons, swept into the vortex of national life setting westward, in danger of losing her distinctive characteristics by the Teutonic and Celtic influences that are clambering into their places, complaining that her stony acres must soon be tilled by an alien race or left barren and valueless, the Mennonite lands of Eastern Pennsylvania still remain in the descendants of the first hardy stock, who hold them by ancient indentures, supplemented by grant from father to son, reaching backward in one ever strengthening chain of titles to the original patents of Penn, implanting in a glorious Commonwealth a true conservatism, and adorning it continually with renewed evidences of prosperity and thrift.

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Rhine River Map

The Lutherans have a well-defined literature which preserves their achievements in Church and State. The Reformed Church of Germany and Switzerland points with pardonable pride to the triumphs of Calvin, Zwingli and Ursinus, and a literature which has preserved the almost sacred teachings of their scholars and martyrs to our own time. The Presbyterian will show you in Edinburgh the monument of Margaret Wilson, who, fastened to a stake driven in the sands where the Galway overflowed by the tide, was sustained by her lofty enthusiasm until the waves drowned her prayers and the waters choked her songs, and who tasted this death unflinchingly for the faith that was in her. The Moravians will tell you how the ashes of Huss were borne on the bosom of the Rhine to the Scheldt, and on the bosom of the Scheldt to the sea, fit type of the great missionary work they were to record in the annals of every tongue and people and clime.

{Mennonites Buggy}
Mennonites Buggy

But the poor Mennonites -- in journeyings oftener in perils of robbers, in perils by their own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings in cold and nakedness, the thousandth part of which can never be known, who have gone through the centuries their silent and uncomplaining way, believing that the glory of this world was but the mammon of unrighteousness, that it was enough for Him to know their deeds by whom the hairs of the head are numbered, and without whose knowledge the sparrow falls not to the earth—their story is yet untold."

Daniel J. Cassel, History of the Mennonites 1888.

Further quotes:

" There is scarcely a family among them which cannot be traced to some ancestor burned to death for his faith."

"Neither they nor their descendants have laid claim to all that is their due."

(2039)

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