The Beliefs Of The Old Mennists

Submitted By iammomo622033
Words: 2386
Pages: 10

The preachers are not paid, and are chosen in the following manner. When a vacancy occurs, and a new appointment is required, several men go into a small room, chosen for the purpose; and to them, waiting, enter singly the men and women, as many as choose, who tell them the name of the person preferred by each to fill the vacancy. After this, an opportunity is given to any candidate to excuse himself from the service. Those who are not excused, if, for instance, six in number, are brought before six books. Each candidate takes up a book, and the one within whose book a lot is found is the chosen minister. I asked my friends who gave me some of these details, whether it was claimed or believed that there is any special guidance of the Divine Spirit in thus choosing a minister. From the reply, I did not learn that any such guidance is claimed, though they spoke of a man who was led to pass his hand over all the other books, and who selected the last one, but he did not get the lot after all. He was thought to be ambitious of a place in the ministry.
The three prominent sects of Mennonites all claim to be non-resistants, or wehrlos. The Old Mennists, who are the most numerous and least rigid, vote at elections, and are allowed to hold such public offices as school director and road supervisor, but not to be members of the legislature. The ministers are expected not to vote.* The members of this society cannot bring suit against any one; they can hold mortgages, but not judgment bonds.† Like Quakers, they were not allowed to hold slaves, and they do not take oaths nor deal in spirituous liquorsOn a Sunday morning Amish wagons, covered with yellow oil-cloth, may be seen moving toward the house of that member whose turn it is to have the meeting. Great have been the preparations there beforehand, -- the whitewashing, the scrubbing, the polishing of tin and brass. Wooden benches and other seats are provided for the "meeting-folks," and the services resemble those already described. Of course, young mothers do not stay at home, but bring their infants with them. When the meeting is over, the congregation remain to dinner. Bean soup was formerly the principal dish, but, with the progress of luxury, the farmers of a fat soil no longer confine themselves to so simple a diet. Imagine what a time of social intercourse this must be.
The Amish dress is peculiar; and the children are diminutive men and women. The women wear sun-bonnets and closely-fitting dresses, but often their figures look very trim, in brown, with green or other bright handkerchiefs meeting over the breast. I saw a group of Amish at the railroad station the other day, --men, women, and a little boy. One of the young women wore a pasteboard sun-bonnet covered with black, and tied with narrow blue ribbon, among which showed the thick white strings of her Amish cap; a gray shawl, without fringe; a brown stuff dress, and a purple apron. One middle-aged man, inclined to corpulence, had coarse, brown, woollen clothes, and his pantaloons were without suspenders, in the Amish fashion. No buttons were on his coat behind, but down the front were hooks and eyes. One young girl wore a bright brown sun-bonnet, a green dress, and a light blue apron. The choicest figure, however, was the six-year-old, in a jacket, and with pantaloons plentifully plaited into the waistband behind; hair cut straight over the forehead, and hanging to the shoulder; and a round-crowned black wool hat, with an astonishingly wide brim. The little girls, down to two years old, wear the plain cap, and the handkerchief crossed upon the breast. In this fertile limestone district farming is vary laborious, being entirely by tillage. Our regular routine is once in five years to plough the sod ground for corn. In the next ensuring year the same ground is sowed with oats; and when the oats come off in August, the industrious "Dutchmen" immediately manure the stubble-land for wheat. I have seen them laying the