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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II MENNO SIMONS AND THE MENNONITES OF EUROPE As we have seen, Anabaptists of several types appeared early in the Netherlands and Northwestern Germany. These were not all followers Early Life of Melchior Hoffman and John of Leyden, but many retained their peaceful and non- resistant principles. Among the leaders of the latter in this region were Dirck and Obbe Philip, Leonard Bouwens and later Menno Simons. Menno Simons was born 1492, in the village of Witmarsum in West Friesland. He was educated for the priesthood and entered upon the duties of his office at the age of twenty-ight in the neighboring village of Pingjum. According to his own account he had at this time very little knowledge of the Bible and no religious convictions. For several years he lived a life of ease and self-indulgence and seemed entirely oblivious of the great religious reformation that was at this time sweeping over middle .Europe. This very apathy perhaps finally caused him to question the correctness of some of the traditional ceremonies of the church, for onone occasion during the early years of his priesthood while he was perfunctorily administering the mass, the thought suddenly struck him that the bread and wine he was handling could not be the body and blood of Christ. He attributed this suggestion to the devil and prayed and confessed, but the conviction did not leave him. Once led to doubt the truth of the prevailing system, it was but inevitable that he should be impelled to study the new teachings which already at this time had found their way into Lower Germany and the Netherlands. The martyrdom in 1533 of Sicke Snyder in a neighboring town, on the charge of Anabaptism made a deep impresssion upon Menno's mind, and led him to study the question of infant baptism. He re...
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