Wednesday, 09 October 2013 22:02

The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 316

Written by  A. Wayne Webb
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The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 316 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 316

IV, page 2404, in which place may be found a fair and discriminating account of the several sects in question: "The Tunkers are often confounded with the other peace sects, in Pennsylvania, of German origin, especially with the Mennonites, the Amish, Schwenckfelders, etc.; but they have no historical connection, and differ from them in some important particulars." Another quotation from Schaft-Harzog, Vol. IV, page 2403, may be allowed as fairly describing the Ephrata Society (the particular sect of Sieben-taeger with which we are here concerned): "The Sieben-Taeger, or German Seventh-day Baptists, are a secession from the Tunkers. They are now [1883], nearly extinct as a denomination, but at one time existed in considerable numbers at Ephrata, Lancaster county, Penn., where, under Conrad Beissel. they formed a monastic community in 1732; and colonies were afterward formed near York, Bedford and Snow Hill. Beissel, a native of Germany, came to this country in 1720, and settled at Mill Creek, where he was baptized by Peter Becker, the Tunker minister of the Germantown church, in 1725. He published a pamphlet protesting against the change of the sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week, and also advocating celibacy as the higher order of Christian life." It was earlier than 1732, however, probably 1728, that Beissel, who had been baptized by the Dunker bishop, Peter Becker, in 1724, began the movement which formed the Ephrata Society. Community of goods was at first the rule at Ephrata, but was afterwards abandoned, at least in part. Celibacy was enjoined upon those who retired to the cloisters, and was recommended to others, but was not required of them. They adopted a garb similar to that of the Capuchins, and assumed, upon entering the order, monastic names. Having now succeeded, I trust, in setting the Dunkers clearly apart—showing what and who they are not—I have only left to tell, generally and briefly, who and what they are. The Dunkers (Brethren, or German Baptist Brethreh), are a large body of Christians, living chiefly in Pennsylvania, Maryland. Virginia, West Virginia. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and California, with branch congregations and missons in Canada, Sweden, Norway, France, Switzerland, Asia Minor and India. They hold the Bible as the Word of God, and the New Testament as their creed. In faith they are orthordox and evangelical. They believe in the Trinity of the Godhead, in the divinity of each of the three Persons, in future reward and punishments. Faith, repentance and baptism are held to be the conditions of forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Ghost. They administer baptism by trine, face-forward, immersion. They perpetuate the Apostolic agape, or

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