Menno Simons is today perhaps the most neglected of the prominent leaders in the history of the Christian church. Neither in the English nor the German language is a book on his life and teachings available. The need of such a book seems to be recognized among Mennonites of all classes.
The writer has been led by the desire that a better acquaintance with the life and teachings of the earlier heroes of faith may become the common property of all who would follow their footsteps as they followed Christ's. The style of this book will, it is hoped, not be found more difficult than that of general books on history commonly used by young people.
The search for original prints of Menno Simons' writings in America has had gratifying results. The most important find is a complete copy of Menno's Of the True Christian Faith and its Power of which only one defective copy is known in Europe. Special thanks are due to Mr. Thomas L. Montgomery, state librarian of Pennsylvania, through whose kindness complete photographic reproductions of the originals of two important books of Menno have been obtained. Among those who have aided me in the procuration of material or by the loan of valuable books are the management of the Royal Library of the Netherlands at the Hague, Rochester Theological Seminary, Rochester, N. Y., Crozer Theological Seminary, Upland, Pa., Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburg, Pa., Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N. J., Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa., Baptist Historical Collection, Hamilton, N. Y., Hon. Samuel W. Pennypacker, Schwenksville, Pa., Dr. Adolf Fluri, Bern, Switzerland, Dr. Friedrich Roth, Munich, Germany, Mrs. R. J. Smith, New Paris, Ind. (formerly of Balk, Holland), Elders C. H. A. van der Smissen, Berne, Ind., Elias Walter, Frankfort, S. D., John F. Funk, Elkhart, Ind., Abraham L. Friesen, Meade, Kans., Peter Toews, Stern, Alberta, John N. Durr, Martinsburg, Pa., Jonathan B. Fisher. New Holland, Pa. The collection of source material owned by the Mennonite General Conference, at Scottdale, has been freely and gratefully used.
Much important research work in the history of the Anabaptists and early Mennonites remains to be done. It is hoped that the proceeds from the sale of the present book may help to make possible the study of the subject in the great European libraries of whose pertinent source material much has been permitted to remain untouched.
May the inspiring example of the fathers of the church be an incentive to us to stand faithfully for the truth of God's word in a time when it is assailed as freely as it was in the period of the Reformation. To this end may He bless this humble effort.