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City Hall

1 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA 19107

 

City Hall in Philadelphia is the architectural center of Penn’s city. Here one finds the plaque that records William Penn’s prayer for Philadelphia. It says: "And Thou Philadelphia the virgin settlement of this province named before thou wert born, what care, what service, what travail have there been to bring thee forth and preserve thee from such as would abuse and defile thee. O that thou mayest be kept from the evil that would overwhelm thee, that faithful to the God of thy mercies in the life of righteousness, thou mayest be preserved to the end. My soul prays to God for thee that thou mayest stand in the day of trial, that thy children may be blest of the Lord and thy people saved by His power."

Penn named the city before it was founded. He took the name Philadelphia from Revelation 3:7. Philadelphia literally means “The City of Brotherly Love.” Penn believed Philadelphia would face a time of severe trial, in accord with Revelation 3:10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (NIV). Penn anticipated future difficulties because his experiment in religious liberty and his commitment to peace inevitably invited conflict. The invasion of Philadelphia by the British during the Revolutionary War may have been the very time that Penn’s prayer foresaw.