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every duty with uprightness and integrity, both to God, and to those who, in the course of his providence, are placed in authority. 1757. For the preservation of our fellow-members, it appears necessary for this meeting to issue forth the following advice, viz:— That they strictly adhere to our long professed and invariable principle, against being concerned in pulling down and setting up, or bringing about revolutions in outward government, by outward force, human policy or contrivance; and also that they be not deceived with the flattering prospect of being clothed with secular authority, either legislative, judicial, or executive, knowing these things have a tendency rather to brace the mind with pride, and expose to various temptations, than to humble the creature; therefore shun temptation, seek humility, the way to be clothed with authority in the truth, and be contented with the honor and dignity thereof. 1782. It is our sense and judgment, that no friend can, consistently with our Christian testimony, run, or make, or countenance on his behalf to be made, any short entries of goods, wares or merchandise, imported, on which the government have laid any impost, duties or excise; but that a true and honest manifest thereof be exhibited to the proper office for receiving the same; and if there should be any who have a conscientious scruple against the payment of imposts, duties or excise, which may now or hereafter be required, they acquaint the officer or the government therewith, who we doubt not will be tender in that respect; as we, as a people, mean to be subject to the laws passively, where our consciences restrain from active compliance therewith. And if any of our members should act inconsistently herewith, or should buy or vend any goods, knowing them to be run or short entered, that monthly meetings deal with such as disorderly walkers. Liberty of conscience being the common right of all men, and particularly essential to the well being of religious societies, hence we hold it to be indispensably incumbent upon us to maintain it inviolably among ourselves; and therefore advise and exhort all in profession with us, to decline the acceptance of any office or station in civil government, the duties of which are inconsistent with our religious principles, or in the exercise of which they may be under the necessity of exacting of their brethren any compliances against which we are conscientiously scrupulous. And if any persons in membership with us, notwithstanding this advice, shall persist in conduct so reverse to our principles and religious liberty, it is the sense of this meeting that they be treated with as in other cases of offence; and, if they cannot be brought to see and acknowledge their error, that the monthly meeting to which they belong should proceed to testify our disunity with them. And it is the sense and judgment of this meeting, that friends ought not, in any wise, to be active or accessory in electing, or promoting to be elected, their brethren to offices or stations in civil government, the execution whereof tends to lay waste our christian testimony, or to subject their brethren or others to sufferings on account of their conscientious scruples. Believing that we are called to show forth to the world, in life and practice, the blessed reign of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace; under the influence of these principles, we cannot consistently join with such as form combinations of a hostile nature against any; much less in opposition to those placed in sovereign or subordinate authority; nor can we unite with or encourage such as revile and asperse them, for it is written, “Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.”—Acts xxiii. 5, 1775.
WE earnestly beseech all friends, and the youth especially, to avoid all such conversation as tends to draw out their minds into the foolish and wicked pastimes with which this age abounds; particularly balls, gaming-places, horse-races and play-houses, those nurseries of debauchery and wickedness, the burthen and grief of the sober part of other societies, as well as of our own; practices wholly unbecoming a people under the Christian profession.
And where any professing with us are found transgressing this advice, or are in the practice of any immoralities, or other reproachful conduct, that the monthly meeting were such transgressors belong deal with them.
It is earnestly recommended to all friends, resorting to our annual or other public assemblies, to be very careful at their inns, or other places where they may lodge or converse, to be prudent in all manner of behavior, both in public and priwate; avoiding all intemperance in eating and drinking, and likewise foolish jesting, or any undue liberty whatsoever; that our conversation, seasoned with the fear of God, may appear correspondent to our profession, and answer the witness of God in others. 1731.
It is the sense of this meeting, that chewing tobacco, and taking snuff, unnecessary going out of our religious meetings, laughing and other indecent behavior therein, and frequent or unnecessary conversation at the breaking up thereof, are practices inconsistent with Christian gravity, and unbecoming the solemnity of the occasion; and friends are desired to labor to suppress the same, and where any, contrary to the Christian advices of their brethren or sisters, continue therein, it is recommended to the meetings they belong to, to deal with them as with those who refuse the advice of their friends.