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the divine hand in every heart, for that gracious end; that they may, through the Lord's blessing upon such pious and paternal endeavors, be induced to place their affections upon it, and, cleaving thereto in faithful obedience, come to experience it to be unto them Christ within, the hope of their glory.
The importance of an early instruction in the law of God, is set forth with peculiar strength, clearness and solemnity, in Deut. vi. 4, &c.—“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord : and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” It is requisite also that restraint be added to instruction; it being much easier, as well as more prudent, to be exercised upon the first appearances of an inclination to dangerous or hurtful liberties than afterwards; for where children, through the prevalence of fond affection, have been accustomed to improper indulgencies, when they are grown to such a dangerous degree of ripeness, that the exertion of authority hath become absolutely necessary, the strength of their passions, so habituated, hath often proved unconquerable, or very difficult to overcome, to the great hurt of the unhappy youth, and the unspeakable grief of the imprudently indulgent parents. 1760.
F A MILIES.
FORAsmuch as a godly care is growing among friends in many places, that all things which are unsavory and hurtful may be removed, so that all who profess the precious truth with us, may come up together in the good order of the gospel, for the furthering of which, and encouraging thereto, it is recommended, that weighty and sensible friends, of unblamable conversation, be chosen in the wisdom of God to visit the families of friends in his love; and they are desired to advise and admonish, in the peaceable spirit of truth, as occasion may offer. 1708.
And we beseech you brethren, let the tender advice of such as shall undertake so brotherly an office, meet with a kind and open reception, that in the mutual giving and receiving of wholesome counsel and advice, you may co-operate to the help and furtherance of each other's faith, and the reviving of our ancient Christian testimony. 1752.
Let the Christian duty of visiting the sick be timely remembered and practiced, it having often
left comfort, ease and sweetness upon the spirits of many to their very end. 1710.
A weighty concern being livingly impressed on our minds in this meeting, that good service may arise from visiting the families of our brethren, by rightly concerned friends, we are engaged to recommend to the sensible members of the body, and to monthly and quarterly meetings, to feel deeply after the pointings of truth herein; and that, as this divine principle opens their way, they may promote this useful service in their respective meetings, by appointing suitable friends, of either or both sexes, who are desired to proceed therein in the love of the gospel, and under the tendering influence thereof; which we have good cause to hope may thus be attended with beneficial effects to the visited, and with solid satisfaction, and additional experience in the work of truth, to those who may be engaged therein. 1773.
As to the consistency of the members of our society joining themselves in the meetings or public entertainments of those called free-masons, we have deliberated upon the subject, and according to our present judgment, think it not consistent with our religious profession; and advise that quarterly and monthly meetings dissuade their members therefrom: and if any do join therewith, contrary to the advice herein contained, that they be dealt with.
GAMING AND DIVERSIONS.
As our time passeth swiftly away, and our delight ought to be in the law of the Lord; it is advised that a watchful care be exercised over our youth, to prevent their going to stage-plays, horse-races, entertainments of music and dancing, or any such vain sports and pastimes, and being concerned in lotteries, wagering, or other species of gaming. And if
any of our members fall into either of these practices, and cannot be prevailed upon, by private labor to decline them, the monthly meeting to which such belong, should be informed thereof; and if they be not reclaimed by further labor, proceed to testify our disunity with them.