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HIRELING MINISTRY, AND THEIR
OUR ancient testimony against a hireling ministry, or any contributions to the maintenance and support thereof, being founded on the example and precepts of our Lord and his primitive followers and disciples; it is the sense of this meeting, that friends be careful to support the same, by a faithful testimony against contributing towards their salaries, by tax or otherwise, and against the building or repairing of their meeting-houses.
WHEREAs some persons professing with us, have proved so base and unworthy, as, when they have run themselves into debt, to remove themselves or their effects, to prevent justice; whereby those creditors who are friends, have been deprived of an opportunity of the common method of friends, specified in the minute of 1697, respecting arbitrations; it is hereby declared, that the last paragraph of said minute, which prohibits friends to sue or arrest one another, is not intended to prevent such evil persons in those practices from being dealt with by a legal process, as the nature of the case may require: of which circumstance the monthly and quarterly meetings are the proper judges; so it is not doubted but they will do justice to the parties concerned therein. And this meeting doth request every monthly meeting to appoint and depute proper persons out of their several meetings, for such friends as have occasion, to advise with, in the intervals of monthly meetings, and if they see cause, to give liberty to recover as above. 1720.
And as it may happen that by sudden losses or unforeseen accidents, or otherwise, a friend may be reduced, and unable to pay all just debts, and his creditors, falling suddenly upon him by suits or attachments, foreclose a due proportion of a just debt due to a friend, if the advice specified in the minute of 1697, respecting arbitrations, be strictly attended to ; it is therefore to be understood, that in all such sudden or extraordinary occasions, friends are left to their liberty to secure their just debts in a legal manner; provided they, in all cases, submit the attachment to come into a general average, upon a just settlement with all the other equitable demands, and to receive their dividends according to their demands with all the rest.
LIBER ALITY TO THE POOR.
It is desired that such among friends as are endowed with plenty of outward substance, be timely and tenderly advised to do good therewith, in their day and generation, especially with regard to the poor; that the tokens of your charity may commend your memorial, and be good precedents to generations to come. 1696. We find ourselves at this time engaged to request, that where provisions and the necessaries of life are dear and scarce, or sickness doth remarkably afflict, friends would in proportion to such scarcity and affliction, exert their charitable assistance to the poor, which is our christian duty, as stewards of the mercies wherewith the Lord has intrusted us. 1729. “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” “Warn those that are rich in this world, that they trust not in uncertain riches,” nor apply them to the indulging of their appetites in pleasure and vanity; but that they be “ready to do good, and to communicate” to the relief of those who are in necessity. The principal, if not the only satisfaction a man of a truly Christian disposition can have, in the af. fluence and increase of the things of this world, must arise from the opportunities put into his hands, of doing good therewith. 1741.
LO W E AND UNITY.
IT is our earnest desire, that, above all, friends hold fervent charity in the body, that will keep the members together in a blessed concord and communion; whigh is esteemed by the apostle the “more excellent way,” excelling other gifts, which pass away; but charity, (that is the love of God, from which our Christian and brotherly affection springs,) shall endure forever. This envieth not, vaunteth not, boasteth not itself, and seeketh not its own; but is patient, beareth all things, suffereth all things, and watcheth not with an evil eye, no, nor thinketh ill, but is kind. In which blessed love, dear friends, hold your fellowship one with another, which was the character of the primitive Christians. 1705.
Among the gospel precepts, we find not any thing more strongly and frequently recommended by our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles, to the primitive believers, than that they should love one another. And as we are sensible, that nothing will contribute more to the peace and prosperity of the church, than a due regard to this advice, so we earnestly desire that it may be the care and concern of all friends every where, to dwell therein, and in