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the unity of the Holy Spirit, to maintain love, concord and peace, in and among all the churches of Christ. 1730. By accounts received, it appears that, in general, love and concord are maintained, and that friends in divers places are under an earnest concern for the promotion of peace, and for the suppressing and guarding against every occasion of strife and discord, tending to divide and scatter the flock of Christ. For strengthening this concern, and promoting this Christian disposition of love, wheresoever it appears, we remind you of the benefits thereof, expressed in Psalm crxxiii. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Be ye also mindful of the saying of our blessed Lord himself, John xiii. 35: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 1752.
IT is advised, that parents exercise a religious care in watching over their children and endeavor to guard them against improper or unequal connections in marriage; that they be not anxious to obtain for them large portions and settlements, but that they be joined with persons of religious inclinations, suitable dispositions, and diligence in their business, which are necessary to a comfortable life in a married state.
And it is particularly recommended to all parents, to endeavor to cultivate such habits of confidence and freedom in the truth, with their children, as may render it easy for them early to consult their parents in such important concerns.
It is advised, that all young and unmarried persons in membership with us, previously to their making any proceedure in order to marriage, do seriously and humbly wait upon the Lord for his counsel and direction in this important concern, and when favored with satisfactory clearness therein, they should early acquaint their parents or guardians with their intentions, and wait for their consent; thus preservation from the dangerous bias of forward, brittle and uncertain affections, would be experienced, to the real benefit of the parties, and the comfort of their friends. And it is earnestly recommended to friends, that they tenderly and carefully watch over the youth, and extend seasonable caution and admonition, as occasion may require. The breaches of our testimony in going from amongst us, in the weighty engagement of marriage, being often for want of due care in parents, and those who have the important charge of educating the youth under their trust, early to admonish and instruct them in the principles of truth, and impress their minds with the duty of religiously observing them; as much as possible restraining them from such company as is likely to entangle their affections in an improper manner; we therefore tenderly advise friends to an increasing care over the youth, that the consistency of our principles in all respects with the nature of true religion, may be impressed upon their tender minds, by upright examples, as well as by precepts; and that, where there is apparent danger of the affections of any being improperly entangled, and the care of parents and guardians, or those who have the oversight, appears not sufficient to prevent their taking imprudent steps in the accomplishment of marriage, care be taken, timely to apply for the help of their friends. And it is further advised, that after parents and guardians have suffered their children to engage one another in affections, they do not break off upon any worldly account, but that they wait upon and seek the Lord for their children, in proposals of marriage, before they give any encouragement thereunto. 1707. It is agreed, that no monthly meeting permit any marriages to be proposed in the said meeting, sooner than one year after the decease of former husband or wife; and we think it most advisable, that no such proposals be made between the parties within that time. It is our sense and judgment, that not only those marriages of near kindred, expressly forbidden under the law, ought not to be practiced under the gospel; but that we in our day ought not to take first cousins in marriage, being called to that spiritual dispensation which gives dominion over the affections, and leads to those marriages which are more natural, and of better report. And if any, notwithstanding, shall marry contrary to this rule, being previously cautioned and advised against it, that the monthly meeting where such belong give forth a testimony against them, and not receive such into unity again, until they are well assured that they have found a place for repentance, and are received in the truth. The prudent and christian care that has been maintained amongst us, in relation to marriage, ever since we were a people, having obtained a good report, it has become afresh the concern of this meeting, that the reputation of our religious society, and the cause of truth herein, may still be kept up; and that not only the several weighty advices of this meeting, in respect to the proceedings of the parties concerned, and the conduct of their parents and H
guardians, may be observed, but likewise that as little diversity as may be, may appear amongst us, in regard to the form and manner of solemnization. 1754. For the accomplishment of marriage, it is advised, that the parties should inform the men's and women's monthly meeting to which the woman belongs, of their intentions, through the preparative meeting, when convenient. And at a proper time they should make it known in both meetings, either by a written communication signed by both parties, or by verbal declaration, that, “With Divine permission, and friends' approbation, they intend marriage with each other:” whereupon two friends in each meeting, (if both the parties belong to the same meeting,) should be appointed by minute to make the necessary inquiries respecting the clearness to proceed in marriage, of the party or parties who shall be members of said monthly meeting. If the parties have parents or guardians present, their consent should be expressed; or if the man is a member of another monthly meeting, the consent of his parents or guardians, if he have any, should be produced in writing, with a certificate from his monthly meeting, of his clearness, either then or at the next meeting. If the woman be a widow, having children, two or more friends should be appointed, to see that the rights of her children are legally secured. At the next meeting, if the committees report that careful inquiry has been made, and that they have consent of parents, where it has not been before manifested, and the parties appear clear to proceed in marriage with each other, the meeting is to leave