Sivut kuvina

service, (the name or names having been introduced either through the preparative meeting of ministers and elders, or by a committee appointed by the monthly meeting for that purpose) acquaint the quarterly meeting therewith, which, after solidly waiting for the concurring unity of men and women friends, and finding nothing to hinder, is to minute the same, and acquaint the select meeting thereof; which is also to enter the appointment on its minutes; and the friends so appointed may then sit in any of our meetings of ministers and elders. Information of such appointment is to be given by the quarterly meeting to the yearly meeting, and by the yearly meeting, through its clerk, to the yearly meeting of ministers and elders, and the names entered on the respective records of those meetings. The following order is to be observed in acknowledging the gift, and approving the public appearances of any friend in the ministry. Where any friend appears in public ministry whose conversation shall be clean and blameless, and the preparative meeting of ministers and elders, within the limits of which the friend belongs, is convinced that the Lord hath called him or her to that weighty work, it is then to lay the same before the quarterly meeting of ministers and elders, for its consideration, and when said quarterly meeting shall have united therein, without any record being made of its judgment, the said preparative meeting may lay the same before the monthly meeting, which, after weightily feeling after the mind of truth therein, and being united in approving him or her as a minister in the church, the same shall be recorded and sent forward in like manner as in the case of elders. Friends are advised, in these proceedings, to be weighty in their spirits and careful in their conversation, that no harm come to any from a disclosure, before the time, of what may be under the consideration of friends; that all may be kept in the love and unity of the gospel. 1856. The ministers and elders so approved, within the compass of each monthly meeting, (or where the quarterly meeting should think best to unite the members of two or more meetings in one,) are to meet by themselves once in three months, and, after solidly waiting to feel their minds seasoned with the virtue of truth, are to proceed to read and consider the queries, and how their purport is answered by their members; tenderly advising and assisting one another as the nature of the case may require; and to form such answers to the queries as are agreeable to their states; which answers are to be signed by their clerk, and two or more friends are to be appointed as representatives, who are to take the answers, and, assembling together previous to and at the place of holding the quarterly meeting, do, with the assistance of other select members within the compass of each quarter, compose a select quarterly meeting, where the queries are again to be read, and the state of the meeting inquired into, and such advice and assistance afforded the lower meetings thereunto belonging, by advice or committees, as occasion may require. And, once a year, preceding the yearly meeting, general answers in writing are to be drawn up and transmitted to the yearly select meeting, by representatives to be appointed to attend the same; at which meeting the state of all the several quarters and of their members is to be attended to, and such help afforded, and in such way and manner, as the meeting in the wisdom of truth may think proper, in subordination to our Christian discipline; preserving records of its proceedings, and annually choosing or re-appointing a clerk, which the quarterly and monthly select meetings are all advised to do. And it is agreed, that the quarterly select meeting be held the day before each quarterly meeting, at the same place, at the eleventh hour;* and that the yearly select meeting begin at Newport, at the ninth hour, on the day before the yearly meeting. This meeting desires that you, whom the Lord hath gifted with a public testimony for his name and truth, may be careful to attend to the motions of truth, and in it be diligent to visit the heritage of God in their meetings, and especially those least frequented. 1695. We further entreat you, that in all your religious meetings, appointed for the worship of Almighty God, you wait in humble reverence for the influence of the Word of life. Be cautious not to move, in acts of devotion, in your own will; set not forward self to work, but patiently attend and wait for the gift and enlivening power of the Divine Spirit, without which your performances will be unacceptable, and like those of old, of which it was said, “Who hath required this at your hand?” Isaiah i. 12. 1742, As we are fully persuaded that the ministry of the gospel is not received of man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ, according to that apostolical direction: “as every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified.” And as this ministry is divine, the motives and inducements thereunto are perfectly disinterested, and no way mercenary and lucrative, but concurrent with the precept Christ gave to his apostles, and immediate followers: “Freely ye have received, freely give.” 1771. Friends, in their respective meetings, are earnestly desired and advised to use prudence and caution, so as not to be imposed upon by cheats, or imposters, pretending to ministry or otherwise; and where there is a doubt or question concerning the ministry of any persons, in that case, let such be called upon to show what certificate they have: and in general, it is recommended to the monthly and quarterly meetings, to see that friends who travel in the work of the ministry, do go in the unity of the meetings to which they belong, and with certificates therefrom ; and further, that it may become the tender care of the said meetings, to watch over such as may be young in the ministry, to see that they walk humbly and wisely. That as, on the one hand, nothing truly tending to the glory of God, and the edification of his church and people, may be discouraged; so, on the other, where any thing appears which may make advice necessary, that the elders of the church, both ministers and others, do, in the wisdom of God, give their advice thereupon, with due regard to the state of weakness and childhood that such may be in. 1720. And we do, in much love, caution those friends who are rightly concerned in the work of the ministry, to watch over their own spirits, and not be over hasty or censorious in passing judgment respecting the state of those who hear them ; but to manifest that, in the exercise of their ministry, they are led by the love of God; and that their principal aim is, that they may be instrumental to administer spiritual consolation and strength to the churches where they come. Further we earnestly exhort, that none would offer to impose themselves as preachers, in any meeting of friends, who are not themselves faithful against the payment of priests' wages, and in observing the other branches of our Christian testimony. 1745. We tenderly and with earnestness advise all friends, who travel in the work of the ministry, as well as others, that they not only shut their ears against all private information of persons and things, tending to the defamation of particular persons or families, and to stir up disputes and contentions in meetings for discipline; but also rebuke and reprove the person or persons, who shall attempt to prejudice their minds with any private information of that nature. 1752.

*There are exceptions as to the hour in several of our quarterly meetings.

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