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The spirit of God being the foundation of all true knowledge and experience, both in ministers and hearers, we earnestly exhort that all would diligently wait upon and mind it. Ministers, in their public services especially, ought always to attend closely to their several and peculiar gifts, and minister the word faithfully as it is manifested and revealed to them ; observing a decent and modest behavior in the exercise of their ministry, and not entangling themselves with the affairs of this life, that they may the better answer the holy warfare in which they are engaged. And let the hearers be watchful over their own spirits, and not forwardly judge or censure the testimonies which may be delivered amongst them; for if they be not very careful and diligent in attending upon the Lord in meetings, they are liable to mistake in the judgment they may pass on the ministry.
Now, this being a matter of great moment, for the preservation of love and concord in the churches; knowing the danger and ill consequences which attend a hasty and censorious judging of the ministry, we think it necessary to caution friends not to let their own spirits sway them, but let the spirit of God rule and reign in their hearts; for this will preserve all in sweetness and tenderness one towards another: the due observance of which will be a great help to ministers in the discharge of their duty, and the service to which they are called.
And we earnestly request, that the elders in monthly and quarterly meetings would be ready to help and inform the weak, when suitable opportunities present; that, both ministers and hearers, pursuing one and the same end, namely, the glory of God and the good and welfare one of another, the church may be edified, increase and flourish, to the consolation of the faithful. On the other hand, we advise ministers to have it very much at heart, to maintain a perfect harmony and good understanding with the monthly meetings to which they belong; that as the said meetings may sometimes find themselves concerned to advise them, respecting their conduct in meetings, or otherwise, they show themselves ready to hear and receive advice, as well as to teach and instruct. We further advise all monthly meetings, to take great care in giving certificates to those who travel, to prevent the uneasiness which sometimes falls on the church, from a weak and unskillful ministry: and let the elders, when they see occasion, advise ministers to be very prudent in their conduct, not as busy bodies, nor meddling with family or personal affairs, in which they are not concerned, or required to be assisting; and to be very tender of one another's reputation, and of that of friends among whom they travel; neither giving ear to, nor spreading reports tending to raise in the minds of others, a lessening or disesteem of any of the brotherhood; and, as soon as their service in the ministry is over, to return to their habitations, and there take a reasonable and prudent care of their own business, households and families. 1731. Our blessed Lord, just before his ascension, commanded his disciples to wait at Jerusalem, till they were endued with power from on high ; knowing their inability, without the sensible feeling of that power, to speak in his name for the conversion of the nations. It was this power that enabled them to speak boldly in the name of Jesus. This alone that made them able ministers of Christ; whose preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power. And seeing many of us have experienced much spiritual consolation by waiting in silence, and humbly depending upon the Lord alone, we exhort friends, that, when met together for religious worship, they labor to feel their minds abstracted from visible objects, into a true stillness and nothingness of self; wherein the teachings of the Holy Spirit are witnessed by humble and contrite souls. In such a waiting state, you will have a true relish and savor of the ministry of those who are rightly concerned by the same spirit, to labor in word and doctrine among you. 1738. We earnestly caution and entreat all such among you as find themselves concerned, in Christian love to exhort and admonish others, that they be especially careful of their own conduct; that, by circumspect walking in all holiness of life and coversation, they may become living examples of the purity and excellence of the advices they recommend. 1748. You that are elders and overseers in the chuch, and concerned in the maintenance of good order and preservation of discipline, keep your own hands clean, and garments unspotted, that you may rebuke with authority, and, being clothed with the meekness and gentleness of the Lamb, may steadJ
fastly persevere in the support of that testimony committed to you; that, when the Great Shepherd shall appear, you may come before him with reverent assurance, and receive the reward of “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” 1753. As to the elders among you, and those whom God, having endued with knowledge and experience of the cleansing operations of his Spirit, hath concerned to minister unto others, let them adorn the doctrine of the gospel, by showing, out of a good conversation, their works with meekness of wisdom. Such as these, being clothed with humility, and exemplary to the flock whom they feed; not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, are worthy of double honor, and to be highly esteemed in the church of Christ. 1751. As the Lord is graciously pleased effectually to touch the hearts of many of the youth, and prepare them for the reception of his heavenly gifts, whereby many are called to the work of the ministry; and well knowing it is a due attention to the gift, and waiting for the heavenly power and life, to discharge themselves therein, which has ever proved a blessing to the individual, and to the churches in general; we earnestly recommend, that the elders and sensible solid friends do watch over such in a holy concern for their, and the churches' good; that the weak and tender may be encouraged in a faithful discharge of their duty; and where a forward spirit appears, that would lead into many words out of the power and life,
such may be properly admonished in the meekness of wisdom, that each may speak the language of truth, by the ability which the Lord only gives; and that the monthly meetings do not indulge any to travel and appoint meetings too soon, for many have been hurt thereby. 1753. We recommend the apostolic advice, “Lay hands suddenly on no man;” for we have cause to believe, that injurious encouragement hath tended to promote an unsound ministry in some places. It is therefore recommended, that the approved ministers and elders, in the several monthly meetings, would tenderly advise those who come forth in public testimony, to wait patiently under a deep consideration of their state of infancy and childhood, without desiring to be introduced into the meeting of ministers and elders, until their fruits afford sufficient evidence of their qualifications for so important a service, and they be approved of by the monthly and quarterly meetings to which they belong; that such young ministers be reported to their monthly and quarterly meetings; which, upon solid and deliberate consideration, may, as in the wisdom of truth shall seem meet, recommend them to the select meeting of ministers and elders, in order to their becoming regular members of those meetings. 1773. Looking into the state of this part of the society, which stands in a more conspicuous point of view than the more private members, the necessity of their being ensamples to the flock appears exceedingly great; particularly in a diligent attendance of all our meetings for solemn worship and the