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discipline of the church, and therein to be very deep and weighty in spirit, laboring with an ardor of soul suited to the occasion, for the arising of the ancient spring of life; which, of a truth, is the crown of our assemblies, and the ground of our joy and rejoicing in Him, and one in another: it being this alone which preserves living, fresh and active members in the church of Christ, who are enabled to communicate a degree of warmth to the rising youth, and those of less experience in this most necessary exercise; not only in word and doctrine, but also in silent, humble waiting on God, for the renewings of help day by day. Where it shall appear, upon due inspection made, that any members shall or do neglect or omit the due attendance of their meetings for worship and discipline, through sloth, indolence, love of the world, lukewarmness in religion, or other insufficient cause, let each monthly meeting take care, that all such be timely visited in love, and acquainted with the desire and mind of friends in that case, and
admonished to faithfulness therein. And if, not
withstanding the due Christian labor and admonition, he, she or they, shall continue in the said neglect or omission; if a minister, his or her public testimony should be denied; and if an elder, he or she should be dismissed from that station. 1770. Advised, to have a godly care of judging or contradicting one another in public meetings, or showing any marks or signs of division therein, among ministers or others; it being of a very pernicious consequence to bring blame or contempt upon the ministry, and a great hurt to our youth and others. 1716. This meeting, taking under its serious consideration, the beauty and credit of keeping decency and good order in our meetings for worship, advises friends every where to avoid public opposition to a minister, not disowned by the monthly or quarterly meeting to which he or she shall belong, by keeping on their hats in time of prayer, or any other token of disunion. * But if any person, pretending to be a minister, shall give cause of uneasiness or dissatisfaction to friends, in doctrine, behavior or conversation, the person so offending is to be dealt with privately, in a gospel spirit and manner. If this shall not take effect, then let complaint be made of such person to the monthly meeting to which he or she belongs; that proceeding thereon may be had accordingly, and the affair settled with all possible expedition. 1723. Where friends in any monthly meeting are really dissatisfied, or burthened with any that take upon them to preach among them, let such persons first be duly admonished in their own monthly meeting, with the assistance of the faithful approved ministers and elders of the same meeting, and adjacent meetings, if need be; and, if afterwards they will persist to impose upon and burthen friends, then let them be publicly testified against, where they so impose. If any one, who has been a public minister or elder, shall be guilty of such practices as may justly deserve public censure, and shall be disowned, and afterwards, upon tokens of repentance, be again admitted into membership, such re-admission is not J 2
to be interpreted so as to give him or her the liberty of appearing as a public minister, or of exercising the office of an elder, until the monthly meeting he or she belongs to shall judge the scandal given by such person to be so far removed, as that such public appearance, or exercising the office of an elder, may not administer occasion of reproach, either from friends or others; and in case they should show themselves too forward in so appearing, the meeting to which they belong is desired to give them such advice as it shall see suitable to their circumstances. 1737.
Of some necessary advices recommended to ministers, and in the love of the gospel to be communicated to the several meetings of ministers and elders in the yearly meeting, as caution and counsel.
1. Against undue and restless behavior, under the ministry of any friend, whilst in the unity of the body.
2. That all be cautious of using unnecessary preambles, and of laying too great stress on their testimony, by too positively asserting a divine motion, and frequently repeating the same; seeing no such pretensions will obtain credit, when it is not manifestly so; and where it is, the baptizing power of truth, accompanying the words, is the best evidence.
3. Against misquoting and misapplying the Holy Scriptures; and it is desired that all those concerned be frequent in reading them. 4. To be careful how they fall on disputed points in their testimony, or make such objections as they do not clearly answer; and also against giving repeated expectations of coming to a conclusion, recommending the people, &c. 5. Against hurting meetings, towards the conclusion, by unnecessary additions, when the meeting was left well before. 6. Against unbecoming tones, sounds, gestures, and all affectation; which are not agreeable to Christian gravity. 7. Against undertaking or running into employments they have no knowledge or experience of, without the concurrence and advice of friends, as some have done, to their own hurt, the injury of others, and the reproach of their religious profession; but to employ themselves in business that they are acquainted with, to avoid an idle life. 8. Not to speak against persons, or report things on hearsay; but to treat with the parties concerned, and thereby prevent sowing discord. * 9. That their apparel, and the furniture of their houses, their tables, and way of living, may be with decency, moderation and temperance; that they be good examples to others. 10. Against men and women travelling together, as companions in service, to avoid all occasions of offence thereby. 11. To beware of too much familiarity, tending to draw out the affections one of another to their hurt. 12. That ministering friends be careful not to hurt one another's service in public meetings, but every one have a tender regard for others; that nothing be offered with a view to popularity, but in humility and the fear of the Lord. 13. Against running, in their own wills, to disturb or interrupt any people in their worship; or presuming to prophesy, in their own spirits, against any nation, city, town, people, or person. 14. That ministers, when they travel in the service of truth, be careful not to make their visits burdensome, or the gospel chargeable. 15. That none show or expose manuscripts, so as to give expectations of their being printed, before they are approved by the meeting for sufferings. 16. That ministers and olders be careful to keep their whole conversation unspotted, being examples of meekness, temperance, patience and charity. And lastly, as prayer and supplication to God is an especial part of his worship, it must be performed in spirit and in truth, with a right understanding seasoned with grace. Therefore let ministers be careful how and what they offer in prayer, avoiding many words and repetitions; and not running from supplication into declaration, as though the Lord wanted information; and let all be cautious of too often repeating the high and holy name of God, or his attributes, by a long conclusion; neither let prayer be in a formal and customary way to conclude a meeting, nor without an awful sense of divine assistance attending the mind. 1775. Agreed that when public friends have a concern to travel on a religious visit, and to appoint meetings