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In case offenders shall remove to places not within the acknowledged limits of any monthly meeting, it is agreed that they shall be under the care of the meeting to which they are the nearest situated. If an offender cannot be found, after reasonable inquiry, the meeting to which he belongs, on notice thereof, shall issue a testimony against him, if the nature of the case require it. Advised, that when persons who have been disowned, manifest a disposition to be again restored to unity with the society, they may inform the monthly meeting which disowned them, of their desire to be so restored ; and it is left with the monthly meeting, after mature consideration of the particular case, to determine upon the mode of restoration. And, if by way of acknowledgment, it is advised not to read such publicly, unless it may appear to the monthly meeting that our testimony will be liable to suffer by the omission. When a disowned person removes from the verge of the monthly meeting, of which he or she has been a member, and becomes concerned to be again united to the society, such person may make application to the monthly meeting, within the compass of which he or she resides, giving information of the disownment, and by what monthly meeting. The particular occasion of disownment, such monthly meeting is not enjoined to require. But if upon noticing the application, the monthly meeting believes in the sincerity of such individual, and finds nothing to prevent, inquiry must be made of the monthly meeting by which the applicant has been disowned, concerning its consent to the reception of such person; and, after information therefrom, that nothing appears to obstruct, such applicant may be received by said meeting. It is the judgment of this meeting, that no testimonies of denial be read in a public meeting, unless it shall appear to monthly meetings that our testimony will be liable to suffer by such omission. We recommend to friends in their several monthly meetings, to take especial care to appoint proper, prudent and judicious friends, to visit their brethren in their families, to inform, advise or admonish, pursuant to former advices; and that such friends labor faithfully, in a spirit of love, and in the meekness of wisdom, to convince the judgments of their respective members of the necessity of their coming up with their brethren in practice, agreebly to our Christian principle; that so the several branches of the testimony, which truth hath given our ancients and us to bear, may be maintained inviolate. 1733, 1751. It is recommended, that the book of discipline be present in all our monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings, that the same may be consulted as occasion requires; and as opportunity offers, such portions thereof be read in each monthly meeting, the women being present, as the elders, overseers or other concerned friends, may from time to time think proper, for the instruction, help and furtherance of the young and rising generation, and such as may not otherwise be conversant or acquainted therewith.
1. It is the sense of this meeting, that the importation of Negroes from their native country and relations * is not a commendable nor allowable practice, and that practice is censured by this meeting. 1727.
2. We fervently warn all in profession with us, that they be careful to avoid being any way concerned in reaping the unrighteous profits of that iniquitous practice of dealing in Negroes, and other slaves; whereby, in the original purchase, one man selleth another, as he does the beast that perishes, without any better pretension to a property in him than that of superior force; in direct violation of the gospel rule, which teaches every one to do as he would be done by, and to do good unto all; being the reverse of that covetous disposition, which furnishes encouragement to those poor ignorant people to perpetuate their savage wars, in order to supply the demands of this most unnatural traffic, whereby great numbers of mankind, free by nature, are subjected to inextricable bondage; and which hath often been observed to fill their possessors with haughtiness and tyranny, luxury and barbarity; corrupting the minds and debasing the morals of their children, to the unspeakable prejudice of religion and virtue, and the exclusion of that holy spirit of universal love, meekness and charity, which is the unchangeable nature and the glory of true Christianity. We therefore can do no less than with the greatest earnestness impress it upon friends every where, that they endeavor to keep their hands clear of this unrighteous gain of oppression. 1760. 3. It is recommended to friends who have slaves in possession, to treat them with tenderness, impress God's fear in their minds, promote their attending places of religious worship, and give those that are young, at least, so much learning that they may be capable of reading. 4. It is our sense and judgment, that truth not only requires that the young, of capacity and ability, but likewise the aged and impotent, and also all in a state of infancy and non-age among friends, be discharged and set free from a state of slavery; that we do no more claim property in the human race, as we do in the brutes that perish. 1773. Agreed, that no friend import, or in any ways purchase, dispose of or hold mankind as slaves; but that all those who have been held in a state of slavery be discharged therefrom ; that all those be used well who are under friends' care, and are not in circumstances, through non-age or incapacity, to minister to their own necessities; and that they give those that are young such an education as becomes Christians, and encourage others in a religious and virtuous life. 1773, 1780.
*Those intended as slaves, or against their consent.
Advised, that our Christian testimony be faith fully maintained against the burthen and imposition of oaths, according to the express prohibition of Christ, and also of the apostle James, viz. “Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black: but let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Matt. v. 33–37.
“But above all things, my brethren, swear not; neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” James, v. 12, 1693.
Believing therefore as we do, that no argument can invalidate a prohibition thus clear and positive, we are bound religiously to regard it; and whilst we feel gratitude for the continuance of that indul