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if they do not all agree that he is innocent; in either of these cases happening, the person charging is at liberty to bring the matter before the church, who are the only judges now remaining, both of the nature of the fact, and the validity of the proof of it; and they in the wisdom of God, which we hope will not be wanting to his church, as they humbly wait on him for it, to deal with him for the good ends before mentioned; and, as they see cause, upon a mature and deliberate consideration, to justify or condemn him. And if the church shall see meet to commit the consideration of a case of this nature, for better dispatch, to certain persons of its own body, we recommend it as our tender advice, in case the accused shall object against one or more of the friends so chosen, that the church have a due regard to such objection, and set aside the person or persons so objected against, and substitute another or others in his or their room, provided such objection doth not extend to the major part of the friends so chosen ; and in general, we desire all tenderness and regard may be had to a person under such circumstances; and that friends, in a spirit of love and condescention, should be ready to make him as easy as they can, provided they keep up the authority of their meetings. Nameless books, pamphlets, and papers, reflecting darkly on friends, are testified against; and it is desired that no such book, pamphlet or paper, be written, printed, published, or privately handed about, by any under our profession, for the time to come. 1718. If you hear a report of a friend, (to his disadvantage,) be careful not to report it again; but go to the person of whom the report is, and inquire if it be true; then deal with such person for it, according to the doctrine of Christ, Matt. xviii. 16, 17; but if false, then endeavor as much as in you lies, to stop such report: for, as Solomon says, “a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” Prov. xxii. 1. 1719. Whereas it may happen, that some friends may suffer much in their reputation and character, by a detracting spirit, which too much prevails among some bearing our name; who shelter themselves under a pretence that they say no more than they have heard from others, but will not discover who they are; wherefore, to prevent this evil of reporting and tale-bearing, it is agreed that such reporters or tale-bearers shall either discover their authors, or be dealt with, and testified against, as the authors thereof. 1744.
Advised, that friends be tender to the principle of God in all, and shun the occasion of vain disputes and janglings, both amongst themselves and others; for this, many times, is like a blustering wind, that hurts and bruises the tender buds of plants. 1676.
Seeing our comfort as a people, depends upon our care to maintain peace and fellowship amongst brethren, in all our services, we earnestly recommend an humble and condescending frame of spirit unto all; that with godly fear, wisdom and meekness, we may be so ordered in all our respective. services, that every high and rough thing may be laid low, that all occasions of striving may be prevented, and the peace of the church of Christ preserved and increased amongst us.
And to this purpose it is tenderly advised, that we diligently and carefully observe the comely and blessed gospel order, so long known and in practice amongst us, in the spirit of meekness and of a sound mind; which is the way to crush all differences in their infancy, and suppress the rise as well as to stop the progress of every thing that is unseemly, and inconsistent with the testimony of the precious truth. 1699. Advised, that a spirit of love and humility may more and more diffuse itself among us, and influence the hearts of all, so that every one may come to seek peace and pursue it; and that none be apt to take offence, but each in his own particular, be more careful to rectify his own failings and imperfections, than curious in observing, censuring, and ggravating, those of others. This will lead to the exercise of mutual forbearance and forgiveness one of another, by which the occasions of contention will be avoided, and the church preserved in a state of peace and tranquility. 1736.
DISCIPLINE–AND MEETINGS FOR
ADVISED, that the church's testimony and judgments against disorderly and scandalous walkers, as also the repentance and condemnation of the parties restored, be recorded in a distinct book, in the respective monthly and quarterly meetings, for the clearing of truth, friends, and our holy profession ; to be produced and published by friends for that end and purpose, so far only as in God's heavenly wisdom they shall see needful.
And it is also our advice, in the love of God, that after any friend's repentance and restoration, he abiding faithful in the truth that condemns the evil, none among you so remember his transgression, as to cast it at him, or upbraid him with it; for that is not according to the mercies of God. 1675.
Earnestly recommended, whatever your places and stations in the church may be, that in the most weighty and serious manner you often call to remembrance, in all humility of mind, what it was that brought us to be a people, and what is and will be that which will preserve us such: that the foundation