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LIBER ALITY TO T H E POOR.
It is desired that such among friends as are endowed with plenty of outward substance, be timely and tenderly advised to do good therewith, in their day and generation, especially with regard to the poor; that the tokens of your charity may commend your memorial, and be good precedents to generations to come. 1696. We find ourselves at this time engaged to request, that where provisions and the necessaries of life are dear and scarce, or sickness doth remarkably afflict, friends would in proportion to such scarcity and affliction, exert their charitable assistance to the poor, which is our christian duty, as stewards of the mercies wherewith the Lord has intrusted us. 1729. “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” “Warn those that are rich in this world, that they trust not in uncertain riches,” nor apply them to the indulging of their appetites in pleasure and vanity; but that they be “ready to do good, and to communicate” to the relief of those who are in necessity. The principal, if not the only satisfaction a man of a truly Christian disposition can have, in the af. fluence and increase of the things of this world, must arise from the opportunities put into his hands, of doing good therewith, 1741.
LOVE AND UNITY.
IT is our earnest desire, that, above all, friends hold fervent charity in the body, that will keep the members together in a blessed concord and communion; which is esteemed by the apostle the “more excellent way,” excelling other gifts, which pass away; but charity, (that is the love of God, from which our Christian and brotherly affection springs,) shall endure forever. This envieth not, vaunteth not, boasteth not itself, and seeketh not its own; but is patient, beareth all things, suffereth all things, and watcheth not with an evil eye, no, nor thinketh ill, but is kind. In which blessed love, dear friends, hold your fellowship one with another, which was the character of the primitive Christians. 1705.
Among the gospel precepts, we find not any thing more strongly and frequently recommended by our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles, to the primitive believers, than that they should love one another. And as we are sensible, that nothing will contribute more to the peace and prosperity of the church, than a due regard to this advice, so we earnestly desire that it may be the care and concern of all friends every where, to dwell therein, and in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, to maintain love, concord and peace, in and among all the churches of Christ. 1730. By accounts received, it appears that, in general, love and concord are maintained, and that friends in divers places are under an earnest concern for the promotion of peace, and for the suppressing and guarding against every occasion of strife and discord, tending to divide and scatter the flock of Christ. For strengthening this concern, and promoting this Christian disposition of love, wheresoever it appears, we remind you of the benefits thereof, expressed in Psalm crxxiii. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Be ye also mindful of the saying of our blessed Lord himself, John xiii. 35: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 1752.
It is advised, that parents exercise a religious care in watching over their children and endeavor to guard them against improper or unequal connections in marriage; that they be not anxious to obtain for them large portions and settlements, but that they be joined with persons of religious inclinations, suitable dispositions, and diligence in their business, which are necessary to a comfortable life in a married state. s
And it is particularly recommended to all parents, to endeavor to cultivate such habits of confidence and freedom in the truth, with their children, as may render it easy for them early to consult their parents in such important concerns.
It is advised, that all young and unmarried persons in membership with us, previously to their making any proceedure in order to marriage, do seriously and humbly wait upon the Lord for his counsel and direction in this important concern, and when favored with satisfactory clearness therein, they should early acquaint their parents or guardians with their intentions, and wait for their consent; thus preservation from the dangerous bias of forward, brittle and uncertain affections, would be experienced, to the real benefit of the parties, and the comfort of their friends. And it is earnestly recommended to friends, that they tenderly and carefully watch over the youth, and extend seasonable caution and admonition, as occasion may require. The breaches of our testimony in going from amongst us, in the weighty engagement of marriage, being often for want of due care in parents, and those who have the important charge of educating the youth under their trust, early to admonish and instruct them in the principles of truth, and impress their minds with the duty of religiously observing them; as much as possible restraining them from such company as is likely to entangle their affections in an improper manner; we therefore tenderly advise friends to an increasing care over the youth, that the consistency of our principles in all respects with the nature of true religion, may be impressed upon their tender minds, by upright examples, as well as by precepts; and that, where there is apparent danger of the affections of any being improperly entangled, and the care of parents and guardians, or those who have the oversight, appears not sufficient to prevent their taking imprudent steps in the accomplishment of marriage, care be taken, timely to apply for the help of their friends. And it is further advised, that after parents and guardians have suffered their children to engage one another in affections, they do not break off upon any worldly account, but that they wait upon and