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seek the Lord for their children, in proposals of marriage, before they give any encouragement thereunto. 1707. It is agreed, that no monthly meeting permit any marriages to be proposed in the said meeting, sooner than one year after the decease of former husband or wife; and we think it most advisable, that no such proposals be made between the parties within that time. It is our sense and judgment, that not only those marriages of near kindred, expressly forbidden under the law, ought not to be practiced under the gospel; but that we in our day ought not to take first cousins in marriage, being called to that spiritual dispensation which gives dominion over the affections, and leads to those marriages which are more natural, and of better report. And if any, notwithstanding, shall marry contrary to this rule, being previously cautioned and advised against it, that the monthly meeting where such belong give forth a testimony against them, and not receive such into unity again, until they are well assured that they have found a place for repentance, and are received in the truth. The prudent and christian care that has been maintained amongst us, in relation to marriage, ever since we were a people, having obtained a good report, it has become afresh the concern of this meeting, that the reputation of our religious society, and the cause of truth herein, may still be kept up; and that not only the several weighty advices of this meeting, in respect to the proceedings of the parties concerned, and the conduct of their parents and h
guardians, may be observed, but likewise that as little diversity as may be, may appear amongst us, in regard to the form and manner of solemnization. 1754. For the accomplishment of marriage, it is advised, that the parties should inform the men's and women's monthly meeting to which the woman belongs, of their intentions, through the preparative meeting, when convenient. And at a proper time they should make it known in both meetings, either by a written communication signed by both parties, or by verbal declaration, that, “With Divine permission, and friends' approbation, they intend marriage with each other:” whereupon two friends in each meeting, (if both the parties belong to the same meeting,) should be appointed by minute to make the necessary inquiries respecting the clearness to proceed in marriage, of the party or parties who shall be members of said monthly meeting. If the parties have parents or guardians present, their consent should be expressed; or if the man is a member of another monthly meeting, the consent of his parents or guardians, if he have any, should be produced in writing, with a certificate from his monthly meeting, of his clearness, either then or at the next meeting. If the woman be a widow, having children, two or more friends should be appointed, to see that the rights of her children are legally secured. At the next meeting, if the committees report that careful inquiry has been made, and that they have consent of parents, where it has not been before manifested, and the parties appear clear to proceed in marriage with each other, the mecting is to leave them at liberty to accomplish their marriage according to our rules, and appoint two friends of each sex, to attend and see that good order is observed, that a certificate be prepared, and after being signed by the parties at their marriage, be audibly read, and that a sufficient number of witnesses be thereto subscribed. It is further advised that the said marriage be accomplished decently, gravely, and weightily; and that the parties themselves, their parents and others concerned, do take care at the houses or places where they go after the meeting is over, that all behave with becoming sobriety; and the said overseers are to make report to the next monthly meeting, and take care that the marriage certificate be recorded. It is advised to solemnize our marriages at the usual week-day meeting, to which the woman belongs, or at the close of a monthly meeting in a public meeting of men and women friends, unless circumstances may induce the monthly meeting to permit it otherwise; it being understood that the parties are to be present at the monthly meeting when permission is granted them to accomplish their marriage, if it be their intention to do so at the close of said meeting. Monthly meetings are at liberty, when they think any peculiarity of circumstances, of either of the parties proposing marriage, warrant a deviation from our general practice, to shorten the time of their receiving their answer, by adjourning a monthly meeting; having especial care, that the time for inspecting the clearness of the parties, be not less than two weeks from their making their proposals, and receiving the meeting's answer.
FORM OF A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE.
[As near as circumstances will admit.]
Whereas, A. B. of —, son of D. and E. B. of —, in the county of and state of —, and S.T. daughter of M. and M. T. of —, in the county of have declared their intentions of taking each other in marriage, to — monthly meeting of the Society of Friends, held in —, according to the good order used among them; and their proceedings, after due inquiry and deliberate consideration thereof, being allowed by the said meeting; they appearing clear of all others, and having consent of parents (or guardians) concerned.
Now these are to certify to all whom it may concern, that for the full accomplishing of their said intentions, this day of the month in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and , they, the said A. B. and S. T. appeared at a religious meeting of the aforesaid society in ; and he the said A. B. taking the said S. T. by the hand, did openly declare as followeth: “In the presence of this assembly I take this my friend S. T. to be my wife, promising, through Divine assistance, to be unto her a faithful and affectionate husband, until death shall separate us.” And the said S. T. did then and there declare in like manner as followeth: “In the presence of this assembly I take this my friend A. B. to be my husband, promising, through Divine assistance, to be unto him a faithful and affectionate wife, until death shall separate us.” Or words of the like import.
And the said A. B. and S. T. as a further confirmation thereof, have hereunto set their hands; She,
after the custom of marriage, adopting the name of her husband.
And we, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being present at the solemnization of their said marriage, have set our hands as witnesses thereunto, the day and year above written.
Agreed that it be recommended, that according to the ancient practice among friends, they take care that such men and women friends as do make suit or concern themselves in proposals of marriage, one to the other, do not dwell in the same house, from the time they begin to be concerned, until their marriage. This meeting having deliberately considered the great exercise brought upon our society, by divers in profession with us, who are joined in marriage contrary to our known principles, and the wholesome discipline established among us, with persons either of our own or other persuasions, doth earnestly advise that all friends use their utmost endeavors to prevent such marriages, whensoever the parties' inclinations may come to their knowledge. And it is the sense and judgment of this meeting, that where any do marry, contrary to the established rules of the society, they should be dealt with in a spirit of Christian love and tenderness, agreeably to our known discipline. Monthly meetings are authorized, if the case ha