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MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP.
As it hath been our care and practice from the beginning, that an open testimony for the Lord should be borne, and a public standard for truth and righteousness upheld in the power and spirit of God, by our open and known meetings, against the spirit of persecution, that in all ages hath sought to lay waste God's heritage; and as only through faithfulness, constancy and patience, victory hath been and is obtained; so it is our advice and judgment, that all friends gathered in the name of Jesus, keep up these public testimonies in their respective places; and not decline, forsake or remove their public assemblies, because of times of suffering, as worldly, fearful and politic professors have done, because of informers and the like persecutors; for such practices are not consistent with the nobility of truth, and therefore not to be owned in the church of Christ. 1675.
Let every one be watchful against an earthly spirit, for that will choke the good seed, and bring forth a slighting or neglecting of your testimony in your First-day and week-day meetings, and bring a decay of your strength and zeal for God and his truth, and bring a weakness upon you, by reason whereof you will not be able to stand in an hour of temptation. 1689.
Agreed that friends that live distant from meetings be reminded to keep meetings in their families, to wait upon God, that their children and families -- may come to be seasoned in their spirits by the `s truth and the Lord's power, and that they may have his blessings upon their families. 1696. Advised that all friends be careful to attend meetings for worship and business, at the times and hours appointed, and not to detain meetings out of season. 1715. Advised that friends keep their children to a constant, seasonable and orderly frequenting, as well of week-day as of First-day meetings; instructing them to have their minds stayed in the divine gift, to wait upon the Lord therein, to receive a portion of his spiritual favor; that they, from the tendering virtue of the Holy Spirit, may be engaged in heart and mind to walk worthy of so great a grace; and in a holy zeal to honor God, submit to bear the cross, endure the shame, and become public witnesses for him amongst the sons of men. 1723. And we earnestly exhort that you hold fast the profession of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, without wavering, both in respect to his outward coming in the flesh, his sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, mediation and intercession at the right hand of the Father; and to the inward manifestation of his grace and Holy Spirit in our hearts, powerfully working in the soul of man, to the subduing of every evil affection and lust, and to the purifying of our consciences from dead works, to serve the living God; that through the virtue and
efficacy of this most holy faith, ye may become strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, which will enable you to worship God in spirit with acceptance, and preserve you in a lively frame of mind, from a drowsy and lukewarm spirit, which in all our religious assemblies, ought to be guarded against with the utmost care and circumspection. In this lively faith and pure life of Christ, you will have victory over the world, over your desires after the grandeur and perishing things thereof, and over all corrupt customs and fashions, which are contrary to the purity of the gospel, and our ancient Christian testimony. 1736. The importance of steadfastly maintaining our ancient principles, respecting the doctrines of the Gospel, coming renewedly under our consideration, we earnestly recommend and enjoin upon quarterly and monthly meetings, and upon all faithful friends, to be watchful over our members, as it regards the profession of their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, both as to his outward coming in the flesh, wherein he tasted death for every man, and was the propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world, suffering the just for the unjust, that we might be brought unto God through him;-and to his spiritual appearance in the heart, for “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation.” And if in any instance there should be manifested any deviation from our Christian principles in these respects, that they proceed to labor with such in the spirit of meekness and wisdom, endeavoring to bring them to a sense of their
departure from our acknowledged principles, that if possible they may be restored to soundness of faith. And if there should be any who should persist in their errors, notwithstanding such labor in brotherly love, that our testimony be maintained by testifying against such. 1829. In all your religious meetings for the worship of Almighty God, let your minds be seasoned with an awful sense of real and true devotion, and be ye exemplary to the flock of Christ. Let the solemn gravity of your deportment be such as may demonstrate to others, that you are in earnest in the great duty of waiting upon and worshiping God in spirit; that serious and tender-hearted inquirers may be encouraged to come and partake, in your assemblies, of that inward and spiritual consolation and refreshment, which the Lord is graciously pleased to impart to the souls of such as are humbled in his sight, and approach his holy presence with reverence and fear. 1744. Take care, we beseech you, in this day of ease and liberty, lest a spirit of lukewarmness and indifferency prevail over you, to the stopping of the streams of the water of life, and rendering you like the barren heath in the desert, which knoweth not when good comes. We entreat you to be especially watchful in this behalf, that an indolent and sluggish disposition appear not among you, to the stumbling of such serious inquirers as may attend our meetings, in expectation of that life and power, which the observation of your indifference and unconcernedness may give them too just cause to suspect that ye yourselves are strangers to. 1741. Let not the smallness of your numbers discourage you from constantly attending those meetings, inasmuch as the words of Christ remain unchangeably true and steadfast, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt. xviii. 20. But it hath been justly observed, that where remissness and neglect of attending meetings for worship have prevailed, it hath been too often an inlet to further declension, and such other undue liberties as truth and its guidance do by no means admit of
We therefore tenderly exhort such as, through fear of neglecting their temporal concerns, or other considerations, are kept from a due attendance of these meetings, seriously to consider that gracious promise left upon record; “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Some of us have to testify, by blessed experience, that our affairs have not suffered by giving up our time, during the few hours set apart for religious worship; but on the contrary our minds have been thereby greatly strengthened to come up with propriety in the duties we owe to God, to our families, and to all mankind. 1758.
As it hath pleased divine goodness clearly to manifest amongst us the way of life and salvation, and to instruct us where and how to wait for him, prize, we beseech you, these precious privileges; keep all your meetings in the name of the Lord, and let your minds be established in an humble waiting upon him, with reverence and fear; so shall strength be added to strength, and, being more