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ble, and like those of old, of which it was said, “Who hath required this at your hand " Isaiah i. 12. 1742. o As we are fully persuaded that the ministry of the gospel is not received of man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ, according to that apostolical direction: “as every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified.” And as this ministry is divine, the motives and inducements thereunto are perfectly disinterested, and no way mercenary and lucrative, but concurrent with the precept Christ gave to his apostles, and immediate followers: “Freely ye have received, freely give.” 1771. Friends, in their respective meetings, are earnestly desired and advised to use prudence and caution, so as not to be imposed upon by cheats, or imposters, pretending to ministry or otherwise; and where there is a doubt or question concerning the ministry of any persons, in that case, let such be called upon to show what certificate they have: and in general, it is recommended to the monthly and quarterly meetings, to see that friends who travel in the work of the ministry, do go in the unity of the meetings to which they belong, and with certificates therefrom ; and further, that it may become the tender care of the said meetings, to watch over such as may be young in the ministry, to see that they walk humbly and wisely. That as, on the one hand, nothing truly tending to the glory of God, and the edification of his church and people, may be discouraged; so, on the other, where any thing appears which may make advice necessary, that the elders of the church, both ministers and others, do, in the wisdom of God, give their advice thereupon, with due regard to the state of weakness and childhood that such may be in. 1720. And we do, in much love, caution those friends who are rightly concerned in the work of the ministry, to watch over their own spirits, and not be over hasty or censorious in passing judgment respecting the state of those who hear them; but to manifest that, in the exercise of their ministry, they are led by the love of God; and that their principal aim is, that they may be instrumental to administer spiritual consolation and strength to the churches where they come. Further we earnestly exhort, that none would of. fer to impose themselves as preachers, in any meeting of friends, who are not themselves faithful against the payment of priests' wages, and in observing the other branches of our Christian testimony. 1745. We tenderly and with earnestness advise all friends, who travel in the work of the ministry, as well as others, that they not only shut their ears against all private information of persons and things, tending to the defamation of particular persons or families, and to stir up disputes and contentions in meetings for discipline; but also rebuke and reprove the person or persons, who shall attempt to prejudice their minds with any private information of that nature. 1752.
The spirit of God being the foundation of all true knowledge and experience, both in ministers and hearers, we earnestly exhort that all would diligently wait upon and mind it. Ministers, in their public services especially, ought always to attend closely to their several and peculiar gifts, and minister the word faithfully as it is manifested and revealed to them; observing a decent and modest behavior in the exercise of their ministry, and not entangling themselves with the affairs of this life, that they may the better answer the holy warfare in which they are engaged. And let the hearers be watchful over their own spirits, and not forwardly judge or censure the testimonies which may be delivered amongst them ; for if they be not very careful and diligent in attending upon the Lord in meetings, they are liable to mistake in the judgment they may pass on the ministry.
Now, this being a matter of great moment, for the preservation of love and concord in the churches; knowing the danger and ill consequences which attend a hasty and censorious judging of the ministry, we think it necessary to caution friends not to let their own spirits sway them, but let the spirit of God rule and reign in their hearts; for this will preserve all in sweetness and tenderness one towards another: the due observance of which will be a great help to ministers in the discharge of their duty, and the service to which they are called.
And we earnestly request, that the elders in monthly and quarterly meetings would be ready to help and inform the weak, when suitable opportunities present; that, both ministers and hearers, pursuing one and the same end, namely, the glory of God and the good and welfare one of another, the church may be edified, increase and flourish, to the consolation of the faithful. On the other hand, we advise ministers to have it very much at heart, to maintain a perfect harmony and good understanding with the monthly meetings to which they belong; that as the said meetings may sometimes find themselves concerned to advise them, respecting their conduct in meetings, or otherwise, they show themselves ready to hear and receive advice, as well as to teach and instruct. We further advise all monthly meetings, to take great care in giving certificates to those who travel, to prevent the uneasiness which sometimes falls on the church, from a weak and unskillful ministry: and let the elders, when they see occasion, advise ministers to be very prudent in their conduct, not as busy bodies, nor meddling with family or personal affairs, in which they are not concerned, or required to be assisting; and to be very tender of one another's reputation, and of that of friends among whom they travel; neither giving ear to, nor spreading reports tending to raise in the minds of others, a lessening or disesteem of any of the brotherhood; and, as soon as their service in the ministry is over, to return to their habitations, and there take a reasonable and prudent care of their own business, households and families. 1731. Our blessed Lord, just before his ascension, commanded his disciples to wait at Jerusalem, till they were endued with power from on high ; knowing their inability, without the sensible feeling of that power, to speak in his name for the conversion of the nations. It was this power that enabled them to speak boldly in the name of Jesus. This alone that made them able ministers of Christ; whose preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power. And seeing many of us have experienced much spiritual consolation by waiting in silence, and humbly depending upon the Lord alone, we exhort friends, that, when met together for religious worship, they labor to feel their minds abstracted from visible objects, into a true stillness and nothingness of self; wherein the teachings of the Holy Spirit are witnessed by humble and contrite souls. In such a waiting state, you will have a true relish and savor of the ministry of those who are rightly concerned by the same spirit, to labor in word and doctrine among you. 1738. We earnestly caution and entreat all such among you as find themselves concerned, in Christian love to exhort and admonish others, that they be especially careful of their own conduct; that, by circumspect walking in all holiness of life and coversation, they may become living examples of the purity and excellence of the advices they recommend. 1748. You that are elders and overseers in the chuch, and concerned in the maintenance of good order and preservation of discipline, keep your own hands clean, and garments unspotted, that you may rebuke with authority, and, being clothed with the meekness and gentleness of the Lamb, may steadJ