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William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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ward show, and brought one another into
trouble. Such are out of the fear of God and
a chaste mind, and are not to expect a blessing
in this life, nor in that which is to come, with-
out great judgment and repentance. There-
fore such actions are to be reproved, that they
may be brought into chastity, virtue, and piety,
and to the adorning in the hidden man of the
heart, which is not corruptible, and the orna-
ment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is ac-
ceptable with the Lord. For after this man-
ner, in old time, the holy women who trusted
in God, adorned themselves." 1683.

TALEBEARING AND DETRACTION.

" If any reports or surmises be among
Friends about any, or any backbiting or
whisperings, all such things should be stopped
and searched out ; for thus saith the Lord,
' Thou shalt not raise a false report among
my people.' And some faithful Friends of
every meeting, whose sincerity is for the glory
of God, his power, and his holy name, into
which they are all called, may be chosen to
search out such things, and follow it until they
find out the author or authors of it, that it
may not lie upon any ; but that all may be
cleared and taken out of every mind, and all
the reports stopped. And the things that are
for judgment, let them be judged and con-
demned.

"Furthermore, that Friends take notice of
all such Friends as go to sea as seamen,
merchants, masters of ships, or passengers,
abroad and at home ; that if they have in any
way, brought an evil report upon the truth,
either in their trading, lives, or conversation,
and dishonoured the Lord, and his name a ad
people, they may search to the bottom of it,
and if they have done anything worthy of
condemnation or judgment, it may be passed
upon them without any respect of persons.
If the report be false, let their innocency be
manifested, and the reporter reproved. 1662.

" Notice is to be taken of all evil speakers,
backbiters, slanderers, and foolish talkers, and



jesters, for all these corrupt good manners,
and are not according to the practice of the
saints, and holy men, whose words were
seasoned with salt, ministering grace to the
heai'ers. 1669.

" If any brother or sister, hear a report of a
brother or sister, let him or her go to the
part5s and know the truth of the report ; and
if true, let the thing be judged. If false, go
then to the reporter, and let him or her be
judged. And if any should report it at a
second or third hand, without going to the
party of whom the report goes, let such be
brought to judgment. For thou shalt neither
raise, nor suffer a false report to lie upon my
people, saith the Lord; for they are to be
holy as he is holy, and just as he is just."
1669.

HIRELING MINISTRY AND TITHES.

" Friends, my desire is, that ye may all
be preserved in the Lord's power, and in his
everlasting Seed ; in the order of the Gospel,
and in the government of Christ Jesus, of
the increase of which there is no end. And
that ye may keep up your ancient testimony,
in the power and spirit of God, against tithes,
and for Christ, your high-priest, against the
hireling priests, and their old temples, mani-
festing that ye are the temples of God. And
let inquiry be made concerning all such among
Friends as do pay tithes, which makes void
the testimony and sufferings of our brethren,
many of whom have suffered unto death, by
which many widows and fatherless have been
made. It is also contrary to the doctrine of
the apostles, and of the martyrs, and of the
righteous in this present age : all such, there-
fore, are to be inquired into, and exhorted to
faithfulness therein. And keep to your ancient
testimony for the church which is in God, the
living members, of which Christ, the Spiritual
Man, is the Holy Head, and your heavenly
rock and foundation."

CHARITY, AND CARE OF THE POOR.

.A remarkable trait in the character of
George Fox, was his sympathy with the af-
flicted and his care for the poor. His epistles
abound with earnest recommendations to his
brethren on these subjects, in which he exhorts
to liberality and kindness in making provision
for such as were poor, not from sloth or ne-
glect, but causes beyond their control. For
such also as were distempered in mind, or la-
bouring under bodily disease, he appeal's to
have been thoughtful, and one of his letters
contains a recommendation to Friends " to pro-
vide a house for them that are distempered,
and not go to the world ; and also to have an
alms-house or hospital for all the poor that



134



INSTITUTION OF THE DISCIPLINE.



are past work : And Friends to provide a
house or houses, where an hundi'ed may have
rooms to work in, and shops of all sorts of
things to sell, and where widows might work
and live" 1669.

" Let care be taken from time to time, as
Friends are moved thereunto, [to raise money]
for relieving the necessities of faithful Friends
and. for other services of truth ; which shall
be delivered into the hands of a faithful Friend
or Friends, who are desired to be receivers for
that purpose ; and they are to give an account
of all moneys, that shall be by them received
and disbursed, at the next Monthly and Quar-
tei'ly Meeting after it shall be laid out, if it be
desired, and so the account to be ended. [Ad-
vised] that ministering Friends may not be
cumbered with outward things, but kept out of
them ; and that what moneys shall be by them
disbursed for the service of poor Friends, as
aforesaid, shall be disposed of as Friends of
the Monthly or Quarterly Meeting see meet.

" Let all widows be taken notice of, inform-
ed, and encouraged in their outward business..
If they have many children, put them out ap-
prentices, or servants, for they may be a bur-
then to them to bring up. In all your meet-
ings let notice be given to the Quarterly Meet-
ing of all poor Friends ; and when ye have
heard that there are many more poor belonging
to one meeting than to another, and that meet-
ing thereby is burthened and oppressed, let
the rest of the meetings assist them, so that
ye may ease one another, and help to bear
one another's burdens, and so fulfd the law of
Christ. And see that nothing be lacking, ac-
cording to the apostle's words. For the Jews,
though they were as the stars of heaven, and
as the sand upon the sea-shore for multitude,
yet there was not to be a beggar amongst
them, according to the law of God. And
amongst the Christians of the first age, there
was a men's meeting set up at Jerusalem, to
see that nothing was lacking, which was the
Gospel order, according to the law of Jesus ;
and this continued as long as they lived in the
power and spirit of God. So there is not to
be a beggar now amongst Christians, accord-
ing to the law of Jesus, as there was not to be
any among the Jews, according to the law of
Moses.

" Let all the estates of fatherless children
be recorded in a book at the Monthly or Quar-
terly Meeting; and let all that are entrusted
with any estates of the fatherless or widows,
enter their trusts at the Monthly or Quarterly
Meeting, that the meeting may see that justice
is done unto them and require the trustees to
give an account, if need be, and to do that
which is just and equal."

" And dear Friends, know in all your meet-



ings who is sick, and weak and in want, and
widows and fatherless, and aged people, that
cannot help themselves ; and let such as God
hath distributed unto, of that which God hath
distributed, lay aside for the necessities of
others, as you are moved and commanded of
the Lord God by his power and spirit ; for he
that gives to the poor, lendeth to the Lord, and
he loves a cheerful giver.

" Secondly, That all prisoners for truth be
minded, who are in want, and who are not,
and the families of such who are in prison,
whether they are in want or not ; and such as
are decayed in any way, and cannot help them-
selves ; and such as have left a calling, which
they cannot for conscience sake follow ; do
the best you can to help them, and further
them to employment, that they may labour in
the thing that is good, and be a blessing in the
creation : this do, that you may be a blessing
in your 'generation." 1669.

" Dear Friends, it is upon me to write to
you, that such among Friends who marry,
and provide great dinners, instead thereof,
it will be of a good savour on such occa-
sions, to give something to the poor that be
widows and fatherless, and such like, and to
make them a feast, or to refresh them. This,
I look upon, would be a very good savour, to
feast the poor that cannot feast you again ;
and would be a good example, and a means
to keep the mind to the Lord ; and in remem-
brance of the poor ; for they that give to the
poor, lend to the Lord, and the Lord will re-
pay them. I do really believe, whatever they
give, less or more, according to their ability,
cheerfully, they will not have the less at the
year's end, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver.
It is not only to give the poor a little victuals,
which you cannot eat yourselves, but give
them a little money also, that the Lord hath
blessed you with ; and give it to some of the
women's meetings to distribute to the poor :
so you will have the blessing of the Lord, and
the blessings of the poor. And be of a free
noble spirit, above all the churlish misers and
niggards, and narrow spirits.

" These things I recommend to you to
weigh and consider : it will both be of a good
report, and manifest a self-denial and open-
ness of heart, and the general love of God."

PUBLIC REBUKE.

" Friends, ye that minister in the meetings,
do not judge one another in meetings ; for your
so doing hath hurt the people, both within and
without, and ye have brought yourselves under
their judgment. Your judging one another in
meetings, hath emboldened others to quarrel,
and to judge you also, in the meetings ; and
this hath been all out of order, and the church



INSTITUTION OF THE DISCIPLINE.



135



order also. If ye have anything to say to
any, stay until the meeting is done, and then
speak to them in private, between yourselves ;
and do not lay open one another's weaknesses,
for it is weakness and not wisdom to do so ;
and is for the want of the love that beareth
all things ; therefore, let it be amended." 1 656.

BEaUESTS.

" If any legacy be left by a deceased Friend
to a particular use, as putting forth apprenti-
ces, and breeding up poor Fiiends' children,
let the said money be kept distinct, as a stock
for the said use, and a particular account
thereof, to be kept; and the Quarterly Meeting
appoint some persons to receive the said money,
and keep the account thereof, and the meeting
to see that it be disposed of to the uses afore-
said. And if any of the principal money be,
at any time, made use of to any other use,
that it be again made up by the Quarterly
Meeting of Friends. So that the legacies
given apart to the meeting of men or women,
be kept apart for the setting forth poor Friends
children, and setting them up in their trades,
that the memory of the deceased, just Friend
that gave it, may not be forgotten."

SETTLEMENT OF DIFFERENCES.

" When ye judge of words, or when ye
judge of persons, these are distinct things.
A wise man will not give both his ears to one
party, but reserve one for the other party,
and will hear both, and then judge. 1658.

" Dear Friends, if there happen any differ-
ence betwixt Friend and Friend, let them speak
to one another ; and if they will not hear, let
them take two or three of the meeting they
belong to, that they may end it if they can.
And if they cannot end it, then it may be laid
before the Monthly Meeting. And if it can-
not be ended there, then it may be brought to
the Quarterly Meeting, and there let it be put
to half a dozen Friends, that they may end it;
and keep the meeting quiet. Or they that are
at difference, may choose three Friends, and
Friends may choose three more, and let the
parties stand to their judgment. And if there
be any difference brought to the Monthly, or
Quarterly Meeting, either mens' or womens',
after you have heard them one by one, and
let but one speak at a time, know of them
whether they will stand to your judgment.
If they will, let half a dozen Friends make a
final end of it. But if they will not stand to
your judgment, they are not fit to bring it
thither.

" All that are concerned to end any differ-
ence, let them have but one ear to one party,
and let them reserve the other ear for the
other party, so that they may judge impartially



without affection or favour, or respect of per-
sons." 1678.

FEASTINGS, EEVELLINGS, ETC.

He addressed an epistle in the year 1673,
in this manner, showing that Friends of that
day were conscientiously opposed to such
practices : —

" To Friends that live in the truth, and by
it are become God's freemen and women,
brought out of the world's vain fashions and
customs, in their feastings and revellings,
banquetings and wakes ; those vain feastings,
where they spoil the creatures and dishonour
the Lord God more, those times and days
which they call holy days and feast days,
than any other times and days ; and many
times through the abusing themselves by ex-
cess, are more like beasts than men in these
things. As you see the folly and vanity of
all such doings, and cannot observe their evil
customs, then those vain spirits are in a great
rage and fury, because you break off fellow-
ship with them, in all these their vain customs."
He then refers them to the counsel of our
Saviour, that when they make a feast, it may
be for the poor and impotent, who are unable
to recompense them, but which will be re-
warded in the world to come. 1673.

SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS.

The following, taken from a paper published
by him in 1682, proves that he was deeply
concerned on account of the sin of intempe-
rance then prevailing in the land, and holds
out a decided testimony against the improper
use of ardent spii'its, wine, and malt liquors.
It is entitled, " A way to prevent the indig-
nation and judgments of God, from coming
on a kingdom, nation, or family, commended
to the consciences of all concerned."

" All you vintners that sell wine, that keep
taverns, or such like houses, all you innkeep-
ers, and you that keep victualling-houses, ale-
houses, strong-water shops, &c., see that you
never let any man or woman have any more
wine, ale, strong drink, brandy, or other strong
liquors, than what is for their health and good.
But if you let men or women have wine,
brandy, strong liquors, strong beer, or ale,
until they be drunk, or to make them drunk,
you destroy the creatures of God — you destroy
them that have not power over their lusts no
more than a swine, who will drink till it is
drurtk. You are a great cause of ruining them
in their healths, purses, and estates, their
children and families, in feeding their lusts,
by letting them have more than doth them
good ; which also tends to bring God's judg-
ments upon you, to your own ruin and de-
struction. For many when they are full of



136



INSTITUTION OF THE DISCIPLINE.



wine, beer, or strong liquors, will call for
music, pipe, and harp, and it may be for per-
sons of ill fame, and thus, you that suffer or
allow such things, are nursers of bebauchery,
and corrupters of them, and of your own
families also. And also, such men when they
are full of wine, or strong liquors, then they
are got to that height that they are ready to
quarrel and abuse, kill, or destroy one another,
and sometimes kill other people, who do them
no harm, as they are walking or travelling in
the streets or highways. For when they are
overcome by strong liquors, they are then fit
and do lie open to all manner of wickedness.

" And though you think by selling, or letting
people have wine, or strong liquors, the more
they drink, the more gain you think it brings
you, and the more you vend your goods, the
more profit you get ; ah ! do not you think,
that God with his all-seeing eye, doth behold
you and your actions 1 And, cannot the Lord
soon bring a blasting upon all your under-
takings, and such ungodly gain and profits,
and whatsoever you have gained by your
covetousness and from the lusts of others,
thi'ough which they do destroy their estates,
children, and families? Will not this bring
destruction upon you and your unrighteous
gain, which you have gotten by feeding their
lusts? For that which feeds the destroying
lust, must needs be destroyed, and the profit
of that will not be given to you in the end.

" See what a dreadful woe the Lord pro-
nounced against them, that rise up in the
morning, that they may follow strong drink,
that continue until night, till wine inflame
them ; then they call for the harp and viol,
the tabret and the pipe, &c. But such regard
not the work of the Lord, neither consider the
operation of his hands. A sad state ! Wo
unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and
are men of strength to mingle strong drink.
And therefore, all ought to shun such things ;
all are to be sober, and to mind and fear God,
that they may escape these woes, as you may
see in Isa. chap. v.

" God will destroy them that destroy the
earth. Rev. xii. 18. Drunkenness makes a
man worse than a beast, and makes a strong
man weak, and a wise man a fool." 1682.

ADVICES.

An exhortation to keep to the ancient prin-
ciples of truth contains advice as follows : —

" Friends, keep at a word in all your deal-
ings, without oppression. And keep to the
sound language, thou to every one.

" Keep your testimony against the world's
vain fashions.

" Keep your testimony against the hireling
priests, and their tithes and maintenance —



against the old mass-houses and the repairing
of them.

" And against the priests' and the world's
joining in marriages.

" And your testimony against swearing and
the world's corrupt manners.

" And against all looseness, pleasures and
profaneness, whatsoever.

" And against all the world's evil ways,
vain worships and religions, and to stand up
for God's.

" And to see that restitution be made by
every one, that hath done wrong to any.

" And that all differences be made up speed-
ily, that they do not fly abroad to corrupt peo-
ple's minds.

" And that all reports be stopped that tend
to the defaming one another."

EECORDS OF BIRTHS AND DEATHS.

" Let one or two Friends of every meeting
take an account of all the marriages, births
and deaths, and carry them to the Monthly
Meetings ; and let one or two thei'e be ordered
to receive them, and record them in a book,
which is to be kept at the Monthly Meet-
ings. And from thence a copy of what is re-
corded, is to be brought to the Quai'terly Meet-
ing, and one or two Friends appointed there to
receive them and to record them all in a book,
which is to be kept for the whole county. And
this will be most safe, that if one book should
happen to be lost, the other may be preserved
for the use of such as may have occasion."
1669.

BURYING GROUNDS.

" All Friends that are not already provided,
speedily procure convenient burying-places,
that thereby a testimony may stand against
the superstitious idolizing of these places, call-
ed holy ground. For Abraham bought a place
to bury his dead in, and would not bury them
amongst the Egyptians and Canaanites. Jacob
was brought out of Egypt, and Joseph, and they
were buried in their grandfather's and father's
burying-places. And so, Fi'iends, get decent
burying-places for your dead, and let them be
decently and well fenced, that you may show
a good example to the world in all things."

ACCOUNTS OF SUFFERINGS.

" Draw up an account of all that have died
in prison, in every county, for truth's testimo-
ny, and lay them before the magistrates ; and
so keep Friends clear from the blood of all
men. And preserve a list of their sulferings,
together with the number that have died in
prison, that their testimony may not be lost,
who have sealed it with their blood, but that
it may be preserved. Keep a record of them



INSTITUTION OF THE DISCIPLINE.



137



in your Quarterly Meeting books, so that the
memorial of the innocent sufferers for the truth
and the name of Jesus may not be lost nor for-
gotten ; that his name and power, that has sup-
ported them, and carried them over death, and
their persecutors, and their spoiling of their
goods, may be exalted."

MEMORIALS.

" Such testimonies of Friends as are de-
ceased, let them be recorded, that the testimo-
ny of the Lord through his servants may not
be lost, for which they were carried through
great tribulations and sufferings ; and many
laid down their lives, and had their goods
spoiled, and were persecuted to death, to keep
up their testimony, which the Lord moved
them to speak by his spirit, to future genera-
tions. So that those words that they were
moved to speak forth by his power, may not
be lost ; but that the power and spirit of the
Lord may be exalted."

CERTIFICATES FOR MINISTERS.

" And all public ministers, if unknown, that
pass up and down the counties and to other
nations, to have a certificate from their meet-
ing where they are known, and their practices
are looked into ; this will prevent any bad
spirits, that may scandalize honest men. For
they that do minister to others, must have a
double diligence in virtue, chastity and pa-
tience, and carefulness and watchfulness, more
than their hearers, lest they judge them. For
Christ, the heavenly man, is our example, and
the apostle saith, follow us, as we follow
Christ."

FAMILY VISITS.

" Dear Friends, be faithful in the service of
God, and mind the Lord's business, and be
diligent, so will the power of the Lord be
brought over all those that have gainsayed it.
And all ye that are faithful, go to visit them
that have been convinced, from house to house,
that if it be possible, ye may not leave a hoof
in Egypt. And so, every one go and seek the
lost sheep, and bring him home to the fold,
and there will be more joy of that one sheep,
than the ninety and nine in the fold." 1668.



" And in the Lord's power and spirit meet
together, and keep your meetings in the name
of Jesus Christ, who hath all power in heaven
and earth given to him, that you may feel his
living and divine presence among you, and in
his pure, gentle, heavenly love and wisdom,
may be valiant for his name and truth upon
the earth. Be not ashamed of Christ, your
Teacher and Prophet, whom God hath raised
up in his new covenant and testament, whom |

Vol. I.~No. 4.



you are to hear ; neither be ashamed of Christ
your Shepherd, who hath laid down his life for
his sheep, whose voice you are to hear, who
feedeth his sheep and gives them life eternal,
and none is able to pluck them out of his hand.
Neither be ashamed of your High-Priest,
who hath offered up himself for you and doth
sanctify you, who is a Priest made higher than
the heavens ; neither be ashamed of your
Bishop, the Chief Shepherd of your souls, to
whom ye are now returned by his grace and
truth, who oversees you with his heavenly
eye, that you do not go astray from God. In
Him let your faith stand, who is the Author
and finisher of it, the Lord Jesus Christ, who
is your sanctuary, in whom you have life,
peace, rest and salvation — who is the Amen."



While on the subject of the Discipline, it
may not be out of place to insert the following
remarks from the pen of Stephen Crisp, a man
who was eminently useful in his day, both
in the ministry of the Gospel and the right
ordering of the affairs of the church.

They exhibit the I'eligious concern in which
the Discipline originated, and the views en-
tertained by the first instruments in its institu-
tion as to the spirit and manner in which it
ought to be managed : viz. —

"These exercises stirred up the faithful to
great vigilance and watchfulness, for keeping
the enemy out for the future, at least as much
as in them lay ; and those that were faithful
and ancient Friends, both men and women,
found it incumbent upon them to meet together
to watch over the flock, and to see that the
conversations of those who professed the truth
might answer their profession, and where the
contrary appeared, to deal with them, and to
reclaim them, if possible, or else to deny them,
and to clear truth and Friends of them, and
their disorderly courses. In this good work
the Lord blessed them, and showed his pre-
sence among them, and gave them wisdom
and understanding; and they took care of the
widows and fatherless, of the poor and afHict-
ed families among them, and had the care upon



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 105)