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acter by disownment, it is apprehended, stands or falls with the former. If the Society has, by its general good conduct, obtained such a degree of reputation, that (hose who are disa owned by it, lose part of the good opinion of the public; must it sacrifice that reputation, by retaining in its bosom, those who violate its rules or trample upon its principles :
-principles, for the support of which, our predecessors in religious profession, were willing to suffer much ignominy ; with the loss of property, of liberty, or even of life itself ? :
Besides a general oversight of the conduct and conversation of our members, there are other objects which obtain attention in our meetings for discipline. One of the most material of these is, the support of the poor : for it has been the practice in our Society, from its first establishment, to maintain our own poor, and not give them occasion to apply for the common modes of relief. Notwithstanding this, we think it right to contribute to the support of the poor who are not of our Society, in common with our neighbours : and that, not only in cases where the law obliges us, but also, when ability is afforded, in those voluntary charities which are established, or occasionally promoted, for the benefit of this part of the community : a class, to the suitable relief and employment of which, much importance is very properly attached.
Another material object in our meetings for discipline, is, due attention to proceedings in relation to marriage; to take care that the parties are clear of other engagements of the same kind ; that they are not within disallowed degrees of consanguinity ; and that, in case of previous marriage, the rights of former children be properly secured : after which, care is also exercised, that the marriage be concluded in a proper and becoming manner. "
The register of these marriages--of births and burials--the care of our meeting-houses and burial-grounds—the admission of members—the granting and receiving of certificates for those who remove from one district to another—the sufferings of our members on account of ecclesiastical and military demands,* with divers other matters ; are also subjects of our care in these meetings.
The meetings in which these matters are transacted, are called Monthly Meetings, from their being held once in every month. They send representatives, and answer queries relative to the general conduct of their members, to other meetings, which are called Quarterly Meetings; the principal business of which is, to superintend Monthly Meetings, and to advise and assist them when occasion may require. These Quarterly Meetings also send representatives, and answer queries, to a meeting which is called, the Yearly Meeting. This Meeting has a general oversight of the Society; and makes rules for its government and welfare.
This description of our meetings for discipline is intended to apply only to the men's meetings : the women also have their Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings; in which they attend to the wants of their own sex, and exercise a care over their conduct ; but have no power of dismemberment.
The importance of transacting this discipline in a right spirit, and by those who may be properly qualified, has ever been felt as of no small importance to its right preservation ; and many are the advices, which have been issued by the Yearly Meeting on this subject. The following, being short and comprehensive, will, I apprehend, afford an instructive description of our concern in this respect : “ We tenderly exhort, that in all your meetings for the discipline of the Church, you wait in humility, to have your spirits brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ; that thereby you may be duly qualified for the work and service, conducive to the building up of his Church ; in which work all who are engaged should be men of upright hearts and clean hands : rightly prepared for the service they undertake.” 1743.
* It may be proper here to remove a prevailing impression, that the amount of these sufferings is reimbursed to the sufferers. We not only have no funds for this purpose ; but such a practice does not, nor ever did, exist in our Society.
Address to the Youth, on the Remembrance of their Creator.- Reason . and Revelation. -The Holy Scriptures and Christianity.-On our peculiar
principles. -On the necessity of regeneration.- Address to persons not of our religious persuasion.
In the design and execution of this work, my mind has been much influenced by a desire for the welfare of the youth in our Society, and for their instruction in the principles of true religion. To them I feel disposed to address myself in this conclusion.
Let me remind you, my dear friends, of that wise and pious injunction : “ Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” * Consider his operations in nature and in grace ; in Providence and in Redemption. Although in the consideration of all these, some difficulties not easily comprehended, may present themselves ; yet so much will be opened to the humble and attentive mind, as will excite the love and fear of Him, " who made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that therein is.” + In entering into these considerations, there are two assistants afforded us, by our gracious Creator-Reason and Revelation. The former, as well as the latter, is useful on this occasion. It is a faculty given us by God ; and, if rightly exercised, will tend to promote our knowledge of Him, particularly in the works of
creation and nature. When not misled by the vanity of the human heart, reason sees and feels its own imperfection; and readily embraces and submits to those advantages, which Revelation affords. By Revelation, I mean to comprehend both that which is mediate, and that which is immediate. The former is communicated in the Holy Scriptures, in which we have very ample accounts of the being and nature of God ; of his manifold works in Creation and in Providence ; of his love to mankind, particularly in the work of redemption by Christ ; and in affording the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to guide and direct into all necessary truth. It is by this Spirit, which is called the Spirit of God and of Christ, as proceeding from the Father and the Son, that Immediate Revelation is received. This Revelation produces that knowledge of God and of Christ, on which eternal life depends. In this sense, " no man knoweth who the Father ís, but the Son ; and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.”* And when it pleases God to reveal his Son in any, and obedience is yielded to the heavenly vision, these then become acquainted with the mysteries of God's kingdom ; and are made sensible, that 66 flesh and blood hath not revealed these things unto them; but their Father which is in heaven." +
As the Holy Scriptures are the blessed means of introducing us to an acquaintance with the way of life and salvation, and of affording us much instruction in our various duties to God and one to another ; I earnestly press on you, my dear young friends, a frequent and serious perusal of them. You will here find much profitable instruction of various kinds : the history is, beyond any other, important and interesting ; the mystery makes “ wise unto salvation.” Here you may see the various dealings of God with his creature man ; you may be made acquainted with the Dispensation of the Law,
* Luke x. 22.
+ Matt, xvi. 17.
1 2 Tim. iii. 15.