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HARVARD COLLEGE LIESHARY
MAR 3 1937
THE FOLLOWING SELECTIONS clearly exhibit
When we consider the importance of its proper sup-
CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE, &c.
4 definition of the true Church, and from whence its power
Isaac Pennington says, The Church is a body: every particular soul, that is renewed, quickened and kept alive, is a member: Now every member needs the presence
and power of that spirit which quickened it, to nourish, keep alive, and order it. And the Church hath much more need of the Spirit to be present with it, to guide and order it, and to keep it in the holy order, power, and government of life. And this order and holy government, in the spirit and power of the Lord, was brought forth in the apostles' days.
God gives power to his Church to perform all that he requires of her as a church. Now the Church is a spiritual body, and is to take care of her members, to look after them that they mind the truth, and to admonish and reprove them when they do otherwise. And every member of the Church ought to hear the Church in whatever she speaks unto it from God. Every member hath need of the light, and spirit, and power, which God gives his Church, and reveals in his Church for the good of the body, and the benefit and advantage of each niember therein.
It is the holy will and pleasure of the great God, that his Church should be governed by his holy Spirit and power revealed in it. God is the God of order and not of confusion; and he would have every thing in the right and holy order every where, especially in his Church. He hath given a measure of his good Špirit to every man, and he would have every man governed thereby; and he hath given more of his good Spirit and holy power to his Church than to any particular; and he would have his Church governed thereby. Read the epistles of Christ to the Churches in the %d and 3d chapters of the Revelations, and see how government and care over their members is expected from them. A Church is a gathering in the name, power and authority of the Most High, and Christ, to whom God gave all power in heaven and earth, is in them and with them. God knows they can do nothing without his power, and he is faithful who hath appointed them to meet together in his name, and he will not fail em.
When Meetings for Discipline and good order were first
established amongst Friends: their nature and design.
In 1653, George Fox gave a paper of advice to Friends, how to proceed orderly in accomplishing their marriages.
In 1660, he says he went “to Skipton where was a general meeting of men Friends out of many counties, concerning the affairs of the Church.”. “ To this meeting came many Friends out of most parts of the nation, for it was about business relating to the Church, both in this nation and beyond the sea. Several years before, when I was in the north, I was moved to recommend to Friends the setting up of this meeting,” &c.
In 1666, he says, “I was moved of the Lord to recommend the setting up of five Monthly Meetings of men and women, in the city of London, besides the women's Meetings and the Quarterly Meetings, to take care of God's glory, and to admonish and exhort such as walk disorderly or carelessly, and not according to truth. For whereas Friends had only Quarterly Meetings, now truth was spread and Friends grown more numerous, I was moved to recommend the setting up of Monthly Meetings throughout the nation.
And the Lord opened to me what I must do, and how the men's and women's Monthly and Quarterly Meetings should be ordered and established in this and other nations, and that I should write to those where I came not, to do the same. After things were well settled at London, and the Lord's truth, power, seed and life reigned and shined over all in the city, I went into Essex.” After mentioning the settlement of these meetings in various places, he says, “We came into Cheshire, where we had several blessed meetings, and
a general men's Meeting, wherein all the Monthly Meetings for that county were settled according to the Gospel order, in and by the power of God.”
In order to encourage and strengthen Friends, at a time when some whom the enemy had drawn into division and separation were making great opposition to the discipline, and meetings for transacting Church affairs, he wrote an epistle from which the following is an extract, viz.My dear friends in the Lord Jesus Christ,
All you that are gathered in his holy name, know that your meetings for worship, your Quarterly Meetings, Monthly Meetings, women's Meetings and Yearly Meetings, are set up by the power and Spirit of the Lord God, and witnessed by his Spirit and power in your hearts: and by the Spirit and power of the Lord God they are established to you, and in the power and Spirit of the Lord God you are established in them. The Lord God hath with his spirit sealed to you that your meetings are of his ordering and gathering, and he hath owned them by honouring you with his blessed presence in them, and you have had experience of his furnishing you with wisdom, life and power, and heavenly riches from his treasure and fountain, by which many thanks and praises have been returned in your
meet. ings to his holy, glorious name.
In the ancient testimony of the people called Quakers, printed by direction of the Yearly Meeting of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, 1722, they say, “We think well at this time for the further information and encouragement of our youth and others, whose faces are turned towards Zion, to signify, that by living experience we find, and can with good conscience declare and testify, that the same blessed, holy Spirit, which led us to believe and receive the doctrines and principles of truth as they were declared by Christ and his apostles in the holy scriptures, did, and now doth, lead us into the like holy order and government, to be exercised among us, as it was amongst the primitive Christians, in sanctification and holiness.
For the Church of God is a gathering of those that are sanctified by the word of truth, called to be saints, who are members of the body, even the true Church whereof