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pared for that service in his church which He may assign
As a Committee we have been favored to labor harmioniously in this service, and to feel the overshadowings of Divine goodness in many of our meetings. This we have regarded as a token for good, and an evidence that the Lord would draw us away from every other dependence and fix our expectations only on himself. We would encourage our members thus to look for spiritual strength; and we desire that those who may feel the Lord's requirings would wait patiently upon Him to know his blessed power to prepare them for the service, and thus be preserved from that activity which does not promote the cause of Christ.
While works of benevolence are enjoined by the example of Christ and the precepts of the New Testament, there is also need of care lest in associating with others not of our persuasion in these or similar undertakings, we disregard some of our Christian testimonies; and we would caution our members against allowing themselves to be placed in positions that might involve such deviations.
In mingling with our members we have been comforted and animated by the belief that Divine regard is still extended to us as a people, and that many, including a number of our dear young people, have yielded in good measure to the Divine requirings, and are concerned to press onwards in the path of dedication to apprehended duty. These we desire may not be stumbled by the failings of others, either old or young, but may follow on in simplicity of heart to do the Lord's will.
Apprehending that our labors as a Committee are drawing to a close, we would suggest to the Yearly Meeting that the time has come for our release. Yet, we believe, that continued care resulting from individual concern, and the oversight of Quarterly and Monthly Meetings, will be important in helping to sustain our meetings on the right ground, and we desire that Friends generally may keep their minds open to the call of duty in this direction. By direction and on behalf of the Committee,
JONA. E. RHOADS,
Ruth S. ABBOTT. Philadelphia, Fourth Month 18th, 1890.
In considering the state of the Society, as shown by the answers to the Queries, much lively concern spread over the meeting for the preservation of our members out of the evils to which they are exposed; and for the removal of those blemishes on our Christian profession which exist among us.
The blessedness of communion with Christ was held up to view as an incentive to faithfulness in the attendance of all our religious meetings; and those who have others in their employment were encouraged to so arrange their business, that their employees might have this privilege.
Love to all men is the badge of a Christian ; but, this principle should not be so applied as to destroy our testimony against evil, for while we ought to love the sinner and desire his reformation and enlightenment we are taught to hate the sin. The same apostle who tells us to be kindly affectioned one to another, exhorts us to abhor that which is evil.
We have been cheered by the belief that many among us are yielding to the visitations of Divine Grace and feeling an increased concern to follow in humility the leadings of the Saviour of men; and thus are being redeemed from the love of the world, which is at enmity with God, and which, where it prevails, will keep the soul in bondage to sin. We earnestly desire both for our older and younger members, that through watchful obedience to the monitions of the Spirit of Christ, they may become established in grace, be as waymarks and living examples to others, and finally be made pillars in the Lord's house. As our members partake in this blessed experience, they will be made consistent upholders of those testimonies to plainness, simplicity and the denial of wordly conformity, which have been among our characteristics from the rise of the Society of Friends. If we are thus built on Christ, the true foundation, no weapon formed against us shall prosper; and we shall know the truth of the Psalmist's declaration : “ They that dwell in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, IIe is my refuge and my fortress.”
There is reason to believe that the great doctrine of the universality of Divine Grace,-that a measure of this Heavenly gift is bestowed upon all mankind —that the inshinings of the Light of Christ are vouchsafed to all—is gaining increased acceptance among the professors of Christianity and in the minds of the thoughtful. May none among us be led to lightly esteem this cardinal doctrine of Christianity, or to depart from any of those principles and testimonies which flow from this of which William Penn speaks as the root of our goodly tree of doctrines. None of us have any cause to be ashamed of our profession or of the honorable name of Quaker, although blushing and confusion of face may belong to the unfaithful supporters of it.
We believe that a full submission to the visitations of the Grace of God, which brings Salvation, will lead us out of conformity to the world, and into a simple manner of living, even when the means at our disposal would enable us to support a more expensive and luxurious style. Dear Friends, we exhort you in the language of the Apostle, “ Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” One of the hurtful branches which spring from this conformity is the practice of inviting very large parties, which involve much expense and care altogether out of proportion to the social enjoyment afforded by them.
We would affectionately caution our members against participating in those agricultural fairs, where a trotting course for horses forms part of the exhibition, believing that the introduction of this feature
into them has given countenance to, and promoted the demoralizing practice of horse-racing, with gaming and other attendant evils.
We have been grieved at this time by the information that some of our members have been induced to join Masonic Lodges or other secret organizations. Although this subject is not specifically mentioned in the rules of our discipline, yet membership in such societies is so inconsistent with the principles of Friends, that it has long been regarded among us as a thing which no Friend could properly participate in.
In the initiation into membership in most of these societies an oath is required to be taken by the candidate—which is of itself a violation of the command of our Saviour, and of the discipline of our Society. He is obliged to swear to obey the commands of the officers of the lodge, and observe its regulations; and thus enters into a solemn obligation, the extent of which he cannot foresee, and which may require the performance of acts at variance with his own conscientious convictions. Many of the Lodge meetings are opened with formal prayer, in which no true Friend can join.
While some of these societies are less objectionable than others, yet wherever the secret principle is attached to them, they should be shunned by the children of light. Our Saviour's condemnation, we believe is applicable to them :-“Every one that docth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” If serious reputable citizens join with the less objectionable of these societies, their example tends to encourage others to become members of those whose influence is still more pernicious.
Believing that membership in secret societies will be detrimental to the real welfare of Friends, especially to their religious interests, we earnestly exhort all our members to keep clear of the whole system; and if any of them have become entangled in this snare, we affectionately entreat them to withdraw from any further connection therewith. And overseers and other concerned Friends should endeavor to convince such that their course is “repugnant to our religious principles and testimonies.
The Committee appointed to revise the Quotas made the following report, which was approved, and their recommendations were adopted.
(For Report, see page 34.) We were informed that Woman Friends have appointed a few of their number as members of the Indian Committee. This information was satisfactory to the Meeting.
In the course of this Meeting we have been favored from time to time with the solemnizing presence of our Holy Ilead, enabling us to transact the business that has come before us with harmony and condescension, and to uphold the testimonies wherewith he has entrusted us. For these favors we desire to feel thankful to the Source of all good. In a feeling of brotherly love the Meeting concluded, to meet again at the usual time next year, if consistent with the Divine will.
Clerk this Year.