Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Old Discipline > Law


If any member is complained of for withholding a just debt, he or she should be tenderly urged to payment; and if this is unavailing, be dealt with as in other case of disorderly conduct. And if any of our members appears unable to satisfy their creditors, they should be advised to call them together without loss of time; and submit the state of their affairs to their inspection: when, if the creditors apprehend a surrender of the debtors' effects to assignees for the benefit of the whole to be necessary, let him or her be earnestly entreated to consent, and, if they refuse so to do, the monthly meeting should be informed thereof; when, if the party still persists in refusing, he or she should be disowned without too long delay.

But if Friends in such difficult circumstances, manifest an honest intention, and shall offer their all to their creditors; let compassion and aid be extended to them as brethren, and objects of Christian charity: having done what they can, no more for the present in justly to be expected from them. Yet it is the judgment of this meeting, that if persons so failing in their circumstances, should at any time afterwards be favoured with full ability to pay off their deficiencies, justice will require it of them, notwithstanding a composition with, and legal discharge from their creditors may have been obtained. This is however not meant to furnish any with a pretext for advancing such claims while persons so deficient are honestly labouring to retrieve their circumstances, nor until it shall clearly appear to their respective monthly meetings, or to a solid committee thereof, that a sufficient ability is arrived at; when, if they are requested to comply, and persist in refusing, the said meetings should proceed to disown them.

And it is desired, that no debtors may shelter themselves under such of our rules, as are designed to guard us against an unkind treatment of each other, unjustly hoping to be thereby put out of the reach of the civil authority.

And it is the sense of this meeting, that if any member thereof, disregarding the gospel order prescribed by our discipline, shall arrest or sue at law another member (not being under such a necessity so to do, as may satisfy the overseers or other solid and judicious Friends of the meeting to which the latter belong) he or she in so doing, doth depart from the peaceable principle we make profession of; and if on being treated with by the monthly meeting to which they belong, they cannot be prevailed with to withdraw the suit and pay the costs thereof, they should be disowned.

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