Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Old Discipline > Moderation and Temperance


Advised that none accustom themselves to vain and idle company, sipping and tippling of drams and strong drink; for though such who use that evil practice may not suddenly become drunken to the greatest degree, yet they often thereby become like ground fitted for the seeds of the greatest transgressions, and some who have had the good example of virtuous parents, have from small beginnings arrived to a shameful excess, to their ruin, the great injury of their wives and families, and the scandal of the religious profession they have made. -- 1706, 1737.

It having been observed that a pernicious custom has prevailed upon people, of giving rum and other strong liquors to excite some to bid at vendues to advance the price, which, besides the injustice of the artifice, is scandalous, and leads to intemperance and disorder; it is therefore the unanimous sense of this meeting to caution Friends against the same. And if any under our profession do fall into this evil practice, by giving or taking strong liquors at vendues, or countenance or promote any noisy gatherings, they should be speedily dealt with as disorderly persons, and if they cannot be brought to a sense of their error, disowned. -- 1726, 1734.

Many just and pertinent remarks being made in this meeting, clearly setting forth the corrupting, debasing, and ruinous effects consequent on the importation and retailing large quantities of distilled spirits, whereby the intemperate use of them is greatly aided and encouraged, to the impoverishment of many, distempering the constitutions and understandings of many more, and increasing vice and dissolution in the land, wherewith many religiously attentive minds have been long painfully burthened; it is the united sense of the meeting, that well concerned Friends in all quarters, be earnestly excited to suffer the affecting importance of this mighty evil, religiously to impress their minds, and animate them with a lively concern to excite honest endeavours, both by example and loving entreaty to caution and dissuade all our members from being concerned in the importation or retailing distilled spirits, or giving countenance thereto. -- 1784, 1787.

It is affectionately recommended, that Friends be careful to use moderation on account of marriages, births and burials, and on all other occasions; a departure from which being a cause of stumbling to many, and a great obstruction to a more full reformation, as well as attended with other evil consequences, tending to obscure that light which we have to hold up to others, and should have more abundantly, if we were faithful; lessening that savour which we ought ever carefully to preserve, agreeably to the monition of the holy apostle, "Let your moderation be known unto all men, the Lord is at hand." Phil. 4:5. And as the all-seeing eye beholds our thoughts, and views us in all our ways and actions, what manner of men ought we to be in all godliness of life, and sobriety of deportment. -- 1789.

And if any should distil spirits out of grain or retail such liquors, monthly meetings should deal with them as with other offenders, and if they cannot be prevailed with to desist from such a practice, be at liberty to declare their disunity with them.

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