Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Old Discipline > Parents and Children


In much love to the rising generation, we exhort them to avoid the many vanities and ensnaring corruptions to which they are exposed. Bear in mind, dear youth, that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and that "a good understanding have all they who do his commandments." Psalm 111:10. Take the advice of godly parents, guardians and friends; ever remembering that, next to our Creator, children ought to obey their parents, and that disobedience to them is a breach of the moral law, and was always offensive in the Divine sight. Submit to their reasonable requirings with cheerfulness, though these may sometimes thwart your own inclinations, and answer them not frowardly or crossly. They watched over you and took care of you, when you were utterly unable to help or care for yourselves. Why then should any of you grieve and wound their still anxious minds by a conduct which (because of its tendency to obstruct your welfare and happiness) you know they cannot approve? Such as, running into vain and expensive fashions, associating with corrupt and libertine persons; frequenting taverns and places of diversion; wasting your precious time in idle discourse, and drawing the affections and inflaming the passions one of another; all which we have no doubt the divine Monitor in your own breasts often pleads with you against, and shews to be destructive of your peace. We beseech you, as fathers, to attend to this heavenly Instructor, and dutifully yield to the correspondent tender advice of your friends. Shrink not from the cross of Christ in your garb, language or manners; but, through a subjection of your wills to the divine will, in these and all other respects, walk answerably to the purity of our profession, and the simplicity and spirituality of our worship: so may you be instructive examples to serious enquirers after truth; and not of those who, under a profession thereof, are preferring their own crooked ways, and turning others aside from the footsteps of its followers.

It is advised that where the pious exercise of parental care and authority is disregarded, and any of the youth in membership with us appear obstinately determined to run into and copy after the vain and extravagant fashions of the world in their dress and address, exposing themselves to the corrupting influence of evil company and excesses, whereby designing persons may entangle their affections, and draw them into unsuitable and unhappy connections in marriage or otherwise, that such be timely and tenderly treated with, and shown the dangerous tendency of their conduct; and, if they cannot be prevailed with to desist therefrom, and amend their ways, they ought to be dealt with by their respective preparative or monthly meetings, as in other cases of offence; and if, after due expostulation and forbearance, they prove irreclaimable, they may be testified against. -- 1792.

And if any parents in membership with us, willingly indulge their children, or youth under their care in such extravagance, liberties and excesses, as are here pointed out, and persist in vindicating their conduct, they ought in like manner to be treated with and disowned.

Friends are advised to bring up their children to habits of industry, placing them with sober and exemplary members of the society, for instruction in such occupations as are consistent with our religious principles and testimonies, that as far as in us lies they may be preserved in a becoming conduct and demeanour.

And it is desired that those whose circumstances may furnish with ability for instructing, in useful and suitable employments, the children of members who are in situations less affluent, may receive them into their families upon terms so moderate and equitable as to remove every plausible reason for placing them with those not in membership with us. -- 1799.

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