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


Advised, that all Friends, both old and young, keep out of the world's corrupt language, manners, vain and needless things and fashions, in apparel, buildings, and furniture of houses, some of which are immodest, indecent, and unbecoming. And that they avoid immoderation in the use of lawful things, which though innocent in themselves, may thereby become hurtful; also such kinds of stuffs, colours and dress, as are calculated more to please a vain and wanton mind, than for real usefulness; and let tradesmen and others, members of our religious society, be admonished, that they be not accessary to these evils; for we ought to take up our daily cross, minding the grace of God which brings salvation, and teaches to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world, that we may adorn the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in all things; so may we feel his blessing, and be instrumental in his hand for the good of others. -- 1682, 1694, 1695, 1766.

We tenderly exhort all, seriously to consider the plainness and simplicity which the gospel enjoins, and to manifest it in their speech, apparel, furniture, salutations and conversation, into which our forefathers were led by the Spirit of Christ, in conformity with his precepts and example; and for which they patiently suffered long imprisonments, and great persecutions; being convinced that it was their duty thus to bear a testimony against the vain spirit of the world. -- 1746.

The spirit of truth, which led our ancients to lay aside every thing unbecoming the followers of Christ, still leads in the same path, all who submit to its guidance; we therefore earnestly entreat all Friends to watch over themselves in this respect. The example of our blessed Saviour, his immediate followers, and of virtuous and holy men in all ages, ought to make a due impression on every considerate mind, and especially on such as have had the advantage of a guarded education.

We also tenderly advise, that Friends take heed, especially those who should be exemplary to others under their care, that they exercise plainness of speech without respect of persons, in all their converse among men; and not balk their testimony by a cowardly compliance, varying their language according to their company; a practice of very ill example, rendering those who use it contemptible, and looked upon as a kind of hypocrites, even by those with whom they so comply; this seems to be cautioned against by the apostle, when he advises, 1 Tim. "That the deacons be grave, not double tongued;" plainly importing that it is inconsistent with the gravity of the gospel. -- 1743.

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