Monday, May 09, 2005

Advices 8 and 9 of the Elders at Balby

8.-That a record be kept in every meeting of the births of children of such who are members of that meeting, and of the burials of the dead who die in the Lord as they depart out of the body; which be done after the manner of the holy men of God, recorded in the Scriptures of truth; and not after the customs of the heathen; that know not God.

Comment: This advice seems to speak for itself and to be pretty non-controversial. I do wonder what "customs of the heathen" are being warned against. It seems hard to imagine a "heathen" method of record-keeping. Perhaps this refers to customary ways of conducting funerals or celebrating birthdays rather than to the record keeping itself?

9.-That husbands and wives dwell together according to knowledge, as being heirs together of the grace of life; that children obey their parents in the Lord; and that parents provoke not their children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and fear of God, walking before them as good examples, in gravity and godliness; providing things honest in the sight of God and man.

Comment: Reading this advice in full is more edifying than reading the summary of it that occurs in the current version of New York Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (which in turn is quoted from a history of Quakerism by Chrarles Braithwaite). The summary says simply
Advice to husbands and wives, as in I Peter iii:7. Advice to parents and children, as in Ephesians vi:1-4
It's interesting and encouraging that the Friends selected from the available New Testament material those passages on family life that emphasize mutuality and respect rather than heirarchy and submission. Husbands and wives "dwell together according to knowledge" and are "heirs together of the grace of life". And although children are to obey their parents, the parents also have duties to their children: to avoid provoking them to wrath, and to set an example for them.



Blogger Joe G. said...

I wonder if the reference to "heathen" record-keeping might be about baptism? That is, when births were recorded so were the baptisms that implied membership into the kingdom of God? Just a guess!

12:36 PM, May 11, 2005  

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