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66 CONSIDERATIONS LAID BEFORE THE MEMBERS, AT THE OPENING OF THE SOCIETY AT TRURO, BY S. W. 1754.
You expect, my friends, that I now lay before you the design of this society, and give you some cautions concerning it.
The design is threefold-to glorify God-to quicken and confirm ourselves in faith and holiness-and to render us more useful among our neighbours.
First. As a society, we shall be better able to glorify God; for hereby we shall bear a more public and convincing testimony to the cause of Christ, and make a more avowed profession of his name and gospel in these evil days, than we could do when separate. Every one of you desires that his kingdom may be further enlarged, and better established than it is, which, by joining your hands together to promote so desirable an end, will be most effectually brought about. Take then these cautions for this purpose.
1. Let each look upon himself as associated with others, to promote the honor of their common Master.
2. Never therefore be ashamed of him, or his doctrines, or your fellow Christians in this society.
3. Demean yourselves, every one, as his disciples, by walking in all humility, meekness, heavenly mindedness, and charity, after his blessed example.
4. Keep yourselves heedfully from all things that may disgrace your profession, or this society-such as pride, in a conceit of your own knowledge and attainments, or that you are admitted members of this society-valuing yourselves on any distinction of
place or circumstances, sinking into a worldly frame, or declining into sloth and idleness, practising the least dishonesty, or conniving at it in others; making sinful compliances to avoid shame, or promote your temporal interests, falling into luke-warmness, and losing your first love, and absenting [yourselves] from, or slighting public ordinances.
5. Often, especially before or after temptations to any of these, reflect that you belong to a religious society, instituted to promote the honor of Christ.
Secondly. The second design of this society is to quicken, comfort, and build up yourselves and one another in your holy faith. By this means, we shall be better able to maintain the war against our enemies, who are all united against us, and to grow in grace; as we may hope, by this association, we shall have the Spirit to assist and strengthen us; we shall have the benefit of mutual advice, and reproof; shall be more hardy in opposing temptations besetting us from a wicked world: shall walk under a peculiarly happy restraint, from the observation and eyes of our brethren upon us, and be assisted by the mutual prayers of each for the rest. To this end, 1. Watch over one another in love.
2. Be willing to hear of your faults, and thankful for reproof.
3. Watch against any disgust against any of your brethren, and if any arise, without delay tell the party, and if that fail, the director.
4. Desire the prayers of one another, and pray for one another.
5. Be sure not to rest on being members of this
society, as if that could be your security either from falling here, or for heaven hereafter.
6. Guard against the least decay in your love for Christ, zeal for his honour, and love to souls.
7. Preserve continually in your mind, your obligations to these things, from your relation to us as members of this society.
Thirdly. The third design of this society, is to promote our usefulness among our neighbours. Hereby we make ourselves more discernable. People cannot so easily be quiet in their sins, when they see united societies testifying against them by their practice. Good examples are naturally more prevalent than reproof or advice, especially if the first be wanting. To this end,
1. Be careful to set such examples to all about you. 2. Think not to gain any by making sinful compliances.
3. Discountenance all things which may be snares to your neighbours, such as public-houses, gaming, and many diversions and sports, which are not convenient nor of good report.
4. Shew all love to men's souls, and enforce that by a care of their bodies.
5. Avoid all quarrels and disputes, which usually begin in pride or impatience, and end in anger, malice, and revenge.
6. Do not be angry with those who blame this society. If they point out any thing wrong, reform it, if not, meekly and silently bear with them.
7. Despise none in your hearts, because not members with you.
8. Shew no valuing of yourselves because you are.7 Let the following motives encourage you to observe the above rules.
1. Real disciples must do more than nominal professors.
2. The Spirit is promised to comfort and assist those who walk by these rules.
3. You will have peace and satisfaction in your own consciences.
4. You are engaged in the most honourable service. 5. You will hereby promote the best of interests, and honour the best of masters.
6. He will acknowledge you as his servants, and reward your labours and perseverance, in the day of his appearing.
Such were the well digested and truly pious considerations, submitted to the associate Christians, of Truro at their first meeting. The effect of such a union must, humanly speaking, depend upon two things, its leader and its rules. No man was ever more competent to manage a body of this description than Mr. Walker: his rules, taken from the old manuscript before mentioned, were as follows.
7 To this, according to the memoir previously mentioned, the caution to each was added-" Never speak of yourself as a member, unless with a view of doing others good." It is, however, not in the MSS,
A COPY OF THE ORDERS FOR THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES AT TRURO, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE REV. MR. S. W.
Instituted February, 1754.
1. In the single men's society no woman to be admitted.
2. In the married men's, their wives and other women, but no single men.
3. That the sole design of this society, is to promote real holiness in the heart and life of all who belong to it, in a dependence upon the Divine Power, and the conduct of the Holy Spirit, through our Lord Jesus Christ, to advance and perfect all good in us.
4. That in order to our being of one heart, and one mind, and to prevent whatever may engender strife, as well as to remove all occasion of offence being taken against us, no person be admitted a member of this society, or allowed to continue such, who is a member of any other religious meeting, or follows any other preaching than that of the established ministry in this town. That none be admitted members, but such as are inhabitants here and communicants, and that no person at any time be introduced, but at the request of the director.8
5. That the members of this society do meet together at a convenient place, one evening in every week, and that they go home at nine o'clock.
6. That every member endeavour to give constant
The director was Mr. Walker.