These recommendations are a third section, following the Articles of Faith and Plan of Church Government adopted by the Philadelphia Convention of 1790.
Sect. 1. Of War
Although a defensive war may be considered lawful, yet we believe that there is a time coming, when the light and universal love of the Gospel, shall put an end to all wars. We recommend, therefor, to all the Churches of our Communion, to cultivate the spirit of peace, and brotherly love, which shall lead them to consider all mankind as brethren; and to strive to spread among them the knowledge of their common Saviour and Redeemer, who came into the world, “not to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
Sect. 2. Of going to Law
We hold it unbecoming for Christians, who are members of the same Church, to appeal to the Courts of Law for the settlement of disputes. Such appeals too often ingender malice, beget idleness, and produce a waste of property. They are, therefore, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. In disputes of all kinds, and with all persons, we recommend appeals to Arbitrators appointed by both parties, where it is practicable, in preference to Courts of Law.
Sect. 3. Of holding Slaves
We believe it to be inconsistant with the union of the human race in a common Saviour, and the obligations to mutual and universal love which flow from that union, to hold any part of our fellow-creatures in bondage. We therefore recommend a total refraining from the African trade, and the adoption of prudent measures for the gradual abolition of slavery of the negroes in our country, and for the instruction and education of their children in English literature, and in the principles of the Gospel.
Sect. 4. Of Oaths
We recommend it to all the members of our Churches to enquire, whether Oaths do not lessen the frequency of truth in common life – whether they do not encrease [sic] profane swearing – whether they are not contrary to the commands of our Saviour, and the apostle James; and lastly, whether they do not lessen the dignity of the Christian name, by obliging the professors of Christianity to yield to a suspicion of being capable of declaring a falsehood. And as we are indulged by the Laws of all ours States, with the privilege of giving testimony by simple affirmation, we submit it to the consciences of our members, whether that mode of declaring the truth, should not be prefered to any other.
Sect. 5. Of Submission to Government
We recommend to all the members of our Churches a peaceful submission to the higher powers, not for wrath, but for conscience sake, &c. We enjoin, in a particular manner, a regard to truth, and justice, in the payment of such duties or taxes, as shall be required by our rulers, for the maintenance of order, and the support of government.
Signed by order, and in behalf of the Convention, by
WILLIAM WORTH, Moderator
Attest. ARTIS SEAGRAVE, Clerk