Chapter 19 » 19.58
An ordered people
This practical advice must be seen in the context of Friends’ sense of the corporate guidance of God: Friends are not to meet as people upon town or parish business but are to wait upon the Lord. Thus the named officer of the meeting was not to preside but to record, to be a clerk. William Penn wrote in 1694:
In these solemn assemblies for the church’s service, there is no one presides among them after the manner of the assemblies of other people; Christ only being their president, as he is pleased to appear in life and wisdom in any one or more of them; to whom, whatever be their capacity or degree, the rest adhere with a firm unity, not of authority, but conviction, which is the divine authority and way of Christ’s power and spirit in his people: making good his blessed promise, that he would be in the midst of his, where and whenever they were met together in his name, even to the end of the world.