Quakers are invited to "let your life speak". It is in this sense that our principles are described as "testimonies". As testimonies, they have no final definitive statement in words, but are continually being worked out in people's lives and captured in words that will do until they are improved on. Arguably, Quaker testimonies over the centuries have clustered mainly around:
Here are some of the words in which particular Quaker leadings in these areas have been expressed.
"Creeds are milestones, doctrines are interpretations; Truth, as George Fox was continually asserting, a seed with the power of growth, not a fixed crystal, be its facets never so beautiful." John Wilhelm Rowntree, 1904, quoted in Quaker Faith and Practice 1994 (27.21)
"Do you recognize the limitations which are placed on women and men by assigning roles to them according to gender, and do you attempt to respond instead to the needs and capacities of the individual? Do you recognise and encourage the many ways in which human love may be expressed?" Quaker Women's Group 1982, 1986, quoted in Quaker Faith and Practice 1994 (23.44).
"Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford. Do you keep yourself informed about the effects your style of living is having on the global economy and environment?" Adivices and Queries 41, in Quaker Faith and Practice 1994 (1.02)
"A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... It is as great presumption to send our passions upon God's errands, as it is to palliate them with God's name... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us then try what Love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel." William Penn, 1693, in Quaker Faith and Practice 1994 (24.03)