What’s the connection between all these Bs?
In 1656 the elders of Balby Meeting wrote some advices, in a epistle (or letter) that concluded with the well known (to Friends) and much loved postscript ‘Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by; but that all, with a measure of the light, which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these things may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not in the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life’ which is still appended to our Advices and Queries to this day (see January 5).
Among the 20 advices is ’15.That all Friends that have callings and trades, do labour in the thing that is good, in faithfulness and uprightness, and keep to their yea and nay in all their communications: and that all who are indebted to the world, endeavour to discharge the same, that nothing they may owe to any man but love one to another.’. This clearly refers to the advice Jesus is quoted as giving in Matthew 5:37 ‘But let your communication be ‘yea, yea’ or ‘nay, nay’; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.'(21st King James Version) or in more modern parlance ‘All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.’ (NIV).
This advice was accepted widely and literally amongst Quakers, although it was not always easy, as Luke Cock observed: ‘… I was to speak the truth from my heart – and before I used to swear and lie too for gain. ‘Nay, then,’ said I to my Guide, ‘I mun leave Thee here: if Thou leads me up that lane, I can never follow: I’se be ruined of this butchering trade, if I mun’t lie for a gain.’ Here I left my Guide, and was filled with sorrow, and went back … So here I found my Guide again, and began to follow Him up this lane and tell the truth from my heart. I had been nought but beggary and poverty before; and now I began to thrive at my trade, ‘
As Luke Cock found, though, it actually led to improved business. The trustworthiness of Friends became well known, leading them also into money lending and, thence, into banking, including Barclays.
I am interested to note that on Thursday Sky News reported ‘Barclays employees who do not wish to adhere to a strict new ethical code of conduct should quit the bank and find jobs elsewhere, its chief executive warned today as he began attempting to rebuild its tarnished reputation.
In a message sent this morning to Barclays’ 140,000 staff around the world, Antony Jenkins said that Barclays had to become “a values-driven business” if it wanted to be “a valuable business” in future.’
I leave you to draw your own conclusions regarding modern banking practices.