Early Quakers were known for their refusal to take such oaths in a court of law (often at the risk of fines and imprisonment). Sometimes their stand was explained by reference to the Bible: “But above all things, my brethren, do not swear, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your words be yes, yes, and no, no, lest you fall under condemnation. [James 5:12]
But these Friends were not just obeying written commandments. Oath-refusal and other distinctive practices came to be known as “testimonies” only because these actions were bearing witness to a deeper spiritual Truth. The Kingdom of God is not an ideal or hope projected into the future. It is emerging here and now through our actions and examples.
…Quakers view truth as something that happens, it occurs…Truth is not a dead fact which is known: It is a living occurrence in which we participate….
The guiding concern of people bearing witness is to live rightly, in ways that are exemplary. Insofar as they have an end they aim at, it is perhaps most helpful to think of it as the aim of cultivating their souls and converting others…..
Quakers are convinced that genuine leadings all proceed from a common ground, spring from a unity which we seek and find…Truth Is Something That Happens | Quaker Earthcare Witness