"Advices and Queries" has been published by Quakers since 1682. It is writings (available as their own piece or in the front of "Quaker Faith and Practice") that are a series of questions and insights in 42 paragraphs to be used at meetings for worship, or for personal reflection.
Most Friends who read Advices and Queries read a few paragraphs at a time and then meditate or simply reflect on them to see how their heart responds. This reliance on personal reaction is summed up in the opening advice:
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life
Although most Quaker meetings for worship are conducted in silence or under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sometimes a worshipper will feel compelled to read from Advices and Queries. There are even Advices on going to Meeting:
Come faithfully to meeting for worship with heart and mind prepared.
The current version of Advices and Queries was agreed in the Yearly Meeting in 1994. As they originated as an oral tool of the Yearly Meeting to determine the state of the Friends- who were greatly persecuted from their beginnings- they were barely amended until 1928, when it was thought that they had become too negative (two of the three original 1682 'queries' were
What Friends in the ministry, in their respective counties, departed this life since the last yearly meeting?
What Friends imprisoned for their testimony have died in prison since the last yearly meeting?)
The revised Advices and Queries became more concerned with Quaker social responsibility than evangelism
, as they had been previously. In 1949, modern language was adopted to encourage more vocal ministry
There is a 'Duty to read' the Advices and Queries at Monthly Meetings, but, as with most things in Quakerism, no real obligation to! Their real purpose nowadays is to provide thinking matter and advice specific to Quakers, rather than Christians as a whole - although that is not to say that they cannot be applied to others.