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Full Online Book HomeEssaysThe Inner Life - JOHN WOOLMAN'S JOURNAL
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The Inner Life - JOHN WOOLMAN'S JOURNAL Post by :system2 Category :Essays Author :John Greenleaf Whittier Date :April 2012 Read :2371

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The Inner Life - JOHN WOOLMAN'S JOURNAL

Originally published as an introduction to a reissue of the work.

To those who judge by the outward appearance, nothing is more difficult of explanation than the strength of moral influence often exerted by obscure and uneventful lives. Some great reform which lifts the world to a higher level, some mighty change for which the ages have waited in anxious expectancy, takes place before our eyes, and, in seeking to trace it back to its origin, we are often surprised to find the initial link in the chain of causes to be some comparatively obscure individual, the divine commission and significance of whose life were scarcely understood by his contemporaries, and perhaps not even by himself. The little one has become a thousand; the handful of corn shakes like Lebanon. "The kingdom of God cometh not by observation;" and the only solution of the mystery is in the reflection that through the humble instrumentality Divine power was manifested, and that the Everlasting Arm was beneath the human one.

The abolition of human slavery now in process of consummation throughout the world furnishes one of the most striking illustrations of this truth. A far-reaching moral, social, and political revolution, undoing the evil work of centuries, unquestionably owes much of its original impulse to the life and labors of a poor, unlearned workingman of New Jersey, whose very existence was scarcely known beyond the narrow circle of his religious society.

It is only within a comparatively recent period that the journal and ethical essays of this remarkable man have attracted the attention to which they are manifestly entitled. In one of my last interviews with William Ellery Channing, he expressed his very great surprise that they were so little known. He had himself just read the book for the first time, and I shall never forget how his countenance lighted up as he pronounced it beyond comparison the sweetest and purest autobiography in the language. He wished to see it placed within the reach of all classes of readers; it was not a light to be hidden under the bushel of a sect. Charles Lamb, probably from his friends, the Clarksons, or from Bernard Barton, became acquainted with it, and on more than one occasion, in his letters and Essays of Elia, refers to it with warm commendation. Edward Irving pronounced it a godsend. Some idea of the lively interest which the fine literary circle gathered around the hearth of Lamb felt in the beautiful simplicity of Woolman's pages may be had from the Diary of Henry Crabb Robinson, one of their number, himself a man of wide and varied culture, the intimate friend of Goethe, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. In his notes for First Month, 1824, he says, after a reference to a sermon of his friend Irving, which he feared would deter rather than promote belief:

"How different this from John Woolman's Journal I have been reading at the same time! A perfect gem! His is a _schone Seele_, a beautiful soul. An illiterate tailor, he writes in a style of the most exquisite purity and grace. His moral qualities are transferred to his writings. Had he not been so very humble, he would have written a still better book; for, fearing to indulge in vanity, he conceals the events in which he was a great actor. His religion was love. His whole existence and all his passions were love. If one could venture to impute to his creed, and not to his personal character, the delightful frame of mind he exhibited, one could not hesitate to be a convert. His Christianity is most inviting, it is fascinating! One of the leading British reviews a few years ago, referring to this Journal, pronounced its author the man who, in all the centuries since the advent of Christ, lived nearest to the Divine pattern. The author of The Patience of Hope, whose authority in devotional literature is unquestioned, says of him: 'John Woolman's gift was love, a charity of which it does not enter into the natural heart of man to conceive, and of which the more ordinary experiences, even of renewed nature, give but a faint shadow. Every now and then, in the world's history, we meet with such men, the kings and priests of Humanity, on whose heads this precious ointment has been so poured forth that it has run down to the skirts of their clothing, and extended over the whole of the visible creation; men who have entered, like Francis of Assisi, into the secret of that deep amity with God and with His creatures which makes man to be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field to be at peace with him. In this pure, universal charity there is nothing fitful or intermittent, nothing that comes and goes in showers and gleams and sunbursts. Its springs are deep and constant, its rising is like that of a mighty river, its very overflow calm and steady, leaving life and fertility behind it.'"

After all, anything like personal eulogy seems out of place in speaking of one who in the humblest self-abasement sought no place in the world's estimation, content to be only a passive instrument in the hands of his Master; and who, as has been remarked, through modesty concealed the events in which he was an actor. A desire to supply in some sort this deficiency in his Journal is my especial excuse for this introductory paper.

It is instructive to study the history of the moral progress of individuals or communities; to mark the gradual development of truth; to watch the slow germination of its seed sown in simple obedience to the command of the Great Husbandman, while yet its green promise, as well as its golden fruition, was hidden from the eyes of the sower; to go back to the well-springs and fountain-heads, tracing the small streamlet from its hidden source, and noting the tributaries which swell its waters, as it moves onward, until it becomes a broad river, fertilizing and gladdening our present humanity. To this end it is my purpose, as briefly as possible, to narrate the circumstances attending the relinquishment of slave-holding by the Society of Friends, and to hint at the effect of that act of justice and humanity upon the abolition of slavery throughout the world.

At an early period after the organization of the Society, members of it emigrated to the Maryland, Carolina, Virginia, and New England colonies. The act of banishment enforced against dissenters under Charles II. consigned others of the sect to the West Indies, where their frugality, temperance, and thrift transmuted their intended punishment into a blessing. Andrew Marvell, the inflexible republican statesman, in some of the sweetest and tenderest lines in the English tongue, has happily described their condition:--


What shall we do but sing His praise
Who led us through the watery maze,
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storms and prelates' rage;
He gives us this eternal spring,
Which here enamels everything,
And sends the fowls to us in care,
On daily visits through the air.
He hangs in shades the orange bright,
Like golden lamps, in a green night,
And doth in the pomegranate close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows.

. . . . . . . . .

And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple where to sound His name.
Oh! let our voice His praise exalt,
Till it arrive at heaven's vault,
Which then, perhaps rebounding, may
Echo beyond the Mexic bay.'

"So sang they in the English boat,
A holy and a cheerful note;
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time."

Unhappily, they very early became owners of slaves, in imitation of the colonists around them. No positive condemnation of the evil system had then been heard in the British islands. Neither English prelates nor expounders at dissenting conventicles had aught to say against it. Few colonists doubted its entire compatibility with Christian profession and conduct. Saint and sinner, ascetic and worldling, united in its practice. Even the extreme Dutch saints of Bohemia Manor community, the pietists of John de Labadie, sitting at meat with hats on, and pausing ever and anon with suspended mouthfuls to bear a brother's or sister's exhortation, and sandwiching prayers between the courses, were waited upon by negro slaves. Everywhere men were contending with each other upon matters of faith, while, so far as their slaves were concerned, denying the ethics of Christianity itself.

Such was the state of things when, in 1671, George Fox visited Barbadoes. He was one of those men to whom it is given to discern through the mists of custom and prejudice something of the lineaments of absolute truth, and who, like the Hebrew lawgiver, bear with them, from a higher and purer atmosphere, the shining evidence of communion with the Divine Wisdom. He saw slavery in its mildest form among his friends, but his intuitive sense of right condemned it. He solemnly admonished those who held slaves to bear in mind that they were brethren, and to train them up in the fear of God. "I desired, also," he says, "that they would cause their overseers to deal gently and mildly with their negroes, and not use cruelty towards them as the manner of some hath been and is; and that, after certain years of servitude, they should make them free."

In 1675, the companion of George Fox, William Edmundson, revisited Barbadoes, and once more bore testimony against the unjust treatment of slaves. He was accused of endeavoring to excite an insurrection among the blacks, and was brought before the Governor on the charge. It was probably during this journey that he addressed a remonstrance to friends in Maryland and Virginia on the subject of holding slaves. It is one of the first emphatic and decided testimonies on record against negro slavery as incompatible with Christianity, if we except the Papal bulls of Urban and Leo the Tenth.

Thirteen years after, in 1688, a meeting of German Quakers, who had emigrated from Kriesbeim, and settled at Germantown, Pennsylvania, addressed a memorial against "the buying and keeping of negroes" to the Yearly Meeting for the Pennsylvania and New Jersey colonies. That meeting took the subject into consideration, but declined giving judgment in the case. In 1696, the Yearly Meeting advised against "bringing in any more negroes." In 1714, in its Epistle to London Friends, it expresses a wish that Friends would be "less concerned in buying or selling slaves." The Chester Quarterly Meeting, which had taken a higher and clearer view of the matter, continued to press the Yearly Meeting to adopt some decided measure against any traffic in human beings.

The Society gave these memorials a cold reception. The love of gain and power was too strong, on the part of the wealthy and influential planters and merchants who had become slaveholders, to allow the scruples of the Chester meeting to take the shape of discipline. The utmost that could be obtained of the Yearly Meeting was an expression of opinion adverse to the importation of negroes, and a desire that "Friends generally do, as much as may be, avoid buying such negroes as shall hereafter be brought in, rather than offend any Friends who are against it; yet this is only caution, and not censure."

In the mean time the New England Yearly Meeting was agitated by the same question. Slaves were imported into Boston and Newport, and Friends became purchasers, and in some instances were deeply implicated in the foreign traffic. In 1716, the monthly meetings of Dartmouth and Nantucket suggested that it was "not agreeable to truth to purchase slaves and keep them during their term of life." Nothing was done in the Yearly Meeting, however, until 1727, when the practice of importing negroes was censured. That the practice was continued notwithstanding, for many years afterwards, is certain. In 1758, a rule was adopted prohibiting Friends within the limits of New England Yearly Meeting from engaging in or countenancing the foreign slave-trade.

In the year 1742 an event, simple and inconsiderable in itself, was made the instrumentality of exerting a mighty influence upon slavery in the Society of Friends. A small storekeeper at Mount Holly, in New Jersey, a member of the Society, sold a negro woman, and requested the young man in his employ to make a bill of sale of her.

(Mount Holly is a village lying in the western part of the long, narrow township of Northampton, on Rancocas Creek, a tributary of the Delaware. In John Woolman's day it was almost entirely a settlement of Friends. A very few of the old houses with their quaint stoops or porches are left. That occupied by John Woolman was a small, plain, two-story structure, with two windows in each story in front, a four-barred fence inclosing the grounds, with the trees he planted and loved to cultivate. The house was not painted, but whitewashed. The name of the place is derived from the highest hill in the county, rising two hundred feet above the sea, and commanding a view of a rich and level country, of cleared farms and woodlands. Here, no doubt, John Woolman often walked under the shadow of its holly-trees, communing with nature and musing on the great themes of life and duty.

When the excellent Joseph Sturge was in this country, some thirty years ago, on his errand of humanity, he visited Mount Holly, and the house of Woolman, then standing. He describes it as a very "humble abode." But one person was then living in the town who had ever seen its venerated owner. This aged man stated that he was at Woolman's little farm in the season of harvest when it was customary among farmers to kill a calf or sheep for the laborers. John Woolman, unwilling that the animal should be slowly bled to death, as the custom had been, and to spare it unnecessary suffering, had a smooth block of wood prepared to receive the neck of the creature, when a single blow terminated its existence. Nothing was more remarkable in the character of Woolman than his concern for the well-being and comfort of the brute creation. "What is religion?" asks the old Hindoo writer of the Vishnu Sarman. "Tenderness toward all creatures." Or, as Woolman expresses it, "Where the love of God is verily perfected, a tenderness towards all creatures made subject to our will is experienced, and a care felt that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which the Creator intends for them under our government.")

On taking up his pen, the young clerk felt a sudden and strong scruple in his mind. The thought of writing an instrument of slavery for one of his fellow-creatures oppressed him. God's voice against the desecration of His image spoke in the soul. He yielded to the will of his employer, but, while writing the instrument, he was constrained to declare, both to the buyer and the seller, that he believed slave-keeping inconsistent with the Christian religion. This young man was John Woolman. The circumstance above named was the starting-point of a life-long testimony against slavery. In the year 1746 he visited Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. He was afflicted by the prevalence of slavery. It appeared to him, in his own words, "as a dark gloominess overhanging the land." On his return, he wrote an essay on the subject, which was published in 1754. Three years after, he made a second visit to the Southern meetings of Friends. Travelling as a minister of the gospel, he was compelled to sit down at the tables of slaveholding planters, who were accustomed to entertain their friends free of cost, and who could not comprehend the scruples of their guest against receiving as a gift food and lodging which he regarded as the gain of oppression. He was a poor man, but he loved truth more than money. He therefore either placed the pay for his entertainment in the hands of some member of the family, for the benefit of the slaves, or gave it directly to them, as he had opportunity. Wherever he went, he found his fellow-professors entangled in the mischief of slavery. Elders and ministers, as well as the younger and less high in profession, had their house servants and field hands. He found grave drab-coated apologists for the slave-trade, who quoted the same Scriptures, in support of oppression and avarice, which have since been cited by Presbyterian doctors of divinity, Methodist bishops; and Baptist preachers for the same purpose. He found the meetings generally in a low and evil state. The gold of original Quakerism had become dim, and the fine gold changed. The spirit of the world prevailed among them, and had wrought an inward desolation. Instead of meekness, gentleness, and heavenly wisdom, he found "a spirit of fierceness and love of dominion."

(The tradition is that he travelled mostly on foot during his journeys among slaveholders. Brissot, in his New Travels in America, published in 1788, says: "John Woolman, one of the most distinguished of men in the cause of humanity, travelled much as a minister of his sect, but always on foot, and without money, in imitation of the Apostles, and in order to be in a situation to be more useful to poor people and the blacks. He hated slavery so much that he could not taste food provided by the labor of slaves." That this writer was on one point misinformed is manifest from the following passage from the Journal: "When I expected soon to leave a friend's house where I had entertainment, if I believed that I should not keep clear from the gain of oppression without leaving money, I spoke to one of the heads of the family privately, and desired them to accept of pieces of silver, and give them to such of their negroes as they believed would make the best use of them; and at other times I gave them to the negroes myself, as the way looked clearest to me. Before I came out, I had provided a large number of small pieces for this purpose, and thus offering them to some who appeared to be wealthy people was a trial both to me and them. But the fear of the Lord so covered me at times that my way was made easier than I expected; and few, if any, manifested any resentment at the offer, and most of them, after some conversation, accepted of them.")

In love, but at the same time with great faithfulness, he endeavored to convince the masters of their error, and to awaken a degree of sympathy for the enslaved.

At this period, or perhaps somewhat earlier, a remarkable personage took up his residence in Pennsylvania. He was by birthright a member of the Society of Friends, but having been disowned in England for some extravagances of conduct and language, he spent several years in the West Indies, where he became deeply interested in the condition of the slaves. His violent denunciations of the practice of slaveholding excited the anger of the planters, and he was compelled to leave the island. He came to Philadelphia, but, contrary to his expectations, he found the same evil existing there. He shook off the dust of the city, and took up his abode in the country, a few miles distant. His dwelling was a natural cave, with some slight addition of his own making. His drink was the spring-water flowing by his door; his food, vegetables alone. He persistently refused to wear any garment or eat any food purchased at the expense of animal life, or which was in any degree the product of slave labor. Issuing from his cave, on his mission of preaching "deliverance to the captive," he was in the habit of visiting the various meetings for worship and bearing his testimony against slaveholders, greatly to their disgust and indignation. On one occasion he entered the Market Street Meeting, and a leading Friend requested some one to take him out. A burly blacksmith volunteered to do it, leading him to the gate and thrusting him out with such force that he fell into the gutter of the street. There he lay until the meeting closed, telling the bystanders that he did not feel free to rise himself. "Let those who cast me here raise me up. It is their business, not mine."

His personal appearance was in remarkable keeping with his eccentric life. A figure only four and a half feet high, hunchbacked, with projecting chest, legs small and uneven, arms longer than his legs; a huge head, showing only beneath the enormous white hat large, solemn eyes and a prominent nose; the rest of his face covered with a snowy semicircle of beard falling low on his breast,--a figure to recall the old legends of troll, brownie, and kobold. Such was the irrepressible prophet who troubled the Israel of slave-holding Quakerism, clinging like a rough chestnut-bur to the skirts of its respectability, and settling like a pertinacious gad-fly on the sore places of its conscience.

On one occasion, while the annual meeting was in session at Burlington, N. J., in the midst of the solemn silence of the great assembly, the unwelcome figure of Benjamin Lay, wrapped in his long white overcoat, was seen passing up the aisle. Stopping midway, he exclaimed, "You slaveholders! Why don't you throw off your Quaker coats as I do mine, and show yourselves as you are?" Casting off as he spoke his outer garment, he disclosed to the astonished assembly a military coat underneath and a sword dangling at his heels. Holding in one hand a large book, he drew his sword with the other. "In the sight of God," he cried, "you are as guilty as if you stabbed your slaves to the heart, as I do this book!" suiting the action to the word, and piercing a small bladder filled with the juice of poke-weed (playtolacca decandra), which he had concealed between the covers, and sprinkling as with fresh blood those who sat near him. John Woolman makes no mention of this circumstance in his Journal, although he was probably present, and it must have made a deep impression on his sensitive spirit. The violence and harshness of Lay's testimony, however, had nothing in common with the tender and sorrowful remonstrances and appeals of the former, except the sympathy which they both felt for the slave himself.

(Lay was well acquainted with Dr. Franklin, who sometimes visited him. Among other schemes of reform he entertained the idea of converting all mankind to Christianity. This was to be done by three witnesses,--himself, Michael Lovell, and Abel Noble, assisted by Dr. Franklin. But on their first meeting at the Doctor's house, the three "chosen vessels" got into a violent controversy on points of doctrine, and separated in ill-humor. The philosopher, who had been an amused listener, advised the three sages to give up the project of converting the world until they had learned to tolerate each other.)

Still later, a descendant of the persecuted French Protestants, Anthony Benezet, a man of uncommon tenderness of feeling, began to write and speak against slavery. How far, if at all, he was moved thereto by the example of Woolman is not known, but it is certain that the latter found in him a steady friend and coadjutor in his efforts to awaken the slumbering moral sense of his religious brethren. The Marquis de Chastellux, author of _De la Felicite Publique_, describes him as a small, eager-faced man, full of zeal and activity, constantly engaged in works of benevolence, which were by no means confined to the blacks. Like Woolman and Lay, he advocated abstinence from intoxicating spirits. The poor French neutrals who were brought to Philadelphia from Nova Scotia, and landed penniless and despairing among strangers in tongue and religion, found in him a warm and untiring friend, through whose aid and sympathy their condition was rendered more comfortable than that of their fellow-exiles in other colonies.

The annual assemblage of the Yearly Meeting in 1758 at Philadelphia must ever be regarded as one of the most important religious convocations in the history of the Christian church. The labors of Woolman and his few but earnest associates had not been in vain. A deep and tender interest had been awakened; and this meeting was looked forward to with varied feelings of solicitude by all parties. All felt that the time had come for some definite action; conservative and reformer stood face to face in the Valley of Decision. John Woolman, of course, was present,--a man humble and poor in outward appearance, his simple dress of undyed homespun cloth contrasting strongly with the plain but rich apparel of the representatives of the commerce of the city and of the large slave- stocked plantations of the country. Bowed down by the weight of his concern for the poor slaves and for the well-being and purity of the Society, he sat silent during the whole meeting, while other matters were under discussion. "My mind," he says, "was frequently clothed with inward prayer; and I could say with David that 'tears were my meat and drink, day and night.' The case of slave-keeping lay heavy upon me; nor did I find any engagement, to speak directly to any other matter before the meeting." When the important subject came up for consideration, many faithful Friends spoke with weight and earnestness. No one openly justified slavery as a system, although some expressed a concern lest the meeting should go into measures calculated to cause uneasiness to many members of the Society. It was also urged that Friends should wait patiently until the Lord in His own time should open a way for the deliverance of the slave. This was replied to by John Woolman. "My mind," he said, "is led to consider the purity of the Divine Being, and the justice of His judgments; and herein my soul is covered with awfulness. I cannot forbear to hint of some cases where people have not been treated with the purity of justice, and the event has been most lamentable. Many slaves on this continent are oppressed, and their cries have entered into the ears of the Most High. Such are the purity and certainty of His judgments that He cannot be partial in our favor. In infinite love and goodness He hath opened our understandings from one time to another, concerning our duty towards this people; and it is not a time for delay. Should we now be sensible of what He requires of us, and through a respect to the private interest of some persons, or through a regard to some friendships which do not stand upon an immutable foundation, neglect to do our duty in firmness and constancy, still waiting for some extraordinary means to bring about their deliverance, God may by terrible things in righteousness answer us in this matter."

This solemn and weighty appeal was responded to by many in the assembly, in a spirit of sympathy and unity. Some of the slave-holding members expressed their willingness that a strict rule of discipline should be adopted against dealing in slaves for the future. To this it was answered that the root of the evil would never be reached effectually until a searching inquiry was made into the circumstances and motives of such as held slaves. At length the truth in a great measure triumphed over all opposition; and, without any public dissent, the meeting agreed that the injunction of our Lord and Saviour to do to others as we would that others should do to us should induce Friends who held slaves "to set them at liberty, making a Christian provision for them," and four Friends--John Woolman, John Scarborough, Daniel Stanton, and John Sykes-- were approved of as suitable persons to visit and treat with such as kept slaves, within the limits of the meeting.

This painful and difficult duty was faithfully performed. In that meekness and humility of spirit which has nothing in common with the "fear of man, which bringeth a snare," the self-denying followers of their Divine Lord and Master "went about doing good." In the city of Philadelphia, and among the wealthy planters of the country, they found occasion often to exercise a great degree of patience, and to keep a watchful guard over their feelings. In his Journal for this important period of his life John Woolman says but little of his own services. How arduous and delicate they were may be readily understood. The number of slaves held by members of the Society was very large. Isaac Jackson, in his report of his labors among slave-holders in a single Quarterly Meeting, states that he visited the owners of more than eleven hundred slaves. From the same report may be gleaned some hints of the difficulties which presented themselves. One elderly man says he has well brought up his eleven slaves, and "now they must work to maintain him." Another owns it is all wrong, but "cannot release his slaves; his tender wife under great concern of mind" on account of his refusal. A third has fifty slaves; knows it to be wrong, but can't see his way clear out of it. "Perhaps," the report says, "interest dims his vision." A fourth is full of "excuses and reasonings." "Old Jos. Richison has forty, and is determined to keep them." Another man has fifty, and "means to keep them." Robert Ward "wants to release his slaves, but his wife and daughters hold back." Another "owns it is wrong, but says he will not part with his negroes,--no, not while he lives." The far greater number, however, confess the wrong of slavery, and agree to take measures for freeing their slaves.

(An incident occurred during this visit of Isaac Jackson which impressed him deeply. On the last evening, just as he was about to turn homeward, he was told that a member of the Society whom he had not seen owned a very old slave who was happy and well cared for. It was a case which it was thought might well be left to take care of itself. Isaac Jackson, sitting in silence, did not feel his mind quite satisfied; and as the evening wore away, feeling more and more exercised, he expressed his uneasiness, when a young son of his host eagerly offered to go with him and show him the road to the place. The proposal was gladly accepted. On introducing the object of their visit, the Friend expressed much surprise that any uneasiness should be felt in the case, but at length consented to sign the form of emancipation, saying, at the same time, it would make no difference in their relations, as the old man was perfectly happy. At Isaac Jackson's request the slave was called in and seated before them. His form was nearly double, his thin hands were propped on his knees, his white head was thrust forward, and his keen, restless, inquiring eyes gleamed alternately on the stranger and on his master. At length he was informed of what had been done; that he was no longer a slave, and that his master acknowledged his past services entitled him to a maintenance so long as he lived. The old man listened in almost breathless wonder, his head slowly sinking on his breast. After a short pause, he clasped his hands; then spreading them high over his hoary head, slowly and reverently exclaimed, "Oh, goody Gody, oh!"--bringing his hands again down on his knees. Then raising them as before, he twice repeated the solemn exclamation, and with streaming eyes and a voice almost too much choked for utterance, he continued, "I thought I should die a slave, and now I shall die a free man!"

It is a striking evidence of the divine compensations which are sometimes graciously vouchsafed to those who have been faithful to duty, that on his death-bed this affecting scene was vividly revived in the mind of Isaac Jackson. At that supreme moment, when all other pictures of time were fading out, that old face, full of solemn joy and devout thanksgiving, rose before him, and comforted him as with the blessing of God.)

An extract or two from the Journal at this period will serve to show both the nature of the service in which he was engaged and the frame of mind in which he accomplished it:--

"In the beginning of the 12th month I joined in company with my friends, John Sykes and Daniel Stanton, in visiting such as had slaves. Some, whose hearts were rightly exercised about them, appeared to be glad of our visit, but in some places our way was more difficult. I often saw the necessity of keeping down to that root from whence our concern proceeded, and have cause in reverent thankfulness humbly to bow down before the Lord who was near to me, and preserved my mind in calmness under some sharp conflicts, and begat a spirit of sympathy and tenderness in me towards some who were grievously entangled by the spirit of this world."

"1st month, 1759.--Having found my mind drawn to visit some of the more active members of society at Philadelphia who had slaves, I met my friend John Churchman there by agreement, and we continued about a week in the city. We visited some that were sick, and some widows and their families; and the other part of the time was mostly employed in visiting such as had slaves. It was a time of deep exercise; but looking often to the Lord for assistance, He in unspeakable kindness favored us with the influence of that spirit which crucifies to the greatness and splendor of this world, and enabled us to go through some heavy labors, in which we found peace."

These labors were attended with the blessing of the God of the poor and oppressed. Dealing in slaves was almost entirely abandoned, and many who held slaves set them at liberty. But many members still continuing the practice, a more emphatic testimony against it was issued by the Yearly Meeting in 1774; and two years after the subordinate meetings were directed to deny the right of membership to such as persisted in holding their fellow-men as property.

A concern was now felt for the temporal and religious welfare of the emancipated slaves, and in 1779 the Yearly Meeting came to the conclusion that some reparation was due from the masters to their former slaves for services rendered while in the condition of slavery. The following is an extract from an epistle on this subject:

"We are united in judgment that the state of the oppressed people who have been held by any of us, or our predecessors, in captivity and slavery, calls for a deep inquiry and close examination how far we are clear of withholding from them what under such an exercise may open to view as their just right; and therefore we earnestly and affectionately entreat our brethren in religious profession to bring this matter home, and that all who have let the oppressed go free may attend to the further openings of duty.

"A tender Christian sympathy appears to be awakened in the minds of many who are not in religious profession with us, who have seriously considered the oppressions and disadvantages under which those people have long labored; and whether a pious care extended to their offspring is not justly due from us to them is a consideration worthy our serious and deep attention."

Committees to aid and advise the colored people were accordingly appointed in the various Monthly Meetings. Many former owners of slaves faithfully paid the latter for their services, submitting to the award and judgment of arbitrators as to what justice required at their hands. So deeply had the sense of the wrong of slavery sunk into the hearts of Friends!

John Woolman, in his Journal for 1769, states, that having some years before, as one of the executors of a will, disposed of the services of a negro boy belonging to the estate until he should reach the age of thirty years, he became uneasy in respect to the transaction, and, although he had himself derived no pecuniary benefit from it, and had simply acted as the agent of the heirs of the estate to which the boy belonged, he executed a bond, binding himself to pay the master of the young man for four years and a half of his unexpired term of service.

The appalling magnitude of the evil against which he felt himself especially called to contend was painfully manifest to John Woolman. At the outset, all about him, in every department of life and human activity, in the state and the church, he saw evidences of its strength, and of the depth and extent to which its roots had wound their way among the foundations of society. Yet he seems never to have doubted for a moment the power of simple truth to eradicate it, nor to have hesitated as to his own duty in regard to it. There was no groping like Samson in the gloom; no feeling in blind wrath and impatience for the pillars of the temple of Dagon. "The candle of the Lord shone about him," and his path lay clear and unmistakable before him. He believed in the goodness of God that leadeth to repentance; and that love could reach the witness for itself in the hearts of all men, through all entanglements of custom and every barrier of pride and selfishness. No one could have a more humble estimate of himself; but as he went forth on his errand of mercy he felt the Infinite Power behind him, and the consciousness that he had known a preparation from that Power "to stand as a trumpet through which the Lord speaks." The event justified his confidence; wherever he went hard hearts were softened, avarice and love of power and pride of opinion gave way before his testimony of love.

The New England Yearly Meeting then, as now, was held in Newport, on Rhode Island. In the year 1760 John Woolman, in the course of a religious visit to New England, attended that meeting. He saw the horrible traffic in human beings,--the slave-ships lying at the wharves of the town, the sellers and buyers of men and women and children thronging the market-place. The same abhorrent scenes which a few years after stirred the spirit of the excellent Hopkins to denounce the slave- trade and slavery as hateful in the sight of God to his congregation at Newport were enacted in the full view and hearing of the annual convocation of Friends, many of whom were themselves partakers in the shame and wickedness. "Understanding," he says, "that a large number of slaves had been imported from Africa into the town, and were then on sale by a member of our Society, my appetite failed; I grew outwardly weak, and had a feeling of the condition of Habakkuk: 'When I heard, my belly trembled, my lips quivered; I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble.' I had many cogitations, and was sorely distressed." He prepared a memorial to the Legislature, then in session, for the signatures of Friends, urging that body to take measures to put an end to the importation of slaves. His labors in the Yearly Meeting appear to have been owned and blessed by the Divine Head of the church. The London Epistle for 1758, condemning the unrighteous traffic in men, was read, and the substance of it embodied in the discipline of the meeting; and the following query was adopted, to be answered by the subordinate meetings:--

"Are Friends clear of importing negroes, or buying them when imported; and do they use those well, where they are possessed by inheritance or otherwise, endeavoring to train them up in principles of religion?"

At the close of the Yearly Meeting, John Woolman requested those members of the Society who held slaves to meet with him in the chamber of the house for worship, where he expressed his concern for the well-being of the slaves, and his sense of the iniquity of the practice of dealing in or holding them as property. His tender exhortations were not lost upon his auditors; his remarks were kindly received, and the gentle and loving spirit in which they were offered reached many hearts.

In 1769, at the suggestion of the Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting, the Yearly Meeting expressed its sense of the wrongfulness of holding slaves, and appointed a large committee to visit those members who were implicated in the practice. The next year this committee reported that they had completed their service, "and that their visits mostly seemed to be kindly accepted. Some Friends manifested a disposition to set such at liberty as were suitable; some others, not having so clear a sight of such an unreasonable servitude as could be desired, were unwilling to comply with the advice given them at present, yet seemed willing to take it into consideration; a few others manifested a disposition to keep them in continued bondage."

It was stated in the Epistle to London Yearly Meeting of the year 1772, that a few Friends had freed their slaves from bondage, but that others "have been so reluctant thereto that they have been disowned for not complying with the advice of this meeting."

In 1773 the following minute was made: "It is our sense and judgment that truth not only requires the young of capacity and ability, but likewise the aged and impotent, and also all in a state of infancy and nonage, among Friends, to be discharged and set free from a state of slavery, that we do no more claim property in the human race, as we do in the brutes that perish."

In 1782 no slaves were known to be held in the New England Yearly Meeting. The next year it was recommended to the subordinate meetings to appoint committees to effect a proper and just settlement between the manumitted slaves and their former masters, for their past services. In 1784 it was concluded by the Yearly Meeting that any former slave-holder who refused to comply with the award of these committees should, after due care and labor with him, be disowned from the Society. This was effectual; settlements without disownment were made to the satisfaction of all parties, and every case was disposed of previous to the year 1787.

In the New York Yearly Meeting, slave-trading was prohibited about the middle of the last century. In 1771, in consequence of an Epistle from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, a committee was appointed to visit those who held slaves, and to advise with them in relation to emancipation. In 1776 it was made a disciplinary offence to buy, sell, or hold slaves upon any condition. In 1784 but one slave was to be found in the limits of the meeting. In the same year, by answers from the several subordinate meetings, it was ascertained that an equitable settlement for past services had been effected between the emancipated negroes and their masters in all save three cases.

In the Virginia Yearly Meeting slavery had its strongest hold. Its members, living in the midst of slave-holding communities, were necessarily exposed to influences adverse to emancipation. I have already alluded to the epistle addressed to them by William Edmondson, and to the labors of John Woolman while travelling among them. In 1757 the Virginia Yearly Meeting condemned the foreign slave-trade. In 1764 it enjoined upon its members the duty of kindness towards their servants, of educating them, and carefully providing for their food and clothing. Four years after, its members were strictly prohibited from purchasing any more slaves. In 1773 it earnestly recommended the immediate manumission of all slaves held in bondage, after the females had reached eighteen and the males twenty-one years of age. At the same time it was advised that committees should be appointed for the purpose of instructing the emancipated persons in the principles of morality and religion, and for advising and aiding them in their temporal concerns.

I quote a single paragraph from the advice sent down to the subordinate meetings, as a beautiful manifestation of the fruits of true repentance:--

"It is the solid sense of this meeting, that we of the present generation are under strong obligations to express our love and concern for the offspring of those people who by their labors have greatly contributed towards the cultivation of these colonies under the afflictive disadvantage of enduring a hard bondage, and the benefit of whose toil many among us are enjoying."

In 1784, the different Quarterly Meetings having reported that many still held slaves, notwithstanding the advice and entreaties of their friends, the Yearly Meeting directed that where endeavors to convince those offenders of their error proved ineffectual, the Monthly Meetings should proceed to disown them. We have no means of ascertaining the precise number of those actually disowned for slave-holding in the Virginia Yearly Meeting, but it is well known to have been very small. In almost all cases the care and assiduous labors of those who had the welfare of the Society and of humanity at heart were successful in inducing offenders to manumit their slaves, and confess their error in resisting the wishes of their friends and bringing reproach upon the cause of truth.

So ended slavery in the Society of Friends. For three quarters of a century the advice put forth in the meetings of the Society at stated intervals, that Friends should be "careful to maintain their testimony against slavery," has been adhered to so far as owning, or even hiring, a slave is concerned. Apart from its first-fruits of emancipation, there is a perennial value in the example exhibited of the power of truth, urged patiently and in earnest love, to overcome the difficulties in the way of the eradication of an evil system, strengthened by long habit, entangled with all the complex relations of society, and closely allied with the love of power, the pride of family, and the lust of gain.

The influence of the life and labors of John Woolman has by no means been confined to the religious society of which he was a member. It may be traced wherever a step in the direction of emancipation has been taken in this country or in Europe. During the war of the Revolution many of the noblemen and officers connected with the French army became, as their journals abundantly testify, deeply interested in the Society of Friends, and took back to France with them something of its growing anti-slavery sentiment. Especially was this the case with Jean Pierre Brissot, the thinker and statesman of the Girondists, whose intimacy with Warner Mifflin, a friend and disciple of Woolman, so profoundly affected his whole after life. He became the leader of the "Friends of the Blacks," and carried with him to the scaffold a profound hatred, of slavery. To his efforts may be traced the proclamation of emancipation in Hayti by the commissioners of the French convention, and indirectly the subsequent uprising of the blacks and their successful establishment of a free government. The same influence reached Thomas Clarkson and stimulated his early efforts for the abolition of the slave-trade; and in after life the volume of the New Jersey Quaker was the cherished companion of himself and his amiable helpmate. It was in a degree, at least, the influence of Stephen Grellet and William Allen, men deeply imbued with the spirit of Woolman, and upon whom it might almost be said his mantle had fallen, that drew the attention of Alexander I. of Russia to the importance of taking measures for the abolition of serfdom, an object the accomplishment of which the wars during his reign prevented, but which, left as a legacy of duty, has been peaceably effected by his namesake, Alexander II. In the history of emancipation in our own country evidences of the same original impulse of humanity are not wanting. In 1790 memorials against slavery from the Society of Friends were laid before the first Congress of the United States. Not content with clearing their own skirts of the evil, the Friends of that day took an active part in the formation of the abolition societies of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Jacob Lindley, Elisha Tyson, Warner Mifflin, James Pemberton, and other leading Friends were known throughout the country as unflinching champions of freedom. One of the earliest of the class known as modern abolitionists was Benjamin Lundy, a pupil in the school of Woolman, through whom William Lloyd Garrison became interested in the great work to which his life has been so faithfully and nobly devoted. Looking back to the humble workshop at Mount Holly from the stand-point of the Proclamation of President Lincoln, how has the seed sown in weakness been raised up in power!

The larger portion of Woolman's writings is devoted to the subjects of slavery, uncompensated labor, and the excessive toil and suffering of the many to support the luxury of the few. The argument running through them is searching, and in its conclusions uncompromising, but a tender love for the wrong-doer as well as the sufferer underlies all. They aim to convince the judgment and reach the heart without awakening prejudice and passion. To the slave-holders of his time they must have seemed like the voice of conscience speaking to them in the cool of the day. One feels, in reading them, the tenderness and humility of a nature redeemed from all pride of opinion and self-righteousness, sinking itself out of sight, and intent only upon rendering smaller the sum of human sorrow and sin by drawing men nearer to God, and to each other. The style is that of a man unlettered, but with natural refinement and delicate sense of fitness, the purity of whose heart enters into his language. There is no attempt at fine writing, not a word or phrase for effect; it is the simple unadorned diction of one to whom the temptations of the pen seem to have been wholly unknown. He wrote, as he believed, from an inward spiritual prompting; and with all his unaffected humility he evidently felt that his work was done in the clear radiance of

"The light which never was on land or sea."

It was not for him to outrun his Guide, or, as Sir Thomas Browne expresses it, to "order the finger of the Almighty to His will and pleasure, but to sit still under the soft showers of Providence." Very wise are these essays, but their wisdom is not altogether that of this world. They lead one away from all the jealousies, strifes, and competitions of luxury, fashion, and gain, out of the close air of parties and sects, into a region of calmness,--

"The haunt
Of every gentle wind whose breath can teach
The wild to love tranquillity,"--

a quiet habitation where all things are ordered in what he calls "the pure reason;" a rest from all self-seeking, and where no man's interest or activity conflicts with that of another. Beauty they certainly have, but it is not that which the rules of art recognize; a certain indefinable purity pervades them, making one sensible, as he reads, of a sweetness as of violets. "The secret of Woolman's purity of style," said Dr. Channing, "is that his eye was single, and that conscience dictated his words."

Of course we are not to look to the writings of such a man for tricks of rhetoric, the free play of imagination, or the unscrupulousness of epigram and antithesis. He wrote as he lived, conscious of "the great Task-master's eye." With the wise heathen Marcus Aurelius Antoninus he had learned to "wipe out imaginations, to check desire, and let the spirit that is the gift of God to every man, as his guardian and guide, bear rule."

I have thought it inexpedient to swell the bulk of this volume with the entire writings appended to the old edition of the Journal, inasmuch as they mainly refer to a system which happily on this continent is no longer a question at issue. I content myself with throwing together a few passages from them which touch subjects of present interest.

"Selfish men may possess the earth: it is the meek alone who inherit it from the Heavenly Father free from all defilements and perplexities of unrighteousness."

"Whoever rightly advocates the cause of some thereby promotes the good of the whole."

"If one suffer by the unfaithfulness of another, the mind, the most noble part of him that occasions the discord, is thereby alienated from its true happiness."

"There is harmony in the several parts of the Divine work in the hearts of men. He who leads them to cease from those gainful employments which are carried on in the wisdom which is from beneath delivers also from the desire of worldly greatness, and reconciles to a life so plain that a little suffices."

"After days and nights of drought, when the sky hath grown dark, and clouds like lakes of water have hung over our heads, I have at times beheld with awfulness the vehement lightning accompanying the blessings of the rain, a messenger from Him to remind us of our duty in a right use of His benefits."

"The marks of famine in a land appear as humbling admonitions from God, instructing us by gentle chastisements, that we may remember that the outward supply of life is a gift from our Heavenly Father, and that we should not venture to use or apply that gift in a way contrary to pure reason."

"Oppression in the extreme appears terrible; but oppression in more refined appearances remains to be oppression. To labor for a perfect redemption from the spirit of it is the great business of the whole family of Jesus Christ in this world."

"In the obedience of faith we die to self-love, and, our life being 'hid with Christ in God,' our hearts are enlarged towards mankind universally; but many in striving to get treasures have departed from this true light of life and stumbled on the dark mountains. That purity of life which proceeds from faithfulness in following the pure spirit of truth, that state in which our minds are devoted to serve God and all our wants are bounded by His wisdom, has often been opened to me as a place of retirement for the children of the light, in which we may be separated from that which disordereth and confuseth the affairs of society, and may have a testimony for our innocence in the hearts of those who behold us."

"There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages bath had different names; it is, however, pure, and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any, when the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, they become brethren."

"The necessity of an inward stillness hath appeared clear to my mind. In true silence strength is renewed, and the mind is weaned from all things, save as they may be enjoyed in the Divine will; and a lowliness in outward living, opposite to worldly honor, becomes truly acceptable to us. In the desire after outward gain the mind is prevented from a perfect attention to the voice of Christ; yet being weaned from all things, except as they may be enjoyed in the Divine will, the pure light shines into the soul. Where the fruits of the spirit which is of this world are brought forth by many who profess to be led by the Spirit of truth, and cloudiness is felt to be gathering over the visible church, the sincere in heart, who abide in true stillness, and are exercised therein before the Lord for His name's sake, have knowledge of Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings; and inward thankfulness is felt at times, that through Divine love our own wisdom is cast out, and that forward, active part in us is subjected, which would rise and do something without the pure leadings of the spirit of Christ.

"While aught remains in us contrary to a perfect resignation of our wills, it is like a seal to the book wherein is written 'that good and acceptable and perfect will of God' concerning us. But when our minds entirely yield to Christ, that silence is known which followeth the opening of the last of the seals. In this silence we learn to abide in the Divine will, and there feel that we have no cause to promote except that alone in which the light of life directs us."

Occasionally, in Considerations on the Keeping of? Negroes, the intense interest of his subject gives his language something of passionate elevation, as in the following extract:--

"When trade is carried on productive of much misery, and they who suffer by it are many thousand miles off, the danger is the greater of not laying their sufferings to heart. In procuring slaves on the coast of Africa, many children are stolen privately; wars are encouraged among the negroes, but all is at a great distance. Many groans arise from dying men which we hear not. Many cries are uttered by widows and fatherless children which reach not our ears. Many cheeks are wet with tears, and faces sad with unutterable grief, which we see not. Cruel tyranny is encouraged. The hands of robbers are strengthened.

"Were we, for the term of one year only, to be eye-witnesses of what passeth in getting these slaves; were the blood that is there shed to be sprinkled on our garments; were the poor captives, bound with thongs, and heavily laden with elephants' teeth, to pass before our eyes on their way to the sea; were their bitter lamentations, day after day, to ring in our ears, and their mournful cries in the night to hinder us from sleeping,-- were we to behold and hear these things, what pious heart would not be deeply affected with sorrow!"

"It is good for those who live in fulness to cultivate tenderness of heart, and to improve every opportunity of being acquainted with the hardships and fatigues of those who labor for their living, and thus to think seriously with themselves: Am I influenced by true charity in fixing all my demands? Have I no desire to support myself in expensive customs, because my acquaintances live in such customs?

"If a wealthy man, on serious reflection, finds a witness in his own conscience that he indulges himself in some expensive habits, which might be omitted, consistently with the true design of living, and which, were he to change places with those who occupy his estate, he would desire to be discontinued by them,--whoever is thus awakened will necessarily find the injunction binding, 'Do ye even so to them.' Divine Love imposeth no rigorous or unreasonable commands, but graciously points out the spirit of brotherhood and the way to happiness, in attaining which it is necessary that we relinquish all that is selfish.

"Our gracious Creator cares and provides for all His creatures; His tender mercies are over all His works, and so far as true love influences our minds, so far we become interested in His workmanship, and feel a desire to make use of every opportunity to lessen the distresses of the afflicted, and to increase the happiness of the creation. Here we have a prospect of one common interest from which our own is inseparable, so that to turn all we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives."

His liberality and freedom from "all narrowness as to sects and opinions" are manifest in the following passages:--

"Men who sincerely apply their minds to true virtue, and find an inward support from above, by which all vicious inclinations are made subject; who love God sincerely, and prefer the real good of mankind universally to their own private interest,--though these, through the strength of education and tradition, may remain under some great speculative errors, it would be uncharitable to say that therefore God rejects them. The knowledge and goodness of Him who creates, supports, and gives understanding to all men are superior to the various states and circumstances of His creatures, which to us appear the most difficult. Idolatry indeed is wickedness; but it is the thing, not the name, which is so. Real idolatry is to pay that adoration to a creature which is known to be due only to the true God.

"He who professeth to believe in one Almighty Creator, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and is yet more intent on the honors, profits, and friendships of the world than he is, in singleness of heart, to stand faithful to the Christian religion, is in the channel of idolatry; while the Gentile, who, notwithstanding some mistaken opinions, is established in the true principle of virtue, and humbly adores an Almighty Power, may be of the number that fear God and work righteousness."

Nowhere has what is called the "Labor Question," which is now agitating the world, been discussed more wisely and with a broader humanity than in these essays. His sympathies were with the poor man, yet the rich too are his brethren, and he warns them in love and pity of the consequences of luxury and oppression:--

"Every degree of luxury, every demand for money inconsistent with the Divine order, hath connection with unnecessary labors."

"To treasure up wealth for another generation, by means of the immoderate labor of those who in some measure depend upon us, is doing evil at present, without knowing that wealth thus gathered may not be applied to evil purposes when we are gone. To labor hard, or cause others to do so, that we may live conformably to customs which our Redeemer discountenanced by His example, and which are contrary to Divine order, is to manure a soil for propagating an evil seed in the earth."

"When house is joined to house, and field laid to field, until there is no place, and the poor are thereby straitened, though this is done by bargain and purchase, yet so far as it stands distinguished from universal love, so far that woe predicted by the prophet will accompany their proceedings. As He who first founded the earth was then the true proprietor of it, so He still remains, and though He hath given it to the children of men, so that multitudes of people have had their sustenance from it while they continued here, yet He bath never alienated it, but His right is as good as at first; nor can any apply the increase of their possessions contrary to universal love, nor dispose of lands in a way which they know tends to exalt some by oppressing others, without being justly chargeable with usurpation."

It will not lessen the value of the foregoing extracts in the minds of the true-disciples of our Divine Lord, that they are manifestly not written to subserve the interests of a narrow sectarianism. They might have been penned by Fenelon in his time, or Robertson in ours, dealing as they do with Christian practice,--the life of Christ manifesting itself in purity and goodness,--rather than with the dogmas of theology. The underlying thought of all is simple obedience to the Divine word in the soul. "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father in heaven." In the preface to an English edition, published some years ago, it is intimated that objections had been raised to the Journal on the ground that it had so little to say of doctrines and so much of duties. One may easily understand that this objection might have been forcibly felt by the slave-holding religious professors of Woolman's day, and that it may still be entertained by a class of persons who, like the Cabalists, attach a certain mystical significance to words, names, and titles, and who in consequence question the piety which hesitates to flatter the Divine ear by "vain repetitions" and formal enumeration of sacred attributes, dignities, and offices. Every instinct of his tenderly sensitive nature shrank from the wordy irreverence of noisy profession. His very silence is significant: the husks of emptiness rustle in every wind; the full corn in the ear holds up its golden fruit noiselessly to the Lord of the harvest. John Woolman's faith, like the Apostle's, is manifested by his labors, standing not in words but in the demonstration of the spirit,--a faith that works by love to the purifying of the heart. The entire outcome of this faith was love manifested in reverent waiting upon God, and in that untiring benevolence, that quiet but deep enthusiasm of humanity, which made his daily service to his fellow- creatures a hymn of praise to the common Father.

However the intellect may criticise such a life, whatever defects it may present to the trained eyes of theological adepts, the heart has no questions to ask, but at once owns and reveres it. Shall we regret that he who had so entered into fellowship of suffering with the Divine One, walking with Him under the cross, and dying daily to self, gave to the faith and hope that were in him this testimony of a life, rather than any form of words, however sound? A true life is at once interpreter and proof of the gospel, and does more to establish its truth in the hearts of men than all the "Evidences" and "Bodies of Divinity" which have perplexed the world with more doubts than they solved. Shall we venture to account it a defect in his Christian character, that, under an abiding sense of the goodness and long-suffering of God, he wrought his work in gentleness and compassion, with the delicate tenderness which comes of a deep sympathy with the trials and weaknesses of our nature, never allowing himself to indulge in heat or violence, persuading rather than threatening? Did he overestimate that immeasurable Love, the manifestation of which in his own heart so reached the hearts of others, revealing everywhere unsuspected fountains of feeling and secret longings after purity, as the rod of the diviner detects sweet, cool water-springs under the parched surfaces of a thirsty land? And, looking at the purity, wisdom, and sweetness of his life, who shall say that his faith in the teaching of the Holy Spirit--the interior guide and light--was a mistaken one? Surely it was no illusion by which his feet were so guided that all who saw him felt that, like Enoch, he walked with God. "Without the actual inspiration of the Spirit of Grace, the inward teacher and soul of our souls," says Fenelon, "we could neither do, will, nor believe good. We must silence every creature, we must silence ourselves also, to hear in a profound stillness of the soul this inexpressible voice of Christ. The outward word of the gospel itself without this living efficacious word within would be but an empty sound." "Thou Lord," says Augustine in his Meditations, "communicatest thyself to all: thou teachest the heart without words; thou speakest to it without articulate sounds."

"However, I am sure that there is a common spirit that plays within us, and that is the Spirit of God. Whoever feels not the warm gale and gentle ventilation of this Spirit, I dare not say he lives; for truly without this to me there is no heat under the tropic, nor any light though I dwelt in the body of the sun."--Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici.

Never was this divine principle more fully tested than by John Wool man; and the result is seen in a life of such rare excellence that the world is still better and richer for its sake, and the fragrance of it comes down to us through a century, still sweet and precious.

It will be noted throughout the Journal and essays that in his lifelong testimony against wrong he never lost sight of the oneness of humanity, its common responsibility, its fellowship of suffering and communion of sin. Few have ever had so profound a conviction of the truth of the Apostle's declaration that no man liveth and no man dieth to himself. Sin was not to him an isolated fact, the responsibility of which began and ended with the individual transgressor; he saw it as a part of a vast network and entanglement, and traced the lines of influence converging upon it in the underworld of causation. Hence the wrong and discord which pained him called out pity, rather than indignation. The first inquiry which they awakened was addressed to his own conscience. How far am I in thought, word, custom, responsible for this? Have none of my fellow-creatures an equitable right to any part which is called mine? Have the gifts and possessions received by me from others been conveyed in a way free from all unrighteousness? "Through abiding in the law of Christ," he says, "we feel a tenderness towards our fellow-creatures, and a concern so to walk that our conduct may not be the means of strengthening them in error." He constantly recurs to the importance of a right example in those who profess to be led by the spirit of Christ, and who attempt to labor in His name for the benefit of their fellow-men. If such neglect or refuse themselves to act rightly, they can but "entangle the minds of others and draw a veil over the face of righteousness." His eyes were anointed to see the common point of departure from the Divine harmony, and that all the varied growths of evil had their underlying root in human selfishness. He saw that every sin of the individual was shared in greater or less degree by all whose lives were opposed to the Divine order, and that pride, luxury, and avarice in one class gave motive and temptation to the grosser forms of evil in another. How gentle, and yet how searching, are his rebukes of self-complacent respectability, holding it responsible, in spite of all its decent seemings, for much of the depravity which it condemned with Pharisaical harshness! In his Considerations on the True Harmony of Mankind be dwells with great earnestness upon the importance of possessing "the mind of Christ," which removes from the heart the desire of superiority and worldly honors, incites attention to the Divine Counsellor, and awakens an ardent engagement to promote the happiness of all. "This state," he says, "in which every motion from the selfish spirit yieldeth to pure love, I may acknowledge with gratitude to the Father of Mercies, is often opened before me as a pearl to seek after."

At times when I have felt true love open my heart towards my fellow- creatures, and have been engaged in weighty conversation in the cause of righteousness, the instructions I have received under these exercises in regard to the true use of the outward gifts of God have made deep and lasting impressions on my mind. I have beheld how the desire to provide wealth and to uphold a delicate life has greviously entangled many, and has been like a snare to their offspring; and though some have been affected with a sense of their difficulties, and have appeared desirous at times to be helped out of them, yet for want of abiding under the humbling power of truth they have continued in these entanglements; expensive living in parents and children hath called for a large supply, and in answering this call the 'faces of the poor' have been ground away, and made thin through hard dealing.

"There is balm; there is a physician! and oh what longings do I feel that we may embrace the means appointed for our healing; may know that removed which now ministers cause for the cries of many to ascend to Heaven against their oppressors; and that thus we may see the true harmony restored!--a restoration of that which was lost at Babel, and which will be, as the prophet expresses it, 'the returning of a pure language!'"

It is easy to conceive how unwelcome this clear spiritual insight must have been to the superficial professors of his time busy in tithing mint, anise, and cummin. There must have been something awful in the presence of one endowed with the gift of looking through all the forms, shows, and pretensions of society, and detecting with certainty the germs of evil hidden beneath them; a man gentle and full of compassion, clothed in "the irresistible might of meekness," and yet so wise in spiritual discernment,

"Bearing a touchstone in his hand
And testing all things in the land
By his unerring spell.

"Quick births of transmutation smote
The fair to foul, the foul to fair;
Purple nor ermine did he spare,
Nor scorn the dusty coat."

In bringing to a close this paper, the preparation of which has been to me a labor of love, I am not unmindful of the wide difference between the appreciation of a pure and true life and the living of it, and am willing to own that in delineating a character of such moral and spiritual symmetry I have felt something like rebuke from my own words. I have been awed and solemnized by the presence of a serene and beautiful spirit redeemed of the Lord from all selfishness, and I have been made thankful for the ability to recognize and the disposition to love him. I leave the book with its readers. They may possibly make large deductions from my estimate of the author; they may not see the importance of all his self-denying testimonies; they may question some of his scruples, and smile over passages of childlike simplicity; but I believe they will all agree in thanking me for introducing them to the Journal of John Woolman.

AMESBURY, 20th 1st mo.,1871.

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The Inner Life - HAVERFORD COLLEGE The Inner Life - HAVERFORD COLLEGE

The Inner Life - HAVERFORD COLLEGE
Letter to President Thomas Chase, LL. D.AMESBURY, MASS., 9th mo., 1884.THE Semi-Centennial of Haverford College is an event that no member of the Society of Friends can regard without deep interest. It would give me great pleasure to be with you on the 27th inst., but the years rest heavily upon me, and I have scarcely health or strength for such a journey.It was my privilege to visit Haverford in 1838, in "the day of small beginnings." The promise of usefulness which it then gave has been more than fulfilled. It has grown to be a great and well-established institution, and
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The Inner Life - THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS The Inner Life - THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

The Inner Life - THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
The following letters were addressed to the Editor of the Friends' Review in Philadelphia, in reference to certain changes of principle and practice in the Society then beginning to be observable, but which have since more than justified the writer's fears and solicitude.I.AMESBURY, 2d mo., 1870.TO THE EDITOR OF THE REVIEW.ESTEEMED FRIEND,--If I have been hitherto a silent, I have not been an indifferent, spectator of the movements now going on in our religious Society. Perhaps from lack of faith, I have been quite too solicitous concerning them, and too much afraid that in grasping after new things we may let
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