Quoth John Woolman

November 8, 2007 at 10:55 PM

I recently resumed reading the Harvard Classics, starting where I had left off. I had already read the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, so I set my sights on the second portion of the first volume: the Journal of John Woolman. Woolman was a devout Quaker whose writing and traveling precipitated the emancipation of black slaves among the Quakers in the mid 1700s. I'm a little under halfway through his journal, and I've picked out some quotes that I thought are particularly interesting.Regarding slavery:

"Deep-rooted customs, though wrong, are not easily altered; but it is the duty of all to be firm in that which they certainly know is right for them."

From a Friends pamphlet, regarding war:

"Being convinced that the gracious design of the Almighty in sending his Son into this world was to repair the breach made by disobedience, to finish sin and transgression, that his kingdom might come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we have found it to be our duty to cease from those national contests which are productive of misery and bloodshed, and submit our cause to him, the Most High, whose tender love to his children exceeds the most warm affections of natural parents, and who hath promised to his seed throughout the earth, as to one individual, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee'."

Regarding business and ambition:

I saw that an humble man, with the blessing of the Lord, might live on a little, and that where the heart was set on greatness, success in business did not satisfy the craving; but that commonly with an increase of wealth the desire of wealth increased.

I really enjoy Woolman's outlook on the world. His humility is refreshing, and he speaks of many matters that are still exigent today.