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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. *
The present edition of the Life and Writings of John Woolman, was commenced by the late esteemed and lamented JAMES CROPPER; and it is due to him, and to the Society of Friends, as well as to the public, briefly to refer to the motives which induced him to undertake it.
In a letter to a friend dated 7th of 11th mo. 1839, he states in substance as follows: " The motive which most strongly presses on my mind, is an earnest desire to hold up to the view of the members of our own society, an example of what practically constitutes a real Quaker; and to call the particular attention of my fellow members to the great decline and low state of things amongst us. I fear, and I deeply lament it, that we are not individually under that exercise of mind which such a state of things ought to produce. I do not refer to any particular class amongst us, but to those of every class and of every age. Yet in the midst of these discouragements I often feel animated with the belief, that the Lord has not utterly cast us off as a people, but that it may
* By the express desire of the late J. C. these introductory remarks have been drawn up under the inspection of three friends well known and esteemed in the Society.
now be said as of old; • The Lord is with you while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you.' 2 Chron. xv. 2.
" I have been greatly encouraged by the success of the labors of this humble, meek, charitable, and Christ-like man (J. W.) and his coadjutors, in visiting those who held slaves, beginning with ministers, elders, and over
The root of the evil in those days was precisely what it is now, the love of the world, though manifested in a different form ; and wherever this exists, and under whatever form, it separates from the love of the Father. When professors of the Christian name do not live up to their profession, but are loving the world, they must be stumbling blocks to the sincere inquirers after the way to Zion. Let none however suppose that because they are making a less profession, they are more excusable. What will it avail such in a day that is fast approaching, to plead that they professed litile, believed little, or cared not for these things ?
Let us all put the inquiry to ourselves, how far are we faithful stewards of the talents, of whatever kind, that are intrusted to us?
If we were to feel as John Woolman did, with respect to loxuries and superfluities, we should be convinced that our testimonies, in favor of simplicity and moderation, had a right foundation.”
The above extract will show, how deeply James Cropper lamented what he believed to be the low state of things in the society; and how anxious he was that all classes of its members, whilst recognizing the all-important doctrines of Christianity, should be more concerned 10 live under their influence:-to avoid separating the work of Christ from the mind of Christ:'-to look more to his example, and to remember what he said of his fol
lowers: 66 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
In a letter dated 2nd mo. 10th, 1840, J. C. notices an objection that had been made to John Woolman’s journal, in common with the writings of some other of the early friends, viz., that faith in Christ crucified, as the ground of man's hope of salvation, is not prominently set forth in them. Recognizing this great scriptural doctrine as J. C. did, fully, cordially, and reverently, he could not but feel deeply pained at such an intimation.
" It was my intention,” he says in the same letter, " to notice the subject in the introductory remarks; but my bealth will not admit of close thought. I have lately been much interested in reading the latter part of the memoir of George Fox, recently published, in which, page 275, these objections are ably answered.” The following is part of the passage alluded to : "They were charged with setting up this doctrine (the immediate teachings of the Holy Spirit) in opposition to the outward coming, and propitiatory sufferings and death, of the dear Son of God, and to his divinity and mediation; which false accusation they promptly denied, asserting that since they had come to the teachings of his spirit in their hearts, they had been brought to a more true, reverent, and living sense and esteem, of his unmerited mercy in coming into the world to die for sinners, and of all his blessed offices in the work of man's salvation, than they ever had before."
It is not impossible that the question may occur to some readers, in what then does Quakerism mainly differ from the other various professions of Christianity? and though an elaborate reply to such a query will not be attempted here, yet it may be remarked, that it does
not materially, if at all, differ from other orthodox creeds, in its estiinate or apprehension of those great truths of the inspired volume, which are essentially necessary to our salvation as sinners.
The society of Friends heartily, honestly, and fully receives all these in their genuine import ; at the same time, the full and practical recognition of the important scripture doctrine of spiritual influence, has led to the adoption of a high and pure standard of Christian practice. Quakerism therefore mainly differs from other professions in its estimate of our duty as Christians; maintaining the truth as it is in Jesus, not merely in its fundamental principles, but in all its practical bearings, as the designed means of man's deliverance from the guilt, the pollution, the power, and the punishment of sin.
In the letter above referred to, dated 2nd mo. 10th 1840, J. C. again reverts to the testimony of John Woolman against the holding of slaves, and to his meek and self-denying labors in that righteous cause. It is not improbable that some copies of the present edition may be circulated in J. W's native land. Those upon whom has devolved the care of conducting this work through the press, would avail themselves of the opportunity which it presents, to call upon their brethren in America still to uphold a noble testimony against all oppression, in the same meek and gentle, yet faithful and uncompromising spirit; and affectionately to suggest to them, whether the fact of their being separated, as a body, from the polluting influence of slave-holding, through the self-denying la bors of John Woolman and others of a kindred spirit, does not throw upon the members of the society of Friends in the present generation,