Monday, January 14, 2008

Worship, by John Woolman

In 1949 Herrymon Maurer headed up the publications program at Pendle Hill. There he wrote several books during the 40's and 50's including The Pendle Hill Reader, The Power of Truth, and this important collection all published by Pendle Hill.

His more direct Quaker writings are certainly overshadowed by his more popular translation of the Tao Teh Ching, The Way of The Ways: Tao. As noted by Anthony Manousos,
"Even though many twentieth century Quakers have been drawn to Taoism, Herrymon Maurer's Tao Teh Ching is the only book-length work to explore Taoism from a Quaker/Hasidic (or as Herrymon would say, "prophetic") perspective. Herrymon's interest in Taoism and China was lifelong and deep. From 1938-41, during the Sino-Japanese War, Herrymon taught English in West China, where he first became acquainted with Taoism and experienced first-hand the brute facts of modern combat."

Maurer considers John Woolman a true American Saint, a "humble and gentle Quaker, so set against every form of evil that he raised the most eloquent of voices against slavery and oppression."

Consider this introduction to the words of John Woolman:
Out of John Woolman's gentle love of Pure Wisdom and his hard struggle to hold to it there came writings which have ever since led men through darkness. These writings bring peace through disquiet. They put down, where it can be looked at, the growth in inward richness of a man who took upon himself the suffering of the world, felt responsibility for it, and set out to lose his life in the Light that illumines and alters it. Here such parts of his writings are collected as bear on the problem, 'What is worship? How shall we have faith?'

In this short pamphlet, Herrymon Maurer excerpts and collates the insightful writings of John Woolman from the Journal, as well as from Woolman's essays Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes, Considerations on Pure Wisdom and Human Policy and others.
This is not a spiritual guide book, not a conducted tour that passes through various set stages to get to some stage else. It is a record of that steady atmosphere, that constant state of being wherein one can find "the simplicity of Truth." Finding, not searching, is its foundation; the saint himself is its keystone. For John Woolman is of the company of those whose response to God and to all creatures is warm and ever-ready, whose abandonment of worldly evil is unhesitating.

As Herrymon Maurer maintains, "John Woolman is not to be studied as history. He is to be read and read again. From him it is impossible to stop learning."

Read this collection of John Woolman's writings in Pendle Hill Pamphlet 51
Worship, by John Woolman

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