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by requesting him to give up the idea of trying to obtain for me an honorary degree, I should remove my most pressing motive for acquainting him with the present state of my mind. I alleged my want of health : that such an honour would be little availing to me, as I neither wished to act as a Clergyman, nor found it possible to establish myself at Oxford, where I might have enjoyed the gratification of belonging to the University. But my friend's kindness baffled my well-meant artifice. He answered that he would not desist, and that if he failed in his object be would feel the satisfaction of having done what he thought justice to me.-In these circumstances I could not remain silent. Even if subscription to the Articles should not be a requisite for an honorary degree, which I think it is not, could I allow my friend to proceed in his endeavours under a misconception ? And though his candour may prevent any diminution of his esteem towards me, would that be the case among all those whose votes he must have asked in my favour?-I have, therefore, fulfilled a painful duty. I have disclosed to him the fact that I have changed my opinions concerning the Trinity. As I greatly feared to disturb his peace in believing, I did not enter into any particulars. But that I might sooth the pain which I was sure the information would give him, I added—what, I hope, is true—that I had proceeded in my enquiries in Christian humility and sincerity.
1819_March 3. Ninth anniversary of my arrival in England. O Lord God, my Creator and Heavenly Father, whose Providence has mercifully watched over me, and by the
most unexpected means delivered me from the degrading tyranny under whose influence I grew up, leading me to this privileged country, where Thou didst open my eyes to the light of Thy Revelation, I thank Thee, O Father, for this inestimable blessing. I thank Thee for having provided for my subsistence, and given me friends who are concerned for my welfare, and who fill up the place of my dear relations. Grant, O Lord, that I may prove finally faithful to Thee, and that so merciful a display of Thy goodness may not be lost upon me. Defend me, O Lord, from sin. Increase my faith in Thee, through my blessed Redeemer. May I be instrumental in the diffusion of true Christianity; and may I live in such an absolute subjection to Thy will, that men may see the power of Thy grace in my behaviour, and glorify Thee, by following the precepts of Thy Son, my Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
To the Rev. John H. Thom.
July 10, 1836. My dear Friend, As I am about to give you the Memoirs of John Woolman, that, before you take them to Woodcroft Cottage, with my thanks, as you kindly offered to do, you may at the least look the book over, I shall state briefly the result of the attention which I have given to that work.
Autobiographies are instructive, almost without exception, provided that the reader knows how to study mankind, for, even when the account is written under the influence of vanity or some other passion, it will afford opportunities of studying the workings of the heart and mind in a state of transient or settled moral disease. But when such a man as John Woolman undertakes an account of himself, we may be sure that the very bottom of his heart will be open before our eyes, exactly as it was before his own. It is true that both the writer and the reader must see the workings of the individual human soul described, through a medium containing sources of visual distortion and obscuration ; for the narrator must have seen himself and all his actions through that more or less coloured glass which every man's prejudices interpose between every thing and his intellectual vision ; but, as the prejudices and passions of the reader can scarcely ever be identical with those of the writer, there
is the greatest probability that the delusions of the latter will generally be apparent to the former, merely from the circumstance that he is placed in a different position.-But I must hasten to my subject—the impression I have received from the book in question.
You are aware that I consider the Quakers, in the early days of their society, and, indeed, till the influence of the other religious denominations around them disturbed the clear view of the principle adopted by George Fox, as superior to all the other Reformers in their knowledge of the true nature of the Gospel. The Quakers alone understood the whole meaning of Jesus's declaration that “the true worshippers should worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth :" they alone perceived that Christianity was not intended by Jesus to be dependent on any external authority whatever ; but that he left his disciples to the guidance of the Spirit of Truth. Even in the perception of Jesus's meaning, as consigned to that figurative expression, the Quakers appear to me infinitely superior to the generality of Divines; for the latter have almost unanimously supposed that Jesus alluded to an invisible person, whom they call the Holy Ghost; but the primitive Quakers, in spite of the mass of theological prejudices which externally surrounded them, avoided, as by a rational instinct, the metaphysics of the Schools, and looked for the Spirit of which Jesus spoke, within themselves. Here, however, they were misled by that love of the miraculous which will be the last mental infirmity that true Christianity will conquer. The sincere Quakers conceived that they were the privileged subjects of a direct, personal, and miraculous revelation; and by admitting this supposition as a matter of incontrovertible consciousness, they opened themselves to all the extravagances of enthusiasm. Yet, as what they often mistook for a supernatural voice within them was that true derivation of God's light, that ray of the eternal Reason which dwells in every man,—and as they cultivated that holiest of faculties by the means pointed out by Jesus himself, namely, purity of heart and that charity which divests man of selfishness, their enthusiasm was generally subdued in the very first growth. Add to this the powerful effect of awakened pru. dence in a society whose members were bound to submit to the sense of the majority,—a sense usually originating in the intimate knowledge of each other. Indeed, this predominant influence of the practical Reason, which I consider as a necessary result of the natural temper which would lead certain individuals to join the primitive Quakers, and must have been transmitted through successive generations as a result of moral discipline and example, is, as it appears to me, the origin of the invidious, popular description of them, which is conveyed in the expression Sly Quaker.
That John Woolman was under the partial influence of real enthusiasm, I believe you will not doubt when you read his account of himself. There are two instances, one of dreaming and another of feverish delirium, which he evi. dently gives as supernatural effects. In his benevolent, though useless, visit to the Indians, he was excited enough to believe that some of the people he addressed would be made to understand what he said, in spite of their ignorance of the English language. In one or two cases of severe illness the habits of his mind led him into the notion that the workings of his fevered brain deserved to be recorded as prophetical. Such passages, given, as they are, with the utmost simplicity of heart, are very instructive to those who, like myself, feel constantly attracted by the study of