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John Woolman

Essay by review  •  December 19, 2010  •  Essay  •  854 Words (4 Pages)  •  775 Views

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Humbled by love

Just when John Woolman began a life independent from his parents his world was turned upside down. Never in his twenty-one years of life had he been affected by a single issue so much. He could not justify the enslavement of people whom he saw as his brethren. For the next twenty-seven years he would spend every ounce of energy he possessed helping "a people" that could not help themselves. With ideas centered on the basis of scripture and his Quaker religion John Woolman traveled near and far talking to fellow Christians that participated in the slave trade. Using mild tempered professions as his weapon, he convinced many to stray from participation. Not only did John Woolman help change the views of the Quakers concerning slavery but he also helped spread the idea of a love that is universal.

During the mid seventeen hundreds, John Woolman was raised on his family's farm in New Jersey. With a Quaker upbringing John was well acquainted with living a simple life. As with most teenagers his age, there were times when he lived very much in step with his Quaker beliefs and times when he went astray. Yet, every time he went astray he was able to get back on the right path, often through encouragement from his parents. In Woolman's opinion however, his return to a Christian life could only be a "divine providence" of God. At one point Woolman speaks of his mistakes saying "through His (God's) grace I was brought seriously to consider my ways." John Woolman never took any credit for his good deeds. In his eyes, it was God's providence that allowed him to do anything good.

In Woolmans' writing, he makes many references to the "divine love" and "divine providence" of God. These references show the reader that Woolman believed that everything had its purpose and that everything happens in accordance with God's will. For Example, when Woolman was sixteen years old he became terribly sick. This was, according to him, a blessing from God. This experience "humbled" him and he was able to find "inward relief" just knowing that it pleased God to heal him. John Woolman speaks of his inward self often. It is there that he built his ideals of life and Christianity that would later help him in his mission.

As John Woolman matures, he spends more time alone expanding his "inward" self. Today that inward self might better be described as his spiritual life. It was the place where he spent time really thinking about what he has learned and how to apply it to everyday life. As Woolman states, some of his most beneficial "inward" growth occurred when he was asked to move to Mount Holly to help tend a mans shop. Away from the farm he had plenty of time to focus on his inward self. The development of his spiritual life allowed him to recognize a problem and in return use his knowledge of his faith to help those in need.

It was during his time



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