John Woolman’s Ministry: Learning to Suppress ‘My’ Will


From an inward purifying, and steadfast abiding under it springs a lively operative desire for the good of others. All the faithful are not called to the public ministry; but whoever are, are called to minister of that which they have tasted and handled spiritually. The outward modes of worship are various; but whenever any are true ministers of Jesus Christ, it is from the operation of his Spirit upon their hearts, first purifying them, and thus giving them a just sense of the conditions of others. This truth was early fixed in my mind, and I was taught to watch the pure opening, and to take heed lest, while I was standing to speak, my own will should get uppermost, and cause me to utter words from worldly wisdom, and depart from the channel of the true gospel ministry.

Source: Excerpt from The Journal of John Woolman, Chapter 1. John Woolman (1720-1772), one of the early settlers of New Jersey, was an American itinerant Quaker preacher, traveling throughout the American colonies, advocating against military conscription, military taxation, and slavery. His “Journal” was published posthumously in 1774. The result of his anti-slavery labors was that emancipation became a religious duty among the Society of Friends, and from there the general emancipation movement in the country spread.

Called Unto Liberty is researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional explanatory notes and commentary) by Steve Farrell, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the Self-Educated American.


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