THE QUAKER READER by  Jessamyn-Ed.


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Love is the hardest lesson in Christianity""- it is toward that learning that all Quaker living, not just thinking and speaking, is directed. And it is with this uppermost in mind that editor Jessamyn West has assembled four centuries of Society of Friends, experiences. Starting with George Fox, the mystic renegade from the Church of England, on up to the present day, the collection is spiritually fitting, historically fluent and rich and revelatory in impact. The Quakers accepted the Bible as God-inspired but it was a ""secondary rule""; they refused to differentiate between ""classes"" and testified to social righteousness, personal piety and first-things-first quietism; they were exemplars not busybodies: it was the purity of their own witness they sought, rather than to evangelize the world. Yet they were the founders of the abolitionist cause in Britain and originators of humane treatment for the insane; they moved from a theological fundamentalism to a liberalism noticeably akin to today's fashionable and Existential movements. In the Reader one finds observations by Voltaire, Carlyle and Stuart Chase: full-scale documents of the sorry trials of ""pestilent"" William Penn, Mary Dyer and John Roberts; testimonials from the 17th century Crevecoeur and Woolman, the Industrial Revolution and Rufus Jones. They worked ever for a world of Light and they paid in blood for that cause. Jessamyn West has commemorated the struggle splendidly with uniformly stirring selections.

Publisher: Viking