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[315]

John Woolman's Journal.

Originally published as an introduction to a reissue of the work.

To those who judge by the outward appearance, nothing is more difficult of explanation than the strength of moral influence often exerted by obscure and uneventful lives. Some great reform which lifts the world to a higher level, some mighty change for which the ages have waited in anxious expectancy, takes place before our eyes, and, in seeking to trace it back to its origin, we are often surprised to find the initial link in the chain of causes to be some comparatively obscure individual, the divine commission and significance of whose life were scarcely understood by his contemporaries, and perhaps not even by himself. The little one has become a thousand; the handful of corn shakes like Lebanon. ‘The kingdom of God cometh not by observation;’ and the only solution of the mystery is in the reflection that through the humble instrumentality Divine power was manifested, and that the Everlasting Arm was beneath the human one.

The abolition of human slavery now in process of consummation throughout the world furnishes one of the most striking illustrations of this truth. A far-reaching moral, social, and political revolution, undoing the evil work of centuries, unquestionably

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