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[337] groping like Samson in the gloom; no feeling in blind wrath and impatience for the pillars of the temple of Dagon. ‘The candle of the Lord shone about him,’ and his path lay clear and unmistakable before him. He believed in the goodness of God that leadeth to repentance; and that love could reach the witness for itself in the hearts of all men, through all entanglements of custom and every barrier of pride and selfishness. No one could have a more humble estimate of himself; but as he went forth on his errand of mercy he felt the Infinite Power behind him, and the consciousness that he had known a preparation from that Power ‘to stand as a trumpet through which the Lord speaks.’ The event justified his confidence; wherever he went hard hearts were softened, avarice and love of power and pride of opinion gave way before his testimony of love.

The New England Yearly Meeting then, as now, was held in Newport, on Rhode Island. In the year 1760 John Woolman, in the course of a religious visit to New England, attended that meeting. He saw the horrible traffic in human beings,—the slave-ships lying at the wharves of the town, the sellers and buyers of men and women and children thronging the market-place. The same abhorrent scenes which a few years after stirred the spirit of the excellent Hopkins to denounce the slave-trade and slavery as hateful in the sight of God to his congregation at Newport were enacted in the full view and hearing of the annual convocation of Friends, many of whom were themselves partakers in the shame and wickedness. ‘Understanding,’

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