Some thoughts on the first few pages of The Journal of John Woolman.
John, you said each of these things about the influences toward the good in your mind:
The pious instructions of my parents were often fresh in my mind, when I happened to be among wicked children, and were of use to me.
He whose tender mercies are over all his works hath placed a principle in the human mind, which incites to exercise goodness towards every living creature…
So which is the most important in your life? Parental instruction? The Word in your mind?
Which is most influential in my life? What pious instructions did my parents give me?
It’s interesting that both of those influences were experienced in your mind. You don’t say heart or soul, as I might. Do you have an understanding of some division of the soul? What are the parts that you experience?
John, as a child you took morality into your own hands and put it under the control of your own deliberation.
After some painful considerations on the subject, I climbed up the tree, took all the young birds, and killed them, supposing that better than to leave them to pine away and die miserably. In this case I believed that Scripture proverb was fulfilled, “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
Had you been more open to the guidance of our Lord in this instance how would the outcome have differed? Would you have still classed your self among the wicked?