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Woolman: Seeking and Discarding Seeds of War

Wealth is attended with power, by which bargains and proceedings, contrary to universal righteousness, are supported; and hence oppression, carried on with worldly policy and order, clothes itself with the name of justice and becomes like a seed of discord in the soul.  And as this spirit which wanders from the pure habitation prevails, so the seeds of war swell and sprout, and grow, and become strong, until much fruit is ripened.  Then cometh the harvest spoken of by the prophet, which "is a heap, in the day of grief and desperate sorrows."

Oh!  that we who declare against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding great estates!  May we look upon our treasures, and the furniture of our houses, and the garments in which we array ourselves, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions, or not.  Holding treasures in the self-pleasing spirit is a strong plant, the fruit whereof ripens fast.

A day of outward distress is coming, and Divine love calls to prepare against it.  Hearken then, O ye children who have known the light, and come forth.  Leave every thing which Jesus Christ does not own. Think not his pattern too plain, too coarse for you.  Think not a small portion in this life too little.  But let us live in his spirit, and walk as he walked: so shall we be preserved in the greatest troubles.

- John Woolman, from "A Plea for the Poor," Part X