A Word from John Woolman
A Prophetic Ministry
In the 1st month, 1759, having found my mind drawn to visit some of the more active members in our Society at Philadelphia, who had slaves, I met my friend John Churchman there by an agreement, and we continued about a week in the city. We visited some sick people, and some widows and their families, and the other part of our time was mostly employed in visiting such as had slaves. It was a time of deep exercise, looking often to the Lord for His assistance, who in unspeakable kindness favoured us with the influence of that Spirit which crucifies to the greatness and showy grandeur of this world and enabled us to go through some heavy labours in which we found peace.
24th day, 3rd month, 1759. I was at our General Spring Meeting at Philadelphia, after which I again joined with John Churchman on a visit to some who had slaves in Philadelphia, and with thankfulness to our Heavenly Father I may say that divine love and a true sympathizing tenderness of heart prevailed at times in this service.
Having at times perceived a shyness in some Friends of considerable note towards me, I found an engagement in gospel love to pay a visit to one of them, and as I dwelt under the exercise I felt a resignedness in my mind to go; so I went and told him privately that I had a desire to have an opportunity with him alone, to which he readily agreed. And then in the fear of the Lord, things relating to that shyness were searched to the bottom, and we had a large conference which I believe was of use to both of us, and am thankful that way was opened for it.
14th day, 6th month, 1759. Having felt drawings in my mind to visit Friends about Salem, and having the agreement of our Monthly Meeting therein, I attended their Quarterly Meeting, and was out seven days, and attended seven meetings; in some of them I was chiefly silent; and in others, through the baptizing power of Truth, my heart was enlarged in heavenly love, and I found a near fellowship with the brethren and sisters, in the manifold trials attending their Christian progress through this world.
In 7th month, 1759, I have found an increasing concern on my mind to visit some active members in our Society who have slaves, and having no opportunity of the company of such as were named in the minutes of the Yearly Meeting, I went alone to their houses, and, in the fear of the Lord, acquainted them with the exercise I was under; and thus, sometimes by a few words, I found myself discharged from a heavy burden. After this, our friend John Churchman coming into our province with a view to be at some meetings, and to join again in the visit to those who had slaves, I bore him company in the said visit to some active members, in which found inward satisfaction.
— The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman
1758-1759, pages 96-97