"They comprise a small sect, with fewer than 200,000 members in the United States. But they know how to write. And write they do. Members of the Religious Society of Friends, popularly known as Quakers, have produced some of the most important literature of the last 350 years. Included among these are classics of devotional literature such as the journals of George Fox and John Woolman and works by William Penn. Quakers' influence in print has far exceeded their numbers," writes J. Brent Bill, a popular retreat leader, a Friends minister, and author of Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment and other books. He has edited and compiled this excellent anthology of ancient and modern Quaker writers.
As Bill points out in his very helpful introduction, Quaker believe in the continuing revelation of God and faith as something that must be lived out daily. Peace and simplicity as two cornerstones of this path; another is adherence to truth-telling in all arenas of life. Many of their early leaders spent time in prison for blasphemy and disturbing the peace. Quakers were considered outsiders on account of their unconventional worship, speech and theology, and their pacifistic stance.
Some of the best pieces in this stout-hearted collection include a section from Thomas Kelly's classic A Testament of Devotion; David Yount's essay on the gift of simplicity; Richard Foster's assessment of the spiritual disciplines; Scott Russell Sanders on the silence of a Quaker meeting; and Philip Gulley on the Quaker testimony against doing violence against others. There are also fictional pieces by James Michener, Jessamyn West, and others.