Suggested Reading for Isolated Friends
Books I can personally recommend:
- The Holy Bible. The Biiible Cafe has a searchable Bibles database of a number of translations of the Bible. It is really quite a remarkable feat.
- I highly recommend getting a subscription to "The Conservative Friend," a publication of Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends, published four times a year. The value of the subscription is $10 per year. Send donation made out to "The Conservative Friend" to Elvina Krekler, 1187 State Hwy 250, Adena, OH 43901. Any excess over $10 that a person contributes for a given year's subscription is probably tax deductible, because TCF is a publication of Ohio Yearly Meeting. It includes articles about Conservative Quaker faith and practice as well as a listing of Scheduled Meetings for Worship of Conservative Friends. Some older issues happen to be online at: http://www.conservativefriend.org/oympublications.htm.
- Anything offered by the Tract Association of Friends.
They offer many of their tracts for free on their website in text and pdf. I also highly recommend the book they publish of excerpts from George Fox's Journals called Early Prophetic Openings of George Fox.
- The Concurrence and Unanimity of the People Called Quakers . . .
Link to my full review.
- Autobiographical Writings of Early Quaker Women, edited by David Booy. I hesitate to list such a ridiculously expensive ($110 at the time of this writing) book. I purchased it when the exchange rate was much more advantageous to the US dollar. It is, nonetheless, one of my favorite books. The contents include large excerpts from Elizabeth Stirredge (which is actually available on my website Strength in Weakness manifested . . . or as a pdf A Strength in Weakness manifested . . ., by Elizabeth Stirredge (1634-1706), (320 KB pdf), The Autobiography of Mary Penington, available online,
- A Legacy or Widow's Mite, by Alice Hayes (1657-1720), and others not easily available elsewhere.
- Strength in Weakness by Gil Skidmore (not to be confused with Elizabeth Stirredge's Strength in Weakness Manifested) is a more economical collection of the writings of a number of early Quaker women, including Grace Hall Chamber, Lydia Rawlinson Lancaster, Ruth Alcock Follows, Catherine Payton Phillips, Sarah Tuke Grubb, Priscilla Hannah Gurney, Mary Alexander and Ann Crowley.
- The QuakerQuaker Library, there are a number of interesting things there at the time of this writing, including Journals of Elizabeth Stirredge (the version I typed up), Job Scott and John Woolman, Works of George Fox, old Rules of Discipline, Alice Hayes' A Legacy or Widow's Mite, and A Portraiture of Quakerism that I highly recommend for those who wish to understand how Friends lived their faith in the early 1800s.
- Quaker Strongholds, by Caroline Emelia Stephen available online in electronic format for free or for purchase.
I read this book the weekend after finishing my own extensive additional witnessing to the Truth on this website (~1st of Tenth Month 2006). As I read this pamphlet excerpted from her work I thought, she has already said it all, and said it all better. For a moment I bemoaned my "wasted" efforts. And then I rejoiced, realizing all over again how great God is and how permanent and unchanging his Truth in the Life and the Way. It was a revelation to read how Elizabeth Stirredge's experiences in the late 1600s so mirrored my own experiences today. Now I know that Caroline Stephen had these self-same experiences and was brought to the very same Truth in the mid-1800s. God is an Eternal Good whose Truth is available to all of us through the Inward Teacher, the Christ within, whose Light will illuminate for us all that is within us, and will help us root out the bad and to raise up the good.
- Advices and Queries
Friends have traditionally used Advices and Queries to remind ourselves of truths fellow Quakers have felt important to hand down over the centuries. Compact but helpful in providing an orientation to living in the Way and the Truth.
- Lloyd Lee Wilson's Essays On The Quaker Vision Of Gospel Order
I found this work heartening and affirming of my Quaker experiences.
- Robert Barclay's Apology
This book requires some heavy mental lifting, but an advantage is that it is very thorough and precise. Quaker Heritage Press has it for sale or for free online. This is not Dean Freiday's modern language edition. I found too much editing in that version. For a fuller documentation of the weakness of the Freiday version, see "An Examination of a Book Entitled Barclay's Apology in Modern English, Edited by Dean Freiday," by Larry Kuenning.
- Samuel Bownas' A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister
This book was the first by an early Friend that I read, and I was shocked by how a man writing centuries ago was describing spiritual experiences that mirrored my own. This book and its author are solid, wise, weighty, seasoned and of good savour.
- Brian Drayton's On Living with a Concern for Gospel Ministry
A modern version of Bownas' Qualifications, not perfect, but it is eminently readable, inspiring, and soberly enlightening.
- Thomas Kelly's A Testament of Devotion
I found this book full of richness that only comes from a life lived in the Way and the Truth.
- Pendle Hill Pamphlet 264, Paul Lacey's Leading and Being Led
One of my favorite resources on discernment. I return to it time and again.
- John Punshon's Encounter with Silence
A thorough overview of Quaker practice and experience, liberally sprinkled with the author's own spiritual experiences.
Suggested Quaker Journals
Books other Friends I admire have suggested but I have not yet read.
Quaker Spirituality: Selected Writings, edited by Douglas Steere.
It is recommended for its short passages and collections of passages from early Quakers.
A Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith
This work comes highly recommended as a well-loved companion and source of solace.
The God of All Comfort by Hannah Whitall Smith
Also offered to me as a book that may be a helpful and worthy companion for the isolated Friend.
Quaker Reader, edited by Jessamyn West.
Others tell me this book is an excellent source of a wide-range of Quaker writings on the Quaker spiritual experience.