Being faithful in the little light received*
Readers of this blog may remember that my great-great grandfather John Simpson Hough was a Quaker. He came from a long line of Quakers who came to Bucks County from England in 1683. The Houghs prospered in Pennsylvania and had many children, many with the same names–such as Benjamin, Hannah, John, Joseph, Silas–which makes genealogy so challenging…But I digress.
After moving West, JSH no longer actively practiced his Quaker faith, but I believe no small part of the high esteem in which he was held was due to his reputation as a fine Quaker gentleman–truthful, (relatively well) educated and beyond reproach in legal and mercantile dealings.
Anyway, the Quakers have always fascinated me. I found this little book recently, written by Robert Lawrence Smith, the former headmaster of the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C., the largest Quaker day school in the U.S.
I highly recommend it.
The most valuable aspect of religion is that it provides us with a framework for living. I have always felt that the beauty and power of Quakerism is that it exhorts us to live more truthfully, more simply, more charitably. For many Friends, simplicity is a cornerstone of their faith that continues to define their daily lives….For Quakers, simplicity is truth’s twin virtue: The two concepts are seamlessly intertwined. Without simplicity of spirit, we are not prepared to receive the truth. And if we fail to act in accordance with the truth, we cannot let our lives speak.
* “Being faithful in the little light received, in that light I saw more light; and by it I was taught to trust in God in all my ways, and to consult him to direct my paths.”
(Increase Woodward, 1744-1822)