Quaker Pamphlets


William Penn Lectures

These lectures were supported by the Young Friends' Movement of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which was organized on Fifth month thirteenth, 1916, at Race Street Meeting House in Philadelphia, for the purpose of closer fellowship. Forty-four lectures were given between 1916 and 1966 when the lectures were laid down.

Scanning and posting these pamphlets is an on-going project, and additional pamphlets will be added to this website. You can be notified when additions are made by sending email to webmaster@pamphlets.quaker.org

  • The Quaker of the Future Time
    By George A. Walton, 1916

    Speaking in part to the quietism of Quakerism in the past century, George Walton is wary of the attitude which holds that "The Divine Spirit belonged to another world and could not fully operate among the institutions of this." Work in the world was sometimes seen as contrary to the life of the Spirit. To the contrary, says Walton... ...More

  • The Christian Patriot
    By Norman M. Thomas, 1917

    What, indeed, is the relation between Christianity and patriotism? "No task is more imperative for the Christian than an examination of true Christian patriotism. How far are the terms compatible? What are the marks of the Christian in his social relations? What sort of state shall be the ideal for one who is trying to think in terms of the Kingdom of God?" ...More

  • The Christian Demand For Social Reconstruction
    By Dr. Harry F. Ward, 1918

    A resounding indictment of capitalistic industrialism, Dr. Ward speaks urgently from a Christian standpoint about the conditions of society of the day. Christianity, he says, "calls men to be born again, and these new-born men to create a new social order. It proclaims a social ideal and points out a dynamic by which it may be achieved. It is neither content with the world nor bent upon escaping from it. It will neither flee the evil that is in the world nor compromise with it." ...More

  • Religion as Reality, Life And Power
    By Rufus M. Jones, 1919

    Rufus Jones, professor of philosophy at Haverford College, is not one to mince his words, to couch his thoughts in vanilla-flavored jargon. Even in a small lecture like this Dr. Jones goes straight to the point without evasions. Here he addresses the essential question 'What is Religion?' ...More

  • The Basic Necessity for Spiritual Reconstruction
    By Howard W. Hintz, 1936

    Caught between two world wars, Howard Hintz, clerk of the New York Yearly Meeting Young Friends Movement, and professor of English at Brooklyn College, considers the condition of the Western world and the responsibilities of Quakers. ...More

  • The Open Life
    By Douglas V. Steere, 1937

    Douglas Steere, at this point an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College, reflects on his reading of our Quaker heritage: "As I read the journals, the letters and the essays of men like George Fox, Isaac Penington and William Penn, there is only one phase that I find adequate to describe what I find there: the power of an open life." ...More

  • Holy Obedience
    By Thomas R. Kelly, 1939

    Thomas Kelly begins quoting Meister Echart: "There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves." It is this second half that he implores us to take up, to follow in holy obedience. ...More

  • Sharpening the Edge of the Spiritual Message
    By Allen D. Hole, 1940

    Taking his texts from the Song of Deborah, and the story of Elisha at Dothan, Allen Hole focuses on the use of language in Biblical times, and our understanding of that language today.

    "The eternal truths contained in the story of Elisha at Dothan are sorely needed as we again and again face dilemmas which seem to demand as the price of solution the sacrifice of righteousness ......More

  • The Vital Cell
    By Rufus M. Jones, 1941

    As usual Rufus Jones does not skirt the issues: "What is it we were born to do; for what mission came we into the world as the bearers and exponents? As I see our mission, across the years behind us and in front of us, it is to demonstrate and exhibit a type of religion which reveals the life of God in the lives of men." ...More

  • The Practice of The Love of God
    By Kenneth Boulding, 1942

    "God is love. How do you respond to these three words?" With this provocative query, Kenneth Boulding begins an investigation into faith and practice in the midst of a world at war. "It is our duty to seek emotional truth, as it is to seek intellectual truth, and indeed as we seek them we shall find that they are not two truths, but one." ...More

  • Two Worlds
    By Henry J. Cadbury, 1944

    Henry Cadbury brings his reflections to illuminate the 'problem of opposites', the difficulty of making choices in a world where ambiguity predominates. The 'problem' exists, he maintains, in many cases because we consider our options as "either…or" instead of "both…and." ...More

  • The Light Within as Redemptive Power
    By Cecil E. Hinshaw, 1945

    Cecil Hinshaw is not satisfied with the course set by Friends: "Satisfied with mediocrity, contented with our comfortable plans for a secure future, pleased that our sins are seemingly small and overlooked by others who likewise do not desire complete purity ...More

  • The City of God And The City of Man
    By Gilbert H. Kilpack, 1946

    Days after the holocaust of Hiroshima, Gilbert Kilpack addressed us: "'Behold: in peace is my bitterest bitterness' - the words of the prophet Isaiah say what our hearts should say but cannot. Though our hearts break with bitterness, we are dumb, or we chatter without sense, for we are a people who lack even the wisdom of lamentation. ...More

  • A Radical Experiment
    By D. Elton Trueblood, 1947

    "Something has gone wrong in the modern world." So Elton Trueblood begins this discussion of Quakerism and the post-war times. "The upshot of most careful analysis is that the central trouble is in our inner lives rather than our outer condition... ...More

  • "In Apprehension How Like a God!"
    By Bayard Rustin, 1948

    Bayard Rustin, an activist in the civil rights movement and a strong proponent of peace actions was an important member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). In this essay Rustin asks important questions about the immorality of war, the urgency of conscience, and the responsibility of each of us to face injustice with integrity. ...More

  • The Flavor of Man
    By Jean Toomer, 1949

    Jean Toomer tells the story of Brother Lawrence suddenly becoming aware and convinced of the love of God: "Then and there that young man was given the flavor of man, for the primary ingredient of man's substance is love, love of God, love of man, and through love, a sense of unity with all creation." ...More

  • A Saint at Work: A View of Gandhi's Work and Message
    by Amiya Chakravarty, 1950

    “Viewing a world threatened by war, with darkening horizons of fears and mistrust, we pause before the single question: Is the nature of reality evil? We ask ourselves whether it is not rather goodness which is the ground of our being and the fabric of the Universe. Whether we should believe in peace or war would depend upon our answer to the basic evaluation of life.” ...More

  • The Joy That Is Set Before Us
    By Elise Boulding, 1956

    Elise Boulding, a noted sociologist and writer, is concerned that our pursuit of happiness takes us further and further away from the experiences of joy. "For the real difference between happiness and joy is that one is grounded in this world, the other in eternity... ...More

  • Peace and Tranquility: The Quaker Witnesses
    By Ira De A. Reid, 1958

    Speaking to an era when the cold war was being fought with a vengeance, Dr. Reid, a social scientist has thoughtful words on the value of Quaker witness and testimony. "The Quaker inward peace is at once scientifically tenable and spiritually propitious. It will permit its holders to have a religion of healthy-mindedness rather than one of weary, sin-sick souls... ...More

  • Quakerism and Politics
    By Frederick B. Tolles, 1956

    There are the two poles that Tolles discusses in this pamphlet. He views the history of Quakerism as an oscillation between extremes, and the main purpose of his lecture "is to trace historically the path of that oscillation, to underline some of the dilemmas in which Friends have found themselves in relation to politics, and, if possible, to draw from the record some conclusions which may have contemporary relevance." ...More

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