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Ru.fus Jones 


Also by David Hinsharw 







Elufus Jones in his book-lined study at 2 College Circle, Haverf ord. 

Photograph by Tyler Fogg 


Rufus Jones 



G. P. Putnam's Sons New York 


All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, must not be repro- 
duced in my form 'without permission. Published on the same 
day in the Dominion of Canada by Thomas Allen, Ltd., Toronto. 

Manufactured in the United States of America 


THE bibliography on pages 295-298 records the source ma- 
terial for this book other than that which came from more 
than forty years of close association with Rufus Jones and 
my lifetime of relationship with the Society of Friends. I owe a real 
debt to the authors of the articles, pamphlets, and books listed therein. 

I am especially indebted to The Macmillan Company, which pub- 
lished thirty-one of the fifty-six books Rufus Jones wrote, for their 
generosity in permitting me to quote from so many of them. 

I wish also to express my thanks to the Oscar S. Straus Memorial 
Association for its grant of funds to help carry out the research 

I acknowledge my debt to Amy L. Schaeffer, who helped in some 
of the research, to my daughter, Sarah Hinshaw Fraser, whose pho- 
tographs of South China scenes, specially taken for this book, add 
so much to its attractiveness, and to the large number of Rufus 
Jones's friends who, either in letters about him or in interviews, 
have been most helpful. 

Most of all I am indebted to Elizabether B. Jones and Mary Hoxie 
Jones, widow and daughter of Rufus; Dr. Henry J. Cadbury of 
Harvard University, brother-in-law and successor of Rufus as Chair- 
man of the American Friends Service Committee; Clarence E, 
Pickett, Executive Secretary, friend and colleague of Rufus on the 
Service Committee; and Dr. Gilbert F. White, President of Haver- 
ford College and one of Rufus' spiritual sons; for their willingness 
to read the manuscript for errors of fact or misinterpretation. 

They performed this service because they loved him. Because 
they are Friends, and therefore well trained in speaking with candor 
and kindness, they made many important suggestions that help to 


make this a more accurate and better rounded account of Rufus 
Jones's life and principles. 

Whatever errors the book may contain about him, either of com- 
mission or omission, are mine. 


Dunmow Farm 
West Chester 


WHEN I first met Rufus Jones and became his friend and 
follower nearly a half century ago, I was unable to under- 
stand how a man could be as good as he seemed to be. 

As I now look back over the long years of hundreds of contacts 
with him in the classroom, at Friends or committee meetings, in his 
home or mine, I know beyond all doubt that he was a good man. 

His story of triumphant goodness should serve as an antidote to 
the hate and cruelty that lingers in the hearts of so many men 
throughout the world. 

The book falls short of what it should be because I am not a good 
enough man to do justice to the wholly good man that Rufus was. 
He was, moreover, a man of such depth and size, a spiritual Paul 
Bunyan, that it would be difficult for one volume to contain all that 
should be recorded about his words and works and good life. 

The question also arises: What man is able to describe to another 
the awe and beauty of a glorious sunset? The most carefully chosen 
words fail to convey a picture of the swiftly changing wonders of 
soft, or bright colors, as the sunrays flash a gold band on the edge 
of a cloud, a silver fleece lining on this one, as it swiftly moves over 
the horizon on its divinely created and directed task of stimulating 
life, giving warmth and providing light to guide the steps of men 
on the other side of the world. There was something of the wonder, 
ineffable beauty and other worldness of the sunset in Rufus* spiritual 

There was also his rugged intellectual strength. And who is able 
to describe the sense of everlasting to everlasting and the grandeur 
and beauty, the massive strength that the inspiring Grand Teton 
mountain peaks give? One feels as one bathes in: this grandeur that 



they could have been the last mountains God made, and when He 
did so He said: "Now I know how to make mountains." 

Just as the beauty of a glorious sunset has something "out of this 
world," to use the phrase in its true meaning, so do the Grand Teton 
peaks. So it may have been when He made Rufus Jones. He knew 
how to make a good man, and great spiritual leader, and He made 

In and through the pages the reader will find that I have placed 
special emphasis on my belief that back of great and tender souls is 
high thinking and plain living, the lived ideals and the tender re- 
sponses to kindly impulses, the exercised restraint and the generous 
spirit of helpfulness of generations of ancestors. 

I hope, in recording my abiding, unqualified regard for him, that 
something of him as I saw and touched him, listened to and was 
inspired by him, and loved him may break through and give the 
reader a glimpse of the glory of God in a man and learn afresh how 
a modern saint is made. 

D. H. 




1. The Man, Rufus M. Jones 3 

2. Origin of the Quaker Movement in England 9 

3. Early Quakers in America 23 

4. Later American Quaker Development 33 

5. South China Jones History 41 

6. Living in Unity 48 

7. Rufus Jones Arrives 1863 

Birth and the Formative Years 54 

8. As the Twig Is Bent 63 

9. The Incalculable Influence of a Good Man 69 
.10. Broadening Horizons 78 

11. Rounding Out His Life in South China 89 

12. College and Enlarged Horizons 99 

1 3. No Turning Away from Teaching 1 14 

14. A Leader Is'Raised 125 

15. Minister and Lecturer 135 



1 6. In the Classroom and on the Campus 148 

17. Fruitful Years 161 

1 8. A Giver and Receiver of Friendship 174 

19. "Pain for Friend" 180 

20. The Friends Service Committee: 

An Adventure in Faith 194 

21. American Friends Fellowship Council 

and The Wider Quaker Fellowship 203 

22. An Interpreter and Exponent of Mystical Religion 210 
2 3 . Ruf us Jones, Author 221 

24. Retirement to Fruitful Work 232 

25. Sunset at South China 241 

26. Setting Out on the Great Trail 247 




INDEX 299 


Rufus Jones in His Study Frontispiece 

Facing page 

Rufus in 1885 60 

The House in Which Rufus Was Born 61 

South China, Maine 61 

A Quaker Meeting for Worship in 1900 76 

George Fox, William Penn, and Rufus Jones, the Great 

Quaker Triumvirate 77 

Rufus Jones in 2908 1 16 

Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia 1 17 

Founders Hall, Haverford 148 

Haverford College Students Entering Meeting Home 149 

Community Church in South China, Maine 188 

At Colgate University 189 

With Norwegian Ambassador Morgenstierne 204 

Mary Hoxie Jones 205 

Pendle Hill 24* 

Rufus Jones in 1933 *4 2 

Rufus and Elizabeth Jones in 1947 243 


Rufiis Jones 



The Man, Rufus M. Jones 

ON June 1 6, 1948, Rufus M. Jones died quietly in his sleep, 
concluding a busy life. 
He had been confined to his home since the previous 
March 21 when he had suffered a coronary occlusion from which he 
had made considerable recovery until April 16 on which date he 
suffered a second attack that seemed fatal. His eighty-five years of 
clean, wholesome living and his optimistic spirit, however, enabled 
him to overcome it. 

The week before he died his bed was moved to the first floor of 
his home so that he might sit on the porch and watch cricket matches 
on the adjoining field or to visit briefly with old friends who 
dropped in. 

During the morning of June 16, he dictated several letters, read 
proofs of his last book, and finished a speech he was scheduled to 
deliver within a few days at the New England Yearly Meeting of 
Friends, of which he was a lifelong member. 1 When he had finished 
these tasks he took a nap from which he did not awaken, 

Welsh, Irish, English, and a thin strain of French blood flowed in 
his veins. Back of him in direct line were four colonial governors 
and other men and women of distinction; two centuries of devout 
Quaker ministers, who had experienced religion and found truth and 
beauty. Still further back in his lineage was the preacher John Rob- 

1 This address appears as Appendix A. 



inson 2 who sent die Mayflower pilgrims from Leyden with the 
prayerful charge, "The Lord hath more truth yet to break forth out 
of his holy word. ... I beseech you remember . . . that you be 
ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from 
the written word of God." 

His superior blood strain, with its mixture of national strains, his 
gentle home life in which love rather than restraints fixed the pattern 
of relationships and his wholesome, down-to-earth existence com- 
bined to give him understanding. And in turn this understanding 
gave his eyes a faraway look that seemed to penetrate the heart of 
things. From his Celtic strain he inherited a contagious, bubbling 
sense of humor which, when crossbred with Yankee wit, gave it a 
twangy flavor. 

The life in his boyhood home was saturated with "the reality and 
the practice of love." Members of the family spoke to each other as 
"though love were ruling and guiding us." As a man he was unable 
to recall that his mother had ever once shouted at or scolded her 

His boyhood home was an old-fashioned one, a life-building cen- 
ter "where nurture went on all the time." The boy caught his par- 
ents' simple faith and "soon had one of his own." 

He learned in his boyhood to live and move in the epics of the 
Old Testament, Its dramatically thrilling accounts of the lives of 
David and Joseph, of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and of 
Daniel and the other great moral heroes helped to shape his life and 
character. Their deeds, he has written, "were more a part of me 
than movie actors or baseball heroes ever can be to a modern youth." 

His character was shaped by home life, and his tastes and outlook 
were given direction by the beautiful China lake with its changing 
beauty and the endless woods which teemed with bird life. 

The Jones family home was a small farmhouse. It had neither 
electricity, running water, bathroom, nor central heating today's 
requisites for comfortable living. Kerosene lamps, candles, and the 
fireplace furnished light at night, and wood stoves and the fireplace 
provided heat. Water for household purposes came from a nearby 
well. Such toys as he had were homemade. 

Inheritance, clean living, and an active outdoor life gave him a 

*Rufus M. Jones, A Small Town Boy (New York: The Macmillan Co., 
1941), p. 18. See also Rufus M. Jones, Eli and Sybil Jones (Philadelphia: Porter 
& Coates, 1889), pp. xo-xi. 


fine, strong body. He was five feet eleven inches tall and straight as 
an Indian, large but not fat. He walked with a long swinging stride 
which never lost that touch of awkwardness that farm-bred boys 
acquire from walking on plowed grounds or dirt paths. 

He learned, as all men learn who live close to nature, to be natural 
and genuine. The faith of his family made him cheerful. The annual 
demonstration of nature's bounty made him generous. His qualities 
of naturalness, genuineness, cheerfulness, and generosity made him a 
joy to all who knew him. Those who knew him or heard him speak 
were indelibly impressed with his character, sincerity, simplicity, 
and humility. His art in weaving pertinent anecdotes into his con- 
versations or his addresses lightened his messages and gave them 

One friend has written that "to meet him was to feel set up for 
the day because he always made one confident that the best was yet 
to come." What he did and said gave evidence of "the slowly fruc- 
tifying product of a deep-lying faith in a loving and victorious 
God" and a confidence, as he has written, "that Love works, and 
works triumphantly at the Heart of Things." Dr. James Rowland 
Angell stated in a letter to the author that Rufus was one of the 
two men he had ever known who approached "so nearly in their 
lives the Spirit of Christ." 

Neither the purity of his life nor his lofty spiritual purpose kept 
him from recognizing that men are as prone to wickedness as are 
sparks to fly upward. Knowing men and life, he shocked some good 
Friends in his early years by expressing the belief that the man who 
had yielded to temptation and had finally won his spiritual battle 
was a stronger, better man than the one who had never known sin. 
And he shocked some somnolent, good Quakers by saying that it 
was better for a man to be good for something than merely to be 

His close friend and long-time colleague on the Friends Service 
Committee, Clarence K Pickets, hasjvritten: 

tense moments in sober 

discussions; and now and again, and with equal naturalness, his voice 
lifted in prayer would have the same effect. He seemed to have con- 
tact with the flow of the eternal currents of reality; to pick them up 
out of the realm of the spirit and project them into the texture of 
life. At first sometimes his proposals seemed incredible and impos- 
sible, but I have never known anyone who lived to see as large a 
proportion of his dreams fulfilled." 


His sound qualities of heart and mind combined with his leader- 
ship qualities enabled him to gain followers in each of the divergent 
Quaker groups. All of them, despite their wide differences in inter- 
pretation of Quaker principles, delighted to take him into their heart 
of hearts, to accept him as the great modern leader and exponent of 
Quakerism at its best/They did so because he sounded the depths of 
the gospel and thereby bound "both the inner reality and the outer 
truth into one harmonious and consistent whole." 

He taught philosophy and psychology at Haverf ord College from 
1893 to 1934 and was professor emeritus of the department from 
1934 until he died. He was editor of the Friends Review and its 
successor, the American Friend, from 1893 to 1912. He visited and 
spoke at a great majority of Quaker meetings in the United States 
and England and he delivered one or more lectures at 106 8 colleges 
and universities in the United States, England, Germany, China, and 
South Africa. In addition he delivered scores of commencement 
addresses at schools and colleges. He served either as chairman or 
honorary chairman of the American Friends Service Committee 
from the time it was created in 1917 until his death, and he formed 
and headed the Wider Quaker Fellowship. As an interpreter, writer, 
and exponent of mystical religion, he gave new meaning to it and 
brought it into the stream of religious thinking in the English speak- 
ing world through his researches on the subject, which were largely 
recorded in the German language before he began his studies. He 
wrote fifty-six books and hundreds of magazine articles, editorials, 
and forewords to books by others. He was distinguished as a teacher, 
philosopher, minister, reuniter of Quaker groups, organizer and ad- 
ministrator, leader of men in spiritually based humanitarian works, 
prophet, seer, and a friend of everyone who knew him. 

One of the most remarkable things about him was that he was 
able to do so well all of the many things that he did and, equally 
astonishing, that he never seemed hurried. 

Only a man who was "an impenitent optimist," as he was called in 
the citation of the LL.D. degree, which his Alma Mater, Haverf ord 
College, bestowed upon him, and who possessed a cheerful, enthusi- 
astic, friendly, helpful spirit could have driven ahead and eventually 
give Quakerism a new, unifying direction and the spiritual purpose 
of man a fresh interpretation and impetus. 

"Appendix B lists the colleges and universities at which Rufus Jones de- 
livered addresses. 


He learned from his historical studies and writings that "the 
Quaker movement has never existed satisfactorily for itself alone, 
but has only come into its true significance when it has sought to 
contribute to the total civilization of which it is a part . . ." * He 
sought to correct this by bringing works to Quaker faith. 

He possessed many noble qualities. Among them were two which 
he found in the bobolink of his youth radiance and enthusiasm. 
These, combined with his appreciation as a boy of awesome woods 
and sunsets and his love of the clear stars of cold northern nights 
above his Maine farm home, all helped, as he has said, to give 
him an "appreciation of the beauty of human character the su- 
preme beauty our world has to offer." He found the reflection of 
his own character in others but never seemed to recognize it fpr 
what it was. 

There was something Olympian about him. Those who knew him 
felt instinctively that his faith would enable him to meet any crisis 
in life. He emanated goodness, in his smile, in his conversations, and 
in the purposes and results of all of his multitude of undertakings. 
He possessed the simplicity of a child and its direct, uninhibited 
warmth and graciousness. Although he lived and had his being in 
lofty spiritual realms he never lost his perspective about the men 
and movements in the physical world about him. His strength as an 
organizer and administrator lay in his kindness and tact. His hu- 
mility enabled him to serve in the ranks if need be and to "stand 
and wait" if that seemed best. But too much standing and waiting 
tended to make him restive. 

' Once when his friend, Dean Inge, "the gloomy Dean of St. 
Paul's," was his house guest, Rufus Jones saw that, following the 
English custom, his guest had left his shoes outside his bedroom 
door to be shined. Rufus Jones picked them up and worked on 
them till they shone. He repeated his shoeshine duties during the 
three days of the Dean's visit. Then, as the Dean was leaving, he 
handed a dollar to Dr. Jones saying, "I almost forgot the lad who 
has been doing such a wonderful job on my shoes. Give this to him, 
with my thanks." "I certainly will," Rufus replied with only his 
eyes smiling. "I know he'll be very grateful to you." 

A visitor who had traveled far to see him at his summer home in 
South China, inquired at the village blacksmith shop for directions 
to Dr. Jones's home. The blacksmith hesitated a moment and replied 

*D. Elton Trueblood, The Message of Friends for Today, pamphlet. 


that he had never heard of any Dr. Jones around there. Then, as the 
visitor started away, the smith called and asked, "You cain't mean 
Rufus can you?" 

He carried his youthful ideal of Quakerism and the good life 
over into his living, teaching, and ministry. His broadening horizons 
in boarding school, college, and in schoolteaching convinced him 
that doctrinal differences in many Quaker areas had been limiting 
the scope and restricting the strength of Quakerism. 

Before he had reached his thirtieth year he had decided that his 
mission in life was to be that of trying to correct this unhappy con- 
dition. He did this by lifting the eyes of Quakers everywhere to 
the movement's highest common ideals, by proclaiming a faith and 
a spiritual purpose, by creating noble work for Quakers to do, and 
by living a life of purity in an imperfect world. 

His appearance on the Quaker scene furnishes an excellent his- 
torical example of the meeting of a need of the times with the right 
leader as will be illustrated by a brief review of Quaker triumphs 
and troubles. 

Quaker though he was to the core, his teachings and his life's 
work extended far beyond Quakerism and he became a zealous 
advocate of a way of life that replaces hate with kindness, suspicion 
with trust and fairness. He measured his service to his Creator with 
the yardstick of his service to his fellow man. He devoted himself 
to the task of gaining communicants for the invisible church in 
which a friendly way of life for all men takes precedence over 
sacraments, doctrinal concepts, and denominational devotion "a 
Quaker candle who shed a universal light." 

He was moreover the inspiration and the leader of the effort that 
had turned the century-long gaze of Quakerism from attempted 
inward ecclesiastical purity through disciplinary dorfts to the out- 
ward effort of perfection through spiritual and humanitarian serv- 
ice. His efforts to substitute a do religion for a dorft one, aside from 
giving Quakerism of his generation a fresh purpose and new, mean- 
ingful force, served also to check the growth of divisions within 
the body that earlier had tended to make impotent this movement, 
which, as someone has written, has served for three hundred years 
as a "holding company for great ideas tolerance, peace, Christian 
kindness to the enemy, economic and social justice and active recog- 
nition of the brotherhood of man." All good men and women hold 
similar beliefs and seek to advance them but, for whatever reasons, 
have not succeeded in putting them into "communal practice." 


Origin of the Quaker Movement 
in England 

GLORGE FOX, the son of a weaver, started the Quaker 
movement in England in the late 16405 after he had dis- 
covered a living and personal relation to God during the 
period when Cromwell guarded the "liberty of prophesying" against 
presbyter and priest. 

He and his followers in the early period called themselves "Chil- 
dren of Light" because they sought the "living experience of Christ 
as the Light available for all." The name Quaker was given them in 
derision. According to George Fox's Journal: "Justice Bennett was 
the first that called us Quakers because we did bid him tremble at 
the word of the Lord. This was in 1650." Robert Barclay in his 
Apology states that they were given the name "because of the 
trembling Friends sometimes experienced in their meetings." 

As their beliefs crystallized they thought of themselves as "friends 
in truth" and friends of one another. They then adopted the name 
"Religious Society of Friends." 

They secured through the discipline of group fellowship, which 
recognized the authority of group experience, 1 die necessary checks 

1 "Good as the fellowship is, the fellowship would have been a failure if 
the enterprise had ended there. Friends soon saw that the final justification 
of the fellowship was the creative way in which it led people into the service 
of their fellow men. A concern arises when the deep experience of the knowl- 


on ideas and conduct which flowed from their emphasis, inner illu- 
mination and sense of urgency. 

One Yearly Meeting recently defined the Society of Friends as "a 
religious body which, having never required of its members the 
acceptance of any formula or belief, holds that the basis of fellow- 
ship is an inward experience, and that the essentials of unity are the 
love of God and the love of man conceived and practiced in the 
spirit of Christ." 

Others have defined the Society of Friends as a "holding company 
for a workable faith" in a troubled world, perhaps because its mem- 
bers place special emphasis upon man's spiritual purpose and have 
long sought to right ever-arising moral wrongs. The uniquejstrength 
othe Quaker movement lies in the efforts of its ^KSenS;to niafee 
what they jaj^jnd what they, do agree. In the final analysis it is as 
individuSTrather than as an organization that Quakers are effective. 
The movement's major contributions to society have been the im- 
portance it has placed upon the individual's conscience and leading 
and the sanction that it gives to the individual's concern by group 

The founders created the movement not as a new religious con- 
ception but instead as an integrator of ideas, aims, experiences, prac- 
tices, and aspirations, the fruit of long spiritual preparation. Their 
aim was to bring the whole Christian Church back from error to 

In his study of spiritual reformers in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, Rufus Jones came upon clear evidence that the great 
mystic Jacob Boehme "was an organic part of a far-reaching and 
significant historical movement a movement which consciously 
aimed ... to carry the reformation to its legitimate terminus, the 
restoration of apostolic Christianity . . ." JDr. Jones stated that these 
spiritual reformers had broken with Protestant theology and had 
gone the whole way to a religion of inward life and power, "to a 
Christianity whose only authority should be its dynamic and spir- 
itual authority." They sought, he wrote, to express religion realis- 

edge of God as revealed by Christ, and especially that knowledge which 
emerges in the minds of a genuine fellowship, leads those thus shaken to 
perform deeds of mercy to their neighbors wherever found. Thus the concern 
accomplishes the marriage of the inner and the outer; it joins, in miraculous 
fashion, the roots and the fruits of religion." D. Elton Trueblood, A Radical 
Experiment, William Penn Lecture (PMkdelphia: The Young Friends Move- 
ment, 154?)- 


tically as a way of life. Their spiritual heirs, the Quakers, sought 
also to make what they do rather than what they say express their 
way of life. As a result they have long traveled with the barest 
amount of theological baggage. 

The core of the Quaker belief is the Inner Light that intuition 
of the presence of God which enables the individual to learn how to 
discover and realize what is evil for him and by avoiding it to bring 
himself into harmony with the universal spirit. 

The ferment of religious thought during the upheaval of the 
Civil War in England in the Cromwellian period produced a multi- 
tude of "sects and schisms" as well as a host of people who claimed 
that they were inspired by God. These groups and leaders flourished 
because there were large numbers of earnest men and women known 
as "seekers" who found little or no satisfaction in the prevailing 
religions. The Quaker movement drew the greater part of its adher- 
ents from this group. George Fox seemed to them to be the 
"apostle" they were looking for because of his conviction that he 
had really found that for which they were seeking and because they 
believed that God had spoken to him as He spoke to the ancient 
prophets. "And as they came under Fox's influence, he led them 
into the same first hand experience that he himself enjoyed, so they 
found their leader and teacher was not Fox but Christ." 2 

"That," says Grubb, "is the real significance of the Quaker move- 
ment ... a recovery of the root and spring of primitive Christianity; 
an intense consciousness of a direct and personal relation with God 
through Christ . . ." 

The main difference between the position taken by Fox and his 
followers and that taken by the earnest, sincere Christian denomina- 
tions of that rime was that Fox and his group were prepared to trust 
,the personal experience "of the Spirit's immediate presence and 
guidance to such an extent" that they were willing to base the 
whole Quaker policy upon it. 

By doing so they swept away all outward safeguards such as an 
ordained ministry, sacraments, set forms of worship, and traditional 
creeds that had been created for the purpose of maintaining order 
and unity in the Church. Those opposed to the Quakers contended 
that without such safeguards there could be no protection against 

'Edward Grubb, What Is Quakerism? (London: George Allen and 
Unwin, Ltd., 1949), p* *5* 


on ideas and conduct which flowed from their emphasis, inner illu- 
mination and sense of urgency. 

One Yearly Meeting recently defined the Society of Friends as "a 
religious body which, having never required of its members the 
acceptance of any formula or belief, holds that the basis of fellow- 
ship is an inward experience, and that the essentials of unity are the 
love of God and the love of man conceived and practiced in the 
spirit of Christ." 

Others have defined the Society of Friends as a "holding company 
for a workable faith" in a troubled world, perhaps because its mem- 
bers place special emphasis upon man's spiritual purpose and have 
long sought to right ever-arising moral wrongs. The unique^strength 
o the Quaker movement lies in thejefforts i of its "Sah^nte to make 
what they sajgjtnd what they <Jo agree. In the final analysis it is as 
indmdualslrather than as an organization that Quakers are effective. 
The movement's major contributions to society have been the im- 
portance it has placed upon the individual's conscience and leading 
and the sanction that it gives to the individual's concern by group 

The founders created the movement not as a new religious con- 
ception but instead as an integrator of ideas, aims, experiences, prac- 
tices, and aspirations, the fruit of long spiritual preparation. Their 
aim was to bring the whole Christian Church back from error to 

In his study of spiritual reformers in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, Rufus Jones came upon clear evidence that the great 
mystic Jacob Boehme "was an organic part of a far-reaching and 
significant historical movement a movement which consciously 
aimed ... to carry the reformation to its legitimate terminus, the 
restoration of apostolic Christianity . . ." Dr. Jones stated that these 
spiritual reformers had broken with Protestant theology and had 
gone the whole way to a religion of inward life and power, "to a 
Christianity whose only authority should be its dynamic and spir- 
itual authority." They sought, he wrote, to express religion realis- 

edge of God as revealed by Christ, and especially that knowledge which 
emerges in the minds of a genuine fellowship, leads those thus shaken to 
perform deeds of mercy to their neighbors wherever found. Thus the concern 
accomplishes die marriage of the inner and die outer; it joins, in miraculous 
fashion, the roots and the fruits of religion." D. Elton Trueblood, A Radical 
Experiment, WSKam Penn Lecture (Philadelphia: The Young Friends Move- 
ment, 1947). 


tically as a way of life. Their spiritual heirs, the Quakers, sought 
also to make what they do rather than what they say express their 
way of life. As a result they have long traveled with the barest 
amount of theological baggage. 

The core of the Quaker belief is the Inner Light that intuition 
of the presence of God which enables the individual to learn how to 
discover and realize what is evil for him and by avoiding it to bring 
himself into harmony with the universal spirit. 

The ferment of religious thought during the upheaval of the 
Gvil War in England in the Cromwellian period produced a multi- 
tude of "sects and schisms" as well as a host of people who claimed 
that they were inspired by God. These groups and leaders flourished 
because there were large numbers of earnest men and women known 
as "seekers" who found little or no satisfaction in die prevailing 
religions. The Quaker movement drew the greater part of its adher- 
ents from this group. George Fox seemed to them to be the 
"apostle" they were looking for because of his conviction that he 
had really found that for which they were seeking and because they 
believed that God had spoken to him as He spoke to the ancient 
prophets. "And as they came under Fox's influence, he led them 
into the same first hand experience that he himself enjoyed, so they 
found their leader and teacher was not Fox but Christ." 2 

"That," says Grubb, "is the real significance of the Quaker move- 
ment ... a recovery of the root and spring of primitive Christianity; 
an intense consciousness of a direct and personal relation with God 
through Christ . . ." 

The main difference between the position taken by Fox and his 
followers and that taken by the earnest, sincere Christian denomina- 
tions of that time was that Fox and his group were prepared to trust 
,the personal experience "of the Spirit's immediate presence and 
guidance to such an extent" that they were willing to base the 
whole Quaker policy upon it. 

By doing so they swept away all outward safeguards such as an 
ordained ministry, sacraments, set forms of worship, and traditional 
creeds that had been created for the purpose of maintaining order 
and unity in the Church. Those opposed to the Quakers contended 
that without such safeguards there could be no protection against 

Edward Grubb, What Is Quakerism? (London: George Allen and 
Unwin, Ltd., 1949), p. *5 


anarchy and disintegration; hence they condemned the Quakers as 
"pestilent heretics." 

When the Restoration brought back the persecution of dissent in 
1660, the Quakers were also persecuted severely because they were 
averse to institutional religion with its priesthood, or dogma and 
sacraments. Stripes and imprisonment enabled them to win new fol- 
lowers by their display of patience and meekness under suffering. 

According to Trevelyan the Quakers' protest "against the snob- 
bery and man-worship of the time was invaluable, but sometimes it 
took very foolish forms." 8 

Fox called upon his followers, "Be patterns, be examples in all 
countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come: that your 
carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them: 
that you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering 
that of God in everyone. . . ." 

The best fears of Quaker opponents might have been realized 
had not the Children of Light insisted that there could be "no 
guidance of the spirit apart from a walking in the light." 

The late Bishop Wescott has written that, "In spite of every in- 
firmity and disproportion Fox was able to shape a character in those 
who followed him, which for independence, truthfulness, for vigor, 
for courage, for purity is unsurpassed in the records of Christian 
endeavor." 4 

8 George Macaulay Trevelyan, English Social History (London: Longmans, 
Green and Company, 1942), pp. 226-27. He adds: 

"The nature of early Quakerism in the lifetime of its founder (Fox died in 
1691) was a popular revivalism, profuse in its shrill utterance, making converts 
by the thousands among the common folk. In the reigns of William and Anne, 
the Friends had become numerically one of the most powerful of the English 
sects. They settled down in the Eighteenth Century as a highly respectable and 
rather exclusive 'connection,' not seeking to proselytize any more, but possess- 
ing their own souls and guiding their own lives by a light that was indeed 
partly the 'inner light* in each man and woman, but was also a tradition and a 
set of spiritual rules of extraordinary potency, handed on from father to son 
and mother to daughter in the families of the Friends. 

"The finer essence of George Fox's queer teaching, common to the excited 
revivalists who were his first disciples, and to the 'quiet* Friends of later 
times, was surely this that Christian qualities matter much more than Christian 
dogmas. No Church or sect had ever made that its living rule before. To 
maintain die Christian quality in the world of business and of domestic life, 
and to maintain it without pretension of hypocrisy, was the great achievement 
of these extraordinary people. England may well be proud of having produced 
and perpetuated them . . . 

* Brooke Foss Wescott, Social Aspects of Christianity (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1900), p. 129. 


As Grubb points out, the Quakers held, with all mystics, that 
"revelation and inspiration belong not to the past only but to the 
present; they kept their souls alert and expectant; they took the 
risk of trusting absolutely to the Spirit." 

^The Spirit, according to the Quaker concept, guides each indi- 
vidual with a light to the place where the Divine and human meet 
after the human conscience "has been gradually educated to a truer 
standard of right and wrong." John Woolman's Inner Light con- 
vinced him that slavery was wrong, although many Friends then 
held it to be right. But Woolman enabled them to see that it was 
wrong, that every individual regardless of color should be regarded 
as an end in himself, never as a means. Thus Woolman's Inner Light, 
reflecting the Light of God, helped educate the consciences of men 
on the question of slavery. Since the Quakers held that the Inward 
Light was the Light of Christ they were able to prevent abuse of 
guidance by those who felt that they could do what was right in 
their own eyes. 

"Fox did not stand merely or chiefly for the general principle of 
the Inner Light; he bore witness to the Inner Light as expressed in 
clear moral judgment and in a developing moral experience." 5 

Some understanding of the Quaker conception of the power and 
guidance of the Inner Light, both individual and corporate, is neces- 
sary because of its appreciable part in molding Quaker character and 
shaping Quaker customs. It is reflected in their way of worship, 
ministry, disuse of outward sacraments, refusal to take judicial oaths, 
conviction that war is sinful, extreme dislike of oppression and in- 
justice in human relations or in methods of church organization. 
The practices that mark Quakers may be found in each of these 
particulars, as well as in their belief in the direct and personal rela- 
tion of every human soul to God and "of the need for absolute 
sincerity and reality if His Light is to shine unobscured." 

Fox and his followers threw aside all human leadership and all set 
forms of church service and met together to worship in silence. 
They gave opportunity for every individual to offer words of 
prayer, testimony, or exhortation, provided the spirit led them. This 
continues to remain as the most distinctive and cherished "peculi- 
arity" of present-day nonpastoral Quakers. 

Fox believed that any Christian might minister to others if he was 
directly inspired by die Spirit. He believed that neither written 

"Herbert G. Wood, George Fox, pp. 114-115. 


sermons nor prayers read from a book were true ministry. So the 
early Quakers met to worship sometimes, as William Penn wrote, 
"Not formally to pray or preach . . . [but] waited together in 
silence, and as anything rose in anyone that they thought savoured 
of a Divine spring, so they sometimes spoke." 6 

Silence in Quaker worship was adopted as a means to the end that 
the worshipers offer "themselves to God in such true self-surrender 
that He can use them as He will." They believed that silence would 
facilitate the offering and remove the barriers that restrict divine 
liberty, and thereby be a positive affirmation that the presence of 
Christ among the worshipers was real enough to direct and to con- 
trol their gatherings. They needed a silence that is free to be broken 
by words of divinely prompted prayer or vocal ministry. They 
desired a freedom of worship, left not to one minister or from a 
prepared liturgy, to present God and to speak to the spiritual needs 
of those who are present. 

In his "Quaker Meeting," Essays to Elia, Charles Lamb, who loved 
silence deep as that "before the winds were made" and enjoyed at 
once "solitude and society" invited the reader to "retire with me 
into a Quakers' Meeting." Lamb, a non-Quaker, interprets and 
describes in a few paragraphs a fine understanding of the Quakers' 
silent form of worship. 

"For a man to refrain even from good words, and to hold his 
peace," he writes, "it is commendable: but for a multitude, it is great 
mystery. ... I have seen the reeling sea-ruffian, who had wandered 
into your receptacle with the avowed intention of disturbing your 
quiet, from the very spirit of the place receive in a moment a new 
heart, and presently sit among ye a lamb amidst lambs. . . . More 
frequently the meeting is broken up without a word having been 
spoken. But the mind has been fed. You go away with a sermon not 
made with hands. You have been in the milder caverns of Tro- 
phonius; or as in some den, where the fiercest and savagest of all 
^vild creatures, the TONGUE, that unruly member, has strangely 
lain, tied captive. You have bathed with stillness. O when the spirit 
is sore fretted, even tired to sickness of the janglings and nonsense- 
noises of the world, what a balm and solace it is to go and seat 
yourself for a quiet half -hour upon some undisputed corner of a 
bench, among the gentle Quakers." 

In his "Imperfect Sympathies" essay Lamb testified that he loves 

Preface to Fox's Journal (Bicentenary edition) p. xxv. 


Quaker ways and worship and venerates Quaker principles. He 
stated that it does him good for the rest of the day, "When I meet 
any of their people in my path . . ." but, he says, "I cannot like 
the Quakers (as Desdemona would say) 'to live with them/ I am 
all over sophisticated with humors, fancies craving hourly sym- 
pathy. I must have books, pictures, theatres, chit-chat, scandal, jokes, 
ambiguities and a thousand whim-whams which their simpler taste 
can do without." 

"In their very manner of worship," Percy Dearmer, an Anglican 
clergyman, wrote "the Quakers forestalled the discoveries of the 
new psychology. And that silent concentration of theirs exactly 
discovered and met the central weakness of Protestanism, which is 
still with usthe sacerdotalism that has led men to think that the 
rays of God's light can only reach the human heart through the dis- 
torted medium of a human preacher." 7 

Their reasons for the absence of music in nonpastoral Quaker 
meetings are: first, the early Quakers feared unreality if the wor- 
shipers expressed the solemn words of Christian experience without 
the thought necessary to make them their own; and, second, 
that considerable preparation is required before singing can be well 
done. This, they held, carried the danger of making it a perform- 
ance; hence they put singing on the same footing with preaching.or 
vocal prayer, and therefore left it open to the members to respond 
to the promptings of the spirit 

The Quakers based their belief in divine guidance in their min- 
istry upon their conviction that preaching calls for a higher kind of 
guidance than lecturing, which seeks to develop and inform the 
mind, that the purpose of preaching should be that of feeding 
the mind and converting the soul. 

It was inevitable that their conception of a minister's part in 
meetings for worship should bring them into sharp conflict with 
the authorities of the established church as well as with those of 
other large denominations. When they refused to pay tithes they 
were imprisoned and fined. 8 When, as a question of conscience, they 

7 Rev. Percy Dearmer, The Fellowship of Silence, edited by Cyril Hepher 
(London: The Macmttlan Company, 1917), p. 175- 

8 The Quaker refusal to pay church tithes defied the law of the land and 
because of their overmastering sense of loyalty to a higher authority they 
continued to bear "testimony against the anti-Christian yoke of bondage a 
yoke direcdy contrary to the liberty wherewith Christ had made us free. 

Because neither imprisonment, confiscation of their property, fines, nor 


refused to pay the fines assessed against them, they were kept indefi- 
nitely in the jails of England which at that time were indescribably 
horrible. Government officials came to many of their meetings for 
worship and attempted to create riots. 

Official persecutions forced Quakers to provide for their dis- 
tressed members and their families. Zealots that they were they 
provided also for the publication of tracts that presented truth as 
they interpreted it. Having no regular places of worship, they had 
to secure places for meetings. These needs compelled them to form 
some kind of church organization. 

The earliest Monthly Meeting was established at Swarthmore in 
the north of England in 1653. A second one was formed at Durham 
the following year. The special purpose of the Swarthmore meeting 
was stated to have been the care of the poor and "to see that all 
walked according to the Truth." 

Previous to -1660 several General Meetings of Friends were called 
mainly for the purpose of spiritual fellowship and the proclamation 
of the word. Collections for the poor were usually made as well as 
for "the service of Truth." Some of these meetings prepared and 
sent letters of advice and encouragement to Friends elsewhere. Two 
such General Meetings were held in 1658. The minutes of one of 
these meetings contain the first mention of "overseers," officers who 
had charge of administering funds. The first session of the London 
Yearly Meeting was held in London in 1660. 

It was during his long imprisonment in 1665-6 that George Fox 
first felt the urgent need of organizing the meetings. In the years 
following he traveled over England recommending to Friends "the 
setting up of Quarterly Meetings [composed of two or more 
Monthly Meetings] and Monthly Meetings in all counties for look- 
ing after the poor, to take care of orderly proceedings in marriages 
and other matters relating to the Church of Christ." 

Fox's ideal for the Society he was organizing "was that of a com- 
plete democratic theocracy." Every living adult member was given 

cruel physical punishment were able to move them from this position they 
were able to advance and gain adherence to the principle or freedom of 
worship for all people everywhere. The total amount of fines and distraints 
the English Government levied on Friends for their refusal to pay church 
tithes between 1730 and 1830 was 767,619. This large sum, however, repre- 
sented only a small portion of the price Quakers have paid to help establish 
the principle that every man is entitled to worship God in the manner he 


an equal voice in arriving at decisions so long as all was done under 
divine leading and life. The Monthly Meeting rather than a congre- 
gation, because many of the local meetings were small and weak, 
was made the unit of control. These local groups were given auton- 
omy, subject to certain control from the larger Quarterly Meeting 
groups which in turn were under the Yearly Meeting. It became the 
legislative body with power to state the Society's principles and, 
when necessary, to alter the discipline. Each Monthly Meeting had 
unfettered power to admit new members, to care for its own poor, 
or even to admonish or to expel disorderly members, the last power 
being subject to the right of appeal to higher meetings. 

The business meetings were presided over by a "clerk" who com- 
bined the functions of a chairman and a secretary. His duty was to 
prepare and direct the business of the meeting and to keep the min- 
utes. All business meetings were begun with a devotional pause. 
After a proposal had been made and discussed the clerk read a min- 
ute that embodied what he believed to be "the sense of the meeting." 
The factors he employed in reaching his decision were the weight of 
the arguments used, the experience and the previously demonstrated 
sound judgment of the speakers. No vote was taken by the early 
Friends nor has one ever been taken in nonpastoral Friends' meetings. 
When and if general approval did not seem forthcoming the ques- 
tion was passed on for further consideration in the future because 
of the Quaker principle of going forward in unity. 

The newly formed organization sought to impress its ideals of 
Christian living upon its members with "general advices" and the 
Queries, 9 which are read at least once each year in Monthly Meet- 

The principal officers of the new Society were overseers and 
elders, who were appointed by Monthly Meetings. The overseers' 
duties were largely pastoral in character while those of the elders 
were more concerned with the spiritual life of the meeting and with 
giving advice or help to members who spoke in meetings for worship 
or with giving loving admonition to those who might trouble the 
meetings with unhelpful utterances. 

Fox and his followers created no office of minister, but they pro- 
vided that, when a Friend spoke often and acceptably, a proposal 
would be made in the Monthly Meeting that his (or her) gift in the 
ministry should be formally recognized after which the individual 
* See Appendix C for present-day Queries. 


became a "recorded minister." (This was the procedure by which 
Rufus Jones was made, or "recorded/* a minister by his home meet- 
ing in Maine in 1890.) This recognition conveyed no privilege 
except that of attending certain meetings. 

The Quakers had no clearly defined membership at first. Anyone 
who attended their meetings and appeared to be "convinced" was 
regarded as a Friend. In time, however, as the organization grew 
(especially after the Toleration Act of 1689), and also because of 
Friends' efforts to relieve the wants of their own poor so that they 
might not become a public charge, and because of the receipt of 
gifts and legacies, it became necessary to define exactly who had a 
right to share in such benefits. Out of these needs grew the practice 
of keeping an exact list of the members of each Monthly Meeting. 
They did so by following the apostolic principle that children share 
the religious status of their parents, and adopted the "birthright" 
membership custom. They provided also that frequent attenders at 
Quaker meetings for worship who desired to become members 
might open the way for consideration by addressing a letter of ap- 
plication to the clerk of the Monthly Meeting. Following receipt of 
this the applicant was interviewed by a small committee, and if its 
report was satisfactory, the applicant .was admitted to membership 
at the next meeting. With slight variations this procedure is still 
followed in Quaker meetings. 

It was natural that a group of people who sought to live as well 
as to profess the principles Christ taught should object to war, 
oppose the taking of oaths in courts of justice, use plain speech 
when form and ceremony with court speech sought to place one 
individual above another, call the days of the week and the months 
of the year by their numbers instead of by their "heathen" names 
(First day for Sunday, First month for January, etc.). This latter 
usage has largely been discarded. Plainness of dress, which gave 
evidence of humility, also seemed necessary to them. They longed 
to get behind conventions and formalities and to penetrate to reality 
and ultimate value. 

The earnest, early Quakers, who had a passionate longing for 
inward sincerity and reality and an alert feeling of equal worth of 
all men in divine sight, refused to make distinctions in their speech 
to superiors or inferiors and used "thee" and "thou" to all alike. 
This conviction led them to keep their hats on even in the presence 


of judges and magistrates on the ground that the honor of removal 
of the hat should be reserved for God alone. 

At first the early Quakers had no uniformity of costume except 
that they strove to clothe themselves with plainness and simplicity 
although early women Friends clung to bright colors for some years. 
Their objection to following the changing fashions of the world 
led them to retain a dress the plainness of which began to approach 
uniformity and in time to degenerate into a new formalism. They 
held, however, that simplicity and beauty could go together just 
as ostentation and ugliness may and holding that belief they sought 
for what they believed to be "true values" in a world with many 
false values. 

Their ideal of simplicity caused them to avoid spending money 
on things they could not afford, and therefore they ruled out many 
of the customary forms of recreation such as dancing and the thea- 
ter. They were also influenced in this by their ideals which involved 
a great deal of Puritan strictness. 

Because the early Quaker wanted transparency and reality for his 
life, he required more than inward purity. This desire made him 
strive to do to others as he would have others do unto him in his 
business affairs. In this effort Quakers in business set fixed prices on 
their goods. At first they lost some customers but later, as Quaker 
integrity came to be recognized, they prospered greatly as all men 
still do who are honest from principle. They set out to make the 
world their friends. 

During its first century of existence the Quaker movement was 
dynamic and militant. It carried its message to the world. The deep 
faith and zealous spiritual purpose of the early Quakers combined 
with their courage in the face of persecution gave the movement 
direction and strength. Persecution also made martyrs of the early 
Quakers, and martyrdom always pays splendid dividends when the 
cause is worthy. In their case it gave them many new members and 
it increased the steadfastness in faith of those who already followed 
its banner. 

The "testimony" that brought the early Quakers great suffering 
concerned their refusal to take oaths in courts of justice. Their posi- 
tion rested on the emphatic demand Christ made in the Sermon on 
the Mount, "Swear not at all." They held further that the reason 
an oath is required in a court of justice is that its terrors are neces- 
sary for a person who otherwise will not speak the truth. This, they 


insisted, indicated a low standard of truthfulness. Because they were 
truthful, sincere men, who felt that they could not disobey Christ's 
command, they stubbornly refused to conform to a custom that 
implied doubt of a man's truthfulness and that in addition helped to 
establish a double standard of honesty. Following the Toleration 
Act of 1689 Friends in England were permitted to "affirm" instead of 
taking an oath. Careful research shows no one either in England or 
the United States ever has been convicted of making a false af- 

After the founding fathers died tolerance in worship caught up 
with the Quakers and persecution ceased. The world at large also 
began to adopt some of the major measures Friends had advocated. 
When these things happened the Quakers lost some of their earlier 
zeal and the movement lost much of its earlier momentum. In time 
it began to flounder and continued to do so during the second half 
century of its existence. Its members made a fetish of established 
customs and clung tenaciously to them on the apparent assumption 
that by so doing they would be made good Quakers for the glory 
of God. 

The principle on which rests the generations-old Quaker "testi- 
mony" against war was stated in "A declaration from the harmless 
and innocent people of God, called Quakers," 10 which was pre- 
sented to King Charles II on November n, 1660, 257 years to the 
day before World War I Armistice Day. 

"We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fightings with 
outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatsoever; 
this is our testimony to the whole world . . . the Spirit of Christ, by 
which we are guided, is not changeable so as once to command us 
from a thing as evil, and again to move unto it; and we certainly 
know, and testify to the world, that the Spirit of Christ which leads 
us into all truth, will never move us to fight and war against any 
man with outward weapons, neither for the Kingdom of Christ nor 
for the Kingdoms of the world." 

The emergence of the Quaker conviction of the unchristian char- 
acter of war was "the natural outcome of their mystical ,and experi- 
mental Christianity," a direct and inevitable result of their belief in 
the Inward Light which was the light in their souls of the living 

The fourteenth-century mystics, the humanists in succeeding 

M George Fox's Journal, pp. 494-499. 


centuries with their ethical aspirations, and the Waldensians with 
their moral strivings made up the streams that joined to help make . 
Quakerism. Each of these groups placed the central emphasis of its 
belief on the "sacredness of human life." It was natural, therefore, 
that their spiritual heirs, the Quakers, would make the peace testi- 
mony an inherent and indissoluble part of their belief and way of 
life. The Quaker testimony against war was sharpened and strength- 
ened under attack. The Quaker belief that there "is that of God in 
every individual" the hard central core of Quakerism caused them 
to hold the personality of man to be sacred. Thus their belief in 
world brotherhood, their literal acceptance of the truth that "the 
work of righteousness shall be peace" and of the inspiration of the 
life, teachings, and death of Jesus with its conclusive implication of 
the power of Christian love to overcome evil with good have en- 
abled them to cling to and advocate their peace testimony. 

Next to their peace testimony Quakers are perhaps best known 
for their humanitarian works. Endeavoring as the early Quakers did 
to live lives that were in conformity with the spirit and teachings 
of Christ, they sought to remove the causes of distress and suffer- 
ing. By doing so they transformed charity into philanthropy, and 
thereby sought to elevate human life on a larger scale to deal with 
individual hardships. Their humanitarian work also was a direct ' 
consequence of their belief that the "seed" of God was in all men. 
Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania on liberty, justice, and 
faith one of the world's finest expressions of philanthropy. John 
Sellers, 11 a friend of Penn, first pointed the way for Quaker hu- 
manitarian service when in 1695 he prepared for Parliament his 
famous "Proposals for Raising a College of Industry of all Useful 
Trades and Husbandry, with Profit for the Rich, A Plentiful Living 
for the Poor and a Good Education for Youth." His proposals led 
to the establishment, in 1697, by the London Yearly Meeting, of a 
school in Clerkenwell, one of the first, if not the first, manual train- 
ing school ever established. 

Holding absolute faith in the constructive power of love as they 
did the early Friends sought to reorganize the social order by love 
but neglected to work out any scientific method for implementing 
their social and economic principles. They relied instead upon the 
central truths of the New Testament as made clear to them in 

11 Karl Marx in. Capital described Sellers as "A veritable phenomenon in the 
history of political economy." 


their own interior discoveries of the present Christ. They swung 
their course away from the existing compromising theory of life by 
following these convictions and set out to determine the result when 
and if these gospel truths could be placed in operation. 

Perm's and Archdale's (Governor of North Carolina) just treat- 
ment of the Indians, the Quaker slavery record, their continuing 
social work, and their penal work are all in the same pattern. It was 
true also of their pioneering activities in the care of the insane who, 
until Quaker William Tuke founded the Retreat at York, England 
in 1792, had been regarded with wonder and horror and treated 
with terrible cruelty. Their humanitarian work was colored and 
influenced by their moral purpose. 

The central interest and purpose of the early Quakers was that of 
following what they believed to be the right course. This rather 
than any quick results they might obtain was what tipped their 
scales. They felt rather than reasoned what was right. When they 
became convinced which course was right and which one was 
wrong they moved forward and entertained no fears. Thus right 
rather than reason largely determined their position on moral ques- 
tions. They did not exclude common sense and reason but did not 
permit them to tip the scales against right. 

Cradled as it had been in the individualism of the Spirit that 
"finds its own way under some sense of direct guidance from God," 
early Quakerism created a pattern that naturally and inevitably 
would have produced a large number of freewheeling, opinionated 
individuals had they not been checked, guided, and tempered by 
divine guidance and group fellowship. 

Wrong as they may have been proved to be on many questions 
and issues, exasperating as they may at times be to many non- 
Quakers, later Quakers nevertheless continue to follow the pattern 
created for them by the founders of the movement. They continue 
ready to differ with others on many moral issues because they con- 
fidently hold the assurance that they humbly and prayerfully seek 
for light and, to the best of their ability, use the light they find in 
an effort to iearn more of the will of God. 


Early Quakers in America 

f I ^ HE first Quakers to come to America were two women, 
I Mary Fisher and Jane Austin, who came under the compul- 

JL sion of their belief that they were apostolic messengers 
under divine direction. When they landed at Boston in 1656 the 
Massachusetts Bay Colony authorities ordered them kept on ship- 
board, while their luggage was searched for "corrupt, heretical, and 
blasphemous doctrines." Their Quaker tracts were burned by the 
common hangman in the Boston market place. 

The Bay Colony officials committed the women to prison for five 
weeks on the charge that they were Quakers despite the absence of 
any law that made being a Quaker a punishable offense. Jailers 
closely boarded the prisoners' windows to prevent their speaking to 
anyone. As a final indignity they stripped die women "stark naked" 
and searched them for witchcraft "tokens." In the end the two 
women were shipped back to Barbadoes from which they had come. 

Colonial officials gave no satisfactory answer to the question later 
asked: "Why was it that the coming of two women so shook ye, as 
if a formidable army had invaded your borders?" 1 

The authorities quickly repaired their ordinance breaches by add- 
ing specific enactments against the terrible Quakers, their "horrid 
opinions," their "diabolical doctrines," their dangerous leaven of 
"mutiny, sedition, and rebellion," and their subtle designs "to over- 
throw the order established in the church and commonwealth." 

1 George Bishop, New England Judged, (London: T. Sowle, 1703), p. 7. 



One might be startled if one compared the similarity of conditions 
by changing the date from 1656 to 1950 and shifting the scene from 
our land to those behind today's Iron Curtain and shifting the search 
from religious literature to that which deals with social, political, 
and economic subjects; 

One conclusion such a comparison brings is that if it has been 
possible for the people of one country to move from extreme re- 
ligious intolerance to reasonable tolerance, the area of man's most 
profound and tenacious beliefs, it may also be possible, in God's 
good time, for universal mankind to move from the point of extreme 
intolerance of social, economic, and political beliefs to one of reason- 
able tolerance in another three centuries. 

Massachusetts Bay Colony officials continued to indicate for nearly 
a century that they wanted no Quakers under any circumstances. 
Connecticut displayed similar feelings. In many communities they 
confiscated Quakers' property, jailed them, and whipped them from 
town to town at the end of an oxcart, and persecuted them in the 
most approved fashions of the day. In a final effort to outdo them- 
selves the Puritans hanged four Quakers on Boston Common. 

The early Dutch settlers in New York persecuted the Quakers, 
and Episcopal Virginia at first went almost to Massachusetts' 

Because the early Quakers submitted to their persecutions with 
Christian humility and courage they were enabled to make a major 
contribution to the principle of freedom of worship in the new 
world. As time passed even the most cruel of the colonial authorities 
lost their enthusiasm for persecuting a gentle people of simple faith. 

For their part the Quakers demonstrated that they were friends of 
liberty, and they advanced and strengthened the principles of free- 
dom in several ways. One was by suffering for conscience's sake 
which they were willing to do because it called for a form of re- 
sistance that did not involve killing others. Another way by which 
they strengthened the principles of freedom was through William 
Perm's action of granting full religious liberty to all Pennsylvania 
settlers, then a comparatively new concept. 

Penn carried his complete faith in the Tightness of religious free- 
dom over into the field of civil liberty. "We put the power in the 
people," he said, "and stuck to it in the face of predicted confusion 
and anarchy." 


Some early evidence of the effectiveness of the principle that man 
prospers best when the soul is free was furnished in a speech deliv- 
ered in 1739 by non-Quaker Andrew Hamilton, then a member and 
long-time speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, in which he stated 
that the previous years of unprecedented prosperity in the province 
came "neither from the fertility of its soil or the great rivers or 
other natural advantages but that the growth in population, wealth 
and trade is principally and almost wholly owing to the excellency 
of our Constitution under which we enjoy a greater share both of 
civil and religious liberty than any of our neighbors." 

Busy as were Pennsylvania Friends in building homes and clear- 
ing the wilderness for farms they were not too busy to be con- 
cerned about moral wrongs. This is demonstrated by the action 
which the Germantown Monthly Meeting took against human slav- 
ery in 1688. The meeting in that year adopted a minute, the first 
formal group protest ever made against slavery, and sent it to the 
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The minute declared: 

"There is a liberty of conscience here which is right and reason- 
able, and there ought to be likewise liberty of the body, except for 
evildoers, which is another case. But to bring men hither, or to rob 
and sell them against their will, we stand against." 

The Yearly Meeting deferred action, but the seed was sown. Prob- 
ing deeper into their consciences and feeling their way as they 
went, the Quakers experienced a feeling against the purchase of 
slaves. In 1730, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting responded to the grow- 
ing Quaker uneasiness on this subject voiced by the Chester Monthly 
Meeting. Its minute stated that "Friends ought to be very cautious 
of making any such purchases for the future." The Yearly Meeting 
advised Monthly Meetings to admonish and caution offenders in this 
matter and thereby made the minute more than a mere verbal 


It was not, however, until sensitive and tender John Woolman got 
under the burden of the slavery issue that colonial Friends became 
clear in their minds on the subject. The methods by which the 
Quakers finally decided their position on slavery furnishes an excel- 
lent illustration of how they reach their conclusions. In this instance, 
as in many others, Friends generally were slow to accept new con- 
cepts. Always, however, on important issues, leaders such as John 
Woolman in the slavery issue, and Rufus Jones in our century on 


many issues, surged far ahead of the body of Friends and set them- 
selves to the task of bringing the body along. 

John Woolman's pure soul and his passionate earnestness coupled 
with his persistent labors clarified Friends' thinking and consciences 
to the point where they decided that ownership of slaves on any 
terms was inconsistent with Christian ethics. He carried his message 
to Friends all along the eastern seaboard, north and south, but it 
was not until his second tour of visits to Quaker areas that tangible 
results came from his efforts. Following his stirring appeal to the Phil- 
adelphia Yearly Meeting in 1758, that body appointed a committee 
to visit Friends and induce them to free their slaves. By 1780 no 
Quaker in Pennsylvania held slaves. 

By the end of the eighteenth century Friends in America were 
entirely free of slaveholding and had begun to extend their testi- 
mony against slavery beyond their own membership to a larger 
sphere. They presented petitions to the state legislatures in the 
17805 that asked for laws to abolish slavery. Southern conditions 
prompted them to advocate the adoption of laws that would facili- 
tate the manumission of slaves. They successfully accomplished this 
in Virginia but the conditions for emancipation remained prohibi- 
tive in North Carolina. Slaveholding Friends overcame this obstacle 
by assigning their slaves to the North Carolina Yearly Meeting. 
The Yearly Meeting did not acquire title to many slaves since slave- 
holding by Friends in that province was nominal. The meeting 
committee in charge of this service helped to get the Negroes as- 
signed to it to free jurisdictions when possible. 

Many Friends engaged in general antislavery work during the 
final period of their growth in spiritual grace about the evil of hu- 
man slavery. There occasionally was a somewhat sharp difference of 
opinion between active workers for abolition and more conservative 
Friends during the first period of the abolition movement. 

The iniquity of slavery created new and serious problems for 
those Quakers who lived in Virginia and the Carolinas. They freed 
their slaves and then sought to leave the section where slavery ex- 
isted for the northwest territory where slavery was prohibited by 

Joseph Drew, a minister who belonged to the Trent River 
Monthly Meeting in North Carolina, was the first Quaker leader to 
point the way for this dramatic movement in which thousands of 


Quaker families in the South eventually participated. He returned 
home in 1799 from an exploratory trip to Ohio and solemnly told 
his fellow Quakers, "I see the seed of God sown in abundance, ex- 
tending far northwestward." 

The numbers of Friends wHo joined in this migration that soon 
began to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and the hardships they encoun- 
tered are paralleled in American history only by the migration of 
the Mormons to Utah. Some estimates indicate that nearly 18,000 
Friends left the Southern states for the Northwest territory during 
the fifty years that followed the beginning of a migration so great 
that many Quaker communities in Georgia and South Carolina 
entirely disappeared as did some in North Carolina. Nineteen 
monthly meetings in these three states were "laid down," that is, 
passed out of existence. Some North Carolina meetings, though 
greatly diminished, had enough vitality to survive. Many entire 
meetings transferred their membership to newly formed Western 

The migration followed certain routes. Carolinians favored the 
Kanawha Road and the Kentucky Road (through Cumberland 
Gap). The first ones went on horseback; later travelers made the 
long hard trip in two-horse wagons and two-wheeled carts covered 
with muslin or linen. The horses were hitched with husk collars and 
rawhide traces. The travelers were frequently followed by runaway 
Negroes to the free land north of the Ohio River where many large 
Quaker communities were established. 

The turning point in American Quakerism had come, however, 
nearly a half century before the migration to the Northwest started. 
It came when in 1756 Friends began to withdraw from public 
office in Pennsylvania. They did so because, as members of the 
provincial legislature, they refused to approve appropriations for 
support of the British Government's wars with the French and 

Their refusal prompted colonial British Government officials to 
ask English Quaker leaders "to use their influence to have Pennsyl- 
vania legislators who were Friends to withdraw from the house." 
Following the colonial office request, "a delegation from London 
Yearly Meeting was sent over to enforce by urgent representation 
this course of action. . . . Thus ended in 1756 the Quaker regime. 
They could not carry on a state of war. . . . Their Yearly Meeting 


. . . fully endorsed the London Friends and asked all its members to 
keep out of compromising offices. Committees of the monthly meet- 
ings labored incessantly to bring this about." 2 

Isaac Sharpless, President of Haverford College 1887-1917, an 
authority on Quaker history, has described the process by which 
this change in Quaker political policy was brought about. Following 
the arrival in America of the London Yearly Meeting's representa- 
tives and their presentation of that meeting's concern, "a large and 
influential committee" of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting sent a 
report to it that 'warned "against allowing" the "examples and in- 
junctions of some members of our Society who are employed in 
offices and stations in our civil government . . ." It also recom- 
mended that the Yearly Meeting should "advise and caution against 
any Friends accepting of or continuing in offices or stations whereby 
they are subjected to the necessity of enjoining or enforcing the 
compliance of their brethren or others with any act which they may 
conscientiously scruple to perform. . . . The meeting adopted the 
report and issued a minute largely in its language." 8 

When the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting counseled its members not 
to hold public office it ushered in a period in which the political 
Quaker's influence in the Society moved toward the vanishing point 
while that of the ecclesiastical Quaker's began to dominate the life 
of the Society. 

The withdrawal from the public arena by the then largest and 
strongest unit of the Society, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, how- 
ever, was not so much an act in and of itself, opening the way for a 
decline in its influence and usefulness, as it was a manifestation of 
a weakening of the Society's fiber. 

This change in Quaker outlook, purpose, and method is under- 
standable in part because of the tendency of man to weary of well- 
doing, in part by the fact that Quakers had won or were winning 
most of their contests of principle, and in part because they lost 
their way in a period of swift social, political, and economic change. 
As they withdrew more and more to their communities, meetings, 
and membership, they lost touch with the restlessness of men's minds 
in a period that was soon to produce Emersons, Carlyles, and other 

Isaac Sharpless, The Quakers in American Colonies (New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1911), pp. 492-93. 

Isaac Sharpless, A History of Quaker Government in Pennsylvania (Phila- 
delphia: T. S. Leach and Company, 1900), Vol. I, pp. 261-62. 


leaders who caught glimpses of and interpreted new intellectual and 
spiritual horizons. 

In all probability few if any Friends suspected that their 1756 
advice to members to withdraw from participation in government 
was more than temporary in nature. Although they did so there is 
evidence that the Quaker influence continued to exert itself in 
politics for some time. John Adams, who attended the meetings of 
the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, found it to be almost 
too strong to be resisted. It would be difficult to determine how 
greatly Quaker principles and practices influenced people's thinking 
and actions in the early days of the republic as they were wafted 
through the air and served as pollen to fertilize the thinking of the 
settlers of the new world. The waning of their influence was grad- 
ual for the same reason, perhaps, that the grandeur of great deeds 
and of sunsets continues long after the deeds were performed; long 
after the sun has set and even when the heroes become only names 
and the sunset's afterglow has faded some of it lives in the record 
and kindles the spirit of man. 

Other causes, however, helped to bring about a shift of forces 
within the Society. Some of these were: Its leaders at the period 
lacked insight into the historical development of their religious 
movement. Still another one was Quaker differences of opinion 
about the Revolutionary War. These caused the Society to lose 
considerable strength through withdrawal from it of war Quakers 
or loss of interest by others. Because the war Quaker group con- 
tained a great deal of the brains and ability of the movement in the 
pre-Revolutionary period their loss to the Society was a heavy one. 
The Quakers also suffered from the clash of static ideas with those 
that had been generated in the swift moving progress of the young 

The Quaker leaders, who were confused by the rapid and sweep- 
ing changes that were occurring on every side, tried to discover a 
safe haven. The result was that they arrested the progress of their 
religious movement at the identical time when the dynamic forces 
of social, economic, and political progress had broken clear from 
the fetters that had kept them in bondage for centuries. These new 
stirrings of social aspiration touched Quakers as well as non- 
Quakers alike. All non-Quakers and many Quakers responded to 
them, but the majority of the Quakers resisted them. They * clung 
to the pure and undefiled religion of their fathers and thereby with- 


drew more and more closely into their own circle. This served to 
separate them from the whole of society. 

This negative Quaker attitude of the early and middle seven- 
teen hundreds was poles distant from the militant, aggressive, faith- 
moving force of early English and Colonial Quakerism. 

Friends continued to give leadership to the rights of Indians and 
to work militantly against slavery by agitating against the iniquity 
of slavery and by activity in the underground railway. But they 
withdrew gradually from other fields of public activity. 

From that time forward, for nearly one and one-half centuries 
in America, Quakers spent more and more of their precious time 
in perfecting ecclesiastical machinery that attached divine sanction 
to less important Quaker customs such as using the singular pro- 
noun or "plain speech" on the ground that it was the language of* 
the Bible. Another custom, on which the ecclesiastical Quaker laid 
especial emphasis was that of plainness of dress and apparel. The 
collarless, sober, drab coat, the beaver hat of the men, and the 
bonnet and shawl of Quaker women were held unmistakably to 
serve as the outward expression of an inward sense of dedication to 
a definite interpretation of truth and life. He held them to be the 
surest way to avoid "those gaieties which tend to divert and alienate 
the mind from the simplicity and gravity of Truth," and to serve as 
a garrison against "fashion mongers." 

The leaders who advanced this type of action and procedure 
dominated Quaker affairs in America from about 1800 to 1900. 

The Society's sterile leadership attempted to counter the dynamic 
influence which the changing times beat upon its membership by 
drawing up strict governing rules. Quaker meetings disowned 
countless members, for such worldly practices as owning fiddles, 
dancing, marrying nonmembers (more than 100,000 Quakers were 
disowned in the next hundred years for marrying out of meeting), 
going to courts of law to settle differences (they believed that 
differences should be settled amicably), nonpayment of obligations, 
bearing arms, advocating unsound religious tenets, and other activi- 
ties that conflicted with a doctrinal interpretation of appropriate 
Quaker living. 

"Soundness of belief became a fetish with the ecclesiastical 
Quaker. Some Yearly Meetings under his leadership adopted a set 
of questions in line with extreme orthodoxy to test the "soundness" 
of their ministers. The questions they formulated took no ac- 


count of Friends' historic position. They used this formula to de- 
pose Joel Bean, a beautiful spiritual character, a saintly soul, and a 
favored minister of the gospel, from the ministry. 

Some of the questions used in this soundness-of-belief testing in- 
quisition concerned belief "in the depravity of the human heart 
resulting" from the fall of man. 

Ruf us Jones has stated 4 that it would have been impossible for 
Friends to have maintained the Society as a "peculiar people" during 
the early eighteenth century without the special atmosphere and 
social setting of their group meetings out of which had come a 
coherence, insight, and loyalty for which there are no substitutes 
in the life of a religious movement 

The maintenance of these customs and procedures, aside from the 
abolition movement, served in a large measure to dominate the life 
of the Society during its low-ebb century between the years of 
approximately 1800 and 1900. As Quaker vision narrowed, as its 
outreach was more and more restricted, and as its influence on the 
moral affairs of men lessened and its membership ranks fell off, the 
Society seemed to pin its faith on rules, regulations, customs, and 

Zealous elders were overstern in many sections in their efforts to 
preserve the "peculiar heritage." They applied methods which had 
worked in an earlier day when Quakerism was a militant movement. 
To them religion was a finished declaration, not an endless quest 
full of surprises and fresh discoveries. Worst of all they seemed im- 
mune to the new ideas that were in the air about them. They ap- 
peared to be unacquainted with the changing currents of thought 
or of the new interests that were stirring. Because their minds were 
closed and because they looked backward instead of forward they 
were unable to see the signs of the times. 

As the new leaders sought to create ecclesiastical forms the mem- 
bership began to suffer from an ingrowing of the spirit. Neither the 
soul of an individual nor a group can grow in richness and strength 
unless it reaches out beyond itself. 

As they devoted time and effort to rule making and enforcement 
they also tended to create, define, and redefine rules until they 
thereby lost sight of the great objectives of the soul and the mind. 
Under these circumstances it was inevitable that differences of 

*Rufus M. Jones, The Later Periods of Quakerism (London: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1921), Vol. I, p. 186. 


opinion regarding beliefs and interpretations and enforcement of 
rules should arise and become all-absorbing, creating fruitless argu- 
ments on which animosities fed. Bitterness will grow in the hearts 
of the most loving as differences become exaggerated. Words be- 
come misunderstood for things, arguments weaken kind spirits and 
dampen the zealous ardor of many who should be unbiased spokes- 
men of the Lord. The Quakers were peculiarly troubled by these 
things. Dissenting groups soon were formed, each one believing 
that it represented the real, genuine Christianity of the founding 
Quakers but they soon lost the earlier vision that had been inspired 
by the belief that their experiment was the beginning of a "world- 
religion of the spirit." 

History furnishes many instances of the difficulty, if not the 
impossibility, of carrying on unchanged the purposeful current of a 
creative religious movement. Christianity itself was markedly differ- 
ent in its second century from the Life which the prophets have 
described as "primitive" Christianity. The second and third genera- 
tions of Franciscans, as Rufus Jones has pointed out, were "very 
different from the Poor Little Brother of Assisi, and die Lutherans 
at the end of the sixteenth century bore but slight resemblance to 
the dynamic reformer of 1521." Spiritual movements, like life itself, 
he added, are subject to the forces of an ever-shifting environment. 

Having lost much of their earlier crusading zeal, altered the con- 
ception of their movement, and changed its aim and purpose unfor- 
tunately to a definitely lower level of thought and power, they lost 
step with the world and nearly destroyed their movement. Had it 
not been for the leadership that Rufus Jones and others later pro- 
vided, the year 1950 might have found Utde in Quakerism that was 


Later American Quaker 

THE century that followed 1756, when the Philadelphia 
early Meeting advised its members to withdraw from public 
Ece, was the darkest one in Quaker history. 

During it the Quakers did face the issue of human slavery in a 
commendable way but they failed to make an equally good record 
with other grave problems that confronted them. Some of their 
problems had been created by the Revolutionary War, one of which 
grew out of the low public esteem in which they were then cur- 
rently held. Although they changed neither their principles nor 
practices, one generation that had seen them ruling the province of 
Pennsylvania also saw them ridiculed and persecuted. 

Many Friends, men who had exerted great influence on the So- 
ciety, were disowned for supporting the Continental Army. The 
loss of such leadership, jail sentences, and ridicule of Quaker princi- 
ples and practices served to narrow the activities of the Society. 

The withdrawal of many of its members from public affairs 
following the Revolutionary War prompted the Philadelphia Yearly 
Meeting to center its efforts on moral reforms. It became more con- 
servative and at the same time placed special emphasis on the 
preservation of ancient tradition, custom, and doctrine. 

Just as the Revolutionary War served to create a turning point in 



the cause of freedom and liberty in the world, it served also to 
create the Great Divide in American Quakerism. Following it, 
Friends began to center their efforts more and more on "the cultiva- 
tion of inward religion and an outward life consistent with the 
vision of their souls." 

One division within the Society, moved by the great revivalists of 
other denominations, sought to graft the evangelical system onto the 
Quaker interpretation of Christianity. They held that this was the 
certain method by which lethargy and doubt could be overcome. 
Opposed to it was a powerful group in the Society that clung to 
the strict interpretation of the founders. 

This group by being in control of the Society's organization in 
many meetings was able to delay change. One story that illustrates 
this point concerns the effort of a liberal Friend to introduce a 
slight innovation in procedure at a Philadelphia Orthodox meeting 
about a half century ago. He eloquently and with vivid illustration 
presented his proposal but could see no sign of interest in it on 
the face of anyone present. What he did see was patience, peace, 
and resignation reflected on all of the faces. When he sat down 
after finishing his plea the clerk of the meeting calmly arose and 
said, "The interruption having ceased we will now proceed with 
the business of the meeting." 

The situation was further complicated by the conservatism of 
city dweller Quakers, many of whom had acquired considerable 
wealth whereas their less prosperous rural brethren, closer to the 
life of their communities, had caught a breath of the progress that 
was in the air. The latter group urged change while the former 
clung tenaciously to the status quo. 

Some tendency existed in the membership to conform to the 
world and in the name of "enlightenment" to accept the conclusions 
"which the rationalists and deists were pressing upon the attention 
of thoughtful men and women everywhere." 

Coupled with these divergent points of view were other factors. 
One was that the Quaker "movement" had become arrested, static, 
and sterile. "Under Quietism it had become dry and unnatural." 
The phrases that proclaimed its message had become stereotyped 
and had lost the "marching power of the mighty experience of 
other days." 

The quality of its ministry was unable to fit the human need of 
the time or speak to the condition of the soul. It had failed to see 


the coming dawn in the literary world ushered in by Wordsworth 
and Coleridge who were "interpreting the life of man in fresh and 
transforming ways." Quaker ministers of the time seemed unaware 
of the new conception of man as that of an essentially spiritual 
being-that there is "more in him than can be referred to the life 
of nature and the mechanism of organization." 

Neither side of the controversy possessed historical insight or 
clear knowledge of historical development. Each stoutly insisted and 
honestly believed that its ideas represented the correct interpreta- 
tion of the ideas and inspiration of the builders of the Society in 
the seventeenth century. 

During this crisis the one leader who stood out above the crowd 
was a minister named Elias Hicks (1748-1830). He heartily opposed 
any set creed. That part of his teachings that made his leadership 
least acceptable to some Friends was his tendency to neglect the 
written word of the Scriptures. He held them to be valuable as a 
source of spiritual inspiration but not essential as the final rule of 
faith. As he advanced his doctrine of Quietism and the Inner Light 
he stressed the "Christ-within" beliefs to their furthest limit, and 
thereby tended to make the person and the work of the historic 
Christ of minor importance. 

Elias Hicks sought to check the growing evangelical influence 
and to restore Quietism the waiting on the Spirit so that God 
might speak through it to its former important place in the re- 
ligious life of the Society. In his attempts, however, to rationalize 
and defend his interpretation of the doctrine of the Inner Light he 
created, as a by-product, a doctrine of his own. Quaker leaders, 
and especially those in cities, openly opposed his new doctrine. 
Their opposition helped to make him the champion of the popular 
dissatisfaction with the authority of the city leaders. In time, as the 
controversy grew in intensity, the situation was further compli- 
cated by its tendency to become a rural versus city conflict. 

The overt separation act occurred at the Philadelphia Yearly 
Meeting in the spring of 1827 during the selection of a clerk. This 
clerk-selection clash led to others between the contending factions 
after which the separation movement advanced fapidly. 

This greatest of all tragedies in Quaker history, Rufus Jones 
pointed out in The Letter Periods of Quakerism, was the "inevitable 
collision of intellectual and emotional forces, of prejudices, tradi- 
tions, and attitudes, and of personalities who could not understand 


one another. Each group slackened its support of missionary striv- 
ings that then were coming to birth and of philanthropic projects 
as well in which each had previously been interested. 

The separation in Philadelphia, which soon spread to New York 
and Ohio, launched a schism habit for the movement that was 
difficult to break. And it ushered in a sad period of Quaker history. 
The one hopeful factor in the situation was that of the vision and 
action of a few leaders who realized that a part of the Society's 
difficulties grew out of its lack of higher institutions of learning at 
which its youth could be trained. Its members had realized from its 
beginning that if they were to conduct their religious services with 
a priesthood of believers instead of with a trained clergy, they 
should follow through with a type of education that would insure 
success to their brave experiment. 

Unlike the Congregationalists, who had founded Harvard Col- 
lege in 1636 as a training place for their religious leaders, the Friends 
made no early moves to create educational institutions at which 
gifted members could secure an extensive education to enable them 
to help raise the spiritual and intellectual level of the Society. 

Some Philadelphia Friends of the Orthodox group probed into 
ther causes that had led to the tragic separations, and reached the 
conclusion that the Society could correct its intellectual weakness 
by making a bold advance, by establishing "an enlarged liberal 
system of instruction in the Society of Friends." They emphasized 
the point that men who had received a liberal education were en- 
abled to enlarge the sphere of their usefulness. A writer of one 
article stated that "the wants of our religious Society do imperiously 
require the establishment of a school for teaching young men and 
boys the higher branches of learning." The argument was strength- 
ened by the statement that many young Friends were then studying 
at the "colleges of other religious societies" and that the time had 
come for them to be able to attend a higher institution of learning 
under Quaker influence. 

' The outcome of this discussion was that, under the leadership of 
Philadelphia Quakers, the Society of Friends founded Haverford. 
College in 1833, trailing by 197 years the Congregationalists who 
founded Harvard College to train their leaders. 

Four years after the Orthodox Philadelphia Friends established 
Haverford College, their coreligionists in North Carolina estab- 
lished the "New Garden Boarding School" which later became 


today's Guilford College. Indiana and Ohio Friends initiated a 
movement for more advanced education in the late 18308 and be- 
gan to construct a building for a boarding school at Richmond, 
Indiana which today is Earlham College. 

Forward-looking graduates of these institutions reached the un- 
derstanding that truth cannot be an already discovered, fixed, and 
static thing, but that its discovery is a continuing effort. Their 
search for truth and their efforts to propagate it when discovered 
began in time to act as a leaven on the Society's entire membership. 

Collaterally with these educational stirrings, which in a way rep- 
resented the outreach of the political or public Quaker, the ecclesi- 
astical Quaker continued active in creating new barriers that were 
designed to protect members of the Society from the great life that 
surged and eddied about them. 

American Quakerism had barely weathered the separation storm 
of 1827 when it again ran into other heavy waters. 

The second storm that it buffeted was evangelical in nature. It 
had originated in England and quickly spent its force there without 
having done much damage to English Quaker unity but it was 
destined to become a disturbing force when it reached already 
shattered American Quakerism. 

One able British Quaker proponent of the evangelical movement, 
Joseph John Gurney, was a brother of Elizabeth Fry of prison- 
reform fame. Rufus Jones has written in The Later Periods of 
Quakerism: "All that was finest, purest and most lovely in the 
evangelical movement comes to flower in him. He was a typical 
expression of the humanitarian, philanthropic spirit which burst 
strongly forth in this revival of evangelical faith." 

Gurney's Journals indicate that although he put strong emphasis < 
on the direct and immediate work of the Holy Spirit, he considered 
it in ways familiar with the evangelical writers rather than in the 
manner peculiar to Quaker interpreters. "The perfection of re- 
ligion," he wrote his friend, William Foster, in 1831, "appears to 
me to be consistent Quakerism on an evangelical -foundation and I 
believe it will be well for us to carefully guard both the basis and 
the building." 

In 1837 Joseph John Gurney requested his Monthly, Quarterly, 
and Yearly Meetings for a minute liberating him for extensive re- 
ligious labor in America and thereby prepared the way for the 


inevitable clash that Gurney's arrival engendered between the 
American Orthodox and evangelical groups. Another circumstance 
that made the clash inevitable was John Wilbur's visits to England 
in 1831 and 1833. Wilbur, who lived in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, 
was a revered Quaker minister "of limited outlook," who gained 
while abroad an obsession about the "danger" involved in Gurney's 
teachings. Wilbur visited with Gurney in England and left with 
the conviction that "unsound doctrines have crept in . . ." En- 
trenched in the past, he looked backward and in doing so felt 
certain that "the old inheritance must be guarded." To him Quak- 
erism essentially involved "a well-defined group of customs and a 
form of dress and speech." 

It would be difficult to overemphasize the journey and labors of 
Joseph John Gurney for their influence and bearing on American 
Quakerism. He visited the most remote regions where Friends lived, 
held appointed meetings in many of the country's larger cities and 
spoke at nearly every American college and university. Able, edu- 
cated, zealous, and earnest he brought distinction to the Society. 
"He was," wrote Rufus Jones, "a powerful preacher, eloquent, 
learned, equipped with a vast array of historical facts, profoundly 
gifted in prayer, and possessed of culture and grace in a unique 

John Wilbur was not idle during Gurney's triumphal service. He 
also traveled widely through New England and visited the Philadel- 
phia Yearly Meeting territory during the period of Gurney's stay 
in America and interviewed and placed before numerous Friends 
his "concern" over Gurney's "unsoundness." * 

The nature and extent of the Gurney-Wilbur controversy may 
be better understood by a description of a slow Quaker meeting 
(Wilburite) and of a fast Quaker meeting (Gurneyite) in a small 

1 The latest available statistics "give a total of about 164,000 in the world 
who bear the name Friends," according to Elbert Russell. An approximately 
accurate estimate places 114,700 of them in the United States and Canada. The 
Quaker population in the United States has increased by about 3,000 during 
the past fifty years. 

The majority of the 30,000 Quakers who live in the eastern and northeast- 
ern states and about 6,000 scattered in many states continue the early Quaker 
custom of worshiping in unprogramed meetings without pastors- or music. 
Nearly 79,000 Friends, nearly all of whom live in Indiana, North Carolina, 
Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, California, and Oregon belong to pastoral and programed 


town 2 in the Middle West more than fifty years after John Wilbur 
was disowned. 

The slow Quaker meeting clung to the earlier form of Quaker 
ministry, that of divine inspiration some of which offers evidence 
for belief that the Lord, as well as some of His children, had con- 
fused as well as low, uninspired moments silent worship, plain 
speech, and plain dress. 

The older generation encouraged their children to enjoy the song 
of birds but denied them the right to own a musical instrument. 
Paradoxically they placed no ban over the propriety, if one did not 
go overboard, of enjoying sunrise and soft winds, dewdrops on the 
grass, the song of breeze in the trees and the rustle of wind in the 
corn, the rich dark earth folding over from the plow moldboard, 
ripened wheat billowing in waves with the wind, the soft Quaker 
gray of oats as they began to ripen, or glimpses of the royal-hued 
redbird as he flickered here and there with his exuberant, triumphant 
song, or sunset and evening star. They encouraged the cultivation 
and appreciation of the beauty of many hued flowers, but the use of 
similar colors in apparel was frowned upon because it implied 

The elders disapproved of festivity or levity in thought, word, 
or action, and dourness encompassed slow Quaker homes in that 
community. Such an outlook made Quaker principles unattractive 
for boys and girls who bubbled with the beauty and promise of life 
and caused the slow Quaker meeting in Emporia to shrivel and dry 
up as the older members died and the younger ones dropped out 
or moved away. 

The other Friends meeting in Emporia was known as Gurneyite 
or -fast Quakers. They had a paid ministry, planned meetings, sing- 
ing, an organ, and a Sunday school. 

The worldliness of the fast Quaker meeting helped to make it a 
flourishing, growing congregation. The slow Quakers and the fast 
Quakers each sincerely believed that they were the keepers of the 
true ark of the Quaker covenant. Which group adopted and fol- 
lowed the right course right course in the sense of God's unfolding 
purpose for man is as yet an unanswered question. 

This situation nearly destroyed Quakerism because neither a 
group's nor a man's soul can be saved if all efforts are concentrated 

8 Emporia, Kansas, where the author's parents were members of the Wil- 
burite meeting. 


on soul saving. The Master said: "He that saveth his life shall lose 
it he that loseth his life shall find it." 

The Society vitally needed a courageous and noble leadership 
at the time Rufus Jones began his mission and his ministry at the 
end of the nineteenth century. 


South China Jones History 

E!E one afternoon in the spring of 1803, a young man named 
Abel Jones, who sixty years later became the grandfather 
of Riifus Matthew Jones, rode horseback into Harlem vil- 
lage in the province of Maine, now known as China. He had come 
there from Durham, down Brunswick way, where his parents lived, 
and was looking for a Quaker community where he could settle 
down and make a home for himself. He had gone out into the 
wilderness like Abraham of old, carrying all of his worldly posses- 
sions on his horse. 

He traveled over rutted roads and along forest trails from his 
home in Durham and reached the settlement where a few Quaker 
families already had established their homes at the head of a beauti- 
ful lake. He liked the country, hitched his horse, and called it home. 

Kennebec County, Maine, in which today's village of China is 
located, had been known to New England Quakers since 1775 when 
the first members had settled there. They were soon followed by 
other Quaker families. The first Friends' meeting for worship was 
established at nearby Vassalboro in 1780. 

The earlier Quaker purpose of seeking to convert the world to 
its way of thinking and believing had been transformed somewhat 
in the new world by 1803 through gradual loss of crusading zeal. 
Quakers were now beginning to move out into the frontiers and to 
build homes in communities where other members of the Society 
lived. This they did, not so much from clannishness, as from a 



realization that isolated Quaker families were more likely to stray 
from the Society's fold. This usually had happened because not 
many isolated Quaker families could or would continue the use of 
"thee" and "thou" with their neighbors who were non-Friends. 
They knew this to be of minor importance except that discontinu- 
ance of the use of the plain language usually created the first breach 
in the protective wall of solidarity and cohesion which the Society 
had erected. When a Quaker had made this tiny breach he soon 
would make others, such as his attendance at programmed meetings 
for worship with music. Thus little by little, in social and business 
relationships, in outlook on life, in ceasing to experience God by 
searching for him in quiet moments and in other ways, isolated 
Friends tended to stray further and further from the straight and 
narrow Quaker path and finally to lose it. 

All America was bursting at her seams in 1803. Tens of thousands 
of other citizens, on foot or horseback and in oxcarts or wagons, 
were moving fanwise out into the wilderness in step with young 
Abel Jones as he slowly made his way to China, Maine. The new 
nation, which then hugged the Atlantic seaboard, was only four- 
teen years old that year. The people began to push back from the 
coast line .farther and farther into the wilderness as they sought 
more elbow room and land of their own. As all America marched, 
Quaker Abel Jones marched with it but somewhat apart from others 
after the manner of his co-religionists. 

When Abel Jones reached Harlem it had one store and one small 
but old sawmill which stood on an inlet to the lake that was known 
as Wigginbrook. A primitive gristmill for cracking corn that stood 
near the owner's half -log, half-cave house was soon put into use. 
The mill had wooden gears, and its spindle was an old musket bar- 
rel. The pioneers soon built a better sawmill, a shingle mill, and a 
tannery. A brickkiln later helped to make the village a trading cen- 
ter of some importance but it did not have a post office until 1818. 

The inevitable privations of the early settlers were lessened some- 
what by the bountiful supply of wild game, which consisted largely 
of moose, deer, and bear. Fish were plentiful in the lake but salt 
was scarce. The sole village source of salt in the early days was 
produced from boiling sea water down to salt. Moose meat and 
bread (made from wheat exchanged for lumber) were the main 
diet items. Berries were plentiful in summer. 

Life was a hand-to-hand contest with want. Tragedy once struck 


the little community when its single cow was mistakenly shot for 
a deer. The staple food, corn, was carried to the gristmill. One pio- 
neer story concerns an impoverished mother who one night placed 
small round stones in lieu of potatoes in the hot ashes of the fire- 
place to help induce her crying, hungry children to go to bed until 
the potatoes were cooked. The pioneers peeled their potatoes with 
sufficient skin to prevent injuring the potato eyes (from which the 
new sprouts grow) in order that they might have the heart of the 
potatoes to eat. 

The most universal phase of thought of the people of the new 
nation at this period was religion. It was the supreme authority in 
conduct in many places. Hard work shared with religion in occupy- 
ing the people's time. 

Intellectual progress was barely perceptible and literature was 
somnolent. In 1800 the faculty at Harvard consisted of a president, 
three professors, and four tutors. The chief causes for these condi- 
tions were war exhaustion and the tendency of the people to direct 
all of their energies toward physical recuperation. 

In 1803 when travel was slow, difficult, and dangerous, there were 
few newspapers or books. The lack of education was general, and 
the pulpit frequently served as the forum. Pastors dealt with both 
politics and religion in their sermons. 

Study of the Bible, the principal source of the pastors' material 
for sermons, familiarized them with the history of the Jewish people 
and the Hebrew commonwealth Moses had created. They, accord- 
ingly, borrowed generously from the principles on which it rested 
when they advanced plans for the structure and operation of the 
commonwealth they were helping to create. 

This situation accounts in part at least for the quality of the 
essence of mercy that continues to stand as an American charac- 
teristica joining of the spiritual purpose of the church with the 
practical operations of government with neither the church nor the 
state impinging upon the rights or duties of the other. 

Six years before Abel Jones reached his new home the New 
England Yearly Meeting authorized the establishment of a Monthly 
Meeting in the village and the first meeting for worship was held in 
the home of one of the members. This practice is still followed by 
Friends in communities where there are not enough members to 
enable them to build a meetinghouse. In 1798 the Quakers created 
the "East Pond Meeting" and by 1803 had it well established. Two 


years later, by which time Abel Jones had bought and cleared some 
land and built a home, he met three strangers at a First day meet- 
ing. They were Jedediah Jepson, his son John and daughter Susan- 
nah, who had come to China from Berwick, Maine, 115 miles 
distant. They, as had Abel Jones two years earlier, had carried to 
their new home all of their worldly possessions in saddlebags. 

Jedediah Jepson, a recorded Friends minister, was a scholar of 
considerable attainments. In 1806, Abel Jones and Susannah Jepson 
were married after the manner of Friends at a regularly appointed 
Friends meeting the first Quaker wedding to be held in China. 

The first Joneses' home, a cabin, was constructed of spruce logs 
which were mortised together. The floors were made of hardwood 
puncheons, that is, logs laid sideways and hewn to an approximate 
level. The chimneys were laid in a clay mortar and the rooms were 
ceiled, not plastered. Lacking nails, the logs were fitted together 
with notches; lacking glass for windows, the openings in the log 
walls were covered in cold weather with shutters. 

The work of transforming primeval forest land on rough, rocky 
soil into productive fields required an enormous amount of hard 
manual labor in the days before bulldozers and other modern power 
aids existed even in men's dreams. Ax and saw, oxen and human 
muscle then did the job. Giant oaks and pines, dense forests of 
cedar and fragrant basswood in which no ax ever before had been 
swung covered the countryside. 

A man and an ox were able to clear about one acre per day of 
hardwood forestland. Pine forest clearing was more difficult and 
slower. The settlers soon learned that late June was the best time 
to clear land because at that time the limbs and branches dried best. 
Logs and brush usually were burned the following spring, and a 
crop was planted without further clearing. 

Married, settled in a Quaker community, having bought and 
cleared land and built a home, Abel Jones really began to live. 
Within a few years he had cleared sufficient lan<J on which to 
grow crops to care for his family. His vegetable crops consisted 
largely of beans, potatoes, turnips, cabbage, onions, and beets. He 
soon was growing corn, wheat, rye, and barley on the litde patches 
of his cleared land. 

Something far more important than making a home entered the 
lives of Abel and Susannah Jones in 1807. That was the year their 


son Eli was born, who in kter years became the spiritual godfather 
of his nephew Rufus. 

Immediately after their first child, and a man child at that, was 
born, the proud father wrote a letter to the youngster's grand- 
parents and told them of the event. Postal delivery facilities were 
meager in that faraway day, but the letter finally reached the near- 
est post station twelve miles distant from the grandparents' home. 
An elderly Quaker friend of the grandparents who thought that 
the letter carried information of great importance volunteered to 
carry it to his friends. When he arrived with it they immediately 
opened and read it. Upon learning its contents the volunteer letter 
carrier remarked, "Is that all there is to it?" and with that started 
back over the twelve-mile forest trail to his own home. 

Many Quaker families had settled in the China community by 
1808 and built homes in which they could beget and raise children 
who would grow into good, useful men and women. While their 
backs bent under their burdens their eyes were on the future. As 
they followed their work-field tasks they saw also the towers of 
strength far ahead that could make properly trained successors 
better and stronger men and women. 

The increasing number of Friends families in China enabled them, 
in 1813, to build the Pond Meeting House, their first meetinghouse 
there. It was a rough, plain building which was heated by a wood 
fire under an iron kettle. Rufus Jones's great-grandfather Jepson 
was the first acknowledged minister of this meeting. 

Because he was not entirely satisfied with his first home site Abel 
Jones carefully studied the land thereabouts and selected and pur- 
chased additional acreage near the south end of China Lake which 
he cleared. In 1815 he built the house in which his grandson Rufus 
was born in 1863. 

As soon as he had cleared some land for his own farm he began 
to buy adjoining wilderness land which in turn was cleared and 
became seven farms, one for each of his sons. Before he died Abel 
Jones saw all of the farms he had claimed from the wilderness 
"blossom like a rose." 

He and his sons sawed the larger trees into lumber and sold it. 
They used the rocks and boulders to build stonewall fences between 
the fields. One South China story exists to the effect that a passing 
neighbor asked a man, said to have been Abel Jones, why he was 
building a stonewall fence which was wider than it was high. The 


fence builder might well have been Abel Jones because his answer 
was characteristic of his grandson Rufus. "I'm building it this 
way," he said, "so that if it ever blows over it will be higher than 
it was before." 

The menfolks busily raised crops, cleared land, built brickkilns 
for making bricks for their chimneys. They also built a schoolhouse 
in which their children might get the rudiments of an education 
during the brief period each year when the service of a teacher of 
sorts was available. One such teacher, after struggling for two days 
with a long division problem, told little Eli Jones, "I know that is 
right now but I can't explain it to you or tell you why it is done 
that way." 

At the same time they cultivated their souls by attendance at 
meetings for worship at Dirigo, three miles distant, where a new 
Monthly Meeting had been established, on two different days of 
each week. Occasionally at monthly and quarterly meeting time 
they attended additional meetings. 

The nearly idyllic condition of Quakerism in pastoral Maine dur- 
ing the first quarter of the nineteenth century did not exist in other 
and far more important Quaker areas such as the Southern states 
where slavery prevailed and troubled sensitive Quaker hearts. 

They found and experienced God and lived busy wholesome 
lives. They were "making a little heaven on their way to Heaven" 
and were not troubled by the deep tremors made by Quaker doc- 
trinal differences in distant urban areas. 

None of their members held public office, save Abel Jones who 
was officially in charge of the town's poor. They thus were not 
brought face to face with the problem that was causing the political 
and ecclesiastical Quakers of Pennsylvania so much trouble at this 

Nor did the efforts of leaders in urban areas to induce Friends to 
keep to plainness of dress and speech become a problem to them. 
Their dress was plain from necessity; their plain speech best ex- 
pressed their habit of and outlook on life. 

Thus while Quakerism elsewhere was tenaciously clinging to 
the ways, habits, and customs of the founding fathers, the Friends 
in South China made reality of basic Quaker principles by living 
in unity and peace. 

Their two important contacts with the outside world of Quaker- 
ism were maintained with the help of itinerant ministers and the 


reprints of Quaker journals. The services of the itinerant Quaker 
ministers were the most unique feature of the movement during 
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was a spontaneous and 
unorganized service that grew into being without human planning. - 

"These itinerant ministers were without question the makers and 
builders of the Society of Friends," of this period, Rufus Jones has 
written in The Later Periods of Quakerism. They were "pillar 
Friends" who carried to Quaker meetings, regardless of how iso- 
lated, the ideas, ideals, and the spiritual leaven of "the most favored 
sections of world-wide Quakerism" and helped to keep those meet- 
ings from leveling down to a "commonplace status of a single inbred 
community," by elevating it. Their service was "an instance of 
cross fertilization through a waft of spiritual pollen from many 
fields of culture." 

A continuous stream of them, men and women, went from one 
end of the Society to another, "formulating the message of the 
Society, shaping its ideals, propagating its spirit, awakening the 
youth, maintaining the unity of the loosely formed body, perfect- 
ing the organization, establishing a well-defined order and body of 
customs . . ." These visiting ministers helped to keep the purpose 
of the China Quaker group firm and its faith free from doubt. 

Over and above the help to remain steadfast which the members 
of the isolated China meeting gained from the living voice and 
warm, vital presence of the itinerant ministers was that which they 
gained from the printed journals of leading Friends. The journals, 
which carried a prevailing sense of the spiritual and moral purpose 
of Quakerism frequently were the principal reading material in out- 
lying Quaker homes and furnished susceptible Quaker youth with 
many of their spiritual ideals. One of the best known of these jour- 
nals is John Woolman's which Charles Lamb recommended the 
reader to "get by heart." 

Thus it was that the far-removed and isolated small group of 
Friends in the inspiring beauty of the Maine countryside was barely 
conscious of the current disturbing Quaker schisms in distant urban 
areas. They clung to the best of Quakerism and experienced God 
anew each day. They lived in love and unity. They clung to simple 
Quaker principles of faith, worship, and living. Thus when Rufus 
arrived he was surrounded by conditions and circumstances giving 
Quakerism its finest expression as a religion and as a way of life. 


Living in Unity 

^PART from their religious life the Friends of South China 
were engrossed in making a living and in raising their 
families. Abel and Susannah Jones brought into' the world 
eleven children during a period of twenty-one years and raised all 
but two of them. Their last child, Edwin, was the father of Rufus 

An enormous amount of work and planning was required to pro- 
vide a home, food, and clothing for such a large family and par- 
ticularly so if the family tried also to improve its economic position. 
Abel Jones met both responsibilities but he is not entitled to all of 
the credit for doing so. His wife Susannah deserves a full share. 
She did her part in making the home comfortable and the farm a 
self-sufficient unit. Her spinning wheel and loom provided every 
stitch of clothes the family wore. Her churn and cheese press pro- 
vided the family's butter and cheese supplies. She made alkali for 
raising bread. Fats and lye leached out of ashes became soap in her 
big iron kettle. She dipped tallow candles, made her own brooms, 
wove rag carpets. Her grandson Rufus records that over and above 
all of these duties and activities, "She was an elder in the Quaker 
meeting and yet she smoked her T D pipe three times a day, and 
in spite of the nicotine she lived to be ninety-three years." 

Neither farm, household duties, nor weather could cause the Jones 
family to neglect its religious duties or attendance at meeting. 

One winter day two of Abel Jones's daughters, Peace and Mary, 



who were frequently referred to as "the heavenly twins," started 
from South China to China Neck, a few miles distant, to attend 
a meeting for worship. They left home in a brewing blizzard, but 
pushed on. When they finally struggled through the storm arid 
reached the meetinghouse, Mary, the more practical one of the two, 
mildly remarked to the more spiritually inclined Peace, "I think 
we've showed more zeal than common sense," a phrase still current 
in the Jones family. 

Walking on foot or traveling by horseback or wagon the Friends 
of South China managed to attend Quaker religious or business 
meetings. The attendance at some of them was small. The story 
of these struggling meetings is told with graphic simplicity in the 
forty-six volumes which contain the minutes and official records 
of the Friends meetings in Kennebec County, Maine. Age, combined 
with the nearly undecipherable handwriting of some of the clerks, 
makes the study of them difficult. 

Their pages tell the heartwarming, inspiring story of how the 
Kennebec County Quakers clung to the faith of their fathers. The 
faithful clerks recorded that in spite of the small number present 
"The Lord fulfilled his promise and both met with and blessed the 
few who gathered in His name." 

When attendance at a Quarterly Meeting had been cut to a hand- 
ful the clerk recorded: "Though our numbers were small there were 
enough to claim the promise that has been left on record for us 
Tor where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in 
the midst of them!' and we feel that we received the promised 

Births, marriages, and deaths were recorded in the minutes of 
business meetings along with entries of names proposed by Monthly 
^Meetings as elders, and each suggestion was approved when it "has , 
the unity of this meeting." There are records of investigation by 
appointed committees into the doings of straying Friends and of 
the~coifhniitfe"e*s successful or unsuccessful attempts (which were 
often repeated over a long period of time) to win the gray or black 
sheep back to the fold. A few "disownings" are also recorded of 
those individuals who preferred to stay outside the fold. 

Other minutes record the names of "dear sisters" or brothers who 
joined them from other meetings or of visiting Friends. Some of 
these visiting Friends came from other parts of die country or Eng- 


land. Certificates granted to Friends who were moving to other 
areas are noted as well as for those who have requested permission 
to visit other areas, domestic and foreign, about which they have 
felt "a concern." There are minutes which report on applications 
for membership and action taken on them. 

The records of the business meetings tell of the money used for 
the support of "aged Friends" and of committees appointed as over- 
seers of the poor and overseers of funerals. They contain the names 
of members on committees to attend marriages. They usually re- 
ported "they attended and saw it conducted orderly." 

An illustration of one way these meetings for worship shaped, 
stimulated, and colored their lives is the effect they had upon Rufus' 
Aunt Peace when once as a child she was sitting in a back seat at 
meeting and was moved by longing to be as good as those who sat 
on the facing benches and seemingly never had a temptation. While 
she was thus meditating, a Friend arose and said, "There are some 
here yearning to have their lives like those who seem to have 
reached a greater perfection. Let me tell such ones that if they 
give their lives wholly to the Lord and follow His will fully they 
will come to experience the life they are yearning for." The tiny 
girl, Peace Jones, believed in her heart that the speaker had been 
"led to feel out her condition," and she found comfort in his words. 
This and similar experiences helped to make her a mystic, and her 
spiritual openings and leadings, which her young nephew saw oc- 
cur, familiarized him with this type of religion and helped to stimu- 
late him to explore it and finally in his later years to make him a 
distinguished example and interpreter of it. 

No influence in Rufus Jones's early life equaled that of his parents. 
When he was once asked how his father and mother happened to 
meet he replied, "They met while picking hops for a cousin of mine 
who lived across the lake. I don't suppose he should have raised 
hops because they are used in making beer nor that my father and 
mother should have picked them. But my cousin did raise them 
and my parents did pick them and that's where and how they first 

Their meeting soon led to courtship and in due time Edwin Jones 
married Mary Gifford Hoxie in 1852. She was the daughter of Mat- 
thew and Salome Hoxie. The certificate in the Monthly Meeting 
book that records their marriage reads: 


Whereas Edwin Jones of China, Kennebec County, Maine, 
Son of Abel and Susannah Jones of China, County of Kennebec, 
and Mary Gifford Hoxie, Daughter of Matthew F. and Salome 
Hoxie of Albion, County of Kennebec Maine, having made 
known their intentions of Marriage with each other before a 
Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, held at 
China, their proposals of Marriage were allowed by the Meeting. 

These are to certify whom it may concern that for the full 
accomplishment of their intentions this Twenty fifth day of 
Eleventh Month in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight 
Hundred and Fifty Two they, the said Edwin Jones and Mary 
G. Hoxie appeared in a meeting of the said people held at South 
China and Edwin Jones taking Mary G. Hoxie by the hand, 
declared that he took her to be his wife, promising with Divine 
Assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband until 
death should separate them. 

And then Mary G. Hoxie did in like manner declare that she 
took him Edwin Jones to be her husband, promising with Divine 
Assistance to be unto him a loving and faithful wife until death 
should separate them, or words of like import. 

And moreover they the said Edwin Jones and Mary G. Hoxie, 
she according to the custom of marriage adopting the name of 
her husband, did as a further confirmation thereof then and 
there to these presents set their hands. 1 

Matthew and Salome Hoxie had originated in England. They 
lived first in Albion. After Salome Hoxie's death Matthew Hoxie 
and his second wife moved to Dirigo, near South China, where he 
followed his trade of cabinetmaking. His modest but attractive home 
has weathered the decades of storms and winds without serious 

The dependence of the South China farmers upon nature for 

a The inherent strength of the Quaker marriage ceremony comes from its 
being a positive act by the participants. The contracting couple marry them- 
selves. No one else does it, nor do they acquiesce to what someone else has 
said or done. Its beauty is to be found in its simplicity. That it helps build 
strong and lasting ties is evidenced by the three-hundred-year record showing 
that divorce among Quakers is negligible. 

Following the marriage by Quaker ceremony of ex-Congressman Wm. W. 
Cocks, at which he was present, Theodore Roosevelt remarked to Will Cocks, 
"Having seen this ceremony makes me feel that Edie and I never have been 
really married." 


co-operation in crowning their efforts with success served to keep 
their minds and habits above the earthly round of seeds and soil 
and to lift their vision toward the realm of that power, the recurring 
miracle of life, that sends the rain to fall alike on the just and the 
unjust and germinates the tiny seeds. 

Their closeness to nature enabled the South China community 
Friends to create a rich and fertile spiritual soil in which other 
superior products would grow. More than twenty sons left the 
community to attend college for training that would enable them 
to become teachers, preachers, and professional men. Included in this 
list are the following distinguished men who are sons or grandsons 
of the China, Maine, Monthly Meeting: Augustine Jones, LL.B., 
former principal of what is now Moses Brown Boarding School, 
Providence, Rhode Island; Richard M. Jones, LL.D., for many years 
headmaster of William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, Penn- 
sylvania; Stephen A. Jones, PH.B., onetime President of Nevada 
State University; Wilmot R. Jones, Sr., head of Mill Brook School, 
Concord, Massachusetts; Wilmot R. Jones, Principal of Wilmington, 
Delaware, Friends School; Charles A. Jacob (a cousin of Rufus 
Jones) Professor of modern languages at Moses Brown; Barclay 
Jones, Principal of Friends Central School, Philadelphia; Arthur 
W. Jones, at one time Professor of Latin at Friends University, 
Wichita, Kansas. Several China meeting children became distin- 
guished Friends ministers. 

The village of South China was neither a rich one nor a poor one. 
The soil was productive enough when properly treated to enable 
a good farmer to make a f air living, "raise a family and have a bank 
account. A slipshod farmer will have a hard time, here as every- 
where else." Business was in the main done by barter. "If we were 
poor we didn't know it, and that was better than being rich and 
knowing it." 2 

While they were building and making homes and gaining a liv- 
ing from the soil, Edwin and Mary Jones (who made their home 
with Abel and Susannah Jones) and other Friends in the community 
met their responsibilities as citizens by supporting all other efforts 
outside of government that have been the genius and the propulsive 
force of American life and helped advance the social and economic 
order of the nation. That which most engrossed their thoughts and 

2 Rufus M. Jones, A Small Town Boy (New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1941), p. 13. 


efforts, however, was to live together in unity and neighborly kind- 

They exercised a spirit of tolerance, and their sympathetic and 
tender response to all conditions and needs of others served out- 
wardly to express their inner purpose. 

They read and studied their Bibles dutifully, diligently, and with 
joy, held family prayers daily, and each family group joined for a 
few minutes of quiet worship before "farewells for tonight" were 

They quietly translated truth, honor, sincerity into deed and 
action. They lived their ideals instead of talking about them. Evi- 
dent also in the lives of the South China community of Friends was 
a strain of mystical religion that was engendered by their worship- 
ing in silence during which they looked inward and searched for 
guidance. "They believed that sensitive souls could become aware of 
celestial currents, and that no words should be spoken in prayer or 
ministry until the lips were divinely moved." 8 

This kind of living, inevitably as the day follows the night, 
produced children who possessed remarkable moral and spiritual 

Rufus M. Jones, The Quakers in the American Colonies (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1911), p. 34. 


Rufus Jones Arrives 1863 


ON January 25, 1863, in the small village of South China, 
Maine, Edwin and Mary Jones became parents of their 
third child, a son, to whom they gave die name Rufus 
Matthew. The day was bleak and cold. The house was small. It had 
no modern conveniences, and its furnishings were scant and austere. 

As wealth was measured in their community the Edwin Joneses 
might even have been called wealthy. They owned their farm and 
home, they were comfortably housed, adequately clothed and fed. 
They were able to give their children an education, to support chari- 
ties, to be helpful to less fortunate neighbors, and to make the whole 
of their lives a complete testimony of their religion. 

The Edwin Jones family's capital assets consisted mainly of farm 
tools of that day, mowing machines, wagons, the buildings, and the 
farm animals and crops. They invested in a way of life for them- 
selves and their children. 

Rufus Jones gives an excellent picture of his boyhood life in his 
book, A Small Town Boy. He tells how difficult it was for his 
father and neighbors to make their land produce even just a little 
more than their bare needs demanded. Edwin Jones's sons were able 
to wear good clothes throughout these hard years because his cousin, 
Augustine Jones, the principal of Friends School of Providence, 
sent them his no longer usable suits and overcoats which their 
mother altered to fit the growing boys. 



The Joneses' home in South China is recalled by a neighbor as 
one in which "religion kept its fires always burning." There fre- 
quently was at least one itinerant preacher staying with the family. 
Religious topics were always under discussion and religious activi- 
ties were frequently planned. 

"I said thee and thou to everybody," Rufus recalls, "and I fully 
as soon would have used profane words as have said you or yours 
to any person." 

The Civil War directly touched the life of South China Friends. 
Several young men of the community answered President Lincoln's 
call for volunteers, one of whom was James Parnell Jones, a son of 
Eli and Sybil Jones and a first cousin of Rufus Jones. He later be- 
came a major in the United States Army and was killed in action. 

James Parnell Jones's decision to enter the army caused much 
anguish in his family but it did not then or later cause a break in 
the existing close, tender family ties. 

Another direct community connection with the Civil War was 
established with the devoted service Sybil Jones rendered the Union 
soldiers and Confederate war prisoners in the Washington area 
throughout the war. Still another direct connection between the 
community and the war was created when the voters borrowed 
public funds to help the government prosecute the war. 

These or other war activities touched the thinking and deepened 
the concern of adults in South China but Rufus was too young to 
know about them. Within a few years his outward hours were 
filled with the doings of any country boy school and chores and 
play and mischief. As he grew older his inward life reflected an 
intense and wholly personal concern with the progress, or what 
often seemed to him to be lack of progress, of his spiritual develop- 
ment. In those first formative years the physical world stretched 
only as far as his eyes could see. 

Those readers who wish to learn directly in detail about the 
home and spiritual environment, the experiences and processes that 
combined to produce an uniquely spiritual man, are referred to 
Rufus Jones's Trail books. In his Finding the Trail of Life, and the 
otihers of this series, he tells with candor and simplicity the story 
of his early life in a home ruled by love and surrounded by the 
beauty of nature. "Sunset and evening stars produced a spell on my 
young mind" as did the "winter snow on the trees and the frost on 
the ice." The shooting blades of ice in "the first stages of freezing" 


on the lake "always thrilled" him. He was, he has written, fascinated 
even when frightened by the "smashing zigzag bolt of chain light- 
ning in our thunderstorms." He loved no sound more than he did 
"the swish of my scythe in grass wet with morning dew," a beauti- 
ful sound to know and long to remember. The sound he liked next 
best was the stroke "of my woodsman's ax in the thick winter 

He records fresh and strong enthusiasms for the country life 
and its nurture. The place where he was born and grew up he be- 
lieved to be the most favored one in the world in which to take 
early intellectual and spiritual steps. 

In the introduction to his Finding the Trail of Life, he admitted 
that Homer's Odyssey undoubtedly tells a more romantic tale, one 
which portrays with unsurpassed epic grandeur the heroic deeds 
and marvelous adventures of the Greek wanderer. But in one point, 
he states, his own story strikes a note which Homer's misses regard- 
less of however trivial his story is in comparison with the ancient 
bard's epic. His story stresses the labyrinthine ways of the soul 
whereas Homer turned no searchlight on the inner drama of Odys- 
seus' soul because his interest was only in deeds. 

His Trail books tell a great deal about .the deeds and adventures 
in his country-boy life, but they reveal also, as he gropes toward 
his trail of life, that "the real drama is concerned with the shaping 
of a viewless and invisible life within a crude and half-formed body. 
The hero here, too, like Homer's hero, is immortal and is on a 
strange pilgrimage in quest of a country and a home beyond the 
voices and the wanderings." 

He states in one place that the chapters he has written will be in 
vain, however, if they fail to indicate how difficult the task is of 
discovering what goes on within the boy, or if they fail to show 
what delicate treatment is required to bring him through his bud- 
ding periods and his shifting ideals to a clear and well-defined life 
purpose. Throughout these books there runs the thought that if 
boys are better than they seem to be it is because they are also much 
more difficult to understand than is generally believed; their lives 
are in more unstable equilibrium. 

His second purpose in writing these books, he said, was that of 
preserving the memory of a form of religious life and of a set of 
customs that either are passing away or else already have passed 
away. Quakerism, he held, is still a living force, a present faith and 


has a great potential future. But the Quaker atmosphere of his boy- 
hood life had, in a large measure, already ceased from the earth 
when he wrote. "It was a unique type of religious life," he states, 
"and it kept its peculiar form only as long as it existed apart from 
the currents of the larger social whole. The movements of modern 
complex life have forced it either to die out or undergo transforma- 
tion. It was a beautiful faith, and it produced rare types of personal 
sainthood whose story is not yet written. In this simple way some 
impressions of this spiritual atmosphere, with its local color, are 
caught and preserved, though it is only a thumb-nail sketch." 1 

His first three years were blank as they are with most individuals. 
He was aware, however, that he had come into a world "where 
love was waiting for me, and into a family in which religion was 
as important an element for life as was the air we breathed or the 
bread we ate." 

An incident at the time of his birth about which he had no 
memory but about which he heard much was the vision of his Aunt 
Peace who said prophetically as she took the tiny new born infant 
Rufus in her hands, "This child will one day bear the message of 
the Gospel to distant lands and to peoples across the sea." His mystic 
Aunt Peace made her prophecy solemnly and with a calm assurance 
as though she saw the little baby suddenly rising out of her lap 
and starting on his journeys. Her prophecy may seem of little con- 
sequence but it did express the highest ideal of his devoted aunt 
whose faith in its fulfillment never slackened, even when the grow- 
ing boy showed no outward signs of realizing it. 

The first event of his life of which he had certain memory was 
that of a visit to the house of their nearest and best loved neighbor, 
when he pulled the petals from a potted plant. He has stated that 
his later remorse over this act of childish vandalism marked the 
precise moment where his self-consciousness was born. 

He has recorded that one of his earliest home memories out of 
the dim period of "first years" concerned the return of his Aunt 
Peace from an extensive religious visit to Quaker meetings in Ohio 
and Iowa. This event made him first realize that the world was so 
big since otherwise his aunt could not have gone out beyond the 
place where the sky came down and found the earth still going on 
out there! 

1 Rufus M. Jones, Finding the Trail of Life (New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1926), pp. 12-13. 


As a child he was full of fanciful fears, but mainly of dark, light- 
ning, and death. He overcame them by committing everything to 
God and by asking Him to guard and keep the little boy who 
needed His help. He was helped also by the fact that his sainted 
Aunt Peace never doubted and he tried to follow her pattern of 
life. He was so successful in doing this that there were times "in 
my childhood when the God I loved was more real than the things 
I feared." 

The home of Rufus Jones's boyhood held several remarkable 
personalities aside from his Aunt Peace from whom he caught his 
first awesome glimpses of mystical religion that later became a deep 
part of his being. 

Although Peace Jones was born and grew up in a pioneer com- 
munity, and had barely been ouside her home community in her 
youth, and had little schooling, she became a woman with marked 
culture, refinement, and grace of manner, and she possessed unique 
wisdom and a well-trained and well-stored mind. 

Rufus Jones's mother was another remarkable woman (the Jones 
men seemed to have had the habit of marrying remarkable women) 
who, although she talked to him less about the issues of life than 
did his Aunt Peace, did show him a tenderness and a sacrificial love 
that engulfed him in the supreme crises of his boyhood. 

Proof that Rufus' mother, Mary Gifford Jones, was a remarkable 
woman in many ways is evident when it is realized that with her 
marriage to Edwin Jones she moved with him into his parents' 
home in which two strong, dominant women had long been en- 
trenched. They were the grandmother, Susannah Jepson Jones, and 
the aunt, Peace Jones. But Mary Jones's place in the household 
quickly became that of head of the family life without any sign 
of contention "to mar the ordering of love," or its spirit which was 
rich "in those things which count as the foundations of life and 

Rufus Jones's grandmother lived with his parents from the time 
they were married in 1852 until her death in 1877, when he was 
fourteen years old. She was born before the Constitution of the 
United States was written; thus, until Rufus Jones died in 1948, her 
life and his had spanned the entire life of the United States. Al- 
though "she never heard the word 'mystic' she was a practical mys- 
tic and passed on to her children and her grandchildren her mystical 


Edwin Jones, the father of Rufus Jones, had suffered from an 
undiagnosed illness while a boy. It was believed to be caused by 
epilepsy but this apparently was not the source of the trouble since 
the attacks gradually ceased to occur. He was the "most efficient 
farmer" in the neighborhood and skillfully used any tool required 
for farm work. He was "the strongest man in our community," 
but lacked the intellectual quality of his elder brothers and sisters. 

Edwin Jones left the duty of disciplining his young son to his 
wife. She did not inflict physical punishment, and even her father 
punished her only once by flicking her lightly with a silk handker- 

Although the father left the task of discipline to the children's 
mother, the youth instinctively knew that there were certain things 
which "his son could not do." Edwin Jones, instead of scolding 
Rufus would look at him "in a peculiar way which meant more 
than a 'thrashing.' " 

Once when father and son were working together the nine-year- 
old boy's tool slipped. The father asked Rufus if he were hurt. He 
answered, "Yes, it hurt like the devil." Astonished by such a remark 
from Rufus his father stopped, put down his ax, "turned full face 
to me, with an extraordinary look and said slowly, 'Thee is never 
to use that expression again in thy whole life.' " Seventy years or so 
later Rufus Jones wrote of his father's admonition, "Well I never 
have said it since, and I could not say it, or anything worse than 
that, without seeing in memory Father's face looking at me re- 

One of Edwin Jones's qualities which his children prized was his 
casual way of meeting the experiences of life, in a manner that at 
the same time gave the "real focus of his estimate of life." This 
quality of his was illustrated when some of his cows had broken out 
of their pasture and damaged a neighbor's cabbage patch. Edwin 
Jones wanted to make both apology and reparation. He listened 
quietly to the enraged neighbor's hot denunciation of the low moral 
sense of the Jones's cows and then replied, "I don't see how any- 
body with an immortal soul in him can make such a fuss over 
a few cabbages." 

Rufus Jones, as has been stated, was the third of Edwin and Mary 
Jones's four children. The oldest, Walter, was bom in 1853, ten 
years earlier than Rufus. He became a carpenter and helped to 
build the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City before he was killed 


in South China in 1895 by falling off a scaffold. The Jones's second 
child, Alice, was born in 1859 and died in 1909. Their fourth child, 
Herbert, who became a jeweler in Waterville, Maine, was born 
in 1867 and died in 1918. 

Next in order to the tender, considerate, and spiritual life of the 
close-knit family unit was the holiday appearance of the beauties 
of nature as an influence in shaping the boy's life. Another formative 
influence was his work on the farm. His duties began with his 

The first farm task each spring was to repair the pasture fences 
so that livestock might be turned out to graze as soon as there was 
new grass. When the fences had been repaired the next job was 
to prepare the soil for that year's crops and when this had been 
done the real work for the summer was launched. After the crops 
were planted the endless work of harrowing, cultivating, and hoe- 
ing began. This work was followed first by the haying season and 
that in turn by harvesting. Year round there were cows to feed 
and milk. And there were horses, hogs, sheep, and chickens to be 
fed and cared for. The principal wintertime duty, aside from live- 
stock care and barn chores, was that of cutting firewood for house 
heating and cooking purposes. 

These farm duties began early in life and contributed mightily 
to the formation of his character. "The man," he has written, 
"whose early life was passed in the isolation of primeval forests, 
and who grew to manhood carrying on an unceasing struggle to 
turn the rough uncultivated soil into productive fields, gardens, and 
pasture lands, has worked into his life something which no coming 
generations can inherit or acquire." 

Considerable credible evidence exists, both in Rufus Jones's own 
honest, self-revealing, and self-critical books and in South China 
legends, that instead of being a paragon of young virtue Rufus 
Jones was all boy. He occasionally played hooky from school. 
Once he and a companion were unable to resist doing so when 
at recess time they saw twenty or more yoke of oxen moving a 
house on runners across the snow covered ground to its destination 
two miles distant on the lake's ice. When they guessed the desti- 
nation the boys hurried to the house, went inside, walked up the 
stairs to the second floor and rode in glory to the new spot where 
the house was to rest. They were filled with forebodings on their 
walk home about what the teacher would say. To their great relief 

Ruf us and his "Prince Albert coat" in 1 885. 

The house in South China, Maine, in which Ruf us was born. 

Looking down the main street of South China, Maine. 


the teacher overlooked what they had done because he recalled 
his own boyhood and realized why their temptation had been so 

Exciting outdoor temptations also occasionally caused him to 
squirm out of his farm and house chores in his earlier years. These 
lapses were infrequent but he and his companions were not above 
creating situations that would free them from their daily duties. 
During one haying season one of the group nailed a neighbor's 
weather vane so that it pointed east, an almost infallible indication 
in that region of approaching rain. When the farmer saw the vane 
pointing rigidly to the east he remarked, "The wind's in the east 
and that means rain so there's no use to cut more grass until the 
weather clears." When he announced his decision the boys hurried 
off to their fishing and swimming. Upon being asked if he had done 
the nailing, a warm, reminiscent smile played over Rufus* lips before 
he said, "No, I didn't nail it but it was done." 

His parents believed that some of his village companions during 
what he termed his "wayward" years of adolescence were not en- 
tirely desirable, but his association with them appeared to have left 
no permanent mark on his spirit or habits. One companion who 
caused his parents especial concern was an older man who had been 
a soldier in the Civil War and who also had served a term in prison. 
No evidence exists that this man left any undesirable marks upon 
his character. 

In later years as he looked back on his youthful associates he 
expressed the belief that his experiences with them formed an es- 
sential part of his education because he had gained from them his 
first sure understanding of what life means to the majority of peo- 
ple and that he had learned much about human nature from them 
that helped to prepare him for his teaching and preaching careers. 
He could say later about these boyhood companions that he gained 
illumination without acquiring taste "for the things I was hearing 
about." He heard them use "oaths constantly," and adds, "but I 
never used one." Elsewhere he has written, "I never used a swear- 
word in my life." 

According to his later expressed belief he learned then the im- 
portant lesson that "it is possible to be intimate with persons of a 
wholly different set of ideals from one's own . . . and yet to main- 
tain one's own ideals without being a prig." 

He looked back over the years as he wrote his Trail books and 


fixed the turning point in his life to that day in his tenth year when 
his parents left him to weed a turnip patch during their absence. 
Temptation came to him in the form of a group of playmates, with 
the lure of a day passed in swimming and fishing. He yielded. He 
reluctantly returned home at the end of the day's sport and there 
met his mother. He realized that she had inspected the unweeded 
turnip patch and he felt that he deserved the worst. His mother 
took him by the hand and led him to his room, put him in a chair, 
and without a direct word of reproach "kneeled down, put her 
hands on me and told God all about me. She interpreted her dream 
of what my life was to be. She portrayed the boy and the man of 
her hopes. She told God what she had always expected me to be, 
and then how I had disappointed her hopes. 'Oh God,' she said, 
'take this boy of mine and make him the boy and man he is 
divinely designed to be.' Then she bent over and kissed me and 
went out and left me alone in the silence with God. That was an 
epoch. I discovered then and there the meaning of grace agape 
not only in a wonderful mother, but in the heart of God." 2 

The boy's conscience, super-refined in that pious home, became 
"as sensitive as a compass needle." It had sufficient sensitivity to 
record deviation from the proper path, but it lacked the strength to 
keep him on it. While he "hated sin" and "loved goodness" his boy- 
hood steps would wander carelessly here and there in forbidden 
areas during this early period when his spiritual life was readying 
to burst into bud. While his boyish self was still alive and before 
the birth of his new spiritual self he was "hopelessly drifting down 
the stream." His inner turmoil was especially great and constant 
because he was the leader of a large group of boys. Even so, he 
wanted to be the kind of boy his mother wished and had prepared 
him to be. 

Supporting his mother's ideal for him was the tenderly kind and 
spiritually devoted family that instinctively sought a way of life 
which placed significant emphasis "upon the formation of character, 
the building of personality, the realization of a rightly fashioned 

Their inner promptings were as effective in guiding his spiritual 
steps as are the instincts of migrating birds that follow trackless 
wastes of water to reach the more desirable spots where life is best 
for them in the changing seasons. 

* American Spiritual Biographies, edited by Louis Finkelstein (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 123. 


As the Twig Is Bent 

THERE were three major things other than the influence 
F his spiritually tender home life, his duties on his father's 
xm, and the inspiringly beautiful countryside that shaped 
the life and character of Rufus Jones. 

The first was the atmosphere in which the boy was "sprinkled 
from morning to night with the dew of religion," The family never 
ate a meal without "a hush of thanksgiving" nor began a day with- 
out "a family gathering" with its Bible reading followed by a period 
of weighty silence. The second was his attendance at Quaker meet- 
ings for worship, and the third the interests, activities, accomplish- 
ments, and way of life of his revered uncle, Eli Jones. 

The child, Rufus has stated, early discovered that something real 
was taking place, that God never seemed far away. His first steps 
in religion were acted by all members of the family. They joined 
together to wait upon and search for God and as often happened 
one of the group would bow, talk with God "so simply and quiedy 
that He never seemed far away." They found in their silence that 
for which they had been searching. These simple, sincere practices 
rather than instruction unconsciously formed the child's religious 
disposition, and they also helped to push the roots of his faith far 
below the surface things that he could see and understand. 

These religious exercises served the little boy well because he was 
more concerned over his spiritual condition than he was about any- 
thing else. Unwise guidance might easily have turned him against 



religion. Fortunately in his case the guidance was wise; the atmos- 
phere of family life and purpose was right. The result was that he 
came "into religion as naturally" as he had come into "the other 
great inheritances of the race." 

The religious way of his family's life, combined with the influ- 
ence of his mystic Aunt Peace, made mystical experience a common 
one for him. Like all children who are largely untroubled by things 
and problems and who do not live by cut-and-dried theories, he 
had more room for "surprise and wonder." This made him more 
sensitive to "intimations, flashes, openings." Under such conditions 
it was natural that he would feel that the impingement of the in- 
visible on his soul was reality. This was true also of Wordsworth 
who has written that many times while going to school he would 
grasp "at a wall or tree to recall myself from the abyss of idealism 
to the reality." The boy Rufus Jones also found "the world within 
to be just as real as the world without" until events forced him to 
become largely occupied with the outside world. 

How much could the small boy understand of the method and 
purpose his elders used in their quiet searching for truth in unpro- 
gramed meetings for worship to which he was carried in his 
mother's arms? From what he has written it seems certain that his 
early attendance enabled him easily and naturally to grasp the spirit 
of these meetings. 

The Jones family attended meetings for worship on First day and 
Fifth day of each week. Their attendance at First day meeting, be- 
cause it was a day of rest, did not interfere with farm work whereas 
attendance at Fifth day meeting f requently required them to neglect 
pressing farm work. Rufus Jones has written that his uncle, Eli 
Jones, "could mow on Fifth-day until time for meeting, and then 
haymaking and the possibility of showers were out of his realm 
of thought, for there was a higher work which needed an undivided 
mind.!' Come what may the Jones family suspendedjts farm work, 
changed clothes, and drove three miles through great woods to the 
Dirigo Meeting House and "in sweet solemnity" worshiped with 
"over-charged hearts." Attendance at Dirigo meeting was an occa- 
sion of pure delight to Rufus also because it enabled him to see his 
favorite cousin, intimate playmate and friend, Charles Jacob. 

Dirigo Meeting House was a plain building. Its inside walls were 
undecorated; its seats, benches with backs, were unpainted. A 
slightly elevated platform on the side opposite the entrance doors 


held two rows of similar benches which faced the meeting, 
"Weighty" Friends, ministers, and elders occupied these benches, 
the men on one side of the aisle and the women on the other. The 
members of this group were more likely to feel "moved" to speak 
than were the rank and file of the meeting membership who sat in 
the main body of the house. Nearly all of the men Friends who sat 
on the facing benches wore dark suits and white shirts which usu- 
ally were not adorned with neckties. Most of the facing bench 
women wore white muslin caps underneath their Quaker bonnets 
and shawls over their shoulders. 

This meetinghouse had no bell. It contained no organ or pulpit. 
Its service had no regular order. There was no choir and no ritual. 
But there always was silence, "a silence of all flesh," which to the 
worshipers "was a sacrament of awe and wonder." 

Because the group was meeting with God, both in faith and in 
practice, "the occasions called for all of their powers of mind and 
spirit." Because he felt the silence permeate his being "as a kind of 
spell" that had a life of its own, a noumenality, a "sense of divine 
presence which even a boy could feel," the small boy who sat with 
unsupported feet on the hard bench kept out of mischief. 

Although he felt a "sense of divine presence" in the meetings for 
worship at an early age, he has told a story on himself that shows 
that he was unable to grasp some of the words his elders used. The 
story came from the custom of the members of his family to ar- 
range for "appointed meetings," for the itinerant Friends ministers 
who, while visiting the South China Friends, usually were guests at 
the Jones home. The Jones family as hosts would make "appointed 
meetings," for the visitors, that is, they would arrange with the 
families of Friends in the community for a mutually satisfactory 
time when the visiting minister could join them in their homes for 
religious services. The little boy always was hearing about "ap- 
pointed meetings," but he could only guess what they were'. It was 
natural, therefore, when his small playmates toddled to his home 
that he would arrange for a "pointed" meeting. This he did by 
directing the toddlers to sit quietly in a row on the floor while he 
stood before them and with great solemnity pointed at each one. 

The Quaker method of worshiping in silence was never explained 
to the boy, nor was he told much about it, but he, nevertheless, 
soon "found" himself "in the midst of a unique laboratory experi- 
ment which worked." It did something to him and for him, a some- 


thing which remained "an unlost possession" and caused him to feel 
that no other method of worship works with a more subtle power 
"or which brings into operation in the interior life a more effective 
moral and spiritual culture." 

Their meetings for worship were brought to a conclusion by the 
man who sat in the seat on the top facing bench on the end adjoin- 
ing the middle aisle. When he felt that the period of fruitful wor- 
ship had ended he would turn to his nearest Companion and shake 
his hand. This served as a signal to the congregation that the services 
were ended. Others in the meeting soon turned to their companions 
and shook hands as a kind of mutual benediction, after which the 
congregation would arise and quietly leave the meeting room. 

Since clocks then did not adorn the walls of Friends meeting- 
houses, and no man who sat at the head of a Friends meeting con- 
sulted his watch, the decision that the proper time had come to 
"break" meeting always rested on the promptings of the spirit, a 
fairly accurate timepiece and compass. 

The members of the Dirigo meeting were singularly blessed in 
that two of their members were ministers of the first rank, a hus- 
band and wife, Eli and Sybil Jones, He and his wife were widely 
traveled and both were able speakers. Eli Jones, the first child of 
Abel and Susannah Jones, was a man of "superior intellectual power 
and of rare spiritual qualities." He was a richly endowed minister 
who possessed "practical wisdom and clear common sense." The 
burden of his religious service was how to live a good life, "how to 
be a true citizen, how to meet the trials and temptations which beset 
us all and how to come through valiantly and triumphantly." His 
voice would triumphantly sound the call, "Fight the good fight, lay 
hold on the life which is life indeed." 

Sybil Jones possessed "a touch of genius" and a spirit of vast 
scope and range. She would give outward evidence of her inward 
promptings to deliver a message by first untying her bonnet strings 
and laying aside her bonnet. This done she would rise to full height 
and begin to speak in a voice that "was soft like the wind in pine 
trees but with a musical cadence and carrying power which reached 
every listener." Sybil Jones, who was profoundly evangelical, 
preached "to win souls from sin to a consciousness of salvation." 
Her theme always was "the amazing, seeking, pursuing love of 

In addition to the superior gifts of Eli and Sybil Jones, the meet- 


ing was blessed with those of Eli's sister Peace Jones, the mystic 
"who wore the white flower of a holy life." Her words always car- 
ried great power even though she "lacked some qualities which a 
public speaker needs." What made up for this lack was "her inward 
grace and daily converse with the Lord." In the Dirigo meeting, 
however, as in all Friends meetings, not all who felt moved to 
speak were of the quality of Eli, Sybil, and Peace Jones. That could 
not be expected because, as Rufus Jones has said, "The cream never 
goes all the way down to the bottom of the pan." 

Because it is pure democracy every Friends meeting of the free 
type has its "seconds and thirds" and its "queers," and as pure 
democracy at work it hides no talents, however small. Most one- 
talent speakers in Friends meetings use volume of voice in their 
efforts to give significance to their repetitive messages. Rufus Jones 
has written that the offerings of these "seconds, thirds, and queers" 
were a hard test for a boy. He and his youthful friends, as have 
Quaker youth everywhere and always, played meeting. Because 
"imitation is one of the earliest instincts" these youngsters would 
act over and over the characteristic things they heard. 

An unusual thing about the faith and practice of Quakers has 
been the way they have rigidly held in their meetings to the princi- 
ple of freedom of speech. Although there was tremendous differ- 
ence between the inspiring gospel messages that came from weighty 
Friends and those that came from the Friends with a single talent 
and a slender idea, the meeting always gave the single-talent Friend 
his opportunity to speak. The compensation for their saintly pa- 
tience and gentleness under difficulties shone through as faith in 
the power of truth to the young Friends, who in time learned to 
separate the good from the bad and to hold close to the good. 

The Friends of South China were fortunate also in that they were 
frequently blessed with the presence of splendidly endowed itiner- 
ant Quaker ministers. One member of this group who made an 
indelible impression on the mind of the young boy Rufus was 
Stanley Pumphrey of England. Many years later in A Small Town 
Boy he wrote, "I^an still see him standing in our minister's gallery, 
clothed in a pepper-gray suit of foreign cut, pouring forth with odd 
"sTccent and peculiar phrase his thrilling message, which caught and 
arrested and fascinated the young boy who had ridden through the 
woods to hear him." Stanley Pumphrey's well chosen words, "no- 


table insight, sure vision, and convincing power" made a lasting 
impression on the boy. 

In this group also was William Wetherald of Canada, formerly 
a professor at Haverford College, who "was a scholar and spoke 
like one." After having gone through a series of "shifts and changes 
of religious experiences" he had at last "found himself on the high 
tableland of life." William Wetherald's deep conviction and his 
fine scholarly mind helped young Rufus to know that he was 
"listening to an expert." 

Others in this gifted itinerant minister group who visited the 
South China Friends were Rufus King of North Carolina, whose 
message "of high reality" lingered long in the minds of his hearers. 
Rufus King's companion was Dr. James E. Rhoads, later President 
of Bryn Mawr College, a dignified man who possessed "an unfor- 
gettable grace of manner" and had an unusual power of speech and 
"a tenderness in his approach." He placed his hand on ten-year-old 
/Rufus Jones's head and "prophesied" about him. "His act made a 
great impression on my family." Fifty years later he wrote that the 
words of Dr. Rhoads's prophecy had remained with him as "an 
inspiration long after the man himself had forgotten that he spoke 
them" and that "they have since been fulfilled in every respect." 

Another Friends minister who visited the South China group was 
John Y.. Hoover of Iowa, uncle of former President Herbert 
Hoover, "a tall, gaunt man, with an Abraham Lincoln type of build" 
who was a revivalist preacher. And Caroline Talbot brought her gift 
of prophecy to South China Friends from Ohio. 

Rufus Jones has told the story of the simple, idyllic life of his 
boyhood which was saturated with spiritual purpose and moral 
action. In writing it he stated that it no doubt would sound "dull 
and commonplace to those who are accustomed to high life" but as 
far as he was concerned, after having seen the world with its 
follies he was glad "to get back in memory to the old simplicity and 
realities of life" that lead directly to high spiritual tablelands. 


The Incalculable Influence 
of a Good Man 

INSPIRING as the good life of Rufus Jones was, that of his 
uncle and model, Eli Jones, was equally inspiring. 
Unlike his nephew Rufus, Eli Jones never attended college. 
He secured his formal education from a one-room country school 
in Maine, one year's attendance at Friends School in Providence, 
1824-25, and eight years as a country schoolteacher. 

To make up for the lack of the broad culture and intellectual 
skills that may be secured by attendance at schools and colleges, 
Eli Jones acquired mental training and keen judgment in compli- 
cated situations through his unceasing efforts to make gardens, pas- 
tures, and fields out of rough wooded soil. Solitude, Bible reading 
and study, and religious devotion gave him understanding of the 
deeper truths of the soul and of God. 

His slender formal education, excellent mind, and insatiable curi- 
osity combined to make him a profound student of men and move- 
ments. The religious training he received in a devout Christian home 
centered his thinking, study, and action on the Bible and the good 
way of life, and in turn led him forward on spiritual and intellectual 
paths that extended far beyond the community of his birth. 

He began to exercise a real influence in South China community 
affairs upon his return from the year of school in Providence. He 
was a prime mover in creating a local temperance organization. In 



1830 he helped to found the still flourishing China Library Society. 
He became a leader in Quaker affairs and was recorded as a minister 
of the Society before he was married to Sybil Jones, 1 a distant 
relative, in 1833, who also became one of the Society's most gifted 
ministers. Some years later he was a member of a small committee 
of the local Quaker Quarterly Meeting which secured the funds for 
and established Oak Grove Seminary at Vassalboro. 

Through all of his community and Quaker meeting betterment 
efforts and in his daily life there shone forth the good, useful man, 
who, according to Rufus, "more than anybody else made me realize 
not by what he said, but by what he did that this goodness of 
character which I was after is not something miraculous that drops 
into a soul out of the skies, but rather something which is formed 
within as one faithfully does his set tasks and goes to work with an 
enthusiastic passion to help make other people good." And that next 
to the influence of his own immediate family die life and words of 
his uncle Eli inspired him to do his best. 

Eli Jones lived on a small Maine farm but he ranged far and wide 
in his efforts to render selfless service. During Rufus Jones's youth, 
he and his wife Sybil "were among the foremost living Quakers in 
gift and power of ministry." They went back and forth "like 
spiritual shuttles, now weaving their strands of truth into our lives 
and now again weaving in some far off spot of the earth." 

At one memorable town meeting Rufus Jones has described the 
issue as being whether the town should pay off its Civil War debt 
in a single year or continue to pay interest on it indefinitely. One 
speaker opposed payment of the debt for the reason, he said, that 
the town's citizens had to struggle hard "to feed our families, to 
dig out of our rocky soil enough to keep body and soul together." 
He insisted, therefore, that it should leave this burden to die next 

Loud cheers greeted this proposal. They seemed to forecast defeat 
for the bill until Eli Jones, the leader of the opposition, came for- 
ward to speak. His nephew has described him as a "short, thick-set 
man with long white hair over a broad, high forehead." His rare 

1 Sybil Jones was the daughter of Ephraim Jones, son of Noah, son of 
Thomas who was the first member of the Jones family to come to Massachu- 
setts in 1690 from Wales. Noah was the brother of Lemuel, father of Caleb, 
father of Abel, father of Eli (husband of Sybil) and Edwin, father of Rufos. 
Eli and Sybil were second cousins, once removed. 


gift of words and his ability to think on his feet helped to minimize 
a nasal quality in his voice. 

He handed his cane to his neighbor, pulled down his vest as was 
his habit, and began by saying, "I should think, men of this Town, 
from the last speech, that we were all worn out with labor, reduced 
almost to the Poor House, unable to face a small crisis and ready to 
load our own burdens on our children. We made this debt ourselves. 
It is part of what it cost this Town to set men free from bondage 
and to restore the Union. I voted for this debt when there was no 
alternative in sight. I am tired of paying interest on it year after 
year. Our children will have their own obligations [and don't 
they?]. They must not be asked to carry those which belong to 
our generation. My farm is harder and stonier than most farms in 
this Town. I am older than most of you who are to vote on this 
'bill.' It will cost us all a supreme effort. We shall be obliged to go 
this year without some things we want. But when this debt is paid 
this honest debt our Town is free. We can then improve our 
schools and repair our roads and beautify the Town. And best of 
all our children and our children's children will inherit a Town that 
is free of debt. I am dedicated to the payment of the whole of this 
war debt and I ask you as a man who has grown old among you to 
vote with me to this end." 

The self-denying vote to pay the debt which followed the con- 
clusion of Eli Jones's talk was overwhelmingly carried. 

Payment of the China war debt that year nearly doubled the 
usual tax bill of the town's citizens. The taxpayers earned the sum 
needed by peeling hemlock bark for sale to tanneries. To produce 
sufficient funds to meet ,this additional tax burden, the Edwin Jones 
family was forced to sell a yoke of oxen which it had raised from 
calves. The cash from the sale of the oxen met part of their tax bill. 
They also sold the hay which they had cut to feed the oxen through 
the winter and the sale of this hay enabled them to pay their tax 
bill in full. 

Eli Jones was elected a member of the Maine legislature in 1854 
and was the only member who refused to take the oath of office. He 
stood alone and gave an "affirmation." 

One incident in his service as a member of the state legislature 
concerns his appointment as a joke as a Major General of the 
Maine militia. His colleagues sought to provoke him to make a 
speech. He had never addressed the House since his work had all 


been done in committees. They used as the peg on which to hang 
their action the 1838 "Aroostook War" (the state of Maine pro- 
jected it during the boundary dispute with Great Britain) in which 
no shot was fired, unanimously naming him Major General in that 

The unexpected nomination perplexed the new "Major General" 
for a moment but he rose and in substance spoke as follows: 

"Whatever my ambition may have been in times past, my aspira- 
tions never have embraced such an office as this as an object of my 
desire" and added that his election to this office was a wholly unex- 
pected honor. There is, he said, "to my mind something ominous 
in this occurrence. I regard it as one of the wonderful developments 
of the time." 

He next asked his colleagues if any of them ten years earlier 
would have believed that the people in the larger proportion of the 
land would by 1855 have "roused up with stern determination to 
subdue the encroachments of the slave power and pledge themselves 
never to cease their labors until the wrongs of slavery should be 
amelioratednay more, until slavery should be abolished." Still more 
wonderful, he stated, was that the state of Maine, which a few years 
since had gloried in the Aroostook expedition, would "in 1855 ex- 
hibit the spectacle of a peaceable member of the Society of Friends 
being elected to the post of Major General of a division of militia, 
and that too by the Representatives of the people in their legislative 

He told his fellow members that he had endeavored to regulate his 
own conduct by "the principle that legislation should not go very- 
far in advance of public sentiment and it seems to me that this 
election may possibly be ahead of that sentiment. I submit this ques- 
tion in all candor. It is generally understood that I entertain peculiar 
views in respect to the policy of war. If, however, I am an exponent 
of the views of the Legislature on this subject I will cheerfully 
undertake to serve the state in the capacity indicated. With much 
pleasure I should stand before the militia and give such orders as 
I think best. The first would be 'Ground Arms!' The second would 
be 'Right about face! beat your swords into plowshares and your 
spears into pruning hooks!' " 

He then stated that he would dismiss every man with "an admo- 
nition to read daily at his fireside the New Testament and ponder 
on its tidings of 'Peace on earth and good-will to men.' " 


"If on the other hand," he said in conclusion, "it should be deter- 
mined that my election is a little in advance of the times, I am will- 
ing as a good citizen to bow to the majesty of law and as a member 
of the Legislature to consult its dignity and decline the exalted 
position tendered me by the House; and I will now decline it. With 
pleasure I will surrender to the House this trust and the honor and 
retire to private life." 

Rufus had unqualified admiration for his Uncle Eli as a minister 
of the gospel and as a leader in his community and for his exemplary 
life. But it was made almost boundless by the constructive humani- 
tarian service that Eli and Sybil Jones performed as a team in their 
efforts to express their faith and Christianity. A study of the ser- 
mons this remarkable couple delivered in England on one trip shows 
that Sybil's were beautiful, ethereal, and inspiring whereas Eli's 
were matter-of-fact and down to earth, but their most remarkable 
quality was the way the sermons complemented each other. Sybil 
had a clear, silvery voice that carried easily while Eli spoke with 
down-East nasal tones and would often stand with his two hands on 
his abdomen, pulling himself together, for he had a double hernia, 
and braces were unknown in that day. 

In 1851 while Sybil Jones was confined to her bed with what is 
now believed to have been tuberculosis of the spine, she told her 
husband that she felt a call to go to West Africa for the purpose of 
helping to strengthen the new Negro republic as an aid in solving 
the slavery question. They discussed her call for some days, and Eli 
asked her at three different times if she were sure about the call, 
and each time Sybil answered simply that the voice of God had 
told her that that was her present mission. 

Within a week Eli and Sybil had boarded a sailing vessel in New 
York harbor (Sybil was carried on board on a stretcher) bound for 
Africa. After a few days at sea Sybil was on her feet and began to 
hold daily religious services with the sailors. 

In 1867 Eli Jones and his wife felt a call to bear the gospel to the 
Holy Land. They were liberated for this service first by their own 
Monthly Meeting and then in turn by the Vassalboro Quarterly 
and the New England Yearly Meetings to which their meeting be- 
longed. Their concern to visit the Holy Land was not that of win- 
ning the soil from the infidel but to further the efforts of the 
American missionary movement, which, from its beginnings in 1823, 


had sought "to gain souls of those living in blindness, ignorance, and 

Since no qualified Friend undertakes to carry out a concern with- 
out first being "liberated" by his or her own meeting, the procedure 
by which Friends liberate their ministers for religious service "in 
other parts" should be explained. The process starts when the mem- 
ber who feels the call for such service states the nature of his concern 
and the service he feels called to render. If no Friend holds a "stop in 
his mind" or is "uneasy," those present at the meeting unite with its 
member's liberation request by stating that they concur "in this 
concern," as is usually the case. After the blessing of the Lord has 
been invoked upon the concerned Friend he or she is given a meet- 
ing minute to perform the service. When the service is concluded 
the Friend returns his minute to the meeting. 

Governor John A. Andrew of Massachusetts and General Banks 
attended Eli and Sybil Jones's last religious services in Boston before 
they departed for Palestine a marked contrast to the reception the 
acting governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony had given the first 
Quakers to arrive in America in 1657. Their close friend John G. 
Whittier, who had first planned to accompany them, wrote the fol- 
lowing verses for the occasion: 

To Eli and Sybil Jones: 

As one who watches from the land 
The lifeboat go to seek and save, 
And, all too weak to lend a hand, 
Sends his faint cheer across the wave, 

So, powerless at my hearth today, 
Unmeet your holy work to share, 
I can but speed you on your way, 
Dear Friends, with my unworthy prayer. 

Go, angel-guided, duty sent! 
Our thoughts go with you o'er the foam; 
Where'er you pitch your pilgrim tent 
Our hearts shall be and make it home. 

And we will watch (if so He wills 
Who ordereth all things well) your ways 
Where Zion lifts her olive hills 
And Jordan ripples with his praise. 


Oh! blest to teach where Jesus taught, 
And walk with Him Gennesaret's strand; 
But whereso'er His work is wrought, 
Dear hearts, shall be your Holy Land. 

Eli and Sybil Jones visited Ramallah while they were in the 
Jerusalem area and were inspired to help a young woman teacher 
of Ramallah start a girls' school. They became interested also in a 
project to establish a mission near Mount Lebanon. Upon their 
return home and after considerable correspondence Eli Jones saw 
the way opened for him to further the school project by finding 
funds to support it and by giving it spiritual guidance. Through 
their efforts a girls' training-home at Brummana was established. 

Sybil Jones died in 1873 before the Brummana training-home for 
girls was underway. Three years later Eli Jones again visited the 
Holy Land for the purpose of helping strengthen and advance the 
two projects and to interest Friends in England and America in 
financing the undertakings. His success in his fund-raising work 
called for his making a final trip to the Holy Land in 1882 to be 
present at the dedication of new buildings that had been erected 
with the funds he had raised. Then, in his seventy-sixth year, he 
spoke for more than an hour at the dedicatory exercises on the sub- 
ject of female education. 

Eli Jones remained in Brummana three months for the purpose of 
working out the details of transferring the mission into the hands 
of three American and three English trustees and to improve the 
arrangements for management of the mission. 

When' he left South China to make his last trip to the Holy Land 
one of his Friends said, "I fear thou wilt never come back to us." To 
this Eli Jones replied by saying, "Lebanon's top is as near heaven as 
my native China is." 

He was remarkably successful with the Arabs. When asked once 
how he accounted for this he replied, "It is because I am of the 
people. I go down to their condition, but do not stay there; I en- 
deavor to bring them up." 

Peace, total abstinence, and higher education came to be proper 
causes for him to support. Because he always believed in divine 
guidance he waited for the inward voice to speak before he would 
undertake a service. Standing for spirituality and against formalism, 
and striving for spiritual rather than material ends, he dedicated his 


voice and his life to obey the command which Christ gave to His 
apostles, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every 
creature." He eschewed doctrine largely for the reason that his in- 
terest was in the gospel. He felt his call to be that of living and 
preaching the gospel, to declare it, not to argue about it. 

Because he believed that all men and all women had equality of 
worth before the Creator he was an earnest worker for real rights 
for women. Once when during a stay at the Brummana mission he 
found the girls sitting on the floor at their studies it troubled him 
because he felt that if they had chairs to sit on they would at the 
same time have their spirits elevated. When he next visited the school 
one girl shyly said to him, "We thank you for our seats." 

During all his life Eli Jones tilled the soil the source of all physical 
life and man's final resting place but his stony farm at Dirigo never 
acted as a yoke of bondage on him. He did get close to nature's 
heart as he plowed and planted, dug and harvested, and learned the 
mysteries of animal and plant life as well as the trials and pains of 
daily toil. He gained from the deep truths of nature a wisdom, un- 
derstanding, and sympathy that enabled him to become a great spir- 
itual leader. Under his understanding care his sheep throve, his fruit 
trees and his vegetable plants produced superior products. 

This remarkable man, whose formal education was meager and 
who lived and earned his living from a small, stony Maine farm, was 
able to and did adopt the great world for his field of service. He 
mingled as an equal with the best minds on three continents, lived 
an admirable life, and preached undefiled religion. 2 The quality of 
spirituality, the sureness of his faith, the vigor of his body, and the 
warm sympathy in his heart for all mankind enabled him to over- 
come barriers of space and problems that seem to circumscribe the 
majority of men. 

Rufus Jones has recorded that every time his Uncle Eli spoke in 
meeting "he built something into the fiber of my life," made him 
wish to be a good boy and grow into a man "like that stirring 
speaker and do things." 

Another time he wrote, "The thing which impressed me most, as 
a thoughtful boy, was that in all this perplexing and wearying 
work, he was becoming more and more like my ideal of a saint. His 

8 John Bright, England's distinguished Quaker member of Parliament, wrote 
in his diary: "Attended Friends meeting this morning where Eli Jones delivered 
the greatest sermon I ever have heard." 

(a, b, and c) Rufus Jones, as the reuniter of Quaker groups and the 
inspiration of the new Quaker purpose as well as for his own 
wholesome goodness, occupies a place with George Fox, the 
founder of the movement, and William Penn, its statesman, to form 
Quakerism's great triumvirate. 


face was sunny; his smile was always ready to break out. We were 
all happier when he came, and he himself seemed to have a kind of 
inward peace which was very much like what I supposed the heav- 
enly beings had. It had been his preaching which had so influenced 
my very early life; but it was much more his victorious life, which 
spoke with an unanswerable power like that of a sunset on the 
starry sky, that influenced me now in this critical time. I felt that 
the way to become good was to go to work in the power of God 
to help make others good, and to help solve the problems of those 
among whom we live." 

The effect on Rufus of the example of his uncle, intimate friend, 
and companion, who was "a noble citizen, valiant man, a living 
example of what a Christian ought to be," was profound. He saw 
exhibited in his uncle. Eli "the kind of life I wanted to attain." His 
efforts make the description the nephew wrote many years ago in 
Finding the Trail of Life of the uncle now fit the nephew: "In all 
his work for the betterment of man at home and abroad, I never saw 
him discouraged or in doubt about the final issue. He was always full 
of hope and courage and radiantly happy to be able to work at 
human problems." 


Broadening Horizons 

A THOUGH religion as it was practiced and lived in the Jones 
family was never far from the periphery of the boy's 
thoughts and actions, nevertheless, he did have a life apart 
from it. 

His school life began during the summer when he was four and a 
half years old in a one-room public schoolhouse. The school was in 
the village to which he walked holding his sister's hand. It was sum- 
mertime and none of the larger boys was in attendance since they 
were needed to help their fathers on the farms. The youngsters were 
under the guidance of one teacher, a woman. 

The school day began with scripture reading, the Lord's Prayer 
repeated in unison, and the singing of a hymn. Classes were then 
heard on a bench directly in front of where the little boy sat "with 
vacant mind because I had nothing to do and no one to entertain 


Another similarly situated small boy filled in his time by "cutting 
up" until the teacher stopped what she was doing and said in a 
vigorous tone, "Elijah Elwood, if you don't keep quiet I shall tie a 
string around your neck and hang you to a nail." 

The picture of seeing his playmate hanging from a nail with feet 
dangling in the air enabled Rufus to keep his fractious spirits cowed 
as well as to inspire him to work at his lessons. He was not, he states, 
like the small boy who refused to say A, because if he did, as he 
told his teacher, "you will want me to go on and say B." Rufus 



meekly said A without comment and when he did so, he states, he 
"took his most momentous intellectual step" since the letters he 
learned in that primer class are the same ones which he has used in 
reading everything that he ever has read in English. 

What interested him most during his first term in school was lis- 
tening to the more advanced pupils read stories from the second to 
the fifth reader. 

As he grew in stature of mind and body his seating place in the 
school was gradually moved back until in time he became a full- 
fledged schoolboy. 

Some of the teachers, during the period of Ruf us Jones's boyhood, 
were excellent. Others were not. Teaching personnel changed fre- 
quently in South China, as it did then and even later in the one- 
room schools of the nation. Occasionally an excellent teacher was 
unable to maintain discipline during the winter term when the back 
rows in the room were filled with larger boys. One such, during a 
disciplinary crisis, was carried out of the school by the big boys. 
This finished his teaching career. His successor, a small man, how- 
ever, took and held command of the school from the first day, and 
"under his guidance we began to take on new intellectual and moral 

Rufus Jones has written that one of the best things he learned 
from this good disciplinarian was "the ease of securing obedience by 
one who possesses character and the quality of leadership." 

When he was thirteen years old, Rufus attended school that had 
"a teacher of very fine quality." This man, though not a fine scholar, 
was however a master of the subjects he taught and a real leader. 

His teacher at Weeks Mills "was one of the greatest teachers in 
the state of Maine," a Bowdoin College graduate who "taught as one 
having authority," and his pupil Rufus "rose up to meet him." 

The only near fight he ever had with a boy (except one time 
when he threw a boy down and pinned his shoulders to the ground 
for having rubbed custard in his hair) occurred during his Weeks 
Mills school days. Their differences occurred one day while he was 
walking home; his opponent, "who was somewhat allergic to me" 
and two companions came along the road in a wagon which, as it 
passed, Rufus leaped into uninvited on the assumption that any 
schoolmate would give him a ride. The driver ordered him to "get 
out" which he did not do, whereupon the driver started to get up 
from the seat to push him out. Having anticipated the driver's pur- 


pose Rufus caught his "allergic" schoolmate off balance and pushed 
him out of the wagon. The driver got up "in a very angry mood" 
and promised in vigorous language to give Rufus "a tremendous 
thrashing tomorrow." 

Tomorrow inevitably came and recess, the time set for the prom- 
ised thrashing, soon followed. The pupils were in full attendance 
and ready to see what promised to be a fight to the finish. The 
fighters began their work of annihilation but much to his regret the 
angry driver soon discovered that his task would not be an overly 
easy one. The fight was ended by the teacher appearing on the 
scene and separating the fighters who were at indecisive grips with 
one another. He called the fight off and made the contestants sit 
together in front of the entire school and hold hands the balance of 
the forenoon. When this ordeal was finished the boys shook hands 
and thereafter became good friends. 

In the autumn of 1877 Rufus Jones entered Oak Grove Seminary, 
a Friends boarding school which his Uncle Eli had been a leader in 
establishing in 1854. This school was ten miles distant from South 
China. He "boarded" himself, that is, he had a room in a dormitory 
during the week but went home each Friday evening and returned 
to school on Sunday evening. He brought along from home each 
week on his return trip a large box of food which his mother had 
prepared. This box of food fed him during the week. He and his 
roommate had an airtight stove in their room on which they could 
boil eggs, make coffee, and do other simple cooking, but most of 
their food was eaten cold. 

"The plan," he has said, was a mistake and "should not have been 
allowed, but how a farmer's son who had no money could otherwise 
have managed ... I have no way of telling." 

Except for the harm their Spartan-like boarding arrangements did 
to their digestion, his term of school was a marked success. He 
began the study of Latin that year and was "fascinated with quad- 
ratics," studied astronomy for the first time, made some progress in 
the mastery of English, and developed his budding talents as a public 

The following winter Rufus attended the District School in 
South China where he continued his study of Latin, "mostly by 
myself, as my teacher, like Shakespeare, knew 'little Latin.' " Among 
other things that winter he also studied double-entry bookkeeping. 
When school closed that spring he ended his school days in Maine. 


One of the phases of Rufus Jones's South China boyhood life 
that left its indelible mark was the love of nature it engendered. He 
grew to revel in its vistas, waters, woods, birds, and flowers. 

While admitting that not all individuals who have possessed great 
aesthetic gifts, as well as genius, may be morally robust, he has stated 
that he, nevertheless, believed that a boy is safer morally and spir- 
itually if he has a passion for beautiful things and for the beauty of 

Even when one allows for the likelihood that the corollary of 
aesthetic appreciation may not discipline the will or stabilize the 
character, he must recognize that the love of beauty does tend "to 
elevate and ennoble the soul. It is," he held, "an immense asset in the 
formative stage of youth." And an appreciation of the beauty of 
nature is man's anchor to the windward, helping to make his spir- 
itual life more stable. 

One great value the love of beauty in nature has for a country 
boy is that it serves as an antidote for the influence of crude and 
rough forces that impinge on a boy's life. Who can cfoubt but that 
it creates silent forces that unconsciously stimulate the growth of his 
better self? 

Rufus Jones attributed the source of his love of nature either to 
some ancestral strain or to "some high source." While it had almost 
no guidance or specific outline at first, he nevertheless was thrilled 
when he saw "something that was exactly as it ought to be." 

The first object of beauty that he remembered as having moved 
him was the lake in front of his home. He felt that if this "glorious 
lake had not been there my earthly story would have been a very 
different one." Throughout his long life it continued to move him 
"with an ever increasing spell." The thing about the lake that 
touched the sensitive, imaginative boy and man was that its beauty 
changed constantly both during the day and every day. In later 
years he told how it had caught and held him in its spell: 

A boy placed on the bank of a lake stretching off for several 
miles becomes inheritor to a domain more vast than the acres of 
water it contains. He feels that he owns so much of the world's 
glory and his feeling of ownership lifts him out of the common 
dull round of life. Year by year he owns more in proportion as 
his soul expands and he sees more of God's work and God's love 
in painted sunsets beyond the western shore and in the forests 


above and below the placid waters. No one who has not experi- 
enced it can appreciate the worth of a lake to a boy. 1 

Another of his boyhood joys was a rippling, cascading brook near 
his home with its mystery of origin in faraway woods. It was a 
"never-ending delight" with its rapids and dark pools, the fringe of 
shrubs and flowers along its banks. While there were no nearby 
mountains the Jones family could see mountain peaks in western 
Maine, eighty miles distant, form a "glorious ridge of purple" on 
the far horizon. 

There were memorable trips to Augusta, twelve miles distant, 
which required all day for the round trip. There he saw the "black" 
Kennebec River with logs plunging over the dam and floating under 
the covered bridge, the "majestic" state house, the home of James 
G. Elaine, and, if fortune favored him, he would see a train of cars 
come clanging into the station; he ate his first banana on one of these 
trips. First and last the trips to Augusta furnished new thoughts and 
new experiences that provided topics for endless conversation in 
the village. 

Wild flowers, one of nature's ways of expressing beauty, thrilled 
him. He placed the water lilies first, perhaps because he liked going 
out in a boat to gather them as they floated on the water. Even 
though their long stems connected the lilies with the mud at the 
bottom of the lake the flower always looked to him "as though it 
were composed of diviner stuff." There was the rue, too, with 
leaves that gleamed like silver when they were placed under the 
water. The term "Mayflower" covered arbutus, anemone, hepatica, 
and bloodroot in the South China boy's terminology. When the 
first day of May came it called for a glorious trip of joy and wonder 
to the "back woods" to gather "Mayflowers." The woods abounded 
also with painted trillium, lady-slipper, Indian pipe, twin flower, 
Solomon's seal, and a great "array of beautiful mosses and ferns." 

There were numerous birds in the South China region which gave 
unusual pleasure to the nature lovers. The most exciting bird event 
of the year was announced by the "honk-honk" of the wild geese 
on their far journeys south in fall and north in spring. Like the 
brook with its unknown source, they represented magic, as they 
flew in their V-formarion, seemingly steered by some invisible 

1 Rufus M. Jones, Eli and Sybil Jones (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1889), 
p. 13. 


power. There were also a pair of bald eagles who lived near the 
lake, and always a pair of loons had a home on it where they 
sounded their weird night calls. But the real glory "of our world 
was the bobolink." 

Rufus Jones wrote late in life that he had "seen and heard sky- 
larks and nightingales, but I still vote for the bobolink," whose 
"color beautifully fits its song" and its size was exactly right to be 
the source of that "amazing 'brook of laughter' which pours from 
its throat." The boblink's seasonal stay in South China was short- 
just long enough to hatch its young in the fields and then it "went 
back with the new brood to that mysterious somewhere." But while 
present it "raised life to a new pitch and gave it a peculiar touch of 

He then adds, and in doing so unconsciously reveals what was one 
of his finest qualities, "The outstanding feature of the bobolink is his 
magnificent enthusiasm. He is a radiant bird" and added that he 
never was able to understand how "any creature could be as happy as 
he seemed to be," and that he should have missed something "essen- 
tial to the fulness of life if the bobolink had not nested in our fields." 

In the wintertime the "brave" chicadees flitted about as did also 
the scolding blue jay with the white snow background making his 
blue all the more remarkable. The beautiful wood grouse lived in 
the trees. 

In addition to the lake, flowers, and birds there also were the 
woods, which stretched mile on mile, with their trails winding in 
and out among great trees. The youth's practice of following these 
trails, which when carefully followed brought him to his desired 
destination, made it logical, natural, and significant that in his ma- 
turity he should have used the word "trail" in the titles of his Trail 
series of autobiographical books and in The Luminous Trail. 

The stars, which have silently watched all of man's advances and 
recessions and filled him "with awe and wonder" from time imme- 
morial, also moved the boy deeply. And the great words of Job set 
him "searching for Orion and Arcturus so that I had an immense 
world of interest above my head as well as by the lake and in the 
woods." Each winter there was the aurora borealis in the northern 
sky which stirred him to his depths as it always has moved man and 
as it continues to do. 

Over, above, and beyond the boy's appreciation of the beauty in 
nature there was in his make-up a "penetrating appreciation of the 


beauty of human characterthe supreme beauty our world has to 

The lack in his inner life was music, the value of which in educa- 
tion and in spiritual refreshment Quakers had long failed to recog- 
nize. By doing so they had been negligent about cultivating the 
imagination of their youth. In the case of Rufus Jones, however, 
this lack was not overly serious since he was blessed with a rare 
and wonderful imagination and he was tuned to the significant 
music of the spheres. 

He, moreover, was able to cultivate his budding imagination by 
becoming interested early in life with the accounts of the heroes of 
the Bible and the majestic poetry in many of its passages. The winter 
he was eight years old he undertook to read ail of the chapters of 
the Psalms his reward for doing so was to be a pair of mittens "as 
strangely colored as Joseph's coat." While carrying out his task he 
began to feel "the power of this Hebrew poetry which," he adds, 
"did me good." 

For a period of ten months when he was ten years old he suffered 
what then seemed to be one of life's misfortunes (but which later 
proved to be a blessing as so many misfortunes do) by being con- 
fined to his bed with complications that followed an injury to his 
foot. The country doctor opened the injury with a knife that he 
had sharpened on a farm whetstone and had neglected to sterilize. 
Blood poisoning followed Rufus missed losing his leg and even 
his life by a split hair's width. During his recovery he began to 
read the Bible out loud to his grandmother and discussed it for 
hours with her during the long period when he never took a step. 

Many passages puzzled the ten-year-old boy, although he be- 
lieved that one line was as inspired as another. But the "begat" 
chapters sorely troubled him. The great thing he caught, aside from 
the beauty and power of its poetry, was the picture he was able to 
see of patriarchal life, which despite the intervening centuries, apart 
from the descriptions in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy 
that he could not imagine, was not vastly different from his own 
home and community life. He saw Jacob's and Joseph's careers 
clearly; Moses' life and deeds in Egypt and the events of the exodus 
and wilderness journey moved him deeply. He followed Deborah, 
Gideon, Jephtha, and Samson's stories with intense interest. David 
was his hero, a man after his own heart. "Whenever the narrative 
grew vivid and great events were done I felt my heart throb." The 


book of his boyhood was the Old Testament; his "heroes and hero- 
ines were there." It gave him his "first poetry," and "I got my grow- 
ing ideas of God from it." As he read it he caught "the faith and 
insight that God is always revealing Himself and that truth is not 
something finished, but something unfolding as life goes forward." 

His misfortune helped greatly to make the Bible his "living book." 
His discovery and love of its treasures, he wrote in Finding the Trail 
of Life, "gave me the key to a larger freedom that enabled me in 
later years to keep the Bible still as my book, without at the same 
.time preventing me from making use of all that science and history 
have revealed or can reveal of God's creative work and of His deal- 
ing with men." 

Working less subtlely than did the beauties of nature but with ef- 
fectiveness in shaping the character and fixing the ideals and outlook 
of the boy were the more prosaic activities of his life; his playmates 
and their activities, interests, and games; his inner conflicts; his asso- 
ciations with older people; and his part in the community life. 

Since large families were then the rule he did not lack playmates 
even though South China was a small village. Its young people 
had a vast, ever-changing, wholesome world for their playground. 
Not the least of youth's many fascinating facets is its impelling urge 
and maneuvering tendencies to devote the maximum amount of its 
time to play in the face of ageless parental insistence to limit the 
time devoted to play. 

Just as every animal ever born has an unquenchable desire to be 
free so every youth born of woman seeks always for the untram- 
meled expression of its desire to build its world of realities out of 
the make-believe world of games. Play, as Rufus Jones has pointed 
out, is "one of the oldest of all human activities." While it neither 
bakes puddings, butters parsnips, nor adds to the family assets, it is, 
however, he has written, "one of the greatest of nurturing forces of 
group-life." It "contributes to health and sanity and joy to an almost 
unparalleled degree." 

The South China boys followed the tendency of all youth to make 
games of its duties by using slingshots, bows, and arrows or a potato 
fastened on the end of a stick to hurry the lagging steps of the cows 
as they drove them to and from the pasture mornings and evenings. 
Out of this they developed some skills, a co-ordination of the eye 
and the hand, and an accuracy in judging distance. 

In what he has called "an evil moment" the youngster Rufus 


urged his father to teach him how to milk. His father readily agreed 
to do so. And did. The task had looked like fun when his father did 
it, but it soon became another required duty, which was onerous 
because it further restricted the boy's playtime. 

In this experience, as in the vast majority of all those in life, 
whether or not they seem fruitful at the time, the boy gained some- 
thing of value which he was able to capitalize on many years later 
when he spent ten days in a "retreat" on the sacred mountain in 
China of Taishan. Seven goats were there to supply the group with 
milk. The goats could not have done so had not Rufus and the wife* 
of a missionary in all that company of holy people learned how to 
milk earlier in their lives. 

Since some of Rufus' playmates were village boys and therefore 
had few farm duties, they gravitated toward his home and his lead- 
ership although they were somewhat older than he. Tom Sawyer- 
like, he would enlist their help in performing his farm chores so 
that they all might get off more quickly on some expedition. The 
nature of the expedition was unimportant; it might be boating, 
swimming, fishing, coasting, skating or just skylarking, pushing, 
shoving, wrestling, or joshing as boys are wont to do. 

They had their jokes, too, one of which concerned a weeping 
small boy who when asked why he was crying replied, "My dog 
was run over and killed and I can't bear it." A second boy re- 
marked that he could not see why his playmate was making such a 
fuss over a dead dog and stated, "My grandfather has just died and 
I'm not wailing and howling about it," to which the brokenhearted 
youngster replied, "But you didn't raise your grandfather from a 

Their favorite out-of-door sport, aside from their lake play, was 
what he called "guards clear." They played "truck" a hockeylike 
game, with a stout "truck" sawed from a birch about a foot in di- 
ameter, instead of a ball. They invaded barns or an uninhabited set 
of rambling buildings in the village near the grocery store and on 
rainy days perfected their acrobatic skills or endlessly played hide- 

He soon became the natural leader of his group of playmates, not 
by election, for boys live and move in a complete democracy, but 
because his companions discovered qualities in him that made them 
turn to him for "guiding direction or for decisive suggestion." The 
boys were equals except in inner qualities of grace and imagination, 


and they played in corporate harmony. Neither self -consciousness 
nor ambition disturbed the course of their lives. The leadership 
qualities that began to emerge then became an important part of his 
later life. 

Entirely apart from the truths the boys learned about human 
nature or the understanding they gained in play of how to get along 
pleasantly and happily together as a group, their wholesome play- 
time activities exerted "a profound influence on our health of mind." 

They were the usual run of boys, neither all good nor all bad. 
The things they did as well as the things they said or heard said 
were not always nice. But they were "unconsciously happy" because 
there was an "element of inspiration" as well as a "flare of radiant 
imagination" in what they did. They also gained from their play- 
time a foundation for physical strength and an "optimistic outlook 
on life," as well as a spirit of daring, adventure, and courage that 
was "better than an inherited fortune." 

They learned to walk high beams "with balance and steady 
head," visited Indian camps in the woods and "bought bows and 
arrows of real Indians in real tents and real woods," dived off bridges 
into brooks "with our clothes and boots on," went sailing on cakes 
of ice in the spring, ventured out as far as possible on thin ice in the 
fall until the most daring member of the group would break through 
and end the game for the day due to their having to take the drip- 
ping wet companion home. 

Once when a rumor was circulated that "pirates" from Water- 
ville were violating the law by using nets to catch great quantities 
of fish for the market, the boys gathered a flotilla of boats and 
went out armed to drive the "pirates" out of the lake. As soon 
as they located the intruders the boys began to fire their revolvers 
and muskets (in the air or on the water) and row furiously with 
bloodthirsty cries toward the frightened intruders who rolled thek 
nets and, upon their promise never to return, departed unharmed. 

There was also Round Island in the lake with its legend of gold, 
which turned out to be "pyrites" or "fools' gold." Round Island was 
believed to be public land and that tide to it could be gained, the 
boys believed, by establishing "squatter's rights," by sleeping on it 
one night a year for a given number of years. Thus each year a 
group of boys loaded with sweet corn for roasting and other food, 
went to the island, cut hemlock boughs for beds, built a stove of 
stones on which they cooked their food and spent the night. 


The group's three top joys in winter were those of helping clear 
the roads of snowdrifts with a flatiron-shaped snowplow drawn by 
oxen, skating, and coasting. And in spring they fished for pickerel 
with lights and spears as the fish lay on the lake bottom still sluggish 
from the winter's cold. 

Once they built a dam on their mysterious brook which, like the 
sacred river Alph, "ran through caverns measureless to man" and 
produced enough water power to turn a water wheel, which, con- 
nected with a belt to a homemade circular saw, was able actually to 
saw a potato in two, "but it balked at more solid substance." 

As this group of boys played and did daring things together they 
helped Rufus Jones, as he has written, "to build secretly and silently 
the secret inner self which they little suspected." 


Rounding Out His Life 
in South China 

ONE aspect of Rufus Jones's boyhood life that had a definite 
influence on him in his formative years was apart from his 
home life, his Quaker religious life, his school life, his farm 
duties, and his playtime life. This one touched the periphery of the 
outer world, which was more and more forcing itself into the con- 
sciousness of the people of the village. 

During the period between 1873, the time when he was ten years 
old and had found a personality and interests of his own, and 1879 
when he left his home community to gain an education in the great 
world beyond, discoveries of tremendous import had been made, 
and events had taken place which had far-reaching consequences. 

Americans of that decade struggled through the depression of 
1873, built railroads across the plains, opened vast areas to the plow, 
built industrial plants and cities, and while they did so, watched with 
only passing interest Germany's quick and complete conquest of 
France without the faintest suspicion that Germany had begun a 
course of action that eventually would bring on two world wars. 

During these stirring decades the Society of Friends in America 
was seemingly largely concerned with going its divergent ways, 
with each group making an effort to advance and strengthen its 
concept of Quakerism. The Hicksite Friends took an important 



forward step in 1864 when they founded Swarthmore as a co- 
educational institution. 

The Quakers' long and successful service in behalf of the Indians 
brought them a new and useful opportunity in 1869, which is set 
forth in the following letter that was sent to representatives of 
different Quaker bodies: 

Headquarters Army of the United States 

Washington, D. C., February, 1869 

Sir: General Grant, the President-elect, desirous of inaugurating 
some policy to protect the Indians in their just rights and enforce 
integrity in the administration of their affairs, as well as to im- 
prove their general condition, and appreciating fully the friend- 
ship and interest which your society has ever maintained in their 
behalf, directs me to request that you will send him a list of 
names, members of your society, whom your society will en- 
dorse, as suitable persons for Indian agents. 

Also, to assure you that any attempt which may or can be 
made by your society for the improvement, education, and chris- 
tianization of the Indians under such agencies will receive from 
him, as President, all encouragement and protection which the 
laws of the United States will warrant him in giving. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Brevet Erig.-Gen., U.S.A. and A.D.C. 

In that day and time, 1873-1879, South China's old-time grocery 
store still served as the men's community club. Every evening fifteen 
or more regulars would gather to discuss neighborhood affairs, spec- 
ulate about the unknown, even the unknowable, consider state, 
national, and international affairs, and be generally sociable. Their 
ranks would be increased at mail time, in the evenings, or on rainy 

The group included one man who had been at the "bloody angle" 
in the Battle of Gettysburg and another who, as a bugler, had 
sounded the stirring notes on his instrument that had inspired Union 
soldiers in many battles. One of the regulars was a "copperhead" 
Democrat Maine early produced a few Democrats and still does 
but not enough to endanger the status quo. And so they went, all of 
them characters, original thinkers, some of them knowledgeable in 
many ways, and all of them possessors of a dry wit. Once when one 


of the group was presenting his views in a slow, detail-burdened, 
dull fashion he was told by one of the group, "You've said enough 
John. You ain't got but one talent and hardly that." 

They settled the 1876 Hayes-Tilden election in their grocery 
store club long before the commission in Washington had reached 
its conclusion. Greatness touched them occasionally when James G. 
Elaine of Augusta would pause briefly in the village as he drove 
through and give them a fresh topic for conversation. 

As Rufus grew in stature and became a clear reader, the group 
would have him sit on a store counter and read important news 
items from the paper, political party platforms, and other items of 
uppermost current interest. During periods when news items tended, 
as lawyers might phrase it, to be "incompetent, irrelevant, immate- 
rial or speculative and vague," Rufus would be requested to read 
something by Mark Twain, Artemus Ward, or from the writings 
of other rural favorites. He learned from these reading sessions how 
to "articulate clearly and to get ideas across effectively to a body of 

The storekeeper's son was a member of this evening session 
group. He, several years older than Rufus Jones (he was the ex- 
convict and former Union soldier) had seen more of the world 
than anyone else in the village. He would tell about his many expe- 
riences with a "vigorous vocabulary." He and the imaginative boy, 
with a drivingly curious mind and a genuine thirst for knowledge, 
became boon companions. Rufus frequently helped him in the 
store and, after it was closed for the day, the two of them with a 
few intimates, "not exactly a prayer-meeting group," would spend 
fine evenings sailing on the lake. Rufus has written that association 
with this man "formed an essential part of my education." He 
learned from this companion and the little group "more about 
human nature and about what *life' means to a large part of our 
population than I could have learned in any other way." He under- 
stood without wanting to imitate. The "strong cords of a deep 
faith and of a still deeper" parental affection enabled him, however, 
to hear oaths and never use them, to be in an atmosphere of vul- 
garity but not be harmed by it "because I was thoroughly minded 
to keep clean." 

As a boy he "had every kind of temptation except bank- 
robbery." Often he was on a thin-knife edge, "with either side in 


delicate balance" but that which kept him from slipping to the 
Other side was "that culture of the spirit in the family center." 

His situation was complicated by his having reached the difficult 
age when, boylike, he felt that no one understood him any more 
and he could not understand himself. Troubled over his seeming 
difficulty in growing up to be a good man he convinced himself 
at times that there was no use in his trying to do so. He hated sin 
and he loved goodness, yet he went to bed each night "with the 
heavy feeling upon me that I was farther than ever from my good- 
ness." And his daily list of failures "frightened" him. 

He was utterly dissatisfied with himself as he found himself liv- 
ing a divided life "and yet" he writes in Finding the Trail of Life, 
"I did not know what had happened." He had somehow passed a 
boundary in his spirit awakening and no longer was a happy-go- 
lucky boy who was satisfied with enough to eat and could play 
unrestrictedly. "A flaming sword" met him at every path "which 
led back to the old Eden of peaceful, innocent, happy childhood. 
Nobody understood me any more, but the worst of it was that I 
did not in the least understand myself. I gave up all hope of 
growing good. It was no use trying. I simply could not succeed." 

Further, he wrote, "The reason that this particular budding 
crisis, when the spiritual life is dawning, is so much more serious 
than the previous ones, is that we know so little how to deal with 
it, and if it is not dealt with in the right way the whole life will 
be dwarfed or twisted out of its proper course. We can show the 
child how to walk, but we bungle when we come to the problem 
of helping a soul make his adjustment with the infinite . . ." 

Every growing boy experiences a variety of inner troubles. One 
of the most serious of these is that he seldom discusses all of them, 
or any of them, fully with anyone. He buries his troubles in his 
heart, avoids discussing them with his parents or other members 
of his family and flounders along. Unfortunately for Rufus none 
of these nearest to him gave outward signs of recognizing that he 
was going through a period of crisis. 

He acknowledges that he had a real hunger for God at this time. 
His home life also helped him to realize his own incompleteness as 
well as his own littleness in the Infinite scheme of things. It gave 
him a passionate longing for Infinite companionship. Step by step 
with the growth of his longing for closer companionship with 


God grew his "conviction of weakness and sin," and as this con- 
viction settled on him he became convinced that he was lost. 

Fortunately for his spiritual health and growth a series of revival 
meetings were held in South China during his inner crisis period. 
He and his youthful boy friends went to the first meeting out of 
daring. The boys came under the spell of the meetings which 
became more earnest and serious. They caught the spirit and 
ceased thinking of the meetings as fun. Rufus' hard inward strug- 
gle disappeared during this transformation period of the meetings, 
and he reached the conclusion that he was "a poor sick soul, unable 
to cure myself and here the remedy was described." Because he 
was a boy in a group of boys who had followed his lead "in a 
hundred boyish pranks," he resisted doing what he felt he should 
do. He felt that if he took such a step it would break "a thousand 
threads which wove my life into the past and bound me up with 
this society of my fellows." 

He weighed and reweighed the stirrings in his soul against the 
activities of his outer life until the bursting pains came at a meeting 
one night. When the great moment came he arose with pounding 
heart and "tremendous effort" and made his tongue say, "I want to 
be a Christian." His momentous declaration was received by a still 
and solemn congregation. He felt a vast relief that no one laughed. 
When he sat down he had won his "first great spiritual victory," 
and he had won it by making his statement in the presence of his 
old companions. His action transformed his outlook. He now saw 
the new land, as he recorded in Finding the Trail of Life, "and yet 
the cables which bound me to the old shores were not entirely cut. 
But this much must be said, that after that memorable day ... I 
never had any doubt that God was for me, or any permanent sense 
that He would let me go." 

While planting potatoes with his father in the spring of 1879, 
he stopped and leaned on his hoe and intimated that he was con- 
sidering taking a momentous step. When his father asked concern- 
ing the nature of the step he was contemplating, Rufus replied, "I 
want to go to Providence this autumn to school." His surprised 
father answered, "I should think thee had education enough. In 
any case there is no money to be found for such an expense." 
Rufus replied that he knew this to be the case and he added that 
he believed he could obtain scholarship aid from the school and 


be able to carry out his plan without cost to the family. His father 
gave him a free hand to try his plan. 

That evening he sent a scholarship application to Friends School 
in Providence, Rhode Island, and then began to watch the mails 
anxiously. His anxiety for a reply was further heightened because 
two other Quaker boys from that section had sent similar appli- 
cations to the same school and he knew that only one of the three 
would be selected. One memorable evening the school notified him 
that he had been granted a full scholarship to cover board and 
tuition for one year. He did not learn until many years later how 
the great fortune had come to him instead of to one of the other 
two applicants. He was selected because a member of the school's 
scholarship committee had said when his name was read with that 
of the other applicants, "I know that boy's mother and if the boy 
is like her he should have a scholarship." She never let her com- 
mittee colleagues rest until they had agreed to grant it. 

The following autumn Rufus, who until that time had never 
been more than twenty miles from the village of his birth, left for 
Providence where he remained in school three years. The trip to 
Providence pushed back his visible horizon and it also opened 
wholly new intellectual and spiritual horizons for him which, in 
time, were to become almost boundless. 

He had brought his spiritual struggle into the -open before his 
mother's death occurred. She had never fully recovered from a 
rheumatic fever attack she had suffered in her youth. In the last 
years of her life she had steadily grown "more saintly spiritual and 
less equal to do the burden of work she wanted to do." She meant 
so much to him that, when friends would ask him how she was, he 
would be unable to say a word. 

He carried worry and fear about her condition in his heart when 
he left for Providence. The news of her continuing, worsening 
bad health weighed heavily upon him, and then one day, in March, 
1880, the principal, his cousin Augustine Jones, sent for the heart- 
sick boy to tell him that his mother had died. 

Rufus' "endless faith that the doctor would make her better" was 
shattered when he was confronted with what seemed impossible, 
that ought not to be, "and yet nothing could change it." 

The worst rebellion he ever experienced followed his mother's 
death. "Could a God be good who took away my mother? Could 
there be any heart in a universe where such things happened?" he 


asked himself. He felt the ground go out from under his entire 
faith, his prayers seemed hollow, and he found, as all men have 
found in their deep, hurting grief, that "kindly words of comfort" 
are empty and meaningless. 

He felt his way out of the darkness that encompassed him little 
by litde with myriads of tender memories, just as others have done 
who have been left behind by their dearest and best. "Little by 
little the memories of sixteen years came over this dark event with 
their trail of light God had given me my mother and through her 
I had learned of Him." Memories of her patience and love and 
prayers, her faith in a new and larger life came over and quick- 
ened him until he no longer felt that he had lost her. She was 
nearer to God than ever before and thus more bound him "to 
live her kind of life." 

He returned to school in Providence following his mother's 
funeral where he continued for a while to feel awkward and self- 
conscious. His sense of irreparable loss and his terrible homesick- 
ness were softened somewhat by the thoughtfulness of his cousin, 
Augustine Jones. Adjustment to unfamiliar conditions and circum- 
stances was difficult, and he longed for old surroundings and com- 
panions. He dreaded going to the dining room and eating opposite 
unknown girls and of reciting in classes where everyone was a 
stranger. He soon began to fit into his new surroundings, how- 
ever, because the spirit of youth is pliable. His adjustment was 
helped by his discovery of five schoolmate cousins, none of whom 
he had ever before seen, and by taking his part in athletic games. 

His mental qualities and studious habits soon brought him to the 
fore in classrooms. Although his previously inadequate school train- 
ing had left weak spots in his schoolwork, he was well up with 
his classmates in arithmetic and algebra, and he excelled most of 
them in public speaking. He was able to start with the Caesar class 
and to carry the work. But his training in grammar, literary com- 
position, and pronunciation was below par, and there was a void 
in his knowledge of the sciences. 

He gained other things of great value during the two years he 
spent at Friends School aside from the mental discipline. One was 
"friendships which were to know no end"; one die "unaffected 
friendship of girls who had nobility of character, grace of manner, 
and purity of spirit," which raised him to a "new level of life." A 
schoolmate, who later became Mrs. Seth K. Gifford, stated many 


years later that his sincerity, naturalness, and fine spirit enabled 
Rufus to win the respect and liking of his schoolmates. He had had 
considerable experience in South China in carrying on foolish and 
frivolous talk with girls of his own age, but at the Providence 
school he learned the "art of conversation" through the give and 
take of ideas and the discussion of books and events that would 
occur during mealtime or in the social periods in the school's 

His Providence school life provided him with competent and 
inspiring teachers. Two of them were especially gifted men and 
great teachers. One, Dr. Seth K. Gifford (later professor of Greek 
at Haverford College), was a sound classical scholar who "in- 
sisted on a mastery of the declension of nouns, conjugations of 
verbs, including all of the irregular ones and the rules of grammar." 
Dr. Gifford also rigidly required careful, accurate rendering of 
every Latin or Greek "passage into good English." He would not 
give a passing mark to a fair translation. "It had to be right." 

Rufus noticed an improvement in his own style within a few 
months after he began to attend Dr. Gifford's Latin and Greek 
classes. Theretofore his essays had been "crude and flat." His im- 
provement in composition grew out of his dawning appreciation 
of the "majestic power and beauty of language, the charm and 
elegance of style, the importance of the 'way in which a thing is 

The teacher whose classroom work and whose companionship 
exerted the most direct influence on Rufus Jones's religious life 
was the school's veteran teacher of science, Thomas J, Battey, "a 
great Christian as well as a scientist." 

Thomas Battey "had a noble veneration for truth, a rare power 
of observation, a passion for accuracy . . . and ... an almost 
unlimited joy in nature and enthusiasm for research and discovery." 

Both Dr. Gifford and Thomas Battey were natural as well as 
excellently trained teachers. Dr. Gifford imparted to his pupils 
his love of great literature and helped to make it more beautiful 
and inspiring to them. Thomas Battey's love and knowledge of 
the natural sciences coupled with an abiding faith gave his pupils 
a fresh and an acceptable conception of science and religion. 

It was in Thomas Battey's geology class that Rufus Jones first 
heard the "astonishing fact" that the world was not made six 
thousand years ago in six days but that it had a history of "un- 


counted and uncountable years." Here was a revolutionary truth 
to the country boy; a truth that opened his mind to a wholly new 
conception of the creation of the world and man's religious life. 

Thomas Battey marshaled and presented day by day through the 
evolution of the horse; by pointing out how the stages of the 
embryo child "run in parallel order to the stages of the order of 
evolving life," the evidence that enabled, even forced, Rufus to 
accept the new concept of the world's creation. 

Genesis, Thomas Battey held, was a great poetic epic of some 
man in the primitive stages of human thought. To him it "ex- 
pressed the central truth of the ages that God is the Maker of all 
that is," which it told not in scientific terms, since science had not 
then been born, "but in terms of poetry and art and religion which 
are as old as smiling and weeping." 

There was nothing in the Genesis sweep of inspired vision, 
according to what Thomas Battey told his class, that raises any 
bar to exact research nor was it a substitute for "a careful reasoned, 
demonstrable method of divine creation." 

Important as were Thomas Battey's theories about the creation 
of the world to the intellectual and religious growth of Rufus 
Jones, the far more important part of his instruction was that he 
carried his pupils over "from our childish idea of a God who 
worked from outside like a mechanic to the higher conception of a 
God who works from within as a living creative energy." 

Later reading and other great teachers helped Rufus Jones travel 
much further in this field, but it was Thomas Battey who gave him 
the key for the door to his spiritual freedom and helped him to 
pass on from a child's religion to one which met the needs of 
growing robust youth without wrecking the bridge to his faith. 

The school's English teacher, Dr. Henry Wood, also taught 
what was then termed "mental philosophy" and opened "many 
questions which touched the central realities of the soul and the 
universe," for his pupils. 

The school's meetings for worship, which were held on First 
day and Fourth day mornings, were largely conducted after the 
usual Quaker fashion. There was no singing but a school official 
usually spoke briefly and used anecdotes and illustrations in such 
a way as to hold the interest, attention, and affection of the stu- 
dents. His was an evangelical religion of experience which was 
devoid of theory and theology. 


Rufus Jones has written that his religious life developed steadily 
during his days at Friends School, so steadily that he was always 
classified with the religious boys of the school but was in no sense 
considered "pious." He was full of life and "eager for adventure" 
and wanted to have his share in everything that went on. 

His boyhood religious life had nourished strong moral fibers and 
given him well-formed ideals that held him to the right course in 
crises. The most marked change in his school religion from that of 
his boyhood was that it was neither so inward nor so mystical. 
The school's type of religion, however, helped him to buttress the 
historical and tie objective side of his faith. He now lived in a 
world of facts and events and discovery of the way "in which 
Christianity had shaped and organized the course of history and 
the progress of the centuries." Moral crises and heroic souls be- 
came his great interest until at college where he returned to the 
mystical side of religion and cultivated "the interior strand of my 


College and Enlarged Horizons 

KJFUS JONES carried with him across the great divide 
from his circumscribed life in South China to Friends 
School the outlook and uplook he had received in his 
boyhood where he had "learned to swim and to enjoy silent wor- 
ship at about the same time," 

He carried also the "radiance and enthusiasm" of the bobolink 
from his native fields and pastures and never lost either quality. 
His excellent, but as yet scholastically untrained mind, his insatiable 
curiosity and his desire to learn, his capacity to work hard, and his 
strong vital personality enabled him to complete his preparatory 
schoolwork in two years' time despite his earlier inadequate train- 

He was so enamored of his new world as well as of the teachers 
who had opened so many new worlds for him that he was reluc- 
tant to leave it. Because he also needed further instruction in 
Greek and Latin he decided to remain there for a postgraduate 
year. He lost no time by doing this since it enabled him to enter 
the sophomore class at Haverford College in the fall of 1882. No 
longer a boy, he "had a Prince Albert coat." 

Later in life he wrote: "There are three major events in one's 
life. Getting born in the right place, of the right parents, at the 
right moment in time, is one of them. Getting married to the 
right companion for the voyage of life is another one. The element 
of choice comes into pky in the latter event in a way unknown 



to the former, but there is a mysterious and unpredictable factor 
present in both cases. The third event is the selection of one's 
center of education; if the education reaches the college grade, it 
will naturally be the choice of the right college." l He had success- 
fully made the third of these choices. 

He had wavered for a period between Haverford and one of 
three different New England Colleges. His Aunt Peace was 
strongly in favor of Haverford. So, too, was his Uncle Eli, "who 
knew the college intimately from the inside." Two other factors 
helped tip the scales in favor of Haverford. The first was that his 
"dearly beloved cousin" and South China boyhood friend, Charles 
Jacob, had entered Haverford the previous year; the second, Hav- 
erford had granted him a scholarship "covering in full my tuition 
and living expenses" (which he later repaid). 

Haverford was the oldest Quaker College, and in 1882 was well 
established. It had adequate funds, and some members of its faculty 
were widely recognized as belonging to the select list of great 
American scholars and educators. 

As he moved from boarding school to college, Rufus Jones car- 
ried across the second great divide of his life the outlook and 
uplook he had carried from South China to Providence. Now, 
however, he could see farther and better and understand more 
fully what he saw. 

"We never," he wrote in Finding the Trail of Life, "really cut 
loose from our old selves; the threads which the boy wove in are 
still in the structure when manhood finds him. The tastes we formed, 
the habits we acquired, the ambitions we fed, the beliefs we grew 
up in, are still a part of us/' 

That he selected Haverford as his college was extremely fortunate 
for him, the college, the Society of Friends and the Christian world, 
because at Haverford, as all through his life, he was enabled to move 
forward along paths that were extensions of his earlier ones. There 
was never a wholly sharp break in his -life that led away from his 
previous environment and associations; his outlook on life and his 
conceptions were widened in his discovery and understanding of 
truth.. His entire life was a harmonious unfolding and advance. At 
Haverford, as at Friends Boarding School and South China, he was 

1 Rufus M. Jones, The Trail of Life in College (New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1929), p. 21. 


among Quakers whose habits, outlooks, and spiritual outreaches 
were identical. 

Here, too, as in the Maine village and at Friends School, he found 
himself in a truly beautiful natural setting. The founders of Haver- 
ford College, clearly appreciating the value to the students of at- 
tractive grounds, sought for and found a two-hundred-acre tract of 
rolling woodland, with bubbling springs and brooks, about ten miles 
west of Philadelphia. The college founders had "an imperial scope 
and range in their planning." They carried it out with the help of a 
famous English landscape gardener who loved noble trees. He dot- 
ted the campus with the finest types of trees native to the region. 
These included many varieties of oak, maples, green, purple and 
copper beeches, elms, larches, and chestnuts. The chestnut trees were 
victims of a pest later and are no longer on the campus, but many 
of the other noble trees stand today as a living monument to his 

The springs, brooks, and trees of the college campus, so similar to 
those of his childhood made it unnecessary for him to adjust his out- 
look and interest as a city-located college might have required. He 
has testified that these beautiful surroundings added to his spiritual 
growth. This was important to him because "my love of beauty in 
nature helped very much to strengthen and support my faith in 
God. I felt His presence in my world rather than thought out how 
He could be there." 

The physical Haverford helped to form an atmosphere that 
"counted immeasurably in the final story of the making of a life. 
To live in beautiful surroundings, to be out in the open country 
'under a hole in the sky,' to have an environment of stately trees and 
green fields is to have at the start an asset of immense value toward 
the formation of inward beauty and grace,'* 

He has described the thrill he experienced (one that has been felt 
by many generations of Haverfordians both before and after his 
entrance there as a student) when he first went through the gate 
and saw the long sweep of lawn open before him and caught sight 
of "the gorgeous trees," It was natural that this village boy raised 
in the fields and woods always had "been happiest when surrounded 
with trees and fields and growing things. . . . God is more real and 
seems to be nearer where beauty flourishes and where windows close 
at hand open into the infinite." 

Other factors also made it easy for him to cross the divide from 


school to college. One was that his boarding school teacher in 
Greek, Dr. Seth Gifford, became Haverford's professor of Greek 
the year Rufus entered Haverf ord. Another was that his courses of 
study at college which centered largely around mathematics, the 
classics, and English literature were advanced steps in his education 
that closely and naturally followed his boarding school work. The 
school and college courses together thus formed a solid unity in his 
plan of study. All of his educational work therefore was "cumula- 
tive, creative, and constructive." It was mind-building effort that 
stimulated the unfolding of his mental powers. This enabled him 
to consider future studies as intellectual development, rather than as 
a struggle to gain credits for completed work. 

He later expressed, as a result of his experience and observation, 
his belief that mental discipline gained from the study of the classics 
was one of the most valuable things he gained from his work as a 
college undergraduate. His study of Greek thought and the under- 
standing of the Greek conception of beauty together with the 
knowledge and contemplation of mathematical forms and principles 
he gained in his courses worked to expand the horizons of the boy 
from the Maine village. They added to his imaginative powers and 
they trained him in habits of exactness. 

The Quakers who planned, created, and guided Haverford Col- 
lege during its early years encouraged the study of mathematics 
because it exactly fitted their ideas for a "guarded" education for 
their youth.. It was safe. There are hardly any conceivable phases of 
the subject that might sweep any student off his feet and lead his 
steps toward a life of sin. It contained no intellectual poison, subtle 
or otherwise, that might infect the young soul. Other subjects might 
be taboo to the elder Quaker minds but mathematics was not. As 
recently as forty years ago the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Com- 
mittee (Orthodox branch), which directed the affairs of Westtown 
School," held newspapers and magazines to be "pernicious." They 
banned the study of Shakespeare for the same reason, with the result 
that the colleges and universities which its student members sought 
to enter, accommodatingly prepared special English examination 
papers for them. 

Even before the turn of the century Haverford College had 
adopted a more worldly outlook and practice than the one in 
vogue at Westtown School, but it still clung to, and does today, its 
old confidence in mathematics. The college, moreover, had a dis- 


tinguished mathematics teacher, Thomas Chase, whose unusual gifts 
gave the subject special significance. 

Rufus Jones was peculiarly fitted to become a shining student in 
the major courses the college curriculum offered since he had stud- 
ied geometry, university algebra, trigonometry, and surveying. The 
student of mathematics as well as the classical student, even under 
an able teacher, must do the work himself. Guessing is not good 
enough. Slipshod work will not master the subject. Either you know 
or do not know the correct answer to a mathematical problem. Slen- 
der knowledge of the principle does not reveal the whole truth that 
alone can free the student of mathematics. 

Growth in the appreciation of beauty gained from classical courses 
and exacting discipline from mathematical courses gave him two 
important qualities of mind but they alone were not adequate to 
prepare him, or any other individual, for the full life. 

The insatiably curious intellectual boy could be satisfied only 
with an excursion in the field of philosophy. Fortunately for him, 
Professor Pliny Earle Chase, professor of philosophy at Haverford 
and a brother of Thomas Chase, was of the old type of scholar "who 
covered the whole field of knowledge and could teach any one 
branch of truth as well as another ... we saw in him a light of more 
than earthly wisdom ... a universal savant." Chase was believed 
to be able to read one hundred different languages. It was known 
that he could speak fifteen languages fluently. He knew mathematics 
to its outer mysterious fringes where it joins company with mysti- 
cism, a word that hung like a halo around the head of the boy Rufus 
and that, in his later years, made him distinguished throughout the 

Professor Pliny Earle Chase, according to Haverford legend, could 
accurately add columns of figures with a sweep. He seemingly used 
magic to multiply or extract square and cube roots or to find the 
greatest common divisor and the least common multiple but his, real 
field was philosophy. He knew even more about it than he did about 
mathematics and languages and best of all he clothed his wide range 
of information with that rare quality wisdom, which lingers after 
knowledge goes. His radiant personality and saintly life helped 
make reality of the definition that holds education to be "the trans- 
mission of life to the living by the living." 

Pliny Chase's rare personality also expressed itself in his smile, 
which has been described as breaking "over his face at all the high 


spots of his teaching ... it was his peculiar magic when he was 
dealing with a wayward sinner." Professor Chase, according to 
Rufus Jones, had in his character "well-nigh all of the qualities in 
the list of Christ's Beatitudes" and with them he had simplicity in 
its finest sense. His pure life, rare mind, and radiant personality 
beckoned his boys on to the top of "the shining tableland" where 
he dwelt. 

The students of Haverf ord College then as now attended Quaker 
meeting on Fifth day and First day. These meetings began in silence 
in keeping with the nonpastoral Quaker practice. Pliny Chase was 
moved to speak at most meetings for worship. He would rise, stand 
in silence for a moment, smile, and then begin to talk. He did not 
preach. Usually, with neither eloquence nor gestures, he gave his 
listeners the impression that he was thinking out loud as he cen- 
tered his remarks around some important problem of life. "He 
turned often to the question of the real nature, place, and function 
of religion in life, its authority, its tests and its proof. Always he 
found the ground for religion in the inmost nature of the human 
soul. Without naming it he was for the most part interpreting 
mystical religion." Again that word. 

It seems clear in tracing Rufus Jones's record through life that 
he traveled as unerringly to his ultimate goal as does the homing 
pigeon on its return flight. Each of his outreaches fits the pattern. 
Although the ultimate goal was not then visible one step followed 
logically after another in the direction his life was to take. 

No exceptions from this observation are apparent while he was 
an undergraduate in either his interests or activities, curricular or 
extracurricular, as can be seen in his The Trail of Life in College. 
He haunted the library and read ravenously and widely. His "first 
love in literature was, as my Junior oration would show, James 
Russell Lowell" poems and essays. He devoured the writings of 
Carlyle, Milton, Browning, Tennyson, Byron among others. "I am 
interested now, as I look back, to note that all my reading fed into 
my religious life and was at the same time in large measure deter- 
mined by it. The passages selected for memory almost always min- 
istered to my growing spiritual faith, and they still come back 
spontaneously when I am giving an impromptu address." He was 
"slow in waking up to the significance of Whittier. He had all the 
time what I was seeking, but for a long time I read him only casually 
and superficially. In spiritual lineage I was bone of his bone." 


His later careful and thorough study of the Quaker poet's writ- 
ings convinced him that Whittier had "grasped more steadily, felt 
more profoundly, and interpreted more adequately the essential as- 
pects of the Quaker life and faith during the fifty years of his 
creative period than did any other person in the American Society 
of Friends of that half century. I am unable," he added in his auto- 
biography of college, "to think of any English Friend of those same 
years who saw as clearly or who expressed with equal wisdom and 
balance the universal religious significance of the central Quaker 
principles. Whittier not only appraised with unusual insight the 
original message of primitive Quakerism, as it was delivered by the 
First Publishers and incarnated in their lives, but he saw also as 
steadily and truly the important features in fact, the essential fea- 
tureswhich had emerged in the unfolding of the Quaker movement 
through its two hundred years of history. He had felt his way back 
into the life and message of John Woolman and Anthony Benezet as 
no other person had done up to that time, and he was saturated with 
the characteristic flavour of the noblest of the Quaker journals." 

That identical paragraph might have been written by someone 
else about Rufus Jones himself. Similarly, Rufus' analysis of the 
factors that contributed to Whittier's faith and comprehensive 
religious position could well be words from the pen of his own 

"Beyond question," he has written, "I think, the most important 
early formative influence in shaping Whittier's inner life was the 
rare quality of the Quaker home in which he was nurtured. His 
mother, Abigail Hussey, was an unconscious practical saint, and 
Aunt Mercy of 'Snow Bound,' 

a The sweetest woman ever Fate 
Perverse denied a household mate,' 

was a living and vivid manifestation of triumphant spiritual quality. 
'Uncle Moses' possessed a quickening imaginative strain and did 
much to kindle fancy and vision in the boy. One other pervasive 
influence in WhittiePs life was the rugged, unexpressed moral pas- 
sion of his quiet but intensely devout father, John Whittier. The 
old-fashioned Quaker home, "which Whittier has described with 
deep appreciation, was one of the best nurseries the modern world 
has seen for .the formation of moral strength and inward spiritual 
depth. Each day, regardless of the urgency of secular tasks and the 


press of practical duties, the family gathered for a period of worship 
and preparation. A passage was read out of the supreme spiritual 
literature of the race. A time of hush and meditation followed in 
which the boy felt, 

" 'That very near about us lies 
The realm of spiritual mysteries.' 

"In these times of reverent family silence, amid these 'still dews of 
quietness' Whittier formed that abiding faith of his that God is 
the one absolute reality, and that He is here with us, as near as the 
air we breathe is to our lungs. It is hardly possible to over-emphasize 
the influence on the boy of these pauses of family worship. They 
helped to fuse the family life into a living unity, and they brought 
the individual members to the deep springs and fountains of living 

Those words also could be written about "the most important 
early formative influence in shaping" Rufus Jones's own inner life by 
substituting the Jones family name for Whittier's. Similarly the in- 
fluence of Quaker meeting on Rufus could be used, except for 
geography, in his paragraph about its influence on Whittier: 

"The formative influence of the little Quaker meeting at Ames- 
bury was next in importance after that of the home in Haverhill. 
The meeting was eight miles away, but the family usually went 
faithfully twice each week, and Greenleaf was pretty certain to be 
in the carriage or the sleigh that made the semi-weekly journey. 
The members of this meeting in Amesbury were for the most part 
inarticulate in words, but there were in the group some Friends who 
preached very loudly through their lives of grace and goodness, and 
the silence of the gathered groups deepened still further this sensi- 
tive boy's apprehension of the spiritual realities. These realities find 
vivid interpretation in his poem, The Meeting,' one passage of 
which expresses his actual feeling about it, not an idealized picture 
of some possible meeting: 

" 'And so I find it well to come 
For deeper rest to this small room, 
For here the habit of the soul 
Feels less the outer world's control; 
The strength of mutual purpose pleads 
More earnestly for our common needs; 


And from the silence multiplied 
By these still forms on either side, 
The world that time .and sense have known 
Falls off and leaves us God alone.' " 

To Amesbury as to South China, itinerant Quaker ministers were 
"the leading interpreters of the message of Quakerism, speaking 
with the power and authority of long personal experience in the 
truth, and bringing to this New England meeting the ripest wisdom 
of the Quaker groups in other parts of the world. So by the genius 
of this itinerant custom the farmer boy in New England was exposed 
to the contagious personalities of the whole Society of Friends, both 
in England and America. No better way was ever devised for im- 
parting the spiritual culture of a religious^body than this custom of 
intervisitation . . ." 

The lives and experiences of Rufus Jones and the poet Whittier 
meet at several other points in the former's essay on the latter's faith. 
Whittier was without systematic higher education "yet somehow 
this shy country boy, this youth with his health permanently im- 
paired, this man who never travelled, took on a range of culture and 
a power of expression which puts him well up at the top in the fore- 
most list of American poets, which led Harvard University to 
bestow upon him its highest degree of honour, which has given 
him the leading place as hymn writer in the hymnals of this genera- 
tion, and 'which has enabled him to take his place with the greatest 
leaders of liberal religious thought in the nineteenth century." 
Though his formal education, of course, was more complete, Rufus 
Jones was in many ways also the country boy, in not too good 
health, whose spiritual and intellectual growth paralleled Whittier's. 

Whittier's religious life, Rufus Jones wrote, "flowered out and 
came to bloom amid two shattering separations in the Society of 
Friends in America [as did Rufus Jones's] separations which left a 
deep tinge of colour on almost every Quaker of the period except 
him." Whittier termed the first schism one of "those unhappy con- 
troversies which so often mark the decline of practical righteous- 

The later Wilbur-Gurney separation came closer home to Whit- 
tier, since he had intimate friends on both sides and since also it 
divided his own Yearly Meeting and it affected his Quarterly Meet- 
ing. "He was greatly impressed by the personality of Joseph John 


Gurney and also by his public preaching. He felt the closest sym- 
pathy with Gurney's humanitarian aspirations and labors. One of 
the most intimate friends of his entire life was Joseph Sturge, who, 
like Gurney, was profoundly evangelical in his thinking. By bent 
of mind Whittier himself was distinctly conservative and really 
closer in his fundamental conception of the Inward Light to John 
Wilbur than to J. J. Gurney. Here once more in that stormy period 
he rose above the sectarian controversy and found his own position 
on a higher level than that of either of the contenders. He remained 
in membership with the Gurney meeting, but he lived in a different 
world from that of the evangelical Gurney-minded Friends. But the 
point to keep clearly in mind is this, that he could not ever be la- 
beled with a narrowing sectarian mark on his forehead." 

In describing Whittier's attitude and position in The Trail of Life 
in College Rufus Jones was in a way describing his own Quaker 
attitude and position. In it he, too, "rose above sectarian contro-" 
versy" and "could not ever be labeled with a narrowing sectarian 
mark on his forehead . . . How he gained this wider, more inclusive, 
more universal spirit, how he succeeded in seizing the eternal aspects 
when others were clinging to the fleeting temporal one, it is not easy 
to explain, though it is a notable fact that he did so." 

The spiritual affinity between Rufus Jones and the Quaker poet 
finds voice again in the passage where the former said: "Whittier 
caught as a new breath, which in his youth was beginning to circu- 
late with liberating power, the message of divine immanence. Horace 
Bushnell has declared: 'God is the spiritual reality of which Nature 
is the manifestation.' Emerson and Carlyle in his youth were saying 
in powerful phrase that the visible world is but a vesture, a garment, 
which both reveals and at the same time conceals the ever-present 
Over-Mind, or Spirit, which is God. Whittier, as was always char- 
acteristic of him, holds this yeasty doctrine of immanence in sane 
balance with the equally important face of transcendence. He is 
never swept off his feet, or carried on into the swirl of an engulfing 
pantheism. He was well-freighted with good old-fashioned New 
England common sense, and he stoutly hated mental fog . . . 

"He unites in a single life to a high degree the two aspects of 
life which are essential traits of the noblest type of Quaker. He was 
a profoundly mystical person, dwelling deep, listening acutely to 
the inward voice, sensitively responsive to the flow of inward cur- 
rents, and actively aware of the eternal in the midst of the temporal. 


At the same time he had a burning moral passion, and he was a fear- 
less champion of causes for the enlargement of human freedom, and 
the persistent foe of every form of human oppression and of ancient 
customs which bind and hamper the human spirit ... 

"No trumpet sounded in his ear, 

He saw not Sinai's cloud and fame, 
But never yet to Hebrew seer 
A clearer voice of duty came." 

In writing of the poet's continued growth throughout his lifetime, 
Rufus drew also a picture of his own growth: "There came to him 
'with age a maturity of spirit, a peace beyond comprehension, and a 
radiance of nature such as we attribute to the saint. With it all there 
came an optimism of outlook which sounds strangely foreign to our 
troubled generation. In his battle years, at grip with a gigantic evil, 
he had even then been a gentle optimist of hope. . . . His tone of 
satisfaction and hope grew and deepened with the years . . ." And 
so did that of Rufus Jones. 

Returning to Rufus at college, we find that he chose Ralph Waldo 
Emerson and the Transcendental School for intensive study for his 
philosophy course with Pliny Chase. In it, he wrote in The Trail 
of Life in College, he more or less accidentally reached his "first 
interpretation of mysticism, called by that name . . . Emerson was 
in every sense far more a mystic than a philosopher." At the same 
time he really began to discover George Fox, and became "con- 
sfious for the first time that mysticism lay at the heart of our Quaker 
religion, and that thi~s 'was the secret of all my early religious life. 
It was peculiarly odd that I should owe to Emerson my awakening 
to the significance of George Fox. He had always been a household 
word, but I had quietly assumed that he was the peculiar possession 
of the small Quaker group to which we belonged and had no stand- 
ing outside our limited Society. Here in Emerson I found him rang- 
ing in great company with the outstanding spiritual leaders of the 
race ... It aroused my interest immensely and much has followed 
from that awakening." 

Before he said good-by to the library as a student, he had done 
considerable research in the history of mystical life and experience 
through the centuries. Along with these studies he carried on exten- 
sive research in American colonial history. Both of these under- 
graduate research activities were to have direct bearing on what 


turned out to be his life's work. It was also in the library that he 
learned to read "with remarkable rapidity." 

Another of his undergraduate activities was that of serving as 
editor of the undergraduate monthly publication, The Haverfordian. 
In this capacity he performed every service from soliciting adver- 
tisements, selecting and editing contributions, to writing copy of 
all kinds including "jokes" and editorials. He read proof, took care 
of make-up, and handled accounts. His editorial work helped him 
to improve his style, an inevitable by-product, since no critic can 
be as pointed or as cruel as cold type. When they are in type, mis- 
takes that are not evident in penned or typewritten copy will stand 
out sharply to the writer. 

One direct result of his editorship ofTheHaverfordian came eight 
years after his graduation from college in the form of an invitation 
to become editor of one of the leading journals of the Society of 
Friends. When he asked the committee chairman why he had been 
singled out for this job the answer was, "because of thy work in 
college on The Haverfordim" 

One other valuable asset he gained from his undergraduate 
editorship was that it had brought him and his capacities to the atten- 
tion of Haverf ord College graduates, many of whom were influen- 
tial leaders of the Orthodox branch of the Society of Friends in the 
East. His editorials prompted some of them to seek to know him 
better. To that end they invited him to their homes. The warm, 
life-long friendships which grew out of some of these visits also 
played an important part in his later work. 

During his undergraduate years he took advantage of the oppor- 
tunity to attend services for worship at several of the meetinghouses 
in and around Philadelphia as well as to attend sessions of the Phila- 
delphia Yearly Meeting, an inspiring experience for a Quaker coun- 
try youth. The "living nucleus of pure and unalloyed old-time 
Quakerism" which existed then has gone the way of all flesh but 
many of its finer features continue to be present at today's annual 
Yearly Meeting gatherings. In the early i88os many men wore 
"shad-belly" coats with plain collars and many women Friends wore 
bonnets and shawls as outward expressions of their inner desire to 
conform to Quakerism of the early day. The wearers believed that 
they represented the original, primitive creation of the movement's 
founders and that they were preserving it unchanged and unaltered 
by these outward manifestations. They gave no impression of being 


in bondage or that it was a burden instead of a way of joy and 
freedom. Their freedom from "the contaminations of the world" 
was striking and their simplicity admirable. But with all of these 
things they often failed in their preaching to strike a true, full- 
rounded note on the spiritual bell. 

The greatest thing that came out of Rufus Jones's experience in 
attending the Yearly Meeting sessions was his decision that some 
day he "would understand the Quaker movement both historically 
and inwardly" 

Although the "feeble quality of the preaching" and the waste of 
thought and energy on "trivial matters of dress and speech and 
peculiarities" disillusioned him to a degree, he was, nonetheless, at- 
tracted by its depth of experience and its moral and spiritual power. 
He felt that it had something real and that its best members "evi- 
dently lived beyond time space." The penetrating boy realized that 
its "main weakness lay in an attempt to 'conform' to what its mem- 
bers believed to be a 'sacred model.' " Having reached that conclu- 
sion he decided to cast his lot with the discoverer and creator rather 
than with the conformists. He wanted "the moral energy of enthu- 
siasm" of the early Quakers. 

By the time Rufus Jones had worked out his belief and plan for 
future action he was nearly ready to be graduated from college. 
His sound, quick mind, his tremendous energy and vitality coupled 
with his unusual industry enabled him to be almost ready for his 
degree at the end of his second undergraduate year. Having grown 
up to abhor waste of any kind, including time, he asked for and 
received permission to begin to carry on work during his senior 
year which would lead to a master's degree. 

This decision in its turn required him to make another one what 
was his life work to be? His thoughts on this are recorded in The 
Trail of Life in College. For several years he had believed that he 
wanted to become a lawyer. "I had become absorbed in American 
politics and I hoped that I might link up a career at the bar with 
a frequent detour into politics." He also was forced to make a 
decision between the fields of philosophy and history, both of which 
attracted him. His bent was toward the former but it seemed to him 
that the latter would better prepare him for law so he decided on 
history for his master's degree work. 

Later that same year, when a wealthy Haverf ord alumnus volun- 
tarily offered to finance his law school course, he was brought face 


to face with a momentous decision. After much travail he declined 
the offer because his "Inner Light" convinced him that he "was 
being prepared for something. There was a dim but growing con- 
sciousness of mission." He had found the field of his lifework when 
he wrote his graduation thesis on mysticism and its exponents. 
"Hereafter all my reading afid thinking and research work bore 
directly or indirectly on some phase of mysticism. Everything car- 
ried me on in this direction and many features of my later life, up 
to the present moment, have been determined by that early decision 
to write a graduating thesis on Mysticism." 

This tipped the scales in favor of philosophy and Quaker history. 
Since the thought had not sufficiently jelled in his mind at that time 
to cause him to enter that field directly, he centered the research 
work for his M. A. degree on American history. 

He gained from his studies an excellent working understanding 
of historical knowledge as well as "the use of the historical method," 
which prepared him for his later studies and writings in the field of 
the historical aspect of great spiritual movements. All of his "teach- 
ing has followed the historical method." 

Step by step the way was opened for his lifework. His indecision 
about what was to be the subject of his graduation thesis led to a 
new and larger step. Uncertain about the subject he should select 
he went to his beloved friend arid teacher, Pliny Chase with his 
problem. After considerable discussion Pliny Chase suggested "mys- 
ticism and its exponents." More historical work, but best of all it 
was under expert guidance and it headed directly toward what was 
to become the great goal of his life. 

He discovered during his thesis research work that the Quaker 
movement, which before had seemed to him "like a small and pro- 
vincial affair, was larger and more significant than I had dreamed." 
I saw the walls "of my own little Society expand and take fellow- 
ship with the larger and wider group of those who through the 
centuries had lived by the spirit and had seen the day star rise in 
their hearts." It also helped to convince him that he belonged to 
a mighty apostolic succession. His realization brought dignity and 
power to his life. 

The members of the class of 1885 brought great distinction to 
their alma mater. The membership included other than Rufus, Au- 
gustus T. Murray, distinguished Greek scholar who was long a 
member of the faculty of Leland Stanford University; Dr. Theo- 


dore William Richards, later professor of chemistry of Harvard 
University, the first American to win a Nobel prize in chemistry; 
Dr. Joseph L. Aiarkley, professor of mathematics in the University 
of Michigan; and the late Logan Pearsall Smith. These classmates by 
vote indicated that they believed Rufus Jones to be the best all- 
around member of their class and they elected him spoon man. The 
determining factors in the selection were standing in studies, partici- 
pation in athletics, helpful activities in college life, and personal 
popularity. And they also elected him president of his class. 

The summer following his graduation from Haverf ord he returned 
to South China with definite plans to accept the offer of a year's 
fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania to continue his histori- 
cal studies. 

The day after he arrived home an official of the Friends Boarding 
School, then located at Union Springs, New York, called on him 
and offered him a teaching position at this school for the next year 
the pay to be $300 and his board and room. He has written: "I 
have seldom faced a harder decision. It was once more, not merely 
a choice of occupation for a year, but the selection of a course and 
direction of life. One course would carry me off into fields of 
research quite out of connection and relation with my deep religious 
interests, and the other, in spite of its feeble financial appeal, would 
take me deeper in toward the springs of the spiritual life, would 
introduce me to a new Quaker fellowship, and would develop my 
capacity as a teacher and an interpreter. This time I had Aunt Peace 
close at hand to help me to find my path." She advised him to accept 
the teaching offer in the belief that it would lead to more significant 
service. "I do not know how much her influence counted in my final 
decision. It was probably a powerful weight, for I felt her wisdom 

to be something more than human wisdom I felt pretty clear that 

I preferred the kind of self that would grow out of the year at 
teaching in a Quaker school and I took the three hundred dollars." 

He did not yet know exactly -where he was going but he now 
was on his way. Like the migration of the wild geese -which so often 
had fascinated him when he was a boy, his direction was fixed even 
though, unlike the geese, his terminus had not yet been revealed. 


No Turning Away from Teaching 

SOUND, good, and wise as was the advice Rufus Jones's Aunt 
Peace offered about the course he should follow, his inner 
self had to make the final decision. He felt "a line of guidance 
break forth out of the dark" with another one of those transparent 
moments when "I seemed to feel the invisible." Notwithstanding 
this guidance, his mind oscillated from the obvious advantage the 
fellowship offered "and the harder, steeper, slower path" the teaching 
job offered. 

He knew that he was "choosing not so much a piece of work as 
the kind of person I 'was going to be" That was the crux of his 
problem on which he made his decision. 

He found that his year of teaching at Union Springs carried him 
steadily forward in the direction in which he was "moving during 
the years at Haverford." His school life and duties quickened his 
intellectual and spiritual life. He taught all of the Greek, part of 
the Latin, and all of the German, cojiducted a class in surveying, 
one in geometry, and one in zoology, and "learned more in that 
year than I had in any previous one." 

He worked hard at his task of interpreting fact as well as truth 
to his students. And he found the school's Quaker meeting "a fresh 
and stimulating influence." He spoke in meeting now and then when 
he felt "a clear fresh message open up" in his mind. 

He had been an omnivorous reader from the time when he was 
a twelve-year-old boy. At that age, when he had no dollar to pay 



for membership in the South China Library Association, he secured 
his father's permission to give the family's copy of J. G. Holland's 
Life of Abraham Lincoln to the library in exchange for his mem- 
bership. At Union Springs he and some faculty colleagues met one 
evening each week to read some of the popular poets such as Brown- 
ing and Tennyson. Usually it became his task to do the reading. 

Outside of the reading that was required for his teaching, his 
principal study was confined to American history. This he did in 
preparation for his Master Degree thesis. Along with it he continued 
his studies of the mystics. He also read Carlyle and George Eliot, 
and Schiller and Goethe in German. 

Because Goethe opened "a new door to a larger world" Rufus 
became his warm admirer and remained so until he discovered 
Goethe's "selfishness and cruelty." This discovery combined with 
Goethe's frequent use of "love" "as a means of gratification" turned 
Rufus against him. When he came to see clearly that Goethe had 
little compunction about wrecking lives in order that he might 
"draw upon these pathetic experiences for dramatic material" he 
resolved "that in all of my relations with others I would respect in 
every way the sacred rights and claims of personality"; and that he 
never would "experiment with a human heart" or take advantage 
of anyone's friendly interest in him. 

When the school year closed he took stock and found that he 
had been able to save nearly all of his three-hundred-dollar salary. 
He had, in addition, he has written in The Trail of Life in College, 
"a large new line of assets. I had learned how to teach effectively. 
I had acquired confidence in the presence of a class. I had found 
out by practice, although I shall never know the mystery of the 
method of it, how to impart and communicate truth to others. I 
had discovered a gift of interpretation. I had learned in some degree 
the art of discipline. I felt at home with students' problems, and I 
could simply and naturally share myself with the students them- 
selves. There was still much unconquered territory, but I had 
already won some ground." 

The debit side of his ledger was not blank. The item on it con- 
cerned eye trouble, which made it impossible for him to read at 
night. Furthermore, too much daylight reading caused him much 
suffering. This was no new affliction because his eyes had caused 
him anxiety in college. They now grew steadily worse and hurt all 
of the time. The oculist he consulted could give him no relief. While 


worrying about his eyes he suddenly caught the idea of going 
abroad for a year to rest his eyes while he saw the beautiful crea- 
tions there, cultivate his mind and spirit by intercourse, and learn 
what he could of French and German by conversation he was al- 
ready well grounded in the grammar of these languages. He be- 
lieved also that the trip abroad would help satisfy one of his 
greatest desires, namely, that of meeting some of the European 
interpreters of mysticism and he wanted, if possible, to attend some 
university lectures on the subject. 

This time, as always before, when he was contemplating an im- 
portant step he consulted his elders who included his Aunt Peace, 
his Uncle Eli, his cousin Richard M. Jones, then headmaster of Wil- 
liam Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, and his beloved Pliny 
Chase. They all enthusiastically approved his plan. This approval 
secured, his remaining problem was to find the money for the trip. 

Again, as it had before and was to happen again and again in the 
years to come, the way opened for him to proceed. This time it was 
opened by Hannah Bailey, a wealthy elderly woman Friend of 
Winthrop, Maine. As he was leaving her after a visit, she called him 
aside to say that she had heard of his hope to go abroad for a year 
of study and added that because she knew this would be rather 
expensive she was prepared to lend him whatever sum he might need 
on very easy terms. He accepted her offer and began making prep- 
arations for an early sailing. The year after his return home he 
repaid the loan. 

A few days after his trip had been voluntarily financed he re- 
ceived a letter from Charles Jacob, his cousin, closest boyhood 
friend, and former college roommate in which he proposed joining 
Rufus in France. Soon thereafter Rufus sailed from New York for 
Glasgpw_ in a good cabin which, cost forty dollars. 
~ During theT Atlantic crossing he lookeH back over his past seven 
years and was thrilled over what they had given him. Seven years 
earlier he had been an oversized, awkward farm boy who for the first 
time had ridden on a train. Now he was on his way to Europe with 
a good background of history, literature, and language. 

He spent nearly all of the first month of his first European year 
in England, and of these thirty nights he spent only one in a hotel. 
His Uncle Eli, whose name was everywhere an open sesame into 
beautiful homes, had written English Friends of his nephew's plans. 
He visited Friends schools and meetings wherever possible and spent 

Rufus Jones, photographed in England about 







a memorable day with John Bright, the great English Quaker states- 
man who said as he warmly greeted Rufus, "Anyone who comes to 
my door with the recommendation of Lydia Rouse and Eli Jones 
is a twice welcome guest in my home." 

Bright talked much of his two favorite poets, Milton and Whit- 
tier, and told his young visitor how the English of Milton and the 
Bible of the King James translators had been the models of his Eng- 
lish and his speeches. Rufus Jones has written that he left Bright's 
home that evening "feeling that I had spent the day with the great- 
est living Quaker and that my whole life had been enriched by the 
day's intimate talk with him." 

He attended the Bull Street Quaker meeting in Birmingham one 
day, a great solemn gathering and during die silence he "rose, 
tjgmbling to speak." He began his remarks by saying, "Since sitting 
in this meeting I have been thinking" and then delivered his mes- 
sage. Mter meeting broke an elderly, plain-garbed Friend touched 
Him on the shoulder, beckoned him aside, and when they were alone 
said, "I was grieved at what thou saidst in meeting. Thou saidst that 
since sitting in this meeting thou hadst been thinking. Thou shouldst 
not have been thinking!" 

This was direct instruction in the extreme form of Quaker mysti- 
cism, which had grown out of the eighteenth-century quietism, a 
quietism that required one to wait empty-vessel-like for the voice 
of the spirit. 

The ten days Rufus Jones spent in London were the most fruitful 
of all his days in England. There he met Bevan Braithwaite and his 
son William Charles Braithwaite. He had an important interview 
with the venerable Charles Tylor, former editor of the London 
Friend and the author of Early Church History and the Story of 
the Camisards. Out of these new friendships eventually grew the 
lan for William Charles Braithwaite and Rufus Jones to join in 
writing the five volumes of the history of the Society of Friends. 

Another major incident in his life occurred a few weeks later, 
one day when he was walking alone near Mimes, France, where he 
and his cousin had taken quarters for a part of the winter. During 
this solitary walk Rufus had become absorbed with thoughts and 
was seriously weighing the meaning and purpose of his life. Sud- 
denly he "felt the walls between the visible and invisible grow 
thin," so thin that they enabled him to see that his mission in life 
was to be that of "an unfolding labor in the realm of mystical re- 


ligion." He knelt down in a forest glade and dedicated himself "to 
the work of interpreting the deeper nature of the soul and its rela- 
tion to God." He made no vows "but then vows were made for 
me." This experience cleared a considerable amount of some under- 
brush from the path of life he was to follow. 

One other thing that touched him deeply during his stay in Nimes 
was that word reached him there of the death of his "beloved 
teacher Pliny E. Chase." He experienced some relief from the 
thought that "his beautiful life added a new evidence to my faith 
in immortality" since it was far easier to "believe in his immortality 
than it was to believe in a terminus for his being." He believed that 
there must be such a thing as conservation "of such a precious thing 
as his pure and refined personality" as there was of conservation of 
energy or conservation of matter. To him Pliny Chase's life "was 
an unanswerable argument for eternal life." 

From Nimes the two young men went to Geneva where they 
jemainecl a few weeks to devote full time to a study of the German 
language. This done they went to Heidelberg where Rufus Jones 
enrolled in Professor Kuno Fischer's course of lectures for the com- 
ing term. This action settled for good and all his "allegiance to 
philosophy." Now he was certain that "for this was I born." 

Two important things which occurred to him at Heidelberg were, 
first, an offer of an excellent teaching position in his old school in 
Providence which he accepted immediately because he felt that it 
offered the wisest opening for the moment. The second was that a 
German eye expert discovered his eye trouble, fitted him with the 
right glasses, and gave him "the capacity for almost unlimited read- 

At the end of the university year at Heidelberg, the young men 
went to Paris for their final study of French by which time Rufus 
Jones had forever settled his future: it was to be that of studying 
"man's inner life and the spiritual ground and foundation of the 

Upon his return to Providence he entered upon six years of serv- 
ice as a schoolmaster, 1887 to 1893. During this six-year period he 
sought to be a 'whole man in his teaching but he did not forsake 
philosophy. He read and studied at every opportunity. At Provi- 
dence as at Union Springs he had read a great deal of poetry as 
well as many prose works. One book he read which "had a most 
important influence on my life was A. V. G. Allen's The Continuity 


of Christian Thought" He went to hear Phillips Brooks preach "and 
that proved to be in every sense an epoch" because he had never 
"found in any other preacher in any generation a more satisfactory 
interpretation of Christianity." Another time he spent "a memorable 
day with John Greenleaf Whittier" to whom he had gone with a 
request for Whitrier to write an introduction to the book about 
his uncle and aunt, Eli and Sybil Jones. Whittier, who was advanced 
in years and in delicate health, felt unable to write the introduction 
but he did give Rufus "much light and help on my first literary 

Best of all Whittier discussed the past and future of Quakerism 
with his young friend, expressed doubts about the correctness of 
"the prevailing Quaker tendencies of the day," and urged the young 
nephew of his old friend to "stand for the great primitive lines of 
our faith." They talked, too, about mysticism in which the poet 
had an extremely keen interest. 

There occurred in the summer of 1888 the most important event 
of his life up to this time, his marriage to Sarah Hawkshurst Coutant 
of Ardonia, New York. Following their marriage the young couple 
lived at Friends School where Rufus was in charge during die sum- 
mer while his cousin, Augustine Jones, the school's principal was 

He had planned to enter Harvard University for graduate work 
in philosophy at the end of his second year of teaching at Provi- 
dence. An unexpected call for service reached him from the com- 
mittee in charge of Oak Grove Seminary at Vassalboro, Maine, ten 
miles from his boyhood home. The committee asked him to become 
principal of the school. He accepted the call and postponed his con- 
templated graduate study. 

The position of principal at Oak Grove called for the assumption 
of a great deal of responsibility, an enormous amount of labor, in- 
genuity and inventiveness, "and vast stores of patience." He has 
written that his first day as principal reminded him of the famous 
line in Caesar's Commentaries , "Everything had to be done by Caesar 
at one time." 

His four years of service at Oak Grove developed his qualities for 
leadership, his capacity to deal with a vast variety of problems, and 
it "drew out in a peculiar way my gifts for public ministry." 

Every student was a stranger and a walking problem. Rufus had 
to prepare a program for classes and fit each student into it, to 


supply each teacher with a list of his duties, and to get books at 
once for the first classes. He had to maintain discipline and create 
the boarding arrangements, purchase supplies, arrange for the food 
to be cooked and served, and do it all with the help of a green, 
untried force. 

His disciplinary problem was a major one because many of the 
pupils resented the removal of the former principal, and the pupils 
seemed determined to give the new principal only "what he could 
'win by his deserts." 

Sixty years ago the principal of Oak Grove Seminary, among 
other things, was responsible also for directing the education and 
regulating the life of the boarders. He was the students' guide, coun- 
selor, and friend and also a jack-of-all-trades. Once, for example, 
the machinery of the windmill that supplied the school with water 
broke. The trouble was discovered just after Rufus had finished 
dressing and was ready to leave for Augusta on business. He hurried 
to the windmill and climbed to the top in a strong wind to repair 
the break. While his hands were busy at repairs the wind, with 
prankish glee, blew the billfold filled with paper currency, checks 
and bills from creditors out of his inside coat pocket, and scattered 
its contents "all over a forty acre field." 

Since a new school term just started and many of the students 
had paid their bills the prankish wind created a major crisis concern- 
ing the school's solvency for the moment. Rufus met the crisis by 
dismissing school and enlisting the student body to help find the 
scattered contents. To a question about the success of the hunt he 
replied, "They finally found everything except a one dollar bill. 
When it did not turn up I offered to give half of it to any student 
who might find it, but no one ever did." 

'To one who did not become personally acquainted with Rufus 
Jones until after he had become a dignified, great figure as a teacher, 
minister, author, and leader, the picture of him working with his 
hands in a strong wind at the top of a windmill tower seems incon- 
gruous, but reflection serves, however, to highlight his inherent 
practical ability, his qualities of direct action, resourcefulness, and 
all-around ability. 

^ One of his most perplexing problems during the four years at 
Oak Grove concerned die conduct of the two weekly meetings for 
worship. His difficulty was created by the habit of some Friends 


in the community to speak in the meetings "with overflowing meas- 
ure his peculiar line of 'truth.' " 

Two of these Friends with limited talent were especially lacking 
in "grace of speech and delivery" and moreover were ignorant of 
rules of grammar. They also "indulged with delight in bizarre illus- 
trations which provoked the mirth of the young hearers." 

When Rufus Jones had accepted his responsible position he held 
"an exaggerated sense" of the importance of freedom of speech for 
all. It seemed to him to be "a glorious ideal to have no program, no 
fixed order, no restraint, no limits to freedom." 

He practiced and loyally clung to this ideal until he saw it car- 
ried forward in a religious meeting that was largely composed of 
school children. He concluded finally that if he stood by this prin- 
ciple the freedom of the meetings would be ruined or if he laid his 
human "hand on a speaker's lips" he would feel he had broken 
with the faith of his fathers. 

He thought through the problem with "agony" and finally felt 
satisfied in his mind that "it was better for one person to suffer 
than for an entire meeting to be spoiled and many young persons' 
spiritual future endangered," therefore there should be some limit 
somewhere to "the freedom extended to an obvious and incorrigible 
crank" and, similarly, to "a crude speaker whose 'message' consisted 
of a string of platitudes almost endlessly repeated." Out of his 
troubled thinking came the suspicion that "these repeaters of bor- 
rowed phrases had no spiritual assets behind their phrases, that they 
were talking }ust to talk.' 9 

The net of his conclusion was that he "drew the limits of freedom 
and protected the meeting from these fruitless and unedifying com- 
munications." He met with the offenders individually and convinced 
them of the error of their ways with all of the tenderness and gentle- 
ness he could command but with "an unalterable firmness." 

By this time Rufus Jones could speak as one with authority in 
the Society of Friends because he had been "recorded" as a minister 
by his home meeting in 1890. 

While he was serving as principal at Oak Grove an incident that 
illustrates his emergence as a leader in the Society of Friends oc- 
curred during a Quarterly Meeting at Newport, Rhode Island. Dis- 
cussion at the meeting concerned the omission of the Query that 
searchingly asked whether Friends' daily lives and conversation 
revealed "a growing preparation for the life to come." One speaker 


advocated its omission on the ground that there could be no "grow- 
ing preparation" for that great event, that one was either "prepared" 
or not at the present moment and if "prepared" there could be no 
growth in "preparation." 

The Query seemed doomed. Although he felt that he was too 
young to act as champion of the ancient faith, Rufus spoke in de- 
fense of retaining the Query. He insisted that "salvation" was "not 
a fixed and finished state," that the heavenly life was "not one long, 
unchanging affair forever the same," otherwise it could not be called 
life. He insisted that this probing Query was concerned "with the 
fundamental nature of spiritual life, not as a static thing, but as a 
progressive, unfolding, growing thing." 

He admitted that, at a given moment, an individual could take 
a decisive step toward salvation, but he could "conceive of no type 
of life that did not grow" and that it seemed appalling to him to 
"talk of a life with God as though it were moveless and congealed." 
He proceeded with smashing logic to point out that if life with God 
were to be a progressive one, "full of growth and development, then 
there must be stages of preparation of it." The discussion led on to 
a "thoroughly vital conception of salvation as against the forensic 
view of it, and in the end the Query was retained." 

His administrative, disciplinary, teaching, and preaching duties 
left him little free time during his first two years at Oak Grove for 
his philosophical study but because he was an able organizer he 
gradually systematized his time and set apart a definite period dur- 
ing each week "for the advancement of what was to be my lifework 
in the future." 

The Colby College library, five miles distant, provided him with 
all necessary books. He read, studied, and weighed with delight and 
amazement "William James' Psychology in two great volumes. No 
man with my interests could ever forget an event like that!" A 
little later Josiah Royce's Spirit of Modern Philosophy "took a great 
place in my developing thought." He has written that "no books 
now, however creative and dynamic, have the same effect as these 
two books had in that wonderful dawn." 

During the less hectic summer periods he made a systematic study 
of two great masterpieces of literature Dante's Divine Comedy and 
the two parts of Goethe's Faust. 

The great event of his life at Oak Grove, "in fact one of the 
supreme events here on earth for me" was the birth in January, 


1892, of a son. He felt that "something of God was breaking into 
the world in conjunction with something of me and something of 
the child's mother." 

He was never to get away from this "divine miracle," or the 
"light on the child's face which I did not put there." 

What he did for his little son Lowell "cannot be known . . . but 
... he helped me to become simple and childlike, gentle, loving, 
confident and trustful." 

David Scull, 1 one of Rufus' Philadelphia friends, while lying in 
bed one night remembered vividly a certain scene in Switzerland 
that had deeply impressed him and was suddenly struck with the 
thought that it would be a fine thing for him to provide Rufus 
Jones with funds for a holiday in Europe. Rufus readily fell in with 
the proposal when David Scull informed him of it. 

In Europe he was happily able to get his old-time friend, J. Rendel 
Harris, a former member of the faculty at Haverford College and 
later of Johns Hopkins University and at that time a member of 
the faculty of Clare College, Cambridge to be his companion in 
travel for the Swiss part of the holiday. When they learned that some 
English Friends, including John Wilhelm Rowntree, were holiday- 
ing at Miirren, Switzerland, the two men arranged to arrive at 
Miirren for a week end. That day "in front of the splendor of the 
Jungfrau," Rufus Jones saw "a 'beginning' of love that was to be 
'of perpetual worth' and that was to have its goal on 'the happy 
hill,' the birth of an unending friendship between John Wilhelm 
Rowntree and myself." 

The two men spent most of that Sunday finding their "intellec- 
tual contacts." They met, discovered, and probed each other at the 
high tide period of their young lives. Rowntree believed there 
should be a new type of Quaker ministry which united inspiration 
and interpretation. His first concern was how to create it out of 
experience and from a knowledge of truth. He believed that a new 
type of educational institution to train the leaders would have to 
be created. But overreaching these two concerns was another one 
which would require the preparation of a fresh and sound historical 
interpretation of the entire Quaker movement that would bring it 
back to the path from which it had strayed. 

Rowntree's proposal attracted Rufus Jones in the same way a 
strong magnet attracts steel. It prompted him to unfold his dream 

1 After whom the author was named. 


of writing a history of Christian mysticism which traced "back the 
roots of Quakerism to these movements before the birth of George 
Fox." The two men saw in a flash that their two proposed historical 
lines of study "supplemented one another" and that they should 
"eventually be woven together and that we were destined to co- 
operate toward a common and unified end." 

From that time forward until John Wilhelm Rowntree's death in 
1905 the two men met either in England or America almost every 
year. Rufus Jones has testified in The Trail of Life in College that 
it was seemingly impossible for him to express "adequately what 
his life and friendship meant to me. His intense convictions, his 
glowing faith, his sense of reality, his passion for the supreme ideals 
of Quakerism, his experience of God, the depth of his worship, 
the sweep of his prayers, the power of his ministry, the charm of his 
personality all these things captured me and gave me a fresh in- 
spiration for life and for service." 

Rufus Jones had planned to enter Harvard in 1893 ^ or his gradu- 
ate work in philosophy, but outside forces continued to shape his 
life course. This time he unexpectedly received a call from Phila- 
delphia to become editor of the Friends Review, which later became 
The American Friend. The offer included an instructorship in 
philosophy at Haverford College. He went to Philadelphia to can- 
vass the situation. There he found that he would also have an 
opportunity to carry graduate work in philosophy at the University 
of Pennsylvania. This decided the question for him and he accepted 
the call. 

Cromwell's paradox, that "No one ever goes as far as when he 
doesn't know where he is going" could be applied to Rufus. He had 
long known what he wanted to do but fate continually intervened 
to direct and hasten his steps unerringly toward his great goal. 

He was now thirty years old, his age of destiny. He had learned 
the "art of living with myself" he recorded in The Trail of Life 
in College, as well as how "to enjoy his own stock of interior re- 
sources." Living with his inner self drove him "all the more to share 
the tasks and problems of my fellows . . . and to seek ever deeper 
levels of life ... to pursue those unattained ideals of life which con- 
tinually make all achievements look pale and ghostlike in compari- 
son with that which beckons on ahead." 


A Leader Is Raised 

INNUMERABLE interweaving strands of rime and space were 
"propitious in the hour" of Rufus Jones's efforts to^help turn 
Quakerism away from the static f orm md tradition position to 
which many elements in it had been adhering for a century or more 
and to start it back to sfiritual realities in the search for truth. 
" When he became Haverf ord's instructor in philosophy he looked 
upon his assignment as a splendid opportunity and a great challenge. 
The position it gave him was an important and dignified one. TTie 
salary gave him financial security. His teaching work kept him in 
close touch with the clashing ideas of life of the younger generation. 
The facilities of an excellent library enabled him to satisfy his in- 
satiable desire to learn more and more about life and how to inter- 
pret it with understanding. There also was time for writing. It gave 
him, in addition, a sounding board for his task of reinterpreting, 
revitalizing, and giving purposeful direction to the Society of 
Friends. It provided him with fellowship with faculty members at 
Haverford as well as with those members of nearby Bryn Mawr and 
Swarthmore Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania, only eight 
miles distant. Best of all it offered the young zealot an unparalleled 
opportunity to exercise every talent he possessed of spiritual insight 
and purpose, leadership, organization, and patience. 

He concentrated his efforts toward giving stimulus and direction 
to the spiritual life of his religious movement which was traveling 
through troubled waters. 



He has said that he always had had "a propensity to take both 
alternatives when an either-or situation" was presented to him. Fol- 
lowing this propensity he took up two tasks: one as editor of 
Friends Review, and die other instructor in philosophy at Haver- 
ford College. He "felt in his bones" that he was ready for them in 

Friends Review had been founded in 1847. The purpose of its 
founders was to have it represent the "evangelical" or "progressive" 
section of Quakerism. His profound interest then and always was 
in the "prophet" of whatever denomination who was concerned 
with "the splendor of the forward vision." Realizing clearly that it 
is almost impossible to be religious in the abstract he sought to be 
specific in his aim and concrete in his faith. 

Religious thinking in America at that time (1893) was "quite 
pitiably in a state of confusion" and a large part "of our American 
sectarian confusion and our Babel of controversies were survivals of 
issues no longer significant." 

The great Moody and Sankey who led revival movements, which 
had swept over American churches in the seventies and eighties, 
also had profoundly altered "the Society of Friends in many parts 
of the country." Revival meetings patterned after Moody and 
Sankey's had brought many new converts to the Society. Few of 
these new Friends were familiar with silent worship or had any 
established "Quaker habits and customs transmitted from generation 
to generation." They had no Quaker "psychological climate," and 
no pre-formed ideas and ideals "which operated night and day in 
their lives as silent leaven." 

Many of these new Quakers found it difficult to adjust them- 
selves, without training, "to the forms and absences of form, that 
had grown up and grown sacred in Quaker assemblies." 

These new "revivalist" Friends seemed eager to make a root-and- 
branch transformation of both Quaker theology and practice. Under 
their influence Quaker meetings for worship soon became "experi- 
ence meetings" with a variety of repeated testimonies. 

This emergency-crisis situation called for wise leadership at states- 
manTevel; otherwise expediency would tend to solidify the unfor- 
tunate condition. Many Friends meetings west of the Allegheny 
mountains installed pastors, pulpits, choirs, and organs, and intro- 
duced a standardized order of programed service. The pastor soon 
absorbed the lay functions of the former democratic Quaker .con- 


gregation. These changes soon established theological doctrines as 
alfufestioirof supreme 'importance. 

When Rufus Jones became editor of Friends Review in 1893, the 
policy of which had undergone considerable change between 1847 
and the later date, there were four well-marked types of Quakerism 
in America: one was the moderate liberal type represented by 
Friends Review; another the strongly evangelical type with pastoral 
meetings whose periodical, The Christian Worker, was published 
in Chicago; another was the ultra-conservative type, which had its 
nucleus in Philadelphia and was represented by The ["Square"] 
Friend; and the fourth type, popularly known as "Hicksites" (con- 
sidered ultra liberal by the more Orthodox Friends) had The Friends 
Intelligencer as their periodical. 

The conservative groups of Friends attributed sacredness to plain- 
ness of speech and garb. Their opposition to music, drama, and fine 
arts in general set and kept them apart as they guarded their heritage. 
They had severed all official contact with all other groups of Friends 
and thereby largely insulated themselves from the world and from 
the churches of organized Christianity. They continued active in be- 
half of Indians as well as in hospital, asylum, educational, and 
other good works. They displayed little of the "aggressive march- 
ing power of primitive Quakerism" and their efforts to guard their 
heritage created a static and ingrown condition. Perhaps the best 
that could be said for them was that their way of life did produce 
some saintly lives. 

Although the more conservative Friends dominated and controlled 
the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Fourth and Arch Streets), the 
meeting's membership did contain a fairly large number of "wide- 
awake, well-educated, prosperous and broad-minded Friends." Both 
Bryn Mawr and Haverford College were managed by this type. 
Although this liberal group had little share in the official councils of 
the dominant conservative group, they, nevertheless, could make 
their influence felt in the management of the two colleges mentioned 
and they did sponsor and support Friends Review. 

Included in this group were President Isaac Sharpless of Haver- 
ford College, James Wood of Mt. Kisco, New York, Dr. James E. 
Rhoads, President of Bryn Mawr College, who many years before 
had laid his hand on the boy Rufus' shoulder in South China and 
"prophesied" about him, John B. Garrett of Rosemont, Pennsyl- 
vania, a member of the Board of Managers of both Bryn Mawr 


and Haverford College, Dr. James Carey Thomas of Baltimore, one 
of the creators of both Johns Hopkins University and Bryn Mawr 
College and the father of M. Carey Thomas, the first dean and the 
second president of Bryn Mawr, T. Wistar Brown, Joshua L. Baily, 
JoelCadbury (who later became Ruf us Jones's father-in-law), David 
Scull, and Jaines Whitall. The latter five were able, successful busi- 
ness men, "dominated to the point of inspiration with spiritual ideal- 
ism." They financially supported Friends Review with "spontaneous 

Rufus Jones was clear in his mind and heart that he belonged to 
none of the divergent groups of Quakerism. He "saw with some 
clarity" that each of the four self-isolated groups had managed to 
retain some vital aspects of Quakerism but that none of them ade- 
quately continued "the spiritual life stream which took its historical 
direction" from its founder, George Fox. 

Because he was resolved not to be a sectarian he set out to dis- 
cover what were the essential aspects of Quakerism and its historical 
significance, and further, how it might be related "to a universal 
type of spiritual Christianity, true and vital for all of God's children 
in all churches, and even for those who in the perplexities of the 
moment might belong to none." x 

The four peaks of truth he held and sought to impart were: (i) 
not to think of God as a remote, faraway Being, who created the 
world at a definite time, working at it from outside, as a builder 
does, but to gain a consciousness of God as a living Spirit, a real 
presence ... in whom we live and from whom we draw our spirit- 
ual breath; (2) the perfect union of the divine and human nature 
of Christ; (3) to believe that there is no conflict between physical 
reality and spiritual reality for the reason that "matter on its upward 
slope is potentially spiritual, and spirit can and does operate through 
matter and can dominate and control it. Physical reality -is not anti- 
thetical to spiritual reality; they are correlative and co-operative"; 
(4) "a way of life that opens upward into vital contact and fellow- 
ship with God, and that brings, through a junction with the cur- 
rents of the central Stream of Life, complete health and buoyancy 
to the soul." 

Here was a new advance and a long one which carried him above 
and beyond the limits of a religious movement and on to the high 

1 Rufus M. Jones, The Trail of Ufe in the Middle Years (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1934), p. 33- 


spiritual tablelands where sectarianism is unknown. Because he rec- 
ognized man's distinct advantages in belonging to a specific religious 
denomination or of having membership in a definite family group, 
in both of which loyalties and fellowship are fostered that become 
"a part of one's deepest life," he determined to remain a member of 
the Society of Friends provided such membership did not require 
him to be a member of a "sect" or to be "identified with an arrested 
form of Christianity." 

Holding such views as these he next sought to discover that 
which had made Quakerism vital. His conclusion was that it was 
"the inward, immediate assurance of God"; that "GocL.and man 
were not separated by space" but rather that "nothing except sin 
ever ^separates "God and man since they are spiritually interrelated." 
This^ "something of God in man" he believed to be universally true. 

"His home life, school and college training, his wide reading, and 
his own spiritual experiences had convinced him that the mystical 
aspect of the Quaker movement, "this direct inward experience of 
God" which was the core of Quaker faith, constituted "the very 
heart and fiber of a universal Christianity for the future." He set his 
compass by that star because he believed that on that high level 
universal Christianity would be above the welter of controversies, 
removed from the disturbance of scientific or historical discoveries, 
and therefore adaptable to all ecclesiastical forms or absence of them 
because it rested solidly "on the fundamental nature of man's soul 
in contact with God." 

In his first editorials in Friends Review he stated that his purpose 
would be to promote the advance of truth "in every possible way," 
and that under his editorship the periodical would not be "the 
organ of a party or a section and it knows nothing of divisions," and 
in fundamental purpose it would seek "to maintain and honor spir- 
itual realities, rather than forms and traditions." 

He expressed the hope that the time might come "when we all 
shall see eye to eye ... when the essential truths and the underlying 
spirit of Quakerism . . . shall unite us ... in one harmonious fold and 
family under one Shepherd and Father." 

It is natural that the dominant group in the Philadelphia Ortho- 
dox meeting might consider this a dangerous, even seditious, doc- 
trine because its leaders sought to preserve it as "a remnant of a 
peculiar people." 

In another article in the same issue he pointed out that all divi- 


sions of Quakerism saw certain fundamental truths alike whereas 
on some questions and forms they were in wide disagreement 
"largely perhaps because we are confident, each of us that our idea 
is the right one." 

He then asked his readers to contemplate the universal Christian 
church and the desire~70 find God's way and will, even at the cost of 
destroying "our individual purposes and plans." If that were to be 
done he was convinced that "truths would begin to rise on our 
cleared vision." 

There was urgent need that this be done, he added, because con- 
clusions would be reached in the years just ahead "on many ques- 
tions of vital importance which will profoundly affect our faith." 

The time had come, he wrote, to hold a sincere desire "to be in 
parallelism with the line of God's purpose" because "we ourselves 
do not make Truth." If however we find God's purpose or will "we 
Have the Truth." 

Here was the prophet speaking who foresaw the profound test- 
ings of faith which the coming, decades would carry in their wake. 

He devoted his editorial in the second issue to an interpretation of 
personal experience and Inward Light in which he held that the 
heart of religion, that is religion "with Christ at its center, is a 
personal experience of the life of God in the life of man" and that 
through this direct contact "comes a radical transformation." 

He maintained that those whose religion means yielding to the 
will of God and who had a soul acquaintance with Him experienced 
"growth through the quickening of His life, know and love each 
other and reach out hands to help, while we pray not only for God's 
kingdom to come, but for the brotherhood of man, the unity of 
humanity by the fulfillment of the divine idea." 

At this stage of his life Rufus concentrated on the interpretation 
of the inward life rather than the tasks of /'the outward world" in 
which he lived. His was the marked tendency of youth of "dwelling 
on abstract principles and of assuming that if they are sufficiently 
emphasized and interpreted they would create their own concrete 
world of realities." He has stated that "hard facts and unescapable 
situations," however, were forcing him to climb down "out of the 
comfortable sycamore tree of abstract ideas and face what was to 
be done down here on the ground level." 

Soon after he became editor of the Friends Review Rufus recog- 
nked, as he once lightly stated, that he was occupying an uncom- 


fortable seat on both horns of the dilemma. His leadership which 
operated in middle-area neutral territory was not effective with 
members of groups who held extreme positions. Neither extreme 
group would admit that there could be a proper middle area. 

He sought from the first issue to improve die quality and form 
of Friends Review. He did this with better written copy, with 
articles secured from distinguished Friends, and by giving the peri- 
odical a more attractive format. These things done he mailed five 
thousand copies to a selected list of prospects. The result in gaining 
new subscribers was almost nil. The static condition of his subscrip- 
tion list helped him to realize that "an impenetrable wall" sur- 
rounded his middle zone which protected the ears of those outside 
it from anyone "who was not a champion of the party issues of 
the well-defined party position." 

In the belief that, as Barrie has said, "God is watching to see 
wfi7Sfieryoir#ldveri decided to make a bold adventure 

iii his efforts to raise the tone and level of "Quakerism of the progres- 
sive or moving type." He did this by merging friends Review of 
the East with The Christian Worker of the West. 

This merger dream required a great deal of doing but it was 
realized by midsummer of 1894, shortly less than a year after Rufus 
had become editor of Friends Review. In his first editorial in the 
new periodical, The American Friend, on July 19, 1894, he ex- 
pressed the belief that: 

The religious journal that is to become a power for good must 
do more than reiterate current beliefs and universally accepted 
views; it must be an educational force, a help to spiritual growth, 
marking a continual advance in thought. It must not be nar- 
rowly bound to expound the traditions of a section, a party, or 
a creed. 

Insofar as he ever had a creed, he expressed it in those words 
where he broke away from beaten paths and went forward to new 
goals with unfettered spirit. Like the man from Ur of the Chaldees, 
he was going out without "knowing the full extent of the whither" 

One of his early problems was that of changing the mass lethargy 
of Orthodox Philadelphia Quakerism into a dynamic militant force. 
Neither he nor his periodical's supporters had any avowed purpose 
of advocating a departure from the doctrine of Friends, yet insofar 
as it had influence it tended to promote disaffection in the minds of 


its readers for the outlook and actions of the dominant group of the 
Orthodox branch of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Since the ap- 
pearance of the new editor's first pronouncement in 1893, according 
to an editorial in The ["Square"] Friend of August 4, 1894, Friends 
Review had been "a source of sorrow and serious concern to many 
of the most deeply experienced members of our Yearly Meeting 
who could not but mourn over its effects in leading others astray." 
The editorial then stated that: 

The rapid changes which took place in some parts of our 
Society, especially in the Western States, in the manner of hold- 
ing religious meetings, in the adoption of revival methods . . . 
proved a source of embarrassment to those who conducted 
Friends Review. They could not, consistently with avowed 
principles, or with the feelings of many of their Eastern sub- 
scribers, indorse such departures from Quaker views and prac- 
tices. Nor did they wish to offend their Western subscribers by 
an open condemnation of these things. So they adopted a middle 
course. They praised the zeal and activity of the Western 
evangelists, and spoke of the objectionable features as the mere 
excrescences resulting from a revival of primitive zeal, and which 
might be expected, after a time, to drop off. 

This qualified praise did not meet the wishes of the active and 
aggressive Western people. They started The Christian Worker, 
of Chicago, designed to be in fuller and more hearty sympathy 
with their views and methods. By the establishment of The 
Christian Worker, the Friends Review occupied the undesirable 
position of being regarded as neither a firm advocate of ancient 
Quakerism nor a full supporter of modern ideas. 

In The American Friend we suppose the editor will be con- 
fronted with the task of endeavoring to pursue such a course as 
will be reasonably acceptable to both classes of the former 
subscribers of Friends Review and of The Christian Worker, a 
task apparently of reconciling two irreconcilable views. 

The vast majority of his readers, and other American Christians 
as well, accepted the then popular belief that "the world, including 
man, had come into being by a creative act which had occurred at 
a specific time"; that "the world was finished, man made and that 
the Scriptures were the infallible and authoritative revelation of spir- 
itual man for all ages and generations and that without this super- 


natural revelation truth could not ever have been discovered by 
man." Man, it was believed unshakably, had been "ruined by the 
fall" and thereby had made his spiritual recovery impossible by that 
human process. The holders of this belief had worked out a theory 
for man's salvation. It was a vicarious atonement which rested on 
divine jplan. Rufus Jones decided that he could not accept the com- 
pEcated Calvinistic ladders of doctrine built of texts and logic, as 
the way to reach or realize Heaven. 

He grasped fifty-six years ago, with remarkable clarity of com- 
prehensive insight and understanding, the revolutionary nature of 
how to join the fruits of scientific and historical research. He had 
accepted without dismay the fact that Christianity "must be inter- 
pfetecTso as to meet the verified facts and truths of science and 
history." He made necessary adjustments of his beliefs and theories 
because he saw and knew then that the conclusions of science were 
not a series of happy guesses but instead were "inescapable facts 
about the universe verified by a multitude of workers and buttressed 
by unimpeachable testimony." 

Set over against these new conceptions in the religious thinking 
of Christian America at the end of the nineteenth century was the 
new "authority" of the laboratory and the professor. Their demon- 
strable truths were now coming into their own as the supreme 
authority for the sons and daughters of men and women who had 
been nurtured in the old-time faiths. When these young people 
returned to their homes, Sunday schools, and churches they heard 
assertions they did not believe to be true. Such assertions tended to 
make them revolt from the old forms of religion and lose "their 
loyalty for the church of their fathers." 

Unlike the Brahmin who, upon seeing with a microscope the 
invisible forms of life he constantly destroyed, broke the microscope 
and lived an untroubled life, they could not eventually "stave off 
the tragedy," because "there -is np^fortification that can defend the 
feith^except truth openly arrived at." 

Rufus Jones served as editor of The American Friend and its 
predecessor from 1893 until 1912 and during these 19 years he had 
faced week after week the issues of the times in his written messages. 

The demands of calls for service in other and what became far 
more important areas forced him eventually to give up his editor- 

The hostility of Orthodox Philadelphia Quakerism's inner sane- 


turn receded slowly until its flagging steps caught up with him. Even 
twelve years after he had become editor of Friends Review the 
Orthodox group had not fully accepted him as is revealed by the 
fact that distinguished and influential though he was, and able, 
conyincing minister though he had become, Rufus Jones occupied 
a seat in the Body of the Yearly Meeting instead of on the facing 
benches reserved for the ministers and elders. 

~Three factors helped to change this situation. One was that of 
the inevitable death of some of the Orthodox pillars; another was a 
growing understanding by some of Rufus' teachings and principles; 
and the third one was his own growth in grace, wisdom, and power. 


Minister and Lecturer 

BEFORE the Vassalboro Meeting formally recognized and 
recorded Ruf us Jones as a minister of the Society of Friends 
in 1890 he had felt moved to speak in meetings for worship. 

His early messages were more than ordinarily acceptable partly 
because of his own spiritual and intellectual qualities and partly be- 
cause his type of ministry reflected the influence of three remarkable 
Quaker ministers for whom he had almost unbounded respect, ad- 
miration, and love. They were his Uncle and Aunt, Eli and Sybil 
Jones, both of whom had possessed unusual ministerial gifts, and 
his favorite college professor, Pliny E. Chase, who in a rare and un- 
usual manner combined the intellectual with the spiritual in his life 
and sermons. 

Any catalogue of his qualifications as a minister requires mention 
of jus excellent mind, wholesome background, sense of humor, logic 
and clarity of his thinking, his knowledge of psychology, his re- 
niarkable memory, which retained for ready use a multitude of apt 
poetical or classical allusions or illustrations, his deep, earnest faith, 
and hS'^obUhess combined with a personal ingratiating warmth. 
These qualities were aided by an excellent carrying voice. Singly or 
together they caught and held the attention of his listeners and 
carried them along step by step as his message unfolded and reached 
its clearly developed and convincing conclusion. 

He reached the conclusion early in his ministry that sermons for 
his students should be provided by men and women who possessed 



broad understanding of life. Above all else he believed that the 
minister should have rich spiritual qualities. The messages or ser- 
mons he delivered at the Haverford College meeting were of this 
type. They were always interesting and frequently moving. He 
would drive straight to the point, illuminate what he had to say with 
apt quotations, and frequently concluded by repeating the text he 
had quoted when he rose to speak. The remarkable thing about his 
sermons was that he led the hearer along, almost imperceptibly, 
logical step by logical step, until at the end of the sermon the 
listener had reached and found a higher spiritual level. 

He used illustrations only if they illuminated his point and fitted 
perfectly into the pattern of his message. One favorite he occasion- 
ally used in his effort to drive home each listener's need for direction 
and effort if the good life were to be achieved was about the light- 
ning bug. In the midst of his sermon would come, clothed in his 
never lost, attractive Maine drawl: 

The lightning bug is brilliant 
But he hasn't any mind 
He blunders through creation 
With his headlight on behind. 

The measuring worm is different 
When he goes after pelf 
He reaches out as far as he can 
And then he humps himself. 

In his earlier ministerial efforts he occasionally spoke over the 
heads of some of the listeners. At one meeting where he and his 
schoolmate and fellow minister, Augustus T. Murray, had both 
spoken, a woman Friend arose and in a disturbed voice said, "Our 
dear Lord said, Teed my lambs? He did not say, Teed my gi- 
raffes. 5 " Throughout their lives each of the two ministers insisted 
that the woman Friend was referring to the remarks of the other 

He did, however, early in his ministerial service alarm his co- 
religionists by some of the things he said. During the period of 
silence that preceded his introduction at one gathering, a member 
of the meeting began his vocal prayer with the words, "Thou know- 
est, O Lord that now we are about to hear a great many things that 
are not so." 


Soon after he became a member of the Haverford College faculty 
his preaching began "to take on a simpler and more practical char- 
acter," a decided change from his previous abstract and theoretical 
approach. He had avoided from the start the use of "a preaching 
tone and a clerical manner" because he had learned from observance 
that they "usually served to impair the acceptance of his message." 
He avoided this by cultivating a simpler manner 'of delivery and 
spoke "as if I were talking to a single individual to whom I was 
interpreting some vital issue that deeply concerned his life." 

As an observant man he had noticed that if he were able to 
secure the interest and attention of children he almost inevitably 
gained the interest of the entire congregation. When he reached this 
conclusion he never thereafter lost sight of the children present. By 
doing so he learned to eschew discussions of abstract theories or 
principles and to make "many excursions into the warm and inti- 
mate world of the concrete," and to use "sense impressions" in the 
effort to make listeners see and feel what he was talking about. 

Once during this early period when he spoke at a Western Friends 
meeting which was accustomed to "lively preaching" he delivered 
his message in what he hoped was "persuasive calm." One member 
of the meeting, who believed that "good preaching must be physi- 
cally dynamic," remarked after the services, "You can imagine how 
much unction there was to his sermon when I tell you that he rose 
to speak with the tail of his coat folded under and he spoke for 
thirty-five minutes without shaking down the fold." 

From the time Rufus Jones could first remember he had been 
taught to believe that preaching should be spontaneous and unpre- 
meditated, that the individual who delivered the message was "an 
instrument" who was used by "a higher power, just as a musician 
would use a violin." This point of view grew out of the conception 
of God "as entirely sundered and separated from man," which, 
inevitably, when pushed to the limit, made ministry unnatural and 
led the thoughtful youth to reflect "that if many of the messages 
he heard were direct divine communications" it was strange God 
had so little to communicate and expressed it in terribly queer 

Rufus Jones discarded the supernatural theory when he reached 
his maturity and introduced in its stead the divine immanence 
belief. This required the deliverer of the message to be an "organ" 
of vital co-operation by which "when the person was touched by 


inspiration, something more than an ordinary human effort might 
emerge." He was convinced that the essential thing for a useful 
ministry was "a preparation of life for cooperation with God," 
and that the richer the individual's life became "the greater the 
inward depth, the more abundant the stock of experience and the 
accumulation of truth the more effective the ministry would be 
likely to be." 

This was revolutionary thinking in many Quaker circles at the 
end of the nineteenth century. In reality, however, it was a return 
to early Quaker principles. George Fox and the founding Quakers 
had held that a genuine spiritual ministry called for a new kind of 
preparation, one which differed radically from that then in vogue 
in the theological seminaries. The preparation they sought came 
freshly and creatively out of life. It was "in the life" instead of one 
artificially created "to fill time." 

Rufus grasped and understood the principle -that Quaker group 
silence, co-operative teamwork of the entire congregation, with "the 
expectant hush, the sense of divine presence, the faith that God and 
man can come into mutual and reciprocal correspondence" tended 
to heighten the spiritual quality of the individual "who rises in that 
kind of atmosphere to speak." He realized also that this group 
situation cannot work the miracle of "producing a message for the 
hour in a person who is sterile," and he was suspicious of "revela- 
tions" that "reveal things contrary to the facts and laws of the 

He prepared his sermons, none of which he ever wrote out 
previous to its delivery, by dedicating his life to God's work with 
all his soul and heart and mind, living a life of goodness, kindness, 
and helpfulness and by cultivating his mind and storing it with 
useful knowledge and then by waiting on the Spirit. Goodness shone 
through everything he said, an attractive, inspiring, strong-man 

He frequently told a story from Violet Hp.dgkin's Quaker Saints 
which recounted that after looking Tt cathedral windows with their 
saints, a little child had said, "I know now what really and truly 
and most especially makes a saint, and that is letting the sunlight 
through." Rufus Jones let the light come through and his sermons 
pulled the listener "upward and forward by invisible cords, some- 
what as the moon lifts the ocean." ~" 

The first dawnings of his idea to take up the burden of "itinerant 


visiting" came to him in the winter of 1893-94. Always a man of 
action, he soon was on his way to Gncinnati, Ohio, and Richmond, 
Indiana, and nearby towns where he found the people like home 
people "the people I knew and loved in the East." 

One happy result which came out of this trip was the relation- 
ship he established with Earlham College which continued close, 
warm, and unbroken throughout the remaining fifty-five years of 
his life. He "was charmed by the beauty of its campus and by the 
fine quality of its students." During this long stretch of time he 
revisited Earlham College at least once each year, either upon invi- 
tation of the college officials or occasionally when he would inform 
them that he could go or come by way of Richmond on a western 
trip and stop over. 

This first visit to Earlham opened up a wide and important field 
of service by stimulating him to make visits to the eight other 
Quaker colleges and universities. 1 Later he extended this service to 
include a large list of non-Quaker American colleges and universi- 
ties where he became one of the most popular and effective chapel 
speakers of his generation. 

He extended his service as the years passed and enlarged his circle 
of speaking pkces until he had visited with Friends everywhere in 
the United States, in the East, die South, the Lake and Middle 
Western states, California, Oregon, and Washington as well. 

These trips enabled him to become acquainted with nearly all of 
the Friends in America. Wherever he went he felt "a breath of love 
and affection meet me." And, he adds, "there was enough criticism, 
opposition, and disapproval to keep me humble, but the amazing 
thing was the wave of love that met me as I went from place to 

One of his most interesting early experiences occurred at a 
Middle Western Quaker institution where he was delivering a series 
of lectures. The president of the institution, a fundamentalist, ad- 
vised the assembled students after Rufus' first lecture that because 
Dr. Jones was giving them unsound doctrine they should let what 
he might say to them pass quickly through one ear and out of the 

x ln addition to Earlham and Haverford these are: Friends Central College, 
Nebraska; Friends University, Kansas; Guilford College, North Carolina; Pacific 
College (now George Fox College), Oregon; Swarthmore College, Pennsyl- 
vania; William Penn College, Iowa; Wilmington College, Ohio; and Whittier 
College, California. 


To the query about how he met this situation he replied, "I went 
to the president's office and said, 'I will never speak here again or 
set foot on this campus unless before introducing me tomorrow thee 
apologizes to me publicly and withdraws what thee told the students 
today.' " When asked what the president did Rufus replied, "What 
could the poor man do but make the best apology he could?" and 
do his best to explain that he was sorry what he had said sounded 
different from what he had meant. 

Step by step, as the way opened, he advanced his larger idea of 
reuniting the divergent Quaker groups into one harmonious family. 
Many of them responded to his purpose. He took the initial forward 
step in this direction in 1897 by calling a conference of Friends in 
Indianapolis, Indiana, to which Rufus went as a delegate from the 
New England Yearly Meeting. 

Two major points stand out after a study of the large-sized book 
which presented the records of the conference proceedings, and 
Rufus had a major part, if not the major part, in shaping each of 

The first one was the bold proposal he made in a notable address 
at one session that Friends create an overall Quaker organization. 
Here was something new and startling in Quaker procedure. 

Differ though Quakers migKt on other points, they held no 
iota of difference on this point. They clung tenaciously to long-held 
principles of direct relationship _ between. everyjAdividual and .his 
Maker as well as to the spiritual equality of all men. Their organiza- 
tion was built and maintained on this belief. Each Quaker Monthly 
Meeting was, and always had been, as much of a free-wheeling spir- 
itual unit as has been each individual member who designated repre- 
sentatives to attend Quarterly Meetings. Each Quarterly Meeting 
designated representatives to attend the Yearly Meeting and each 
member of the fourteen different Yearly Meetings had a commend- 
able pride in the one to which he belonged, as did also the members 
of the 119 Quarterly Meetings. 

He sought first to soften opposition to his proposal for the crea- 
tion of an overall Quaker organization and did so by stating that a 
root idea of Quakerism was "the great truth of individual responsi- 
bility before God, which includes freedom of conscience, the imme- 
diate communion of heart with God and the oneness of the church 
through all believers in Christ" 

He stressed the point that all questions that solely concern the par- 


ticular meetings should be left to them but even so, he held, the 
church always has had a function and a mission that reached "above 
the sphere and life and interests of any individual man." It "is the 
visible, permanent exponent of certain fundamental truths and the 
instrument for the accomplishment of a definite work." The ideal 
church organization he insisted, would be one that would guarantee 
and maintain the fullest measure of personal freedom and individual 
responsibility, and "at the same time make its message clear and 
powerful and make its work move mightily." 

He pointed out that local interest and personal preferences were 
right and proper so long as they did not hinder work of a wider 
scope or sacrifice the dignity and weight that befit a church. He 
admitted that no one could properly complain that the Quakers in 
the past had erred in restricting individual liberties but, he insisted, 
the time seemed to have arrived for individual Quakers everywhere 
to consider the means by which they might increase the scope and 
influence of the Society. 

He recommended that the conference select those points in which 
all Friends have common interest and then seek to strengthen and 
advance these points. Heretofore, he stated, each Yearly Meeting in 
America had been at the mercy of any meeting because each could, 
at will, completely change the basic Quaker concept of faith and 
practice while the others looked on helplessly. The result of this 
free action, he argued, was that the Society of Friends had become 
an aggregation of fourteen branches of a church which was not a 
church and that each of its Yearly Meetings, independent of all 
others, had full powers to change both discipline and doctrine if it 
so wished. 

He made the telling point that the past failure of the Society to 
clarify the quality of its ministry and the method of recognition of 
it, had been responsible for two separations. That was not such cause 
for wonder, he said, as was the realization that more separations had 
not taken place, since organizations which have neither head nor 
center of gravity inevitably disintegrate. He drove his point home 
by using an apt illustration about the jellyfish whose weakness came 
from two lacks: it has neither bones nor a brain center with which 
to co-ordinate its feelings and movements. 

He urged the creation of a central head whose duty would be to 
foresee, to feel out the various needs and conditions, and to deal 
wisely with these ever-recurring problems "before they bring us to 


the verge of a crisis, and to overcome disintegrating tendencies by 
wisely and constructively drawing the members round the central 
truths for which we stand." 

Every point he had made, every argument he had advanced in his 
speech had channeled directly into his major idea, an idea which, 
when it became a reality twenty years later, was to give Quakerism 
its greatest outreach in nearly three centuries by enabling it through 
the American Friends Service Committee to clothe its faith with 

The far-visioned prophet and capable organizer, twin qualities 
which he and Saint Paul possessed in common, next outlined the 
Quakers' vital need to consolidate their foreign field missionary 
work. As things stood, he said, a small group of Friends were carry- 
ing on work in each of at least seven different areas abroad. Each 
unit was doing good work but its influence was so slight that it 
"was much like pricking an elephant with a pin." None was ade- 
quately financed, and the existence of the entire program was pre- 
carious. As against a continuance of this procedure he held out the 
vision and attendant possibilities of Quaker foreign mission work 
which combined all the power, judgment, and money of all Friends 
in America. 

Although neither he nor his audience then realized it, Rufus Jones 
charted a new course for American Quakerism in this speech by 
advocating that the Society of Friends add to its historical reason 
for being a definite, positive present existence which would make 
itself distinctly felt and work for the realization of a prophetic 

He was easy in his spirit about the principles of Quakerism be- 
cause he felt they were fixed. They did not require adjustment or 
alteration, since they were identical with the principles of New 
Testament Christianity. But his spirit was uneasy about the way 
those principles were being interpreted and advanced by a babel of 
tongues. By clinging to and advocating its particular interpretation, 
each group in the different divisions of the Society of Friends in the 
United States had destroyed the Society's force and power in their 
efforts to support and strengthen the teachings of Christ. 

He insisted that the message of Quakerism, which was a revival 
of Christianity in its simplicity, vitality, and power, should be as 
clearly recognizable as the Stars and Stripes. This was not the case 
because varying interpretations of Quaker principles served to con- 


fuse the public both as regards the Society's principles and its 
methods and purpose of supporting them. 

The second major conference point concerned how the delegates 
undertook to create a formula that would help unify American 
Quakerism and bring the dissenting groups to a common ground of 
activity and interest. How to devise an overall organization that 
might bring about greater unity of direction and effort and at the 
same time not conflict with the basic concept of Quaker organiza- 
tion? Clearly no bishopric could be adopted because no Quaker 
believect ih~an outward historic succession from apostolic .days. Nor 
could the Quakers, divided though they were on many points, create 
a central authority because members of all divisions held firmly to 
the belief that the authority of spiritual power should be recognized 
wherever it appears. Because the Quaker movement is fundamentally 
democratic and representative it would be impossible to create an 
organization which resembled an oligarchy in any manner. 

Rufus Jones proposed that Friends might be able to unify Ameri- 
can Quakerism by confining their efforts to the creation of repre- 
sentative organization machinery that would have legislative power 
within certain spheres, a step which need not violate or in any way 
infringe upon Quaker beliefs or organizational setup but that could 
bring a measure of unity to the scattered whole of Quakerism. 

He expressed the belief that it would be possible to get approval 
of such a plan from a majority of the fourteen different Yearly 
Meetings for creation of an overall body with prescribed powers. 
He recommended that such an assembly should consist of carefully 
selected delegates of representative thinkers and workers in Ameri- 
can Quaker circles who would confine their efforts to larger ques- 
tions. If they did this they could avoid the multitude of details with 
which every religious denomination has to deal. He recommended 
that this body have deliberative and judicial authority, so that its 
decisions would carry more weight since they would be recognized 
as the "calm judgments of all of those representatives of all the 
Yearly Meetings" and as such enable all divisions of Quakerism to 
find and cling to a faith that could "stand every conceivable test 
and analysis." 

Then in his thirty-fourth year, he saw clearly that Quakerism 
could survive only if its members had a type of religion "which 
squares with the eternal nature of things and which rings true under 
every test. A religion," he said, "which has crystallized into a dead 


system of outgrown thought is going to have a hopeless struggle in 
our times." 

Intrinsic power, he insisted, cannot be derived from shibboleths. 
It instead grows out of the consecrated thought and wisdom ..of 
those who formulate their conclusions prayerfully; therefore, "he 
sought a working, living religion for the present that faced the 
future instead of the past as American Quakerism had been doing 
with such tragic results. 

He wanted, moreover, a unified, purposeful American Quakerism 
that was so distinctive that it could be recognized everywhere and 
by everyone. Such a body as he proposed, if created, he held, would 
be able to deal with problems that concern Friends as. a whole "ir- 
respective of location or section," questions that could not be settled 
in one section without affecting all Friends in America. 

At that time Rufus Jones's was a voice preaching in the wilder- 
ness, a John the Baptist who told of things to come. Sound as were 
his arguments, earnest as was his plea, he nevertheless was not then 
able to persuade his coreligionists to accept his plan in full but some 
of the seed of his thinking did fall on fertile ground. Best of all, they 
slowly germinated. The deliberate Quakers discussed his proposals 
unhurriedly but were moved by the quality of his wisdom and the 
force of his logic. 

The first proof that others at the conference had caught sight of 
Rufus' vision was manifested when a conference committee asked 
him and James Wood to prepare a draft of the plan "for the union 
together with the draft of a uniform Discipline for all matters of 
legislation, procedure and policy, care and oversight of membership, 
the function and management of each type of meeting from the local 
one to the supreme national one" which Rufus had proposed in his 
great speech. 

The two men after long labor completed their task. Rufus printed 
the first draft of the proposed "Constitution and Discipline" as a 
supplement to The American Friend and asked for reader comment. 
Many Friends read, studied, and criticized it,-"especially criticized 
it," but "the criticisms were in the main constructive and valuable." 
The draft was revised and many sections were modified to meet 
"the light of criticism received," and then submitted to the indi- 
vidual Yearly Meetings for action. 

As was wholly fitting and proper the final draft was considered in 
June, 1900, first by the Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England 


of which Rufus Jones was a member, which approved it, as did a 
majority of the other Yearly Meetings in America. 

Rufus Jones's comment on the formation of the Five Years Meet- 
ing in 1902 is that he believed "it marked a step toward Quaker 
unity and a real step forward toward spiritual efficiency." 

During the latter half of the i89o's, when his classroom lectures, 
itinerant ministry, and activity with the Friends Conference placed 
a heavy burden on him, he was carrying an even heavier personal 
burden, that of the prolonged serious illness of his wife. She spent a 
major part of her last four years at Saranac Lake, New York, in an 
effort to regain her health but the task was too great for her and she 
died in December, 1898. 

In all his travels during these busy years he went with "perfect 
ease and freedom to meetings and gatherings" of all divisions of 
Friends because he looked upon all men and women as persons and 
not as members of a "dangerous sect." He was frequently criticized 
for his perversity in speaking to "misguided groups" without casti- 
gating them for "their waywardness and without imparting to them 
the true panacea for their troubles." Some of his critics were fearful 
that he was being "all things to all men." His inward self, however, 
reassured him that "my lines of thought and my direction of life 
did not wobble or waver back and forth." He sought to understand 
and be understood "and I had the utmost confidence that a spirit of 
simplicity and -sincerity would in the end win its way triumphantly." 
It did. 

During the summer of 1900, he and his friend Dr. George A. 
Barton, who was professor of Biblical Literature at Bryn Mawr Col- 
lege, organized and conducted a summer school at Haverford 
College. Their purpose was that of influencing "the psychological 
climate." To it came, as leaders and lecturers, John Wflhelm Rown- 
tree and J. Rendel Harris from England, Professors George Foot 
Moore and David G. Lyon of Harvard University, William Newton 
Clarke of Colgate University, and Washington Gladden. Many of 
those who attended the evening sessions came from Philadelphia, 
and "first and last the leaders of thought in Philadelphia Yearly 
Meetings . . . were influenced by it and prepared for forward steps 
in life and thought." Rufus was happy, too, to discover that the 
widening knowledge "did not check the warmth and fervor of the 
life of the Spirit." 

He gave as his "own special contribution" five lectures entitled 


A Dynamic Faith, in which he interpreted his conception of a re- 
ligion of life. The lectures received a good reception, and they had 
a substantial sale when printed in book form. Better still, his lectures 
brought his "budding ideas" together in compact form. His "idea 
of dynamic faith came from Clement of Alexandria" who had called 
faith "the assent of the soul to a truth which seems to be essential 
for life and thought," a perception which Santayana has called "an 
invincible surmise" of a truth which "ought to be and must be and 
is profoundly felt to be true, and yet not demonstrated as truth." 
Genuine faith, Dr. Jones held "is more than insight. It is always the 
'beginning of action.' It is propulsive. It fortifies the will. It begins 
as an experiment and ends as an experience." 

He and Dr. Barton conducted the summer school each alternate 
year for several years. His participation in these summer schools and 
institutes in Five Years Meetings and in many scattered meetings and 
the lectures he gave at Friends colleges were his "threshing floors 
where the grains of truth get pounded out with the flail of lectures, 
debate, and controversy." 

Two other experiences of momentous consequence entered his 
life during the first years of the new century and profoundly 
touched him. The first was his marriage in 1902 to Elizabeth Bartram 
Cadbury. He has written that every aspect of his life "was touched 
and transformed by that initiation into a new and sacred fellowship. 
. . . Every occasion of our lives has brought into play the unf ormu- 
lated and tacit commitments which only love can supply." 

Every one of the hosts of men and women who visited with Rufus 
and Elizabeth Jones in their homes at Haverford and South China 
or who has seen them together elsewhere during their forty-six 
years of married life cannot but have felt moved deeply by their 
perfect relationship. She was in every way the wife for the man he 
was, a great and good man and a deeply spiritual, great, and fine 
good woman. 

The death of his litde son, Lowell, in 1903, then in his eleventh 
year staggered Rufus. He felt "that this wonderful boy seemed made 
for beauty and he had the rare gift of finding it everywhere." And 
he found "God in the same way as he found beauty." 

The death of his son at first seemed to him to be "a tragedy that 
could not be borne." During the days of his great sorrow he fortu- 
nately heard Philip H. Wicksteed give his "extraordinary lecture on 
St. Francis of Assisi" which caught the Spirit of the Saint and "trans- 


mitted it without losing the rare loveliness and perfume of life. . . . 
It was an epoch. ... I found then and there the man who has ever 
since been one of the major guides of my life in the sphere of love." 

He learned from St. Francis, he wrote in The Trail of Life in The 
Middle Years twenty-seven years later, "the full significance of the 
power of the silent transmission and the infinite importance of gen- 
tleness, humility, simplicity, and tenderness," and quoted St. Francis: 
"I come in the little things, saith the Lord!" "God," he wrote, "cer- 
tainly does come that way, and up to a point, I always knew He did. 
But St. Francis gave me a unique sense of it. He came to me with his 
rich revealing power when I was losing my Lowell who had always 
found God in simple lovely things . . . and I had failed to realize 
until I discovered St. Francis that it was through such simple con- 
tacts with flowers and birds and little children that the glory of God 
and His eternal love get revealed to us." 

"But now I know," he added, "that nothing has ever carried me 
back, or up, or down into the life of God, or done more to open out 
the infinite meaning of love, than has my invisible separation from 
dear Lowell, for the mystic union has never broken and it can know 
no end." 

He was compensated for the loss of his son within a few years by 
the birth of his and Elizabeth Jones's daughter, Mary Hoxie Jones, 
whose rare gifts as an author and leader have gained her a place of 


In the Classroom and on the Campus 

THE two previous chapters told of Rufus Jones's activities 
; editor of a weekly publication, itinerant Quaker minister, 
__id emerging religious leader and college lecturer and in- 
dicated that he was leading a full life. 

This list of his activities, however, is not all inclusive. He was a 
teacher and an author above all else. And teaching, both in the class- 
room and outside it, was Rufus Jones's favorite calling. He has 
written that he liked to think of himself "as a teacher" and that 
always he felt that "I was my best in the classroom, and there is no 
question that I am happiest when I am teaching a class of youth." 

He had many unusual teaching gifts. His scholarship was broad, 
"but he never was a pundit-always he was a teacher, a communi- 
cator." He had the rare gift of keeping the subject under discussion 
open to challenge at any minute by any student, and he continued 
the discussion of the challenged point until every student understood 
its bearing and significance. 

The happy result was that his lectures became an interchange of 
thought He directed the thought in a definite direction and thereby 
made his method of teaching a living contact between mind and 
mind. He did not ask or expect his students to believe something 
was true because he said it was, but he did seek to establish accept- 
ance of what he believed was truth by open discussion. He strove to 
make each lecture clear to the "less favored" students. 

He taught as though he were conversing and thereby created an 


Founders Hall, Haverford College, built in 1833. Photograph by 
Merin Studios. 















atmosphere of friendliness and easy informality in his classrooms 
that engendered a spirit of co-operation. 

He sought to cultivate the imagination of his students because he 
believed this to be as important as the discipline of facts. He awak- 
ened new interests in them and quickened old ones by helping them 
to discover what "they really want and to kindle their aspirations for 
an abundant life." 

He has written that he may not have been "adequately severe" 
in his demands for outside classroom work and that he may not 
have given his students "a sufficiently grueling intellectual disci- 
pline." But his students agreed with him that his teaching methods 
met strict tests when it came to the "central business of making the 
students understand the classroom work." 

One former student, Chester Jacob Teller, 1 has written that as 
a teacher: 

His conduct of the classroom was masterful. Regardless of the 
mood of the group, Rufus' spirit invariably dominated from the 
first. He launched us immediately into the topic of the day, and 
whether it was Plato, Spinoza, or Thomas Hill Green, the sub- 
ject was one in which the teacher seemed to feel such joy that 
it was naturally communicated at once to all the class. Homely 
stories and quotations from the poets illuminated these hourly 
presentations to the point where each became a delight if not a 
veritable inspiration. It was interesting to see how much of the 
current subject matter was woven later into the weekly dis- 
course at meeting with but a little different slant, better suiting 
the place and congregation. Here, too, there was a lavish use of 
lines from the poets, spoken always from memory and always in 
a mood of quiet or triumphant joy. One went away with a defi- 
nite sense of having lived (for those moments at least) on a 
higher level, "out of this world" to employ the modern idiom. 

In my own life, then and always since, Rufus Jones stands on 
a high eminence stone. I regard him as the perfect teacher- 
master might be a better word. 

The strong invisible threads he wove into the lives of his students 
created a durable fabric that served them well in many ways all of 
their lives. 

It is possible that the greatest contribution he made to each stu- 

1 Chester Jacob Teller, Haverford, class of 1905, in letter to author. 


dent was first, to discover "the hidden self" and second, "to set it free 
with its inherent capacities thrown into play." His suggestions were 
practical and could be easily adopted by anyone. 

He would express his belief, for example, that all life was growth 
and then explain simply and directly how a man could keep his 
mind alert and his interests broad, and add that he could do this by 
reading one or more worthwhile books each year about some sub- 
ject in which he had not heretofore had any particular interest; 
by cultivating one or more new acquaintances each year; by becom- 
ing interested in some new useful social, religious, or political ac- 
tivity or in some new phase of an old activity each year, and to go 
to see one or more good plays from time to time. 

He would explain that these and other outreaching activities had 
helped him and therefore should help any man to keep an open 
mind, fresh responsive spirit, a wholesome and understanding point 
of view, and a ready sympathy toward life and his fellow men. 

Simplicity of life, he would tell his students, "is a wholly relative 
matter" which is not necessarily secured "by withdrawal from ac- 
tivity" nor by the same token is it forfeited by the acceptance of 
life's varied responsibilities. 

The simplicity of youth, he believed, should run through the busy 
years of life, that it "is a mighty achievement to maintain with the 
maturity and strength of manhood, the trust and confidence, the 
gentleness and simplicity of an unspoiled child." 

He gave the breath of life to the words of truth he spoke by the 
life he lived and the man he was and thereby made the ideal his 
words pictured of a full, rich life a real, vital, highly desirable and 
seemingly attainable one for his students. 

"Love was always at the center of his soul," wrote Dr. Joseph 
Paul Morris, 2 who during his postgraduate year "had but an occa- 
sional visit with Rufus, but," he added, "I always knew he was 
there and it was that that mattered." Rufus had taught Dr. Morris in 
his freshman year at Haverford fifty-two years before Dr. Morris 
wrote this letter. Further, he wrote, "I have learned to love and 
admire him more and more ever since." 

An unnumbered list of Rufus' students could join with Dr. Mor- 
ris' estimate of Rufus' "clear, deep convictions, interpretations of 
Christ and of human nature and of God; his unfailing challenge to 
emphasize the things of the spirit instead of secondary and surface 

'Joseph Paul Morris, Haverford, 1899, in a letter to author. 


things, his wonderful simplicity of language in dealing with the 
deepest truths and always connected with the homeliest walks of 
life, his wealth of original illustrations from daily toil as well as so 
many from science always up to date these are just a few of the 
fruits of the spirit in him which have enriched my life and service." 
One Haverford graduate, Dr. Percival B. Fay," 3 Haverford, 1909, 
professor of Romance Languages at the University of California, 

I sometimes think that one test of a great teacher is how 
vividly, in later years, his one-time pupils recall his attitudes, the 
inflections of his voice, and his very words. Rufus is one of two 
of my Haverford teachers of whom this is truest. ... I can still 
hear a sermon Rufus made at Fifth day meeting. ... I don't 
recall just what he was illustrating no doubt one's spiritual 
growth as one matures but I do remember very vividly his para- 
ble. A father said to his five-year son: "Johnny, if you will be a 
good boy for ten years, I will give you a rocking-horse." So 
Johnny was a good boy for ten years. And when he came down 
to breakfast on the morning of his fifteenth birthday, there in- 
deed was the rocking-horse he had been promised. It is Johnny's 
reply that I shall never forget (he too had a South China accent). 
"But Father, I don't want a rocking-horse. I want a cricket-bat 
or an automobile." 

The "simplicity of an unspoiled child" permeated his entire out- 
look in the classroom and life. His enthusiasm was contagious. And 
because his curiosity was insatiable he swept his students along in 
the courses he taught, opening new vistas of thought, understand- 
ing and living for them as though it were untrod ground for him. 

Charles T. Moon, 4 Haverford, 1912, wrote that Rufus' "invitation 
to come along on the quest was so genuine that I believe much of my 
early response was to this inspired leadership quite as much as the 
subject matter." Out of this combination, Mr. Moon wrote that he 
had gained u a continuous and deep sense of kinship with Rufus 
Jones in such of my thinking and actions as I believe to have been 
my best during the intervening thirty-five years." 

Mr. Moon mentioned another quality of Rufus Jones's that 
impressed his students, namely, that he never gave the slightest 

Percival B. Fay, letter to author. 
4 Charles T. Moon, letter to author. 


indication "that his presentation in his courses year after year was 
desperately elementary or burdensome to him.'* 

In summarizing his recollections of Rufus Jones as a teacher Mr. 
Moon stated: 

(1) He himself was profound. His field was at once an his- 
torical and factual one, and also a speculative one. His obvious 
sincerity and accomplishment therefore were significantly in- 
viting and reassuring. 

(2) His method was a heartfelt invitation to join in a common 
quest, thus establishing an apprentice relationship in which the 
modest master offered patient and enthusiastic leadership year 
after year to all who were interested and willing to work at the 
subjects in hand. 

(3) His very appearance and manner, his references to life 
situations, and his anecdotes of wholesome, and often homely 
living, all helped to give reality to abstract thought. 

(4) Winsome, wistful, an accomplished seeker after eternal 
truth, his expectancy could not be denied. 

He sought Eternal Truth in life, found it and reflected it in all 
his relationships. 

Another of his former students, James M. Stokes, 5 Haverford 
1904 wrote: 

Anyone who has had the privilege of sitting under Rufus Jones 
for four years, as I had from 1900 to 1904, and from knowing him 
and seeing him frequently for the next 42 years, realizes what a 
great man he is. ... 

Sitting under Rufus Jones every Monday as freshmen were 
required to do, my eyes were opened and, without in any way 
destroying my faith, he widened my horizons and showed me 
the allegory and the great significance of the Old and New Tes- 

He was a vigorous and forthright teacher, and the most indif- 
ferent and careless student was unconsciously influenced by his 
philosophy and his personality. . . . 

I really think that he was one of the most beloved professors 
during my stay at Haverford College, and during the intervening 
years my affection and respect for him has increased each year. 
5 James M. Stokes, letter to author. 


... He is one of America's great men in the true sense of the 

It is safe to say that almost every student who took one of Ruf us 
Jones's courses realized that he had opened many new ways of 
thought for them. 

They felt his enthusiasm, "the enthusiasm of a person newly con- 
verted or convinced," as did Albert Fowler, 6 Haverford, 1927. "It 
surprises me," Mr. Fowler stated, "to recall that, though he was by 
no means a trained student of psychology in the academic sense, his 
half-year course in psychology still remains in many details a vivid 
experience; perhaps I was ripe for an exploration of this field then 
quite new to me, but he had the capacity to carry people along with 
him by the sheer buoyancy of his enthusiasm. . . ." 

The foregoing testimony may incline readers who never were 
sufficiently fortune-favored to have been one of Rufus Jones's stu- 
dents, to think that his own shining goodness, enthusiasm for his 
subject, and his eager quest for truth tended to make his courses 
easy ones. 

While those are the qualities which his old students remember, 
they do recall on further reflection the hard assignments he would 
give them as well as his kindly but firm insistence that they do their 
work well. 

Felix Morley, 7 Haverford, 1915, recalled this phase of Rufus 
Jones's teaching by writing that one of the outside reading assign- 
ments Rufus gave in one course was Thomas Hill Green's Prole- 
gomena to Ethics. This book cannot be classed as light reading 
matter. When Felix had plowed through the book he reported to 
Rufus that he could not understand it, to which Rufus replied, 
"Why doesn't thee read it again?" After the second reading Felix 
reported that he had caught the drift of Green's thought but still 
found some passages obscure. Rufus replied, "Why doesn't thee read 
it a third time?" 

"Out of some stubborn persistency," Felix wrote, "I did so and 
thereby really realized the majesty and grandeur of the thought. 
When I told this to Rufus, he replied with much delight, 'I thought 
thee would find something in it.' " 

Albert Fowler, letter to author. 
'Felix Morley, letter to author. 


Henry G. Russell, 8 Haverford, 1934, wrote that he not only had 
taken every course Rufus offered as did many other students but 
added, "I also mowed his lawn, tended his flower garden, cleaned 
his cellar, and drove his car for him while I was an undergraduate." 

Once while Henry was pulling weeds in the backyard, Rufus 
came out, "wearing a straw hat with a feather in it stuck at a 
jaunty angle" and said that he had been studying and was tired and 
added that he thought he was happiest when he was up in Maine 
digging potatoes. Mr. Russell added: "That's all I remember about 
the conversation, but something about it made a tremendous impres- 
sion on me now as well as then. It suddenly opened my eyes to 
Rufus Jones. Here was the great teacher, the writer, the Quaker 
leader, telling me an obscure undergraduate that he was happiest 
when he was digging potatoes, that he was tired of working with 
books cooped up in his study. Modesty, humility, wistfulness, an 
unconcern for the rewards and outward trappings of scholarly suc- 
cessall these were implied in what he said and in the way he said 
them. In my naivete I'd thought that it was only sophomores who 
got fed up with reading dull books. And here was the great Rufus 
Jones telling me that he felt the same way himself." 

Mr. Russell recalled also an incident that occasionally occurred at 
Rufus' home where four or five students were taking a seminar in 
Kant with Rufus. "We used to meet with him of an evening in his 
book-lined study on the second floor of his house," Mr. Russell 
wrote. "The study door was always left open, and downstairs would 
be Mrs. Jones, out of sight but not out of hearing, doing the family 
mending and darning. Rufus would sometimes get off the subject 
and tell us some grand story about his travels or about episodes in 
his past life. As the story would come to an end, there would be a 
pause, and then we'd all hear a firm but kindly voice from down- 
stairs. 'Rufus!' 'Yes, dear,' he'd answer. Thee knows that was an 
exaggeration, Rufus, doesn't thee?' 'Maybe thee's right,' he'd reply, 
and then after a good laugh we'd get back to Kant." 

When Frederick R. Taylor, 9 Haverford, 1909, asked himself in 
later years, "What is the greatest philosophical concept Rufus taught 
me?" he stated that it was "his great concept of a flying goal, an 
infinite goal that advances with every achievement. A thing that 
can be completely achieved is no good as a fundamental goal of life. 

Henry G. Russell, letter to author. 
Frederick R. Taylor, letter to author. 


Such goals are subordinate . . . but the fundamental goal of life, or 
goals, are no such secondary things. A business man wants to de- 
velop his business. He succeeds, but the more he develops it, the 
more he wants to develop it further his goal constantly recedes 
before him. The writer wants to learn to write, but the more and 
better he does so, the more he wants to beat his own score. The 
scholar wants to learn, but the more he learns, the more he is con- 
victed of ignorance and the more he feels he must learn education 
is a lifelong process. The saint wants to make a good life, but the 
better he is, the better he wants to be, else he is no saint, but a prig. 

"The other important truth," Mr. Taylor added, "that Dr. Jones 
taught me was his interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis as 
great allegories, such as the story of Creation. Taken literally, it is 
nothing, but taken as a great allegory of the life of every man, it 
simply, but profoundly, sketches the development of the human soul 
in a few master strokes. . . . He is the greatest human personality I 
ever have known." 

Scores if not hundreds 10 of Rufus Jones's former students un- 
doubtedly could give somewhat similar significant appreciations of 
his qualities as a teacher and as a man who has exercised a deep influ- 
ence on their thinking and their lives. 

He believed profoundly that the youth of our country "were eat- 
ing freely of the tree of knowledge but they were not being made 
partakers of the tree of life." They needed, he felt, training and 
discipline "in the supreme art, the art of living," and especially so 
since "the tree of knowledge is not the same thing as the tree of life? 
and education "involves partaking of both trees." 

In 1901 he added some classes in Biblical Literature to his regular 
courses in philosophy and psychology at Haverf ord. In these courses 
he sought to enable his students to "see and feel the significance of 
this supreme literature." He gave a one-year course to upper class- 
men on the Sermon on the Mount and another on the meaning of 
the Kingdom of God, a third one on the ethical ideals in the New 
Testament, a fourth one on the life, the travels, the Epistles, and the 
religious significance of St. Paul. 

His aim was to make the Bible a "living Bible." To carry out his 
aim he faced all facts and difficulties boldly but he threw new light 

"When I asked Rufus for the names of a few of his former students to 
whom I could write and request their estimate of him, he characteristically 
replied, "I can give thee five hundred, David, if thee wants that many." 


on every page because he believed every other step of individual 
advancement hung on it. He held that the adjustment to the facts 
of evolution, or even of Copernican astronomy was not possible 
without the formation of a truer and freer conception of Scripture. 
It seemed all important to him that he should undertake to help his 
students gain this adjustment, otherwise they might lose their faith 
entirely when later in life they discovered how unfounded were the 
traditional views they had been given in childhood. This could hap- 
pen, he believed, because "infallibility and development are incom- 
patible. Static truth and growth of mind cannot keep house 

His work as a teacher of psychology caused him to wrestle with 
the important struggle that began early in the twentieth century 
between the ethics and religion school of thought and the behavior- 
istic psychology school of thought. Rufus Jones held that "there 
could be no area of moral freedom for man on the basis of natural- 
istic, behavioristic psychology," that psychology, insofar as it fol- 
lows the scientific method, "is limited to the sphere of observation 
and description. It can only report what it observes and finds to be 
describable." He insisted that "there is more to the mind of man 
than that." 

He approached the heart of the question by asking himself hum- 
bly and modestly, as did Plato and Kant, "What kind of a mnd is 
implied in a person 'who possesses knowledge of what may be called 
Truth, who loves, enjoys and appreciates the beautiful and good for 
their own sake." 

To him it seemed self-evident that any mind capable of knowing 
truth already had passed beyond observable facts because "a fact is 
something that can be observed and reported" whereas a "truth is a 
formulation, a judgment, an interpretation of a situation which is true 
... for all minds that operate rationally. . . ." 

He believed, as he described in The Trail of Life in the Middle 
Years, that "something more is involved than a stream of mental 
states, a procession of actors before 'the footlights of consciousness.' 
This mind that we are talking about here is a unifying agency, 
which binds many observed facts or data into a single whole. . . . 
[It] reveals a quality of continuity, permanence, identity of mean- 
ing, originality, creativity, and unification. We have come upon 
something that is very different from an 'observer,' and something 


equally different from a 'reaction mechanism,' or a 'behavior 
device.' " 

"The synoptic mind with its 'imaginative dominion,' " he held, 
was "very different from the 'spectator' mind of the psychology 
books." "Only a synoptic mind, [man's] can see beauty." The type 
of psychology which he criticized falls "into what may be called the 
'genetic fallacy.' It starts with the animal type of mind and assumes 
that our kind of mind has developed biologically from it and there- 
fore is like it, only more complex. My contention, then as now, was 
and is that the mind that knows truth and appreciates beauty is 
unique, and partakes in some degree of another sphere of reality than 
the empirical one," and that there is an "imaginative dominion over 

Because man's mind is self-transcendent it has that something 
more, "a spiritual basis of reality at the center of our being" whose 
"existence carries implications as to its origin and the deeper environ- 
ment in which it lives." 

"Nobody," he pointed out, "ever saw more clearly than Plato did 
that the type of mind which can organize all the data of sense ex- 
perience and interpret them through a permanent and universal idea 
of the true, the beautiful, and the good, cannot itself be one of the 
items, one of the data, a product of that fleeting sense world. Tenn- 
yson, too, was in the great succession when he wrote the words: 
'The soul that drew from out the boundless deep.' " 

Holding these beliefs he sought to help the student to find him- 
self and to open for him many new approaches to life for the pur- 
pose of providing him with fresh insights in the labyrinthine ways 
of his soul. Any phase of study or understanding that dealt with 
the "inward turning of the mind and which was not there for eyes 
or ears or finger tips" fascinated him. He knew the meaning of 
chopping down a tree, plowing a furrow or digging a ditch. The 
fallen tree was there to see, as was the freshly turned furrow, and 
the opened earth of the ditch. But the stuff of which "mind states," 
"consciousness awareness," "attitudes," "fringes," "concepts," "val- 
ues" are made are not viewable objects. If they were, "ethics" 
thereby would "be reduced to an objective and realistic study of the 
moral habits and ethical customs of the race." Because he believed 
that "a spiritual reality of any type" was at stake and that there 
"could be no hope of any immortal life in a world whose ultimate 
reality was material stuff" his approach in his lectures probed the 


"ultimate issues of life and reality." Always and unceasingly in all his 
lectures, sermons, and writings he searched for ultimate truth. 

His lectures rested on his primary concern to present to his stu- 
dents "a way of life that would give them a note of reality and at 
the same time an awakening of interest in the aim to make life a fine 
art and a significant thing." 

A majority, perhaps the great majority, of his students realized at 
the time, perhaps only vaguely, that he was a great teacher. Because, 
however, of the frail, fumbling way man makes his way through 
life, it is possible that only few of them then saw clearly that "here is 
a master teacher and interpreter of truth." 

It seems hardly possible that any student of his failed to gain 
from his lectures the stirrings of a desire to be a better man and a 
useful, good citizen. Some carried those stirrings over from college 
into their lives in the great outer world. Each lecture became a 
thrilling adventure as he ranged from the earth to the sky and 
illuminated it with wholesome outlook and homely incidents. Many 
of his theories and conclusions were strong food for growing minds. 

No disciplinary problem ever arose in his classes. Even the back 
row seat occupants left his lectures and discussed some of the points 
he had raised or else would go to the library to read more about 

Rufus Jones's relationship with the undergraduates was individual 
and close. When an editor of the undergraduate newspaper editori- 
ally answered some subscriber criticisms, Rufus stopped the editor 
on the campus and commended him highly on the quality of the 
paper and added that subscriber criticism was a common problem 
of editors, and mentioned how he, when editor of the Haverfordian, 
more than twenty years earlier, had had to face the same problem. 
Such problems, he said, were minor and transitory, and he empha- 
sized that an editor's only worry should be that of making each 
issue the best he was capable of producing, and that if he did this 
he could let the heathen rage. 

During the Christmas vacation of one student's senior year, he 
faced what then seemed to be a grave crisis. It concerned a younger 
brother of the student who had been suspended for six weeks from 
a Friends Boarding School because he had violated its "nonsmoking" 
rule. When the younger brother learned of the impending suspen- 
sion he said that if it were imposed he planned to join the Navy. 
The older brother feared the consequences if the boy carried out 


this plan. Since the boy was far from home and largely dependent 
on his older brother the latter felt his responsibility heavily. When 
informed, ahead of the boy, that the school authorities had decided 
to suspend him for six weeks, the older brother took his problem to 
"Rufie," the affectionate name that all generations of Haverfordians 
called him behind his back. Out of the older brother's many friends 
he turned instinctively to Rufus as a sure source of understanding 
and wisdom. Rufus listened sympathetically to the entire story and 
then suggested that it might be best to arrange for the boy to attend 
another school. 

With this agreed upon, the big question became: What school? 
Rufus surveyed the school field and mentioned four possible board- 
ing schools of whose governing committees he was either a member 
or else with which he had close connections. He recommended the 
school whose tuition charges were the highest of the four. The un- 
solved question to the older brother was: How can I meet these 
bills? Rufus agreed that this would be a problem but advised, never- 
theless, that the older brother call on the school's headmaster and 
added, "I will telephone and tell him that thee wishes to see him." 

The headmaster later that day opened the conversation with the 
older brother by saying, "Dr. Jones has told me about your prob- 
lem. We will be happy to have your brother with us. Our regular 
charge is $1,000 per year but since it costs us about one dollar per 
day to feed a boy, that will be our charge for you. The cost of heat, 
light, teaching and other items for an additional boy can be absorbed 
in our regular overhead without additional expense to us. So send 
him along if this is all right." 

Characteristically Rufus had promised the older brother little and, 
characteristically, he had delivered magnificently. Characteristically 
also, his faith in the individual man was so boundless that he felt 
easy about making what must have been an unqualified recom- 

Unimportant in the overall sense these two incidents could be 
multiplied over and over again, and in doing so serve to give a 
glimpse of a man who was an inspired teacher, close, trusting and 
trusted friend, counselor, and ready refuge of his students. 

Two colleges, Haverford and Bryn Mawr, have undertaken to 
provide for their future students with teachers who possess some of 
the inspiring qualities Rufus brought to the classroom. 

Bryn Mawr College has created a $200,000 Rufus M. Jones pro- 


fessorship and, a few months after announcing its project, had 
secured a substantial part of this sum, Haverford College created a 
$500,000 Rufus M. Jones Fund for the Advancement of Teaching. 
The income from this fund, about four fifths of which had been 
secured within a year after its announcement, is to be used to 
stimulate professional growth, encourage desirable research, make 
possible term absences for study, or to render special service or to 
raise salaries of outstanding teachers. 


Fruitful Years 

THE modest three-story stone and frame house the Jones 
mily occupied at Number 2 College Circle, Haverford, 
as his home for forty-four years. It was bathed in an 
atmosphere of peace and serenity. It was shaded by great trees, and 
from its front porch the college grounds unfolded with its vista of 
campus, trees, and buildings. 

Inside the house everything moved in an unhurried way. It gave 
no evidence of being a center of dynamic action or that ideas and 
suggestions were generated within its walls that touched and moved 
spiritual, philosophical, and humanitarian forces throughout the 

Scholars and religious leaders from here and there, Haverford 
alumni, undergraduates, singly and in groups, or old friends from 
everywhere came and went in an unhurried endless procession. 

Every Tuesday morning when he was home Rufus went to his 
study on the second floor to write his editorials, articles, lectures, 
and books. 

He left his campus home innumerable times to serve a great 
variety of interests which when listed seem more varied and nu- 
merous than one man could have a vital interest in or perform 
effectively. His activities included his lectures at the college, which 
consisted of three or more courses, attendance and speaking at 
Friends meetings and other gatherings throughout the world, sev- 
eral trips to Europe to lecture at summer schools, for research, or on 



humanitarian missions, a speaking trip to China and another to South 
Africa, one round-the-world trip to study foreign missions, to lec- 
ture at many colleges and universities in the United States and 
abroad at several of which he spoke more than thirty times, to serve 
on or head a host of religious, educational, and humanitarian com- 
mittees, to attend meetings of the Board of Managers of Brown 
University and Bryn Mawr College, to act as president of the latter 
Board for twenty years, 1916-1936, to attend meetings of governing 
committees of boarding schools, and to confer with the publishers of 
the many (fifty-six) books he wrote. 

He left his Haverf ord College campus home to receive twelve of 
the thirteen honorary degrees that educational institutions had con- 
ferred upon him, and to receive the Philadelphia Award and the 
Theodore Roosevelt Association's gold medal. Whittier College, 
California, conferred the degree of Litt. D. upon him only a few 
days prior to his death in I948. 1 

Dr. Wm. W. Comfort, President of Haverf ord College, conferred 
the degree of Doctor of Laws on Dr. Jones in the following terms: 

A graduate of Haverf ord College in the Class of 1885, and for 
twenty-five years our beloved Professor of Philosophy. 

Teacher, minister and friend. 

An impenitent optimist, who has discovered the secret of per- 
petual youth, and who has helped numberless young men to find 
themselves in finding a faith. 

A believer in the forces of the Unseen, who has interpreted 
these forces to his students by his spoken word and by his living 
illustration of the power of love. 

A prolific writer on personal religion, on the historical trend 
of mysticism, and in particular on the history of the Society of 
Friends, whose principles he has expounded to a growing public 
at home and beyond the seas. 

Organizer upon a large scale of relief work in stricken Europe, 
whose vision and tact have made the American Friends Service 
Committee a model of sympathetic and efficient service. 

a The institutions, degrees, and dates were: Penn College, LittJX 1898; Har- 
vard University, D.D. 1920; Haverford College, LLD. 1922; Swarthmore Col- 
lege, LLD. 1922; Marburg University, D.Th. 1925; Earlham, LL.D. 1929; 
Columbia University, S.T.D. 1933; Yale University, D.D. 1935; Williams 
College, LL.D. 1936; Colby College, S.T.D. 1937; Jewish Institute of Religion, 
H. LittX). 1942; Colgate University, LUX). 1942; and Whittier College, LittD. 


President of the Board of Trustees of Bryn Mawr College, 
long responsibly associated with the affairs of a sister institution. 

Upon this distinguished alumnus Haverford College confers 
the greatest honor in its gift: the degree of Doctor of Laws. 

Professor Nettleton, in introducing Rufus Jones as recipient of 
Yale's Doctor of Divinity honorary degree, read the following cita- 

Philosopher and preacher, historian and biographer, editor and 
essayist, administrator and scholarin all, and through all, an 
apostle of peace on earth and good will to men. 
"Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve, 
He taught, but first he folwed it hymselve." 

Dr. Angel, President of Yale, in conferring the degree, said of 
Rufus Jones: 

Eminent as preacher, teacher, writer, and theologian, men 
hold you in even higher esteem for the transparent beauty and 
serenity of your Christian life, which has drawn them to you in 
abiding bonds of deep affection and respect. Honorably to mark 
alike what you are and what you have done, Yale University 
confers upon you the Degree of Doctor of Divinity, admitting 
you to all its rights and privileges. 

The citation which accompanied the Award of the Theodore 
Roosevelt Medal to Rufus Jones read: 

For the medal in the field of international affairs, Mr. Presi- 
dent, I present the name of one who disclaims the suggestion that 
he was the founder of the American Friends Service Committee, 
yet cannot outface the evidence that, for twenty-five years, he 
has been its guiding spirit; an evocative and creative teacher for 
almost half a century, affecting lives and communities far be- 
yond the academic walls; a scholar instructed by history and by 
experience in the topography of those glowing foothills where 
the mystics abide, part-way between the pinnacles of Heaven 
and the flat plains of common life; a philosopher, preacher, and 
apostle of the Friendly Way; envoy extraordinary from the 
throne of Mercy to the courts of Pandemonium; leader of one 
of the greatest movements of international good will since a 
young man in Galilee told the story of the Good Samaritan. 


The esteem in which American Friends held Ruf us Jones, as indi- 
cated by the honorary degrees that five Quaker colleges conferred 
on him was no greater than that of English Friends. His close fel- 
lowship with English Friends began during his first trip abroad in 
1886 and 1887. His relationship with them was increased and quick- 
ened when he attended sessions of the London Yearly Meeting in 
1896. From the start English Friends were captivated by his person- 
ality, thinking, and purpose. Since The (London) Friend had begun 
to reprint many of his editorials from the Friends Review, many of 
them who had not met him grew to feel that they knew him. On 
this trip they deluged him with invitations to speak at Friends gath- 
erings throughout England and Ireland which he accepted when 
the London Yearly Meeting sessions were concluded. 

The English and Irish Friends everywhere received him with 
great warmth. They listened to him "with attention and I felt that 
quiet and unspoken response which is far more comforting to a 
speaker than are effusive words." 

In 1901, five years after attending the London Yearly Meeting, he 
visited England a third time for the purpose of giving courses of 
lectures at the Scarborough Summer School. This, he said, "proved 
to be one of the most memorable occasions of my life." 

One Sunday afternoon during that summer he delivered a care- 
fully prepared address at Scarborough, which having been widely 
advertised, drew a great crowd. When he rose to speak he felt no 
"flow of speech, no ease of delivery." What he had prepared did not 
seem to fit the occasion and he felt that his effort was "a failure and 
a botch." He, however, did feel "dimly conscious that something 
beyond the poor words was breaking through." 

As he left the meeting he said to his friend, Rendel Harris, "That 
is the poorest address I ever gave in my life." Harris replied, with 
what seemed small comfort, "Oh, it wasn't as bad as that!" 

It turned out, however, "because something beyond the poor 
words" broke through, to have produced more significant results 
than any other single address he ever delivered. He has said that no 
other message he ever spoke prompted so many people to tell him, 
and some of them years later, that it **was a turning-point and 
marked an epoch in their lives." 

Throughout his life, whether in personal conversation, classroom, 
formal addresses, editorials, or books, those who heard Rufus Jones's 


words or read them felt the presence of "something beyond breaking 

His "over-and-above gift" attracted English Friends to him. They 
liked his forthrightness and his steadfastness. He blew neither hot 
nor cold but did earnestly try "to understand and to be understood" 
and did so with the utmost confidence that a "spirit of simplicity 
and sincerity would in the end win its way triumphantly." 

One English Friend 2 wrote: 

If I say that to many of my contemporaries Rufus Jones was 
a "father in God," to most Friends under fifty today I should 
rather say that he was a beloved "grandfather," respected by 
name and by memory . . . what he wrote had a great appeal to us 
between 1900-1914 . . . [his] Social Law in the Spiritual World 
presented Christianity to us just in that new light we wanted and 
to many like myself he was a tower of strength. . . . He went on 
influencing us to the end of his life. . . . We owed him so great a 
debt that we were able to find something which seemed to speak 
to our condition in practically anything he wrote . . . 

Shortly before he and Elizabeth Bartram Cadbury were married 
in 1902, an English Friend personally brought him an invitation 
from a group of English Friends to become principal of Wood- 
broke Settlement for Religious Study, near Birmingham. Rufus was 
attracted by the off er, and he and his wife went to England that 
summer to make a firsthand study of the situation before attempting 
to reach what was to be a momentous decision one of the two or 
three most difficult decisions of his life. 

It was a difficult decision for him to make because he had "felt 
in spirit more deeply identified with English Quakerism than with 
any other branch of organized Christianity." This visit and his 
previous ones to England moreover, had enabled him to see and to 
feel with his spirit "what a remarkable spiritual body in the world 
this group of twenty thousand united English Friends really was." 

Set against his liking for and close unity with English Friends was 
the recognition that his roots were all in American soil. He believed 
that his "central task in life was plainly enough in America and my 
educational sphere at Haverford." Because this seemed to him to be 

1 J. Hubert Peer, for many years editor of the London Friend, in a letter to 
the author. 


"almost like a manifest destiny," he declined the invitation and re- 
turned home to carry out the mission he had set for himself. 

He delivered in England before he returned home that summer 
of 1902, The Simple Life as a lecture which he later expanded into 
a small book. It dwelt upon the elemental principles of the spiritual 
life, personal discovery of God, inner faith and fortitude, calmness 
and serenity of spirit, abiding confidence in Truth and Goodness 
and an assurance of trust in the deepest eternal nature of the uni- 
verse. "I put," he wrote, "my strongest emphasis on the importance 
of simplicity in one's religious faith. I felt then, as I do now, that a 
loud and insistent contention for complicated theological doctrines 
indicates fear rather than assurance." 

The passing years that followed his decision to remain in America 
served to broaden, heighten, and deepen his relationships with Brit- 
ish Friends. The Friend (London) contained articles and editorials 
from The American Friend and, beginning in 1906, supplemented 
these by inviting Rufus to write for it, which he did. 

In 1903 following his decision to continue his lifework in America, 
Rufus Jones, again accompanied by his wife, returned to England to 
deliver a series of lectures at an extended summer school at Wood- 
brooke of which the year previous he had been asked to become 

The lectures he delivered that summer later formed the main part 
of his book Social La*w in the Spiritual World. They were, he said, 
"the most important course I ever have given." These were the ones 
to which Hubert Peet referred "which presented Christianity to us 
just in that new light we wanted." Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick 8 
stated that they "had a very great influence on my life. I should put 
it [the lectures when published in book form] among the dozen 
books that I most clearly remember as having had a formative effect 
on my thought and I hope upon my character. I still think that it is 
the greatest book he ever wrote." 

In concluding his estimate of Rufus Jones, Dr. Fosdick added: "In 
my judgment he has been the most healthy, the most influential, the 
wisest, and most persuasive interpreter of Quaker principles in our 
generation. He has gone to the root of the matter in religion, and 
emphasizing, as he has, the profundities, he has therefore emphasized 
the universals, and so, to an amazing degree, has been not sectarian 

*See Appendix D for letter to author. 


at all, but the interpreter of Christianity to the deepest need of mul- 
titudes of people of all the denominations." 

One other distinguished non-Quaker minister, Reverend Samuel 
Shoemaker, 4 of the Calvary Church of New York city, gave in his 
reply an indication of the way Rufus Jones's efforts to be a prac- 
ticing Christian by being a good Quaker had in his later years helped 
to make him a spiritual man who transcended all denominational 

Dr. Shoemaker wrote: 

In my judgment, few men in this time combine so remarkably 
the approach to life through Christian mysticism, through deep 
faith in the inner light, and a shrewd and astute knowledge of 
men and events especially the knowledge of just how much the 
traffic will bear at a given moment, and how far one can apply 
the ideal Christian principles to the unideal and often un- 
Christian world. I have often said that Christianity is not ideal- 
ism, but realism plus faith. It doesn't slant up on a hypotenuse; it 
runs along on a level until it is cut down into by a shaft of faith. 
The real Christian is the man that lives close to that right angle. 
The disenchanted realist lives too far out on the horizontal of 
facts. The starry-eyed Utopian too far up on the leg of faith. 
Rufus Jones seems to me remarkably to combine the qualities of 
faith and realism. Of course, in addition to that is his stupendous 
knowledge and unflagging memory. I would rather listen to him 
talk than most men alive. He brings forth out of his treasure 
things new and old. The indomitable Yankee wit of his stories 
bubbles up out of a fundamentally sound and merry nature, and 
most of them couldn't be funnier. 

His thinking and growth show clearly through that series of 
lectures which he delivered during the period when the adherents 
of behavorist psychology were in full battle. Rufus Jones, speaking 
from the depth of his faith pointed his guns of logic directly at them 
when he insisted that there was no use in continuing to talk "of the 
survival of the soul after death if the soul's existence was dependent 
upon the functioning of the human brain. It would be, as Socrates 
had long ago seen, like expecting to have music after the musical 
instrument had worn out or had broken down." 

He stressed the futility of "wasting good energies of life over 

4 Reverend Samuel Shoemaker, letter to author. 


petty theological opinions . . . when the very possibility of the 
existence of a spiritual reality of any type in this strange universe 
was at stake." Such action seemed to him, he said, "like mending 
the roof when the house was on fire." It was obvious to him, he 
said, "that there could be no hope of any immortal life in a world 
whose ultimate reality was material stuff." 

In the years that followed the death of his son Lowell in 1903, 
Rufus began to probe more deeply into spiritual realms. He read 
Whittier's edition of John Woolman's Journal and loved it because 
of its pure diction, charm of style, beauty of character, noble sim- 
plicity, calm humility and triumphant faith. 

He missed in Woolman that radiance and joy which he believed 
should "crown a saint." Woolman lacked it because he carried on 
his soul "the heavy and weary weight of all this unintelligible 
world" and travailed in pain and agony to find "that pure spring of 
guidance" that would clearly mark his line of duty, and when he 
found it he tremblingly walked in it. 

Woolman, as Rufus Jones studied him, seemed "to be almost an 
incarnation of the Beatitudes of the Gospel"; poor in spirit, meek, 
a mourner, pure in heart, a peacemaker, ready to be persecuted for 
righteousness' sake "he hungered and thirsted with passion for what 
was eternally right and good," and he was without duplicity, dou- 
bleness, utilitarian aims, and self-seeking. "But what impressed me 
most was his gentleness, his tenderness, his absolute simplicity." Out 
of these qualities he built an "absolute faith that a man could plant 
himself on eternal principles of Right and Truth and then calmly 
stand the world." This, Rufus wrote, was the "richest lesson I got 
from him." 

His growth in grace and power came in part from the inspiration, 
outlook, understanding, and purpose which he gained from a grow- 
ing circle of friends, his deep spiritual searchings, and the threshing 
floors of summer schools, institutes, Five Years Meetings, and class 
lectures "where the grains of truth got pounded out" and from wide 

The well-known letter of William James also helped him fix his 
course. In it James said, "As for me my bed is made. I am done 
with great things and big things, great organizations and big suc- 
cesses. And I am for those tiny, invisible, molecular moral forces 
which work from individual to individual, creeping in through the 
crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets, or like the capillary 


oozing of water, but which, if you give them time, will rend the 
hardest monuments of man's pride." 

Rufus observed how the dry beech and oak leaves clung to the 
trees through the pounding of snow, sleet, and wind of winter 
storms and then as soon as the germ of life "began to quicken in the 
bud at the end of their stock they dropped off without the applica- 
tion of any outside force." The flow of sap, the pushing of soft 
rootlets, "the capillary oozing of water" and "the thrust of life," he 
concluded as he reflected on this miracle of nature, "are after all, 
the forces that rebuild the world after the wreckage of the winter." 

He became convinced that men and women could shake off their 
dry dead leaves through an awakening of the deeper life of the soul 
itself. This, he held, would produce its own fresh and vital truth 
of experience. The religion of life he sought was one which had 
"its birth in the direct and immediate discovery of God as the 
deeper invisible environment of the soul"; a religion that was as 
much a way of living as is breathing "or as the circulation of the 
blood is." 

Living, he wrote in The Trail of Life in the Middle Years, be- 
comes "buoyant and joyous" when there is "an inflow of the vital 
forces from beyond us, a vernal equinox of the soul, when the sun 
rises upon it with new creative power and a new stage of life is 
reached." And he added "one grows inwardly as normally as the 
maple grows in sap time. God comes to have the same assured 
reality that the ocean has for the swimmer . . ." This, he said, one 
cannot prove by logic or figures, but it can be effectively demon- 
strated by "life process and life-results and these must be inward 
before they can be outwardly appreciated." 

Calmness and serenity of spirit marked him as he advanced in 
spiritual growth and gave him a faith that could "stand anything 
that can happen in the universe." The "sky-line" he was building 
rested on a source of fortification from beyond, and by opening 
his life to divine forces he gained transforming and renewing power. 
Probing further for a religion of life he became convinced that it 
does not stop with "the thrill or spell of inner calm" but culminates 
in a task. 

"The 'whole life is the life that corresponds with the whole of its 
environment," partakes of "eternity in the midst of time and in- 
cludes it." 

In his own life and in his writings and teaching he sought to come 


back "to this richer whole of life which included both time and 
eternity." He wanted a life that did not postpone heaven "for a 
post mortem state of existence," because he believed that sterility 
and loss of enthusiasm "are due to the division of life into frac- 
tional parts of the whole," but if the 'whole life is lived "in its full 
true environment it has the normal dynamic common to all living 

Throughout the first decade of the century Rufus Jones con- 
ducted his courses at Haverford College, wrote his weekly editorials 
and articles for The American Friend on the run, as he shuttled back 
and forth across the Atlantic. Ocean and among Friends gatherings 
throughout the United States. 

In the winter of 1905-1906 he began serious and systematic work 
on the history of Quakerism and of the mystics, which he and his 
friend, John Wilhelm Rowntree, had dreamed and discussed many 
years before. Following his friend's death in 1905, William Charles 
Braithwaite agreed to undertake and carry out Rowntree's part of 
the assignment. Before their task was completed their magnum opus 
covered "the complete history of the Quaker movement from its 
birth to the year 1900." 5 The series of volumes included a history 
of the mystical movements that had preceded the rise of Quakerism. 

This vast project called for sixteen years of labor. Rufus Jones 
carried his part of the project forward while he was "doing full 
professional work in college" and fulfilled his other varied duties. 
He went to England in April 1908 with his wife and young daugh- 
ter, Mary Hoxie Jones, and settled in Charlbury not far from the 
Bodleian Library where he did the first part of his research in the 
mystical movements, which he carried further at Marburg Univer- 
sity during two months' study in 191 1. 

Joseph Rowntree, father of John Wilhelm, "made a generous 
financial provision for all secretarial help," purchase of books, and 
travel required by the research as well as for publication of the 


Together in this series William Charles Braithwaite and Rufus 
Jones presented, interpreted, and critically examined with sympathy 

8 The complete series includes the following volumes: Studies in Mystical 
Religion and Spiritual Reformers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 
(both written by Rufus Jones); The Beginnings of Quakerism, and Second 
Period of Quakerism (these two written by William Charles Braithwaite); The 
Quakers in the American Colonies (by Rufus Jones, assisted by Isaac Sharp- 
less) ; and Later Periods of Quakerism, 2 volumes by Rufus Jones. 


and understanding the history of the Quaker movement. They 
clearly and logically presented its major weaknesses and strengths. 
One of its major weaknesses, they stated, had been its mistaken 
attempt "to get simplicity by easy, short methods ... to maintain 
a poor, artificial form of simplicity 'regulating' speech and manner 
and garb." They recited how the movement had been able to help 
usefully in advancing the spiritual life of mankind by shaming "all 
the frauds of man." Best of all they clearly presented wherein it had 
lost its ways and why. 

If the influence of his own example is excepted it could be said 
with considerable accuracy that Rufus Jones made his greatest 
contribution to Quakerism by mirroring in these volumes the pur- 
poses and ways of the Quakers as well as their fineness and their 

When the Young Men's Christian Association planned to hold a 
Triennial National Convention to meet in Tsinan, China, in the 
summer of 1926, it centered the convention program on religion in 

At that time China was in the throes of the so-called antireligion 
movement, and since Christianity was the most vigorous and active 
religion at work in China, it became the special target of attack. The 
Y.M.C.A. felt especially impelled to meet this attack because Mos- 
cow reports of a Communist Youth International Congress held in 
that city had singled it out for special attack. 

After the committee in charge of the conference had decided to 
center the program on religion in life it invited eminent Chinese 
scholars to speak on Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. It 
planned to round out the program with a series of addresses on 
religion in life as viewed by a Christian. To that end they sought 
someone "whose philosophical standing and theological competence 
were beyond dispute, but who would bring to us not a dissertation 
about the importance of Christianity but a simple and direct presen- 
tation of the good news itself. 

"As we explored the matter, we felt that the one man in the 
world we wanted to do this at that particular time was Rufus Jones. 
I wrote to him accordingly. His first reply was to send us his regrets 
because of commitments already made for that summer for Wood- 
brooke School at Selly Oaks. So eager, however, were we to have 
him that I wrote again, pointing out the exceptional circumstances 
which made us need him in China at that particular time and raising 


the question as to whether he could not arrange to postpone his en- 
gagement until a later summer. We were deeply grateful when he 
found it possible to do this. 

"The addresses which Ruf us Jones delivered at our National Con- 
vention at Tsinan came fully up to our expectations. The lectures 
were immediately printed and given wide distribution in China. 
Following the Convention, we brought together on the slopes of 
Tai-shan, for 5,000 years China's most Sacred Mountain, a group of 
25 or 30 Chinese scholars and writers for a week's retreat, the influ- 
ence of which I am sure has been very real in the spiritual history 
of the Chinese Christian movement ever since." 6 

Mrs. Jones and his daughter Mary Hoxie accompanied him on the 
trip- They visited Friends meetings in Japan for one month en route 
to China where they spent three months. Rufus averaged making 
one speech each day during the three month period, and one day 
he made five speeches. 

They managed to escape a cholera epidemic in China that was 
raging in Shanghai. They spent a month on their way home in 
India, during which Rufus visited with Gandhi. Later, on the way 
home, they spent a few weeks in Palestine. 

Two points on the trip which are also worthy of special note 
were: the terrible heat they encountered seemed to affect Rufus 
only by making his lectures even better than ever; the trip was the 
turning point in his physical condition. 

He took on a new responsibility in 1930 by becoming a member 
of the Board of Managers of Pendle Hill at Wallingford, Pennsyl- 
vania, which service he continued until his death. Pendle Hill, "a 
Center for Religious and Social Study" was created and is main- 
tained by the Society of Friends. During the 19305 he served on its 
teaching staff and was always available for occasional lectures when 
called in later years. 

He was invited by the Institute of Social and Religious Research 
to become a member of the Laymen's Foreign Mission Inquiry, 
which he accepted. He and his family joined the trip at Hong Kong 
in February, 1932. 

An examination of his record during the first decades of the 
century shows that in all that he did and said he was seeking to 
open himself to God's influence in the effort to fulfill his "deepest 
destiny." His search enabled him to pass "from argument to quiet 

'Eugene E. Barnett of the YMCA Secretariat in letter to the author. 


assurance and from the dusty road of words and talk to certainties 
of life." 

Out of his inner urge and aided by his intellectual and spiritual 
growth and goodness of life there gradually emerged a purpose and 
a quality of leadership which in considerable measure has helped to 
transform the Quaker movement in America. 


A Giver and Receiver of Friendship 

t "\HE most desirable and noble of human relationships, a 
I man's love of God, of his wife, and of his fellow man blessed 

JL Rufus Jones. Few, if any, of his contemporaries could call 
as great a list of men, women, and children friend as he did. 

"It has been my lot throughout life," he wrote in The Trail of 
Life in the Middle Years, "to be the receiver and the giver of great 
friendships. There is nothing else in this world more rich and won- 
derful than such friendships and there is no other way of transmit- 
ting the spiritual fruitage of a life which is quite so effective," and 
adds that friendship "baffles description and defies all methods of 
cataloging. One might as well try to photograph the aurora bore- 
alis." Friendships just come, he held. They are the products of life 
"not the ends to be aimed at." 

Even though one agrees with his statement that friendship "baf- 
fles description and defies all methods of cataloging," that does not 
preclude a listing and examination of the qualities that prepare the 
soil, stimulate the germination, and encourage the growth and flow- 
ering of friendship between two individuals. 

These qualities include integrity, dependability, loyalty, sympa- 
thetic consideration, a spirit of forgiveness, and uncalculatingness. 
No one who is untrustworthy, disloyal, unsympathetic, inconsider- 
ate, calculating, unforgiving, self-centered is capable of making 
friendships that are close, warm, lasting, and inspiring. 

True human friendships are as outgiving, as not-withholding and 


free, as uncalculating, as dependable, and as forgiving as is God's 
love. They give all. They demand nothing except responsiveness 
and an effort to make reality of the highest common ideals. 

Personal attraction can provide the material for the beginnings of 
a friendship, but it must be able to draw upon far more than per- 
sonal attraction, which alone will wither and soon die. That "far 
more" upon which it must be able to draw is a quality of a man's 
spirit and character which acceptably meets the standards created 
and adhered to by good men and women everywhere. And it grows 
strongest and best where giving rather than asking is practiced. In 
the old West the last and best that could be said of a man was that 
"He would go to hell for a friend." 

If the qualities listed are foremost among those that form the 
material that creates friendship it is understandable why and how 
Rufus Jones, who reflected God's love in all of his relationships, 
should have made so many friends. And his warmest friends were 
the men and women who had known him longest and best. In all 
his life he never lost a friend or made an enemy. His abiding faith 
and his goodness flashed across the arc to those he met as do electric 
currents. His ability to find and call forth the best in individuals 
had timeless and spaceless qualities and gave him the appearance of 
being a part of the eternal, universal spirit. 

In addition he was as direct and naive as a child who does not 
realize that it possesses rare and precious qualities of naturalness, 
sensitivity, and tenderness. Small children have been known to say 
simply when he was around, "I want to see Rufus." 

If like does attract like it then is understandable why such a 
large number of his closest friends were men and women of high 
character as well as spiritual, intellectual, and humanitarian leaders 
throughout the world. Many of his friends, on the other hand, were 
of slight importance in the world of affairs, but each of them, 
whether important or unimportant, knew him to be a friend. 

A notable thing about his friends, and they were numbered by 
the thousands, was that not one of them was jealous of some other 
one's friendship with him because there was adequate room in his 
great heart for each of them. The names of several of his close 
friends appear in other pages of this book. He made some friends 
on the golf course after he had taken up the game about the year 
1900 because he liked the "air, the sport, the competition, the wit, 
and the flow of talk." These, he said, "were the best medicine in 


the world." But he found it difficult to maintain "serenity when the 
game was 'off and the strokes mounted too high." This and the 
death of his zestful companion, Dr. Francis B. Gummere, caused 
him to give up golf in the late 1920$. 

His circle of friendships grew ever wider and wider with the 
growth of his eminence. His visits to Friends meetings and Friends 
gatherings throughout the United States rapidly created a host of 
new friends. His lectures at Friends colleges and at summer schools 
and institutes, and his humanitarian activities brought him an in- 
creasing number of new friends. The number was enormously 
increased when he began to speak at non-Friends colleges and 

After quoting a distinguished religious leader as having referred 
to Rufus Jones "as the Quaker Archbishop of Canterbury," Dean 
Samuel T. Arnold 1 of Brown University, stated: 

It seems to me that his outstanding contribution has been that 
of quietly interpreting by word and by precept Quaker ideals 
and principles to people throughout the world. 

I should like to stress his influence on young people as it seems 
to me that he stays forever young and young people appreciate 
him very much indeed. . . . 

Dr. Charles W. Gilkey 2 of the University of Chicago wrote: 

To me he is the Dean of all present-day college preachers, both 
by reason of the decades through which he has spoken in college 
Chapels all over the country, and by reason of his own standing 
as by common consent the foremost living representative of the 
Society of Friends. . . . 

One other aspect of Dr. Jones's visits to our campus through 
more than 30 years, which seems to me important, was his close 
friendship with Dean Shailer Mathews of our Divinity School. 
They were nearly contemporaries in age, both came from the 
state of Maine, and spent their summers there regularly; both 
kept the New England flavor not only in their speech but in 
their keen sense of humor and both rose to be outstanding fig- 
ures in the religious life of the nation. . . . 

Time and again my younger associates on our Chapel staff 

*Dean Samuel T. Arnold, letter to author. 
s Charles W. Gilkey, letter to author. 


have spoken to me afterward of the profound personal impres- 
sion which Dr. Jones made on them in conversation or casual 
contact. His influence on thousands of students came not only 
from the clarity and depth of his public utterances, but from 
the warmth and genuineness of his personal religious life. 

. . . The warmth and genuineness of his personal religious life 
was the fertile seed bed in which Rufus Jones's friendships ger- 
minated and grew. 

At Bryn Mawr College where he spoke at least once each year for 
nearly fifty years "no speaker has been so invariably successful" 
President Emeritus Marion Edwards Park 8 wrote. At Bryn Mawr 
he "instantly" made the students "feel his essential good will to the 
world and his essential hope for the world. He called on them for 
the same things: conduct which will build up a wise and efficient 
movement for good ends, not a leadership in a forlorn hope against 
materialism or evil. Mature or immature young people equally listen 
to him with interest." 

In his earlier and middle years he did a great deal of walking with 
"companions of the most delightful quality." Hejarent-on- five walk- 
ing tripsinjlh^Alps. On one of them he heard a story which he 
delighted tcTtell about another walker who had asked a young Swiss 
boy, "Where is Kandersteg?" The boy replied, "I do not know. I 
was never there but that is the road that goes to it." When he would 
finish telling the story Rufus would point out that there were other 
things besides Kandersteg to which that boy's wisdom applies with 
the paraphrase "I haven't been there yet, but that is the right way 
toward the haven where one would like to be." 

He made three walking trips in the Canadian Rockies, one of 
them with Sir Francis Wylie, Sir George Newman, Arnold Rown- 
tree, and William Adams Brown on which they had "experiences 
with bears and their cubs, with snow and rain, with cold and heat, 
with infected wells and defeated pioneer settlers, with land specula- 
tors and the hair-raising tales of the early explorers." 

They lived, he wrote, "thrillingly and dangerously" on that jour- 
ney and returned home with some of the "rugged strength" of the 
northwest "in our fiber." 

In his middle years he gave up mountain climbing and even ordi- 

* Marion Edwards Park, letter to author. 


nary walking and the stimulating friendships they engendered be- 
cause he found them too strenuous. 

Equally important, and perhaps even more significant than his 
friendships with adults, was the almost instantaneous spark of friend- 
ship that flowed between him and the children he met. Although, 
as he has said, he "did nothing to bait them or to draw them to me," 
they, nevertheless, spontaneously seemed to discover that "there was 
something kindred between us" and immediately began to show love 
and affection to him. 

They would come to him after he had spoken, offer their little 
hands for a handshake and smile "and say a friendly word of thanks 
and make me feel that we belonged together." He has said that he 
has had similar experiences in every country he has visited. 

His feeling of oneness with children prompted him to write some 
books especially for them. 4 

He has acknowledged that neither the response nor affectionate 
regard children have given him proves that his theology was sound 
or his philosophy true. But the children's way of showing how they 
felt indicated to him "that there is something of the little child un- 
lost in the man and that there is a quality of simplicity remaining 
which children recognize." He quoted, on occasion, the following 
lines which, as he said, "I love," from the poet, George Macdonald, 
*Vho always remained childlike in spirit": 

I am a little child and I 

Am ignorant and weak. 
I gaze into the starry sky 

And then I cannot speak. 

For all behind the starry sky, 

Behind the world so broad, 
Behind men's hearts and souls doth lie 

The infinite of God. 

Everything he did throughout life seemed to have been inspired 
by some deep inner spiritual power which incessantly drove him 

* These included Hebrew Heroes; The Boy Jesus and His Companions; St. 
Paul the Hero; The Story of George Fox; A Boy's Religion (later expanded 
into the first Trail book). Hebrew Heroes has been translated into Chinese, 
Dutch, and German; The Boy Jesus into German and Dutch; St. Paul the Hero 
into Spanish, Dutch, and Norse. Some of these books have been placed on discs 
or Braille for blind children. 


forward in his efforts to give the breath of life to universal spiritual 
truths. His excellent mind, the purity of his life, and the simplicity 
with which he clothed his actions gave him a unique capacity for 
friendship and gained for him as friends many of the great spiritual 
and intellectual leaders of his long generation. And their friendship 
stimulated his own spiritual and mental growth and permeated his 
spirit with grace. 

The outlook and the outreach, the information, understanding and 
wisdom of these great men and women, along with their tendency 
to strip life and circumstance of nonessentials and their warmth of 
personality help to transmute human clay into the stuff of which 
ideals are made and realized. 

His love of God, of his wife, and of his fellow man blessed Rufus 
throughout his life. 


"Pain for Friend" 

ONE part of Rufus Jones's life about which others besides 
his family and intimate friends know but little concerned 
his physical health. 

His pace was so vigorous, his range of activity so wide and varied, 
accomplishments so numerous and enthusiasms so great that they 
served to hide some physical difficulties which he carried through- 
out his life. He minimized them and tried to dismiss them, as do 
Maine residents who may reply to a query about their health, "I 
am fine if you don't want particulars." 

One physical handicap that troubled him for years was what is 
loosely called "hay fever." Instead of being confined to the summer 
months as with most sufferers of the malady it was a year-round 
misery for him. He did not suffer from it in some localities but in 
others it turned him into "something like a wreck." 

Because mental exhaustion immediately followed his "collapse" 
from an attack he has written: "It might just as well be called 
'nervous indigestion' for the 'collapse' is inextricably tied up with 
my state of nerves." His recovery from its attacks always followed 
when he eased off from mental strain, struggle, and worry. 

After he had suffered from the malady for many years he dis- 
covered a doctor in Philadelphia who traced the primary basis of 
it "to the fine hairs and dust which comes from horses, and from 
other sources" which "poisoned the delicate mucous membranes of 



nose and throat and finally produced nervous convulsions of the 
breathing tract." 

The doctor recommended an operation on the middle bone to 
open the nasal passage and thereby relieve the nasal pressures due 
to defective breathing spaces in the nostrils. This, he believed, would 
obviate the danger of irritation from floating substances. Rufus 
found, following the successful operation, that "by slow process of 
adjustment that heavy asthmatic load rolled off and left me a free 
and easy breather." The change it made in him seemed "like coming 
up out of a deep underground mine and living on a mountain top." 

During these years he suffered considerably also from digestive 
trouble the origins of which more than likely were directly trace- 
able to his boyhood year at Oak Grove Seminary when he and his 
roommate "boarded" themselves from weekly food boxes prepared 
at home. This, too, he largely overcame in time with diet and 
regimen which "made it quite possible to keep house with what 
indigestion remains," and although serenity may not conquer asthma, 
he adds, "it does work mightily on nervous indigestion." 

Rheumatic and neuralgic ills that lie close to the nerve tracks 
nearly always disturb the sleep processes of all who suffer from 
them. They made no exception of Rufus Jones. "But," he says, 
"those nights which were passed with little sleep did not hold me 
up or slow me down." They could not do so because he had com- 
mitted his life "to the eternal love ... the effect is just as restorative 
as sleep is." 

As so often happens when one part of the delicate human mecha- 
nism fails to function normally, it is apt to throw other parts out 
of kilter. In his case he suffered visitations of lumbago at one time 
or another, and once he had "a good orthodox case of shingles." 
When he looked back over his pain charts he could not see that 
these "thorns in the flesh have hampered my work or limited my 
range in any serious degree." While he "never learned to love pains" 
and found it "difficult to sympathize" with the ascetic spirit of 
saints who sought "the agony and torture of self-inflicted pain," 
he nevertheless believed that the lives of people "have been im- 
mensely enriched by" pain and suffering. Because the ministry of 
pain does carry with it a "capacity for genuine sympathy" Rufus 
was convinced that it was "one of the deepest and richest that has 
come into my life." He feared that without having experienced 


bodily suffering he might have become "a selfish narrow being, ab- 
sorbed in little ends of personal pleasure." 

Sir Henry Newbolt expressed much the same thought in a line 
in Clifton Chapel where he says: 

My son, the oath is yours, the end 
Is His who built the world of strife, 
Who gave his children Pain for friends 
And Death for surest hope in life. 

Inner strength reserves his body had stored up on the farm and 
lake and in the woods in his boyhood enabled him to make unusual 
demands. However, one time and the only time in his life in the 
early 19005 in a dramatically un-Quaker like way, he fainted. The 
.incident occurred while he was delivering an "important address" 
at Richmond, Indiana. 

The circumstances were that after a long period of heavy strain 
he had spent the two previous nights on sleepers. He delivered the 
address directly under a gas chandelier whose "many flames" pro- 
duced an "intense artificial heat" above his head. In the midst of his 
address the chandelier heat combined with the high temperature of 
the hot summer night caused him to feel that the room had grown 
dark and made the people in the audience seem as remote as if he 
were looking at them "through a reversed telescope," until he did 
not see them at all. 

After a few minutes he regained brief consciousness and asked 
the audience to remain quiet for a little while. "The silence," he 
wrote in The Trail of Life in the Middle Years, "fell upon us and 
enveloped us and out of it I arose and finished my address." 

The event, he said, humiliated him and "laid low" his pride but 
that in his weakness he rose "through inward help to a height I had 
not reached" before his collapse came, and from his trying experi- 
ence he had gained a sense of what St. Paul meant by "strength 
made perfect in weakness," which comes after a man has used his 
utmost powers and feels that he has not the strength required for 
the task. "It seems just then as though the 'lift' came from Beyond," 
and it carried him over. 

His "broken wheel" was unable to prevent his "drawing water 
from the wells of life." Composure, serenity, faith, scientific skill, 
and technique worked together effectively to carry him forward in 
his work. He strove to regain his blessing of good health because 


"it is a spring of optimism and joy." At the same time he demon- 
strated to himself that a man with impaired health could attain a life 
of joy and hope and some service. He held with his friend, Har- 
vard's great George Herbert Palmer, that the true test of life is 
not the amount of "pure unalloyed happiness it can roll up" but 
rather "the amount of pain and suffering one can absorb without 
spoiling his joy," and further that religion, which means many 
things and performs many services for man, in its major ministry 
"opens up life. It brings depth and amplitude. It restores us and 
brings us to our full normal health of life." 

Shortly before Christmas in 1914 he slipped on the ice near the 
skating pond on the Haverford campus and suffered a serious brain 
concussion. He carried out his classroom assignments after the holi- 
days by drawing heavily upon his reserves but the accident de- 
pressed him so greatly that he did not speak in meeting for several 
months thereafter. 

The accident and the outbreak of World War I in Europe com- 
bined to depress him greatly. He went alone to Nassau to get a 
complete change and rest but en route a destructive hurricane made 
the passage a rough one. This experience further upset him. 

A few months after his return home from Nassau he went to 
Southwest Harbor on Mt. Desert Island for the summer in search 
of physical health and buoyant mental outlook. There he helped 
cut trails through the woods and frequently went sailing or visited 
with old and new friends who summered there. These included Dr. 
Francis G. Peabody and Dr. Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, Dr. Wm. 
Draper Lewis of Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania, 
Dr. Samuel Eliot, Clifford Barnes of Chicago, Charles Lester Marlatt, 
and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and family. The good 
Maine air, familiar work with an ax in the woods, the sun, sea, and 
sailing proved to be the medicine his mind and body needed to 
rectify their condition. 

He also overcame another big hurdle the accident had set up by 
preaching his first sermon at the Union Church in Northeast Harbor. 
Thereafter he visited and spoke at this church every year, with 
few exceptions, until 1947. 

After he had completely freed himself of the harmful effects of 
his fall and while he was still endeavoring to get his "hay fever" 
and his nervous indigestion in hand, he was struck by an automobile 
on Thanksgiving Day, 1922, while he was boarding a streetcar. He 


came out of the accident with a badly broken leg, near the knee, 
and several broken ribs. 

This leg injury did not yield easily or readily to treatment. This 
accident confined him to his bed for several weeks. It had im- 
proved sufficiently by the next spring for him to hobble on crutches 
to a boat headed for the Mediterranean with his wife, who got out 
of her own sickbed and joined him. 

Before returning to Oxford for some months of research Rufus 
and Elizabeth Jones visited the Mediterranean countries and Pales- 
tine. Rufus gave lectures on the boat. He kept his Bible at hand and 
located some of the places it tells about as they sailed along the 
shores of Palestine. One passenger, who saw what he was doing, 
made a priceless remark which Rufus delighted to tell, namely, that 
he did not know the Bible was about Jerusalem or he would have 
brought his own along. 

Rufus and Elizabeth Jones spent ten days in Palestine and among 
many other places visited the school at Ramallah which his uncle 
Eli had taken the leadership in establishing. They stopped in Athens 
also for a visit with his lifelong friend, Dr. Augustus T. Murray, 
who was then the head of the Classical School in Athens. 

After they had settled down for research at Oxford Rufus found 
an expert masseur who, through skills he had acquired from treating 
* similar injuries during World War I, was able to make the injured 
leg almost as good as new. 

Between 1893, when he resigned as principal of Oak Grove Semi- 
nary to take up wider duties as a member of Haverford's faculty, 
editor of a Friends' publication, author, lecturer, and leader in 
Quaker thinking and activities, and 1916, he had returned to South 
China for occasional visits or brief vacations because he thought 
always of the village of his birth as his real home. 

It was not until the Christmas vacation 1915 that he took his first 
definite steps to give reality to his desire to make South China his 
home for a part of each year. His action was prompted no doubt by 
his illness and his 1914 accident from which recovery had been slow 
and difficult. 

Following his and Elizabeth Jones's decision in the fall of 1915 to 
build a summer home at South China he went there from Haverford 
at the beginning of Christmas vacation, 1915, and with his brother 
Herbert cut trees for the lumber from a twenty-five acre wood lot 
he owned. Instead of returning home and drawing plans of the house 


with his wife as he had expected to do he was confronted with a 
problem which the sawmill operator raised, namely, that he could 
not saw the lumber at the proper length until he had the dimensions 
of the proposed house. Rufus and his brother Herbert thereupon 
drew plans for the house and when it was built Elizabeth Jones was 
as pleased with it as he was. 

The house Rufus named Pendle Hill, after the Lancashire Pendle 
Hill, where more than three hundred years ago George Fox had the 
vision of a "great people to be gathered" and which inspired the 
formation of the Society of Friends. 

The Pendle Hill living room is rectangular, large, and comfort- 
able. A fireplace stands in the middle of the long north wall in which 
Rufus, an excellent fire builder, would start a fire whenever the air 
turned chilly. 

Here and there in the large room are many Jones family remind- 
ers. A lovely small rocking chair belonged to his Aunt Peace and 
some of the other chairs came from the Edwin Jones farm home. 

The mantel of the fireplace and the sides of it have evidence of 
Rufus' delight in auction bargains as well as of his sentimental in- 
terest in the past. An old, complicated, and inefficient wooden apple 
parer which he picked up for a song rests on the mantel and a bear 
trap stands at one side of the fireplace. 

One bedroom contains the big four-poster bed in which Rufus 
was born. And a considerable part of the furniture in the other bed- 
rooms is of similar family historical nature. A small room overlook- 
ing the lake became Rufus' study for a period. Here he would visit 
with the callers he especially wanted to see while Elizabeth and 
Mary Hoxie spent much of their time greeting and saying farewell 
to other large numbers of visitors that he could not see. 

The ever-growing number of visitors so disturbed Rufus' privacy 
as to prompt him to build a small work cabin a few hundred feet 
from the cottage. It, too, has a sweep of view across the field which 
rolls gently down to the lake shore and onto its fringe of evergreen 
and birch trees beyond which stretch the blue waters of China Lake. 

The cottage and its setting reflect in many ways the kind of man 
Rufus was. It blends the memory of the full past with natural and 
simple beauty and a quiet pervasive peace. It is dignified without 
pretentiousness. It is spacious and comfortable but has no gilt either 
inside or out. It is an easy, cheerful, and honest place which was 


built for working, relaxing, and playing, and Rufus put it to all 
three uses. 

A large number of the members of the Jones family continue to 
make South China their year-round or summer home. One of Rufus' 
favorite stories of old village days concerned the query of a mes- 
senger who came to a Town Meeting and asked for a Mr. Jones 
whereupon half the people present stood up. The confused mes- 
senger added, "It's for Dr. Jones." When approximately half of the 
standees sat down the messenger further specified by stating, "The 
message is for Dr. R. Jones," following which seven Dr. R. Joneses 
walked toward him. 

Following 1916 the Rufus Jones family added two red letter days 
to the South China children's and adults' calendar. The first was the 
Fourth of July celebration which was held either on what is known 
as the "Rufus Point" on the lake or at the cottage. His specialty, 
and about his only one, was to cook scrambled eggs and bacon for 
the picnickers. At one point in the celebration Rufus would tell the 
children three stories, one about a mean man, one about a monk, and 
the other a satire on typical Independence Day oratory, during 
which he insisted upon wearing a cape. He told other stories but 
these three were sacred from year to year. The children frequently 
would add something to the stories which would be added to them 
the following year; if Rufus tried to change a phrase or leave any- 
thing out of the accepted versions they would call sharply to cor- 
rect him. By the time he had finished telling the stories it would be 
dark enough for the fireworks to begin. 

The other important summer occasion at Pendle Hill was an ice- 
cream-and-cake tea party when the Joneses held open house to 
everyone in the village, children and adults who came in flocks. 

Rufus was not what could be called a "handy man" about the 
house. His attitude about "fixing things," putting up storm windows 
and the like was "Let's call someone in to do it." One time during 
their first summer in the house he cheerfully offered to scrub the 
much tracked, unpainted floor of the living room for Elizabeth. 
When she found him sloshing the mop around and only stirring the 
dirt and not cleaning the floor she explained that the way to get 
the floor clean was to get down on his hands and knees and scrub 
it the hard way. He had the floor painted immediately thereafter. 

Although he was no odd-jobs man about the house he was a 
woodsman, boatman, and vegetable grower. He learned to drive 


"Ophelia Bumps" the family's Model T Ford which he bought in 
1922 although many sensible souls insist to this day that anyone 
took his life in his hands when of his own free will he rode in the 
car while Rufus drove it. His driving career ended in 1930 when 
they bought a new Chevrolet. Rufus found it difficult to master 
die new gear shift technique. 

With few exceptions he returned every summer thereafter to this 
land of his father's and of his father's father, to renew his strength, 
to refresh his spirit, and to rediscover "what God and man is" in 
the quiet beauty of the lakes and woods and fields and in the homely 
virtues of its kindly people. And, as he has written, he returned to 
the old apple tree and "the comfort of apples," which pulled at the 
heartstrings of the Shulamite girl as reported by Solomon in the 
Song of Songs. His inner being hungered for this spot because in 
childhood he had acquired a passion for the beauties of the country- 
side. Early in life he sensed that a boy is much safer morally and 
spiritually if he holds and nourishes a love of beauty in nature. As 
an adult he gained the further realization that a love of natural 
beauty strengthens and supports man's faith in God. 

Strong as had been the lifelong pull of Maine's natural beauty 
upon him it was no stronger than that of a myriad of visible and 
invisible ties which drew 'him back to the scenes of his birth. The 
farms all up and down the shores of the lake once had belonged to 
his relatives or friends. The unlatched doors of their homes swung 
open for him on easy hinges. As he drove about the countryside 
with friends he would say, "Here is the spot where the Dirigo 
Meeting House once stood. It now is that barn over there; that 
dwelling was the Pond Meeting House for many years; I helped 
build this stone wall with boulders which I picked up in freshly 
plowed fields; I helped the neighbors 'raise' that barn." 

The most significant change the intervening years had made in 
the community was that it was no longer a distinctively Quaker 
neighborhood. Death, migration, and the refusal, in keeping with 
their practice, of Friends to proselytize inevitably thinned Quaker 
ranks and, in time, the Friends meetinghouse became the community 

Despite changes in people and meetinghouses, in ways of worship 
and in fields and buildings, the returning man always found the 
eternal beauty of the hills and woods and kkes of his boyhood. 


They continued to thrill him as they had when he had discovered 
their heroic colors and horizons so long ago. 

The glimpses of enduring reality that he caught through vistas 
of beauty in nature and in human character, as well as those myriads 
of invisible threads that were woven into his life by tender hearts 
and hands, made inevitable his impelling desire to return to this 
setting of his youth, there to seek a full and satisfactory answer to 
the riddle of life. 

Here, in this quiet village and on its surrounding farms, the great 
Rufus Jones of the religious, educational, and humanitarian world, 
always found a multitude of old friends. He slipped into the com- 
munity life without a ripple. 

Every summer and all summer long a continuous line of visitors 
came to his home on the hill, some of them old friends who were 
passing through or who had made a special pilgrimage, some were 
seekers after truth, and some were his colleagues in humanitarian 
work. Ada Smith, the factotum of the Jones's household (she has 
held that position for forty-five years), kept a score board on which 
she made a mark for every visitor. At the end of ten weeks' time 
in 1947 Ada had chalked up 246 callers. 

One visitor, a distinguished educator, minister, and writer, Dr. 
Glenn Clark 1 told of his first visit with Dr. Jones in South China: 

I have made a special spiritual pilgrimage to see three men: 
Toyohiko Kagawa, George Washington Carver, and Rufus 
Jones. These three, in my opinion, represent the highest spiritual 
attainment of their time. 

What impressed me was the tremendous equilibrium of the 
man (Dr. Jones), the perfect balance between the very high and 
the very low, between a great idealism and a great realism, be- 
tween high mysticism and deep practicality. A unique combina- 
tion of the profound love of God and intense affection for 
men. . . . 

My later meetings with this man have proven to me that he 
is the greatest soul of our age. I have had an opportunity to 
witness his tremendous devotion to God and his passionate devo- 
tion to. the needs of suffering mankind. But this intensity always 
rides upon a vast sea of profound serenity, a peace rooted at the 
very center of the universe. 

1 Glenn Clark, letter to author. 


The "peace rooted at the very center of the universe" which 
South China visitors discovered in Rufus Jones was a part of his 
being. It stemmed from the simple lives of simple folk who lived, 
moved and had their being in the basic essentials of life: kindness, 
neighborliness, helpfulness, integrity, and industry, and from a way 
of living that was stripped of all the trappings social usage in urban 
areas has come to demand. The deeply rooted peace that grew in 
the boy's understanding helped him to realize that his family and 
their neighbors were far more interested in a way of spiritual life 
than in a material way of living. This understanding and these 
qualities became a part of the inmost being of the boy; it continued 
throughout life to be the core of the man. 

The verities of spiritual life gradually came to appear to him to 
have their shrine in the age-old hills and valleys of Mainethese 
hills and valleys which are the oldest part of our continent if not 
of our world. These truths and this land were to him a part of the 
everlasting to everlasting and as such they rested at the "very center 
of the universe." They guided the boy's growth into the man he 
became and imaged the beauty of nature in the soul just as another 
boy's face reportedly imaged the Great Stone Face. 

Since his spiritual strength was so closely unified with his serenity 
and simplicity it is more than possible that the summer vacations 
he spent in Maine from 1916 on helped him in considerable measure 
to offset the toll that advancing years take of every man. One indi- 
cation of this is that following 1916, when he was fifty-three years 
old, he did better and more work than he had done before that time. 
This was fortunate because the opportunity for his greatest service 
was soon to arrive. 

There had emerged in his life by 1916 a purpose and quality of 
leadership that was to enable him to transform the Quaker move- 
ment in America. World War I created his great opportunity to 
make use of his wide acquaintanceship with American Quakers and 
to formulate his principles into a course of constructive humani- 
tarian service. The outbreak of that war put to test all that he had 
sought to do between 1897 at Indianapolis, when he had presented 
to a gathering of Friends the vision of a unified Quaker spiritual 
and humanitarian effort, and 1914. 

When World War I began American Quakers, even with their 
long background of testimony against war and their new strivings 
for unity, were not spiritually prepared either to give an "adequate 


interpretation of the ground and basis of their faith nor were they 
clearly united upon a plan of action suited to and correspondent 
with their ideals of life." 

British Friends promptly met the fiery trial to their central faith 
and way of life on August 7, 1914, three days after Britain entered 
the war, by issuing an inspired message "to men and women of 
goodwill in the British Empire." This message began with the solemn 
words: "We find ourselves today, in the midst of what may prove 
to be the fiercest conflict in the history of the human race. What- 
ever may be our view of the processes which have led to its in- 
ception, we have now to face the fact that war is proceeding on a 
terrific scale and our own country is involved in it." 

The message reaffirmed the Society's basic belief that "the method 
of force is no solution to any question," and that "the fundamental 
unity of men in the family of God is the one enduring reality." The 
statement mentioned also those "whose conscience forbade them to 
take up arms" and called upon them to serve in other ways in the 
great crisis, because, it said "our duty is clear to be courageous in 
me cause of love and in the hate of war." 

^ Rufus Jones believed with British Friends that the Quaker duty 
is clear to be courageous in the cause of love and in the hate of 


He had seen determined pacifists "go down like nine-pins before 
a well-aimed ball." He knew that in the abstract almost "everybody 
hates war and its methods," and he knew also that when "war rises 
up against us and foes come on to eat our flesh" that theory yields 
to realism. J J 

He held that the ultimate issue hinged on the soul's highest loyalty 
which, he wrote "is a slow creation, formed in the face of many 
nval loyalties, and one hardly knows until the testing crisis comi 
which is to be the supreme loyalty. The^agedy of lovglties k one 
iiman .tragedies, for one cannot 'i^3ly follow one 

., w one 

supreme loyalty without going back on some other to which his 
spirit clings. 

'It is often asked why we Quakers come so near as we do to being 
unanimously devoted to peace, even in wartime, and why so many 
of our youth stand firm in their pacifist faith when others who had 
been equally antiwar-minded shift over and go out with the war 
forces." 2 

Es P eriment >" Surv <y GrP**> New York, 


The Quakers, he said, have committed and dedicated themselves 
for three centuries to a great experiment and a way of life that was 
"flatly incompatible with the method and practice of war," one 
that has peace as its essence and the manifestation of a spirit of love 
and the expression of a type of life, which if they became general 
among men would make war unnecessary, and "even improbable.** 

Former President William Howard Taft touched on Quakers and 
peace when he said, "It requires more moral courage to carry out 
nonresistance than to fight, and I don't please to call the pacifists 
'fools' or 'molly-coddles.' But we haven't yet reached the time in 
the development of civilization when the example of nonresistance 
has its full weight. 

"I differ with the Friends reluctantly, however, for they have a 
way of reaching conclusions that are eventually accepted as general, 
about three hundred years before the rest of the world accepts them. 
They did it with the tolerance of religion and with the equality of 
women." 3 

According to Rufus Jones in the Survey Graphic article, the first 
Quakers held the "explosive faith that Christ was not only raised 
from the dead on Easter Day, but that He was now and henceforth 
a living presence, reliving His divine life in men, in sensitive and 
responsive souls, and writing His New Testament for the new age 
in men's lives. A new type of loyalty came to birth in these people's 
hearts. That way of Christ the way of love and sacrifice came to 
be the very breath of their lives. Persons were thought of literally 
as possible temples of the ever-present Spirit of God. 

"The experiment, then, which these people, themselves persecuted 
and harried, started in the world was an experiment to see whether 
love and gentle forces would work in place of the harsh, cruel and 
brutal methods which had always held the field. They undertook to 
recognize a divine worth in persons who were down and under. 
They wiped, out, or at least forgot, the differences of color, or the 
accidents of race and class. They struck at customs and systems that 
were built on sham and insincerity. They cried out against inhuman 
forces of punishment and outdated social habits that had endured 
because it had not occurred to anyone to challenge them and pro- 
pose a better way. 

"It was obviously quite natural for them to refuse to take part in 

Address by Wm. Howard Taft at Haverford College Alumni Dinner, 
January 27, 1917. 


wars and carry on that ancient way of the cave man of securing 

Twenty-five years earlier (i.e. in 1917) he wrote "modern 
Quakers had to repossess their spiritual possessions and to reshape 
the experiment with this inherited way of life in terms of our time. 
We were as sure as our forebears were that war was the wrong, the 
irrational, way to settle international issues, that this whole inherited 
system from barbaric ages was 'unnecessary and bad.' " 

The one impossible course for Quakers to follow in 1917 was "to 
refuse all responsibility for the tragedy that was enveloping the 
world." Rufus Jones wanted the Quakers to show their faith in 
action by making what seemed to be a holy experiment 'work. 
Under his leadership American Quakers undertook to demonstrate 
the value of their faith as a way of life even in wartime. 

His many close English Quaker friendships and his warm sympa- 
thetic interest in all British Quaker activities and problems moved 
him in 1914 to help them by securing American Quaker financial 
support amounting to about $5,000 monthly to aid British Friends' 
relief activities. A little later in that same year this help took more 
concrete form under his leadership when American Friends con- 
tributed funds for financing and equipping an ambulance unit de- 
fraying its expenses for one year; it was manned by two Haverford 
College and two Earlham College graduates. 

His ill health in 1914 prevented his attending a Quaker-called 
national Peace Conference at Winona Lake, Indiana. This confer- 
ence appointed a continuation committee, which worked with the 
different Yearly Meetings and helped them to formulate plans for 
meeting the war crisis. The conference committee prepared and 
issued a message from the Society shortly before America entered 
the war. It said in part: 

. The alternative to 'war is not inactivity and cowardice. 
It is the irresistible and constructive power of good will. 

The message also issued a call for "the invention and practice on 
a gigantic scale of new methods of conciliation and altruistic service" 
and declared that "the present intolerable situation among nations 
demands an unprecedented expression of organized national good 

Gently, patiently, and persistently over the years Rufus Jones had 
been weaving the fragile, tiny strands of his spiritual altar cloth into 

FOR FRIEND' 9 193 

a definite pattern. As his pattern became clearer to others he was 
able to speed their acceptance of it. The conference committee 
established and maintained a national Friends bureau in Washington 
and later called a conference to bring it to the attention of Wash- 
ington officials. The conference and the useful service its Washing- 
ton office performed tended to make it the spokesman for all Yearly 

The committee's work also helped to prepare Quaker minds and 
machinery for the action the Society took shortly after America 
entered die war. Soon after America declared war Rufus Jones 
launched a movement to raise $10,000 for the creation of an Emer- 
gency Unit necessary for the purchase of the Unit's members' cloth- 
ing suitable for emergency service, equipment with necessary tents, 
tools, and materials, and to begin a strenuous training program in a 
variety of forms designed to discipline and harden them for almost 
any volunteer service abroad whenever the call might come. 

These were the preliminary steps that led to the formation of the 
American Friends Service Committee, an organization that seeks to 
demonstrate that service of God best expresses itself in service to 

His real contacts with God caused him to take up "the burden 
of the world's suffering" as his normal daily business of life. He 
found that because the pain and suffering he absorbed did not spoil 
his joy in life he successfully met what George Herbert Palmer 
called the "true test of life" and was able thereby to look upon self- 
giving not as sacrifice but as something that was **transmuted into 
loving service by the triumphant spirit of grace and joy." 


The Friends Service Committee: 
An Adventure in Faith 

THE fruition of Rufus Jones's long labor occurred when 
presentatives of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Ortho- 
_;>x), Friends General Conference (Hicksite), and tie Five 
Years Meeting, the central body of thirteen Yearly Meetings, met 
in Philadelphia, on April 30, 1917, less than one month after the 
United States entered the war, to consider: one, the establishment 
of a national headquarters for the Society of Friends, and two, the 
formulation of plans for future service. 

Discussion at the meeting revealed that young Friends all over 
the nation were eager to find useful service which they could con- 
scientiously perform and that older Friends held a concern to ex- 
press their faith in humanitarian service. The group expressed its 
complete unity on these two points in the following minute: 

< We are united in expressing our love for our country and our 
desire to serve her loyally. We offer our services to the government 
of the United States in any constructive work in which we can 
conscientiously engage." 

The conference decided to establish a headquarters. Space for its 
work was provided by the Friends Institute at 20 South Twelfth 
Street, Philadelphia, which continues to be the Service Committee's 
headquarters. It took action to expand the membership of the com- 
mittee so that all Friends groups might have representation on it. 



The conference also elected Rufus M. Jones chairman; in this 
capacity, or as honorary chairman, he served for thirty-one years, 
His successor as chairman is his brother-in-law and lifelong co- 
worker, Dr. Henry J. Cadbury, Hollis professor of Divinity at 
Harvard University. 

The new organization's first major question was to reach agree- 
ment on a course of action. The way seemed to open for its solution 
when Grayson Mallet-Prevost Murphy, a friend and former student 
of Rufus Jones, was appointed chief of the American Red Cross 
in France. Rufus immediately arranged for a conference with Mr. 
Murphy for himself and his colleagues. Mr. Murphy "heartily wel- 
comed the suggestion of the formation of a Quaker unit to work 
with the civilian service of the American Red Cross in France." 

Henry P. Davison, named as head of the American Red Cross by 
President Wilson, sat in on a part of the conference and gave the 
proposal his official approval by saying, "I know the Friends of old 
and I can guarantee to you that if they promise to do a piece of 
work they ivill do it, and do it well" 

Grayson Murphy suggested that the Friends send two representa- 
tives to France with him and there make definite plans for future 
service. This was arranged for and done. 

The committee hurried its plans for enlisting and training the one 
hundred members of its first unit. "It was our settled policy and 
purpose in all sincerity to select men with clear reference to the 
service which they were to render abroad." * 

Arrangements were made to assemble and train the unit at Haver- 
ford College, and July 17, 1917, was fixed as the date for its mem- 
bers to begin training. The committee next set out to raise an initial 
sum of $100,000. During this same period the committee's repre- 
sentatives in France were, however, confronted with difficulties due 
to the inability of Red Cross officials there to propose concrete 
service for the first unit of workers. A few days before the workers 
were scheduled to arrive at Haverford the committee's representa- 
tives in France cabled: "Red Cross not ready for workers." The 
cable also implied that all Red Cross work even civilian might be 
militarized in the near future. After reading it Rufus slipped it into 
an inner coat pocket, and went to preside at a committee meeting 
without referring to it or its contents. He handled the situation this 

1 Rufus M. Jones, Service of Love in Wartime (New York: The Macmfllan 
Company, 1920), p. 14. 


way because he was determined to assemble the unit and carry out 
the agreed upon program. 

On July 17, 1917, the unit's members reached Haverford on 
schedule "a splendid band of men" and at the end of their training 
went forth "to their tasks over the seas," and "I can say for one, 
that they had won my love, affection and confidence," he wrote in 
Service of Love in Wartime. 

The spiritual nature, resourcefulness, and quality of that pioneer 
Service Committee unit helped to create a pattern of service that 
prompted a spiritual leader in one country where Quakers tried to 
serve men in distress to say, "Along side the Quakers the Christian- 
ity of my church is thin and pale." Non-Quaker Dr. Richard Cabot 
of Boston, who worked with the unit, added his testimony by stat- 
ing that it worked "in the true religious spirit, asking no glory and 
no position . . . earning everywhere such gratitude from, the JErench 
that the governmentTiaToffered. to turn over a whole department 
to them . . . Others working, here in France have friends- and -ene- 
mies: the Friends have only friends and I hear only praise, of r their 

During the thirty-three years that have intervened between 1917 
and 1950 several thousand volunteer workers, of all religious faiths, 
have worked with the Service Committee in an effort to express 
through living testimony their conviction that love is the strongest 
power for good in the world. Many thousand men and women of 
good will of all faiths have contributed more than sixty million 
dollars in money and goods to support its varied, worldwide hu- 
manitarian program, to help feed and clothe the needy, especially 
children, provide medical care, rebuild homes, revive agriculture, 
reconstruct extensive areas in war zones, and with their work to 
carry spiritual fellowship and human friendship with impartiality. 

Rufus Jones, the natural choice for chairman, when asked to 
accept the position in 1917, replied that it was 'not easy for him to 
undertake this great responsibility but after careful deliberation he 
had a feeling that it had been "laid upon" him to do so because 
there was "no way of knowing how wide the area of our service 
will be in the years to come but I feel that this is a momentous 
occasion, perhaps one of the most important steps in my life." 

"There are only a few of us," he said, "but I hope we shall be able 
ta keep ourselves free from prejudice while men are torn with 


bitterness and hate. We^must be great in spirit if we are in any way 
to rectify the results of war." 

No account, however brief, of the work of the Service Commit- 
tee would be either accurate or complete if it failed to make clear 
that a host of able, devoted, sacrificial Friends and many non- 
Friends had also taken an important part in directing and managing 
its operations. In its early days Vincent Nicholson served it effec- 
tively as Executive Secretary. He was succeeded in this . position by 
Wilbur K. Thomas who directed "its" worklri Russia and France and 
^otKerTEiiropean countries and the child feeding in Germany follow- 
ing World War I. Wilbur Thomas was succeeded by Clarence E. 
Pickett, who has just retired after having filled the position for 
twenty years. Soon after Rufus died in 1948 his part in the Com- 
mittee's operations was evaluated by Clarence Pickett: 

"Rufus Jones is more responsible than any other person for the 
founding of the American Friends Service Committee. Whatever 
life and spirit it may have brought into the world is a tribute to 
his labor, his humor, his wisdom, and his rare spirit. All of us who 
have shared the life of the Committee since that time have been 
the inheritors of this rich contribution. While it is true that his 
spirit, the memory of his words, and even the spell of his personality 
will long remain with us, it is also true that many of the things that 
he did in representing Friends on difficult missions, in catching just 
the right phrase in a written document, in speaking out in commit- 
tee meetings with prophetic vision all of these we shall miss. His 
passing leaves upon those of us who remain a call to release those 
deepest qualities of spirit and life which lie within us so that as 
far as may be possible the work he so well began may be continued 
and enriched. This is the real tribute we can all help to pay to this 
dear Friend who has passed." 

One factor that helped Rufus in his new work was that the paths 
of a man with a mission and the need for his service crossed at ex- 
actly the right moment. This factor would not have been present 
five years earlier. Destructive war combined with his long years of 
effort to create Quaker unity helped to open Quaker hearts to work 
as a group. Rufus Jones was fifty-four years old when, through the 
Service Committee, he was able in a measure to bring American 
Friends to undertake a common service. 

One early problem the committee faced was: how to meet the 
strong desire of many Friends that women as well as men should 


be given an opportunity to serve in this work. This they decided 
to do as quickly as the way opened and appointed a subcommittee 
to consider the part women might have in the service program. 

The Committee did not immediately decide upon the exact quali- 
ties a worker should possess. It made its early selections on the basis 
of physical endurance, excellent moral character, quick adaptability, 
and a readiness to serve in a wide variety of work. They operated 
on the principle that since war calls upon man for man's most ex- 
treme and supreme effort, therefore, they would seek a moral de- 
mand equivalent to war. 

The Committee's workers reached the hearts of the people they 
sought to serve by performing their duties through the exacting 
.discipline of physical work. They combined with the discipline the 
demands of a Christian faith that dares to enter every area of life, 
and the conditions of simple food and primitive living quarters they 
accepted in a spirit of sacrifice as the proper way to render human 

It would be difficult to appraise the long range value to society as 
a whole of Ruf us Jones's vision which crystallized into the American 
Friends Service Committee's work. 

Its varied and widespread activities bulk small in the life of the 
world and at best directly touch the lives of only a comparatively 
few of the more than two billion people on earth. Moreover, the 
Committee works for and with human beings who are a composite 
of passions, prejudices, weaknesses, strengths, and spiritual aspira- 

The Committee's pattern of service could not have met wide 
approval and inspiration, however, without the radiant and un- 
quenchable optimism of its chairman, whose practice was to brush 
superficialities aside and go direct to the eternal truth of things. 
Once in interpreting the philosophy of the service that the Com- 
mittee sought to render and the impelling motives that drove it, he 
stated that the motives "have been and are so deeply intimate and 
inward, so much a part of the life itself, that they have quite fit- 
tingly remained submerged and unanalyzed. It might very properly 
be attributed to the usual Quaker simplicity and humility, but it 
is more truly due to the fact that the work of these years has flowed 
out quite normally and naturally from the spirit and way of life 
that had become the second nature of the persons who engaged in 


it. One might as well ask the centipede the famous question about 
how it managed its legs in running: 

"Which leg comes after which? 
This worked her mind to such a pitch, 
She lay distracted in a ditch, 
Considering how to run!" 

He stated also that the Quaker movement is an interesting illus- 
tration of the way the roots and springs of life become hidden as 
one generation after another transmits its cumulative heritage, and 
silent loyalties are formed that lie too deep for words. This, he said, 
is more than custom or habit or sentiment because these traits of 
life lie below the level of analysis or explanation, and face the danger 
of becoming mechanical or of being turned into arrested forms of 
action. The transmissions from the past that he was concerned with 
"have to do with the silent formation of a living, growing spirit, 
rich with the past experience of saints and martyrs, but alive in 
the present day, alert, responsive to the new age, to the novel 
situation, and acting with the gathered wisdom of both past and 

In his judgment the most important single factor in the formation 
of this Quaker spirit of which he was talking "is the fundamental 
faith in us that we are not isolated or in any sensfe insulated from 
the eternal Spirit of God that we like to think of as the invisible 
living, present Christ. We have inherited in large measure that burst 
of enthusiasm over the teaching of Jesus and over the Gospel story 
of His Way of Life that came in full flood with the fresh transla- 
tions of the New Testament, in the period of the Spiritual Reform- 
ers and through the marvel of the King James version ... If we are 
to love Him and be His followers in any vital sense, we must have 
an adequate revelation of Him in terms that touch us intimately and 
move us to responsive action . . ." 

He expressed also the conviction that the majority of Quakers 
who had performed such service had done so because they felt 
themselves allied with something outside and beyond their own 
selves. It was his belief that they have felt bound into one bundle 
of life with the Eternal, and that "they were doing with their hu- 
man hands what the eternal Spirit wanted to have done here and 
now in our time." It would be impossible for anyone to tell the 
whole story if he confined himself to horizontal moral action, or 


if he talked in terms of a "social gospel," or if he merely described 
acts of "humanitarian philanthropy." Whatever the terms used, he 
said, "something of a perpendicular type must be introduced, a more 
than self or than community; something from the Beyond must be 
taken into account. . . ." 

""""The Quaker, according to him is "committed now to his own 
rather bold experiment with these deeper forces of life. He goes 
right on, in the midst of the other kind of world, pledged to a way 
of life which, if extended through the world, would eliminate the 
seeds of war and would bring new and higher forces into operation 
within the fabric of human society. He believes that it is possible 
to exhibit here and now a spirit and a method which by its very 
inward virtue tends to do away with the causes and the occasion 
for war." He expressed his belief that the Quakers' discovery of 
the creative influence of their service of love in time of war on 
those who are living in the agonies of it "convinces them that in 
silent ways, without any overt peace propaganda, a new spirit of 
faith and courage gets spread abroad"; that the quiet contagion of 
an unheralded way of life "goes like a hidden leaven from heart 
to heart and does what no purveying of words and theories would 

The experiment obviously would be rendered futile, and made 
to appear ridiculous, he said "if it were to be given up and sur- 
rendered as soon as the countries of the world decide to resort to 
the animal methods of hate and madness, of fists and ckws, of ma- 
chine guns and bombs. More than ever when the carnage is on, the 
other way of life, the experiment to demonstrate the significance 
of understanding the reality of love and sympathy, and the preser- 
vation of the children who are always the first to suffer during the 
war, must be maintained and continued. In short, it is an all-time 
experiment, and not merely a way of talking and acting in the 
'lulls 5 between wars. It is a feature of the experiment that it must 
be carried through in the face of peril and of danger. It is something 
worth facing peril and dying for, or if not, it is hardly worth 
living for. . . ." 

According to him the Service Committee workers who go into 
areas of trouble "never merely give relief as a charity," but instead 
literally take up the burden of suffering and in most cases share the 
suffering with those who suffer. They live with them and they 
understand by intimate fellowship the stress and agony of the situa- 


tion. They will discuss everything except controversial political 
issues. Should situations arise that must be considered they are dis- 
cussed with those who are in the main responsible for what is being 
done and discussed quietly, without heat and without hate. The 
whole atmosphere of service is pervaded by a calm mind, a spirit 
of reconciliation, clear insight, undeviating fidelity, and "by respect 
for the views of life which are precious to those whom you are 

In the early 19205 the Service Committee responded to Herbert 
Hoover's call upon it to feed German children. It expended over 
$12,000,000 for this work and at one time provided one supple- 
mental meal daily to 1,200,000 German children. 

The nature and method of the Committee's sendee as conceived 
by its chairman and his coworkers was ably interpreted by Rufus 
Jones in a talk he made to a large group of Quaker field and staff 
workers in Paris a few months after World War I closed. 

"Ever since I was a child, the building of cathedrals has made me 
marvel the way those men translated their faith into these glorious 
structures. Nobody ever built a cathedral; you cannot put your 
finger on the man who did it; the man that started it was often 
dead before the first story was up. He dreamed a splendid dream, 
and died; the cathedral went on. Every man in the whole city and 
every man about the city helped build; every woman and every 
child helped carry stones. Centuries went by; styles of architecture 
changed. The cathedral went on and every Christian went on build- 
ing his faith into it like a martyr's flame turned to stone, ever arising, 
ever aspiring, expressing everywhere and always the highest aspira- 
tions they had for their faith. 

"A great thing has come to us. Though I cannot be in a 'cathedral 
without having every fiber of me respond to the glory of the place, 
yet I would rather have a part in this work we are doing than to 
share in the building of a cathedral. This translation of Christianity 
is greater than any cathedral builders ever made. It has come to 
you to put your lives into this. Two hundred years from now they 
will not remember your names, they will not have a roll on which 
every name is listed. But this thing you are doing will never cease, 
for when you translate love into Life, when you become organs of 
God for a piece of service, nothing can obliterate it. Tonight I feel 
as I did this morning in Notre Dame, an emotion that throbs through 
my whole being. Thank God we can have our little share in this 


age of translating the love of God into terms of human service and 
that we can fight, not with guns, not with bombs, but with the 
Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God." 

Previous to the creation of the Service Committee, Quaker bodies 
had regularly borne testimony of their consciousness that "if love 
can and should be trusted to the uttermost and made the ruling 
discipline of action in international affairs it follows that it can and 
should be made supreme in social and industrial life." 

European recovery had made sufficient progress by 1924 to make 
further Service Committee emergency work unnecessary. Rufus 
appraised the Committee's case at one of its meetings that year: 

"For something over seven years this Committee has been laboring 
to relieve human suffering, to open avenues of service for our young 
Friends and to interpret Christ's way of life to the world today. 
God has enabled us to accomplish far more than our hearts dreamed 
of in those agonising days "when we began our work. 

"It is extremely important that we should make no mistake about 
our future course. We should not go on unless we are sure we have 
a vital mission to perform nor unless we can speak and act for the 
corporate membership of the Society of Friends. I do not want to 
see us go out and hunt for tasks to keep our machinery going; but 
if there are tasks lying clearly at our door God-given tasks which 
we can do better than anybody else can let us then once more 
say 'Yes, send us the work and anoint us for it. 7 " 2 

It may be that the Quaker formula for a world which is ruled by 
feovg? instead of by force will yet bring peace on earth and good 
wiH to men. If and when it does, great credit will be due Rufus 
Jones. The American Friends Service Committee's vision is his 
vision; its useful service is modeled after his own life's work; its 
compassion expresses his compassion; its compelling purpose, that 
of glorifying with service the God of all men, was his compelling 

3 iMary Hoxie Jones, Swords Into Plowshares (New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1937), p. 129. 


American Friends Fellowship 

Council and The Wider 

Quaker Fellowship 

ONE valuable and important by-product of the work of 
the American Friends Service Committee has been that 
it has helped to weld the Society of Friends into a closer 
working unit by the fact that it expresses the welfare concern of all 
Friends in the face of doctrinal differences. It thereby enables them 
to meet on a ground where they merge their thinking and efforts 
into a common program of useful service. They have come to 
understand and know each other better and to submerge differences 
that formerly kept them apart as they have worked together on 
these common problems. Rufus Jones expressed the belief that this 
could be achieved in the speech he delivered in Indianapolis, Indiana, 
in 1897. 

He knew then as did many other Friends that men and women 
who worked together to help their fellow men would inevitably 
tend to widen their fields of co-operation and understanding. He 
carried through and spearheaded the movement to create both the 
program and the purpose that would bring about this gready desired 

Practical as always, he did not leave this newly created interest 
in closer Quaker co-operation uncultivated nor did he leave to 



chance the possibility of its growing sturdy and strong. To that 
end the American Friends Service Committee created the Message 
Committee, a subcommittee charged with the responsibility of en- 
couraging intervisitation among Friends with the purpose of taking 
spiritual help and fellowship to isolated groups which had slight 
contact with other Friends or the Service Committee. 

In the postwar years many little groups of Friends and friends of 
the Friends who sought new spiritual life have formed meetings 
for worship in different parts of the country, especially in college 
and university centers. These new meetings are bringing some new 
members to the Society of Friends, but of greater importance, they 
are bringing fresh zeal and purpose to the Quaker groups. 

The Message Committee in 1936, due to the particular concern 
of Rufus M. Jones and other Friends, was formed into the American 
Friends Fellowship Council. Although closely in touch with the 
Service Committee, it is a separate organization and it tries to per- 
form specific services for the Society of Friends which have not 
as yet been met by other Friends organizations. These services in- 
clude: intervisitarion; care of meetings; co-ordination and pub- 
lication of literature relating to Quaker principles; and the deep 
concern of Rufus Jones-"The Wider Quaker Fellowship." 

One important and far-reaching by-product of the Service Com- 
mittee's creation and operation, has been that of the growing and 
widening interest of non-Quakers in the principles ^nd beliefs of 
Quakerism. The growing members of this group are numbered by 
the tens of thousands of men and women throughout the world who 
feel a great spiritual hunger for the deeper things of life. They like 
Quakerism but they do not wish to sever their church memberships. 

A situation of this nature might have checked a small soul whose 
main interest centered on ways and means that would best 
strengthen his own denomination. Quaker though he was to the 
core, Rufus Jones was neither sectarian nor denominationalist. Quak- 
e)fom tojiim was always a religious movement whose principles' 
^estedsecurely on God's word and whose sole purpose is to advance 
the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of manT 
Tie kept his vision clear of any desire for self-service to Quaker- 
ism as such. He undertook in 1930 to widen the interest in and 
support for the beliefs he held by creating The Wider Quaker Fel- 
lowship, a religious organization the purpose of which is implied in 
its name. "The controlling aim in the selection of its membership," 

Norwegian Ambassador Dr. Wilhelm Munthe Morgenstierne and Rufus 
M. Jones at the dinner on December 10, 1947, celebrating the Nobel 
Peace award to the American Friends Service Committee and the Friends 
Service Council of Great Britain. Photograph by Llewellyn Ranso???. 

Mary Hoxie Jones, daughter of Rufus M. and Elizabeth B. 


as stated by the Council, "shall be to express in thought and action 
the essential spirit and the vital aims and ideals of Friends." 

Because the Quaker way of life gives vital expression to those 
things of the spirit which were all important to him, he held a spe- 
cial place in his heart for Quakerism but Quakers individually had 
no greater hold per se on his affection and interest than did indi- 
vidual members of any denomination or no denomination. More 
than this, in accordance with historic Quaker principles, he held 
that "the one true universal church of the living God" is not limited 
to members of religious denominations. Moreover, Quakers always 
have felt a oneness with members of various churches or no church 
who are led by the Inner Light. 

Holding such views and living such beliefs, he conceived the plan 
of attempting to bring all men and women of whatever faith into 
closer relation with the underlying principles of the Quaker way 
of life while they continued to maintain their own religious affili- 

When he presented the purpose and program of this vehicle he 
explained clearly that membership in The Wider Quaker Fellow- 
ship does not mean membership in the Society of Friends but that 
it does make possible a fellowship in a spiritual movement that is 
nonsectarian and universal in nature. 

"There have been in recent years so many manifestations of inter- 
est in the way of life which Friends endeavor to exhibit," he wrote 
in the presentation of the plan, "and so many manifestations of a 
desire for closer connection with the Quaker spiritual movement 
that it has seemed right to send a few words of friendly greeting to 
persons who are known to feel such interest." 

It seemed to him that the world was passing through a period of 
history "very much like a dark tunnel," which leaves an impression 
on the minds of men that periods called " 'Dark Ages' ... are not all 
in the past." Ways and means have been suggested by which the 
recurrence of such disastrous times in the future could be prevented. 

"Some of us" he wrote, "who have profoundly felt and shared 
the sufferings of humanity during these hard years are convinced 
that the causes of the disasters lie deeper. . . . The spiritual factors 
of life and the inward resources by which men really live and form 
the social atmosphere of any period are always essential elements to 
be considered. These spiritual factors and these inward resources 
have been at a low ebb in this critical time and there has been a 


lack of inspiration, of dynamic faith, of moral courage, and of spirit- 
ual vision which has left numbers of persons unable to stand the 
pitiless drift of external forces when it swept over them and left 
them unfitted for creative leadership when the crisis emerged. The 
gesult has been an epoch of confusion." \ 

He believed that the most important business before serious- 
minded persons today "is the recovery of faith and courage and 
vision as the necessary preparation for the tasks of reconstruction 
and rebuilding to which we are now called" and that the first stage 
of service "is the preparation of the person who is to render the 

He pointed out that "the Religious Society of Friends desires not 
only to call all who bear the name of Friends to a fresh consecra- 
tion, but also to reach out to those who are kindred in spirit with 
Friends, who have similar ideals and aspirations and who in heart 
and life are 'friends of the Friends/ and to invite such persons to 
come into closer fellowship in order that through mutual co-opera- 
tion we may all become more effective organs of the Divine Spirit 
in the world, and meet the needs of our time." 

When he issued his invitation to friends of Friends to join in 
fellowship he stated that Quakerism had been an organized body 
with official meetings and enrolled members for 298 years and that 
at the same time it had been "a spiritual movement, touching many 
lives beyond its membership, standing for ideals of life which have 
no sectarian limitations, expressing a way of life that is not re- 
stricted to a few, and interpreting a faith which might well have 
a universal significance." 

He was quick to emphasize that "we are far from wishing to draw 
anyone away from the established connection which he may have 
in a religious communion, but we are aware that there are persons 
who without leaving their own church and without coining into 
full membership, would like to share in this spiritual movement and 
through that sharing to be in closer fellowship with those who call 
themselves Friends. They could thus share more intimately in the 
world-wide work of relief." 

It was for these reasons that a brotherhood of interested persons 
had been formed which was called The Wider Quaker Fellowship. 
He stated that "those who enroll in this Fellowship are merely ex- 
pressing their desire to share in the life of a brotherhood a kind 
of Franciscan Third Order of persons who believe in a direct and 


immediate relation between the human soul and God, who are eager 
for refreshment and inspiration through times of silent communion 
with God and who in the faith that there are divine possibilities in 
all persons, would like to help promote, by the gentle forces of love 
and truth and friendliness, a way of life based on co-operation 
rather than on rivalries and contentions. We are asking those who 
receive this letter to talk with their friends about this proposal of a 
Fellowship, to correspond with the secretary of the Fellowship, to 
request literature of interpretation and perhaps to form local groups 
for worship together and for the promotion of the aims and ideals 
of the Fellowship. This Fellowship is a way of life, a contagion of 
spirit, rather than a form of organization. There are no specific fees, 
but the members will no doubt want to have some share in bearing 
the expenses of the Fellowship. This endeavor is an attempt, through 
correspondence and the circulation of literature, and through 
friendly visitation and intercourse where possible, to draw into 
closer spiritual relations kindred spirits around the world." 

What he sought was to help "to push back the sphere of darkness 
and to widen the area of light." He wanted to do this because he 
believed that "wherever men sacrifice the immediate interests of the 
one alone for the diviner aims of the many together, there God is 
present in that search for the better and more inclusive world that 
is to be." The kingdoms which we build for love's sake, he held, are 
"our dedications to the good of the whole, our passions and agoniz- 
ing struggle for light and truth and life are ways of touching the 
hem of the garment of God." 

"If we are to find God as our strength and inspiration, we shall 
not find Him as an object in space, no matter how perfect our 
telescopes or laboratory instruments become: the gateway to His 
Life will be through love and truth and beauty and the will to 
make the good prevail. 

"It will be in our work together in these quiet ways of love and 
peace that we shall find ourselves in mutual and reciprocal fellow- 
ship with the Great Companion who is the deepest Life of our lives, 
and in this co-operation we shall find ourselves nearer to one another 
in heart and mind." 

Spiritually minded and concerned men and women have found 
such a call issued by such a man most appealing. More than thirty- 
six hundred men and women in all of die states and in thirty for- 
eign countries joined it during its first ten years of existence. 


The great majority live in North America although there are 
scattered members in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the 
Pacific area. 

"Many members," a Fellowship circular says, "have been enrolled 
because they desire to have the spiritual foundation of their Peace 
Testimony strengthened. Others have done so because they have 
been impressed by the manner in which Friends express their re- 
ligious faith in a program of social action and still others are enrolled 
because they know and understand the Quaker mystical approach 
to God. Any person who finds these fundamental Quaker testi- 
monies and the Quaker way of life, with its emphasis upon sincerity 
and simplicity, compatible with his philosophy of life, and who 
feels a sensitiveness to oppression and injustice can find comrade- 
ship in The Wider Quaker Fellowship." 

Additional understanding of his concern to strengthen and ad- 
vance man's spiritual life through The Wider Quaker Fellowship 
is contained in an address "Are We Ready?" (which since has be- 
come the most widely printed and circulated of all modern Quaker 
tracts) that he delivered before the three central city Philadelphia 
Meetings prior to the Yearly Meetings of 1944. 

He sought to keep the organization simple because he visualized 
The Wider Quaker Fellowship as a spiritual movement. Any indi- 
vidual wishing to join has only to write a letter stating his desire. 
The letter should tell what opportunity he has had to attend Friends' 
Meetings, what acquaintance he has with Friends, and his familiarity 
with Quaker principles acquired through the reading of Quaker 
literature. "Members of the Society of Friends or of The Wider 
Quaker Fellowship," according to its statement, "who desire to 
recommend an individual to be enrolled should send the name and 
address of the interested person to The Wider Quaker Fellowship, 
and the Chairman will send the original invitation with this leaflet 
and any other especially requested information. 

"Members who desire to have some share in bearing the expenses 
of the Fellowship may make a voluntary contribution of one or 
two dollars annually to meet the costs of keeping in touch with 
the members." 

The Fellowship office sends a letter and some literature to all 
members three or four times a year. The chairman, upon request, 
will send the names and addresses of members living in certain cities 


or areas, and also the names and locations of Quaker meetings for 
worship to those members who wish such information. 

"Where there are several members of the Fellowship living in 
one place, they sometimes meet in larger or smaller groups for wor- 
ship and study in order to strengthen each other and to reach out 
to sympathetic friends and neighbors. Some are very much isolated 
and value the sense of spiritual association with a body of like- 
minded persons . . . enrich our Fellowship and share in promoting 
the faith, inner experience, and service to our fellowmen, for which 
it stands." 

When an applicant sends in his request to join, he is sent a card 
which reads: 


has enrolled 

as a member. May this fellowship grow and become a 
Beloved Community in many lands and of many lan- 
guages and peoples, joined together in that Spirit and 
Life 'which ivas before the world ivas. 


Chairman Fellowship Council 

One aspect of the movement is revealed in the type of member- 
ship. It is predominantly composed of ministers, college professors 
and undergraduates, teachers, writers, social workers, conscientious 
objectors to "war, as well as men and women in other walks of life. 

The conception and creation of The Wider Quaker Fellowship 
yet may prove to have been one of the most important of Rufus 
Jones's many important contributions to society. 


An Interpreter and Exponent of 
Mystical Religion 

F A HE word "mysticism" carries a considerable amount of 
I confusion in its trail. 

JL Its first use was attached to the mystery religions of 
Greece. The schools of Neoplatonism gave it the meaning of "severe 
abstraction, ending in a state of ecstasy in which thought has ceased." 
Later it was "used as a term for psychic phenomena, for revelations, 
possessions, secret knowledge and the kinds of hidden lore that 
'squeak and gibber' in dark corners." 

"Even now," Rufus Jones wrote in 1939, "scientists are apt to 
use the word mysticism to connote spurious knowledge and occult 
borderland phenomena or to signify the deepest and richest stage 
of religious experience direct correspondence with God." * 

Dr. Alexis Carrel, in his book, Man the Unknown, advanced the 
belief that mysticism, which he defines as "an elevation of the mind 
toward a Being who is the source of all things, toward a power, a 
center of forces whom the mystics call God," is among the funda- 
mental human activities. He testified further that in his belief "Chris- 
tian mysticism constitutes the highest form of religious activity." 2 

1 Rufos M. Jones, The Flowering of Mysticism (New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1939)? P* 250. 

8 Alexis Carrel, Man the Unknown (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935), 
P- 134-35- 



Mysticism, according to the Encyclopaedia Britcmnica, is related 
to the effort of the human mind to grasp "the divine essence of 
ultimate reality of things. . . ." It starts from "the divine nature 
rather than from man . . ." and "appears in various phases in all the 
higher relations known to history." 

Neither the "clear and sunny naturalism" of the Greek mind nor 
"the rigid monotheism" of the Jewish mind and "its turn toward 
worldly realism and statutory observance" readily lent themselves 
to mysticism. It appeared contemporaneously with Christianity. 

The Encyclopaedia Britannica states further that "the religiosity 
of the Quakers, with their doctrines of the 'inner light' and the in- 
fluence of the spirit, has decided affinities with mysticism ... the 
doctrine of the 'inner light' may be regarded as the familiar mystical 
protest against formalism, liberalism and scripture worship." 

Rufus Jones's spirit turned to and accepted mystical religion as 
naturally as a newborn child nurses at its mother's breast. He had 
witnessed that which he later described mystical religion to be, 
"direct correspondence with God," when as a tiny child at his 
mother's knee during periods of worship some elder member of the 
group would "quietly talk with God" as though He were present 
in the room. He repeatedly saw his Aunt Peace manifest mystical 
qualities in her "other-world" knowledge without knowing that 
there was such a word as mysticism. 

He had caught the feel of "this religion of the inward way" at 
Quaker meeting, where, as a boy, he and the worshipers had met 
in complete silence, a silence that was "infused with expectation" 
a "kind of spell of awe and wonder in it." It was a phis, not a minus 
silence. He imperceptibly sensed the Divine presence and it defi- 
nitely helped him to gain close communion with the spirit. "One 
grew confident that there was a mutual and a reciprocal intercourse 
with the Beyond." 

As the boy's understanding grew with his years he came under 
the influence of his favorite college professor, Pliny Chase, a rare 
and wonderful man, scholar and mystic, who suggested to Rufus 
that he read all of Emerson's essays. As he read them, "the over- 
soul" created an "epoch moment in my life." He hurried to read 
Cooke's Life and Thought of Emerson in which he discovered the 
sources of Emerson's thought. 

He followed Dr. Chase's advice and wrote his graduating thesis 
on mysticism and, in doing so, he entered his groove. A study of 


American Philosophies of Religion, described him in 1936 as "the 
most eminent American mystic, if, in fact, he is not the American' 
mystic par excellence . . . [who] more than any of the modern 
mystics has undertaken to bend the mystical tradition to meet the 
demands of modern thought." 3 When he had completed his thesis 
he knew that "bond unknown to me was given" and that henceforth 
"I was to be an interpreter of this religion of the inward life," a 
realm of "law, order, faith, vision where truth is the trophy of 
obedience and purity." 

After beginning his studies in mystical religion he discovered that 
he was working in a field about which he subconsciously knew a 
great deal because the entire Quaker movement had been deeply 
tinged "with a mystical quality," and its founder George Fox had 
been "profoundly mystical." 

The "inward, immediate assurance of God which possessed its 
founder, George Fox, and his greatest followers in true 'apostolic 
succession' " was, in Dr. Jones's judgment, recorded in The Trail 
of Life in the Middle Years, the most obvious feature of primitive 
Quakerism and of "all vital Quakerism in its historical periods as 

Dr. Jones has written that he was "not interested in mysticism as 
an ism" "Mystical experience," however, he stated, was "worthy of 
our study . . . without needlessly multiplying such testimonies for 
data, we can say with considerable assurance that mystical experi- 
ence is consciousness of direct and immediate relationship with some 
transcendent reality which in the moment of experience is believed 
to be God. . . ..The calmer experiences of God are no less con- 
vincing and possess greater constructive value for life and character 
than do ecstatic experiences. . . . The seasoned Quaker in the cor- 
porate hush and stillness of a silent meeting is far removed from 
ecstasy but he is no less convinced that he is meeting with God. . . . 
We do need to insist, however, upon a consciousness of commerce 
with God amounting to conviction of His presence." 4 

In this same chapter he states: "To some tta trath of Jjpd never 
comes closer than a logical .conclusion. He is, held to be as jt Jiving 
item in a creed. To the mystic he becomes real in the same sense 

S H. N. Wieman and B. E. Meland, American Philosophies of Religion 
(Chicago: Willet, Clark, and Company, 1936), pp. 121-129. 

*Rufus M. Jones, Spiritual Energies m Daily Life (New York: The Mac- 
millan Co., 1928), pp. 135-38. 


that experienced beauty is real or the feel of spring is real, or that 
summer and sunlight is real he has been found, he has been met, 
he is present." 

Again he writes: "I believe that mystical experiences do in the 
long run expand our knowledge of God and do succeed in verifying 
themselves. Mysticism is a sort of spiritual protoplasm that under- 
lies, as a basic substance, much that is best in religion and in life 

The most striking effect of mystical experience, he wrote further, 
"is not new fact-knowledge, but new moral energy, heightened con- 
viction, increased caloric quality, enlarged spiritual vision, an un- 
usual radiant power of life . . . and if the experience does not prove 
that the soul has found God, it at least does this: it makes the soul 
feel that groofs of God are wholly unnecessary." 

Elsewhere "TieTias written that mystical experience "only means 
that the soul of man has dealings with realities of a different order 
from that with which senses deal ... the mystic merely pushes his 
claim still farther and insists that his experience reveals the fact that 
the inner self has a spiritual environment in which it lives and moves 
and has its being." 5 

His studies convinced him, as he recorded in The Trail of Life 
in the Middle Years that the founding Quakers were troubled "with 
strong emotion" because "the divine Spirit was a living presence in 
their meetings and was ready to break into manifestations through 
their lives, as organs of His divine purpose in the world." 

They had come to "know God experimentally." This was "their 
most central faith." They believed beyond any doubting that "God 
and man were not separated by space the One far off in the sky 
and the other down here in mutability but rather that nothing ex- 
cept sin ever separates God and man, since they are spiritually 

All of his Quaker living and training had taught him to believe 
that God's nature "is essentially love, is grace, and therefore, is 
self-giving, outreaching." Throughout his life, and with especial 
effectiveness in his middle and later years, he supported this belief 
with compelling testimony in his personal living, as a teacher, minis- 
ter and humanitarian. 

As his understanding of the subject grew from wide studies, dis- 

5 Rufus M. Jones, New Studies in Mystical Religion (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1928), p. 25. 


cussions with scholars and his own deep soul searching, he reached 
the conviction that this "inward function of the soul," which George 
Fox and the Quakers after him had called "The Light Within," 
"The Seed of God," "Something of God in Man," if true, "was 
universally true." This conviction carried him above and far beyond 
the limited confines of Quakerism, per se and marked the begin- 
nings of his spiritual and religious service, which knew neither 
religious nor sectarian boundary lines and was above color or 
nationality confines. 

The point he fixed upon as essential in his studies was the "mys- 
tical aspect of the Quaker movement," the discovery of God within 
man, any man and every man, that had been and was actually re- 
vealed as a fact to "prophetic and responsive souls who have brought 
their lives into spiritual parallelism with Him." 

The Quaker movement, he concluded, had had its birth in "a 
profound mystical awakening" and had continued with ups and 
downs, to be awake to the meaning of life, resting on the belief of 
"co-operating in love and service with God." This "direct inward 
experience of God," which was the central belief in the Quaker 
faith, constituted "the very heart and fiber of a universal Christian- 
ity for the future," a kind of Christianity that lived and moved and 
had its being above the "welter of controversies," that would not 
be disturbed "by scientific or historical discoveries," and that would 
be "adaptable to all ecclesiastical forms or absence of forms" because 
it was solidly based on the "fundamental nature of man's soul in 
contact with God." 

When he read Whittier's edition of John Woolman's Journal he 
found "impressive accounts of the silent, ineffable processes by 
which his soul was brought to inward unity and then into living 
communion with 'the pure Spirit of Life and Truth,' " meaning 
God. As he studied Woolman, Dr. Jones wrote in The Trail of Life 
in the Middle Years, he learned that "his Spirit became consum- 
mately beautiful ... he became extraordinarily tender to all human 
need and sensitive ... to every breath of wrong done to man by 
man or by the society of men. Here was a mysticism and it 'was the 
type to 'which I dedicated my life which sought no ecstasies, no 
miracles, no levitation, no startling phenomena, no private raptures, 
but whose over-mastering passion was to turn all he possessed, in- 
cluding his own life, 'into the channel of universal love.' " 

To Rufus Jones, Woolman expressed "both in spirit and in deed, 


better than any other single individual does, the ideal of Quaker 
mysticism," and Rufus Jones selected Woolman as his ideal of how 
to make contact with God and correspondence with a spiritual 
environment, "when one is ready to cut all cables and go the whole 
way under divine leadership. . . ." 

The threads of his religious life by now had been woven into a 
definite pattern. These threads reached back to his religious life 
in his home and to his later studies of the mystics abroad, and now 
of John Woolman; they convinced him beyond all doubt that "con- 
tact with God inwardly felt and the formation through guidance 
of a sensitive organ of social service had been the supreme mission 
of the Society of Friends in human history. . . ." 

He recognized that such a faith might sound "crude and naive" 
to today's sophisticates, but such doubting could not shake his un- 
wavering belief in the need for man, each individual, to search for 
desire to "find God's way and will," because neither man's declara- 
tion of truth nor his stubborn determination to rally around error 
can make it truth. When he finds "God's purpose or will, man can, 
and only then, have truth." 

Vaughan's Horns 'with the Mystics introduced him to the mystics, 
but Vaughan, he later wrote "was a misguided interpreter of the 
mystics whom he never understood, but whom he most diligently 

Just as any experience in life may at the time of its occurrence 
seem fruitless but in retrospective evaluation proves to have been 
worthwhile, so was his reading and rereading of Vaughan's learned 
books. The plus he gained from Vaughan was that the author led 
him "by devious ways and wandering fires" to "the Friends of God" 
in the fourteenth century and gave the neophyte mystic a "clue to 
Professor Karl Schmidt of Strasbourg" who at that time was the 
great living authority on the "history and prevailing ideas of that 
mystical movement." 

An earlier chapter has recorded Rufus Jones's year of study in 
Europe after his graduation from college, during which he attended 
some of Professor Schmidt's lectures. His later studies of the subject 
convinced him that Karl Schmidt was an unsafe guide because the 
professor had attempted to turn "the Friends of God" into a group 
of "pre-Reformation apostles and to read back into their writings 
the ideas which dominated Luther and his followers." 

During his busy years as a teacher at Haverford College, as editor 


of The American Friend, as itinerant minister and able interpreter 
of the living ideals of Quakerism at its best, he had found rime to 
carry forward some studies in mystical religion and to write two 
books on the subject. 6 Although the subject of mystical religion had 
continued to compel his interest he had not been able to carry for- 
ward his studies in that field as he had wished until 1934. 

The way opened for him to do this, when after forty-one years 
of teaching service he retired as a member of the Haverford College 
faculty in 1934. The Carl Schurz Foundation made him a grant for 
secretarial help and at the end of his teaching service he and Mrs. 
Jones went to England and Germany for several months of study 
and research. The British Museum "was rich in material," but "the 
most important work of research had to be done in Strasbourg and 

He brought back from Europe the following year "a vast collec- 
tion of notes and a large addition of books to my library." He 
organized and studied this material and, in between answering a 
multitude of other demands on his time, wrote The Flowering of 
Mysticism, which was published in 1939. 

He found, as he approached the preparation of his definitive book 
on mystical religion, that both his conception of the significance of 
the fourteenth-century movement and his fundamental conception 
of mysticism had been altered during the long stretch of years that 
had intervened between the time he wrote his graduation thesis on 
the subject in 1885 and 1934. 

In the earlier period he had not, for example, seen "what a large 
pathological factor there has been in the lives of many mystics in 
the long historical line." He discovered that in some cases the lack 
of "tightness in the mental organization brought with it a touch of 
genius and allowed a unique quality of light to break through." 7 

He found that in some notable instances "the consciousness of 
discovery brought health and healing to the body" and at the same 
time "produced a rare clarity of mind and an intensified moral and 

6 Studies in Mystical Religion, 1909, and Spiritual Reformers in the Sixteenth 
and Seventeenth Centimes, 1914, published by Macmillan Co., Ltd., London. 

7 Rufus M. Jones, The Flowering of Mysticism, p. 6. Rufus carried out some 
of his research for the earlier book at Marburg University in 1911 where he 
received invaluable assistance from Dr. Theodore Sippell now of Marburg, 
Germany, who gave Rufus the benefit of his extensive knowledge of the sub- 
ject. Dr. Sippell also helped Rufus to acquire many of the books he needed. 
Rufus also received much help from Dr. Rudolf Otto of Marburg. 


spiritual power." He reached the conclusion, however, that per- 
sistence of these pathological traits often "was a liability and a 
handicap, not an asset," that the highway of health has carried the 
"largest freight of truth," to us and not "the bridge of disease." 

Out of these later studies he gained the conviction that the em- 
phasis upon ecstasy which the Neoplatonic strain of thought intro- 
duced into Christian mysticism "was an unfortunate and very costly 
contribution and quite foreign to the mysticism of the New Testa- 

He discounted the value of ecstasy when he thought of it "as in 
a pathological state, a state of trance, of being 'out of oneself an 
extreme form of mono-ideism when the candle of the mind is 
snuffed out and there is no one at home." 

He came to believe, however, as he recorded in The Flowering 
of Mysticism, that there was a "type of ecstatic state, of inspiration 
and illumination," that to him seemed to be a "most glorious attain- 
ment and very near the goal of life a state of concentration, of 
unification, of liberation, of discovery, of heightened and intensified 
powers, and withal, a burst of joy, of rapture, and of radiance." 

Although he did not discount the value of ecstasy as an aid in 
experiencing mystical religion outside its pathological phases, he did 
place a far higher value on "the recovery of the depth-life of the 
soul Plato's nous and through this depth-life the discovery of the 
environing more which is the true source of spiritual life and 

His studies and his experiences convinced him that those mystics 
who had made the largest "contribution to the stream of Christian 
life and truth have been persons who were extremely sensitive to 
the presence of this larger divine Life" and, accordingly, had felt 
themselves to be "in a mutual and reciprocal correspondence with 
that vivifying spiritual environment." 

To him there seemed to be a distinct line of demarcation in men. 
One group has little or no interest in a Beyond. Man in this group 
belongs to and largely, if not wholly, confines his interest and re- 
sponses to the world his senses envisage, lives biologically and gives 
considerable evidence of his lack of interest in "intrinsic values," and 
is for the most part either unconscious, or at the most dimly con- 
scious, of "transcendent realities." Social pressures, he believed, and 
the influence of nurture, rather than an original bent of mind are 


responsible for men of this group seemingly being devoid of spiritual 
capacity and of being entirely composed of "material stuff." 

The man placed in the other group belongs "to the Fatherland of 
the spirit." Biological existence will never satisfy him. The walls of 
separation are, moreover, thinner for him and he is "more sensitive 
and more responsive to another realm of reality." All of the mystics 
he studied and wrote about in The Flowering of Mysticism had 
held that there is "something of God" in every person, even if only 
a "spark," which forms a junction "with that higher realm." 

This gift of "correspondence," he believed, was as remarkable as 
is the genius "of the poet or the musician or the artist" and that it 
is present "in all normally endowed persons." He adds that it does 
rise "to a very high level in persons who possess a peculiar gift of 
sensitivity for this deeper environment of the soul." 

He discovered one striking thing in his long and profound study 
of mystical religion, namely, that of "the unique flowering of the 
human spirit" during the fourteenth century, during which occurred 
die most remarkable "outburst of mystical religion" that has oc- 
curred in "the entire course of Christian history." 

As he appraised this flowering of mystical religion it was not 
either a sudden or an unheralded event, but was rather "the culmi- 
nation of a spiritual awakening," which had its origin in the two 
previous centuries. 

He found it impossible to explain why "the breath of the Spirit 
blows across the world when it does, nor why it comes in the 
peculiar way in which it manifests itself." His lifetime studies of 
religious history convinced him that "there is a mystery about spirit- 
ual awakenings which will always remain unexplained." Even so he 
believed that there were "definite influences which can be indicated 
and there are high and low pressure areas of thought which can at 
least be pointed out after the event as signs that there was about to 
be c a going in the mulberry trees' a novel burst of spiritual life." 

The "peak of the range" of the fourteenth century mystical move- 
ment in Rufus Jones's estimate was Meister Eckhart (1260-1327) 
who seemed to him to be "one of the greatest mystics of all Chris- 
tian history." 

Eckhart, he writes, was "a man of sanity, of moral health and 
vigor and he had a penetrating humor which is one of the very best 
signs of sanity and normality," and he exhibited "religious intui- 
tions" of an exceptionally high order. He broke a "fresh way of 


life through the jungle of his time" and by his depth of power he 
"brought conviction of the reality of God" to multitudes of people 
in his generation. 

The most unique aspect of Eckhart's mystical teaching, in Dr. 
Jones's opinion, was his conception of the human soul, in which he 
was profoundly influenced by Aristotle's doctrine "of the active, 
creative reason in man." He expressed his noble estimate of the soul 
in Sermon VI: "So like Himself God made man's soul that nothing 
else in earth or heaven resembles God so closely as does the human 
soul"; it is an eternal reality, he held, which "stands above time and 
knows nothing of time." Again in Sermon XII, Eckhart expressed 
his belief: "Gearing a way through the senses we rise past our own 
mind to the wisdom of God. We feel an inkling of the perfection 
and stability of eternity, for there is neither time nor space, neither 
before or after, but everything present in one new, fresh-sprinkling 
now where millenniums last no longer than the twinkling of an eye." 

To Rufus Jones this spark, this light, this ground of the soul "has 
no earthly, temporal origin. It is the same nature as God Himself. 
It is a point in common between the soul and God." Eckhart said 
in Sermon LXIX in what is perhaps the most widely known passage 
from his sermons: "I am as certain as I live that nothing is as close 
to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to my own self." 

Rufus Jones's studies and researches on the mystics during his 
1934-35 year in Europe covered those of the continent, Asia, and 
Britain. He reached the conclusion in The Flowering of Mysticism 
that "mysticism, i.e., the attitude of mind, which comes with corre- 
spondence with a spiritual world order that is felt to be as real as 
the visible one, is not confined to any race or any specific latitudes 
and longitudes" nor is its course primarily determined by "geog- 
raphy, or climate or pedigree." 

Instead it finds its "true element of being and lives joyously and 
thrillingly in the Life of God. That is mystical life." It occurs the 
moment the soul of man comes to itself "in any land or in any 
racial boundaries," centers down into its inward depths, "thins the 
insulating walls that made it seem a sundered self, and sensitively 
responds to the currents of deeper life that surround it." 

Rufus Jones was a mystic because in the final analysis he could 
not be satisfied with "any system of thought which empties this 
world here below of present spiritual significance, or which robs 
the life of a human personality of its glorious mission as an organ 


of the Life of God here and now and which postpones the King- 
dom of God to a realm where the Perfect is One with no other." 

In the concluding paragraphs of The Flowering of Mysticism, 
Rufus summed up his case for mystical religion with these words: 
"Finally these experiences of God, these mutual correspondences 
with the over- world are felt by the mystic to be as objectively real, 
as genuinely a subject-object relationship a self experiencing an 
Other as is ever true of any event in life. The conviction of Pres- 
ence, which attends these experiences, the affirmation of reality, is 
no whit weaker than is the case when one has an object in his 
clenched hand. It carries a triumphant sense of certitude. It enables 
the beholder to stand the universe. It organizes life on the pro- 
foundest levels. It wins the assent of the mind and the will. It 
furnishes a dynamic of a unique sort and again and again, this con- 
tact with the unseen in man's life has been the determining factor 
in shaping the course of history. It has helped to build the world. 
In fact, the intuitions of the transcendent, insights of what ought 
to be and must be, convictions that the Eternal God shuts every 
door but this one that opens, have been a major factor in the course 
of human events, and must be taken into account as certainly as 
Alexander's conquests must be." 

The secret of his life, he has written, is contained in William 
James's impressive words: "In opening ourselves to God's influence 
our deepest destiny is fulfilled." 

He has testified in The Trail of Life in the Middle Years that the 
vital intercourse with God, the "quiet spiritual communion, the 
sense of guiding Presence, the reality of Eternal Love, the con- 
sciousness that in my best moments of life I am the organ of a 
divine purpose those aspects of life have been as much a part of 
my essential being as breathing and the beating of my heart have 

Those who knew and worked with Rufus Jones are able to affirm, 
as judged by his works and his words, that his testimony is true and 


Rufus Jones, Author 

WHEN he dedicated the Treasure Room at the library of 
Haverford College, in 1942, to which he had given his 
entire collection of books on mysticism, one of the three 
or four great book collections on the subject, and his collection of 
Quaker books and publications, Rufus Jones said, "I doubt whether 
any other religious movement has ever produced such a large library 
output in proportion to its numerical size as has the Society of 
Friends. Between 1653 and 1723 four hundred and forty Quaker 
writers produced 2,678 separate publications." x . 

Neither the number of Quaker writers nor the books and articles 
they wrote and published between 1723 and 1950 has ever been 
compiled. The total of both undoubtedly would be most impressive. 
It is improbable, however, that any one Quaker writer since the 
beginning of the movement ever equaled Rufus Jones's output 
record either in volume or quality. 

Between his first book, which was published in 1889, and his last 
one, which was published shortly after his death in 1948, he wrote 
fifty-four books covering a wide range of religious subjects which 
could be grouped under five general headings: Religious Philosophy, 

1 The Haverford College library Treasure Room contains among many 
other important volumes and articles a copy of each of the fifty-six books 
Rufus wrote as well as a complete collection of his articles, and of the phono- 
graph records. This collection was made by one of Rufus' former students, 
Clarence E. Tobias, Jr., who gave it to the college. 



Mystical Religion, Quaker History and Interpretation, Children and 
Trail (spiritual autobiography). 

The Colby College library of Waterville, Maine, in 1944, com- 
piled and published a bibliography of his published writings. Nixon 
Orwin Rush stated in a foreword that he "was well aware that there 
may be many omissions." These omissions included hundreds of un- 
signed editorials which Rufus, as editor, published in The Haver- 
fordian, Friends Review, The American Friend, Present Day Papers 
and The Friend (London). 

The Colby College library bibliography listed the tides, dates of 
publication, and name of publisher of 552 articles or editorials which 
Dr. Jones wrote between 1883 and 1944. It also listed thirty books 
for which he wrote one or more chapters and thirty-nine books for 
which he wrote introductions and twenty-nine book reviews which 
appeared in different publications. Between 1944 and 1948 he wrote 
five books and forty articles and introductions to books and chapters 
in books. In these and in everything else he wrote he sought to 
interpret the good life and spiritual imponderables. 

His religious philosophy group contains: A Dynamic Faith, Social 
Law in the Spiritual World, The Double Search, The Nature and 
Authority of Conscience, Pathways to the Reality of God, The 
Testimony of the Soul, Fundamental Ends of Life, and Spirit in 

Previous chapters have listed and discussed his books on mystical 
religion, Quaker history, those he wrote for children, and his Trail 

His children's books gained great popularity and his Trail books 
came next. In them he opened wide the windows of his soul. These 
candid, wholesome, fascinating volumes 2 reveal convincing evidence 
that he was a plain and simple man whose spiritual growth makes 
an absorbing, compelling epic and whose goodness was inspiring. 
They reveal also that he was a great teacher and moving preacher, 
tried and trusted friend, wise and tender counselor, and a lover of 
anecdote and humor. 

"No man I know of," Dr. Max C. Otto said in an address he de- 
livered November, 1948, "translated his faith in the supernatural 
into nobler personality or more magnificent social action. He, if any 

a They include: A Small Town Boy, Finding the Trail of Life, The Trail 
of Life in College, The Trail of Life in the Middle Years. 


one, earned the right to offer that faith to his fellow men as the 
way of hope and redemption." 

It is clearly impossible to discuss all of Ruf us Jones's books in one 
chapter, also since many of them have been quoted from or dis- 
cussed in previous chapters only three of those among his more 
significant books will be treated in this chapter. These are: The 
New Quest, 1929, Spiritual Energies in Daily Life, 1928 and A Call 
to What Is Vital, 1948. 

He stated in The New Quest that in his fundamental nature he 
was "like Abraham of Ur not knowing whither he is bound look- 
ing eagerly for a city with God-built foundations." The mysterious 
inward push that set him on this quest was "as irresistible as that of 
the migrating bird." 

He did not seek in this quest to bolster up any "sacred scheme or 
system ... to defend any status quo, nor any pet theory." He 
wanted to live in the lofty mountain peak of Life and to feel "the 
wonder and the mystery of this divine-human Person who has 
shown us the way to the Father as well as the way of life on earth." 3 

He explains in it that one problem that troubled him was man's 
backwardness in learning "how to live by inward insight and 
spiritual experience" as a free son of God. The real tragedy in man's 
tendency to cling to old religious forms lay in "its emptiness and 
futility" because it neither liberates nor builds moral fiber, "opens 
no windows of vision in the soul," and "brings no interior depth." 

He testified that he believed beyond doubt that "religion is some- 
thing to be 'done' to be 'gone through' for its invisible effect on 
higher powers," and not just for "its transforming and energizing 
effect on life and character and conduct." 

He advanced his conviction that man is essentially a "sense- 
transcending" being, therefore could not be satisfied "to be effi- 
cient, to perceive and to react." Because of this he wanted "some- 
thing more than the kind of information which senses bring" such as 
"intimations of wider scope, hints of realities with which senses 
cannot deal. What we want most," he said, "are light and leading 
which will link us up with this deeper Life of our life ... I am 
going to stand for the inalienable power and capacities of the soul, 
whatever happens. Given a soul with unmeted range and unplumbed 
depth we shall eventually find the deeper world we seek." 

"Rufus M. Jones, The New Quest (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1929), 
pp. 9, 15, 23. 


He could not, he wrote, be satisfied merely to work for reforms 
and to espouse causes. What he wanted was to see "the creation of 
a new atmosphere, the spread and permeation of a new spirit, the 
building of a new soul" which requires more careful preparation of 
the personal instrument for the service as well as "the formation of 
a group spirit and a fellowship habit of mind rather than for sheer 
battering-ram methods of attack upon an external system." He stated 
that what was wrong with too many reformers was that they be- 
came overly occupied with reforms "and not enough concerned to 
raise the inner quality of their own lives and to purify and exalt the 
spirit of those for whom they labor." 

He had, he confessed, become disillusioned over the value "of 
propaganda as a method of achieving moral and spiritual ends," 
because "theories like good resolutions are very thin and abstract 
until they are put into operation and tried with patience." With St. 
Paul he believed that the forces of evil could be conquered only by 
greater forces, namely, "overcome evil with good"; conquer it with 
"something else, something better." He held that the evil that con- 
cerns people is "always embodied," incarnate in a person or in a 
social system, and "consequently our new way of life, our pacifism, 
to meet it and overcome it must be incarnate too and must have the 
dynamic of personal lives in it and behind it." To him pacifism 
meant "peacemaking." The pacifist, he said, was literally "a peace- 
maker." He was neither passive nor negative in the "face of injus- 
tice, unrighteousness and rampant evil" but instead stood for "the 
fiery positive" because pacifism is a way of life, "something you are 
and do." 

War "is a fruit which grows and ripens like other fruit" and no 
"magic phrase . . . will stop the ripening of it if the tree which 
bears it is planted and watered and kept in the sunshine and warm 
air." The kind of life which overcomes evil "by the new force of 
peacemaking" he held, was illustrated by the Quaker relief work in 
war-harassed countries because basically and in all its essential pur- 
pose it "has been a sharing of life and love ... the interpretation of 
a spirit, the visible expression of a definite way of life" rather than 
"just relief, charity, philanthropy. ... It created hope, it revived 
faith, it awakened confidence, it caused light to emerge from dark- 
ness, and it gave birth to love and fellowship." 

In Chapter IX entitled "I Believe in God," he briefly presented the 
grounds that made him feel sure of God and then described how he 


thought of God. He did this by thinking of the universe "not as a 
dull, dead, mechanical thing, but rather when it is viewed in its 
deepest nature, as something spiritual" He was quick to point out 
"that matter cannot be reduced to spirit"; furthermore no one can 
speak with any assurance "about the nature of matter." However, 
whenever we view the upward sweep of the universe it turns out to 
be "an unfolding, a significant, a dramatic movement." It would be 
"excessively absurd" to think of this agelong, upward trend as an 
"accidental movement." Indubitably it has "come from somewhere, 
it means something and it acts as though it were going somewhere" 
. . . moving "in one general direction from lower stages to higher." 

The second ground for his belief in God was that man "in his 
deepest fundamental nature" is a "spiritual being," even though at 
the same time "he is often enough, no doubt, mean and sinful, friv- 
olous and foolish. But when you find the real citadel of man's being 
it is a holy place very near to God." 

He buttressed his argument by stating that those laws and princi- 
ples of mathematics that control "the forms and movements of the 
universe are laws, too, of our own mind, unvarying principles by 
which we do our thinking. These values, too, which the universe 
revealsbeauty, truth, love and goodness are the very things by 
which we live, the very stuff and fiber of our souls." 

These evidences of God's presence in the universe coupled with 
man's never-ending search for something beyond himself, a sense 
of eternity, of infinity, "a more yet" that stretches out beyond his 
grasp makes him a self-transcendent being who is no more capable 
of bounding himself in than he is "of inclosing the sky. We are for- 
ever ourselves plus and the plus is the main fact." 

Over and above all this he held that sometimes there come 
"through the soul's east window of divine surprise" at least to some 
of us "inrushes, incursions of larger life and power," mystical expe- 
riences that "are not rare and abnormal" but to those who have them 
are quite common and seem "to be as normal as the flooding of the 
lungs with air." 

History, that is the historical process rather than the written story, 
revealed to him "moral and spiritual development," and demon- 
strated that "harsh and brutal systems slowly give way to gentler 
ones," that the way of the transgressor "has proved to be not only 
difficult but impossible." Moreover, he held, the supreme literature 
that has been produced, together with the noblest art and music, is 


"an unending divine revelation. It comes from the Deep and it 
speaks to that which is deepest in man." 

"Ideals are always being tried out at the judgment seat of history 
and in the long run the fittest ideals survive and prevail. The slow 
moral gains of the ages are saved and accumulated and a steady 
addition is made to the precious stock." 

He stated that another point that helped make him secure in his 
religious faith and spiritual purpose was man's insistent desire and 
yearning for the assurance that "at the heart of things there is love 
and tenderness, that Someone cares, takes sides, is with us in our 
stress and strain and agony, yes suffers with us in our sin and way- 
wardness, is a Friend, a Father, a Lover of our souls. . . . He . . . 
makes us feel condemned when we live for low and miserable aims 
that end in self." 

He began Spiritual Energies with the statement that "Religion is 
an experience which no definition exhausts." 4 Neither the anthro- 
pologist, the psychologist, nor the theologian can give us the answer 
to our wondering "over the real meaning of religion." "Man is 
incurably religious," and he adds that in saying religion "is energy" 
he was treating only "one aspect of this great experience of die 
human heart." He, however, believed it to be "an essential aspect," 
because a religion that makes no difference in an individual's life, 
that "does nothing," that is devoid of power, really does not exist. 

The great experts those who know from the inside what religion 
is he held "always make much of its dynamic power, its energizing 
and propulsive power. Power is a word often on the lips of Jesus. 
Used always in reference to an intrinsic and interior moral and 
spiritual energy of life . . . That dynamic energy, by which man 
responds to God's upward pull, and which makes all die difference, 
St. Paul calls faith" a "moral attitude and response of will to the 
character of God" rather than in believing something. And, he adds, 
"we might as well try to build a world without cohesion as to 
maintain society without the energy of faith" which in the sphere 
of religion "works the greatest miracles of life that are ever worked." 

He sought the reason why we do not all experience the miracle 
of faith "and find the rest of ourselves through faith" as did Magda- 
lene and Paul and Augustine and St. Francis of Assisi and Luther and 
George Fox. 

*Rufus M. Jones, Spiritual Energies in Daily Life (New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1928). 


The main trouble which prevents our doing this, he developed 
in Spiritual Energies in Daily Life, "is that we live victims of limit- 
ing inhibitions," hold intellectual theories that "keep back or check 
the outflow of the energy of faith," a nice system of thought that 
"accounts for everything and explains everything and leaves no 
place for faith." In short "we know too much," and therefore say 
to ourselves that "only the ignorant and uncultured are led by 
faith." And yet, he adds "this same wise man, who is too proud to 
have faith, holds all of his inhibitory theories on a basis of faith!" 

He pointed out that we of this generation have had "an impres- 
sive demonstration that a civilization built on external force and 
measured in terms of economic achievements cannot stand its 
ground and is unable to speak to the condition of persons endowed 
and equipped as we are." Man must either build a higher civilization, 
create a greater culture, and form a "truer kingdom of life, or we 
must write 'mene* on all human undertakings." Visible refuges man 
uses to protect from the ills of life don't work because he "is fash- 
ioned for stupendous issues"; no one "ever amounts to anything 
who lives without conflict with obstacles nothing really good can 
be got or held by soft, easy means." 

The prophet, to him, was primarily a religious patriot, a statesman 
with a moral and spiritual policy for the nation who sees what is 
involved in the eternal nature of things. He "can never rest con- 
tented with the forms of religion which are accepted by others" or 
"enjoy the comforts of calm and settled faith which those around 
him inherit and adopt." He cannot do so because he sees that this 
"is a universe of moral and spiritual order." 

The prophet, who has found God "as the center of all reality" 
reads and interprets all history in "the light of the indubitable fact 
of God . . . estimates life and deeds in terms of moral and spiritual 
laws, which are as inflexible as the laws of chemical atoms or elec- 
trical forces. He looks for no capricious results. He sees that this is a 
universe of moral and spiritual order." 

One of the prophet's difficulties is that he is unable to "enter a 
fresh path, or bring a new vision of the meaning of life or reinterpret 
old truths . . . without arousing the suspicion, and sooner or later, 
the bitter hatred of those who are the keepers of the existing forms 
and traditions." Although the prophet's goal is seldom achieved in 
his lifetime, he continues the hard path he has chosen because "see- 


ing him who is invisible," he prefers, "to all other paths, however 
easy and popular, the path of his vision and his call." 

We are unable to reach a true conception of personal life on the 
economic and equality level because men in it are thought of as 
units who have desires, needs, and wants to be satisfied; therefore 
society tries to achieve a condition to meet these needs, wants, and 
desires. "A genuinely Christian democracy such as the religious soul 
is after cannot be conceived in economic terms. . . . We want a 
democracy that is vitally and spiritually conceived ... a way of 
life which begins and ends, not with a material value concept at all 
but rather with a central faith in the intrinsic worth and infinite 
spiritual possibilities of every person in the social organism a de- 
mocracy of spiritual agents." 

The rule of life he laid down was: To act everywhere and 
always ... "as members of a spiritual community, each one pos- 
sessed of infinite worth . . . and indispensable to the spiritual unity 
of the whole." He envisioned "the ideal democracy in which per- 
sonality is treated as sacred and held safe from violation, infringe- 
ment or exploitation . . . and in which we altogether respect the 
worth and the divine hopes inherent in our being as men." 

The especial need for the adoption and operation of such a rule 
rests on the condition of the world today. "Never, perhaps since 
the fall of Rome has there been such a world-shaking process affect- 
ing every country and all peoples." We must beware, he says, of 
the grave danger inherent in "blind rage and sullen wrath," which 
becomes an almost irresistible force when "it once breaks through 
the dams of restraint." But with indomitable optimism flowing from 
the clear spring of his great faith, he states with conviction that 
"sooner or later the sound, serious sense of the intelligent human 
race comes into play and brings the world back to order and 

The real gains, he says, in such crises are made "not by the smash- 
ing and blind iconoclastic blows, but by the wise, clear-sighted 
fulfillment of the slowly formed ideals which have been the inspira- 
tion of many lives before the crises came." To bring such order out 
of today's chaos "we must deepen down our lives into the life of 
God . . . and feel the sweep of God's purpose for the new age." 
"The problem of the real nature of the human soul is at the present 
moment the most important religious question before us." 

He wrote most of his last book, A Call to What Is Vital, in the 


summer of 1947 * n hk lg cabin at South China. He referred to it 
as a "small book certainly my last one," 5 but he told no one what 
intimations had made him feel that it would be his last one. 

He wrote it because he was troubled by evidence that due to the 
expansion of scientific knowledge, religion is today losing ground 
among young people. He had a concern to help persons with trained 
minds "to see the direction in which a vital religion for these times 
is going." He was concerned for the eager "truthseekers who want 
religious truths that fit conclusively into their entire structure of 
thought," because religious conceptions must be assimilated by the 
mind and also "fit its general processes of thought and take on the 
note of reality along with the formed stock of truths inwardly 
possessed." It followed, therefore, he pointed out, that they "must 
be constantly and freshly reinterpreted in the light of the best 
knowledge available at the time." 

He believed that true religion and true science may be harmonized 
for the greater good of the race. Since science cannot deal with 
intrinsic values such as beauty, moral insight, and love the scientific 
approach is not the only one to reality. The vital religion he en- 
visaged faced the facts of science and, at the same time, realized die 
power of revelation and faith. 

He had, he said, "a profound faith that the times are ripe for a 
signal advance in religious belief and life and practice for a Chris- 
tianity translated into terms of life and thought and action of the 
age in which we are actually living." There can be no great con- 
tinuing civilization that is not undergirded with religious inspiration, 
he wrote, "for now, as of old 'without vision the people perish.' " 

One problem that confronts the trained mind is the way science 
has of making new discoveries and organizing and explaining the 
facts of our world in fresh ways and thereby affecting the outlook 
and the structure of thought and "insight which ages of human 
experience have slowly fashioned." We must face these new facts 
"and adjust our lives and our holiest aspirations somehow to con- 
form with what is settled as truth." 

It will be impossible, he stated, to preserve and maintain religion, 
"man's noblest attitude" in some "watertight compartment of the 
mind, unaffected by the total outlook on facts and processes and 
interpretations of the world as a whole." 

5 Rufus M. Jones, A Call to What Is Vital (New York: The MacmiUan 
Company, 1948). 


As a result of the secularization 6 tendency of higher institutions 
of learning, which were "founded and nurtured by intensely reli- 
gious men to be the nurseries of faith and training places for re- 
ligious leaders," we are "gradually ceasing to be a religious nation." 

The sweeping onrush of scientific discoveries has clothed the 
knowable and describable with a greater interest and importance 
than the realm that is entered by "faith and spiritual vision." This, 
he held, has been true because science deals "with what comes 
within the field of observation," things that can be "described and 
explained in terms of antecedent causes. ... It speaks with very 
slight authority . . . when it undertakes to deal with . . . intrinsic 
values such as beauty, moral insight, love of the purest and highest 
order, consciousness of nonsensuous universals . . . and the amazing 
insight that the spirit within us frequently has direct intercourse 
with a pervasive spirit, that seems to us to be the ultimate and 
eternal reality of the universe, which is in fact the very heart of 

There exists, he stated further in A Call to What Is Vital, an 
"extraordinary body of literature of revelation, which has had a 
major transforming influence in fashioning the highest type of 
civilization that our world has so far known." This literature "be- 
longs in the list of intrinsic values, the insights of which cannot be 
dealt with by the scientific method." 

The existence of this "body of literature of revelation" has been 
ineffective in coping with the stress on science, with the result that 
there is a "shrinkage of religion" in the nation. This troubled him 
because he was "convinced that no nation can long maintain its 
moral leadership in a world or can preserve a solid and creative 
civilization without a faith that transcends material and economic 

To him, "there is nothing in our world today as important as 
the recovery of vital faith and spiritual leadership." 

As a historian of distinction he considered that the most impres- 
sive feature of history's testimony was the "way a new burst of 
religious faith has lifted the civilizations of the past to a new 
dynamic level, with a unique marching power." He held that "we 
need above everything else in this crisis of history a fresh burst of 
faith, a new discovery of dynamic religion, and a vivid conscious- 

8 ''Secularization" is used in the sense that the primary interest in life centers 
in the affairs and concerns of the world of space and time and matter. 


ness of the eternal reality vitally present in our world of thought 
and events." 

This seer saw and understood profound spiritual truths. He 
sought in his books to interpret the unknowable and the indescrib- 
able in terms of reality and understanding for the men, women, and 
children especially the children, whom he loved so tenderly. He 
succeeded in his efforts because he lived on a plane where the 
periphery of the spiritual and the material worlds meet, and he saw 
both worlds whole and in their proper relationship. 

His books will long serve to inspire and guide men and women 
who seek to discover the good life of the spiritual universe where 
"love is the principle" just as gravitation is the principle of our 
physical world. "In the gravitate system the earth rises to meet the 
ball of the child, without breaking any law, so God comes to meet 
and to heighten the life of anyone who stretches up toward Him in 
appreciation, and there is joy above as well as below." 


Retirement to Fruitful Work 

F I ^ HE undergraduate newspaper, the Haverford News, in its 

I June 9, 1934, issue, reported that "Rufus M. Jones, the most 

JL distinguished member of Haverford's faculty, , . . closed 

fifty-one years of active service to Haverford College with his 

address to the graduating class this morning." 

A strict application of Haverford's faculty retirement rule would 
have ended his service six years earlier when he was sixty-five years 
old, but both he and the college were loathe to part and by special 
dispensation he was kept on the faculty as long as he felt he could 

According to the News, during his forty-one years on the faculty, 
Rufus Jones had "taught every man who has graduated from the 
college. And it may be worth noting that during this entire period 
he has never lost a class on account of arriving later than the five 
minutes which is the period of grace allowed for both the students 
and professors." And it quoted him as having said: 

"I was born at the right spot and time, married the right person, 
chose the ideal college and have had a perfectly happy career of 
forty-one years as a teacher of Haverford men whom I have ad- 
mired and loved" 

His Commencement address 1 sounded a high note about his 
beliefs that had "made life a triumphant affair. The visible universe 
is for me a time-space manifestation of a deeper eternal world of 

1 Given in full as Appendix E. 



Spirit with whom our spirits are kindred and with whom we have 
direct correspondence. . . . Religion is the life of God slowly re- 
vealing its beauty and extending its reign in the lives of men. . . ." 

Now free from routine teaching duties he bpgan to devote more 
of his time to a variety of pursuits. These included the expanding 
activities of the Friends Service Committee, lectures at universities 
and colleges, speaking engagements, deeper and wider research and 
writing about mystical religion, and entering even more fully into 
the spiritual life of the college. 

A previous chapter told that he and Elizabeth Jones left Haver- 
ford immediately after Commencement and his retirement from 
teaching in 1934 for a year of research work in England and Ger- 
many where he gathered material for his book The Flowering of 
Mysticism, published in 1939. 

When die second World's Conference of Friends 2 was held at 
Swarthmore and Haverford Colleges in 1937, he, one of the most 
eminent and widely known Quaker ministers in the world, was the 
natural choice for Presiding Clerk. He was peculiarly fitted for this 
service by his cordiality, his almost limitless acquaintance in Quaker 
circles, his firsthand knowledge of thought and problems in many 
lands, and his firm grasp and clear understanding of organization 

The Conference was divided into seven Commissions, all of which 
had done a good deal of preliminary work and all of which met 
during the week of the Conference, and all of which reported to 
and had their material discussed by plenary sessions of the Confer- 
ence, in Swarthmore's Clotheir Memorial Hall. 8 

The Conference held three public meetings in the Swarthmore 
Field House in addition to its plenary sessions, the meetings of the 
Commissions, and daily worship in small groups. 

Rufus Jones presided over the Conference and he introduced the 
topic "The Spiritual Message of the Society of Friends." He made 
an international radio broadcast carried in Great Britain by the 

2 This Conference met seventeen years after the first All Friends Conference 
which was held in London in 1920. After four years of specific preparation 985 
delegates were officially registered as conferees. They came from South Africa, 
Austria, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Great 
Britain, France, Germany, The Netherlands, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, 
Madagascar, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, 
and the United States. 

8 Information furnished the author by Richard R. Wood, editor of The 


British Broadcasting Company during the time of the Conference, 
describing for a non-Quaker public the basic principles of the 
Society of Friends, methods of procedure, and something of the 
world-wide extent of the Society in which he said in part: 

"Quakerism as a way of life partakes of a universal spirit. . . . 
Quakers are bound to keep humble and recognize their littleness. 
The Quaker philosophy of life sees in a human spirit something 
that of all things in the universe is most like that ultimate reality we 
call God, who is spirit. Spirit like ours cannot come from anything 
else than Spirit." 

He concluded the final session of the Conference with these 

"Our business is now completed. For four years we have pre- 
pared for these days of conference. We have labored here together 
with high faith and with intensity of purpose. We have met and 
worked and worshiped in love and spirit. And in that Eternal Life 
we separate from one another and go forth on our several ways to 
various tasks, assured that neither life nor death nor anything in 
creation can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ 

Then, in prayer, he went on: 

"Eternal Lover of Thy children, bring us into Thy Life, make us 
sharers in Thy love and transmitters of it. Help us to become serene 
and patient in the midst of our frustrations, but at the same time 
make us heroic adventurers, brave, gentle, tender, but without fear 
and with radiant faces." 

Early in 1938 Rufus and Elizabeth Jones visited South Africa as 
ambassadors of good will during which he spoke one or more times 
at each of the colleges and universities in South Africa, attended all 
of the South African Friends meetings, and visited his friend, the 
late General Jan Smuts. 

No incident in Rufus Jones's life was more dramatic than the one 

which marked the high point of Nazi persecution of Jews. 

When the Reich refused Rufus' offer, he and two of his Service 
Committee colleagues, George Walton and D. Robert Yarnall, went 
to Berlin and personally asked permission to provide aid for the 
destitute Jews. 


He told the heads of the Gestapo: "We represent no govern- 
ments, no international organizations, no sects, and we have no 
interest in propaganda in any form. . . . We do not ask who is to 
blame for the trouble which may exist; we do not come to judge or 
to criticize but to inquire whether there is anything we can do to 
promote human welfare and to relieve suffering." 4 

The statement of the philosophy and motivation of Quaker hu- 
manitarian service which he and his colleagues read to the Nazi offi- 
cials was sufficiently convincing to prompt the Gestapo leader to 
say: "I shall telegraph tonight to every station in Germany that the 
Quakers are given full permission to investigate the suffering of 
Jews and to bring such relief as is necessary." 

Beginning in 1941 when he was seventy-eight years old and con- 
tinuing through the war years until 1945, Rufus was called back into 
active teaching service at Haverford to teach a few courses which, 
because of the war's draft, were without professors. 

He was the Ayer lecturer in 1936 at Colgate-Rochester Divinity 
School and in 1941 delivered a series of three lectures at Stanford 
University which later were published in a book entitled Spirit in 
Man. In 1943 he delivered the Ingersoll lecture at Harvard Uni- 
versity on "Immortality." During the 19403 he also was the Ayres 
lecturer at Michigan State College and he gave the Earl lectures at 
the Pacific School of Religion. 

Throughout these years he filled more and more speaking engage- 
ments at colleges, universities, and other places, wrote articles and 
books (he wrote one book a )fear during these years), and when the 
war struck Europe, first in Spain and later over all Europe, he de- 
voted an increasing amount of time to the Service Committee's 
efforts to relieve suffering and create a spirit of good will. 

Although the calls on him were heavy they did not prevent his 
somehow finding time to respond to the opportunities and demands 
that poured in on him. Among other new duties he accepted mem- 
bership on the "Pillars of Peace" committee of the Federal Council 
of Churches and attended many of its sessions. 

When the Five Years Meeting, in whose creation he had had such 
a conspicuously important part and in whose activities he had con- 
tinuously participated, appointed him to serve as its clerk, 1935-1940, 
he said to the committee that notified him, "I wonder why I let you 

*Dr. Jones's own account of this mission as it was published in the Friends 
Intelligencer, issue of August 2, 1947, is presented as Appendix F. 


do this to me? I guess it must be that I am like the little boy who 
upon being asked by another little boy, 'Why were you born in 
South China?' replied, *I guess it was because I wanted to be near 
my mother.' " 

He had served as a member of the meeting's Business Committee 
for several decades. In addition to being a founder he was one of 
the most able counselors and workers in this organization which has 
effectively helped to unify the Quaker movement in America, give 
it cohesion, direction, and dynamic strength. 5 

Few men ever have been able to live to see the dawn of the realiza- 
tion of their greatest purpose and highest hopes as did Rufus Jones 
who began in 1893 his service of attempting to unite all Friends in 
the support of and adherence to their highest common ideals by 
giving them historical insight into the deeper purpose of Quakerism. 

His had been a voice "crying in the wilderness" when he began 
his efforts to bring unity to the Religious Society of Friends. One of 
the evidences of his success is that of the General Meeting which the 
Orthodox and Hicksite groups held together in 1946, their first such 
meeting since 1828, at which with deep feeling he told his fellow 
Quakers of his great joy in having been able to live to take part in 
such a gathering. 6 

The significant part Rufus had in the new body was that he had 
led in the effort of spiritual preparation for it. His position was 
unique in that he "a Five Years Friend, lived 'between,' or better 
'above' the two Philadelphia groups." 

The actual effort toward unity in Philadelphia Quakerism can be 
traced back for twenty years. Steps that marked its progress were 
the creation of the Friends Social Union, the founding of the first 
united meeting in Chestnut Hill, a Philadelphia suburb, and the 
founding of Pendle Hill. 

The Friends Service Committee activities served also to bring the 
two groups together by the appointment of members of the two 

B Rufus Jones's influence on the thinking of members of the Five Years 
Meeting has continued strong and pervasive more than two years after his 
death. Evidence of this is contained in the report of a Friend who attended 
the sessions of the Five Years Meeting which convened October 19, 1950, with 
representatives of fourteen Yearly Meetings. This Friend stated that Rufus 
Jones was either referred to or quoted by one or more speakers at each of the 

'The information concerning Rufus Jones's part in the General Meeting 
was furnished the author by William Hubben, editor and manager of Frienfs 


Yearly Meetings on the Service Committee itself and on many of 
the working committees such as those that dealt with Peace, Race, 
Education, Young Friends, and the like. These now report to the 
General Meeting rather than to the Yearly Meetings. 

He "never pressed the matter" or took part "in concrete matters 
or organization. But with and in all that was going on one could 
feel his influence." 

At the second meeting of the two groups, in 1947, Rufus told 
Friends that this joining together should herald a new epoch in our 
Society but he said "it will not do so unless we rediscover the 
Christ spirit for which our founders suffered. . . . The vision that 
the Society of Friends brought to the world is still operating and 
still being recognized by mankind. This is the hour in the history of 
the world when somebody once more must reveal Christ's way of 
life. Nothing else will save it. Christ's spirit must again break through 
into our world. We must rediscover Christ's Spirit in the Pente- 
costal way and translate it into the life of mankind." 

"Who is sufficient for these things?" Are ive sufficient? We can 
be sufficient only if within us certain things are crucified, such as 
wordly-wiseness, self-seeking, and other things that hold us back. 
We cannot be sufficient within ourselves. In seeking that guidance 
that is beyond we must also face the fact that we must strive to find 
the answers to our prayers. With God working in us, we can be 
sufficient for these things. 

One of the undergraduates at the University of Chicago, Gilbert 
F. White, in the 19303 was so greatly attracted to Rufus Jones as a 
man and a spiritual leader that he later became a member of the 
Society of Friends, and still later, 1946, was named President of 
Haverford College. The selection of his young friend and protege 
as president of Haverford brought Rufus deep comfort and great 
content and at the same time brought him back even more closely 
into the life of the college. 

One of the last services that Rufus Jones performed was con- 
nected with the effort to bring about a cessation of the fighting over 
the city of Jerusalem between the Israeli armies approaching from 
the west and the Arab Legion of Trans-Jordan who sought to retain 
the Old City, in which most of the sacred shrines are located. 

As the fighting grew more bitter, thereby endangering the shrines, 
high authorities of our Government approached Rufus Jones and 
sought to enlist him as the leader of a group of distinguished re- 


ligious leaders to issue a call for a cessation of hostilities in Jerusalem. 
It seemed wise to make the appeal directly to the key people of 
both fighting groups rather than to make the appeal public in its 
initial stages. In accordance with this decision Rufus Jones, on 
March 13, 1948, wrote Amin Bey Abdulhadi, head of the Supreme 
Moslem Council, at Jerusalem as follows: 

I am sending you a very important message over the names of 
the most important religious leaders in the world. I myself rep- 
resent the Quakers all over the world. We Quakers are lovers of 
peace, and we go with love and relief where there is human suf- 
fering and where we can help to bring peace. I greatly hope 
this message to you from those who love your land and your 
Holy City may lead to a Truce in Jerusalem. 

It may be that you will want to consult with other prominent 
Arab leaders in Palestine and perhaps with Mansur Pasha Fahmy 
in Egypt and possibly with Hafez Afidi Pasha also in Egypt. I 
should be very glad to have an air-mail answer as soon as you can 
reach a decision. 

I am, very sincerely, your friend. 

He wrote Rabbi Isaac Hertzog, chief rabbi of Palestine, a similar 

On the same date these letters were mailed there also was mailed 
the following: 

Message of Religious Leaders to Leaders of Religion in Jerusalem 
Those of us whose names are listed below, representing some 
of the most important Christian groups over the world, have a 
profound love for the land of Palestine and for the Holy City 
of Jerusalem. We devoutly wish that we could make peace and 
concord prevail over the entire land, but we are representatives 
of Religion, not of Politics or of Government Policies, and we 
can use only persuasion, in no sense the exhibition of force. 

In the spirit of Religion and in a united love for the city which 
is the mother of our religious faith and of the other religious 
faiths of the Western World, we are united in asking you to 
establish a "Truce of God," which means a holy area of peace 
and freedom from violence, in the Gty of Jerusalem, until once 
more this whole land which we love and cherish with devotion 
shall be blessed with peace. 


We are, with sincere regards, your friends, 

Most Reverend Geoffrey Francis Fisher, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, England. 

Bishop Eivind Bergraav, Primate of the Church of 

Right Reverend Henry Knox Sherrill, Presiding Bishop 
of the Episcopal Church. 

Archbishop Athenagoras of the Greek Orthodox Church, 
Representing the Eastern Orthodox Church. 

John R. Mott, Outstanding leader of the Methodist 

Harry Emerson Fosdick, Prominent Minister of the Bap- 
tist Church. 

Rufus M. Jones, Representing the Quakers of the World. 

The last time Rufus Jones attended the Haverford Fifth day 
(Thursday) meeting in early 1948, which Haverford College un- 
dergraduates also attend, he felt moved to speak shortly after the 
service began. Between periods of silence one or more worshipers 
spoke after which Gilbert White, President of Haverford College, 
who sat at the head of the meeting, had an uncertain feeling that the 
fruitful period of worship had ended and was preparing to end the 
service when he noticed a certain restlessness in Rufus Jones, along- 
side of whom he was sitting; so he waited. Within a short time 
Rufus Jones arose to speak. He began by stating that the students 
might be interested to learn of his current efforts to bring about a 
truce in the bombing of Jerusalem and then recited what he had 

An undergraduate arose soon after Rufus sat down and expressed 
the hope that Dr. Jones's efforts were directed toward bringing 
about a real peace between the warring parties and not just a cessa- 
tion of the bombing, so that the preservation of "sticks and stones" 
would not be without true significance. Silence had hardly settled 
over the meeting before another undergraduate arose to say that he 
felt it to be wholly out of place for anyone "to criticize Rufus 
Jones in this meeting for anything that he does." 

The meeting again settled down. Dr. White has told that during 
it he felt Rufus Jones's body shake gently with merriment over the 
remarks of the defensive speaker and following the conclusion of 


the service Rufus asked him for the name and the dormitory resi- 
dence of the critical speaker. 

That afternoon the critical undergraduate was startled when called 
to the telephone and told that Rufus Jones wished to speak to him. 
He thought at first that it was a hoax but Rufus quickly convinced 
him that it was not by stating that he, Rufus, wanted the under- 
graduate to know that his remarks were not out of order and that 
he hoped Haverford undergraduates always would feel free to ex- 
press in meeting the things that weighed on their hearts. 

It is of a spirit such as this that the Kingdom of Heaven surely is 


Sunset at South China 

IN August, 1947, 1 spent two weeks with Rufus Jones at South 
China and had many visits and drives with him around the 
countryside while gathering material for this book. 

By great good fortune I was present at the village church in 
South China the Sunday morning he delivered what was to be the 
last of many sermons he had given there. 

As we got in the car to drive together to the services I stepped 
on the starter and, when the engine did not start, remarked, "Per- 
haps I'd better turn on the ignition." He smiled and said that this 
might be well. 

His mind was easy as we drove to the village. He had neither 
written nor made notes for his sermon. Although he had broken in 
a measure from the earlier held Quaker adherence to supernatural 
ministry, he did wait for the spirit to inspire his message. Under the 
earlier concept the speaker was the passive "instrument" who trans- 
mitted a pure, divine communication. But he had never believed that 
great ministry could "come by a miracle out of an empty mind," 
and he held "a kind of horror of artificially constructed sermons 
that gasp and wheeze with dullness of life." 

"I decided from the first never to write a sermon," he wrote in 
The Trail of Life in the Middle Years, "and I have always been 
resolved throughout my life not to preach in any case unless I felt 
profoundly impressed at the time that I had in my soul a living 
message for the particular occasion in hand. My method, formed in 



this period, was to get, sometime during the week, the earlier the 
better, a flash of insight into some significant issue of life. Some- 
times 'the flash' came while I was reading an important book, for I 
always had one or more such books in hand. Sometimes it came 
while I was out walking alone, for I was much given to walking in 
those days. Sometimes it came in my periods of silent meditation 
during the day, or just before I fell asleep at night. When once it 
seemed I had a real 'lead* I let it slowly develop, as it was pretty sure 
to do. Fitting ideas would accumulate around the live center; it 
would grow and expand. My reading almost always would feed 
more material into it. Illustrations would suggest themselves, but 
they were never used unless they actually illzistrated the point at 
issue. My memory was stocked with poetry, and appropriate pas- 
sages would spontaneously present themselves, but unless they 
clearly fitted I refused to use them. So gradually, day by day, the 
tissue of the living structure formed. I did not usually have it put 
into literary form, that is, into specific words. I had the ordered 
ideas, the continuity of development, the line of thought with sug- 
gestive illustrative material in mind, but the expression, the creative 
work, was done at the moment when I spoke it. 

"But after all this preparation, thus inwardly performed, I did 
not preach that sermon until the time manifestly came for it. I had 
to feel a sort of inward 'click' or better a kindling spark that lighted 
the wood on the altar before I could stand and deliver. The impor- 
tant point to note is that I began in early life to prepare in inward 
qukt to speak with spontaneity, though the spontaneity was, in 
some sense, prepared in advance." 

Friends and neighbors, permanent and summer residents of the 
community, had been attending the services each Sunday all sum- 
mer, just as .they had been doing for thirty summers, to hear this 
internationally famous religious leader give his interpretation of the 
significant truths of life. One member of the congregation, himself 
a grandfather, recalled that as a tiny boy he heard his father say, in 
speaking of the sermon the young Rufus Jones had just preached, 
"Now wasn't that a fine sermon for a home boy to preach!" 

The white-painted community church of South China was filled 
to overflowing on this last Sunday morning in August, 1947, when 
Rufus Jones arose to offer a prayer. Neither his physical appearance, 
his voice, nor the content of his prayer indicated that his years were 
many. An inward peace had gentled evidence of great age on his 

Pendle Hill, the Jones Summer home at South China. 

Rufus Jones, with his summer 
home in the background, hoeing 
potatoes in 1933. 

Rufus and Elizabeth Jones outside their summer home at South China in 
1947. Photograph by Theodore Hetzel. 


face and given it a radiance that clearly reflected the heart and soul 
of the man-made it a distinguished and a fleetingly beautiful face. 
His head was well formed, his forehead excellent. His blue-gray 
eyes, clear, gentle, and twinkle-brimming, were slightly shadowed 
by white gold-rimmed spectacles which rested on a prominent nose. 
Large ears framed a face with smile-hovering lips. 

He stood for a moment upon reaching the pulpit with head bowed 
in silent reverence before he began to address an earnest plea to his 
God in behalf of all men. It met fully the specifications of early 
Quaker advices that prayers "be performed in spirit and in truth, 
with a right understanding seasoned with grace." It also avoided 
"many words and repetitions." It did not "run from supplication 
into declaration as though the Lord wanted information." 

Because I wanted to present his words on these pages so that the 
reader might get a direct glimpse into his soul, I enlisted Elizabeth 
Jones's help in securing a competent stenographer. She advised that 
"since her note-taking might distract Rufus I think thee had better 
wait until after meeting to tell him about it." 

There is a very remarkable passage at the end of the Twenti- 
eth Chapter of St. John's Gospel [he began, speaking easily, in. a 
conversational manner]. It describes a scene in the upper room 
of a house in Jerusalem. It is almost certainly the same room in 
which the great experience of Pentecost took place. All the dis- 
ciples including Thomas the doubter were gathered in this room. 
All of a sudden Christ stood in the midst of them. They saw Him 
with their eyes; they heard Him speak, and at least one of them, 
Thomas, the doubter, was given the chance to put his fingers 
into the nail prints of the crucified hands and they all believed. 
Then Christ said: "Because you have seen you believe; blessed 
are they who have not seen and yet have believed." 

There can be no doubt that "seeing is believing." Our senses 
play an enormous role in settling what for us is real. No matter 
how forcefully Berkeley tells us that the whole "choir of heaven 
(by which he means sun, moon, and stars) and the furniture 
of earth" are only ideas and not real things, we remain uncon- 

The youthful Wordsworth, going home from school, used to 
grasp a wall or a tree to recall himself from this theory that 
things were only ideas in his mind and that the solid seeming 


world might dissolve like an insubstantial pageant fade and 
leave not a track behind. But most of us are bred in common 
sense and we take our world to be' real the way it looks. I do 
not need to take any time convincing you that this place is real 
the way it looks. These disciples who had seen Christ crucified, 
dead and buried, saw Him alive again, there before their eyes, 
and they believed. We do not see Him, touch Him, or hear Him 
speak. Can we believe in Him without the testimony of our 
senses? Yes, we can. We do not have the testimony of our senses 
for any of the historical events we believe in but we are as cer- 
tain of the lives of Alexander, of Caesar, and of Abraham Lin- 
coln, as we are of the house or the tree which we see with our 
eyes and touch with our hands. 

I am convinced that we have far greater and sounder grounds 
for believing in the continued life of Christ than these disciples 
had with their eyes and their ears and their hands. They saw and 
believed. We have the overwhelming evidence of 1900 years of 
Christian victories over the world, the flesh, and the evil in man. 
We do not see all things put under His triumphant feet; His 
kingdom is far from completed, but the story of Christ's vic- 
tories across the centuries is the most amazing single fact of his- 
tory. We have the luminous trail of saints which Christ has 
made. It seems as though the Life of God was plainly operating 
in the lives of these saintly persons. The earliest major one who 
never saw Christ in the flesh said, "It is no longer I that live but 
Christ lives in me." Something like that they all say. They all, in 
one way or another, practice His presence in their lives and in 
their triumphs over sin and the world. When Francis ran away to 
God it was because he saw Christ beckoning to him and calling 
him to rebuild His broken church. Meister Eckhart said, when 
the soul brings forth the Son (i.e. Christ comes to birth within) 
the soul is happier than Mary was. And Jacob Boehme my dear 
Jacob-said: "He became what I am and now He has made me 
what He is." What saved George Fox in his three years of ag- 
onized wandering was the sudden discovery that there was One, 
even Christ Jesus who could speak to his condition, who gave 
him the key that opened all the doors of life. This procession of 
saints, and the millions who nameless and homeless the same great 
pathway trod, give us an evidence which a disciple in the upper 
room in Jerusalem could not possibly have. 


But even more impressive than that, I think, is the way in 
which Christianity has met the crises, the crucial moments in 
history, and has led captivity captive has conquered and more 
than conquered. I see at certain epochs of history what seems 
like an emergence, an incursion of the divine. It seems as though 
in a marked way and to a peculiar degree the Life of God again 
humanly revealedhas broken into the lives of men and into the 
stream of history a new installment of life and power has burst 
into the world. The vast missionary movement in the fourth to 
the sixth centuries which carried Christianity into almost every 
part of Europe is one of those epochs. The even greater mis- 
sionary movement of the nineteenth century is another one. 
This movement began in Williams College. A little band of stu- 
dents in this college, a hundred and forty years ago, went out 
behind the college and held a Prayer Meeting around a haystack 
and dedicated themselves to foreign service. The movement has 
touched almost every land on the globe. Wherever the American 
army went they found the Church already there. The coming 
of St. Francis, the new burst of life in the Renaissance, the new 
epoch of life and freedom which Luther's awakening brought 
the world, the mission of vision of the Society of Friends, the 
greater mission of American democracy rooted in spiritual free- 
dom with Abraham Lincoln at its greatest crisis are some of these 
instances of emergent life when the Christ spirit stood freshly 

Yes, we who have not seen with our eyes or touched with our 
hands have seen Christ's living power in operation and it is easier 
to believe in Christ now than when men saw Him with their 
eyes, and the blessing is on us now if we believe. 

We have come today to the end of our summer, to the last of 
our meetings together. I do not like to make farewell speeches. 
I always hope to come back, but when the years pile up to 
eighty-four, one can never prophesy about what will happen. 
This has been one of our most beautiful summers together. 
There is no doubt of the spiritual life in our group here. We 
have grown closer together in love and fellowship. I always hope 
when I go away that I shall come back again, but I know there 
will be a time when I won't come back because I can't. 


As he stood for a brief period at the conclusion of his sermon, 
his hands resting on the reading stand, eyes closed and face uplifted 
with "an awful sense of divine assistance attending the mind" he 
gave every appearance of being what he was, a good man who was 
reluctant to leave the presence of his God. 


Setting Out on the Great Trail 

FRIENDS of Rufus Matthew Jones gathered at the Haver- 
ford Friends Meeting House on Sunday, June 16, 1948, to 
bid him Godspeed as he set out on life's great, mysterious 

When all of the seats in the meetinghouse, where he had wor- 
shiped as boy and man for sixty-five years, were occupied and late- 
comers were cared for in adjoining rooms, a hush spread over the 
congregation. The services followed the long established Quaker 
custom. There was no ritual, no music, no human planned program, 
only the group silence which he knew and loved, that has a signifi- 
cance all its own and in which the speaking is spontaneous and 
free of conscious eloquence and oratory. 

The spirits of Rufus' friends and of one another reached out 
searching for the Infinite in a brief period of group silence. The si- 
lence was broken by one of Rufus' old students who rose to say: 

"Rejoice! Again I say unto you, rejoice!" This was the mes- 
sage of the apostle to the church at one time, and it seems to me 
these are the clarion words that fill our hearts today. None of 
us can be sorrowful that Rufus Jones at last, after a long life, has 
passed from earth to heaven. Certainly, no servant of God de- 
serves more than he to receive the commendation, "Well done, 
thou good and faithful servant, and unto thee be the joy of thy 
lord," and now qur responsibility is to divide up his labors and 
carry them on. Rejoice! 



Reflective silence again spread over the meeting but it soon was 
broken by another friend of Rufus' who said: 

Our departed friend who is with our Lord certainly would not 
wish eulogy. He has said and He knows those that are His, but as 
has been said, it is for us to follow on, taking up our each and 
every portion of the Lord's work, distributing it amongst our- 
selves according as he calls us. ... 

After a brief interval a distinguished Friends minister began his 
tribute to Rufus by saying: 

On this solemn occasion, when it is the privilege of each one 
of us to offer his tribute to that fullness for the great life that 
has been lived among us, my mind goes back to the time when I 
first came under the influence of Rufus Jones. I was a student 
at Haverford, specializing in mathematics and physics, verging 
toward a materialistic philosophy of life, when I entered his class. 
There we got a great vision, of a God-centered universe, which 
was one which was reasonable, in which we could be scientists, 
thinkers, and also accept. 

This was no armchair philosophy, no schoolroom academic 
philosophy, it was a practical philosophy, and how far our ideas 
may have changed since then, that philosophy has been at the 
core of our philosophy of life, the guiding principle from which 
we can never depart, because it was given to us with that power 
and that enthusiasm which made it permanent. 

I was talking not long ago to a student of Rufus Jones, and he 
said with great reverence, "He lighted my candle." Many of us 
in this room can say that. He lighted my candle. . . . 

Out of the quiet which followed a friend offered a brief prayer: 

Father, we thank Thee for the light of our friend, for all Thou 
hast taught us through him of Thyself and of Thy love. We pray 
Thee that Thou will give us open and tender hearts, that we 
may continue to learn, and that we may be obedient to Thy call 
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

The hush which followed the prayer was broken by a speaker 
who mentioned: 

... a phrase in the Apocrypha "Let us now praise famous 
men and our fathers who beget us" and I suppose there is no one 


of our generation who could count so many spiritual children as 
Rufus Jones could, in all countries, climes, and lands, and when 
encountered either in books or in the flesh, and if one had en- 
countered him in the books how wonderful it was to meet him 
later in real life and find him even more wonderful than he had 
seemed on the printed page. If we could hold on to him as to one 
of the revelations of God in the flesh . . . Those of us who are 
left, perhaps one of the first lessons we learned from him is the 
lesson of vitalizing friendship, the friendship which we seek from 
God Himself, and which we learn to pass on to our fellow men. 

Almost immediately another speaker began his tribute with: 

"The joy of the Lord shall be your strength. . . ." It was that 
deep sense of God which gave to our dear friend Rufus such 
radiance, and if we are to follow in that vein we must find that 
deep satisfaction in which no work that is good is menial, in 
which no action that is necessary is second rate, in which we 
sense that what we do and the lives that we live are issuing forth 
from God. It is God's work, and the joy of the Lord shall be our 
strength in radiant living. 

The next speaker said: 

We must be bewildered by the flood of reactions which occurs 
on such momentous occasions as this. There is, of course, the 
very deep painful sense of personal loss, the loss which will out- 
last most of us now living. But that is too easy to plead here. Of 
course we shall suffer that loss. 

There is again a sense of the danger of the sag which always 
follows the loss of a very great leader, the stilling of a great voice, 
the passing of a great prophet 

I counted it a rare privilege to have known him and worked 
with him through the years. However small I am, I would have 
been infinitely smaller except for him, and there are thousands 
everywhere who can. make that statement. I pray that the spirit 
of God may be very consciously with us in the days of reorien- 
tation which lie ahead. 

One of Rufus' Haverf ord College faculty colleagues spoke next 
and pointed out: 

Those of us who have known Rufus Jones throughout the 


years have witnessed in him a very remarkable phenomenon. At 
a time of life when most men begin to slacken their energies, he 
seemed to awaken. He is quoted as having said that the last third 
of his life was the best. Certainly we saw that. , . . 

One old and dear friend of Rufus' began his tribute by saying: 

... the passing of Rufus Jones shall bring us to bear hope that 
those of us who are left may under the providence of God see 
this little religious body which among all of his associations, I 
think, was perhaps most precious to him, take a new and more 
significant place, not only among ourselves, but at a time when 
the mind and heart of the world calls out for guidance, calls out 
for a sense of something deeper. At such a time as this may we 
pray and aspire to carry forward to greater significance the light 
and ministry of this little body of which he was the most dis- 
tinguished member. 

One speaker recalled a statement which Rufus had once made to 

. . . that has been a great guiding word to me in my life. "The 
greatest tragedy that can come to any person is not to know 
himself and find himself, the self he ought to be." I think the 
greatest tragedy that could come to us as a group would be that 
we would not come to know ourselves and find ourselves, what 
we potentially might mean for the world. 

An Episcopal minister neighbor and friend paid his tribute to 

It is true that he held a light to God. Perhaps we might say a 
candle in a brighter candlestick, but the light was a universal one, 
and it shone over to us with the illumination and power so that 
his influence and friendship was something which came to us 
direct from God. Moreover, we have felt since Thursday morn- 
ing that he has been nearer than he has ever been before. I think 
this might be helpful to his immediate friends. . . . 

Silence again settled over the gathering after still other of Rufus' 
friends had spoken what was in their hearts to say at this impressive 

The silence was broken in due course by the head of the meeting 
who rose to say, "It seems as though this might be an appropriate 


time to bring this meeting to a close, even though I realize that there 
are many who like to bear witness to his influence and the inspired 
life of Rufus Jones. 

"The immediate family will first withdraw and then the congre- 
gation is asked to withdraw as promptly as possible in order that the 
interment may take place in the privacy of the family." 

The family and a few close friends who had been asked to remain 
for the interment then walked to the little cemetery which adjoins 
the meetinghouse. We stood with heads bowed in silence for a mo- 
ment at the side of the grave and then listened to Clarence Pickett 
read Whittier's "The Eternal Goodness" and Richard Button, grand- 
son of Pliny Chase, offer a brief prayer, and watched Rufus low- 
ered gently to his long rest in a spot between the graves of his two 
dear friends, John Wilhelm Rowntree and Isaac Sharpless. 

The spontaneous tributes that were paid to Rufus at the Haver- 
ford meeting were impressive and numerous but they give the qual- 
ity rather than the extent of the esteem in which he was held by 
large numbers of men and women throughout the world. 

Immediately after his friends learned that Rufus would never 
again meet with them, messages began pouring in to the family. 
Altogether, Elizabeth and Mary Hoxie Jones heard from 719 of 
them from all over the world. 

Four different Rufus Jones memorial services were held, the one 
at Haverford, one at South China, Maine, one at Northeast Harbor, 
Maine, and one in Philadelphia in addition to a large number that 
were held in Friends meetinghouses over the country. A still larger 
number of Friends Monthly and Quarterly Meetings adopted min- 
utes which expressed tender love for him and grateful appreciation 
for his inspiring leadership and services. 

Former President Herbert Hoover x wrote that he wished "to be 
enumerated among those who are paying tribute to Rufus Jones. 
. . . During almost thirty years I have had frequent contacts with 
him. When we consider the numerically small body of Friends in 
the United States and the tremendous work of the Friends Service 
Committee to the world, we know it was the work and leadership 
of Rufus Jones that brought it about. . . ." Dr. John R. Mott 2 
wrote: "It would be difficult to overstate the range, depth, and 
dynamic quality of the life of Rufus Jones. . . . Were I asked the 

x ln a letter to Enrol T. Elliott, editor of The American Friend. 


chief secret of his wide, highly multiplying, and enduring influence, 
I should say his concentration on youth. From his own fascinating 
school days down through the many long and most fruitful years as 
a college professor and likewise across the decades, his dynamic 
messages in countless student conferences and creative consultation 
with leaders of youth, his influence has been truly most highly 
multiplying and abiding." Charles P. Taft, 8 former president of the 
Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, stated that the 
officials of that organization "deeply mourn the passing of Dr. Ruf us 
M. Jones. He embodied in his life and work the spirit of ecumenical 
Christianity. For him there was no 'iron curtain,' nor 'walls of par- 
tition.' He lived in God's world and all men were his brothers. . . . 
His mind was responsive both to the inner voice of conscience and 
to the requirements of the circumstantial and contingent movements 
of history. The world of today can ill afford to lose men of the 
stature of Dr. Jones. Yet, in a deeper sense, the spirit of Dr, Jones 
will remain in the world as a light set upon, a hill." 

The London Times obituary notice concerning Rufus "received 
first place on the day his death was announced and extended for 
half a column," and The Manchester Guardian editorially inter- 
preted Rufus' many services. The Friend (London) which devoted 
a major part of its issue of June 25, 1948, to information about and 
an interpretation of him and his work stated in an opening para- 
graph: "Our beloved Friend and leader belonged to the Society of 
Friends as a whole without distinction of country or race. We thank 
God for every remembrance of him." 

Extracts from each of the three American Friends periodicals that 
devoted space in early issues to reviews of his services to the Society 
of Friends and to the spiritual forces of the world, with other 
tributes may be found in Appendix G. 

Many of the nation's newspapers paid tribute to him. One of 
them, the New York Herald Tribune, said in its editorial: 

It has been critically declared-and with some of the truth 
which often accompanies cynicism that the people who feel 
they must do good to others are sometimes unpopular. This dis- 
couraging dictum has never found confirmation in the good 
works of Quakers, whose strain of persistent philanthropy has 

9 1 bid. 


always had accomplishment in ways which have been as direct 
and kindly as their own peaceful lives. 

Certainly no one ever disliked Rufus M. Jones who, in a long 
lifetime, did much good to many men. . . . 

The Society of Friends has never been an ephemeral fellow- 
ship, either in belief or action. Quaker ideals, as the history of 
the sect proves, have always been firmly backed by thrift, in- 
dustry and business skills. In all of these Quaker traits, Dr. Jones 
was a true follower of George Fox, whose life he wrote. . . . 

Dr. Jones taught philosophy and ethics at Haverford College 
for thirty years. But he taught the ethics of Quakerism around 
the world. . . . 

A feature article in the Philadelphia Bulletin spoke of Rufus as: 

A sage, a seer, a saint of the Society of Friends, he belonged 
to all communions. A friend and helper of those who would live 
in the spirit, two generations sat at his feet. Since Baron von 
Hugel left us, there has been no one of equal influence and wis- 
dom among us. ... 

As founder and leader of the American Friends Service Com- 
mittee, he was divinely busy all over the world, fighting war 
while seeking to save its pitiful broken victims; fighting igno- 
rance, hatred, disease, intolerance, and all the evils that defame 
and defile our human life. 

So, Rufus Jones is not dead; he has gone to join his lovely 
boy, Lowell, who left him years gone by. His life is a legacy 
inexpressibly precious to the whole church; his character is a 
consecration to his country. Life is larger, deeper, dearer be- 
cause his radiant soul passed through it. My little tribute is not 
a memorial, it is a celebration, a song of praise. 

At the Rufus M. Jones Memorial Service held in the Union 
Church, Northeast Harbor, Maine, his old friend, Dr. Samuel A. 
Eliot, who died October 15, 1950, asked the congregation to permit 
him simply to recall Rufus "as we knew him here as he came to 
us annually for more than thirty summers to lead our worship in 
this house. Rufus Jones was die most natural and informal of 
preachers. He spoke to us in a perfectly simple and direct way, 
taking us, so to speak, into his confidence. He never tried to say too 
much in one sermon. He knew that it was better to drive one nail 


well home than to give random taps to a good many nails. . . . 
'I learned,' he wrote, 'that a preaching tone and a clerical manner 
defeated the ends I had in mind, so I made it my aim to speak as if 
I were just talking to a single individual.' Even in prayer he spoke 
to the infinite as a man to his friend-reverent but familiar, grateful 
but self-respecting. . . . Like the great Teacher he revered, he saw 
in pictures and spoke in parables. He did not hesitate to be humor- 
ous, but never was flippant. He could mix mirth with wisdom if 
that would help his hearers to understand. For him the Gospel was 
good tidings, not just good advice. He had none of the technical 
graces of oratory and never tried to cultivate them, but it was 
preaching that calmed our restlessness, that made duty attractive, 
that showed us that the things that are foolishness to the natural 
man can yet be spiritually discerned. You felt yourself in the pres- 
ence of a real man, not large in stature or impressive in bearing but 
great in spirit, and when he finished you knew that something beau- 
tiful had passed this way. . . ." 


IN the beginning man lived in caves in forests. He hunted for 
and killed animals for his food and clothed himself with their 
skins. Fang and claw and club fashioned his way of life. 

When he moved from forests to fields he changed his way of 
life from that of killing to growing. Nature's bounty, his planning 
and co-operative effort now clothed and fed him. His new -way of 
life brought him face to face with the invisible forces of life and 
growth and death which his eyes could not see nor his hands touch. 

His upward progress may seem slow when measured by genera- 
tions but its historical total has been most impressive since that 
distant time when he first realized that bread alone could not satisfy 
his yearning for kinship with the Infinite. 

Over the centuries the instinctive longings of his mysterious 
heart, his groping search for the answer to the riddle of life and 
growth and death slowly but surely convinced him that a Power 
outside the earth had created and did rule it. He called that Power, 
God, and in time he grew to believe that he should love Him with 
all his mind and heart and strength. 

Eras passed before he reached the infallible conclusion that the 
things that are unseen are eternal; that man's dreams are God's 
reality. When he grasped and believed this truth, on which all truth 
rests, he began his next quest. 

It was: How best can man's dreams be made God's reality? 

He found the answer to be: Live the good life. It alone eludes 
all human interference and all cataclysms. It is durable. It is uni- 
versal. Men of every faith, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Mohamme- 
dans, or Taoists believe that it contains the strained essence of man's 
wisdom and faith. 

All men are in substantial agreement that the achievement of the 
good life requires possession and exercise of the qualities of sim- 



plicity, integrity, humility, tolerance, kindness, helpfulness, and 
idealism. The good life also requires joy in living, love of beauty in 
nature and character and God. 

Many men over the centuries have possessed and exercised one or 
more of these qualities, some men several of them, a few men a 
majority of them but only rarely has there been a man who pos- 
sessed and exercised all of them, and by doing so reassured all men 
that God is in His Heaven and all will yet be right with the world. 

Surely Ruf us Jones was one of these rare men. 



F | ^HE morning he died, Rufus Jones completed writing the mes- 
I sage that he had planned to deliver at the New England Yearly 
A Meeting. The Friends Intelligencer printed the message in its is- 
sue of July 17, 1948, with the editorial comment: "It reveals the same 
remarkable fortitude and vision which have made Rufus Jones the great- 
est Quaker minister of our generation." 

I have a feeling that nothing is more important in our Quaker world 
today than a recovery of that heroic spirit which was a striking feature 
of early Quakerism. The most frequent phrase in George Fox's Epistles 
to his followers in all parts of the world is: "Be valiant -for the truth" 
And he himself was valiant for the truth before he called upon his fol- 
lowers to be valiant. 

I must confess that valiance, bravery, courage were not the traits which 
stood out most strikingly in the Quakerism of my youth. I should never 
have dreamed that these men and women were the successors and in- 
heritors of one of the most heroic groups of religious leaders that ever 
lived. It took no courage, no heroism to go through the religious forms 
and practices we went through each week. No, it was perhaps the least 
heroic feature of our town. I never dreamed that I belonged to a religious 
group that at its birth had been one of the most heroic in the entire his- 
tory of Christianity. 

We had in the weekly group a man of immense build but of limited 
range of thought who used to speak with considerable regularity, and 
this was his usual testimony: "The question ain't whether or no or not, 
we darsent, no, not by no means." I never knew what it was he dared, 
for his message led to nothing and was sure to be repeated weekly with 
no further results! Another Friend usually broke forth with the words: 
"We must know of a digging deep yes, deep. Down to that foundation 
that lies beyond the reach of human scrutiny yes, scrutiny." But no 



spade work followed, and we heard the same message the following 

We had in our Quarterly Meeting group a Friend who used to quote 
on all possible occasions the mysterious passage from Deuteronomy: 
"Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked." I had no idea what he meant by it, and 
probably nobody else knew what he meant by his repeated phrase. But 
he almost certainly meant to imply that the Society of Friends ("Jeshu- 
run") had grown fat and comfortable and was at its ease instead of being 
lean and heroic. A young Friend of mine used to call Yearly Meeting 
week "merely eating week," because at their house they entertained 
lavishly, and Yearly Meeting meant for him big meals and extra food. 
One Friend at Newport announced at a big dinner party during Yearly 
Meeting week that the Spanish mackerel they were eating cost one dollar 
a pound. A country Friend passed up his plate for a second helping, say- 
ing: "Might I have about fifteen cents' worth more of that mackerel?" 
Yes, the Society was at its ease and there was litde call for heroism. But 
I was early to learn how unmistakably heroic it had been at its birth, and 
I was eventually to feel the call to recover that early heroic spirit. 

The Christ Within 

Quakerism in its early period made a break with all existing forms of 
established Christianity, especially, of course, with the prevailing form 
of Christianity known as Puritan Calvinism, for Archbishop Laud had 
been executed and Anglicanism was at the time pretty much at an end. 
George Fox was at the early period especially confronted with a Cal- 
vinized Church. The essential emphasis was that the human race, as a 
result of Adam's fall, was in a state of entire moral ruin. In this evil plight 
there was absolutely nothing man could do to help himself. Man is totally 
depravedutterly devoid of good a shapeless ruin. There is a seed of 
sin in the newborn child which will soon become positive sin. The 
Church is founded on the truths of the infallible Bible. This is God's one 
communication to the human race. It contains all revealed truth for all 
ages. And revelation is at a complete end. 

It was into this world of thought and into this atmosphere of theology 
that Fox came with his fresh and creative discovery that Christ was still 
alive, still an inward creative Presence, leading men, as He had promised 
to do, into larger and fuller truth, so that man was not limited to a Book 
but had within himself inward guidance, and that key that opened new 
doors of life and truth was within his reach. The source of inward reve- 
lation was not at an end, and the God Who once spoke was still speak- 
ing. The Ocean of Light and Love was over all oceans of death and 
darkness the white squares on the strange chessboard of the world are 
more real and are there behind the black squares. 


The spiritual reformers of the sixteenth century had known this and 
had proclaimed it, but George Fox rediscovered it in the middle of the 
seventeenth century as the climax of the Reformation and started pro- 
claiming it as the center of his heroic message to the world. He could 
not think of the man whom Christ had redeemed as a total moral ruin. 
There was a divine light given to every person bora into the world. 
Every man was man plus. Every man or woman could be raised by di- 
vine power to stand in that same power the Apostles were in who gave 
forth the Scriptures. The spirit of the living Christ was within reach of , 
every human soul so that the possibility of continued revelation was 
never at an end. George Fox very early coined a remarkable phrase: 
"There is something of God in every man." I have in my hours in bed 
been counting the number of times he used this phrase in his Epistles and 
I have found it, or its equivalent, used fifty-one times. 

It is a nice question whether George Fox thought of this "more as an 
inherent part of man's being as a man, as the mystics of the fourteenth 
century under the influence of Plotinus almost certainly thought of the 
Divine spark in the soul, or whether George Fox thought of this "more," 
as Barclay certainly did, as a super-added bestowal of the Divine spirit; 
it is a question not easy to answer because he never clarified his position. 
But it is more probable that he agreed with the position of Barclay. In 
any case, however we interpret this view of man's divine possibilities 
and the belief in continued revelation, that there is a divine Light in man 
was an attitude of unique heroism in the Quaker movement, and it was 
the major basis of opposition which the Massachusetts Puritans felt and 
maintained toward the Quakers. , . - 

But in the light of his return to and revival of primitive Christianity, 
George Fox insisted that no Quaker could take an oath. They were con- 
stantly called upon to take an oath and they always refused. This was 
one of their greatest causes of suffering, and it was one of their most 

heroic attitudes. 

The refusal to kill, to take human lif e under any circumstances, was 
another of their heroic attitudes. It meant, as George Fox saw and de- 
dared, that a Quaker must plan to live in virtue of that life and power 
that does away with the occasion for all war. There can be no plan of 
life more heroic than that. That is the very essence of the heroic. It in- 
volves the experiment of a way of life which, if extended, would make 
war impossible. Friends have not always been faithful to this heroic ex- 
periment, but it has always introduced a heroic element into our Society, 
and there have always been some of us who have taken this great princi- 
ple very seriously. 


A Heroic Way of Life 

Two other heroic principles which do not now seem strikingly im- 
portant became a vital feature of Quaker life, and they were costly 
principles. They were the resolve to use the singular pronouns in ad- 
dressing a singular person, and the refusal to remove the hat as a mark 
of fashionable honor, or as a recognizable mark of appreciation of the 
sacredness of a building which was being entered. It had become a recent 
fashion to say "you" to important persons, but to keep "thou" for com- 
mon and humble persons, so the Quaker resolve to use "thou" to every- 
body, even the king and the judge, had a sound principle behind it. It 
seems evident that at least 15,000 Friends suffered imprisonment during 
the Restoration Period, and probably over 400 died in prison during that 
period. William Dewsbury, who was one of the greatest of all the early 
Friends and who suffered one of the longest imprisonments, called his 
prison his palace and thought of the bolts and bars as precious jewels. In 
some instances, especially in Reading, the children kept the Meeting 
going while the older Friends were in prison! 

The going forth of a large band of Publishers of Truth in 1652, spread- 
ing the Quaker way of life over England and the world, was one of the 
most heroic of all the undertakings in Quaker history. The story is told 
in the volume, Publishers of Truth, and in a recent book by Ernest Tay- 
lor, entitled The Valiant Sixty. Two Minutes adopted by General Meet- 
ings held in 1658 and in 1660 make the heroic efforts of these Publishers 
very vivid. They are as follows: 

"Having heard of great things done by the mighty power of God, in 
many nations beyond the seas, whither He had called forth many of our 
dear brethren and sisters, to preach the everlasting Gospel; by whom He 
hath revealed the mystery of His truth, which hath been hid from ages 
and generations, who are now in strange lands, in great straits and hard- 
ships, and in the daily hazard of their lives: our bowels yearn for them, 
and our hearts are filled with tender love to those precious ones of God, 
who so freely have given up for the Seed's sake, their friends, their near 
relations, their country and worldly estates, yea, and their own lives also; 
and in the feeling we have of their trials, necessities and sufferings, we do 
therefore in the unity of the Spirit and bond of truth, cheerfully agree, 
in the Lord's name and power, to move and stir up the hearts of Friends 
in these countries (whom God hath called and gathered out of the 
world), with one consent, freely and liberally, to offer up unto God of 
their early substance, according as God hath blessed every one, to be 
speedily sent up to London, as a free-will offering for the Seed's sake; 
that the hands of those that are beyond the seas in the Lord's work may 


be strengthened, and their bowels refreshed, from the love of their 

At the General Meeting held at Skipton, the 25th day of the Second 
Month, 1660, an Epistle was issued containing a recommendation of a 
similar collection. It commences thus: 

"Dear Friends and Brethren, 

"We having certain information from some Friends of London, of the 
great work and service of the Lord beyond the seas, in several parts and 
regions, as Germany, America, and many other islands and places, as 
Florence, Mantua, Palatine, Tuscany, Italy, Rome, Turkey, Jerusalem, 
France, Geneva, Norway, Barbadoes, Bermuda, Antigua, Jamaica, Suri- 
nam, Newfoundland; through all which Friends have passed in the serv- 
ice of the Lord, and divers other countries, places, islands, and nations; 
and among many nations of the Indians, in which they have had service 
for the Lord, and through great travels have published His name, and 
declared the everlasting Gospel of peace unto them that have been afar 
off, that they might be brought nigh unto God." 

One of the most heroic episodes in the entire story is the attempt at 
the Quaker invasion of Puritan New England. The invasion was begun 
in 1656 by that supremely heroic woman, Mary Fisher, and her com- 
panion, Ajon Austin. Their entire period in Boston was spent in prison, 
but they made one notable convert, Nicholas Upsall, who though an old 
man, was made of heroic stuff, well suited to the times. The creative in- 
vasion came with the voyage of the Quaker ship, Woodhouse, "steered 
by the Lord, like as He did Noah's Ark." It brought eleven heroic 
Quaker publishers, all of them young except one. They planted Quaker- 
ism on Long Island and in many parts of New England. Two of them 
returned home deprived of an ear. William Brend was terribly flogged, 
and one of them, William Robinson, never returned home, being hanged 
on Boston Common. And others who went up to Boston "to look her 
bloody laws in the face" suffered likewise. The entire story of planting 
Quakerism in the American Colonies is an heroic one. Yes, we are the 
inheritors of a very heroic faith. We have not always kept this faith and 
maintained this heroic tradition. 

Personal Experiences 

I resolved as a boy to be a heroic Quaker. The first intimation of what 
might happen came when I was ten years old. I was a very ill litde boy 
and was reading the Bible through to my grandmother. We had one of 
those amazing Quaker itinerant visits. It was Rufus King of North Caro- 


Una with James E. Rhoads as his companion. Dr. Rhoads was one of the 
most dignified men in the world. He was editor of die Friends Review in 
Philadelphia and was later to be the first president of Bryn Mawr Col- 
lege. They, of course, had a religious "opportunity" with our family. In 
the midst of this solemn "opportunity" James E. Rhoads rose, walked 
across the room, put his hand on my head and said: "In the midst of a 
perverse and crooked generation he will shine as a light in the world." 
Nothing seemed more unlikely. And yet I could never get over the 
feeling of that prophetic hand on my head. 

Years later, in 1886, when I was in Europe learning the languages nec- 
essary for my studies in mystical religion, I suddenly felt myself divinely 
invaded. I was alone on a solitary walk, near Dieu-le-fit in France, in the 
foothills of the Alps. I felt the walls grow thin between the visible and 
the Invisible and there came a sudden flash of Eternity, breaking in on 
me. I kneeled down then and there in that forest glade, in sight of the 
mountains, and dedicated myself in the hush and silence, but in the pres- 
ence of an invading Life, to the work of interpreting the deeper nature 
of the soul, and direct mystical relation with God, which had already 
become my major interest. 

The first chance which came to me to enter a heroic career came 
when I became editor of The American Friend, which I created by a 
near miracle in 1894 by uniting the Christian Worker of Chicago and 
the Friends Review of Philadelphia. I began at once to interpret to my 
large list of readers a thoroughly definite type of Quakerism, expressed 
through two editorials each week. I soon discovered that this was a 
heroic mission. There were a great many Friends who were thoroughly 
opposed to any change of outlook. Nearly every issue of the paper re- 
veals lines of opposition and my correspondence, carefully preserved, 
reveals the issues involved. But for almost twenty years I went straight 
on interpreting the type of Quakerism which I was convinced ought to 
prevail in America, and in retrospect it seems to me to have been heroic 

I had only just finished with The American Friend in 1914 when the 
chance came to help Henry T. Hodgkin start the Fellowship of Reconcil- 
iation. In 1917 The American Friends Service Committee was created, 
which has been from the very first the incarnation of heroism. This serv- 
ice of love and reconciliation in war time and in areas of loss and suffer- 
ing, and in regions of collision and conflict has given hosts of Friends 
and kindred spirits the opportunity to exhibit a heroic type of Chris- 
tianity more like the heroism of primitive Quakerism than anything else 
that has appeared since those first years. It has given a great many young 
Friends a chance to invade areas of danger in difficult service and to live 
on the perilous edge and to practice a heroic type of Quakerism. It is an 
interesting fact that three of the leaders of this heroic experiment, Wil- 


bur K. Thomas, Henry J. Cadbury, and myself are members of New 
England Yearly Meeting. 

A Vital Cell 

About a dozen years ago the American Friends Service Committee 
started the Work Camps projects. It means taking about 30 young people 
into an area of economic conflict and doing a creative and constructive 
piece of work there, and getting right into the heart of the social and 
economic situation. There have been about 7,000 youth at these jobs and 
a great many of them have f oimd themselves and have built their lives on 
a new pattern while they have been in these work camps. Out of this ex- 
perience has come a vision of what our trained youth might do for 
America. We must, of course, help with rebuilding abroad, and our first 
concern must be to save the underfed children, but we have a great 
many urgent tasks here at home. There is one especially that lies close to 
my heart. 

I believe that our next heroic effort will be a concerted movement to 
recover our rural communities and bring back to full production the 
abandoned farms. I am thinking not only of restoring the abandoned 
farms but also of bringing back the spice of life, the variety of interests 
and the spiritual power that made New England communities such cen- 
ters of lif e and enthusiasm as was the case in my boyhood. 

The Common Man 

The world rests on the shoulders of common people. Six Presidents of 
the United States were born in log cabins, five others were sons of farm- 
ers, three were sons of artisans, and three were children of country par- 
sons. "Why aren't you at the front?" a militaristic woman shouted to a 
farmer who was milking his cow. "There ain't no milk at that end of the 
cow." We must get at the vital end where the sources of life are. That 
means these local communities of ours. We must make them vital cells in 
the life of the nation. Most' of our statesmen have been born and trained 
in the country. The moral fiber of the nation has come from the farm. 
What I want to see is a stream of our youth who have endured hardship 
and danger and who have the physical fiber for it, turn away from the 
cities to put their lives into this business of rebuilding our villages and 
rural areas and making rural America blossom like a rose. 

There is an excellent living and something more on any one of these 
farms, and it is the greatest place God has ever made for raising a family 
of children. 

Few things in the religious world are more important than the com- 
plete recovery and return to their spiritual lif e and power of our rural 


meetings that have made a striking contribution to the progress of Quak- 
erism in America in its earlier days. 

One of the most significant features of our American history has been 
the constant expansion of the frontier. This has been throughout heroic 
business. This has put manly fiber into our youth. But there are no more 
land frontiers. We must discover a new skyline, new frontiers of life, and 
creative faith. I believe this can best be found in a concerted effort to 
recover our rural communities. There is only one thing supremely im- 
portant now and that is to help build a new kind of world. The only 
way to be good in this crisis is to be heroically good. 


When I asked Rufus where I could find a list of the colleges and uni- 
versities at which he had spoken, he replied that no such record existed 
but, he said, "I will make a list of all I can remember and send it to thee." 

A few days later he sent me four pages which contained, in his large, 
clear, flowing handwriting, the following list of higher educational in- 
stitutions at which he had given addresses: 


Harvard University for about twenty-five years 

Cornell University for twenty years 

Princeton University many times 

Chicago University many times 

Columbia University 

University of Missouri 

Washington University, St. Louis 

Yale University 

University of Virginia 

University of Washington, Seattle 

Brown University 

University of California 

Leland Stanford University 

Toronto University 

University of Southern California 

University of Pennsylvania 

Bucknell University 

Lehigh University 

Northwestern University 

University of Iowa 

Syracuse University 


Drake University, Iowa 

University of Illinois 

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 

Howard University, D.C. 

University of Delaware 

University of Pittsburgh 

University of Buffalo 

University of Richmond, Virginia 

Butler University, Indianapolis 

Vanderbilt University, Nashville 

Fisk University, Nashville 

Duke University 

Bryn Mawr College more than fifty rimes 

Holyoke College thirty times 

WeUesley College about thirty times 

Smith College many times 

Vassar College many times 

"Williams College 

Hamilton College 

Amherst College 

Colgate College 

Wooster College 

Ohio 'Women's College 

Bowdoin College 

Colby College 

Bates College 

University of Maine 

Middlebury College, Vermont 

Dartmouth College 

Grinnell College 

Stephens College, Missouri 

Swarthmore College 

Earlham College 

Whittier College 

Guilf ord College 

Pacific College 

William Perm College 

Friends University 

Nebraska Central College 

Haverf ord College 

Juniatta College 

Perm State College 

Massachusetts State College 

Rutgers University 


New Jersey College for Women 

Tacoma College, Washington 

Union College 

Wells College 

Ursinus College 

Occidental College, California 

Russell Sage College 

Connecticut College 

Susquehannah College 

Muhlenberg College 

Lafayette College 

Womens College of North Carolina 

Moravian College, Bethlehem 

Wesleyan University 

University of Michigan 

Pacific School of Religion 


Oxford University 

Cambridge University 

University of Vienna 

Ruskin College 

American University of Cairo 

"Women's College in Athens 

Mansfield College 

Manchester College 

Anatolia College, Greece 

Kobe College for Women, Japan 

Madras University, India 

Madras Women's College 

Alahabad College 

College at Nagpur 

Tsuda College, Japan 

St. Johns University, China 

Yenching University, China 

University of Shanghai, China 

Cheeloo University, China 

University of Nanking, China 

University of Soochow, China 

Fukien University, China 

University of Hong Kong, China 

Ling Nan University, China 

Hua Nan College, China 


Gin Ling College, China 

All the universities and colleges in South Africa 

Every regular attendant of Quaker meetings has heard the Queries 
read countless times and searched his own heart for the answers while 
other members of the meeting are pondering and answering these prob- 
ing questions. 

The reading of the Queries and the careful, honest answers informally 
by the members and formally by the recording clerk of the meeting- 
exert a powerful, direct influence on the members of the movement by 
conditioning them for their responsibilities as members of the meeting, 
of their own f amilies, and of the world in which they live. 

Excerpts from the revised Queries which were adopted by the two 
Philadelphia Yearly Meetings at their 1946 sessions indicate how the So- 
ciety of Friends seeks to help individuals and meetings to examine them- 
selves in reference to the Quaker goal of conduct. 

The first section of these Queries which deals with religious meetings 
is as follows: 

Are your meetings for worship and business held in expectant waiting 
for divine guidance? 

Is there a living silence in which you feel drawn together by the power 
of God in your midst? 

Do your meetings give evidence that Friends come to them with hearts 
and minds prepared for worship? 

Are your meetings a source of strength and guidance for daily Chris- 
tian living? 

Other sections deal in similar manner with such topics as the ministry, 
participation in meetings, unity within the meeting, education, oversight 
of the membership, social and economic relationships, civic responsibili- 
ties, extending our message, the home, self -discipline, and human brother- 

Queries under these section heads seek to learn if the local ministry 
in meetings for worship is exercised "in the simplicity and sincerity of 
Truth"; regular and punctual attendance at meetings and the mainten- 
ance of "love and unity among you." One asks, "When differences arise, 
are endeavors made to settle them speedily and in a spirit of meekness 
and love?" 

Education Queries seek to encourage Friends to read their Bibles and 
to study the history of Christianity as well as to provide for the proper 
education of youth. 

The Queries concerned with meeting oversight seek to draw members 


together with "a spirit of fellowship" by keeping in contact with all 
members of the meeting, of aiding those in material need and by "coun- 
seling" with those "whose conduct or manner of living gives ground for 

That Friends are concerned about the community or nation as a whole 
is indicated by the Query which seeks to learn what individual Friends 
and the meeting are doing "to insure equal opportunities in social and 
economic life for those who suffer discrimination because of race, creed 
or social class." Their desire is to create a social and economic system 
"which will so function as to sustain and enrich life for all." 

The Queries also seek to encourage the understanding of the causes of 
war and to "develop the conditions and institutions of peace," to carry a 
full share of responsibilities in the government, local, state, and national 
and "to assure freedom of speech, and of religion, and equal educational 
opportunities for all." 

Under the Self-Discipline section Queries seek to learn if Friends 
"keep to simplicity and moderation" of speech, living and pursuit of 
business; about the punctuality in "keeping promises," justness "in the 
payment of debts" and finally "honorable in all your dealings." 

The Human Brotherhood Queries seek to learn if Friends live in the 
life and power which takes away the occasion of all wars. Do you seek 
to take your part in the ministry of reconciliation between individuals, 
groups, and nations? Do you faithfully maintain our testimony against 
military training and other preparation for war and against participation 
in war as inconsistent with the spirit and teaching of Christ? 

In all your relations with others do you treat them as brothers and 



Riverside Drive at 12 2nd Street 

New York 27, New York 

December 14, 1946 
Dear Mr. Hinshaw: 

I have received your letter and am greatly interested in the fact that you 
are preparing a biography of my friend Dr. Rufus M. Jones. Dr. Jones 
has meant a very great deal to me, to my spiritual lif e and to my minis- 
try, as he has to thousands of others. As I try to answer your letter I am 
surprised to see how intimately close I feel to Dr. Jones, and yet how 
very iitde personal contact I have had with him. I suppose that that will 
be the experience of many others. He seems to me like a close personal 
friend, and yet, as I look back, I see how all too seldom I have had an 


opportunity personally to meet him. He is one of those personalities that 
has had a strangely intimate and penetrating effect upon the lives of 
many people, who either have not known him at all or have had only 
occasional opportunities for direct personal contact. I fear, therefore, 
that I shall not be able to be of much assistance to you in the preparation 
of his biography. 

The first time I recall having any contact with Dr. Jones was when I was 
a student for the ministry. His book came out then, or had recently 
come out, entitled Social Law in the Spiritual World. That had a very 
great influence on my life. I should put it among the dozen books that I 
most clearly remember as having had a formative effect upon my 
thought and I hope upon my character. I still think it the greatest book 
he ever wrote, but that, of course, is a personal judgment due to its indi- 
vidual effect on me. Dr. Jones in that book became my friend, and in 
comparison with it my first personal meeting with Dr. Jones has so 
slipped into the background that I do not recall just when it occurred. 
As the years have gone on, however, it has been my privilege from time 
to time to meet with Dr. Jones in common enterprises, and to see a 
friendship growing up. We both spend our summers in Maine, and I can 
recall most pleasantly one visit that Dr. Jones made to me on my little 
island off the coast. Every such meeting with him in my mature years 
stands out. There are two men in my recollections who have had that 
strange power to make personal contacts memorable: Charles Cuthbert 
Hall, once President of Union Theological Seminary was such a man, 
and Dr. Jones another. 

I was drawn to Dr. Jones doubtless because my own spiritual need was 
so deeply met by the kind of thing that he has stood for. In turning 
away from old creedal statements and outworn theologies, with refer- 
ence to which I had the most difficult struggle of my young manhood, I 
moved inward to find religion in what the Quakers call the "inner light." 
I have always felt very close to the Quaker movement, and, as perhaps 
you know, have from the beginning been a member of the Wider 
Quaker Fellowship to which Dr. Jones invited me when he formed that 

In my judgment he has been the most healthy, the most influential, the 
wisest, and most persuasive interpreter of Quaker principles in our gen- 
eration. He has gone to the root of the matter in religion, and em- 
phasizing, as he has, the profundities, he has therefore emphasized the 
universals, and so, to an amazing degree, has been not sectarian at all, but 
the interpreter of Christianity to the deepest need of multitudes of people 
of all the denominations. 


You may be sure that I shall eagerly look forward to reading the biog- 
raphy that you are writing. 

Most cordially yours, 



Delivered by Dr. Rufus Matthew Jones at Haverford College 
June 9, 1934 

What is it that makes Life Good? 

I have sometimes spoken at Commencements in the past about Life at 
the Great Divide, the watershed occasion for the graduate. Another 
favorite device of mine at these critical events has been to talk about 
turning a terminus into a thoroughfare. 

Well, here this morning I am hoist with my own petard. I find myself 
at a more decisive Divide than confronts any of you, and the terminus 
looks much more unconvertible into a thoroughfare than does this end- 
ing of yours which we happily call a "Commencement." This will be for 
you hardly mqre than a "filling station" from which you will ride abroad, 
equipped and high-powered. Like the little foreign boy's account of 
Columbus, you will go "two thousand miles on a galleon." But when I 
finish my speech today I am done; tires deflated, gas exhausted, spark 
plugs corroded, and the old bus out of commission. 

"What are you crying for, sonny?" asked Dad of his little boy. 

"I heard you say you were going to get a new baby, and I suppose that 
means that you will trade me in on it." 

It may not actually turn out to be quite as serious as that. 

There is a well-known story of a traveler who found a weary-looking 
frontiersman in a frontier clearing a' thin hog and a defeated mule his 
only companions. The native was leaning against a tree, chewing tobacco 
and letting time roll by. The traveler greeted him and said: "Have you 
lived here all your life?" 

The native spat pensively on the ground and answered, "Not yit." 

It may be that even this terminus will not be quite a full stop, but an 
archway through which, as Ulysses hoped, people may glean "the Tin- 
traveled world" of new experiences. In any case this is not going to be 
an occasion of gloom. "Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail or 
knock the breast." I thought it might be an auspicious time to consider 
together **what it is that makes life good." I take it as settled that life is 
good. I can quote Kipling's "Tramp Royal" with approval: 


Speaking in general, I've tried 

'em all, 
The 'appy roads that take you o'er 

the world, 
Speakin' in general, I've found them 

Gawd bless this world! Whatever 

she 'ath done 
Except when awful long I've found 

it good. 
So write, before I die, 'E liked it all. 

President Eliot, of Harvard, used to enjoy telling the story of a local 
minister who was at the bedside of a woman that was dying at the age of 
ninety-five. "Now that you are at the end of your long life," the minister 
said, "I wish you would tell me what through all these years you have 
most to be thankful for." Without a moment's hesitation the dear woman 
said, "My victuals!" 

We should all put good health and our capacity to conjugate the verb 
to eat very high up in the list of our primary blessings. With fine insight 
Christ put daily food in the middle of his model prayer, and I enthusias- 
tically join Eliot's old woman in giving thanks for "my victuals" and for 
the health and virility with which they have supplied me. But I should 
hate to think of myself merely as a mechanism for turning food calories 
into flesh and bones. I suppose I have lime enough in my bones to white- 
wash a room, phosphorus enough in my body to make a bunch of 
matches, iron enough to make a small crowbar, fat enough together with 
the lye in me to make a few bars of soap, but as Shakespeare would say: 
"It were to consider too curiously, to consider so." We fail somehow to 
touch the pith of the matter when we deal only with our bag of bones 
and their uses. 

Hamlet may be right in thinking that there are more things in Heaven 
and earth than are dreamt of in philosophy, but there are few things that 
come nearer touching the perennial springs of life than does one's central 
philosophy. Nothing is more crucial for a man's destiny than is his 
'Weltanschauung, his world view, his philosophy of life. There are life- 
views which lock you up in a kind of cosmic vise, and compel you to 
carry a millstone, or, like my country blacksmith, an anvil, on your back 
through life, and there are other views of life which enable you to live 
under a hole in the sky with a constant liberation of energy and joy. 
Take, for example, the belief which dominated the Western world for 
centuries that human lif e is controlled by the rulers of the spheres in the 
upper realms, and that these world rulers are malicious toward us, or the 
view that the matter which composes the visible world is essentially evil, 


that the body is the enemy of the soul, and that the only way of salva- 
tion is by escape from this "death-doomed shore." Or, take for example, 
the apocalyptic view that there can be no hope of advance through the 
slow processes of history or the moral forces of the world; consequently 
the best that we can expect is the sudden intervention of God, who will 
bring the old sorry schemes to an end, sweep the human mass off the 
map, and set up the kingdom of the faithful few on the ruins of the sad 

Early in life it was my fortune to find clues to a philosophy of life, 
which I have been slowly building up and verifying, that has made my 
life a joyous and triumphant affair. The visible universe is for me a time- 
space manifestation of a deeper eternal world of Spirit with whom our 
spirits are kindred and with whom we have direct correspondence. Evo- 
lution reveals stage after stage the slow emergence of ever higher forms 
of being and of life, the concatenation of matter in mathematical order, 
or the manifestation of energy, the dawning appearance of life, the 
emergence of consciousness, the birth of beings with self-consciousness, 
the coming through them of beauty, truth, moral goodness, freedom of 
choice through insight, unselfish love and sacrifice, and finally the dawn- 
ing of a sense of fellowship with the God who is working in and 
through it all. 

This world in space and time, according to my philosophy, is never at 
any cross section wholly good. There is a tragic element in it which no 
sound optimism can ignore. There is grit in the machinery. There are 
awful blotches of spilled ink on the carpet. It won't do to prate about 
blue sky and rainbows. The call for "existential thinking" is in right 
order. A spade is a spade and a horrible wrong is a hideous thing. The 
world carries along an outgrown past and it has not yet wholly achieved 
the gleam of vision of the possible future, but it is always capable of 
being made good. The victory is in our hands. The "evil" is not purely 
diabolic. It is a relic of an outgrown past. What is evil now was once a 
good. It is condemned now because we have gone beyond it and now 
must put it down and triumph over it in the name of a greater good 
which is slowly breaking in upon our souls. Life is not a picnic; it is a 
strenuous battle, but a batde in which the Eternal Nature of Things 
backs us in our highest adventures, and the trend of human history is a 
slow spiral, winding up toward a significant goal. The black squares of 
our checkerboard world are, I feel convinced, on a white background, 
and not the white squares on a black background. 

My religion is closely linked with that philosophical faith. I am con- 
vinced that there are two environments, both of which are essential for 
complete life. One is visible and tangible and our senses find it, the other 
is invisible and impalpable but close to us as breathing, and an immense 
inward resource of joy and power for those who find it. There is a 


double search. We seek this higher World as a source of life and it for- 
ever seeks us. As energies of nature break through matter and reveal 
themselves; as beauty, mathematical order, unselfish goodness, and pas- 
sion for what ought to be, have broken through at different stages of the 
long process of life, so for me the heart and character of God-of this 
deeper environment-have broken in and have been revealed in Christ 
and in His noblest followers, so that we know, even if only dimly, what 
God is like, what counts for most in His world, and we have glimpses of 
the purpose working at the heart of things. 

It is a central faith of mine that God needs us as a man needs his own 
hand to execute his thought. Truth is not fulminated from the sky; 
wrong and evil are not crushed by thunderbolts; justice is not established 
by divine proclamation; peace and good will do not reign by act of 
angels. If these ends are ever achieved we must do it. If the war-drum is 
to throb no longer, it will be because men like us have toiled and strug- 
gled for a better way of life. 

Religion is the life of God slowly revealing its beauty and extending 
its reign in the lives of men. "What was the trouble with Esau?" the 
Sunday-school teacher asked Robert Faulconer in George Macdonald's 
fine story. "Please, sir," Robert answered, "mebby God hadn't got done 
making at him yet." That is the answer to many of our deepest ques- 
tions. Perhaps some day we shall wake up to see that religion is not 
dogma to be fought about, or cramping forms and systems to be clapped 
down on growing minds, but pan of God's long process of making man: 

All about him shadow still, 

But while the races flower and fade, 
Prophet-eyes may catch a glory 

Slowly gaining on the shade, 
Till the peoples all are one, 

And all their voices blend in choric, 
Hallelujah to the Maker, 

It is finished, man is made. 

One of the things I have most to thank God for is the beauty I have 
found here in the world as I have been passing through it. I owe more to 
the great poets than to any other source for my discovery of the power 
of beauty. I lived in the midst of it as a boy, but I was dull to its appeal. 
I took it as a matter of course as a part of "the all things" which made 
my world, but I built no special altars and burned no incense to beauty. 
Lowell's The Biglow Papers first woke me up to see and feel the gleam 
of beauty in the common fields and flowers, the woods and sky of New 

Then Tennyson, Browning, and Wordsworth opened magic case- 
ments for me where before there had been only curtains or closed doors. 


Poetry did for me what music does for its lovers. It helped me to find 
and to feel eternity in the midst of time. Strangely enough I found my- 
self at home in Goethe and Dante before I did in Shakespeare, but gradu- 
ally with slow development these three supremely great revealers of life 
became my guides in the realm of beauty. 

Then, quite early, I came under the spell of Plato and found through 
him countless windows into this realm of beauty where the eye sees what 
is as it ought to be. My only grudge against my Quaker faith is that my 
ancestors sealed their eyes to beauty and for generations missed the key 
to one of God's greatest realms of life and joy and power. 

The Mohammedans say that God gave two thirds of all beauty to our 
Mother Eve. Well, if she got it, she got interested in apples and failed to 
pass it on to all of her offspring. It got lost somewhere in the transmis- 
sion. The best thing we can do now is to learn the secret, and discover 
how to make life a fine art and bring back a consummate beauty into this 
everyday life of ours. 

Carlyle was speaking in the role of a prophet when he declared that 
one of the deepest issues of life is discovering what you are here to do. 
"Find what thou canst work at," was always his thunderous call to a 
man. A tattered fragment of papyrus found in Egypt records a saying of 
Jesus: "Wherever any man raises a stone or splits wood, there am I with 
him." Wherever a man finds an honest task to work at, there also he 
finds his communion with the highest. No one can call life thoroughly 
good until he has found his peculiar task to do in the world. It will usu- 
ally be discovered that the pessimist has taken his dark view of life 
largely because he hasn't found the piece of work for which he was 
made. "What are you taking for your dyspepsia?" said a man as he 
greeted his friend. "Well," answered the other, "make me an offer." The 
best offer you can make for the dyspeptic is an absorbing task in which 
he can forget his poor, old, miserable self. 

I had the unspeakable good luck early in life to find the right piece 
of work to do. There have been many varieties and aspects to my life 
work, but the most interesting feature of it has been teaching Haverford 
men. Izaak Walton said, or quoted the saying, "Doubtless God could 
have made a better berry than the strawberry, but doubtless He never 
did." Doubtless in the riper ages there may be a finer type of student as 
there will be a nobler brand of teacher, but for my time these men I 
have had to teach here at Haverford seem to me to be the best there 
were to teach. I have always given my best to them, and they have given 
me through these years their love and loyalty. Whatever may come to 
me in these remaining years, there can be nothing comparable to the joy 
I have had in my Haverford classroom, in close and intimate contact 
with the men I have both admired and loved. 

A lecturer in a small town began his lecture with the words: "Of 


course you all know what the inside of a corpuscle is like." The chair- 
man of the meeting, speaking for the audience, said: "Most of us do, but 
you'd better explain for the benefit of them as have never been inside 

I suppose nearly everybody here knows what makes life good. If one 
knows at all, he knows because he has had the experience, because he 
has been inside that corpuscle. It is a question which cannot be settled in 
terms of abstract theory, or by popular vote. It is not determined by the 
volume of fame that has rolled up or by the measure of prosperity that 
has come. It is not a summation of items of pleasure. It is not the result 
of having a generation call you happy. You have somehow to get inside 
the corpuscle and feel an inward satisfaction yourself as you contem- 
plate in retrospect what God meant you to be, what your fellows ex- 
pected of you and what you dimly felt was your real business here on 
earth. Nobody but a fool or a perfect archangel would ever have com- 
plete satisfaction in such a retrospect. But there can be moments when 
one feels in a kind of flash able to say: "I am satisfied, Life has been what 
I wanted it to be." 

The tests are never sharp, never mathematical, never infallible. One of 
them must always be the inward assurance that you have kept faith with 
your ideal visions, that you have been honest, sincere, and genuine. An- 
other test that life is good is to be found in the quality of the love and 
friendship that have attended it Love and friendship are bound to be 
by-products they cannot be got by command or direct aim and purpose. 
They come unsought. They are spontaneous gifts of grace. 

But nothing on earth brings such a mead of joy and satisfaction to a 
man as does this impalpable environment of affection. When I gradu- 
ated here forty-nine years ago, I remember thinking that Pliny Chase 
must be the happiest person living because so many of us loved him with 
unselfish devotion. Well, that joy has come to me in very full measure. 
I have not consciously sought it. I have never deserved it in terms of 
merit. But it has come upon me as a largess of grace, and it has made my 
life an unspeakably happy one. Banks fall. Thieves break through and 
steal. Moth and rust corrupt our best treasures. But nothing either in 
this world, or in any other world, that can be called good, can spoil the 
harvest of the life the wealth of which is intrinsic, in terms of love and 

The account Rufus Jones wrote of "Our Day in the German Ges- 
tapo" for the Friends Intelligencer, as published in its issue of August 2, 
1947, is as follows: 


The story has often been told of the visit of three Quaker men, 
D. Robert Yarnall, George A. Walton, and myself, to the German Ges- 
tapo at the end of December, 1938. But new light has now been thrown 
on the events which led to that visit by discoveries, since the war, of 
official documents in the German archives which prove that the pogrom 
of November 9 and 10, 1938, called "the Day of Broken Glass," was 
planned and carried out by top officials of the Nazi Party. Many Jews 
were killed the night of the 9th. All Jewish shops had their windows 
broken and much of their possessions ruined. Synagogues, which could 
be burned without endangering German property, were set on fire. 
Thirty-five thousand Jews were taken to concentration camps that day. 
The free food centers, which had been set up by the Jews for feeding 
their people who had been reduced to poverty, were destroyed and 
ceased to function. 

We assumed at the time, probably naively, that this outbreak of vio- 
lence was due to a burst of hate occasioned by the shooting of Embassy 
Secretary Ernst von Rath in Paris at the hands of a Polish Jew. Im- 
pressed as we were by the sufferings of the Jews in this crisis, Clarence 
Pickett and I visited the German Ambassador in Washington and asked 
him to get permission of his Government for the Service Committee to 
take relief to the Jews who were suffering in Germany. He promised to 
use his best efforts to secure the permission. Quite naturally, as we can 
now understand, no results came from these efforts, if they were actually 
undertaken which, in the light of what we now know, does not seem 
very probable. I suspect the Ambassador did nothing. 

Pogroms Were Organized 

Reporting to Reich Marshal Herman Goering after the Court had in- 
vestigated the deaths of one hundred and six Jews who were slain that 
November night, Judge Ludwig Schneider, who presided over the po- 
grom hearings, wrote: "Public opinion to the last man knows that politi- 
cal actions like that of November 9 are organized and carried out by the 
Party, whether this is admitted or not." At the time of our visit to Berlin 
an official told us that the events of that night and the following day 
were the result of a spontaneous uprising of the people. We remarked 
that it was strange that it occurred in every city in Germany and fol- 
lowed the same lines of action everywhere. Our official replied, "Of 
course, spontaneous uprisings must of necessity have some sort of guid- 
ance!" Obviously the guidance did occur. Joseph Goebbels, as the docu- 
ments now show, told a Party Leader who telephoned to him at 2 a.m^ 
November 10, about the killing of a Polish Jew, that there was "no cause 
for excitement over the death of one Jew, since in the next few days 
there would be thousands." 


This same Judge Schneider, who presided over most of the pogrom 
trials, decided that the cases be quashed without public trial, reporting 
that persons who committed these deeds were carrying out the recog- 
nized will of the Leaders of the Party. He added: "The responsibility for 
command lies with those who command, not with those who carry out 
the commands." It appears, therefore, very plainly that the events of 
"the Day of Broken Glass" were planned by the Heads of the Party and 
executed by their subordinates who consequently could not at the time 
be expected to be punished for the crimes committed. 

This situation explains why Finance Minister Schacht, who was very 
friendly with us at the time of our visit, refused to take us to see Hider, 
whom everybody in America knowing of our visit expected us to see. 
Schacht, who no doubt had inside information of the plans for this po- 
grom, gave what seemed to us at the time a very humorous account of 
what would happen if we got an interview with Herr Hitler. The visit 
itself would obviously have been anything but "humorous," nd Schacht 
was determined to spare us the experience. We came nearer gping into 
the lion's den than we realized and yet we tried every known expedient 
to get into it! 

Our minds were so occupied with the desire to get help and relief to 
those who were suffering that we gave almost no thought to the dangers 
which confronted us on this visit. We waited two weeks, before starting, 
in the vain hope that the German Ambassador would succeed in opening 
the door for die proposed relief. Of course no door was opened. 

Obsessed Minds 

At the November meeting of the Service Committee a deep concern 
spread over the group that a delegation should be sent at once to Ger- 
many. At the Board meeting the first Wednesday in December a positive 
decision was reached to go forward with the delegation. The three 
Friends above mentioned were selected, and I was asked to be chairman 
of the delegation. We all wanted President Frank Aydelotte of Swarth- 
more College to go with us and he was very keen to do so, but a minor 
operation which he had just undergone made it impossible for him to 

At the farewell meeting before we sailed, I spoke briefly as follows: 
"There must be no illusions in our mind about this venture of ours. The 
difficulties of space, of distance, of stubborn ocean stretches we can prob- 
ably overcome. Mountains can be tunneled; they can even be removed. 

Man-fif ig nn ^J)f ffllhhPj >m1 ' **"'ng i" f^ 1 * wijyerse'i's SO Stubborn. 

sc> utterly unconquerable, as a mind possessed by a set of ideas that have 
become entrenched and sacred. QTIT g^pgfc 1<c "0** 

but with an intangible set of intrenched ideas, what we now call 'ideolo- 


gies.' We can almost certainly accomplish some practical things which 
need personal attention. Whether we can influence minds or soften 
hearts or make spiritual forces seem real that remains to be seen. We 
shall do our best and wisest and we shall go in the strength of God." 

We sailed on the S. S. Queen Mary which made a record trip on that 
crossing. E. Stanley Jones was on the boat with us and sat at our table. 
It was from htm that we got the lines which became memorable as we 
faced our difficult tasks: 

"DeValera with his green shirts and his back against the wall; 
Mussolini with his brown shirts riding for a fall; 
Hitler with his black shirts lording over all; 
Hurrah for Gandhi with no shirt at all." 

When we got to Plymouth early in the morning, the storm that was 
on was too bad for the ship to land passengers, but in spite of the storm 
Joan Fry made our ship and crossed with us to Cherbourg, entering with 
much insight into all our problems. We shall never forget that day with 
Joan Fry. When we were in the middle of the ocean I was called up by 
radio-telephone and asked by the Philadelphia Record for information 
as to the aims of our trip. I refused to give any information,. whereupon 
a sensational article appeared next morning, built on imagination, telling 
of a proposed Quaker visit to Herr Hitler! This was taken up by the 
London papers with corresponding headlines. The information was being 
hawked about the streets of London that morning. And so the "informa- 
tion" reached Goebbels in Germany, in advance of our arrival, and he 
wrote the famous article on "The Three Wise Men" who were coming 
to "save" Germany a scurrilous article. 

We landed at Cherbourg, spent the evening in Paris with Allen Hole 
and his wife, exchanged our money, engaged sleepers for Berlin and 
were there next morning, five days from the time we left home. In the 
rush of dressing in the train compartment I put my clothes on over my 
pajamas and then spent much time that day hunting them. When they 
were found that night there was considerable merriment at my expense! 

We at once formed a small conference group which included Howard 
Elkinton, head of the German Center; Paul Sturge, who had joined us 
from London; Jim Lieftinck of Holland; and prominent German Friends 
who were from time to time invited. We spent all our evenings counsel- 
ing on ways of procedure and on aims to be accomplished. Our first 
visit was to the State Department and the first person we saw was the 
German Ambassador who had been called home from Washington. He 
saw us first and ran to cover. We never actually found him for he was 
always "out" when we called as we often did. It very soon became evi- 
dent that little could be accomplished through the State Department. 


Attending Berlin Meeting 

The first Sunday morning after our arrival there appeared a scathing 
article in Goebbels' official newspaper against a "Gesellschaft der 
Freunde," which we naturally supposed meant the Society of Friends. 
We went to Quaker Meeting that morning in a discouraged state of 
mind, convinced by this terrible article that our visit was in vain and 
that we might as well turn around and come home. We had a wonder- 
ful meeting, however, with great depth of life and power. After meeting 
was over we learned through a very intelligent person that the "Gesell- 
schaft" that was being attacked was a society of the Masonic Order and 
had nothing whatever to do with Die Gesellschaft der Freunde. What a 
relief it was! Meantime through consultation with Jewish agencies and 
leading Jews we worked out a plan for the extensive migration of as 
many Jews as could be got out the country and for bringing relief to the 
more desperate cases in Germany. 

When we had our plans matured, I made a call by telephone to Myron 
Taylor in London, chairman of the Intergovernmental Commission on 
Refugees, and interpreted our plans to him. He felt that we were en- 
croaching on the work of their Commission. Whereupon I went by the 
Hook of Holland to London for a two days' consultation with the Inter- 
governmental Commission. It was decided that we should hold in abey- 
ance all plans for assisting the migration of Jews until the Commission 
had its plans completed. This reduced our immediate task to securing 
permission to bring relief to those who were acutely suffering. By the 
time of my return from England it had become clear to everybody that 
we must visit the chiefs of the Gestapo, in the hope of securing the neces- 
sary permission to undertake the purveying of relief. Every avenue of 
approach had been tried. Every department of the Government that 
offered any hope had been visited. We had knocked at all doors that 
gave a chance of forwarding our main purpose. Everybody said, or inti- 
mated, that only the chiefs of the Gestapo could issue the permission we 
were seeking. And everybody in official circles knew, though we didn't 
know, that the Gestapo had done the deed. 

At the Gestapo 

The Monday after my return from England we went in the morning 
to the office of the American Consul-General, Raymond Geist. If ever 
there was a good man, he was one. We told him that we had to visit the 
chiefs of the Gestapo and that we knew of nobody but himself who 
could make the visit possible. He said, "I will do what a man can." After 
trying to telephone, which we already knew always failed to get any 
response, he put on his hat and went into the storm that was raging that 


day in Berlin said to have been the worst storm and lowest temperature 
for eighty years! In about half an hour we were summoned. We leaped 
into a taxi and drove to the huge building. Six black-shirted soldiers with 
helmets and muskets escorted us to the great iron doors which opened 
and let us in to the ominous building. It is gone now. Nobody will ever 
see it again. We were given tickets and were told that we did not need 
them to get in but we should need them to get out! 

We went through seven corridors, each one opening into an uncov- 
ered square, and then climbed five flights of stairs to a top room where 
Raymond Geist met us and said: "I have done it. Two chief officers of 
the Gestapo have been delegated to hear your plans and to get a decision 
on your project." The Chief of the Gestapo at this time was Heydrich, 
nicknamed the "Hangman," who was later assassinated in Czechoslovakia. 
He was in the next room, and we could see him through a window. But 
our first task was to convince the two hard-faced, iron-natured men as- 
signed to us. The night before I had prepared an opening message: had 
had it carefully translated into German and typed. I asked the two men 
to read it before we began our discussions. It was as follows: 

"We have come to Germany at this present time to see whether there 
might be any service which American Quakers could render, and to use 
*,very opportunity open to us to understand the present situation. Those 
whom we are to meet and with whom we are to consult should clearly 
understand that we have had close and friendly relations with the Ger- 
man people throughout the entire postwar period. We represent no gov- 
ernments, no international organizations, no parties, no sects, and we 
have no interest in propaganda in any form. We have always been un- 
happy over the conditions of the Peace Treaty and in spirit opposed to 
those conditions. 

"We came to Germany in the time of the blockade, organized and 
directed the feeding of German children, reaching at the peak no less 
than a million two hundred thousand children per day. We were the first 
to arrive in Vienna after the war where we brought in eight hundred 
cows and supplied the children in the hospitals with milk, and brought 
in coal for the fires in the hospitals. After the different revolutions in 
Austria we gave relief to the families of those who suffered most in these 
collisions, always having permission from the existing government to do 
so. And at the time of die Anschluss we were distributing food to a 
large number of Nazi families. 

"In all this work we have kept entirely free of party lines or party 
spirit. We have not used any propaganda, or aimed to make converts to 
our own views. We have simply, quietiy, and in a friendly spirit en- 
deavored to make life possible for those who were suffering. We do not 
ask who is to blame for the trouble which may exist or what has pro- 


duced the sad situation. Our task is to support and save life and to suffer 
with those who are suffering. 

"We have come now in the same spirit as in the past and we believe 
that all Germans who remember the past and who are familiar with our 
ways and methods and spirit will know that we do not come to judge or 
to criticize or to push ourselves in, but to inquire in the most friendly 
manner whether there is anything we can do to promote life and human 
welfare and to relieve suffering." 

They read the document slowly, carefully and thoughtfully. It plainly 
reached them, and we noted a softening effect on their faces, which 
needed to be softened. Then followed a prolonged conference in which 
we presented our plans and pleaded our cause, answering many ques- 
tions. Finally the leader said: "We are now withdrawing to consult with 
the Chief Heydrich and in about twenty-five minutes we shall report 
the decision." 

During this awesome period we bowed our heads and entered upon a 
time of deep, quiet meditation and prayer the only Quaker Meeting 
ever held in the Gestapo! It proved to have been rightly ordered. The 
two men returned at the announced time and the leader said: "Every- 
thing you have asked for is granted." I said, "That is splendid. We should 
like to have the report in writing." "No," the leader said, "the Gestapo 
does not give its decisions in writing." "What will be the evidence, 
then," I asked, "that this decision has been made?" "Every word," he 
said, "that has been spoken in this room has been recorded by a mech- 
anism and this decision will be in the record." We were glad then that 
we had kept the period of hush quiet and had uttered no words for the 
record! The leader then said, "I shall telegraph tonight to every police 
station in Germany that 'the Quakers are given full permission to in- 
vestigate the sufferings of Jews and to bring such relief as they see 
necessary.' " 

It is unlikely that that message was ever actually sent. But in all other 
respects the promise made to us was kept, and the door was opened for 
the extensive relief which followed our visit, including the emigration 
of many Jews. It will always be something of a mystery why the Ges- 
tapo, which was itself deeply involved in producing the tragic situation 
we went to relieve, should have received us, respectfully listened to our 
plea, and finally granted our unusual request to try to repair some of the 
damage they had done. No doubt the fact that American Quakers had 
come to feed German children after the first World War, and that some 
of them themselves had shared in the feeding, counted for something and 
made its due impression. 

But, I think there was something more subtle than this memory of past 
favors. I believe for the moment these hard and brutal-minded men, 
accustomed only to ways of force and violence, found themselves con- 


fronted with an unexpected new way of life, which had at its heart an- 
other kind of force to which they, in a moment of softness, yielded and 
paid their respect. If that view is correct the outcome was a miracle 
wrought by the way of love. The gentleness of the men at the end of 
our meeting with them, the fact that they went and got our coats and 
helped us put them on, and shook our hands with good-by wishes and 
with a touch of gentleness, made me feel then, and now in retrospect, 
that something unique had happened in their inside selves. 


Each of the four leading Friends magazines, The American Friend, 
Richmond, Indiana; Friends Intelligencer (Hicksite), Philadelphia; The 
Friend (Orthodox), Philadelphia; and The Friend, London, England, 
published articles about Rufus Jones following his death. 

It is exceedingly doubtful if any four Quaker publications which might 
have existed one hundred years ago could have had such complete unity 
of feeling toward any contemporary Quaker. The fact that they could 
not have done so furnishes a striking illustration of the beneficent effect 
Rufus Jones's teachings and life had upon his fellow Quakers. 

An editorial successor of Rufus, Errol T. Elliott, of The American 
Friendy which Rufus founded in 1894, wrote for its issue of July 8, 1948: 


Christian Mystic and Plain Quaker 

When a personality of the magnitude of Rufus M. Jones steps from 
the small circle of Quakers, words are very inadequate to state our sense 
of loss. Like Markham's Lincoln he leaves a vast "lonesome place against 
the sky." In the minds of people around the earth he stood as the visible 
symbol of the Society of Friends. No one now fills that place which he 
left. It is for all of us to "close ranks" and distribute among ourselves as 
best we can, the work which he was doing. His mantle falls on the So- 
ciety of Friends. 

It is not enough to define his life and work, or the qualities of person- 
ality that were his. We must think rather of the source of life from 
which he drew such power. An all-pervading God-consciousness filled 
the depths of his life. He was radiant and that was the source of his 
radiance. The joy of the Lord was his strength. When that happens to 
anyone, as it happened in the life of Rufus Jones, then all work is 
touched with glory, and life takes on an inner radiance. 


Atlantic tides rose in his soul as surely as the external tide pressed the 
rock-bound coast of his native Maine. Not only did they rise, but they 
broke through and washed the inland areas of our life. It is only in the 
silence that we find the meaning of this tremendous inner power which 
he felt and which he shared with us. It is there that our souls find the 
immortal sea from which he came to us and on which he left again, but 
that same buoyant power is available to us. That is the real importance 
in our reflections on the life of this dear friend. 

He was a world Christian. Quaker though he was and completely de- 
voted to the traditional practices of Friends, he overbrimmed denomina- 
tional confines. He was a Christian, universal in spirit, before he was a 
member of the Society of Friends. Quakerism was for him, not a diluted 
form of Protestantism, but a unique expression of Christianity. It was 
that which polarized the minds of people far and wide toward him. 
They called him to their universities and varied assemblies to preach 
the gospel, as interpreted by Friends. 

His sense of the creative presence of God placed him on the froatkxs 
of present-day life. He lived in tents always, with Kipling's Explorer 
just beyond the "edge of cultivation." If tie Society of Friends loses 
that heritage which he helped to gather up from our history and pass on 
to us, our right to existence has ceased. We must find new "gaps" 
through which in body and spirit we can migrate to new enterprises of 

At the end of three centuries of Quaker history he has received die 
best from our traditions, sifted and interpreted them, and left them 
greatly fulfilled for our present generation. 

Yet it was the simplicity of his life that made him the "accessible" 
friend to every one. Among Quakers he was commonly known as Rufus 
there was no other tide needed. Small children have been known to 
say simply when he was around, "I want to see Rufus." There is no 
greatness that is not first of all naturalness, and it was this nearness to 
our common life itself which gave him natural stature among us. His 
Olympic personality rested firmly in the earth of our experiences and 
made him a contagious friend. 

We who have known him intimately and loved him for what he meant 
to us can perhaps be tolerantly understood if we indulge in expressions 
of our deeper feelings, but we must not tarry too long. It would ill- 
become us to spend too. much time in praise of a life that has spoken so 
well for itself. Our question now is, what we shall do with our legacy. 

We, too, must live near the coasts from which the flood tides of God's 
love may be released into the barren inlands of our day. This means a 
life of worship before it can be a life of action. The following lines 
which he loved may gather all of us into that divine enfolding where we 
may find the eternal life in which, at high moments, we have known him. 


Leave me not, God, until-nay, until when? 

Not till I am with Thee, one heart, one mind; 
Not till Thy Life is light in me, and then 

Leaving is left behind. 

In the June 26, 1948 issue, the editor of the Friends Intelligencer, Wil- 
liam Hubben, wrote the following article: 

In Memoriam 

It is hard for us to believe that Rufus Jones is no longer with us. He 
was so much a living part of the best in our thoughts, aspirations, and 
practical efforts to mitigate the suffering of our age that it will take a 
long time for Friends all over the United States, in fact all over the 
world, to realize that he has left us. It may mitigate our sorrow to know 
that our loss is also the loss of millions of Christians in other churches. 
But he was so beloved and so close a member of our own family that we 
shall always sense his absence more painfully than others will. We can no 
more listen to his unique ministry, appreciated equally by the very young 
and the very old, a ministry full of wisdom, lofty vision, and humor. 
We cannot ask him any more to undertake one of his courageous mis- 
sions to see the President, a foreign political leader, a church dignitary, 
or influential diplomat, significant missions in which he combined a rare 
tact with the skill and experience of a representative statesman. We can- 
not shake hands any more with him who had always time to make new 
friends and to renew the old ties of affection. 

Yet our partnership with him in the noble spirit which he so untiringly 
proclaimed to be man's only salvation cannot be broken. His message of 
the stream of light breaking again and again through the darkness of our 
time will radiate forth as before. His memory, as well as the profound 
thoughts of his many books and articles, will remain a powerful inspira- 
tion to the living, for in him our belief in the continuity of the spirit of 
God in and through man is exemplified. 

The last thirty-five years of Rufus Jones's life were his most produc- 
tive period. Then the clarity of his thinking and teaching achieved that 
luminous quality which alone was able to penetrate the darkness of the 
tragedies of our time. It must have been difficult even for a mind so en- 
dowed and disciplined to lead men back to eternal spiritual values when 
there seemed so much technical progress and such satisfying prosperity 
in the Western world. But the strength to lead his bewildered contem- 
poraries toward the Eternal when one catastrophe after another dark- 
ened the sky such power was proof of inward resources which only 


God can bestow upon His loyal servant. In this, Rufus Jones has been 
favored as few religious leaders were in his generation. 

Rufus M. Jones was born on January 25, 1863, in South China, Maine, 
the son of Edwin Jones, a farmer, and Mary Hoxie, the daughter of a 
cabinet maker. Aunt Peace, who was looked upon as a sort of visionary 
prophet, is reported to have said, "This child will one day bear the mes- 
sage of the gospel to distant lands and to people across the sea," as true 
a foreboding as any. At sixteen, "a green and awkward boy," as he said 
of himself, Rufus entered the Friends' School at Providence, Rhode 
Island, now known as Moses Brown School. This step was indeed the 
gate to a new world. Until that moment he had never seen a city, had 
never been in a railroad train, and had no real conception of a steamboat. 
When he studied at Haverford College, he was awarded his B.A. degree 
after only three years and his M.A. after the fourth year. The field of 
mystical religion attracted him, and this early interest became the blue- 
print for all the later work and success which extended throughout a 
lifetime of labor. Studies abroad followed. He went to Paris and Heidel- 
berg, returned to the United States, and taught at Oakwood School, 
Union Springs, New York, and in Providence. While taking graduate 
work at Harvard he served as principal of Oak Grove Seminary, Vassal- 
boro, Maine. In 1903 he became instructor of philosophy at Haverford. 
His enormous energy allowed him to combine many other exacting 
duties with his first college position: he took graduate work at the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, and became the most successful editor whom 
The American Friend & that time called Friends Reviewhas ever had. 
During his editorship, which lasted until 1912, the paper achieved a cir- 
culation of 7,000 copies, as he used to tell us with justified satisfaction 
and pride. 

These were the years in which Rufus Jones established his reputation 
as a scholar and minister. According to the custom in certain Yearly 
Meetings, he had already been "recorded" as a minister as early as 1890, 
and his ministry led him to many Meetings all over the United States as 
well as abroad, and to many churches and colleges. In 1905-1906 he be- 
gan to work on his most lasting contribution to the history of the Quaker 
movement, the Rowntree series. This most thorough and original study 
of the rise and progress of the Society of Friends, of its forerunners in 
Christian thought, and especially its mysticism, was undertaken at the 
suggestion of John Wilhelm Rowntree, who had a remarkable influence 
on Friends in England and America. It is regrettable that the present 
generation is not so well acquainted with this monumental series as its 
forebears were, and the time may have come to condense it in a manner 
similar to that by which Toynbee's historical study has been made acces- 
sible to a wider reading public. Absorbing as the writing of five of these 
volumes was (the two others were written by William C. Braithwaite), 


yet Rufus Jones found time in 1913 to accept the editorship of an inter- 
national monthly, Present Day Papers. This was discontinued when the 
first World War broke out 

Friends now had an opportunity to prove to themselves and the Chris- 
tian world that their testimony against war and the hatred engendered 
by nationalism was more than a negative attitude, that it had its root in 
a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, that a 
constructive faith led to constructive ends. 

In 1917 Rufus M. Jones rallied around himself a small group of young 
Friends in the Haverford campus, where their training for relief service 
abroad began. Our generation has become accustomed to think of the 
American Friends Service Committee as a well established and most re- 
spectable organization of international standing. But this beginning at 
Haverford was small, and its future seemed quite insecure, Rufus Jones 
had to struggle with the military authorities to have it recognized as a 
service alternative to military duties. Slowly, and through the unselfish 
devotion of the participants, it established itself abroad and at home. The 
story of its courage and success is well known and hardly warrants repe- 
tition here. By the grace of historic justice Rufus Jones was able to ex- 
perience its crowning recognition in 1947, when the Nobel Prize for 
Peace was awarded to the London Yearly Meeting's Service Council and 
the American Friends Service Committee in the United States. 

Rufus Jones took an active interest in this work as long as his strength 
permitted. When disaster was overhanging the sky of Europe before the 
second World War in 1938, he undertook, together with Robert E. Yar- 
nall and George A. Walton, to intervene with the Nazi authorities in 
Berlin on behalf of the persecuted Jews. There are no statistics available 
regarding any success of this step, but the moral protest made a deep 
impact upon those cold-blooded criminals, who were then preparing for 
even greater cruelties. Rufus Jones's share in this mission may have re- 
ceived less publicity than some of his earlier and more spectacular proj- 
ects, such as his partnership in the "Re-thinking Missions" journey 
abroad. But this trip to Berlin was of a truly ambassadorial character. 
As John Woolman made it a rule to appeal to those who were wrong- 
doers rather than to those who were suffering from the effect of wrong- 
doing, so Friends once more spoke without criticism and reproach to 
those whose sense of justice had become tragically perverted. 

Rufus Jones has had his share of happiness and sorrow in his private 
life. He married Sarah Hawkshurst Coutant when he was a teacher at 
Providence. She died and left Rufus Jones with their son Lowell Cou- 
tant, who followed his mother into the great beyond at the age of eleven 
years. Rufus' book The Boy Jesus and His Companions is as much a 
tender memorial to his first child as it is a permanent classic for children. 


His second wife, Elizabeth Bartram Cadbury, has always been a close 
companion in all his work. They have one daughter, Mary Hoxie. 

Rufus Jones can safely be called the most prolific writer which Quak- 
erism in its 300 years of history has produced. In this regard he was an 
"early Friend" who can well match the zeal of the first Quakers in 
spreading the good news* As in his person he was a rare blending of 
scholar and popular speaker and preacher, so he was equally at home in 
the fields of journalism, editorship, and scholarly research. Much of what 
he said and wrote had a poetical flavor and was always rich in imagery 
and anecdote. He spoke as much in parables as is granted to any great 
teacher. His illustrations of great truths were remarkable and left a last- 
ing trace in the memory of his hearers. The vernal equinox; the subter- 
ranean stream of God's power in man's soul; the heavenly river coming 
from a mysterious source and giving life to all the land it visited; the 
straw through which the Gulf Stream could be made to flow these were 
a few of his hundreds of similes which gave his teaching an almost bibli- 
cal flavor. 

He was the author of over fifty books and over six hundred articles in 
scholarly magazines, literary periodicals, and in Friends' publications. 
Many of his papers appeared first in the FRIENDS INTELLIGENCER, in whose 
progress he always showed a most sympathetic interest. We are losing in 
him a writer of "first-pagers," for whom we could express our regard no 
better than by omitting our customary biographical note a distinction 
bestowed only upon him. Many of his books and papers have been pub- 
lished abroad and translated into Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, Ger- 
man, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, and Swedish. Some time ago the 
London Times called him "the greatest spiritual philosopher living in 
America since William James" and the New York Times referred to him 
as "a great humanitarian as well as a great scholar." Many public honors 
came to him. He received the Philadelphia Bok Award in 1939, jointly 
with Clarence E. Pickett, and in 1942 he was also awarded the Theodore 
Roosevelt Medal for Distinguished Service. More than a dozen American 
and foreign universities have given him honorary degrees. As late as June 
i of this year a Chair of Philosophy and Religion was named for him at 
Bryn Mawr College. 

In-the hour of sorrow we shall remain aware of his spiritual presence 
for all years to come. He would not wish for any elaborate memorials of 
the visible kind. His courage and vision demand of us who loved him 
that we maintain our own faith more loyally; that we spread it in the 
surrounding darkness with more determination; and that we return in 
moments of diffidence to a prayerful openness to God's eternal Will for 
His children. He wanted the Good News of the Gospel to be something 
more than Good. It must also again become News in that spirit of joyful 
labor which was characteristic of everything he said and did. 


The Friend, in its July i, 1948 issue, published the following tender 
and sympathetic article, which was written by Dr. William Wistar Com- 
fort, a former student of Rufus', for several years one of Rufus' faculty 
colleagues, and for twenty-five years president of Haverford College 
while Rufus was a member of the faculty. 

In it Dr. Comfort stated: 


The personality of our dear friend was so pervasive that we his neigh- 
bors cannot yet realize that he has been taken from us. Though attaining 
a great age, he did not survive himself, but carried on his many interests 
to the end. It will require time to collect the materials for a proper biog- 
raphy of this remarkable man. But even now THE FRIEND wishes to 
record the passing of this Maine country boy who became and remained 
the best known Friend in Quakerdom and one of the recognized spiritual 
forces in America. 

Rufus never forgot and never allowed his friends to forget that he 
was from New England, and more specifically from the State of Maine 
with its rural wit, its big potatoes, and its sunset views from the porch of 
his South China cottage. He always retained his membership in New 
England Yearly Meeting and shared annually in its deliberations. His 
place in the gallery at the annual meetings of Philadelphia Friends was 
the natural tribute bestowed upon an elder stateman experienced in all 
affairs affecting Quakerism. It was as a member of New England Yearly 
Meeting that he shared in the formation and development of the Five 
Years Meeting, but it was as a resident of Philadelphia and as a Haver- 
fordian that he figured in setting up and guiding the American Friends 
Service Committee from 1917 until his death. 

Everyone who has listened to him through the years will recall his 
frequent use of the word "extraordinary." In his speech it was a proper 
word to use, for he was so "extraordinary" himself. That is, he was far 
beyond the ordinary reach of human attainment. The influences to 
which he often referred were those of a nearly fatal illness in childhood, 
the example of his uncle and aunt, Eli and Sybil Jones, his later friend- 
ship for John Wilhelm Rowntree, the loss of his little son Lowell, and 
his own narrow escape from death in a street accident. But of course 
there was a great personality and intelligence at work independent of 
any outside influence. His memory was stored with the verse of Whit- 
tier, Lowell, Wordsworth, Browning, Tennyson, and with the prose of 
Emerson. His quotations were effective, but his own words were further 
supported by his inexhaustible store of anecdotes to make his meaning 
unmistakably clear. For simplicity and clearness of presentation in his 


written as well as his spoken word explain much of his appeal to readers 
and auditors. He was not a Biblical scholar in the technical sense, but he 
knew his Bible as few Quakers have known it in modern times, and he 
applied the teaching of the Old Testament prophets most effectively to 
the problems of the. world today. He was not a metaphysician either; 
but if philosophy means a guide of life, he was a religious philosopher, 
for he had found a Guide for himself and for thousands of others. In 
fifty books and a great number of introductions, editorials, reviews and 
letters which he provided at the behest of his friends and which have 
been collected in the Haverford College Library, his philosophy was 
always optimistic and his encouragement unstinted. When awarded at 
Haverford one of his dozen honorary degrees, he was termed "an im- 
penitent optimist," and I saw no cause to alter the phrase to the very 
end. His outlook was consistently cheerful, helpful, enthusiastic, and 
that, with clearness of presentation explains much of his great popularity 
with a large reading public. 

His particular field of study was religious mysticism and he was the 
greatest popular interpreter of this movement to which his Quakerism 
naturally brought him. The Studies in Mystical Religion and his volumes 
of Quaker history undertaken with the late William C. Braithwaite and 
Amelia M. Gummere are his monument as a scholar and are probably 
definitive treatments. There is one other, The Church's Debt to Here- 
tics, which was one of his own favorites and which would interest many 
readers if better known. His published lectures delivered before aca- 
demic audiences and his autobiographical testimonies in which he re- 
traced the trail of his life made his name widely known. Through his 
ministry in Fifth Day meetings and his lectures to Haverford College 
upperclassmen on the History of Christian Thought, he was personally 
known to aJl Haverfordians of the last half-century. Belonging in the 
Spiritual- and intellectual succession of the Chases, President Sharpless 
and Francis B. Gummere, Rufus Jones has been the greatest personal in- 
fluence in Haverford life during the last thirty years. 

An indefatigable traveler, speaker, writer, and sometime editor, the 
question arises "How could he do so much?" One cannot know all the 
secrets of his efficiency, but some factors in the case are evident. He had 
a rugged constitution of which he took the best of care, always retiring 
early and getting a catnap after lunch. By rigidly eschewing every kind 
of excess, he was able to keep up a formidable succession of engagements 
involving the most severe mental, spiritual, and physical effort. Night 
travel followed by two or more major appointments, another night's 
travel back to Haverford followed by college lectures and Service Com- 
mittee meetings were a regular part of his programme for years. When 
an engagement was over, he thought no more about it, but was ready for 
the next. Ever facing forward, he was always ready for the next adven- 


ture. An inveterate reader and marker of books, his mind was so stored 
with ideas that he was able to develop them in a finished discourse after 
a few moments of profound meditation. This fertility of spiritual pro- 
duction and ease of presentation will remain in the mind of his fellow 
worshipers as a most amazing phenomenon. And this constant preach- 
ing, often several times a week, was not his profession, but was in addi- 
tion to all his other assignments as a professor and as a member of many 
Boards for which he assumed a major responsibility. 

But his neighbors and friends will value most dearly his sympathy with 
them and his unstudied approach to their interests. His own welfare was 
a matter of concern to many whom he scarcely knew. The first question 
with many people when meeting someone from Haverford was "How is 
Rufus?" During his last illness it seemed that the whole community was 
solicitous about him. He worked in private and he never seemed to be 
under pressure. To give this impression is a precious gift. He always had 
time to stop and chat. His advice was constantly sought by visitors to 
whom he made time to listen and by correspondents whose letters he 
found time to answer. Many of us have cause to remember his loving 
service at weddings, funerals, and other occasions of family significance. 

Seldom do we see a man enjoy life so richly and infectiously as Rufus 
Jones. He loved people and he loved life, but he feared not death. To 
meet him was to feel set up for the day, because he always made one 
confident that the best was yet to come. I think he would willingly con- 
fess that he had two hobbies Haverford College and its ancient game 
of cricket. We shall continue to think of him watching a game of cricket 
on Cope Field, shedding upon those about him the radiance of his un- 
affected personality. 

The Friend (London, England) devoted a large amount of space in its 
June 25, 1948, issue to Rufus' life and works. One of its several articles 
about him, entitled "The Man Himself" stated: 


But more than all these outward activities was the man himself, so 
thoroughly human, so full of humour, so approachable, so at home with 
all sorts of people, yet dwelling so deep in the realm of the spirit The 
Society of Friends cannot over-estimate its debt to him for interpreting 
to them the fundamental principles of their faith. It was sometimes said 
of him that he was more Humanist than Christian, but this was a shallow 
judgment. His theology was Christocentric, as his article "God in 
Christ" published in last week's Friend demonstrated. The Inner Light to 
him was not a vague principle or even man's highest self: it was "Christ 
in me," the light of Christ in the human heart. 


This was at the core of his ministry, by word or pen, whether in a 
wider world or, faithfully and with humility, exercised as it regularly 
was in his own Meeting at Haverf ord. 

Few speakers have Rufus Jones' gift in the use of illustration. The 
story might be humorous even on the most solemn occasions for hu- 
mour would keep breaking into every part of his life but the illustration 
was always apposite. It was illumination as well, and therefore always in 

Rufus Jones was no cloistered saint: he was a lover of his fellow men, 
a man among men. In later life stories about him clustered about his 
head a sure test of greatness and Friends enjoyed the lighter verses cir- 
culated about him. 

His hobbies were farming, wood-chopping, and playing golf (when 
he wasn't traveling); also walking and mountaineering. He had boundless 
energy; an American paper once had an article on him entitled, "The 
Jones they can't keep up with." He was there described as one who lives 
with gusto and as "founder and chronic chairman of the A.F.S. Commit- 
tee." Rufus Jones became Quakerism's international spokesman. 

An Integrated Life 

His was an integrated life. Inner conflicts there had been but they had 
been resolved, and he was able to bring to his fellows help and inspira- 
tion as preacher, historian and preeminently as interpreter. George Eliot 
wrote that in olden days there were angels who came and took men by 
the hand to lead them. "We see no white-winged angels now. But yet 
men are led'. . . a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently 
towards a calm and bright land." 

Having found the Trail of Life he was able to inspire others to walk 
therein, for he, by faith, had clasped the guiding hand of God. 

A few of the many formal tributes to Rufus Jones which were paid 
him by organizations that he had long worked with include that of the 
Board of Managers of Haverf ord College. 

It said in part: 

"To us whose happy fortune it has been to know him personally, 
nothing in our thought of him can equal what we found in him. We 
have been in touch with a gifted personality, who, in spite of high at- 
tainments and many honors, has been our simple, natural, approachable, 
human friend. Meeting him we found cheer in the clasp of his big, 
strong hand. His hearty greeting warmed your heart with the feeling 
that he was glad to see you. Looking into his face you felt bathed in the 
sunny light of his friendship. Through his buoyancy you caught his 


sense that life is good and to be enjoyed. 'To meet him,' one of our 
members has written, 'was to feel set up for the day because he always 
made one confident that the best was yet to come. 9 His humor, perhaps 
a 'down-east* anecdote, perhaps an experience of his own, soon had you 
laughing, but without lowering your tone. He and you could go back 
quickly and readily to a high and serious level. This was true of him, 
not only in conversation, but in his addresses, even his sermons. 

"Many turned to him for help in their inner lives. Here he was not only 
the interpreter of spiritual realities, but the friend giving himself to 
someone he cared for and who needed help. He always seemed to have 
time to give that help. He had 'eyes for the invisibles' in men and women, 
eyes for their higher, finer qualities, in spite of weaknesses, faith in the 
good he saw in them, encouragement for their achievement of their best. 
What he has written about his optimism may be applied to his whole 
mature personalitythat it was 'the slowly fructifying product of a deep- 
lying faith in a loving and victorious God,' a confidence 'that Love 
works, and works triumphantly, at the Heart of Things.' " 

The Board of Directors of Bryn Mawr College recited in the minute 
it adopted about Rufus that he had been: 

". . . elected a Trustee of Bryn Mawr College in 1898 when a young 
man only thirty-five years of age. After fifty years of service as a mem- 
ber of this Board, he recalled the joy he felt when he became connected 
with this great institution of learning. He entered into the work with en- 
thusiasm, and his services were outstanding. He was for many years 
Chairman of the Religious Life Committee, often spoke at Sunday Eve- 
ning Chapel Services, delivered the baccalaureate sermon on two occa- 
sions, and once the commencement address. For twenty years he was 
President of the Board of Trustees. 

"But Rufus M. Jones's contribution to Bryn Mawr cannot be measured 
by a recital of the positions he held, notable as they were. His influence 
permeated the lif e of the College during the half century of his connec- 
tion with it. It was as he said of its Quaker heritage 'too illusive to be 
listed or catalogued in concrete terms' but contributed to 'the complete 
consecration and commitment of the College to the pursuit of truth and 
loyalty to it, which has always been a leading aspect of the Quaker 

"Our loss seems irretrievable, but although he is no longer with us, his 
influence on the life of the College is not ended but will live on for many 
years to come." 

The Executive Committee of the American Friends Service Committee 
on July 7, 1948, formally expressed its: 


". . . deep sense of gratitude for the long, intelligent, and dedicated 
service that has been rendered by Rufus.M. Jones to the American 
Friends Committee. He was its first Chairman from 1917 to 1928. He was 
Honorary Chairman from 1929 to 1934. He became the Chairman again 
from 1935 to 1944, and then resumed the status of Honorary Chairman 
for the rest of his life. Throughout that entire period he was devoted and 
faithful in attending not only the meetings of the Board of Directors but 
the general Service Committee sessions and many of its section 
meetings. . . . 

"Although at the beginning Rufus Jones accepted the Chairmanship of 
the Committee with reluctance and stated that he felt he would not be 
able to spend a great deal of time attending committee meetings, subse- 
quent events proved otherwise. Not only was he most faithful in attend- 
ance at meetings, but his buoyant spirit of expectation constantly lifted 
his fellow workers to efforts and achievements beyond what they could 
have attempted without the stimulus of his encouragement; these stand 
as a great benediction of his lif e to the Committee. . . . 

**We . . . wish especially to express our deep gratitude for the privilege 
of working with our dear friend over these many years. It is our ardent 
prayer that we shall be able to carry forward with something of the 
same vision, dedication, and buoyance." 

The Friends Service Council in London on July i, 1948, (the British 
sister organization of the American Friends Service Committee) recorded 
the following minute: 

"At our meeting today heartfelt tributes have been paid to Rufus 
Jones as the pattern of a 'Great Friend.' He was the inspirer of the best 
that Quakerism has produced in our time. While we are sad at his pass- 
ing, we rejoice in the memory of what his example and his words have 
meant to Friends everywhere. We have been reminded that no American 
Friend since 'John Woolman has had so widespread an influence in the 

"We offer to the A.F.S.C. our sympathy in the loss of its father and 

T. Edmund Harvey, a member of British Friends Service Council, in 
forwarding the minute to Elizabeth B. Jones and Mary Hoxie Jones ex- 
pressed the wish: 

", . . that it were possible to convey to you something of the witness 
borne to his life and service by different spontaneous utterances and by 
the whole sense of the meeting. 

"We were enabled to realize how unique his service has been, world- 


wide in its scope and giving help and bringing inspiration to so many 
different lives, in so many lands. We are grateful for the aid which his 
teaching has given through the written word, the help and strength 
which has come from his ministry and his wise guidance and creative 
initiative in work for peace and reconciliation and in uniting Friends 
in the service of the Kingdom of God throughout the world. The light 
of Christ shone through him and enabled him to unite the tasks and the 
gifts of the statesman and the prophet." 



Bishop, George. New England Judged. London: T. Sowle, 1703. 

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Braithwaite, William C. The Beginnings of Quakerism. London: Mac- 

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. The Second Period of Quakerism. London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 


Carrel, Alexis. Man the Unknown. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935. 
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& Co., Ltd., 1941. 
. Quakers in the Modern World. London: Macmillan Co., Ltd., 

Dearmer, Rev. Percy. The Fellowship of Silence. Edited by Cyril 

Hepher. London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1917. 
Finkelstein, Louis, (ed.) American Spiritual Biographies. New York: 

Harper & Brothers, 1948. 
Fox, George. Journal. Norman Penney, ed. 
Fry, A. Ruth. John Sellers (1654-1725) Quaker, Economist and Social 

Reformer. London: Cassell & Co., Ltd., 1935. 
Grubb, Edward. What Is Quakerism? London: George Allen & Un- 

win, Ltd., 1949. 
Gummere, Amelia M. The Quaker In The Forum. Philadelphia: The 

John C. Winston Company, 1910. 
Hart, Albert Bushnell, ed. A History of The American Nation. 1905. 26 

Jones, Mary Hoxie. Swords Into Plowshares. New York: The Macmillan 

Company, 1937. 

Jones, Lester M. Quakers In Action. New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1929. 
Jones, Rufus M. A Boy's Religion from Memory. Philadelphia: Ferris, 

. A Call to What Is Vital. New York: The Macmillan Company, 


. A Preface to Christian Faith In & New Age. New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1932. 



. Eli & Sybil Jones. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1889. 

. A Service of Love in Wartime. New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1920. 
-. A Small Town Boy. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1941. 

. Finding the Trail of Life. New York: The Macmillan Company, 


. Haverford College, A History and an Interpretation. New York: 

The Macmillan Company, 1933. 

. New Studies in Mystical Religion. New York: The Macmillan 

Company, 1928. 

. Radiant Life. New York: The Macmillan Company, April, 1944. 

. Rethinking Religious Liberalism. Boston: The Beacon Press, 1935. 

. Saint Paul, the Hero. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1917. 

. Spiritual Energies in Daily Life. New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1923. 

. Spiritual Reformers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. 

London: The MacMillan Company, 1914. 

. Stories of Hebrew Heroes. London: Headley Brothers Publishers, 


. Studies in Mystical Religion. London: The MacMillan Company, 


. The Boy Jesus and His Companions. New York: The Macmillan 

Company, 1922. 

. The Faith and Practice of the Quakers. London: Methuen & Co,, 

Ltd., 1927. 

. The Flowering of Mysticism. New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1939. 

. The Later Periods of Quakerism. London: The MacMillan Com- 
pany, 1921. 2 volumes. 

. The Luminous Trail. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1^47. 

. The New Quest. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1929. 

The Quakers in the American Colonies. London: Macmillan Co., 

Ltd., 1911. 

. The Story of George Fox. New York: The Macmillan Company, 


. The Trail of Life in College. New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1929. 

. The Trail of Life in the Middle Years. New York: The Macmil- 
lan Company, 1934. 

Jorns, Auguste. The Quakers as Pioneers In Social Work. Trans, by 
Thomas Kite Brown, Jr. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1931. 

Kelsey, Rayner W. Friends and the Indians. Philadelphia: Associated 
Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, 1917. 

Marx, Karl. Capital. 


Mordell, Albert. Quaker Militant, John Greenleaf Whittier. Boston: 

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1933. 
Preface to Fox' Journal (Bicentenary edition). 
Proceedings of Conference of Friends in America. 1898. 
Sharpless, Isaac. A History of Quaker Government in Pennsylvania. 

Philadelphia: T. S. Leach & Co., 1900. 2 volumes. 
Thomas, Allen C. A History of Friends in America. Philadelphia: The 

John C. Winston Company, 1919. 
Thomas, Edward. Quaker Adventures. New York: Fleming H. Revell 

Company, 1928. 

Trevelyan George Macaulay. English Social History. London: Long- 
mans, Green & Company, Inc., 1942. 
Trueblood, D. Elton. Alternative to Futility. New York: Harper & 

Brothers, 1948. 
. The Trustworthiness of Religious Experience. London: George 

Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1939. 
Westcott, Brooke Foss. Social Aspects of Christianity. New York: The 

Macmillan Company, 1900. 
Wieman, H. N. and Meland, B. E. American Philosophies of Religion. 

Chicago: Willet, Clark & Company, 1936. 
Whitney, Janet. John Woolman, American Quaker. Boston: Litde, 

Brown & Company, 1942. 
Wood, Herbert G. George Fox. 


American Friends Fellowship Council, pamphlets from 1941 to date. 
Brinton, Howard H. Guide To Quaker Practice. Pendle Hill pamphlet, 


Contributions of Quakers. Pendle Hill pamphlet, 1947. 
Friends Historical Association Bulletins, issued during past eight years. 
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August 1942. 
. Original Quakerism a Movement, Not a Sect. Lecture at Five 

Years Meeting, October, 1945, Richmond, Indiana. 
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Blake, 1892. 

. Re-Thinking Missions. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1932. 

The Quaker Message. Pendle Hill Pamphlet No. 40. Compiled by Sidney 

Lucas. Wallingford, Pa.: Pendle Hill, 1948. 
Trueblood, D. Elton. A Radical Experiment. William Penn Lecture, 

Philadelphia: The Young Friends Movement, 1947. 
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Friends Book Store, not dated. 


Quaker Embassies. London: Friends Service Council, 1935. 
Wigham, J. Cuthbert. Quaker Service, Past, Present and Future. Lon- 
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Annals of The Pioneer Settlers of the White Water Valley. 
Coffin, Addison. Guilford Collegian, IV, 1891-92. 
Coffin, Levi. Reminiscences. Cincinnati, 1876. 
Evans, Joshua. Journal, in Friends Miscellany, X, 158-162. 
Friends' Miscellany, v. XII 

"A Brief Account," 220-222. 

Borden Stanton, 216-219. 
Hoover, David. Memoirs. Richmond, Ind., 1857. 
Osborn, Charles. Journal. Cincinnati, 1854. 
Weeks, Stephen B. Southern Quakers and Slavery. Baltimore, 1896. 


Adams, John, 29 

Men, A. V. G., 118 

All Friends Conference, 23372. 

American Friend, The, 6, 124, 131, 

132, 133, 144, 166, 170, 216, 222, 

251 n. 9 262, 282, 285 (see also 

Friends Review) 
American Friends Fellowship Council, 

the, 204 
American Friends Service Committee, 

the, 5, 6, 142, 162, 163, 193 
in World War I, 194 ff., 196, 197, 

198, 201, 202, 203-204 
Message Committee of, 204 (see 

American Friends Fellowship 

Council), 233, 234, 235, 236, 253, 

262, 263, 276, 277, 286, 288, 291, 


American Missionary Movement, 73 
American Philosophies of Religion, 


American Red Cross, 195 
American Revolution, 29, 33 
American Spiritual Biographies, 62 n. 
Amin Bey Abdulhadi, 238 
Andrew, Governor John A., 74 
Angell, Dr. James Rowland, 5, 163 
Anglicanism, 258 
Apocrypha, the, 248 
Apology of Robert Barclay, 9 
Apostles, the, 259 
Arabs, the, 75 
Archdal, Governor, 22 
"Are We Ready?" an address and a 

tract, 208 
Aristotle, 219 

Arnold, Dean Samuel T., 176 
"Aroostook War," 72 
Athenagoras, Archbishop, 239 
Augustine, St., 226 
Austin, Ann, 261 
Austin, Jane, 23 
Aydelotte, Frank, 277 
Ayres lectures, the, 235 

Bailey, Hannah, 116 
Baily, Joshua L., 128 
Banks, General, 74 
Barclay, Robert, 9, 259 

Barnes, Clifford, 183 

Barnett, Eugene E., 172 n. 

Barrie, Sir James M., 131 

Barton, Dr. George A., 145, 146 

Battey, Thomas J., 96 fl. 

Bean, Joel, 31 

Beginnings of Quakerism, the, 17072. 

Bellers, John, 21 

Benezet, Anthony, 105 

Bennet, Justice, 9 

Bergraav, Bishop Eivind, 239 

Berkeley, 243 

Bible, the, 43, 69, 84, 85, 117, 155, 184, 

258, 289 

Biglow Papers, The, 273 
Bishop, George, 23 n. 
Blaine, James G., 82, 91 
Board of Managers of Pendle Hill, 

the, 172 

Bodleian Library, the, 170 
Boehme, Jacob, 10, 244 
Bowdoin College, 79 
Boy Jesus and His Companions, the, 

17872., 286 

Boy's Religion, A, 178 n. 
Braithwaite, Bevan, 117 
Braithwaite, William C., 117, 170, 285, 


Brend, William, 261 
Bright, John, 7672, 117 
British Friends, 190, 192 (see also 

British Friends Service Council, the, 


British Museum, the, 216 
Brooks, Phillips, 119 
Brown, T. Wistar, 128 
Brown University, 162, 176 
Brown, William Adams, 177 
Browning, Robert, 104, 115, 273, 288 
Brummana, 75, 76 

Bryn Mawr College, 68, 125, 127, 128, 
145, 159 .,177,262 

Chair of Philosophy and Religion 
at, 287 

Board of Directors of, 292 
Buddhism, 171 

Bulletin, the Philadelphia, 253 
Bull Street Quaker Meeting, 117 




Bushnell, Horace, 108 
Byron, Lord, 104 

Cabot, Dr. Richard, 196 

Cadbury, Elizabeth Bartram, 146, 165 

(see also Jones, Elizabeth Cad- 

Cadbury, Dr. Henry J., 195, 263 
Cadbury, Joel, 128 
Caesar, Julius, 119 

Call to What Is Vital, A, 223, 228-30 
Calvary Church of NYC, 167 
Calvinism, Puritan, 258 
Capital, 21 n. 

Carl Schurz Foundation, the, 216 
Carlyle, Thomas, 104, 108, 115, 274 
Carrel, Dr. Alexis, 210 
Carver, George Washington, 188 
Chase, Prof. Pliny E., 103-04, 109, 112, 

116, 118, 135, 211, 251, 275, 289 
Chase, Thomas, 103 
Chester Monthly Meeting, 25 
Children of Light, 9, 12 
China Library Society, the, 70 
Chinese Christian Movement, the, 172 
Christianity, 142, 165, 167, 171, 214, 

245, 258, 283 
Christian Worker, the, 127, 131, 132, 

262 (see also American Friend, 


Church's Debt to Heretics, the, 289 
Civil War, the, 55 
Civil War in England, n 
Clare College, 123 
Clark, Dr. Glenn, 188 
Clarke, Prof. William Newton, 145 
Classical School in Athens, 184 
Clement of Alexandria, 146 
Qerkenwell, 21 
Cocks, William, 51 n. 
Colby College, 122, 162 n. 
Colby College Library, 222 
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 35 
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, 

2 35 

Colgate University, 145, 16272. 
Columbia University, 16272. 
Comfort, Dr. William Wistar, 162, 288 
Commentaries of Caesar, 119 
Communist Youth International Con- 
gress, 171 

Conference of Friends in Indianapolis, 
140 ff. 

Confucianism, 170 

Congregationalists, 36 

Continental Army, 33 

Continuity of Christian Thought, The, 


Cooke, G. W., 211 
Coutant, Sarah Hawkshurst, 119, 286 

(see also Jones, Sarah Coutant) 
Cromwell, Oliver, 9, 11, 124 

Dante, 122, 274 

Davison, Henry P., 195 

Day of Broken Glass, the, 234, 276, 


Dearmer, Percy, 15, 1572. 
"A declaration from the harmless and 

innocent people of God, called 

Quakers," 20 
De Valera, Eamon, 278 
Dewsbury, William, 260 
Dirigo Meeting House, 46, 64, 66, 67, 

7*, 187 

Divine Comedy, 122 
Double Search, The, 222 
Drew, Joseph, 26 
Dynamic Faith, A, lectures, 146 

Earlham College, 37, 139, 13972., 162, 


Earl lectures, the, 235 
Early Church History, 117 
East Pond Meeting, 43 
Eckhart, Meister, 218, 244 
Elders,, 17 

Eli and Sybil Jones, 4 72, 82 72. 
Eliot, Dr. Charles W., 115, 183, 271, 


Eliot, Dr. Samuel A., 183, 253 
Elkinton, Howard, 278 
Elliott, Errol, 25172., 282 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 108, 109, 211, 


Emporia, Kansas, 3972. 
English Social History, 12 n. 
Epistles, the, 155 
Epistles of George Fox, 257 
Essays to Elia, 14 
"Eternal Goodness, The," a poem, 251 

Faust, 122 

Fay, Dr. Percival, 151 
Federal Council of Churches of Christ 
in America, 252 


3 OI 

Federal Council of Churches, 235 
"Pillars of Peace" Committee of, 


Fellowship of Reconciliation, 262 
Fellowship of Silence, The, 15 n. 
Finkelstein, Louis, 62 n. 
First Publishers, 105 
Fischer, Prof. Kuno, 118 
Fisher, Mary, 23, 261 
Fisher, Most Reverend Geoffrey Fran- 
cis, 239 

Five Years Meeting in 1902, 145 
Five Years Meeting, 194, 235 
Flowering of Mysticism, The, 21072., 

216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 2-1 
Fosdick, Dr. Harry Erne 1 : 66, 

239, 269-70 
Foster, William, 37 
Fowler, Albert, 153 
Fox, George, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 109, 

124, 128, 138, 185, 212, 214, 226, 

244, 253, 257 
Epistles of, 259 
Finding the Trail of Life, 53, 56, 57 n., 

77, 85, 92, 93, 100, 222 n. 
Francis of Assisi, St., 146, 147, 226, 


French and Indian War, 27 
Friends, American, 164 
English, 164, 165, 166 
Irish, 164 

Friends Boarding School, 113 
Friends Central College, Nebraska, 


Friends Central School, 52 
Freinds Conference, 145 
Friends General Conference (Hick- 
site), 194 

Friends Institute, 194 
Friends Intelligencer, 127, 23572., 

23672., 257, 275, 282, 284, 287 
Friends of South China, 67 (see also 

South China Friends) 
Friends Review, 6, 126, 127, 128, 129, 

130 ff., 164, 222, 262, 285 (see also 

American Friend, The) 
Friends School, Providence, R. L, 54, 

69, 94, 119, 285 (see also Moses 

Brown School) 
Friends Social Union, 236 
Friend, The [London], 117, 164, 

16572., 166, 222, 233 72,, 252, 282, 

288, 290 

Friends University, Kansas, 52, 13972. 

Fry, Elizabeth, 37 

Fry, Joan, 278 

Fundamental Ends of Life, 222 

Gandhi, Mohandas K., 172, 278 
Garrett, John B., 127 
Geist, Raymond, 279-80 
George Fox, 13 n. 

George Fox College, Oregon, 13972. 
German Friends, 278 
Germantown Monthly Meeting, 25 
Gestapo, 235, 280, 281 
Gifford, Dr. Seth K., 96, 102 
Gifford, Mrs. Seth K., 95 
Gilkey, Dr. Charles W., 176 
Gladden, Washington, 145 
"God in Christ," 290 
Goebbels, Joseph, 276, 278 
Goering, Herman, 276 
Goethe, 115, 122, 274 
Grant, Ulysses S., 90 
Great Divide, The, 34 
"Great Experiment, A," 190 
Green, Thomas Hill, 153 
Grubb, Edward, 11, n 72., 13 
Guilford College, 37, 13972. 
Gummere, Amelia M., 289 
Gummere, Dr. Francis B., 176, 289 
Gurney, Joseph John, 37 ff., 107-8 
Gurney-Wilbur controversy, 38 ff. 

Hafez Afidi Pasha, 238 

Hall, Charles Cuthbert, 269 

Hamilton, Andrew, 25 

Harlem village, 41, 42 

Harris, J. Rendel, 123, 145, 164 

Harvard University, 36, 43, 107, 113, 
119, 124, 145, 16272., 183, 195, 235, 

Harvey, T. Edmund, 293 

Haverford College, 6, 28, 36, 68, 96, 
101-4, no, in, 113, 114, 123, 124, 
125 ff., 136, 137, 13972., 145, 14972., 
150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, I59&1 
170, 183, 184, 192, 195, 196, 212, 
*3 2 > 2 33 2 35> 2 37 2 39 *53 274, 
285, 288, 289, 290 
Board of Managers of, 291 

Haverford College Library, 
Treasure Room of, 221; 289 

Haverford Friends Meeting House, 



Haverfordian, The, no, 158, 222 

Haverford News, the, 232 

Hayes-Tilden election, 91 

Hebrew Heroes, 17872. 

Hepher, Cyril, 1572. 

Hertzog, Rabbi Isaac, 238 

Heydrich the "Hangman," 280, 281 

Hicks, Elias, 35 

Hicksite Friends, the, 89, 127 

History of Quaker Government In 
Pennsylvania^ A, 2872. 

Hitler, Adolph, 277, 278 

Hodgkin, Henry T., 262 

Hodgkin, Violet, 138 

Hole, Allen, 278 

Holland,]. G., 115 

Holy Land, the, 73, 75 

Homer's Odyssey, 56 

Hoover, Herbert, 68, 201, 251 

Hoover, John Y., 68 

Hours with the Mystics, 215 

Hoxie, Mary Gifford, 50, 51, 285 (see 
Jones, Mary Hoxie [Mrs. Ed- 

Hoxie, Matthew, 50, 51 

Hoxie, Salome, 50, 51 

Hubben, William, 23672., 284 

Humanists, 20 

Hussey, Abigail, 105 

'Immortality," 235 

"Imperfect Sympathies," 14 

Indians, Quakers and, 22, 30, 90, 127, 

Inge, Dean of St. Paul's; 7 

Ingersoll lecture, the, 235 

Inner Light, doctrine of the, n, 13, 
20, 35, 108, 205, 211, 290 

Institute of Social and Religious Re- 
search, 172 

C>OmmiSSlOn Oil 

Jacob, Charles A., 52, 64, 100, 116 
James, William, 122, 168, 220, 287 
Jepson, EH, 45 
Jepson, Jedediah, 44 
Jepson, John, 44 

Jepson, Susannah, 44 (see Jones, Su- 
Jerusalem, 75 

Jewish Institute of Religion, 16272. 
Jews in Germany, 234, 276 ff., 286 

Johns Hopkins University, 123, 128 

Jones, Abel, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 
51, 52, 66, 7072. 

Jones, Alice, 60 

Jones, Arthur W., 52 

Jones, Augustine, 52, 54, 94, 95, 119 

Jones, Barclay, 52 

Jones, Caleb, 7072. 

Jones, Edwin, 48, 50, 51, 52, 54, 58, 
59, 7072., 185, 285 

Jones, EH, 55, 63, 66, 67, 69, 70 ff., 
7072., 73, 74, 75, 76, 80, 100, 116, 
119, 135, 184, 288 

Jones, EHzabeth Cadbury, 146, 154, 
172, 1841!., 216, 233, 234, 243, 251, 
287, 293 (see Cadbury, Elizabeth 

Jones, Ephraim, 70 72. 

Jones, E. Stanley, 278 

Jones, Herbert, 60, 184-85 

Jones, James Parnell, 55 

Jones, Lemuel, 70 72. 

Jones, Lowell Coutant, 146, 147, 168, 
286, 288 

Jones, Mary, 48 

Jones, Mary Hoxie, 147, 170, 172, 185, 
20272., 251, 287, 293 

Jones, Mary Hoxie (Airs. Edwin), 52, 
54, 58, 59, 285 (see Hoxie, Mary 

Jones, Noah, 7072. 

Jones, Peace, 48, 50, 57, 58, 64, 67, 100, 
113, 114, 116, 185, 211, 285 

Jones, Richard M., 52, 116 

Jones, Rufus Matthew, birth of, 54; 
formative years of, 541?.; Trail 
books, 55, 56, 61; in South China, 
60 ff.; in school, 78 ff.; at Friends 
School, Providence, 94 fL, iiSff.; 
at Haverford College, 99 ff., 125 ff.; 
at Friends Boarding School, Union 
Springs, ii4ff.; in Europe, n6ff.; 
at Oak Grove Seminary, 119 ff.; 
conception of Quakerism, 128 ff.; 
as itinerant minister, 138-39, 145; 
degrees conferred upon, 162 72.; in 
Asia, 171, 172; his visit with 
Gandhi, 172; in Palestine, 172; at 
Pendle Hill, i84ff.; as Chairman 
of Service Committee, i95ff.; 
mysticism of, 214; as author, 
221 ff.; and hostiHties in Jerusalem, 
1948, 237 ff.; colleges and univer- 



sides at which he spoke, 264; 
commencement address at Haver- 
ford College, 1934, 270; tributes 
to, 282-94 

Jones, Sarah Coutant, 119 (see Cou- 
tant, Sarah Hawkshurst) 

Jones, Stephen A., 52 

Jones, Susannah, 48, 51, 52, 58, 66 
(see Jepson, Susannah) 

Jones, Sybil, 66, 67, 70, 70*2., 73, 75, 

"9. !35i z88 
"Jones they can't keep up with, the," 


Jones, Thomas, 70 . 
Jones, Walter, 59 
Jones, Wilmot R., 52 
Jones, Wilmot R., Sr., 52 
Journal of George Fox, 9, 140., 20 n. 
Journals of John Woolman, 47, 214 
Journals of Joseph Gurney, 37 
Journals, Quaker, 47, 105 

Kagawa, Toyohiko, 188 
Kennebec County, 41, 49 
King, Rufus, 68, 261 
Kipling, Rudyard, 270, 283 

Lamb, Charles, 14, 47 

Later Periods of Quakerism, The, 

3i- 35, 37.47. W 1 - 
Laud, Archbishop, 258 
Laymen's Foreign Mission Inquiry, 


Leland Stanford University, 112 
Lewis, Dr. Win. Draper, 183 
Lieftinck, Jim, 278 
Life and Thought of Emerson, 211 
Life of Abraham Lincoln, 115 
Lincoln, President A., 55, 245 
London Yearly Meeting, 16, 21, 27, 

28, 164 

Service Council of, 286 
Lowell, James Russell, 104, 123, 273, 


Luminous Trail, The, 83 
Luther, Martin, 215, 226, 245 
Lyon, Prof. David G., 145 

Macdonald, George, 178, 273 
Magdalene, 226 
Maine Legislature, 71 ff. 
Manchester Guardian, The, 252 
"Man Himself, The," 290 

Man the Unknown, 210 
Mansur Pasha Fahmy, 238 
Marburg University, 16272., 170 
Markley, Dr. Joseph L., 113 
Marlatt, Charles Lester, 183 
Marx, Karl, 21 72. 
Masonic Order, 279 
Massachusetts Bay Colony, 23, 24 
Mathews, Dean Shailer, 176 
"Meeting, The," a poem, 106 
Message of Friends for Today, The 9 


Michigan State College, 235 
Mill Brook School, 52 
Milton, 104, 117 
Ministers, itinerant, 46-47, 65 
Monthly Meeting, first, 16 
Moody, Dwight L., 126 
Moon, Charles T., 151 
Moore, Prof. George Foot, 145 
Morley, Felix, 153 
Mormons, 27 
Mormon Temple, 59 
Moses Brown Boarding School, 52, 
285 (see also Friends School, 
Providence, R. I.) 
Morris, Dr. Joseph Paul, 150 
Mott, John R., 239, 251 
Mount Lebanon, 75 
Murphy, Grayson Mallet-Prevost, 195 
Murray, Augustus T., 112, 136, 184 
Mussolini, 278 
Mysticism, 64, 98, 103, 109, 112, n6, 


Quaker, 117, 129, 214; 119 
Christian, 124, 210; 188, 210 ff. 
defined, 210-11 
of Jones, 214, 285, 289 (see Mystics; 

Religion, Mystical) 
Mystics, the, 13, 20, 115 (see Mysti- 
cism; Religion, Mystical) 

Nature and Authority of Conscience, 

The, 222 

Nazi Party, 234, 276, 286 
Nettieton, Prof., 163 
Nevada State University, 52 
Newbolt, Sir Henry, 182 
Newman, Sir George, 177 
New England Judged, 23 n. 
New England Yearly Meeting, 3, 43, 

140, 257, 263, 288 
New Garden Boarding School, 36 



New Quest, The, 223 

New Studies in Mystical Religion, 

213 n. 
New Testament, 21, 72, 142, 152, 155, 


New York Herald Tribune, 252 
New York Times, 287 
Nicholson, Vincent, 197 
Nobel Prize, 113 
Nobel Prize for Peace, 286 
North Carolina Yearly Meeting, 26 

Oak Grove Seminary, 70, 80, 119 if., 

181, 184, 285 
Oakwood School, 285 
Old Testament, 4, 85, 152, 289 
Orthodox Philadelphia Friends, 36 
Otto, Dr. Max C, 222 
Otto, Dr. Rudolf, 216 n. 
"Our Day in the German Gestapo," 

2 75 

Overseers, 17 
Oxford University, 184 

Pacific College, Oregon, 1397*. 

Pacific School of Religion, 235 

Palmer, George Herbert, 183, 193 

Pantheism, 108 

Parker, E. S., 90 

Parks, Marion Edwards, 177 

Pathways to the Reality of God, 222 

Peabody, Dr. Francis G., 183 

Peace Conference at Winona Lake, 

Ind., 192 

Peer, J. Hubert, 165 n., 166 
Pendle Hill, 185 ff., 236 
Perm College, 16272. 
Penn, William, 14, 21, 22, 24 
Pennsylvania, University of, 183 
Philadelphia Award, 162 
Philadelphia Bok Award, 287 
Philadelphia Friends, 288 
Philadelphia Record, 278 
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 25, 26, 

28 32, 33 35. 3 8 "o. "7 
Orthodox branch of, 129, 132, 194 

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Commit- 
tee, 102 

Pickett, Clarence E., 5, 197, 251, 276, 

Plato, 157, 274 

Plotinus, 259 

Pond Meeting House, 45, 187 

Present Day Papers, 222, 286 
Prolegomena to Ethics, 153 
"Proposals" of John Sellers, 21 
Protestantism, 15 
Psychology, 122 
Publishers of Truth, 260 
Pumphrey, Stanley, 67 

Quakerism, 8ff. 
conservative, 127 
fast, 38 ff. 
four types of, 127 
in England, 9 ff., 12, 12 n., 23 
Jones's conception of, 128 ff. 
liberal, 127 

mystical aspect of, 129 
Orthodox Philadelphia, 131, 133, 

138, 140 ff., 170, 171, 189 ff.-, 1985., 

and slavery, 73, no, 119, 124, 125, 


slow, 38 ff., 40 

unification of Philadelphia, 236, 253, 

257 ff., 261, 262 (see Quaker) 
Quakerism, American, Great Divide 
in, 34, 46, 142, 144, 145, 264, 283, 
287, 291 (see Quakerism; Quaker 
movement; Quakers) 
Quaker movement, 9ff., 112, 123 
in America, 173, 189 
mystical quality of, 212, 214, 259 
(see Quakerism; Quakerism, Am- 
erican; Quakers) 
"Quaker Meeting," 14 
Quaker Movement, The History of 

the, 17072. 
Quakers, persecution of, 15 ff., 236% 

Gurneyite, 38 ff., 192 
migration of, 26 ff . 
population of, 38 
and slavery, 25 ff., 30, 33 
Wilburite, 38 ff. 

and World War I, 194 ff., 281 (see 
Quakerism; Quakerism, Ameri- 
can; Quaker Movement) 
Quaker Saints, 138 
Quakers in American Colonies, The, 

Quakers in the American C&lonies, 

The, 5372., 17072. 
Queries, 17, 121-22, 267 
Quietism, 34, 35, 117 



Radical Experiment, A, wn. 
Radical Experiment, A, William Perm 

Lecture, ion. 
RamaUah, 75, 184 
Reformation, 259 
Religion, Mystical, 104, 117-18, 285 

(see also Mysticism, Mystics) 
Religious Society of Friends, 9, 10, 16, 

36, 89, 100, 107, no, 121, 125, 126, 

129, 132, 135, 142, 162, 172, 176, 

185, 190 
National Headquarters of, 194, 203, 

206, 215, 221 
unification of, 236 ff., 245, 253, 258, 

279, 283, 285 
Renaissance, 245 
Restoration, 12, 260 
Retreat (at York, England), 22 
Rhoades, Dr. James E., 68, 127, 262 
Richards, Dr. Theodore William, 112- 


Robinson, John, 3 

Robinson, William, 261 

Rockefeller, Mr. & Mrs. John D., 183 

Roosevelt, Edith, 51 n. 

Roosevelt, Theodore, 51 n. 

Rouse, Lydia, 117 

Rountree, Arnold, 177 

Rowntree, John Wilhelm, 123-24, 145, 
179, 251, 285, 288 

Rowntree, Joseph, 170 

Rowntree series, 285 (see also Rown- 
tree, John Wilhelm) 

Royce, Josiah, 122 

Rush, Nixon Orwin, 222 

Russell, Elbert, 38 n. 

Russell, Henry G., 154 

St. Paul, 155, 182, 226 

St. Paul the Hero, 17872. 

Sankey, 126 

Santayana, George, 146 

Saranac Lake, 145 

Scarborough Summer School, 164 

Schacht, Hjalmar, 277 

Schiller, 115 

Schmidt, Prof. Karl, 215 

Schneider, Ludwig, 276, 277 

Scull, David, 123, 128 

Second Period of Quakerism, 170 n. 

Sermon on the Mount, 155 

Service of Love in Wartime, 195, 196 

Shakespeare, 102, 271, 274 

Sharpless, Isaac, 28, 28 n., 127, 17072., 

251, 289 
Sherrill, Right Reverend Henry Knox, 


Shoemaker, Reverend Samuel, 167 
Simple Life, The, 166 
Sippell, Dr. Theodore, 21672. 
Slavery, Quakers and, 13, 22 
Small Town Boy, A, 4, 52, 54, 67, 


Smith, Ada, 188 

Smith, Logan Pearsall, 113 

Smuts, General Jan, 234 

"Snow Bound," 105 

Social Aspects of Christianity, 1272. 

Social Law in the Spiritual World, 
165, 166, 222, 269 

Society of Friends; see Religious So- 
ciety of Friends 

Socrates, 167 

Solomon, 187 

Song of Songs, 187 

South African Friends, 234 

South China, Maine, 48, 49, 51-53. 

54, 55 93* J ?4 l86 > "9 H 1 ff - z8 5 
South China Friends, 55, 65, 68 
South China Library Association, 115 
Spirit in Man, 222, 235 
Spirit of Modern Philosophy, 122 
Spiritual Energies m Daily Life, 212, 

223, 226-28 
Spiritual Reformers in the 16th and 

17th Centuries, 17072., 21672. 
["Square"] Friend, The, 127, 132 
Stanford University, 235 (see also Le- 

land Stanford University) 
Stokes, James M., 152 
Story of the Camisards, 117 
Story of George Fox, The, 178 72. 
Studies in Mystical Religion, 17072., 

21672., 289 
Sturge, Joseph, 108 
Sturge, Paul, 278 
Survey Graphic, 190, 191 
Sutton, Richard, 251 
Swarthmore College, 90, 125, 13972., 

162 72., 233, 277 
Swarthmore, England, 16 
Swords Into Plowshares, 20272. 

Taft, Charles P., 25: 
Taft, William Howard, 191 
Talbot, Caroline, 68 

306 INDEX 

Taoism, 171 

Taylor, Ernest, 260 

Taylor, Frederick R., 154, 155 

Taylor, Myron, 279 

Teller, Chester Jacob, 149 

Tennyson, 104, 115, .73, 288 

"Testimony" against war, 20-21 

Testimony of the Soul, The, 222 

Theodore Roosevelt Association, 162 

Theodore Roosevelt Medal for Dis- 
tinguished Service, 163, 287 

Thomas, Dr. James Carey, 128 

Thomas, M. Carey, 128 

Thomas, Wilbur K., 197, 262-63 

'Three Wise Men, The," 278 

Times (London), 252, 287 

Tobias, Clarence E., Jr., 221 

"To Eli and Sybil Jones," 74 

Toleration Act of 1689, 18, 20 

Toynbee, Arnold, 285 

Trail books, 83 

Trail of Life in College, The, 10072., 
104, 108, 109, in, 115, 124, 222 n. 

Trail of Life in the Middle Years, 
The, 12872., 147, 156, 169, 174, 182, 

212, 213, 214, 220, 22272., 24! 

"Tramp Royal," 270-71 
Transcendental School, 109 
Trent River Monthly Meeting, 26 
Trevelyan, George Macaulay, 12, 1277. 
Triennial National Convention, 171, 

i? 2 

Trueblood, D. Elton, 772., ion. 
Tuke, William, 22 
Twain, Mark, 91 
Tylor, Charles, 117 

Union Church in Northeast Harbor, 


Union Springs, 114, 115 
Upsall, Nicholas, 261 
University of Calif ornia, 151 
University of Chicago, 176 
University of Michigan, 113 
University of Pennsylvania, 113, 125 

Valiant Sixty, The, 260 
Vassalboro, 41, 70 
Vassalboro Meeting, 135 
Vaughan, 215 
von Hiigel, Baron, 253 
von Rath, Ernst, 276 

Walton, George A., 234, 276, 286 

Waldensians, 21 

Ward, Artemus, 91 

Weeks Mills, 79 

Wescott, Bishop Brooke Foss, 12, 12 72, 

West Africa, 73 

Westtown School, 102 

Wetherald, William, 68 

What Is Quakerism?, n n. 

Whitall, James, 128 

White, Gilbert F., 237, 239 

Whittier College, Calif., 13972., 162, 


Whittier, John, 105 
Whittier, John Greenleaf, 74, 104, 

105 ff., 117, 119, 168, 214, 251, 288 
Wicksteed, Philip H., 146 
Wider Quaker Fellowship, 6, 204 -flF. 
Wieman, H. N., and Meland, B. E., 


Wigginbrook Lake, 42 
Wilbur, John, 38, 108 
Wilbur-Gurney separation, 107 
William Penn Charter School, 52, 116 
William Penn College, Iowa, 13972. 
Williams College, 16272., 245 
Wilmington College, Ohio, 13972. 
Wilmington Friends School, 52 
Wilson, President, 195 
Woman's rights, 76 
Wood, Dr. Henry, 97 
Wood, Herbert G., 1372. 
Wood, James, 127, 144 
Wood, Richard R., 23372. 
Woodbroke Settlement for Religious 

Study, 165 

Woodbrook School, 171 
Woodhouse, 261 
Woolman, John, 13, 25-26, 105, 168, 

214, 215, 286, 293 
Wordsworth, William, 35, 64, 243, 

273, 288 

Work Camps projects, 263 
World Conference of Friends, 233 
World War I, 189 
Wylie, Sir Francis, 177 

Yale University, 162 72. 

Yarnall, D. Robert, 234, 276, 286 

Yearly Meeting of Friends for N. 

England, 144 

Young Friends Movement, The, 10 72. 
YMCA, 171