If one were to remove all of the attestations of faith, all that would left would be less a book than an anti-slavery pamphlet more worthy of your time.
A lot of the journal is a record of what Woolman said and how he admonished his fellow Quakers, such as rejecting materialness and vanity and staying un-conformed by the world around him. Today we associate Quakers with the Abolitionist movement and rightly so, but it was Woolman rallied his fellow Friends and preached against slavery and pointed out its inconsistency with fellowship with Christ and Christian principles.
" He led a 4 star life.
As a precursor to cooperative economics, Scott Bader Commonwealth, etc.: "If a Man successful in Business expends Part of his Income in Things of no real Use, while the Poor employed by him pass through great Difficulties in getting the Necessaries of Life, this requires his serious Attention."
In a quiet way, it has a greater pedigree than Paine's, "Common Sense," or Woostonecraft's "Vindication of the Rights of Women," because in his quiet way he writes about how he went about persuading one Quaker at a time to abandon slavery as an institution.
While he does have some excellent commentary on life in the 18th century American colonies and some great arguments against slavery through the philosophy of Quakerism, much of the book is just him telling which Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly meeting that he has attended.
He was tireless in pure, selfless service for the relief of the lowliest creature and for the purposes of the Highest.
God only knows how I chose to embark upon the reading of this particular book amongst so many, but reading this journal has been very delightful. Do not seek for words but utter that to people which truth opens for you. How to be: Love God in all his manifestations in the visible world. Let no motion be attended to but that of the pure Spirit of Truth. Do not let your life become a blaspheming to the Holy name of God. O that our eyes may be single to the Lord! Feel the misery of fellow-beings who are separated from divine harmony. Labor in accordance with the gifts bestowed upon you by God. The principal ground of oppression is the desire to gratify inclinations to luxury and superfluities. On seeking the exaltation of the peaceable Kingdom of Christ: Desire that the Kingdom come. Turn the hearts of the mighty and make way for the spreading of truth on the Earth. A few of John Woolmans many insights on this matter are included below: God is graciously moving on the Hearts of People, to draw them off from the desire of wealth, and bring them into such a humble, lowly, way of living, that they may see their way clearly to repair to the Standard of true Righteousness; and not only break the yoke of oppression but know him to be their strength and support. John Woolman In purity of heart the mind is divinely opened to behold the nature of universal Righteousness, or the Righteousness of the Kingdom of God. John Woolman Great treasures managed in any other spirit than the Spirit of Truth disorders the affairs of society, for hereby the good gifts of God in this outward creation are turned into the channels of worldly honor. John Woolman Many are the vanities and luxuries of the present age, and in laboring to support a way of living conformable to the present world, the departure from that wisdom that is pure and peaceable has been great. The opening of that spring of living waters, which the true believers in Christ experience, by which they are redeemed from pride and covetousness, and brought into a state of meekness, where their hearts are enlarged in true love toward their fellow creatures universally. John Woolman The prophet Isaiah declared that a time was coming when swords should be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks and that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war anymore. In true sanctification, the understanding is opened up to behold the peaceable harmonious nature of the Kingdom. On Righteousness: We are drawn to seek Righteousness, which flows out of God like a pure river of life-giving water. John Woolman On Adversity: If, for the further promotion of his gracious purpose in the Earth, he should give us a taste of that bitter cup which his faithful ones have often partaken of, let us be right prepared to receive it. On Worship: Let us prepare our hearts to truly adore him and inwardly turn away from that spirit and all its workings which is not of him.
let us constantly endeavor to have our minds sufficiently disentangled from the surfeiting cares of this life, and redeemed from the love of the world, that no earthly possessions nor enjoyments may bias our judgments, or turn us from that resignation and entire trust in God to which his blessing is most surely annexed; then may we say, 'Our Redeemer is mighty, he will plead our cause for us.' (Jer. 1. 34.) And if, for the further promoting of his most gracious purposes in the earth, he should give us to taste of that bitter cup of which his faithful ones have often partaken, O that we might be rightly prepared to receive it!" The Quakers welcomed death, were it part of God's plan, and John Woolman, though ostensibly possessing a strong American individualist streak exemplied by his outspoken opposition to slavery, came by such a trait via his devotion to his own conscience, to which he believed God dictated His will. Quite different, then, was the true nature of his character than one might believe had one only the opportunity to observe his physical actions; by reading his thoughts we understand that his abolitionism was borne not from a rebellious spirit but from an unshakeable devotion to God. This complete submission in all aspects of life couldn't be more different from Franklin's committment to individual industry. The spiritualism, the unabashed moralizing, both I found pleasure in, given that the works of the modern age are usually soaked in America's built-up hedonism, and I particularly appreciated Woolman's points on living a simple life -- I can't disagree that one should strip out those trivialities which fail to add meaning or actual, bonafide joy to one's existence; and though for him that meaning ought to be exclusively derived from God, I'm sure, if he were alive, he'd be munificent enough not to belabour my disagreement.
And finally we read about Woolman's inner spiritual journey - his constant desire to live close to God, listening to His voice.
In 1772, Woolman traveled to England, where he urged Quakers to support abolition of slavery. Woolman published numerous essays, especially against slavery.