I view John Woolman's "A Plea for the Poor" through the eyes of my own experience. In particular, two aspects of my experience shape my vision: that of being an economist and that of being a Quaker. The economist in me is sensitive to statements about prices, wages, rents, production, distribution, equality, inequality, contracts, poverty and wealth. The Quaker in me responds especially to the language of the spirit. When Woolman speaks of God, the Creator, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, pure wisdom, Divine love, tender mercies, universal love, the Fountain of universal light and love, our Lord, our Saviour and so on, the life of the spirit is the context for my understanding and interpretation. Both streams of experience-economy and spirituality-are found in Woolman and are integrated in authentic and powerful ways. Thus, Woolman speaks to me as few others do.
Head, Tom, "The Business of Our Lives" (1996). Truth's Bright Embrace: Essays and Poems in Honor of Arthur O. Roberts. 14.