This website exists to freely share a large and invaluable collection of writings that have been almost entirely forgotten by the Christian world—the writings of the early members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). The value of these publications does not lie in their historical relevance or academic novelty, but in their containing the experiences and teachings of a large body of people who re-discovered and lived in the primitive power and purity of biblical Christianity.
Why These Writings?
The path that these men and women found, walked in, and wrote about was the same that Jesus described—narrow and difficult, requiring the surrender of one life to experience the saving power of Another. But keeping to this ancient path, they encountered the true light, life, and grace of Jesus Christ, and found that it was indeed sufficient both to cleanse their hearts and to make all things new.
The many faces of modern Christianity offer the world a confusing array of man-centered doctrines and traditions, but the true purpose and path of God have never changed. This website was created because we believe there is no other collection of resources that more accurately testifies to God’s one eternal purpose, more helpfully describes what it means to walk in His light, or more powerfully bears witness to what God will do in the lives of a people who will deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Christ. We don’t recommend the writings of the early Quakers because they were Quakers, but because they were real Christians. And it is our hope that the spiritually hungry and dissatisfied seekers of our day will find in these books the footsteps of men and women who truly walked the narrow path that leads to life.
The Society of Friends was once a large and highly-regarded Christian society with meetings established all over Great Britain, North America, parts of Europe, and some islands in the Caribbean. Many early Friends were prolific writers, publishing a large number of books and treatises, as well as journals of their Christian experiences and work in the ministry. The great majority of these valuable publications have been out of print and almost inaccessible for decades or centuries. Recently, however, great progress has been made towards the formation of enormous online archives containing scanned copies of nearly every book that exists in public domain. The creation of these online archives has happily made early Quaker writings available again, but they are scattered widely across the internet, and exist in conditions and formats that are generally both difficult to access and cumbersome to read.
For this reason, we at The Friends Library have undertaken first to gather together, restore, and digitize these old documents (written between 1650 and 1890), and then to freely offer them to the world in convenient eBook, paperback, and audio formats. We always offer an original, unedited version of these works for those who prefer the archaic language and style. But we also offer editions that have been carefully and conscientiously modernized in order to make them more understandable and hopefully more profitable for modern readers. We also have a small but growing subset of books that we have translated into Spanish.
The name Friends Library was originally the title of a 14-volume collection of approved Friends’ writings, compiled and printed between 1837 and 1850 by William Evans and Charles Evans. The Evans brothers lived at a time when the Society of Friends was experiencing a sad decline from its original power and purity, and they saw a need both to preserve and promote the early writings of Friends, and to weed out a variety of erroneous and harmful innovations that had begun to creep into the society in their day. We borrowed the name The Friends Library hoping to do very much the same thing.
Our true motivation behind the creation of this website has nothing to do with monetary gain or personal affiliation with names and movements. Our sincere and sole desire is that others will be assisted by the writings of early Friends (as we have been) to find the Pearl of great price, and learn what it means to sell all to possess it.