John Gratton

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March 19, 2018

Have you heard of John Gratton? At age 15, Gratton had an experience of Christ’s presence, and he prayed that God “would shew me who were his people that worshipped him aright, according to his will.” Not long after, Gratton heard about Quakers who were meeting at Exton. He writes about his experience after visiting them: 

“I was confirmed that they were in that Truth of which I had been convinced, though they were so much derided by the world. There was little said in that meeting, but I sat still in it, and was bowed in spirit before the Lord, and felt him with me, and with Friends, and saw they had their minds retired, and waited to feel his presence and power to operate in their hearts, and that they were spiritual worshippers, who worshipped God in spirit and truth. I was sensible that they felt and tasted of the Lord’s goodness, as at that time I did; and though few words were spoken, yet I was well satisfied with the meeting. And there arose a sweet melody, that went through the meeting, and the presence of the Lord was in the midst of us, and more true comfort, refreshment and satisfaction did I meet with from the Lord, in that meeting, than ever I had in any meeting, in all my life before, praises be to the Lord forever. I was assured that they were his people, and guided by his Spirit, by which they came to understand his will, and were brought in their measure into true obedience to his commands, being made willing to bear his cross, deny themselves, and become fools, that they might know true wisdom, for which they wait in silence.”

A student intern from George Fox University has been working through a review copy of the 1805 publication of Gratton’s journal this semester: 

  • flagging terms or expressions that might need explaining,
  • identifying themes and categories,
  • recommending section breaks,
  • and generating prompts for discussion to accompany each section.

Part of our vision at Barclay Press is that in addition to our traditional print offerings – Fruit of the Vine quarterly devotional reader and Illuminate Friends Bible study guides, as well as new books and pamphlets – we might also preserve and adapt historic Quaker resources for contemporary Friends. Historic Friends resources can help us to understand who we are as Friends, they open our eyes to how we have changed and are changing, they inspire us to faithful courage and diligence – resources like Barclay’s Apology in Modern English and, someday soon, The Journal of John Gratton.

Eric Muhr

P.S. In this tenuous year of transition, Barclay Press must raise $25,000 in order to remain a going concern. So far this year, we’ve received $9,205 in donations and $2,200 in pledges, getting us more than 45 percent of the way to where we need to be by the end of the year. Thank you for your continuing prayer, for your words of encouragement, and for your support.


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