Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Life Story of Perseverance

I had heard about the movie Amazing Grace, which is the story of the life of William Wilberforce and his tireless effort to abolish the slave trade. Hearing about the man peeked my interest in knowing more about him, I am always amazed at a human, dedicating tirelessly to an effort that they believe so much in, so much that it becomes their life mission. The book that I read was written by John Piper it is 76 pages but packed full of inspiration. William Wilberforce was born in 1759 in Hull, England, he had inherited a great sum of money from his father but in his youth spent it gambling, and on life's frivolities. He became a member of parliament in 1780. At age 25 he became ashamed of his previous life and made an about dramatic change, he re-directed his life back to God. He also became close friends with John Newton, a reformed slave ship captain, that wrote Amazing Grace. It was common knowledge that a person of parliament "did not associate with, or be seen with despised evangelicals." William was also involved in many other causes, as many as 69 at one time. He worked to end the use of small boys being used as chimney sweeps, prison reform, and the prevention of cruelty to animals. Their were many who opposed William in his work to abolish slavery, money and power was at stake. William was rediculed and pressured to give up. In 1807 the slave trade was abolished, but it was not until 1833 that slavery itself was outlawed. William Wilberforce died 3 months after this last victory.
From the first few lines of a sonnet from William Cowper;
"Thy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
Hears thee by cruel men and impious call'd
Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose the enthrall'd
From exile, public sale, and slavery's chain.
Friend of the poor, the wrong'd, the feter-gall'd,
Fear not lest labor such as thine be vain."

1 comment:

cathy b. said...

Thank you for this very interesting post. I really enjoyed the movie. It reminded me Charles Woolman, an American who didn't live to see slavery abolished, but who was an important force to convince the American Quakers to eschew slavery in their own lives, and then to affect change in the nation.

In terms of human greatness, Wilberforce's era was the best of times and the worst of times.