“We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible…So we will do them anyway.” ~William Wilberforce.
It’s certainly interesting to wonder how many of the deeds of great men and women have been lost to the pages of history. Some historians and authors consider it a sacred job to resurrect, if you will, the herculean efforts of these overlooked — perhaps, purposefully hidden? — heroes of decades past. Fortunately, Eric Metaxas (and a few before him), provide us with lasting glimpses into a man who shaped the very character of his nation. William Wilberforce was a driving force in the alignment of both government policies and cultural conscience with the love and Christianity of a people.
A key figure in ending the slave trade in Great Britain and its colonies, Wilberforce would live to see the very abolition of slavery itself in these lands. Living and serving during the time of and following the American and French Revolutions, his efforts undoubtedly drove that agenda through the world. The sheer willpower, alone, of Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect was enough to drive the agenda of abolition through dark years and staunch opposition.
The early 19th century was a time when British society, in general, had little recognition — and therefore even littler regard — for the poor and destitute of the nation. Wilberforce was a primary driver in building a sustainable social conscience; one whose impact traveled overseas and shaped American policies and perspectives.
As is common with Metaxas, he presents a thoroughly-researched historical biography as an easy-to-read narrative, which brings forward and holds high the amazing qualities of William Wilberforce. I highly encourage reading this book.