Being impressed by Eric Metaxas biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I knew that his earlier work, Amazing Grace, would not be a disappointment.
As Metaxas points out, recognition of Wilberforce’s global achievements has faded dramatically over two centuries. Here is a fascinating human being with intrinsic raw talent, able to rise to political heights in 18th century England, the world’s most powerful empire, and with a change of heart, willing to trade it all in in order to dedicate the remainder of his life to the pursuit of “being closer to God”. Undertaking a campaign to abolish slavery was so unrealistic at the time, that he broke the task down by initially pursuing abolition of the slave trade. His dreams of emancipation came to fruition 3 days before he expired.
Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery
by Eric Metaxas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I know of Eric Metaxas from his biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer of last year and am impressed by him as a scholar as well as an author. Amazing Grace, an earlier work by Metaxas, is equally well researched and written.
It is amazing that the global influence resulting from the lifelong achievements of William Wilberforce have become so forgotten in this day and age. I had only vaguely known of Wilberforce and his anti-slavery endeavors when I picked up this book, but was enlightened to learn of the depth of him as an orator, politician and human being. There is historic Wilberforce College near Dayton, Ohio, where an old Minister friend of mine in Dallas graduated (the introduction is by Wilberforce University President Emeritus Floyd Flake).
The importance of William Wilberforec has most certainly faded over the last two centuries – he was looked up to by our own country’s key characters during it’s formative years!
His life intersected so many other influential people of the time; James Newton (“Amazing Grace” the classic hymn), John Wesley (co-founder of the Methodist Church), William Pitt the younger (youngest Prime Minister of England), King George III (King of England during the Revolutionary War), George IV (King of England from 1820 to 1830), Louis XVI (King of France until toppled during the French Revolution and executed as was his wife Marie Antoinette), George Whitefield (Benjamin Franklin’s lifelong friend), Reverend Isaac Milner (President of Queen’s College, Cambridge), the list goes on and on, it seems unjustified that Wilberforce should be viewed as of even less than secondary importance.
I am anxious to learn even more of William Wilberforce and more so to read books written by Eric Metaxas!
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