Modern Americans often wonder if it is possible for a politician to remain a strong Christian after being elected to office and subjected to political havoc. The life of William Wilberforce proves it is not only possible, but also very good for the country. Interest catching and capably written, Statesman and Saint presents this biography in a clear-cut, triumphant manner. No punches are pulled, no whitewashing, and all glory given to the Lord. Adding to the interest are Vaughan’s descriptions of life in England, especially in English politics in the 18th century. The alcoholism, immorality, and extreme self-interest of that era sound very similar to our era. Little tidbits relating to the American colonies add interest, such as Wilberforce’ belief that the English were waging the revolutionary war in a “cruel, bloody and impractical manner” (p. 43).
By the year 1784, Wilberforce, then 24, was popular with society and a rising star in the political arena. Then in 1785, the Lord took over Wilberforce' life and thence forward many of the problems in London, pre-eminently the question of the legality of slavery. History buffs will meet many 18th century friends, including John Newton and William Pitt. Part 1 of Statesman and Saint presents Wilberforce’ life, while Part 2 takes a candid look at his character. Part 3 considers the benefits humanity has reaped from Wilberforce’ work and Part 4 draws lessons for our Christian growth.
Statesman and Saint is one of the volumes of the Leaders in Action series – just imagine, a whole group of Christian statesmen to encourage us! Statesman and Saint is as interesting as a novel. Well worth reading for enjoyment, this book will also provide devotional material and Christian life lessons. I recommend it for all readers middle school through adult, who are interested in history and/or Christian heroes, or just a good story. This volume will be useful for Christian schools, homeschoolers, and church groups. – Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
"God has set before me two great objects: the abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of manners." These immortal words penned by William Wilberforce in 1787 were the beginning of his lifelong crusade as a Christian statesman and philanthropist. He became a member of the British Parliament for his hometown of Hull in 1780 and represented Yorkshire in 1784, a seat he retained until 1812.
This moving biography of Wilberforce tells the story of his religious conversion in 1784 and his rise to leadership of the Clapham Sect-a group of evangelicals active in political, philanthropic, and religious causes. Under his leadership, the "Saints," as they were called, championed parliamentary and prison reforms, missionary endeavors, Bible distribution, and a host of other charitable efforts and organizations. These causes included the Church Missionary Society (established in 1799) and the British and foreign Bible Society (founded in 1804).
Statesman and Saint also describes Wilberforce's unrelenting forty-year crusade against slavery, in spite of many defeats in Parliament. He labored for eighteen years to secure the abolition of the slave trade, enduring personal criticism, deep-seated prejudice, and threats on his life for another twenty-six years before he saw the Emanicipation Bill finally passed in July 1833. His influential book, A Practical View, laid the foundation for the moral elevation of the Victorian Era that folowed his death only three days after the Emancipation Bill was passed in Parliament.