Posted at 12.18.2018
WilliamWilberforce (1759-1833) was a politically effective abolitionist and devout Religious whose specifications of moral conducts and honest treatment to all or any persons enlightened his polemical texts. Wilberforce's 1797 workA Practical View of the Prevailing ReligiousSystem of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of this CountryContrasted with Real Christianity was a favorite wording when it was printed, examining contemporary behaviour to both religious beliefs and politics in the highly volatile atmosphere of the later eighteenth and early on nineteenth centuries after the French Revolution.
His famous parliamentary debates and politically motivated writing such as Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1807) were important to the eventual abolition of slavery in Britain. Praised by contemporaries as the 'Renewer of Society', Wilberforce's strong honest convictions were molded by his staunch Christian commitment. He was a vocal agent in Parliament who used his politics position to pursue his personal aim of your reformation of manners. Whether arguing for the immorality of the slave trade or preaching a good Religious life, Wilberforce desired reform in a culture he considered grossly corrupt and immoral, an indicator of having less religious determination in his contemporary society.
It is clear from reading Wilberforce's writing that heconsidered his advertising campaign against slavery to be quite definitely linked with his idea of Christianmorality. Condemning slavery as an immoral trade, Wilberforce in many waysforeshadowed the growing concern with sociable well-being which defined a theVictorian era. Wilberforce and his supporters did comprehensive research of theslave trade, even visiting Africa and evaluating for themselves boasts made byslavers that somewhat than imprisoning free created men and women to a life of physical labor and sub-standard living conditions, they were, in reality, rescuingwar prisoners and providing them with a fresh life. Wilberforce was instrumental in uncovering the gross and inhuman conditions that have been the building blocks of the slavetrade.
Wilberforce converted to Christianity in his mid-twenties, and he makes it clear that it was, for him, a defining moment of his life. 'When I was first awakened to a sense of the importance of Divine things, ' he later wrote to a pal, ' the distressI believed was deep and poignant indeed' (S. Wilberforce p. 194). Wilberforce is driven by guilt over his recent, and it might be natural to state that his fervent campaign for abolition and his tight Christian virtue were compensatory. Reading such texts like a Practical View of Christianity, however, unveils a man motivated to change a culture he believed was immoral and pitiless.
Wilberforce's claims of beliefs are clear-cut and polemic, urging his fellow men and women to a similar life of virtue and activism. 'When summoned to give an account of our stewardship', he argues, 'we shall be called upon to answer for the use we have made  of the means of relieving the wishes [and the] needs of others' (W. Wilberforce p. 174). The need for a Christian modern culture, rather than emphasis on specific salvation, is vital to understanding Wilberforce's communal and spiritual beliefs. 'Let everyone regulate his do  by the gold rule to do to others as with similar circumstances we'd keep these things do to us, and the path of duty will be clear before him' he published (W. Wilberforce pp. 176-7).
It would follow, therefore, that if the ruling state also honored the golden rule, their expert would no longer be in question and would lead to a far more stable political atmosphere. Christian virtues would form the foundation of both spiritual and secular population in Wilberforce's model.
Wilberforce's conversion designated the beginning of his active political profession as well. Thinking securely that the new morals, or manners, based on what he termed the 'peculiar doctrines' of Christianity rather than a secular ethical system were key to long lasting politics reformation; for Wilberforce, functional deeds were created in the central doctrines of real human depravity, diving wisdom, faith itself, the regenerative ability of the Holy Heart, and a life devoted to good deeds (Piper).
'The grand radical defect in the useful system of the nominal Christians, ' Wilberforce argues, 'is their forgetfulness of all peculiar doctrines of the Faith which they profess - the corruption of human characteristics - the atonement of the Savior - the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit' (W. Wilberforce pp. 162-163). The Christian doctrine of original sin posits that individual dynamics is not intensifying; rather, men were created immutable. Poor moral health, therefore, is not really a social evolution but instead an unnatural talk about and Wilberforce's activism is an attempt to bring people back again to an all natural moral order (Levy p. 745).
A Practical View of Christianity, shared in 1797 over ten years after Wilberforce's transformation and almost 16 years after he first joined Parliament, links the consequences of moral health to political warfare. He argues in the written text that manners, that is, how people work, is directly designed by these'peculiar doctrines' of religion. In Wilberforce's model, spiritual doctrine is the base for socio-political welfare. Community ills and politics turmoil are the effect of a lapse in moral health.
If 'a rule of true Religious beliefs should  gain floor, there is no estimating the effects on general public morals, and the consequent impact on our political welfare' (W. Wilberforce p. 211). Wilberforce observed his activity in the political market, most visibly his strong anti-slavery beliefs, as inseparable from his desire to have interpersonal reform. He says that he was costed by God to undertake two duties: the abolition of slavery and the reformation of 'manners'. Wilberforce's matrimony of cathedral and state got ramifications on both the individual and societal level.
Morality is part ofindividual persona; although spiritual and public mores inform moral choice, finally moral set ups are produced internally. Wilberforce, however, argues that Religious morality is not an individual choice but instead acollective formation. England's moral health was in decrease, he argues, churchattendancebecause individuals had rejected religious doctrine and only an internallyderived system of ethics. He creates:
The fatal habit of considering Religious morals asdistinct from Christian doctrines insensibly gained power. Thus the peculiardoctrines of Christianity gone more and more out of eyesight, so that as mightnaturally have been expected, the moral system itself also started out to wither anddecay, being robbed of that which should have provided it with life andnutriment. " (W. Wilberforce, p. 198).
The eighteenth hundred years schurch attendance, and Wilberforce found this lapse in active faith as the immediate cause of interpersonal problems. However, alternatively than have people return back to the chapel he envisioned a spiritual life which would pervade each day lifestyle. Moral living would enact a greater cultural change.
Wilberforce, designated ever sold for his energetic role in the abolitionist movements, represents a larger movement which seemed to faith to enact social change. The Clapham Sect, of which Wilberforce, was engaged, was one particular group. Kevin Belmonte is convinced that theClapham Sect was crucial to the eventual abolition of slavery in Britain, and this its missionary and cultural work effective. 'It is generally decided', andhumaneBelmonte says, 'that [Wilberforce] and his Clapham Group colleagues, do more than other group of political reformers to make Britain a mand humanesociety' (Belmonte).
It is important to keep in mind that, although Wilberforce is often bear in mind in history for his interpersonal activism motivated by his strong religious convictions, he is no exception in his age group but instead representative of a larger concern for social welfare which came to public consciousness at the end of the eighteenth hundred years and continuing to dominate the Victorian age.
Wilberforce thought that socialwelfare commenced with the individual, and his life was a good example thereof. Heregularly donated large helpings of his income to the indegent, going as far as tosay that 'by careful management, I should have the ability to give at least one-quarterof my income to the poor' (Everett p. 68). It was reported that one year hegave 3000 more to charity than he actually acquired in the entire year. ClearlyWilberforce feels that charity starts in the home, but his marriage ofindividual charity and social activism was considered a political act.
Wilberforce considered prosperity in and of itself as 'appropriate' but as 'highly dangerous property; and [are to be considered] not as devices of luxury or splendor, but as affording the method of honoring his heavenly Benefactor, and lessening the miseries of mankind' (W. Wilberforce). This typifies Wilberforce's idea of Christian dedication: by sticking with Christian tenets about the risks of riches and responsibility towards one's fellow man, Wilberforce can politicize the Golden Guideline to enact large-scale interpersonal change.
Piper, John. 'Peculiar Doctrines, PublicMorals, and the Politics Welfare: Reflections on
the Life andLabor of William Wilberforce' Bethlehem Conferencefor Pastors, Feb 5, 2002. < http://www. desiringgod. org/library/biographies/02wilberforce. html>access 18 Feb 2006.
Belmonte, Kevin. Herofor Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce (NavPress, 2002).
Everett, Betty Steele. Flexibility Fighter: The Story of William Wilberforce (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1994), p. 68.
Levy, David M andPeart, Sandra J. 'Who are the Canters?' The Coalition of Evangelical-Economic Egalitarians History ofPolitical Overall economy 35. 4 (2003), pp. 731-757.
Wilberforce, Samuel. The Life ofWilliam Wilberforce, (John Murray, 1838), vol. 3.
Wilberforce, William. A Practical View of Christianity, ed. by Kevin Charles Belmonte (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996)