1797 · London
Considered one of the most important books in Christian history. Here, Wilberforce positions his own Puritan beliefs as part of a wider matrix of conversion-via-books. Beginning with Richard Sibbes, whose 17th century texts sparked the conversion of Richard Baxter and inspired him to write Call to the Unconverted to Turn and Live, Wilberforce considers how that book influenced Philip Doddriddge and led to him to write The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul -- the book that began Wilberforce's own turn to Puritanism.
For Wilberforce, activism is not optional for Christians. It is a definitional quality. "His book is concerned with convincing those who call themselves Christians to pursue 'the real nature and principles of the religion which they profess.' Christianity is not mere morality to be held in private. It is a revelation, bringing new rights and correspondent duties. It is an entire way of life that requires diligence and study that should affect every aspect of one's public and private life" (Hendrickson). Abolitionism, then, is Wilberforce's contribution to the Puritan geneology from which he emerges and which will continue to spring from him. The belief that the ownership and enslavement of other humans was a violation of Christian teaching and basic humanity became not a privately held morality, but a public mission pursued for his whole lifetime.
A scarce first edition with abolitionist associations that reinforce the book's message.
ESTC T101668. (Inventory #: 4097)