Saturday, February 10, 2007

Amazing grace

William Wilberforce's links to Puritanism ...

Early in life he was influenced towards Methodism by his aunt Hannah, who was a supporter of the Reformed colleague of the Wesleys, George Whitefield.

Whitefield cites reading Henry Scougal's The Life of God in the Soul of Man as one of the major factors in his own conversion. Charles Wesley had loaned him a copy while both were students at Oxford. Scougal was a Scots Puritan with Episcopalian sympathies. (Here's a sermon by John Piper based on Scougal's famous work.)

Wilberforce was urged toward the abolitionist cause by John Newton, the former slave trader and writer of the hymn 'Amazing Grace', who after his at-sea conversion was also nourished by the teaching of Whitefield and the Wesleys.

And of course, the Wesleys' paternal grandfather and great-grandfather, John and Bartholomew Wesley, lost their livings under the 1662 Act of Uniformity, because they were bona fide English dissenters -- AKA, Puritans. The Wesleys' maternal grandfather was Dr. Samuel Annesley, of whom the same can be said. The Wesley brothers were brought up in a home where both Anglican and Puritan influences were strongly felt.

I'm sure there are some other significant links. So many good things in modern Christendom lead back to ... well, you know.

1 comment:

Bridges said...

I look forward to seeing this movie. I am a sucker for a well made trailer. But seriously, it will be interesting to see how much of the real Wilberforce we see. Thanks for posting this.



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