Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper is a great read. It was so inspiring! We often associate Wilberforce with his huge contribution to ending the slave trade and eventually slavery itself in England. He did even more than that!
After wasting money and time while in college, a friend lent him a book about Christianity. He understood it intellectually, but only later that summer did he become truly saved. He surrendered his life and his heart to Christ.
As well as abolishing slavery, the Lord used him to restore morality, in part, to a very reprobate England. He was against the suppression of the underclass and thought that wealth should be used for the benefit of those who were suffering. In fact, most of his wealth was given to those who were in great need. He also wrote a provocative (I mean in the thought process) book about practical Christianity. There were many, many people in that era who were Christians in name only and didn't bear fruit as would and should true followers of Christ. He hoped that this book would spur them on to true godliness and true faith.
He had deep faith in the Lord and beleived God to be sovereign above all. He would spend lengths of time in the morning reading his Bible, meditating and praying. Even with guests in the house he would often be late to breakfast because he was spending time with the Lord. This closeness to God was evidenced in his life by his kindness toward others and his perseverence in doing good, despite many physical difficulties. He had several problems: colitis, poor eyesight, and later on developed a curviture of the spine. He continued to fight in parliment against injustice and raise a family.
He was the type of politition that we pray to have seated at the white house. Someone who worked for good for the glory of God and the benefit of society, rather than for selfish gain or hunger for power. He endured malicious slander, yet didn't revile. God gave him a way with words and he captivated his audience. Yet he still had to wait 20 years before the slave trade was abloished and then twenty-six more before slavery was outlawed all together. In fact, the last victory came only three days before he died. So, Wilberforce finished this life with victory and I am sure went on to recieve eternal rewards!
I admire his character and his determination- both of which come from the Lord. I pray that I would be able to do what God has planned for me with as much vigor, perseverence and passion!
Where is it that in such a world as this, health, and leisure, and affluence may not find some ignorance to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to supply, some misery to alleviate?
Oh LORD, purify my soul from all its stains. Warm my heart with the love of Thee, animate my sluggish nature and fix my inconstancy, and volatility, that I may not be weary in well doing.
~ William Wilberforce