Back in New Haven at the Rivdendell House, it would be commonplace for people to ask questions like: Would a modern day Clapham Sect be possible? Many of the Rivendell guys are on Yale faculty as historians and lecturers. In retrospect, I really appreciate their moving lectures and thoughtful responses to questions. What a ministry the Rivendell Institute has over there, reaching out to the graduate students.

As I read through Piper’s biography of William Wilberforce, I’m getting nostalgic of my time with the Rivendell folks. Here is one vivid and very inspiring account of Wilberforce’s passion for abolition:

Soon after Christmas, 1787, a few days before the parliamentary recess, Wilberforce gave notice in the House of Commons that early in the new session he would bring a motion for the abolition of the slave trade. It would be twenty years before he could carry the House of Commons and the House of Lords in putting abolition into law. But the more he studied the matter and the more he heard of the atrocities, the more resolved he became. In May 1789 he spoke to the House about how he came to his conviction: “I confess to you, so enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. . . Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”

Sources: John Piper, Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce. Quotation of Wilberforce’s speech taken by the author from Robert Isaac Wilberforce and Samuel Wilberforce, The Life of William Wilberforce.

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