MONDAY THE THIRTIETH OF JULY, 2018
* William Wilberforce *
O holy God, whose mercy and pity made you descend from the high throne down into this world for our salvation: mercifully forgive us all the sins that we have done and thought and said. Send us cleanness of heart and purity of soul; restore us with your Holy Spirit, that we may henceforth live virtuously and love you with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ your son.”
( Richard Rolle , 1290-1349 )
You servants of the almighty king, in every age his praises sing;
wherever the sun shall rise or set, the nations shall his praise repeat.
Above the earth, beyond the sky, stands his high throne of majesty;
nor time nor place his power restrain, nor bound his universal reign.
Which of the sons of Adam dare, or angels, with their God compare?
His glories how divinely bright, who dwells in uncreated light!
Behold his love! He stoops to view what saints above and angels do;
and condescends yet more to know the mean affairs of men below.
From dust and cottages obscure, his grace exalts the humble poor;
gives them the honour of his sons, and fits them for their heavenly thrones.
A word of his creating voice can make the barren house rejoice;
though Sarah’s ninety years were past, the promised seed is born at last.
With joy, the mother views her son and tells the wonders God has done:
faith may grow strong when sense despairs, if nature fails, the promise bears.
( Isaac Watts, 1674–1748 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
William Wilberforce: the conscience of a politician
Slavery was a complex issue, with racial and economic implications, through the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century. The holding of slaves led the United States into a bloody civil war in the 1860’s. But in Britain, a similar conflict was avoided because of the careful and persistent work of William Wilberforce. He introduced his first anti-slavery motion in the House of Commons in 1788 and, when it was defeated, he reintroduced the same legislation in 1789, then every year until 1806, when parliament finally voted to abolish the slave trade. Having gained that important victory, Wilberforce pressed on with his campaign to free all slaves throughout the empire. Parliament finally passed this measure just four days before Wilberforce died, the twenty-ninth of July, 1833. In 1834, over eight hundred thousand slaves were set free.
The backbone of Wilberforce’s strong passion for justice was his daily practice of prayer and spiritual reading. And he was profoundly influenced by William Law's book, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life.”
Quote. “If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”
Scripture. In Paul’s brief letter to Philemon, he sends Onesimus, a runaway slave, back to Philemon, and comments:
Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother; especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
... for peace in the world.
... for an end to slavery in whatever form it takes.
... that our nations may be governed by Godly women and men dedicated to bringing in the freedom and justice of God's kingdom in our own day.
... for whistleblowers who risk their own livelihoods to draw public attention to wrongdoing in the institutions in which they work.
... for the people of Vanuatu who celebrate their national day today.
... for children who have died in accidents recently and for those who mourn their death.
... for those who have taken their own lives recently and for their friends and family members.
... for poorly pets and their human companions who are worried for them.
... for ethnic minorities living in Assam, India, who are in danger of being forced to leave their homes an becoming stateless. DETAILS
... for peace in Zimbabwe during the country's first election without the involvement of long-time leader Robert Mugabe; that the vote may be free from corruption. DETAILS
... for those who were killed or injured during a six-point-four magnitude earthquake in Indonesia; for those who are missing or trapped. DETAILS
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country Contrasted with Real Christianity" by William Wilberforce:
It is the distinguishing glory of Christianity not to rest satisﬁed with superficial appearances, but to rectify the motives, and purify the heart. The true Christian, in obedience to the lessons of scripture, no where keeps over himself a more resolute and jealous guard, than where the desire of human estimation and distinction is in question. Nowhere does he more deeply feel the insufficiency of his unassisted strength, or more diligently and earnestly pray for divine assistance. He may well indeed watch and pray against the encroachments of a passion, which, when suffered to transgress its just limits, discovers a peculiar hostility to the distinguishing graces of the Christian temper; a passion which must insensibly acquire force, because it is in continual exercise; a passion to which almost every thing without administers nutriment, and the growth of which within is favoured and cherished by such powerful auxiliaries as pride and selfishness, the natural and perhaps inexterminable inhabitants of the human heart.
Strongly impressed, therefore, with a sense of the indispensable necessity of guarding against the progress of this encroaching principle, in humble reliance of superior aid, the true Christian thankfully uses the means, and habitually exercises himself in the considerations and motives, suggested to him for that purpose by the word of God. He is much occupied in searching out, and contemplating his own infirmities. He endeavours to acquire and maintain a just conviction of his great unworthiness; and to keep in continual remembrance, that whatever distinguishes himself from others is not properly his own, but that he is altogether indebted for it to the undeserved bounty of heaven. He diligently endeavours also, habitually to preserve a just sense of the real worth of human distinction and applause, knowing that he shall covet them less when he has learned not to overrate their value.
Just and eternal God, we give you thanks for the stalwart faith and persistence of your servant William Wilberforce who held fast to a vision of justice in which no child of yours might suffer in enforced servitude and misery. Grant that we, drawn by that same gospel vision, may persevere in serving the common good and caring for those who have been cast down, that they may be raised up through Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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