Thursday, October 12, 2006

Vintage Venn

"Religion is not merely an act of homage paid upon our bended knees to God; it is not confined to the closet and the church, nor is it restrained to the hours of the sabbath; it is a general principle extending to a man’s whole conduct in every transaction and in every place. I know no mistake which is more dangerous than that which lays down devotional feelings alone as the test of true religion . . . Let us be convinced that all prayer, all preaching, all knowledge, are but means to attain a superior end; and that end the sanctification of the heart and of all the principles on which we are daily acting. Till our Christianity appears in our conversation, in our business, in our pleasures, in the aims and objects of our life, we have not attained a conformity to the image of our Saviour, nor have we learned His Gospel aright."

John Venn (1759-1813) was rector of Clapham in south London. He became the leader of the Clapham Sect, a group of evangelical Christians centred on his church, which included William Wilberforce. They successfully campaigned for the abolition of slavery, advocated prison reform and the prevention of cruel sports, and supported missionary work abroad.

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