The Call to Seriousness examines the nature and the extent of the impact which the Evangelicals made on English life in the first half of the 19th century. Two men dominated the Evangelical world during this period: William Wilberforce, who was the central figure in that celebrated group of Evangelicals, the Clapham Sect; and Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, remembered mainly for championing the cause of factory workers. The author argues that the influence of the Evangelicals was, on the whole, a positive one. The Evangelicals alone did t make the Victorians what they were. They did, however, play a considerable part in helping to establish the peculiar temper of the age. Above all, Evangelicalism was responsible for giving the Victorians their famous seriousness and high-mindedness.
Ian Bradley is Senior Lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of St Andrews. A former political correspondent for The Times, his books for Lion include The Call to Seriousness (2006), Enlightened Entrepreneurs (2007) and Believing in Britain (2008)