A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians,
in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country, contrasted with Real Christianity. Third edition.London, T. Cadell, Jun and W. Davies, (Successors to Mr. Cadell), 1797 Stock Code: 140398
NotesThird edition, following the first of the same year. "For Wilberforce, though, the nation's most pressing needs were moral and spiritual, and in April 1797 he at last completed and published A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of this Country contrasted with Real Christianity. This work was the tract begun in 1793 and now expanded into a full-length book. As the title implies, Wilberforce expounded his interpretation of New Testament teachings as a basis for a critique of the lukewarm and inadequate practice of Christianity he observed around him. He called for religious revival as an essential means of reversing national moral decline. Despite its unfashionable theme and diffuse and discursive style, the book was extensively read and very influential. It was repeatedly reprinted and translated. It was both 'the manifesto of the evangelical party of the time' (DNB) and Wilberforce's own personal testimony, which provided a powerful rationalization of his philanthropic and political exertions over the preceding decade" (ODNB).
This attractive copy is from the library of Charles William Vane (formerly Stewart), third marquess of Londonderry (17781854), with his bookplate, bearing simply his name as "Major General Sir Charles Stewart"; he took the surname Vane on marrying Frances Anne Emily Vane-Tempest in 1819. He was promoted major-general on 25 July 1809. A brave but not particularly brilliant soldier - Sir John Moore described him as "a very silly fellow" - Vane served with variable distinction throughout the Peninsular War. His Narrative of the War (1828), based on his correspondence with his half-brother Lord Castlereagh, was not uncontroversial. His dashing and dandified portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence is at the National Portrait Gallery.
Octavo (205 x 122 mm). Contemporary tree calf, smooth spine divided by triple gilt fillets, each compartment framed by foliate sprigs, with sunburst containing a quatrefoil flower, dark green label, sides with gilt scrolling foliate border (repeated on the turn-ins), milled edge roll, Antique Spot pattern marbled endpapers, yellow edges. Lower corners just a little inward-turned, touch of foxing to fore edge
Lower corners just a little inward-turned, touch of foxing to fore edge. An exceptionally nice copy in a delightful and well-preserved period binding.
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