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William Law
1686-1761

      William Law, born inKing's Cliffe, England, in 1686, became a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1711, but in 1714, at the death of Queen Anne, he became a non-Juror: that is to say, he found himself unable to take the required oath of allegiance to the Hanoverian dynasty (who had replaced the Stuart dynasty) as the lawful rulers of the United Kingdom, and was accordingly ineligible to serve as a university teacher or parish minister.

      He became for ten years a private tutor in the family of the historian, Edward Gibbon (who, despite his generally cynical attitude toward all things Christian, invariably wrote of Law with respect and admiration), and then retired to his native King's Cliffe. Forbidden the use of the pulpit and the lecture-hall, he preached through his books. These include - Christian Perfection, the Grounds and Reasons of Christian Regeneration, Spirit of Prayer, the Way to Divine Knowledge, Spirit of Love, and, best-known of all, A Serious Call To a Devout and Holy Life, published in 1728.

      Law's most influential work is A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, written in 1728. In this book, he extols the virtue of living a life totally devoted to the glory of God. Although he is considered a high-churchman, his writing influenced many evangelicals, including George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, Henry Venn, Thomas Scott, Henry Martyn, and others such as Samuel Johnson. In addition to his writing, Law spent the final years of his life founding schools and almshouses, and in other practical ministries.

      William Law died in 1761 just a few days after his last book, An Affectionate Address to the Clergy, went to the printers.

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A DEMONSTRATION OF THE ERRORS OF A LATE BOOK.
      [Dem-1] My design (worthy reader) is not to lay before you all the errors and false reasonings of this author throughout his whole treatise. This would lead you into too much wrangle, and the multiplicity of things disputed, would take your eye from the chief point in question, and so make the matter less edifying to you. [Dem-2] Many therefo ...read

An Humble, Earnest and Affectionate Address to the Clergy - Part 1
      [Addr-1] The Reason of my humbly and affectionately addressing this Discourse to the Clergy, is not because it treats of Things not of common concern to all Christians, but chiefly to invite and induce them, as far as I can, to the serious Perusal of it; and because whatever is essential to Christian Salvation, if either neglected, overlooked, or m ...read

An Humble, Earnest and Affectionate Address to the Clergy - Part 2
      [Addr-71] It would be great Folly and Perverseness, to charge me here with slighting, or lessening the true Value, Use, and Importance of the inspired Apostolical Scriptures; for if the Charge was just, it must lie against Paul, and not against me, since I say nothing of them, but that which He says, and in his own express Words, viz., that all the ...read

An Humble, Earnest and Affectionate Address to the Clergy - Part 3
      [Addr-161] But now Corruption, Sin, Death, and every Evil of the World, have entered into the Church, the Spouse of Christ, just as they entered into Eve, the Spouse of Adam in Paradise, in the same Way, and from the same Cause, viz., a Desire of more, or other Knowledge, than that which comes from God alone.- This Desire is the Serpent's Voice wi ...read

An Introduction to William Law
      Andrew Murray said of Law's Affectionate Address to the Clergy . . . "I do not know where to find anywhere else the same clear and powerful statement of the truth which the Church needs at the present day. I have tried to read or consult every book I knew of, that treats of the work of the Holy Spirit, and nowhere have I met with anything that b ...read

Concerning the nature and extent of Christian devotion
      DEVOTION is neither private nor public prayer; but, prayers, whether private or public, are particular parts or instances of devotion. Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted, to God. He therefore is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God; who considers God in eve ...read

The Grounds and Reasons of Christian Regeneration
      The Introduction. I should reckon it a Matter of great Importance, if I knew how to bespeak the serious Attention of the Reader to one of the greatest Articles of the Christian Religion, and of the greatest Concern to himself. And though the Subject is particular, and seems only to relate to one Point, yet the Things which will here come und ...read

The Spirit of Love - Part 1
      My Dear Friend, [Love-1-1] You had no Occasion to make any Apology for the Manner of your Letter to me, for though you very well know that I have as utter an aversion to waste my Time and Thoughts in Matters of theological Debate as in any Contentions merely of a worldly Nature, as knowing that the Former are generally as much, if not more, hur ...read

The Spirit of Love - Part 2
      THE FIRST DIALOGUE BETWEEN Theogenes, Eusebius, and Theophilus. [Love-2.1-1] Theogenes. Dear Theophilus, this Gentleman is Eusebius, a very valuable and worthy Curate in my Neighbourhood; he would not let me wait any longer for your second Letter of the Spirit of Love, nor be content till I consented to our making you this Visit. And ind ...read

The Spirit of Love - Part 3
      THE SECOND DIALOGUE BETWEEN Theogenes, Eusebius, and Theophilus. [Love-2.2-1] Eusebius. There is no Occasion to resume any Thing of our Yesterday's Discourse. The following Propositions are sufficiently proved. [Love-2.2-2] First, That God is an abyssal Infinity of Love, Wisdom, and Goodness; that He ever was, and ever will be one an ...read

The Spirit of Love - Part 4
      THE THIRD DIALOGUE BETWEEN Theogenes, Eusebius, and Theophilus. [Love-2.3-1] Eusebius. You have shown great Good-will toward us, Theophilus, in desiring another Meeting before we leave you. But yet I seem to myself to have no Need of that which you have proposed by this Day's Conversation. For this Doctrine of the Spirit of Love cannot hav ...read

The Spirit of Prayer - Part 1
      Chapter I . Treating of Some Matters preparatory to the Spirit of PRAYER [Pryr-1.1-1] The greatest Part of Mankind, nay of Christians, may be said to be asleep; and that particular Way of Life, which takes up each Man's Mind, Thoughts, and Actions, may be very well called his particular Dream. This Degree of Vanity is equally ...read

The Spirit of Prayer - Part 2
      Discovering the true Way of turning to God, and of finding the Kingdom of Heaven, the Riches of Eternity in our Souls [Pryr-1.2-1] Thou hast seen, dear Reader, the Nature and Necessity of Regeneration, be persuaded therefore fully to believe, and firmly to settle in thy Mind this most certain Truth, that all our Salvation consists in the Manif ...read

The Spirit of Prayer - Part 3
      THE FIRST DIALOGUE BETWEEN Academicus, Rusticus and Theophilus; At which Humanus was present. [Pryr-2.1-1] Acad. Well met, honest Rusticus. I can now tell you with much Pleasure, that we shall soon see a Second Part of The Spirit of Prayer. And as soon as I get it, I will come and read it to you. [Pryr-2.1-2] Rust. I have of ...read

The Spirit of Prayer - Part 4
      THE SECOND DIALOGUE [Pryr-2.2-1] Theoph. Let us now speak of Adam in his first Perfection, created by God to be a Lord and Ruler of this new-created World, to people it with an Host of angelic Men, till Time had finished its Course, and all things fitted to be restored to that State, from which they were fallen by the Revolt of Angels. ...read

The Spirit of Prayer - Part 5
      THE THIRD DIALOGUE [Pryr-2.3-1] Rust. I have brought again with me, Gentlemen, my silent Friend, Humanus, and upon the same Condition of being silent still. But though his Silence is the same, yet he is quite altered. For this twenty Years I have known him to be of an even cheerful Temper, full of Good-nature, and even quite calm and di ...read

The Way to Divine Knowledge - Part 1
      THE F I R S T ~ D I A L O G U E BETWEEN Humanus, Academicus, Rusticus, and Theophilus. [Way-1-1] Humanus. Oh! Theophilus, I must yield, and it is with great Pleasure that I now enter into Conversation with you. You have taken from me all Power of cavilling and disputing. I have no Opinions that I choose to maintain, but have the utmos ...read

The Way to Divine Knowledge - Part 2
      THE S E C O N D ~ D I A L O G U E [Way-2-1] Academicus. I must take the Liberty, Gentlemen, of speaking first this Afternoon; for though I have been much pleased with what passed betwixt Humanus and Theophilus in the Morning, yet I must own to you all, that I was quite disappointed; for I came in full Expectation of hearing every thing, tha ...read

The Way to Divine Knowledge - Part 3
      THE T H I R D ~ D I A L O G U E [Way-3-1] Academicus. If you please, Theophilus, pray go on, just where you left off at our last Meeting. For this Mystery seems to be at Daybreak with me; and the Approach of its Light leaves me no Power to be content without it. [Way-3-2] Theophilus. You have seen, that all Nature begins and stands in a ma ...read


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