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A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [Kindle Edition]

William Law , Mark Walter
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

William Law (1686-1761) was ordained in the Anglican church in 1711. After refusing to take an oath of allegiance to George I, he was stripped of his ordination. From thenceforth, he remained a nonjuror, teaching privately and engaging in a ministry of writing. "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life" is perhaps his best known and most cherished work. It has become an undisputed classic of Christian literature and has continued to find favor with modern readers.

In the present work, Law examines the principles of Christian devotion. In so doing, he places tremendous emphasis on prayer. Concerning this work, John Wesley commented, "Meeting now with Mr. Law's 'Christian Perfection' and 'Serious Call,' although I was much offended at many parts of both, yet they convinced me more than ever of the exceeding height and breadth and depth of the law of God. The light flowed in so mightily upon my soul that everything appeared in a new light . . . I was convinced more than ever of the impossibility of being half a Christian."

Dr. Samuel Johnson referred to Serious Call as "the finest piece of hortatory theology in any language." He also shared, "When at Oxford, I took it up expecting to find a dull book, and perhaps to laugh at it. But I found Law quite an over-match for me; and this was the first occasion of my thinking in earnest of religion after I became capable of religious inquiry."

What is interesting about these endorsements is that both Wesley and Johnson had, elsewhere, been just critics of William Law, especially Law's association with Behmenism.

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About the Author

William Law (1686–1761), English cleric and theological writer, was born at Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire. The first of Law’s controversial works was “Three Letters to the Bishop of Bangor” (1717), which were considered by friend and foe alike as one of the most powerful contributions to the Bangorian controversy on the high church side. Law's next controversial work was Remarks on Mandeville's Fable of the Bees (1723), in which he vindicates morality on the highest grounds; for pure style, caustic wit and lucid argument this work is remarkable; it was enthusiastically praised by John Sterling, and republished by F. D. Maurice. Law's Case of Reason (1732), in answer to Tindal's Christianity as old as the Creation is to a great extent an anticipation of Bishop Butler's famous argument in the Analogy. In this work Law shows himself at least the equal of the ablest champion of Deism. His Letters to a Lady inclined to enter the Church of Rome are excellent specimens of the attitude of a high Anglican towards Romanism. His controversial writings have not received due recognition, partly because they were opposed to the drift of his times, partly because of his success in other fields.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2115 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1453704507
  • Publisher: Mark Walter (27 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,909 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Spirit 16 May 2007
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
William Law was one of the great mystics, clerics, and educators of the Church of England. Born in 1686, he was educated at Cambridge, eventually taking a teaching position there in addition to being ordained in the Church of England. He lost his position at Cambridge for being a Non-Juror (the Church of England being a state religion, clerics and others are required to swear oaths of allegiance to the monarch, and this Law could not do with regard to George I). He wrote the first work, `A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life', one of his best-known works, while in retirement as tutor in the Gibbon household (he was tutor to the father of the historian noted for the work on the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) in the 1720s.. He wrote the second, much shorter work, `The Spirit of Love,' in 1750s.

The first is a major work of spiritual practice, rightly deserving the description as a `classic' or `masterpiece'. For a course we teach at my seminary, this book is on the list of spiritual classics one may choose to use for inspiration and spiritual reflection, and for good reason. Influenced by Law's readings from other mystics such as Thomas a Kempis, Johann Tauler and others, this book is full of mystic insight and practical wisdom. It was popular from the start, and remains an enduring classic of post-Reformation spirituality.

Law has a fairly ecumenical audience, though he is not without controversy. Law is very much a man of the church, and of a high-liturgy and sacramental church at that, thus some Protestants may find difficulty with some of his unstated but very present assumptions. Law resists bibliolatry, does not accept the doctrine of Calvin of a complete corrupt humanity, and never assumes to try to prove the existence of God, taking that for granted.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT buy this trash edition 3 Jun. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This edition is a bad joke! Someone has just downloaded a badly scanned text and printed it. This is how the text looks like all over: "Let it now be supposed, that Negotiate when he first entered, happeningto readfrie l !;" In other words: If you want the book in order to read it, do not buy this edition.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Commentary on another age. 12 Dec. 2012
By david80
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Law's 'Serious Call' , in part, is an interesting commentary on an age very different from our own. It is valuable to see what he considers to be flaws in contemporary devotional life.It is good to reflect on his views and his understanding of 'the religious life' and see what they have to say to us in Great Britain today
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4.0 out of 5 stars Happy 29 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought the book to read but found it cumbersome, since purchasing onto my Kindle to read I'm very happy,
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 29 Aug. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A bit old fashioned
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