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A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [Audio CD]

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610457986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610457989
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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DEVOTION is neither private nor public prayer; but prayers, whether private or public, are particular parts or instances of devotion. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Spirit 16 May 2007
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
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 in-tobusir.es?, 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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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Law makes a solid case for pious living 14 Feb 2004
By D. Keating - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book when I heard Jack Hayford mention it during one of his sermons. Given the title and era in which it was written, I expected it to contain some pretty weighty material about Christian living. I was not disappointed.
In this book, Law challenges the reader to respond to his "serious call" (and he was very serious when he wrote it) to devout living. The author makes a very solid case for this approach to Christian living for two main reasons. First, he is dead right about most topics he covers. His main point is that many Christians (I fall into this category) take for granted what God has done for us. There is no higher call than to love and serve Him. Yet we do not place as much value on spending time in devotion (prayer, reading scripture, praising, worshiping, serving) to God as we should. Instead we lived unbalanced lives in which God has a secondary role, instead being the primary focus of our existence.
Secondly, as another reviewer mentioned, his message is as relevant today, if not more so, than when it was written. We live in a day were modesty and pious living are completely ignored. It was refreshing to read a book which calls Christians to a much higher standard - we should not crave the things of this world. It is something I have struggled with, and continue to struggle with everyday that I live in overly abundant America. This book has helped me regain a more proper perspective on the importance of living for God (and what that means) versus living for the world.
I highly recommend this book to any Christian looking for a well written resource about living a life devoted to God. Law provides a lot of deep thought about the subject, and practical ways to try and live it out. At times, he goes a little bit too much into legalism for my taste, but overall he is on the mark with his approach and logic for his "serious call".
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome spiritual classic as timely today as in 1728. 30 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book because Hannah Hurnard, author of Hind's Feet on High Places and other allegorical and devotional works, credits it with revolutionizing her spiritual life. Law exhorts Christians to offer all aspects of one's life and work as holy to God - work, finances, relationships, worship, prayer, etc. He reminds us of the Christian virtues of love, humility, peace, simplicity and conforming ourselves to God's will. This is a work which should not be forgotten or neglected by modern Christians.
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not the book William Law wrote 9 Aug 1999
By mmm1001@worldnet.att.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This "edited" version is a great disappointment. William Law's elegant prose has been dumbed down for "reading comprehension," and is dull as a junior high civics textbook. In Chapter VII, which talks about Miranda and Flavia, Flavia has been omitted. Presumably to keep everything "positive." The very spirit of truth so eloquently championed by Law in HIS book has been made a mockery of, because there are no warning labels to tell us that some anonymous hack has tampered with his text. O tempora, o mores! This book doesn't even deserve one star.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing spirit... 26 Feb 2004
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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. It is interesting, in our post-Christendom world, that Law is more widely read than ever before, given that it would seem there is much concern about whether or not there is a God, and often those of a more mystical mindset shy away from mysticism so firmly influenced by ecclesial structures.
Law's work in `The Serious Call' takes the form of 24 chapters, each one beginning with a simple spiritual rule, observation or proposition. Sometimes these can take a directive form as a spiritual practice - some chapters, for example, recommend prayer at certain times of day (chapter 16 recommends 9 a.m., chapter 20 recommends 12 noon, etc.) and prescribes the content and the manner of the prayers. Some work from a proposition (chapter 13 - that any life, full of vanity or even more humble, will ultimately show misery and emptiness) and some work from proclamation and argument (chapter 24, of the excellency and greatness of a devout spirit). `Devotion signifies a life given or devoted to God,' Law writes in the beginning. This devotion is not just church work (although it involves that), and not just prayer (although it involves that, too), but is an entire life given over to God, and as such can be something all can do, not just clerics, mystics and monastics.
Unlike `A Serious Call', the second work contained here, `The Spirit of Love', can be very difficult reading, as there is no organising principle similar to the logical progression of the earlier work. It is done in a dialogue form, in the shape of letters, and better known according to the editors in piece-meal collections of highlights or selected passages, given Law's general lack of method and organisation of texts later in his life. However, there are those who love `The Spirit of Love' and proclaim it to be Law's best work, particularly for his identification of the wrath of God as something that separates us from God, but is in fact not to be found in God, but in us. Our redemption and reconciliation with God requires our removing this wrath and embracing the divine love always freely offered.
The editions here are fairly standard, authoritative ones. The history of Law's work in print is laid out, and selection reasoning is given in the introductory material, which also includes (as do all of the Paulist Press editions of this wonderful series) biographical information (not just simple historical, but also spiritual biographical information), textual notes, and other information of interest.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging Book on Truly Following Christ 2 Oct 1999
By Cindy Richter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the most challenging book I have ever read on following the teachings of Christ practically in every day living. The conviction was so fierce that it was hard to get through the first chapter. His words bear so much truth it motivates you to want to be more like Christ himself.
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