Thursday, April 10, 2008

William Law - Priest, Writer & Non-Juror

William Law, born 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 Spirit Of Love, The Spirit Of Prayer, and, best-known of all, A Serious Call To A Devout And Holy Life, published in 1728. The thesis of this last book is that God does not merely forgive our disobedience, he calls us to obedience, and to a life completely centered in Him. He says: "If you will here stop and ask yourself why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but because you never thoroughly intended it."


O God, by whose grace Thy servant William Law, enkindled with the fire of Thy love, became a burning and shining light in Thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before Thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Philippians 3:7-14
St. Matthew 6:1-6,16-21
Psalm 1

Reference and Resources:
Defence of Church Principles:Three Letters to the Bishop of Bangor, 1717-1719
An Appeal to All that Doubt...

No comments: