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William Law’s A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life is the most profoundly challenging, insightful and logical book I have ever read pertaining to my daily life as a Christian. His arguments for the purpose of and motivation for devotion to God (in its many forms) have impacted me in a way that I never would have imagined. I found myself challenged by every chapter and contemplative throughout. Law’s arguments touched me intellectually, logically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is not nec
While some may feel that this book sets unattainable standards, I believe that the heart of Law’s arguments should truly drive Christians to examine how they are living their lives and what that lifestyle demonstrates about the state of their hearts and minds. The magnitude of Law’s “call” perhaps only seeks to accurately grasp the magnitude of a life lived fully for Christ, in which case, it is indeed unattainable without the help of the Spirit. For all of the strength and breadth of Laws’s arguments, I think one would be hard pressed to deny the logic fortifying Law’s conclusions or the spiritual motivation behind them.
On top of the raw challenge of what Law writes, I highly recommend reading this for the beauty in which Law communicates his “call.” Written in the 1700s, this book has a unique, old-fashioned rhythm and variety of vocabulary that is unrivaled in anything I have read thus far. This work is not only a feast of content but of form as well. The artfulness of Law’s writing, I feel, practically ushered in all of the hard-hitting challenges in such a way that I was constantly turning the page from both a compulsion to be encouraged spiritually and to be amazed by his literary style. I found his writing to be, at times, repetitive; but after gleaning such profound insight from a sentence or paragraph stated only slightly differently from the paragraph before, I resolved to read each section carefully for whatever nuanced morsel that I could take away. Just as I thought, after a couple pages of reading, that perhaps THIS chapter wouldn’t hold as much impact as the ones before, I would be struck with a simple phrase, analogy, character story or piece of logic that made me laugh at the thought that Law’s insight would run out before the pages of this book did.
I highly recommend the reading and re-reading of this book for any Christian would wants to take a serious look at their life and commit to the “serious call” that exists on that life as a follower of Christ.
William Law’s “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life” (1728), deeply influenced the chief actors in the great Evangelical revival in England, George Whitefield and John and Charles Wesley. I first read it while a ministry student in college and have re-read it several times since. It is on my personal list of top 10 life-changing books. A sample of Law is the following on prayer:
“Prayer is the nearest approach to God and the highest enjoyment of him that we are capable of in this life. It is
it was amazing
Simple but so profound!! It definitely stepped on my toes numerous times because it put so many things into true perspective. Our purpose is to live for the glory of God and that requires a constant spirit of devotion. It requires charity to those that we don’t think deserve it (because we don’t deserve the charity that God shows us). It requires not neglecting our Christian calling, a calling that all receive, regardless of occupation. Clergy are not to be considered more pious or righteous tha
There were just so many great statements in this that I was glad I had the Kindle version where I could highlight points that I want to easily refer back to. As an example, “If man will boast of anything as his own, he must boast of his misery and sin; for there is nothing else but this that is his own property.” Christians have no problem stating that everything good that we have comes from God, but seldom do we think that all we truly have that is not from God is our own misery. It was statements like this that really made me think of many things in a new light.
At times, the book was difficult to get through. It was written in the 18th century so occasionally I got bogged down in his wording of things, and sometimes Law simply repeats the same thought in multiple chapters. However, he creates “characters” to serve as examples, and I liked how he did that. Those portions were much easier to read and understand his point. For anyone that desires to grow into a deeper understanding of his/her relationship with God, I highly recommend attempting to tackle this one.