A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
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A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Originally published at the beginning of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, a time when rationalist criticism of religious belief was perhas at its peak, William Law's A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life succeeded in inspiring the most cynical men of the age with its arguments in favor of a spiritual life. More than simply articulating a set of rules to live by, La...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 13th 2002 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1906)
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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...more
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...more
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...more
Daniel Beasley
As a 17 year old new Christ follower I was blessed to have a pastor who wasn't afraid to encourage me jumping in at the deep end. If memory serves, this was the third book he loaned to me and it helped set a fearless course out into learning from 2000 years of Christian wrestling with God.
Excellent book that is contemporary 200+ years after it was written...
Pam Nelson
One of my favorite books of all time. I reread portions frequently!
Glen Grunau
There is probably no one author that has had greater influence over my Christian journey than Dallas Willard. From Willard I learned that the Christian life could not be well lived out of willpower. An inner transformation was required to change my heart and my inner desires before my behaviour could be reliably altered. I always appreciated Willard’s humility, as evident by his frequent claims that his ideas were not original but were found in the writings of numerous ancient historical figures...more
Jun 16, 2009 Michelle added it
Shelves: christian
Humbling and practical. Reminded me what frivolous and vain thoughts sometimes consume me!
Dec 03, 2012 Gregory rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Gregory by: Discovered it in the Classics
Shelves: favorites
A must read classic.The author has a passion for Christ that is most uncommon for this modern age. With line upon line and precept upon precept, he lays down a solid, biblical foundation for understanding the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Once you take the time to carefully read this book, you will see that the work of sanctification in the believer belongs alone to the person of the Holy Spirit.

More emphasis is placed on the power of the finished work of Christ than on the struggling Chr...more
Garland Vance
The first several chapters of this book were excellent--worth 6 stars! Law's challenges to Christians centuries ago reads as if he understands current believers. He says that most believers think that the only change in their lives are that they need to introduce devotional practices of prayer & Bible study. Law says that the problem is that we do not desire to please God in all decisions as the best & happiest thing in the world. The next few chapters unpack this & these chapters ar...more
I don't claim to have read this cover to cover, but taken in small chunks it's a really interesting study of very dated moral behavior.
Law really hates people who gad away their time visiting friends in the countryside on Sundays, for instance. And women who care far too much about their own finery and silk dresses.
However, among all the leisure class admonishments are some really good, substantial beliefs about the importance of upholding morality for its own sake, not just for show - which pr...more
Perry Martin
William Law (1686-1761) wrote A Serious Call in 1729, this book was published in Audiobook form by Christian Audio for the first time 2/2014 and Narrated by Maurice England. The narration of this 13 hour audiobook in understandable English/Old English makes this book accessible to all who can hear for the first time.

Law's book is broken into seven areas according to my listening of this Audiobook. Although Piety (Devotion or Religion) and Prayer are themes that run throughout the entire book the...more
Dad Bowers
It was worth reading. Law has a dated 1700's style, for sure, but he expresses well our serious need for a devotional life and he gives lots of practical tips and reasons for this. I probably won't follow his method of dividing the day into various hours of prayer. He seeks that we each remain devoted to Jesus Christ all our days: a most worthy goal in life.
Theh title of this encompasses the content of this book, with an emphasis on serious. My conscience was certainly piqued at times. This book was written in the early 1700s, so some of the examples seem trite for our modern age. But his chapters on prayer and worship are worth the read.
Ircolle Colle
Excellent read for Lent. Short chapters (~5 pages each) make for a great daily devotion. Extremely rich, challenging, and thought provoking.
Perhaps a bit too serious in places, but a good reminder not to neglect our work on this planet and the preparation thereof.
Richard Gray
who I am and who I am not in the greater scheme.
This abridgement of the original text was edited by a group of laymen in the 1950s to make it more readable and accessible to the 20th century reader. William Law's book, published in England in 1728, was written in a time and society in which just about everyone professed to be a Christian and attended church. But Law observed that there were many nominal Christians who appeared to value the teachings of the Bible and attended church on Sundays but were not serious about living out Christ's tea...more
A diatribe against nominal Christians. Even though I sympathize with much of what Law says, I find his way of saying it a bit tiresome. I was about to quit reading it and return it to the library but then I came across this line: "[The impious Christian] will sometimes read a book of piety, if it is a short one, if it is much commended for style and language, and she can tell where to borrow it." After that, I had to soldier on for 295 more pages.
James Valentine
“If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.”
― William Law
An excellent book. Law lays out an eminently logical view of the Christian's proper response to God's salvation.
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William Law 1 7 Apr 30, 2009 02:51PM  
  • A Testament of Devotion
  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • The Philokalia, Volume 1: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • The Table Talk of Martin Luther
  • Interior Castle
  • The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • A Body of Divinity: Contained in Sermons upon the Westminster Assembly's Catechism
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • On the Incarnation
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church
  • With Christ in the School of Prayer
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion
  • On Loving God
  • Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners
The Power of the Spirit The "Key" of Jacob Boehme Freedom from a Self-Centered Life/Dying to Self: Selections from the Writings of William Law The Spirit of Love Of Justification by Faith and Works. a Dialogue Between a Methodist and a Churchman. by William Law, M.A. the Third Edition.

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“Grant that I may worship and pray unto Thee with as much reverence and godly fear, as if I saw the heavens open and all the angels that stand around Thy throne. Amen.” 4 likes
“If you will here stop and ask yourselves 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 purely because you never thoroughly intended it.” 4 likes
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