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, Law's book examines what it means to lead a Christian life and criticizes the perversion of Christian tenents by the Establishment—whether secular or spiritual—whose real aim is temporal power. With a perface by the Reverend William Sloane Coffin, Jr., whose own direct engagement in social causes still finds inspiration in Law's argument, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life is a book that can still speak to our time.
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|Title of Religion eBook: A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life|
|Release Date: 02-16-2011|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
Concerning the Nature and Extent
of Christian Devotion
Devotion is neither private nor public prayer; but prayers, whether private or public, are particular parts or instances of devotion. Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted, to God.
He, therefore, is the devout man who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God; who considers God in everything, who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life parts of piety, by doing everything in the Name of God and under such rules as are conformable to His glory.
We readily acknowledge that God alone is to be the rule and measure of our prayers; that in them we are to look wholly unto Him and act wholly for Him; that we are only to pray in such a manner, for such things, and such ends, as are suitable to His glory.
Now let anyone but find out the reason why he is to be thus strictly pious in his prayers, and he will find the same as strong a reason to be as strictly pious in all the other parts of his life. For there is not the least shadow of a reason why we should make God the rule and measure of our prayers; why we should then look wholly unto Him and pray according to His will, but what equally proves it necessary for us to look wholly unto God and make Him the rule and measure of all the other actions of our life. For any ways of life, any employment of our talents, whether of our parts, our time, or money, that is not strictly according to the will of God, that is not for such ends as are suitable to His glory, are as great absurdities and failings as prayers that are not according to the will of God. For there is no other reason why our prayers sh...