A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life Themes

William Law

Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

For Law, Christian devotion entails the dedication of the whole, and not just a part, of one’s life to God. Most Christians, Law believed, fall short of true devotion because they do not intend to please God in all they do. Although God is merciful to those who sin out of ignorance, we cannot expect him to be so tolerant of those who lack the intention to avoid sinning, as Scriptures amply attest. All Christians, therefore, are obligated to order their everyday lives in such a way as to turn them into continual service of God. Persons who have leisure time have a special obligation to devote themselves to God to a higher degree, living for God “at all times” and “in all places”; this duty includes proper religious use of estates and fortunes as well as time. Religious exercises, such as prayers, represent only a small part of devotion to God, and unless common life matches prayers, they are nothing but “lip labour” or, worse still, hypocrisy. True devotion will bring peace and happiness, for it reduces desires to such things as nature and reason require and thus removes those that torment an uncontrolled heart. Christians ought to be disciplined in their life of prayer, and if apprehensions and perceptions of God are right, they will do so readily.