Law, William
( 1686-1761 )
   theologian and writer whose ideas contributed to early Methodism
   William Law, a minister in the Church of England who wrote several classics of Protestant spiritual literature, was born at King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire. He became a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and was ordained in 1711.
   When George I (of the House of Hanover) succeeded to the throne in 1714, Law felt unable to take the required oath of allegiance to the new Hanoverian dynasty. As a nonjuror, he was unable to work as a university instructor or a parish minister. He became a private tutor for historian Edward Gibbon. After 10 years he retired.
   Denied access to pulpit and lecture hall, Law turned to writing; he produced a series of books including Christian Perfection, the Spirit of Love, the Spirit of Prayer, and, his most influential, A Serious Call To a Devout and Holy Life (1728). The thesis of the Call is that God, though he forgives disobedience, calls us to obedience and to a life completely centered in him.
   Law's works were just being published as John Wesley was maturing and launching Methodism. He developed a great appreciation for Law's writings, especially his treatise on Christian Perfection, and recommended them to his preachers.
   Law died on April 9, 1761.
   Further reading:
   ■ William Law, The Life and Works of William Law, 10 vols. (London: Thoemmes Continuum, 2000); , A Practical Treatise upon Christian Perfection (London: William & John Innys, 1726); , A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. Adapted to the State and Condition of All Orders of Christians (London: William Innys, 1729)
   ■ Arthur Keith Walker, William Law: His Life and Work (London: SPCK, 1973).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Law, William — (1686–1761)    Devotional Writer and Polemicist.    Law was born in Northamptonshire, and he was educated at the University of Cambridge.    In 1711 he was ordained into the Church of England ministry, but he refused to take the oath of… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Law, William — ▪ British author born 1686, King s Cliffe, Northamptonshire, Eng. died April 9, 1761, King s Cliffe       English author of influential works on Christian ethics and mysticism.       He entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1705 and in 1711 was …   Universalium

  • LAW, WILLIAM —    author of A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, born at Kingscliffe, Northamptonshire, son of a grocer; entered Cambridge in 1705; became a Fellow, and took orders in 1711; became associated with the family of the elder Gibbon, father of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • LAW, William — (1686 1761)    English spiritual writer who was greatly appreciated by John WESLEY, George WHITEFIELD, and Henry VENN. Among his writings are On Christian Perfection (1726), and A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728). He was inspired by… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Law, William — (1686 1761)    Divine, s. of a grocer at Kingscliffe, Northamptonshire, was ed. at Camb., and in 1727 became tutor to the f. of Edward Gibbon, the historian. About 1728 he pub. his best known book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, a work …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Law, William Arthur — (b. 1844)    Dramatic author. A Night Surprise (1877), Enchantment (1878), Castle Botherem (1880), Nobody s Fault (1882), A Mint of Money (1884), The Judge (1890), Country Mouse (1902), Three Blind Mice (1906), etc …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • law — / lȯ/ n [Old English lagu, of Scandinavian origin] 1: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority: as a: a command or provision enacted by a legislature see also statute 1 b:… …   Law dictionary

  • law of the case — law of the case: a doctrine in legal procedure: an issue esp. of law that has been decided (as by an appeals court) will not be reconsidered in the same case unless compelling circumstances warrant such reconsideration; also: a matter of law… …   Law dictionary

  • William O. Douglas — served the longest on the Supreme Court 36 years, from 1939–1975. Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary. Gerald N. Hill, Kathleen Thompson Hill. 2009 …   Law dictionary

  • law-abiding — I adjective according to law, acquiescent, bene moratus, complying, conforming, dutiful, ethical, evenhanded, high minded, high principled, honest, honorable, incorrupt, incorruptible, inviolate, inapproachable, law revering, licit, moral, noble …   Law dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”