- ( 1686-1761 )theologian and writer whose ideas contributed to early MethodismWilliam 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. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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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
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