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A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [Kindle Edition]

William Law
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $5.71
Kindle Price: $5.42
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

William Law, the 18th-century Anglican priest who heavily influenced the theology of John and Charles Wesley, lambastes pious hypocrisy and the corruption of the church in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, the latest reissue in Vintage's Spiritual Classics series. Law's prose is fresh and vivid as he illustrates the holy Christian life as one lived wholly for God. His thoughts on prayer, personal holiness and service to the poor will resonate with many contemporary readers.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"If Mr. Law finds a spark of piety in a reader's mind, he will soon kindle it into a flame." —Edward Gibbon


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 509 KB
  • Print Length: 239 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1475035071
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 Reprint edition (February 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004G60EIM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,847,453 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Law makes a solid case for pious living February 14, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book when I heard Jack Hayford mention it during one of his sermons. Given the title and era in which it was written, I expected it to contain some pretty weighty material about Christian living. I was not disappointed.
In this book, Law challenges the reader to respond to his "serious call" (and he was very serious when he wrote it) to devout living. The author makes a very solid case for this approach to Christian living for two main reasons. First, he is dead right about most topics he covers. His main point is that many Christians (I fall into this category) take for granted what God has done for us. There is no higher call than to love and serve Him. Yet we do not place as much value on spending time in devotion (prayer, reading scripture, praising, worshiping, serving) to God as we should. Instead we lived unbalanced lives in which God has a secondary role, instead being the primary focus of our existence.
Secondly, as another reviewer mentioned, his message is as relevant today, if not more so, than when it was written. We live in a day were modesty and pious living are completely ignored. It was refreshing to read a book which calls Christians to a much higher standard - we should not crave the things of this world. It is something I have struggled with, and continue to struggle with everyday that I live in overly abundant America. This book has helped me regain a more proper perspective on the importance of living for God (and what that means) versus living for the world.
I highly recommend this book to any Christian looking for a well written resource about living a life devoted to God. Law provides a lot of deep thought about the subject, and practical ways to try and live it out. At times, he goes a little bit too much into legalism for my taste, but overall he is on the mark with his approach and logic for his "serious call".
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read this book because Hannah Hurnard, author of Hind's Feet on High Places and other allegorical and devotional works, credits it with revolutionizing her spiritual life. Law exhorts Christians to offer all aspects of one's life and work as holy to God - work, finances, relationships, worship, prayer, etc. He reminds us of the Christian virtues of love, humility, peace, simplicity and conforming ourselves to God's will. This is a work which should not be forgotten or neglected by modern Christians.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not the book William Law wrote August 9, 1999
Format:Paperback
This "edited" version is a great disappointment. William Law's elegant prose has been dumbed down for "reading comprehension," and is dull as a junior high civics textbook. In Chapter VII, which talks about Miranda and Flavia, Flavia has been omitted. Presumably to keep everything "positive." The very spirit of truth so eloquently championed by Law in HIS book has been made a mockery of, because there are no warning labels to tell us that some anonymous hack has tampered with his text. O tempora, o mores! This book doesn't even deserve one star.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing spirit... February 26, 2004
Format:Paperback
William Law was one of the great mystics, clerics, and educators of the Church of England. Born in 1686, he was educated at Cambridge, eventually taking a teaching position there in addition to being ordained in the Church of England. He lost his position at Cambridge for being a Non-Juror (the Church of England being a state religion, clerics and others are required to swear oaths of allegiance to the monarch, and this Law could not do with regard to George I). He wrote the first work, `A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life', one of his best-known works, while in retirement as tutor in the Gibbon household (he was tutor to the father of the historian noted for the work on the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) in the 1720s.. He wrote the second, much shorter work, `The Spirit of Love,' in 1750s.
The first is a major work of spiritual practice, rightly deserving the description as a `classic' or `masterpiece'. For a course we teach at my seminary, this book is on the list of spiritual classics one may choose to use for inspiration and spiritual reflection, and for good reason. Influenced by Law's readings from other mystics such as Thomas a Kempis, Johann Tauler and others, this book is full of mystic insight and practical wisdom. It was popular from the start, and remains an enduring classic of post-Reformation spirituality.
Law has a fairly ecumenical audience, though he is not without controversy. Law is very much a man of the church, and of a high-liturgy and sacramental church at that, thus some Protestants may find difficulty with some of his unstated but very present assumptions. Law resists bibliolatry, does not accept the doctrine of Calvin of a complete corrupt humanity, and never assumes to try to prove the existence of God, taking that for granted.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging Book on Truly Following Christ October 2, 1999
Format:Paperback
This is the most challenging book I have ever read on following the teachings of Christ practically in every day living. The conviction was so fierce that it was hard to get through the first chapter. His words bear so much truth it motivates you to want to be more like Christ himself.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not devotional candy June 22, 2003
Format:Hardcover
With so many light weight devotional books flooding the market these days, it is good to sink one's teeth into a great spiritual classic. Law was an 18th century Anglican. As he grew, his theology also grew. Near the end of his life, his writings began to lean toward gnosticism. "Serious Call" was penned while Law was in his prime. It was on John Wesley's personal book shelf and greatly influenced the father of Methodism. This book will challenge the reader. It speaks as strongly to the 21st century reader as to the 18th century reader.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very worthwhile read
Found this while reading GK Chesterton - he said it changed his life and I can understand that
Very straightforward common sense advice - simple and universal truths told... Read more
Published 2 months ago by vom357
4.0 out of 5 stars Let the Spirit of Truth speak as you listen
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. Read more
Published 4 months ago by PerryMartinBookReviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Live for Jesus
An excellent read for those desireiing to glorify God in their daily life. I would recommend this read for Christians.
Published 10 months ago by Peter Pecoraro
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
Without question, the most anointed, inspiring and convicting book outside of the Word of God that I have ever read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by CKRoe
4.0 out of 5 stars Living a Holy Life on Purpose
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. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Linda R. Gabriel
2.0 out of 5 stars When You Don't Pay Much, You Don't Get Much
I had a print copy of this book by William Law for years. I thought I would add it to my e-reader. I was especially happy that I could get it for cheap! Read more
Published 19 months ago by Douglas A. Nicely
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Not an easy read for me but it makes some very good points. It is very worthwhile to read in my opinion
Published 20 months ago by Roman's Road
5.0 out of 5 stars Appreciate the quick download and easy availability
It is so great to have access to some of the Christian classics from the past. We don't hear straight talk like this very often. Thank you.
Published 23 months ago by Nancy McRae
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful Christian classic
Refreshing to read the inspiring words of William Law, written in the 1700's. The realization that this theologian may have influenced the faith and thinking of America's founding... Read more
Published 24 months ago by carpenterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Swee and Amazing
William wrote from the bottom of his heart what a genuine Christian supposed to be. Genuine Christians must be devout and live exemplary lives that will distinquish them from the... Read more
Published on November 5, 2012 by D. Dann
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