Tag Archive: William Law


“The greatest Part of Mankind, nay of Christians, may be said to be asleep; and that particular Way of Life, which takes up each Man’s Mind, Thoughts, and Actions, may be very well called his particular Dream. This Degree of Vanity is equally visible in every Form and Order of Life. The Learned and the Ignorant, the Rich and the Poor, are all in the same State of Slumber, only passing away a short Life in a different kind of Dream. But why so?

It is because Man has an Eternity within him, is born into this World, not for the sake of living here, not for any thing this world can give him, but only to have Time and Place, to become either an eternal Partaker of a Divine Life with God, or to have an hellish Eternity among fallen Angels: And therefore, every man who has not his Eye, his Heart, and his Hands, continually governed by this twofold Eternity, may justly be said to be fast asleep, to have no awakened Sensibility of Himself.

And a Life devoted to the Interests and Enjoyments of this World, spent and wasted in the Slavery of earthly Desires, may be truly called a Dream; as having all the Shortness, Vanity, and Delusion of a Dream; only with this great Difference, that when a Dream is over, nothing is lost but Fictions and Fancies; but when the Dream of Life is ended only by Death, all that Eternity is lost for which we were brought into Being.”  ~William Law, “Spirit of Prayer”, Chapter 1, p.1. 

For the full article, see: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/law/prayer/files/prayer1.htm

“An Eternal Perspective”

Some 250 years ago William Law portrayed a “very prosperous and busy young tradesman” who was “about to die in his thirty-fifth year.” The young man had this to say to the friends who came to express their sympathy:

“You look upon me with pity, not that I am going unprepared to meet the Judge of quick and dead, but that I am to leave a prosperous trade in the flower of my life…. And yet what folly of the silliest children is so great as this?

Our poor friend Lepidus died…as he was dressing himself for a feast. Do you think it is now part of his trouble that he did not live till that entertainment was over? Feast and business and pleasures and enjoyments seem great things to us-but as soon as we add death to them they all sink into an equal littleness….

If I am now going into the joys of God, could there be any reason to grieve that this happened to me before I was forty years of age? Could it be a sad thing to go to heaven before I had made a few more bargains or stood a little longer behind a counter?

And if I am to go amongst lost spirits, could there be any reason to be content that this did not happen to me till I was old, and full of riches…? Now that judgment is the next thing that I look for, and everlasting happiness or misery is come so near to me, all the enjoyments and prosperities of life seem vain and insignificant….

But my friends, how I am surprised that I have not always had these thoughts…! What a strange thing it is that a little health or the poor business of a shop should keep us so senseless of these great things that are coming so fast upon us!”
An Eternal Perspective“, The Berean Call, see: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/5718.

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