An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Law, William

(1686-Apr. 9, 1761). Spiritual writer, priest, and Non-Juror. Law is most famous as the author of A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728), which is a call to a life of piety and devotion. A holy life is devotion to God and a regular method of daily prayer. A Serious Call, which was inspired by the teachings of such spiritual writers as Thomas à Kempis, is a forceful exhortation to embrace the Christian life in its moral and ascetical fullness. His major thesis was the unalterable love of God as expressed in Jesus Christ. A Serious Call had a profound impact on Charles and John Wesley. Law was born in King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England. He received his B.A. from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, in 1708, and was ordained priest in 1711. When Queen Anne died in 1714, he was unable to take the oath of allegiance to King George I and the House of Hanover, and thus became a nonjuror. For 12 years he was a tutor at Putney. In 1740 he retired to his native village where he eventually died. He is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Apr. 9.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.