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 William Law Quotes
76 Famous Quotes by William Law
- 4/9/1761
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Consider yourself as always wrong, as having gone aside, and lost your right path, when any delight, desire, or trouble, is suffered to live in you, that cannot be made a part of this prayer of the heart to God. For nothing so infallibly shows us the true state of our heart, as that which gives us either delight or trouble; for as our delight and trouble is, so is the state of our heart: if therefore you are carried away with any trouble or delight, that has not an immediate relation to your progress in the divine life, you may be assured your heart is not in its right state of prayer to God. [Continued tomorrow].

Christianity Quotes, by William Law

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The way to be a man of prayer, and be governed by its spirit, is not to get a book full of prayers; but the best help you can have from a book, is to read one full of such truths, instructions, and awakening informations, as force you to see and know who, and what, and where, you are; that God is your all; and that all is misery, but a heart and life devoted to him. This is the best outward prayer book you can have, as it will turn you to an inward book, and spirit of prayer in your heart, which is a continual longing desire of the heart after God, his divine life, and Holy Spirit. When, for the sake of this inward prayer, you retire at any time of the day, never begin till you know and feel, why and wherefore you are going to pray; and let this why and wherefore, form and direct everything that comes from you, whether it be in thought or in word. [Continued tomorrow].

Christianity Quotes, by William Law

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No vice can harbor in you, no infirmity take any root, no good desire can languish, when once your heart is in this method of prayer; never beginning to pray, till you first see how matters stand with you; asking your heart what it wants, and having nothing in your prayers, but what the known state of your heart puts you upon demanding, saying, or offering, unto God. A quarter of an hour of this prayer, brings you out of your closet a new man; your heart feels the good of it; and every return of such a prayer, gives new life and growth to all your virtues, with more certainty, than the dew refreshes the herbs of the field: whereas, overlooking this true prayer of your own heart, and only at certain times taking a prayer that you find in a book, you have nothing to wonder at, if you are every day praying, and yet every day sinking further and further under all your infirmities. [Continued tomorrow].

Christianity Quotes, by William Law

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For your heart is your life, and your life can only be altered by that which is the real working of your heart. And if your prayer is only a form of words, made by the skill of other people, such a prayer can no more change you into a good man, than an actor upon the stage, who speaks kingly language, is thereby made to be a king: whereas one thought, or word, or look, towards God, proceeding from your own heart, can never be without its proper fruit, or fail of doing a real good to your soul. Again, another great and infallible benefit of this kind of prayer is this; it is the only way to be delivered from the deceitfulness of your own hearts. [Continued tomorrow].

Christianity Quotes, by William Law

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Our hearts deceive us, because we leave them to themselves, are absent from them, taken up in outward rules and forms of living and praying. But this kind of praying, which takes all its thoughts and words only from the state of our hearts, makes it impossible for us to be strangers to ourselves. The strength of every sin, the power of every evil temper, the most secret workings of our hearts, the weakness of any or all our virtues, is with a noonday clearness forced to be seen, as soon as the heart is made our prayer book, and we pray nothing, but according to what we read, and find there.

Christianity Quotes, by William Law

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Religion is not ours till we live by it, till it is the Religion of our thoughts, words, and actions, till it goes with us into every place, sits uppermost on every occasion, and forms and governs our hopes and fears, our cares and pleasures.

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Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626 Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392 Why all this strife and zeal about opinions? Death and life go on their own way, carry on their own work, and stay for no opinions... What a delusion it is therefore to grow gray-headed in balancing ancient and modern opinions; to waste the precious uncertain fire of life in critical zeal and verbal animosities; when nothing but the kindling of our working will into a faith that overcometh the world, into a steadfast hope, and ever-burning love and desire of the divine life, can hinder us from falling into eternal death.

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Feast of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 461 Perhaps there cannot be a better way of judging of what manner of spirit we are of, than to see whether the actions of our life are such as we may safely commend them to God in our prayers.

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It is as reasonable to suppose it the desire of all Christians to arrive at Christian perfection as to suppose that all sick men desire to be restored to perfect health; yet experience shows us, that nothing wants more to be pressed, repeated, and forced upon our minds, than the plainest rules of Christianity.

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Commemoration of Eglantine Jebb, Social Reformer, Founder of 'Save the Children', 1928 Let a clergyman but intend to please God in all his actions, as the happiest and best thing in the world, and then he will know that there is nothing noble in a clergyman but a burning zeal for the salvation of souls; nor anything poorer in his profession [than] idleness and a worldly spirit.

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Now this is the ground and original of the Spirit of Love in the creature, it is and must be a will to all goodness; and you have not the Spirit of Love in you till you have this will to all goodness at all times and on all occasions. You may indeed do many works of love and delight in them -- especially at such times as they are not inconvenient to your state or temper or occurrences in life. But the Spirit of Love is not in you till it is the spirit of your life, till you live freely, willingly, and universally according to it.

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Many people not only lose the benefit, but are even the worse for their mortifications [i.e., sacrifices, abstensions], ... because they mistake the whole nature and worth of them: they practice them for their own sakes, as things good in themselves, they think them to be real parts of holiness, and so rest in them and look no further, but grow full of a self-esteem and self-admiration for their own progress in them. This makes them self-sufficient, morose, severe judges of all those that fall short of their mortifications. And thus their self-denials do only that for them which indulgences do for other people: they withstand and hinder the operation of God upon their souls, and instead of being really self-denials, they strengthen and keep up the kingdom of self.

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Concluding a short series on prayer: He that seeks God in everything is sure to find God in everything. When we thus live wholly unto God, God is wholly ours and we are then happy in all the happiness of God; for by uniting with Him in heart, and will, and spirit, we are united to all that He is and has in Himself. This is the purity and perfection of life that we pray for in the Lord's Prayer, that God's kingdom may come and His will be done in us, as it is in Heaven. And this we may be sure is not only necessary, but attainable by us, or our Saviour would not have made it a part of our daily prayer.

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There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. ... The Confessions of St. Augustine April 4, 1998 The merit of persons is to be no rule of our charity; but we are to do acts of kindness to those that least of all deserve it.

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Good Friday Feast of William Law, Priest, Mystic, 1761 Commemoration of William of Ockham, Franciscan Friar, Philosopher, Teacher, 1347 Commemoration of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Priest, Scientist, Visionary, 1955 Our Blessed Lord hath recommended His love to us as the pattern and the example of our love to one another. As, therefore, He is continually making intercession for us all, so ought we to intercede and pray for one another. "A new commandment," saith He, "I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another." The newness of this precept did not consist in this, that men were commanded to love one another for this was an old precept, both of the law of Moses and of nature. But it was new in this respect, that it was to initiate a new and, till then, unheard-of example of love; it was to love one another as Christ had loved us. And if men are to know that we are disciples of Christ, by thus loving one another according to His new example of love, then it is certain that if we are void of this love we make it as plainly known unto men that we are none of His disciples.

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Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian 735 Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709 If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.

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Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754 Never do anything through strife, or emulation, or vainglory. Never do anything in order to excel other people, but in order to please God, and because it is His will that you should do everything in the best manner that you can.

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If you were to rise early every morning, as an instance of self-denial, as a method of renouncing indulgence, as a means of redeeming your time, and fitting your spirit for prayer, you would find mighty advantages from it. This method, though it seem such a small circumstance of life, would in all probability be a means of great piety. It would keep it constantly in your head, that softness and idleness were to be avoided, that self-denial was a part of Christianity... It would teach you to exercise power over yourself, and make you able by degrees to renounce other pleasures and tempers that war against the soul.

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He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life.

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Feast of Henry Martyn, Translator of the Scriptures, Missionary in India & Persia, 1812 Weak and imperfect men shall, notwithstanding their frailties and effects, be received as having pleased God, if they have done their utmost to please Him.

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Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367 Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603 Now since our eternal state is as certainly ours, as our present state; since we are as certainly to live for ever, as we now live at all; it is plain, that we cannot judge of the value of any particular time, as to us, but by comparing it to that eternal duration, for which we are created.

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Ash Wednesday Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977 Men must not content themselves with the lawfulness of their employments, but must consider whether they use them, as they are to use everything, as strangers and pilgrims that are baptised into the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that we are to follow Him in a wise and heavenly course of life, in the mortification of the worldly desires, and in purifying and preparing their souls for the blessed enjoyment of God. For to be vain, or proud, or covetous, or ambitious, in the common course of our business, is as contrary to these holy tempers of Christianity as cheating and dishonesty. If a glutton were to say, in excuse of his gluttony, that he only eats such things as it is lawful to eat, he would make as good an excuse for himself as the greedy, covetous, ambitious tradesman that would say that he only deals in lawful business. For, as a Christian is not only required to be honest, but to be of a Christian spirit, and make his life an exercise of humility, repentance, and heavenly affection, so all tempers that are contrary to these are as contrary to Christianity as cheating is contrary to honesty.

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Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation If it be the earnest desire and longing of your heart to be merciful as He is merciful; to be full of His unwearied patience, to dwell in His unalterable meekness; if you long to be like Him in universal, impartial love; if you desire to communicate every good to every creature that you are able; if you love and practice everything that is good, righteous, and lovely for its own sake, because it is good, righteous, and lovely; and resist no evil but with goodness; then you have the utmost certainty that the Spirit of God dwells and governs in you.

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Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754 The separate creaturely life, as opposed to life in union with God, is only a life of various appetites, hungers, and wants, and cannot possibly be anything else. God Himself cannot make a creature to be in itself, or in its own nature, anything else but a state of emptiness. The highest life that is natural and creaturely can go no higher than this: it can only be a bare capacity for goodness and cannot possibly be a good and happy life but by the life of God dwelling in it and in union with it. And this is the two-fold life that, of all necessity, must be united in every good and happy and perfect creature.

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They, therefore, who are hasty in their devotions and think a little will do, are strangers both to the nature of devotion and the nature of man; they do not know that they are to learn to pray, and that prayer is to be learnt as they learn other things, by frequency, constancy, and perseverance.

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