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William Law

1686-1761

William Law

William Law was an English churchman and writer of works on Christian ethics and mysticism. He was born the son of a grocer in Kingscliffe, Northamptonshire in 1686. He entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1705, becoming a fellow in 1711, the year of his ordination. He was forced to leave in 1714 after refusing to take an oath of allegiance to George I, and later worked as a tutor before retiring to Kingscliffe in 1740. During this time he produced a number of works, including Practical Treatise Upon Christian Perfection (1726) and Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728). The latter influenced Dr. Johnson and John and Charles Wesley, and is considered by many his best work.

Around 1733, Law began to study the writings of Jacob Boehme, and most of his later works are translations and expositions of Boehme's texts and ideas. The Spirit of Prayer was published in 1749, and The Spirit of Love and The Way to Divine Knowledge followed in 1752, each affirming the union between Creator and created. Law died on 9 April, 1761, in his birthplace, Kingscliffe.



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