William Law


Picture of William Law

William Law (1686 – 9 April 1761) was a Church of England priest who lost his position at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, when his conscience would not allow him to take the required oath of allegiance to the first Hanoverian monarch, King George I. Previously, William Law had given his allegiance to the House of Stuart and is sometimes considered a second-generation non-juror. Thereafter, Law continued as a simple priest (curate), and when that too became impossible without the required oath, Law taught privately and wrote extensively. His personal integrity, as well as his mystic and theological writing, greatly influenced the evangelistic movement of his day, as well as Enlightenment thinkers such as the writer Samuel Johnson and the historian Edward Gibbon. In 1784, William Wilberforce (1759–1833), the politician, philanthropist, and leader of the movement to stop the slave trade, was deeply touched by reading William Law's book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1729). Law's spiritual writings remain in print today.

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