By William Law
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Extra resources for A serious call to a devout and holy life : adapted to the state and condition of all orders of Christians
And indeed there is no probability that anyone should do all the duty that is expected from him, or make that progress in piety which the holiness and justice of God requires of him, but he that is constantly afraid of falling short of it. Now this is not intended to possess people's minds with a scrupulous anxiety and discontent in the service of God, but to fill them with a just fear of living in sloth and idleness and in the neglect of such virtues as they will want at the day of judgment. It is to excite them to an earnest examination of their lives, to such zeal and care and concern after Christian perfection as they use in any matter that has gained their heart and affections.
Bless God that you are not of this number, that you have time and strength to employ yourselves in such works of piety as may bring you peace at the last. And take this along with you, that there is nothing but a life of great piety, or a death of great stupidity, that can keep off these apprehensions. Had I now a thousand worlds, I would give them all for one year more, that I might present unto God one year of such devotion and good works as I never before so much as intended. You perhaps, when you consider that I have lived free from scandal and debauchery and in the communion of the church, wonder to see me so full of remorse and self-condemnation at the approach of death.
For if the doctrines of Christianity were practised, they would make a man as different from other people, as to all worldly tempers, sensual pleasures, and the pride of life, as a wise man is different from a natural; it would be as easy a thing to know a Christian by his outward course of life, as it is now difficult to find any body that lives it. For it is notorious that Christians are now not only like other men in their frailties and infirmities, this might be in some degree excusable, but the complaint is, they are like Heathens in all the main and chief articles of their lives.
A serious call to a devout and holy life : adapted to the state and condition of all orders of Christians by William Law