By William Law
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Extra info for A serious call to a devout and holy life : adapted to the state and condition of all orders of Christians
Can it be thought that I have pleased God with such a life as He requires, though I have lived without ever considering what He requires, or bow much I have performed? How easy a thing would salvation be, if it could fall into my careless hands, who have never had so much serious thoughts about it, as about any one common bargain that I have made. In the business of life I have used prudence and reflection. I have done every thing by rules and methods. I have been glad to converse with men of experience and judgement to find out the reasons why some fail, and others succeed in any business.
And if God had delivered me up to evil spirits, to be dragged by them to places of torments, could it be any comfort to me that they found me upon a bed of state? When you are as near death as I am, you will know that all the different states of life, whether of youth or age, riches or poverty, greatness or meanness, signify no more to you than whether you die in a poor or stately apartment. 10 The greatness of those things which follow death makes all that goes before it sink into nothing. Now that judgment is the next thing that I look for, and everlasting happiness or misery is come so near me, all the enjoyments and prosperities of life seem as vain and insignificant, and to have no more to do with my happiness than the clothes that I wore before I could speak.
For it is as great an absurdity to suppose holy prayers, and Divine petitions, without a holiness of life suitable to them, as to suppose a holy and Divine life without prayers. Let any one therefore think how easily he could confute a man that pretended to great strictness of life without prayer, and the same arguments will as plainly confute another, that pretends to strictness of prayer, without carrying the same strictness into every other part of life. For to be weak and foolish in spending our time and fortune, is no greater a mistake than to be weak and foolish in relation to our prayers.