In his Plain Account of Christian Perfection, John Wesley wrote that early in his Oxford years as a student, “Mr. Law’s Christian Perfection and Serious Call were put into my hands. These convinced me, more than ever, of the absolute impossibility of being half a Christian; and I determined, through His grace…to be all devoted to God, to give Him all my soul, my body and my substance.” William Law’s contention in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life was that “devotion…is a way of life which brings a sense of religion into the ordinary actions of our common life.”
Wesley considered Law a friend and counselor whom he respected throughout his life. He didn’t always agree with everything William Law wrote and traded letters of disagreement that are preserved in his journal.
The original version of A Serious Call is in tedious old English. There is an edited and abridged version for the modern reader available. The following is an excerpt from that edited version that in many ways reflects in part what Wesley would term the Means of Grace. They are certainly thought provoking.
“Nourish your soul with good works, give it peace in solitude, get it strength in prayer, make it wise with reading, enlighten it by meditation, make it tender with love, sweeten it with psalms and hymns, and comfort it with frequent reflections upon future glory. Keep your soul in the presence of God, and teach it to imitate those guardian angels which, though they attend on human affairs and the lowest of mankind, yet ‘always behold the face of your Father which is in heaven.’”
If we took this “into our hands” and were convicted to be more than “half a Christian” and live a life of devotion…..what might be different in the course of our “ordinary actions of our common life?”