What does it mean to have serious faith? From the time he was a boy, William Law attempted to make his commitment to Christ real in all aspects of his life. He felt strongly that one’s commitment to God took precedence over all competing commitments. Law lived this out, willingly giving up his fellowship at Cambridge rather than breaking an oath. Both in person and through his written works, Law had a major influence on John and Charles Wesley. The Works of the Reverend William Law, vol. 9 contains “Of Justification by Faith and Works,” “An Humble, Earnest, and Affectionate Address to the Clergy,” and “A Collection of Letters on the Most Interesting and Important Subjects.”
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William Law (1686–1761) was born in Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England. He attended Cambridge in 1705 and was elected a fellow of Emmanuel College in 1711; he was ordained the same year. Upon the accession of George I, Law refused to take the oath of allegiance and became a non-juror (one who would not abjure the Stuart line and submit to the House of Hanover). He lost his fellowship at Emmanuel College and took up work tutoring Edward Gibbon. He lived with the Gibbons for more than 10 years, acting as a spiritual guide to the family. While there, he offered guidance and counsel to a number of prominent Christians, including John Wesley and Charles Wesley.