Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
By William Law (16861761)
From Address to the Clergy
SPEAK, Lord, for thy servant heareth, is the only way by which any man ever did, or ever can attain divine knowledge and divine goodness. To knock at any other door but this is but like asking life of that which is itself dead, or praying to him for bread who has nothing but stones to give.
Now strange as all this may seem to the labour-learned possessor of far-fetched book-riches, yet it is saying no more, nor anything else, but that which Christ said in these words, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God. For if classic Gospellers, linguist critics, Scripture-logicians, salvation orators, able dealers in the grammatic powers of Hebrew, Greek, and Roman phrases, idioms, tropes, figures, etc. etc. can show, that by raising themselves high in these attainments, they are the very men that are sunk down from themselves into Christs little children of the kingdom of God, then it may be also said, that he who is labouring, scheming, and fighting for all the riches he can get from both the Indies, is the very man that has left all to follow Christ, the very man that labours not for the meat that perishes.
Show me a man whose heart has no desire, or prayer in it, but to love God with his whole soul and spirit, and his neighbour as himself, and then you have shown me the man who knows Christ, and is known of Him;the best and wisest man in the world, in whom the first paradisical wisdom and goodness are come to life. Not a single precept in the Gospel but is the precept of his own heart, and the joy of that new-born heavenly love which is the life and light of his soul. In this man all that came from the old serpent is trod under his feet; not a spark of self, of pride, of wrath, of envy, of covetousness or worldly wisdom can have the least abode in him, because that love, which fulfilleth the whole law and the prophets, that love which is God and Christ, both in angels and men, is the love that gives birth, and life, and growth to every thing that is either thought or word or action in him. And if he has no share or part with foolish errors, cannot be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, it is because, to be always governed by this love is the same thing as to be always taught of God.