The Doctrine of All the New Testament

From A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, 6 (1729).

If we waste our money, we are not only guilty of wasting a talent which God has given us and making useless that which is so powerful a means of doing good, but we also do ourselves a further harm by turning this useful talent into a powerful means of corrupting ourselves. If we spend wrongly in the support of some wrong temper, in gratifying some vain and unreasonable desires, in conforming to those passions and pride of the world [we corrupt ourselves.]…

Money, if not used strictly according to reason and religion, cannot only be trifled away, but it will betray people into greater follies… Vain and needless expenses create unreasonable desires, nourish ill tempers, indulge our passions, and support a worldly, vain turn of mind…. Such hurt and disorder our hearts…

Money thus spent is not merely wasted or lost, but it is spent to bad purposes and miserable effects to the corruption and disorder of our hearts… It is like keeping money from the poor to buy poison for ourselves… So, whether we consider our fortune as a talent and trust from God, or how our fortune enables us to do great good, or how, if idly spent, our fortune may do great harm to ourselves, it appears absolutely necessary to make reason and religion the strict rule of using all our fortune… This use of our worldly goods is so much the doctrine of all the New Testament, that you can’t read a chapter without being taught something of it

William Law (1686-1761) was an English Anglican priest and spiritual writer. He lost his position as a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to King George I, and worked for most of his life as a private tutor. He wrote a series of influential treatises on Christian discipleship and mysticism, urging a life of holiness. A Serious Call was his most influential work, and deeply influenced many later church leaders, especially John Wesley and John Keble. He is commemorated on the liturgical calendars of several Anglican churches on dates around his date of death, April 9.


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