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Law, William

Born: 1686 AD
Died: 1761 AD
2.4 (48%) 10 votes

1686 – William Law, English divine, was born at Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.

1705 – He entered as a sizar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

1711 – Elected fellow of his college and was ordained. He resided at Cambridge, teaching and taking occasional duty until the accession of George I, when his conscience forbade him to take the oaths of allegiance to the new government and of abjuration of the Stuarts.

1717 – The first of his controversial works was Three Letters to the Bishop of Bangor, which were considered by friend and foe alike as one of the most powerful contributions to the Bangorian controversy on the high church side.

1723 – Next controversial work was Remarks on Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, in which he vindicates morality on the highest grounds; for pure style, caustic wit and lucid argument this work is remarkable; it was enthusiastically praised by John Sterling, and republished by FD Maurice.

1726 – In a tract entitled The Absolute Unlawfulness of Stage Entertainments Law was tempted by the corruptions of the stage of the period to use unreasonable language, and incurred some effective criticism from John Dennis in The Stage Defended.

1727 – He was domiciled with Edward Gibbon at Putney as tutor to his son Edward, father of the historian, who says that Law became the much-honoured friend and spiritual director of the whole family.

1728 – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, together with its predecessor, A Treatise of Christian Perfection, deeply influenced the chief actors in the great Evangelical revival.

1740 – Retired to Kings Cliffe, where he had inherited from his father a house and a small property. There he was presently joined by two ladies: Mrs Hutcheson, the rich widow of his old friend, who recommended her on his death-bed to place herself under Law’s spiritual guidance, and Miss Hester Gibbon, sister to his late pupil.

1761 – Died on the 9th of April.

2.4 (48%) 10 votes