Quotes by William Law
If our life is not a course of humility, self-denial, renunciation of the world, poverty of spirit, and heavenly affection, we do not live the lives of Christians.
Prayer is the nearest approach to God and the highest enjoyment of Him that we are capable of in this life.
You can have no greater sign of confirmed pride than when you think you are humble enough.
When you begin to pray, use such expressions of the attributes of God as will make you sensible of His greatness and power.
Humility is nothing else but a right judgment of ourselves.
There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him.
If…someone is leaving you behind, and you are becoming jealous and embittered, keep praying that he may have success in the very matter where he is awakening your envy; and whether he is helped or not, one thing is sure, that your own soul will be cleansed and ennobled.
The pure, mere love of God is that alone from which sinners are justly to expect that no sin will pass unpunished, but that His love will visit them with every calamity and distress that can help to break and purify the bestial heart of man and awaken in him true repentance and conversion to God. It is love alone in the holy Deity that will allow no peace to the wicked, nor ever cease its judgments till every sinner is forced to confess that it is good for him that he has been in trouble, and thankfully own that not the wrath but the love of God has plucked out that right eye, cut off that right band, which he ought to have done but would not do for himself and his own salvation.
He therefore is the devout man who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God, who considers God in everything, who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life parts of piety by doing everything in the name of God and under such rules as are conformable to His glory."
Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays the most or fasts the most, it is not he who lives the most, but it is he who is always thankful to God, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.
If our blessed Lord used to pray early before day; if He spent whole nights in prayer; if the devout Anna was day and night in the temple; if Paul and Silas at midnight sang praises unto God; if the primitive Christians, for several hundred years, besides their hours of prayers in the daytime, met publicly in the churches at midnight to join in psalms and prayers; is it not certain that these practices showed the state of their heart? Are they not so many plain proofs of the whole turn of their minds?
Although these abstinences give some pain to the body, yet they so lessen the power of bodily appetites and passions, and so increase our taste of spiritual joys, that even these severities of religion, when practiced with discretion, add much to the comfortable enjoyment of our lives.
For if [a Christian] cannot thank and praise God as well in calamities and sufferings as in prosperity and happiness, he is as far from the piety of a Christian as he that only loves them that love him is from the charity of a Christian. For to thank God only for such things as you like is no more a proper act of piety than to believe only what you see is an act of faith. Resignation and thanksgiving to God are only acts of piety when they are acts of faith, trust and confidence in the divine goodness.
He who complains of the weather, complains of the God who ordained the weather!
You are to think of yourself as only existing in this world to do God’s will. To think that you are your own is as absurd as to think you are self-created. It is an obvious first principle that you belong completely to God.
If you stop and ask yourself why you are not so devoted as the (early) Christians, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.
For this implicit faith and total resignation of ourselves to the adorable Providence of God, willing nothing but what he wills, and because he wills it, is a state of mind whose excellency I cannot represent to you; it…makes our weakness as serviceable to us as our strength… Let me, therefore, entreat you to put on this temper; to lay hold of it with all your might; to make everything you hear or see or find in yourself, the world, religion, or Providence, so many fresh occasions of committing yourself to God by a faith without any bounds, a resignation without any reserve.