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REV. WILLIAM LAW.
To which are subjoined, Two Letters from Clergymen in the Established Church, strongly recommending the SERIOUS CALL, and other works of the Author: also his Character, &c. by EDWARD GIBBON, Esq. the Roman Historian, and a list of all his works.
THE Rev. WILLIAM LAW was born in the town of King's Cliffe, in the county of Northampton, in the year 1686; his education, and the early years of his life, were very serious; at what time he entered the University, or when he took his degree of A. M. cannot be exactly ascertained, but his leaving that place was about the year 1712; after having made great proficiency in every branch of human literature, afterwards taking the adviceof our Saviour to the rich young man, he totally renounced the world, and followed Christ, in meekness, Sumility, and self-denial.
Mr. Law was a bachelor all his life-time: in person, he was a well set man, and rather of a dark complexion, though remarkably cheerful in his temper; such was his love of privacy, and a state of recollection, that it was very seldom indeed that he passed more than two hours in the company of any person; with a very small patrimony, he was remarkably charitable, particularly to his poor neighbours, the manufacturers of wooden ware, in and about King's Cliffe; in this benevolent disposition he was joined by the two maiden ladies, with whom he resided at King's Cliffe; their object was not to encourage the idle and dissolute, but to promote and facilitate the good intentions and endeavours of the industrious.
Such also was the little value he set on money, that he gave the copies of all his works intended for publication to his bookseller; but for one of them, Messrs. Richardsons and Urquhart, insisted upon his acceptance of one hundred guineas.
We shall now relate part of what he uttered in his last illness, which was witnessed by the friend to whom he addressed the three letters which accompany this work.
Just before his blessed soul took its happy flight, to dwell forever with the saints in bliss; the heavenly glory so opened itself in him, that he broke forth into the following exultation, which shewing the truth of his own highly regenerate state, as well as the joyful reality of the life of God in the soul of man, deserves to be written in letters of gold, not only to convince the infidel, but also to comfort and confirm the pious pilgrim, in his journey through the thorny wilderness of this world, into the peaceful regions of immortal bliss.
"Away with these filthy garments;" said this dying saint, "I feel a sacred fire kindled in my soul, which will destroy every thing contrary to itself, and burn as a flame of divine love to all eternity."
In such a triumph of holy joy did this extraordinary servant of God resign his blessed spirit into the hands of his beloved Lord and Master, at the place of his nativity, the town of King's Cliffe, in the County of Northampton. And in the church-yard of that parish, he lies interred, under a handsome tomb, erected to his memory, by a particular and dear friend, who lived many years with him, and therefore had long known, and highly and justly esteemed his singular worth: which was expressed in the following lines, engraved by the direction of the same friend, on the top-stone of his tomb:
HERE LYETH THE BODY
OF THE LATE
REV. WILLIAM LAW, A. M.
WHO DIED APRIL 9, 1761,