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Appendix C


The electronic edition.


IT is a privilege to release this Public Domain edition of Law's Serious Call.

Two hundred and sixty five years on, the social condition within which William Law lived has utterly passed away. We might spare a thought, as we read those passages in which the segregated positions of sex and class are most apparent, for the unquestioned assumptions which hold us enthralled in our turn.

As for the message, it is as insistent and overwhelming as ever it was. Never content to use one instance where ten can be lined up in its place, William Law holds the reader much as Coleridge's Ancient Mariner might have held the Wedding Guest. Mere assent after ten pages is insufficient, it would seem. The repetitive strain is, perhaps, a demand that the reader should not merely assent, but that he should ultimately act.

It might be felt that the second half of the book, in which the shape of a regular day of devotion is sketched out, is redundant. I would like to bring the attention of the reader to a monograph by Dietrich Bonhoffer, "Life Together", and suggest that the ideas expressed here in the Serious Call be compared with it.

A word on the text. Insofar as I can tell, the Dent Everyman edition which I used to scan the text is identical in wording to the Methuen facsimile reprint of the first edition. Dent omit, however, the italics which are to be found throughout the original, which (I think) the author included as a means to convey his tone of voice. I have followed the omission, as did Dent, on the ground that the italics made the book less easy on the eye.

I have spoken with the legal adviser to both Dent and Methuen, and am advised that both Appendix 1 and 2 are free of copyright restriction.

It is certain that errors will be found in my transcription, for which I apologise in advance. I would welcome notice of any found, however trivial.

In order to distinguish this version from a subsequent corrected copy, I label this release 1.0; and to facilitate ARCHIE location, request that all distributed copies bear the name


John Harris


mail: 24 beaconsfield rd, bristol, bs8 2ts,

uk tel: +44 117 974 4055

24th January 1994, Bristol, England.




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