By William Law
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Additional info for A serious call to a devout and holy life : adapted to the state and condition of all orders of Christians
Why do you not think it as dangerous for you to live in such defects as are in your power to amend, as 'tis dangerous for a common swearer to live in the breach of that duty which it is in his power to observe? Is not negligence and a want of a sincere intention as blamable in one case as in another? You, it may be, are as far from Christian perfection as the common swearer is from keeping the third commandment; are you not therefore as much condemned by the doctrines of the gospel as the swearer is by the third commandment?
Though this is an absurdity that we can easily pass over at present, whilst the health of our bodies, the passions of our minds, the noise and hurry and pleasures and business of the world, lead us on with eyes that see not and ears that hear not, yet at death it will set itself before us in a dreadful magnitude, it will haunt us like a dismal ghost, and our conscience will never let us take our eyes from it. We see in worldly matters what a torment self-condemnation is, and how hardly a man is able to forgive himself when he has brought himself into any calamity or disgrace, purely by his own folly.
Is there any dream like the dream of life which amuses us with the neglect and disregard of these things? Is there any folly like the folly of our manly state which is too wise and busy to be at leisure for these reflections? When we consider death as a misery, we only think of it as a miserable separation from the enjoyments of this life. We seldom mourn over an old man that dies rich, but we lament the young that are taken away in the progress of their fortune. You yourselves look upon me with pity, not that I am going unprepared to meet the judge of quick and dead, but that I am to leave a prosperous trade in the flower of my life.