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An Introduction to William Law (continued)

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On-line at PTW: December 28, 2010
Last update: December 28, 2012
  


Christopher Walton (Author of:  Notes and Materials for an Adequate Biography of The Celebrated Divine and Theosopher, William Law, 1854.)
continues his many insights into William Law...

“LAW is the Newton of Metaphysics.  LAW had said that "the ground and mystery of all things was never opened in any man but BEHMEN, and there are good reasons for supposing that they will never again be opened in any other man".  BEHMEN's mind shadowed forth as well as it was possible in the mirror and on the platform of his writings, a grand mine, or garden full of the seeds and births of universal truth.  LAW, from a living knowledge and experience thereof, in his own microcosm, was the learned opener, displayer, and demonstrator of its riches and wonders.

“LAW said of BEHMEN's works that "there is not any philosophical question that can be put, nor advice or direction that can be asked, in regard to GOD, or Nature, or Christianity, but what J.B. has over and over spoke to, and in the plainest manner." 

“In short, LAW thus most justly describes BEHMEN ...

  1. "As a teacher to the true ground of the Christian religion.

  2. "As a discoverer of the false antichristian church, from its first rise in Cain, through every age of the world, to its present state in all and every sect of the present divided christendom.

  3. "As a guide to the truth of all the mysteries of the kingdom of GOD.  In these three respects, which contain all that any one can possibly want to know or learn from any teacher; he is the strongest, the plainest, the most open, intelligible, awakening, convincing writer that ever was.  
    As to all these three matters, he speaks to every one as himself saith in the sound of a trumpet.  And here to pretend to be an explainer of him, or make him fitter for our apprehension, in these great matters, is as vain as if a man should pipe through a straw, to make the sound of a trumpet better heard by us.

  4. "Further, he may be considered, as a relater of depths opened in himself, of wonders which his spirit had seen and felt in his ternario sancto.  Now, in this respect he is no teacher, nor his reader a learner;   but all that he saith is only for the same end as St. Paul spoke of his having been in the third heaven, and hearing things not possible to be spoken in human words.   And yet in these matters it is, that most of his readers, especially if they are scholars, are chiefly employed; every one in his own way trying to become masters of them.   Thus, when he first appeared in English, many persons of this nation, of the greatest wit and abilities, became his readers; who, instead of entering into his one only design, which was their own regeneration from an earthly to a heavenly life, turned chemists, and set up furnaces to regenerate metals, in search of the philosopher's stone!   And yet, of all men in the world, no one has so deeply, and from so true a ground, laid open the exceeding vanity of such labour and the utter impossibility of success in it from any art or skill in the use of fire.  And this must with truth be affirmed of him, that there is not any possible error, that you can fall into in the use of his books, but what he gives you notice of beforehand, and warns you against it in the most solemn manner; and he tells you that the blame must be yours if you fall into it."

“LAW is the great Elias-restorer of all things, of the true doctrines, and most efficient practice and application of perfect Christianity, in these last times, preludious and introductory to the advent of the 'great day'.    He is a great oracle of Divine Wisdom, and master of all solid erudition and literary accomplishments. 

“The works of this notable individual demonstrated his Elias-Baptist character incidentally with regard to philosophy, but directly in the consummate restoration of Christian doctrine to its original evangelical purity of principle and practice, and in laying the groundwork for the dissemination of it, in all its simplicity, power, and efficiency, to the ends of the earth, thus answering to the proclamation of the evangelical prophet, in respect to the latter day's glory, and the characteristics of its precursory messengers: — (Isaiah xl. 3,4,5) "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for your God. — Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: — And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together;   for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." —— Indeed, such is the clearness and fullness of light in which every part of Christianity both in theory and practice, is now set forth in the immediate and espoused works of this learned author, that when seen through such a medium, it may said to be irresistible.

“As GOD's instrument, LAW was a classic MAN, who attained to the highest solid and sober, learned, moral and intellectual perfection ... sent not only as a  beau-ideal {a type or model} of the highest perfections and accomplishments of human nature, but as a practical exemplification thereof.    He was a man of sterling sense and genius, of solid and sufficient erudition, a Christian gentleman, a sage, and a divine  philosopher with a square, right proportioned, uniform, exactly balanced mind, and sound judgment, in regard to moral sentiment, erudition, literature, science, philosophy, and Christianity — the latter being in its full theosophic scope, as well  as simple evangelical knowledge and experience.  And as his mind was, we say, so exactly composed and arranged by nature and by art, by true erudition and piety, so he brought his knowledge and judgment to bear in the same just adequateness, and relations of moral value, in whatever became the subject of his mental contemplation, and issued from him, either by his pen or his word of speech; all being, so to speak, poised and regented by perfect common sense acting under the light of high Wisdom.  Not that we mean to say the Mr. LAW was a totally regenerate or perfect man, but only that his mind was most admirably qualified for, and uniformly and highly advanced in growth toward that blissful consummation: for the piercing fiery sharpness, acidity and bitterness of his natural essences, (which qualities in the finest fruits of this world, as indeed of Paradise itself, form the ground of their rich taste and fine spirit when at perfect maturity,) were not yet so perfectly tinctured by the  exterior action and inward development of the divine Light, as to be absolutely transmuted (though in his will so,) into paradisical virtues and divine graces; which is perfect inward regeneration.   Wherefore, when it was deemed needful, they could be, as they were, experienced or tasted according to their fundamental astringency and stinging pungency, by those who when affected by them, had not sufficient divine virtue  to transmute their action into love, or in whom such qualities of the dark principle predominated, and who, by the evil motion of which, and the consequent pernicious action thereof on the public happiness, had given cause for him, as a guardian sage of truth, so to correct or reprove them.

End of Quotes from Christorpher Walton  ~

 

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