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This E-Text 1998, 2010, 2012  Pass the WORD Services.
E-Text Copyright renews with each published update.

On-line at PTW: January 1, 1998
Last update:  December
28, 2012

An Humble, Earnest, and Affectionate
Address to the CLERGY

by William Law - 1761

Links to the On-Line Manuscript


About William Law's An Address to the Clergy.

Finished  just a few days before his death on April 9th, 1761 and published the same year, the last assignment of this surrendered instrument of God was to expose, in his most loving way, the adulterations to the original gospel perpetrated on the flock of Christ by the "Clergy" of Christendom, who reigned (and still reign) over the variety of sects, and divisions which call themselves Christian around the world (but who, by their fruits, reveal themselves as anti-christian). 

These anti-christian corruptions, convolutions, and counterfeits had already become prevalent in Law's day, and since then, they have multiplied a thousand-fold as we see them from the viewpoint of the 21st century.  William Law, obediently set down for the "clergy" the breadth and depth of their sins, that they might recognize themselves to be false teachers, and as such, would realize that they would be held accountable.  Under the hand of God, Mr. Law, called the clergy, as well as other educated readers, to repentance.   However, as the passage of time has shown, that message fell on deaf ears.  

Christopher Walton described An Address to the Clergy as "the judicious and accomplished finishing stroke to William Law's Elias-Baptist office under the Gospel".  From: Notes and Materials for an Adequate Biography of The Celebrated Divine and Theosopher, William Law. Published in London -1854. 

As this last manuscript written by William Law comes back into public view, it seems more than a coincidence that a "striking unpublished fragment in Law's own handwriting", has come to light.  It was uncovered by Stephen Hobhouse in the 20th century, as it was then preserved in Dr. William's Library.  Hobhouse commented, "This may have been very possibly the last piece of writing to which he {Law} put his hand before he left this earth."  The content of the fragment obviously introduces An Address to the Clergy, but it's tone is more urgent than that of the text.  

The introductory fragment from William Law is as follows:

"The many janglings about Religion, and the Variety of Sects and Forms of religious Worship set up to find and practice the true Way of serving God, is the Reason of the following Work.  It is addressed to the Clergy, not because the things spoke of relate only to them, but because, if that which is most fundamental in Religion is either neglected or unknown by them, it is of the saddest Consequence both to them and the Churches in which they minister. 

"Now it is certainly true, that where dispute and contrariety in Religion prevail, however learned the disputing Dividers may be, that religious Ignorance and Darkness is prevalent in the same Degree.   For Christ cannot be known, his Salvation is not known, where different Opinions and Forms are set up in order to find them.   He that sees and enjoys the Light cannot dispute about Ways of seeing the Light.   He that is in Christ a new creature has a Religion that gives him all that he wants from Religion, and they that are of this Religion can no more dispute with or divide from one another, in order to be in Christ new creatures, than those who see and enjoy the Light can quarrel about Ways to see and enjoy it. 

"This comparison relates to the Truth of the Matter.  For religious Truth is experimental, and only experimentally to be known, as seeing and experiencing and enjoying the Light is the only knowledge that we can have of it.  Christ, or, which is the same thing, Truth, calls himself the Light of the World, but how can they see in this Light, enjoy this Light, be possessed of this Truth, who are in the Darkness of Dispute and Enmity of Division about the what and the where of it?

"This ought deeply to affect the Authors or Abettors of every Division that has broke forth in Christendom.   They can begin no sooner, last no longer, than as the Darkness holds rule over them.  As soon as they have but so much of Light, as to see and know that Christ cannot be divided, they will see and know that every Church Division is caused by something that is NOT Christ and for the sake of something that is NOT Christ, NOR can Christ be formed and revealed in any such Church Division.

"Every Division justifies itself, as being all that it is and doing all that it does, for the sake of Christ and his Truth.   And if we would know, what that something else is, we have seen and heard it, as often as we have the Words of the Apostle, 'whilst one saith, I am of Paul, another I am of Apollos, and another of Cephas, are ye not carnal and act as men?"...{end of fragment}

And from the perspective that only the passage of time can give, it might be added, that these divided churches do all that they do, each for the sake of one of the different christs, warned of in scripture by Jesus, our true Christ, who told us that many would come in his name, claiming to be christ, and that there would arise false christs, and false prophets whose followers would say, Lo, he is here and Lo, there, and Jesus said, "believe it not".   These false christs have been customized for each division and sect, and they are accompanied by the false gods, the false holy spirits, and the truncated versions of the truth which are purveyed as their modern gospel;  they all make up the occult background support for this "clergy" that  Mr. Law was (and is) addressing.  The clergy (these false teachers) have had an additional 250 years to cause division and strife under the name of Christendom.  But their example to the world has alienated men from one another, to the extreme.    Anti-christianity is still alive and well, but there are signs that members of the flock are awakening. 

This above fragment may have been intended as a preface, but it was providentially withheld from the published work, in order for time to pass, to show the incredible extent to which the powers of darkness have worked, through their agents, the "Clergy", in all of the counterfeit anti-christian churches — their mission being to blind, to distract with busyness, to entertain the sheep, to tickle the ears of their church-attenders so as to lull them to sleep in sin, to assure them that they are "saved" when they have no knowledge or awareness of their own lost and depraved state, and to firmly entrench their agents, the false teachers, the clergy, as a barrier between the sheep and all that is meant for their redemption.

Dear Reader:  As you undertake An Address to the Clergy, it will become apparent why you have been called to read this; you will find confirmations, illuminations, new perspectives and clarifications that will speak to you, just where you are in your spiritual walk.   The true gospel, as it was in its original state, is being re-discovered, for which let us be thankful to the Most High God; and bless Him for the preservation of the Words that He spoke through His trusted vessels, that we may partake of the bounty at this point in history.  May we continue to pray for the awakening and repentance of the clergy, as we recognize the darkness that motivates them.   Let us trust God at his Word and follow His call to "come out of her, my people". 


Links to the On-Line Manuscript

This on-line HTML reproduction of the 1761 edition of this manuscript is rather large.
Therefore we have chosen to break it into 3 segments to make downloading faster
for those who have problems with large files.

An Address to the Clergy:
Segment 1.   [of 3]
Segment 2.    [of 3]
Segment 3.   [of 3]

We recommend that you print the entire manuscript
directly from a web browser — for your own study and reference.
{see Printing Note below}

11.GIF (3782 bytes)

Printing the Manuscripts:  For step by step instructions, how to possibly deal with printer problems, how to customize page headers/footers, suggestions for those with no computer/printer, and more information about the on-line documents at PasstheWORD ...


PTW's 1998 HTML, on-line version of William Law's An Humble, Earnest, and Affectionate Address to the CLERGY was derived using (with permission) Warner White’s painstakingly transcribed ASCII electronic text  (produced in 1995 by White, who worked from the modernized 1974 George Olms Verlag [Hildesheim NewYork ] edition of The Works of the Reverend William Law].   PTW volunteers added the formatting and emphatic use to return this manuscript to its "close-to-original" look and content, just as it was published in a 1893 reprint of the 1761 edition. Typographical errors, changed and omitted text that were discovered in White’s version have also been corrected as well. Except for the numbering [in square brackets] of the paragraphs (which did not appear in the original),  the on-line rendering here at Pass the WORD is a reproduction of the much older, unedited 1761 edition

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