A SERIOUS CALL TO A DEVOUT AND HOLY LIFE
by William Law
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Julius: the suggestion is, that Caesar is the worldly power as opposed to God.
impertinent=unsuitable, incongruous, uncongenial.
Leo, the lion probably suggesting the favourite of Society.
Eusebius, pious in the Ecclesiastical sense, as the name of the first Church historian, but without reference to that historian's character. cf. Eusebia.
a natural, i.e. an idiot.
Penitens, penitent almost in the sense of remorseful.
Amuses = occupies the attention (cf. Watts in 1789, We are so amused and engrossed with the things of sense that we forget our Maker).
Lepidus = elegant.
painful = taking pains.
Calidus = hot, i.e. fervent in business.
however, in the old sense of "at any rate."
unaffected = insensible.
Serena = untroubled.
"exposed into the ayre" is a usage of the sixteenth-century writers.
A second "as" is needed to be quite correct.
Flavia. The Gens Flavia was the noble family from which the Vespasian, Titus and Domitian came. It stands therefore for worldly pomp, half innocent, half vicious. Mirand = admirable, supposed to be a portrait of Miss Hester Gibbon. Lucinda = resplendent. Belinda and Lucius are names at random.
Law acted on these principles himself; and the effect on the poor of King's Cliffe was the reverse of satisfactory.
To make the sentence grammatical read, "But as it should be well considered that it is not only," etc.
The abominations of the Restoration Stage still prevailed in 1726.
This division into a religious and secular life contradicts the whole argument.
Fulvius, the name of a great Patrician family in Rome, suggests worldly power and pomp.
Celia, a name which through its Greek form has a suggestion of hollowness. Lupus = Wolf.
Flatus, i.e. wind and vanity.
Feliciana, i.e. she who belongs to the family of the Happy according to the world.
Birthnight. "The night annually kept in memory of anyone's birth." -- Johnson.
Succus: the suggestion is of juicy and appetising meat.
Octavius: suggested by the name of the Emepror Augustus, who askedhis friends to applaud him on his death-bed as a good pantomime leaving the stage.
Eugenius, i.e. noble (Acts xvii. 11).
Cognatus, i.e. relation, i.e. suggestion of nepotism.
Negotius = business-man.
Mundanus = worldly-wise-man.
Classicus, i.e. a classical scholar.
Cecus, i.e. blind.
Paternus: the character, it is thought, is drawn from Law's father.
This usage of "consider" with the preposition "upon" died with the eighteenth century.
This address of Paternus might be an antidote to Chesterfield's letters to his son. At this date, 1728, Chesterfield was ambassador at the Hague, and the son Philip Stanhope was bornfour years later.
Tempers, i.e. disposition.
Matilda, perhaps chosen as the name of the first English Empress.
Claudius; chosen as a Patrician name.
port, i.e. behaviour.
imminent: if not merely a slip for eminent, may mean perilously high, like Lowell's "imminent crags of noiseless snow."
Ouranius, i.e. heavenly.
i.e. "allows himself . . . speak to him," a rare example of carelessness or obscurity in Law's limpid style.
Susurrus, i.e. whisper.
that carelessly repeated.
ingenuity, i.e. ingenuousness.
The Anglican Library, This HTML edition copyright 2000.