Monday, December 21, 2009

William Law - Spirit of Love

This book should be a must read for anyone seeking the higher life.  I believe Aldous Huxley alluded to the fact that William Law is the most underrated and under appreciated theological scholar of the last 1000 years.  Almost everything he writes is an illuminating quote.  Here is where I found the e-book:,%20William%20-%20Spirit%20of%20Love%20(b).pdf

Do yourself a favor and read it

Below are some quotes or paragraphs that stood out for me:

"Now the Difficulty which you find in attaining to this Purity, and Universality
of the Spirit of Love is because you seek for it, as I once told you, in the Way of reasoning:
You would be possessed of it only from a rational Conviction of the Fitness and
Amiableness of it. And as this clear Idea does not put you immediately into the real
Possession of it, your Reason begins to waver, and suggests to you, that it may be only a
fine Notion that has no Ground but in the Power of the Imagination. But this, Sir, is all
your own Error, and as contrary to Nature, as if you would have your Eyes do That which
only your Hands or Feet can do for you. The Spirit of Love is a Spirit of Nature and Life;
and all the Operations of Nature and Life are according to the working Powers of Nature;
and every Growth and Degree of Life can only arise in its own Time and Place from its
proper Cause, and as the genuine Effect of it. Nature and Life do nothing by Chance or
accidentally, but every Thing in one uniform Way. Fire, Air, and Light, do not proceed
sometimes from one Thing, and sometimes from another; but wherever they are, they are
always born in the same Manner, and from the same Working in the Properties of Nature.
So in like Manner, Love is an immutable Birth, always proceeding from the same Cause,
and cannot be in Existence till its own true Parents have brought it forth".

So if you have done the necessary things and taken the right steps you will be united with God.  Your seeking and rising tension due to you believing you deserve illumination only bring you farther away from what your desire.  God is all knowing and knows more about you than you do.  If you are worthy of His light then he will bestow it upon you.  There is no luck involved, it is a black and white issue.  If you have caused it to happen through your correct thinking and action then the proper effect will occur.

"The Fire then is that which changes the Properties into a new and heavenly
State: Therefore the Fire does two things; it alters the State of Nature and brings Heaven
into it, and therefore it must Work from a two-fold Power; the Deity and Nature must both
be in it. It must have some Strength from Nature, or it could not work in Nature. It must
have some Strength from the Deity or it could not overcome and change Nature into a
Divine Life. Now all this is only to show you, that the Fire can only be kindled by the
Entrance of the Deity, or supernatural God, into a Conjunction or Union with Nature. And
this Conjunction of the Deity and Nature maketh, or bringeth forth, that State or Form of
Life, which is called and truly is, Fire: First, Because it does that in the spiritual Properties
of Nature, which Fire doth in the Properties of material Nature; and Secondly, Because it is
that alone, from which every Fire in this World, whether in the Life of animal or vegetable
or inanimate Matter, has its Source and Power and Possibility of Burning. The Fire of this
World overcomes its Fuel, breaks its Nature, alters its State and changes it into Flame and
Light. But why does it do this? Whence has it this Nature and Power? It is because it is a
true Outbirth of the eternal Fire, which overcomes the Darkness, Wrath, and Contrariety
of Nature, and changes all its Properties into a Life of Light, Joy, and Glory. Not a Spark
of Fire could be kindled in this World, nor a Ray of Light come from any material Fire, but
because material Nature is, in itself, nothing else but the very Properties of eternal Nature,
standing for a Time in a material State or Condition; and therefore they must work in Time
as they do in Eternity; and consequently there must be Fire in this World, it must have the
same Birth and do the same Work in its material Way, which the eternal Fire hath, and
doth in spiritual Nature. And this is the true Ground and Reason why every Thing in this
World is delivered as far as it can be from its earthly Impurity, and brought into its highest
State of Existence, only by Fire; it is because the eternal Fire is the Purifier of eternal
Nature and the Opener of every Perfection, Light, and Glory in it. And if you ask why the
eternal Fire is the Purifier of eternal Nature, the Reason is plain; it is because the eternal
Fire has its Birth and Nature and Power from the Entrance of the pure, supernatural Deity
into the Properties of Nature, which Properties must change their State, and be what they
were not before, as soon as the Deity entereth into them. Their Darkness, Wrath, and
Contrariety, is driven out of them, and they work and give forth only a Life and Strength
of Light, and Joy, and Glory. And this two-fold Operation, viz., on one hand taking from
Nature its wrathful Workings, and on the other hand opening a glorious Manifestation of
the Deity in them, is the whole Nature and Form of the Fire, and is the Reason why from
Eternity to Eternity it is and must be the Purifier of eternal Nature; namely, as from
Eternity to Eternity changing Nature into a Kingdom of Heaven. Now every Fire in this
World does, and must do, the same Thing in its low Way, to the utmost of its Power, and
can do nothing else. Kindle Fire where, or in what you will, it acts only as from and by the
Power of this eternal purifying Fire; and therefore it breaks and consumes the Grossness of
every Thing, and makes all that is pure and spirituous to come forth out of it; and therefore
Purification is its one only Work through all material Nature, because it is a real Out-birth
of that eternal Fire which purifies eternal Nature, and changes it into a mere Heaven of

My brief take on this paragraph is that he is talking about the spark that must kindled to light the fire within.  To change the inner state from that of darkness to that of the light of God.  It seems as though he is describing alchemy.  That all in nature is going through the slow process of change and evolution until the point where God takes over in all creating the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  The New Jerusalem is when God's spirit will infuse all living things on earth.  God's fire will purify all the drossness and evil that now infuses the earth.  We must open our hearts completely to let God in.  We must connect and become One.  God must take dominion over the earth as He has over the higher worlds.  We must do the work though and set the stage for His return.

"The Perfection of every Life is no way possibly to be had, but as every Flower comes to its
Perfection, viz., from its own Seed and Root and the various Degrees of Transmutation
which must be gone through before the Flower is found: It is strictly thus with the
Perfection of the Soul: All its Properties of Life must have their true natural Birth and
Growth from one another. The first, as its Seed and Root, must have their natural change
into an higher State; must, like the Seed of the Flower, pass through Death into Life and be
blessed with the Fire and Light and Spirit of Heaven, in their Passage to it; just as the Seed
passes through Death into Life, blessed by the Fire, and Light, and Air of this World, till it
reaches its last Perfection, and becomes a beautiful sweet-smelling Flower. And to think
that the Soul can attain its Perfection any other Way, than by the Change and Exaltation of
its first Properties of Life, just as the Seed has its first Properties changed and exalted till it
comes to have its Flower, is a total Ignorance of the Nature of Things. For as whatever dies
cannot have a Death particular to itself, but the same Death in the same Way, and for the
same Reasons, that any other Creature, whether Animal or vegetable, ever did or can die;
so every Life and Degree of Life, must come into its State and Condition of Life in the
same Way, and for the same Reasons as Life, and the Perfection of Life, comes into every
other living Creature, whether in Heaven or on Earth. Therefore the Deists’ Religion or
Reason, which is to raise the Soul to its true Perfection, is so far from being the Religion of
Nature, that it is quite unnatural and declared to be so by every Working in Nature. For
since Reason can neither give Life nor Death to any one Thing in Nature, but every Thing
lives, or dies, according to the Working of its own Properties, every Thing, dead and alive,
gives forth a Demonstration, that Nature asks no Counsel of Reason, nor stays to be
directed by it. Hold it therefore for a certain Truth, that you can have no Good come into
your Soul, but only by the one Way of a Birth from above, from the Entrance of the Deity
into the Properties of your own soulish Life. Nature must be set right, its Properties must
enter into the Process of a new Birth, it must work to the Production of Light, before the
Spirit of Love can have a Birth in it. For Love is Delight, and Delight cannot arise in any
Creature till its Nature is in a delightful State, or is possessed of that in which it must
rejoice. And this is the Reason why God must become Man; it is because a Birth of the
Deity must be found in the Soul, giving to Nature all that it wants, or the Soul can never
find itself in a delightful State and only Working with the Spirit of Love. For whilst the
Soul has only its natural Life, it can only be in such a State, as Nature, without God, is in,
viz., a mere Hunger, Want, Contrariety, and Strife for it knows not what. Hence is all that
Variety of blind, restless, contrary Passions, which govern and torment the Life of fallen
Man. It is because all the Properties of Nature must Work in Blindness, and be doing they
know not what, till the Light of God is found in them. Hence also it is, that That which is
called the Wisdom, the Honour, the Honesty, and the Religion of the natural Man, often
does as much Hurt to himself, and others, as his Pride, Ambition, Self-Love, Envy, or
Revenge, and are subject to the same Humour and Caprice; it is because Nature is no
better in one Motion than in another, nor can be so, till something supernatural is come
into it. We often charge Men, both in Church and State, with changing their Principles; but
the Charge is too hasty; for no Man ever did, or can change his Principles, but by a Birth
from above. The natural, called in Scripture, the old Man, is steadily the same in Heart and
Spirit in every Thing he does, whatever Variety of Names may be given to his Actions. For
Self can have no Motion but what is selfish, which Way soever it goes, or whatever it does,
either in Church or State. And be assured of this, that Nature in every Man, whether he be
learned or unlearned, is this very Self, and can be nothing else, till a Birth of the Deity is
brought forth in it. There is therefore no Possibility of having the Spirit of Love, or any
Divine Goodness, from any Power of Nature or Working of Reason. It can only be had in
its own Time and Place; and its Time and Place is nowhere, but where Nature is overcome
by a Birth of the Life of God in the Properties of the Soul. And thus you see the infallible
Truth, and absolute Necessity, of Christian Redemption; it is the most demonstrable Thing
in all Nature.— The Deity must become Man, take a Birth in the fallen Nature, be united to
it, become the Life of it, or the natural Man must of all Necessity be forever and ever in the
Hell of his own Hunger, Anguish, Contrariety, and Self-Torment; and all for this plain
Reason, because Nature is, and can be, nothing else, but this Variety of Self-Torment, till
the Deity is manifested and dwelling in it".

Man in this is world is forever longing for his original state.  He desires his original stillness that is God.  He cannot accomplish this in of himself.  Man does not change himself.  Man only changes when he is changed from a higher level.  A lot of people refer to this as "raising one's consciousness".  Law is referring to it as the deity becoming man.  He says that man's hunger for unification with God must be done in a blindness.  I would relate this to not having expectations.  You must first be empty if you want the fullness of God to enter you.  Religious man or "deist" as he puts it holds himself up to be honorable, moral, and honest.  These qualities or opinions of one's self are in fact as detrimental as selfishness, envy, avarice, etc. 

I want to pull this quote out of the above quoted paragraph and isolate it for it's own light:

"Nature must be set right, its Properties must
enter into the Process of a new Birth, it must work to the Production of Light, before the
Spirit of Love can have a Birth in it. For Love is Delight, and Delight cannot arise in any
Creature till its Nature is in a delightful State, or is possessed of that in which it must

What he seems to be saying is that you must first set the tone for the Spirit to enter you.  I have learned from Enoch Tan to approach your (altruistic) desires as if they have already occurred.  Law seems to be saying that you must first feel delight within before the deity will bestow love upon you.  He says to feel delight you must first put yourself in a delightful state.  Do not cry out in agony because you are still hungry for God's light.  This would imply that you lack faith.  If Jesus Christ stressed anything it was to maintain faith and that the most faithful were highest in their Father's eyes.  Have faith that the Father is watching over you.  Act as if you already are One with Him and have His love.  Plant the seed for His Love by being delightful as if you already have it.  Do not want, just be as you are.  

He goes into more depth regarding morality:

"And now, Sir, you see also the absolute Necessity of the Gospel-Doctrine of
the Cross, viz., of dying to Self, as the one only Way to Life in God. This Cross, or Dying
to Self, is the one Morality that does Man any Good. Fancy as many Rules as you will of
modeling the moral Behaviour of Man, they all do nothing, because they leave Nature still
alive, and therefore can only help a Man to a feigned, hypocritical Art of concealing his
own inward Evil, and seeming to be not under its Power. And the Reason why it must be
so is plain; it is because Nature is not possible to be reformed; it is immutable in its
Workings and must be always as it is, and never any better or worse, than its own untaught
Workings are. It can no more change from Evil to Good, than Darkness can Work itself
into Light. The one Work therefore of Morality is the one Doctrine of the Cross, viz., to
resist and deny Nature, that a supernatural Power or Divine Goodness, may take
Possession of it, and bring a new Light into it".

No comments:

Post a Comment