William Law's book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life is one that I've had for many years, one that I often find myself going back through for inspiration. My husband and I read it together when we were dating, so it has a soft spot in my heart. My maiden name is penned inside the front cover.
I've had it pulled out the last few weeks, and keep going back to it, savoring a paragraph or two here and there. Today, I was struck by a passage in the book where Mr. Law recounts the wise words of a widow he once knew, named Eusebia, who had raised five daughters on her own:
"All of us are like two beings who have, as it were, two hearts within us; with the one we see, taste, and admire reason, purity, and holiness; with the other we incline toward pride, vanity, and sensual delights. This internal war we always feel more or less. If you would know the one thing necessary, it is this: to preserve and protect all that is rational, holy, and divine in our nature, and to mortify, remove, and destroy all that is vain, prideful, and sensual in our nature."A page later, Mr. Law quotes Eusebia again:
"Never allow yourselves to despise those who do not follow your rules of life, but force your hearts to love and pray for them. Let humility be always whispering into your ears that you yourselves would fall from those rules tomorrow if God should leave you to your own strength and wisdom."This is what convicts my heart today, dear ones; those very words, from an old widowed woman, shared in a book written by a devout theologian back in 1728. Powerful words that still speak.
My heart is listening and soaking in their wisdom.