By William Law
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Extra resources for A serious call to a devout and holy life : adapted to the state and condition of all orders of Christians
Now to have right notions and tempers with relation to this world, is as essential to religion as to have right notions of God. And it is as possible for a man to worship a crocodile, and yet be a pious man, as to have his affections set upon this world, and yet be a good Christian. But now if you consider Leo and Eusebius in this respect, you will find them exactly alike, seeking, using, and enjoying, all that can be got in this world in the same manner, and for the same ends. You will find that riches, prosperity, pleasures, indulgences, state equipages, and honour, are just as much the happiness of Eusebius as they are of Leo.
Now the reason of common swearing is this; it is because men have not so much as the intention to please God in all their actions. For let a man but have so much piety as to intend to please God in all the actions of his life, as the happiest and best thing in the world, and then he will never swear more. It will be as impossible for him to swear, whilst he feels this intention within himself, as it is impossible for a man that intends to please his prince, to go up and abuse him to his face. It seems but a small and necessary part of piety to have such a sincere intention as this; and that he has no reason to look upon himself as a disciple of Christ who is not thus far advanced in piety.
You will be as fearful of living in any foolish way either of spending your time, or your fortune, as you are now fearful of neglecting the public worship. Now, who that wants this general sincere intention, can be reckoned a Christian? And yet if it was among Christians, it would change the whole face of the world: true piety, and exemplary holiness, would be as common and visible, as buying and selling, or any trade in life. Let a clergyman be but thus pious, and he will converse as if he had been brought up by an Apostle; he will no more think and talk of noble preferment, than of noble eating, or a glorious chariot.