TO THE FRENCH EDITION.
God has a heart filled with the most tender love for mankind: he has not only created them in his own image, and heaped upon them the richest blessings, but, since they have been deprived of the happy innocence in which they were formed, he has not been weary of supporting them: he has made known to them his determined design to bring them back, by grace, to holiness and happiness; and “when the fulness of time was come, he sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,” Gal. iv. 45.
“God,” then, “has shown the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Jesus Christ,” Ephes. ii. 7; and he still manifests it by the multiplied cares which, without ceasing, he takes, in order that we should participate in the fruits of the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Divine Head, that is, to bring us to the salvation Jesus has merited for us.
Does any one inquire by what way God conducts souls to the enjoyment of the salvation and all the blessings which are in Christ? The following work will reply to this interesting question, and it is on that account entitled: “The Order of Evangelical Grace in the Economy of Salvation.”
The Author is a divine equally distinguished for his intelligence as respectable for his piety — Mr. David Hollaz, pastor of the church of Gunthersberg, near Stargard in Pomerania, and son of the celebrated Doctor and Professor Hollaz, from whom we have a masterly system of Theology.
This little Treatise was first printed in Germany, at Stargard, in 1741. Since which it has gone through several editions in that country and in France, and has constantly obtained the approbation of enlightened persons, whom the wisdom of this world has not turned from the simplicity of the Gospel.
As to the edition now presented to the public, it is hoped that it will not experience a less favourable reception; as every care has been taken to render it more correct than the preceding ones, and, at the same time, to rid it of everything which added nothing to the author’s sentiments, already clearly expressed, or to the edification which he had at heart to communicate.
May you, dear Reader, learn by this work, to know yourself well; to become poor in spirit; to flee, under the sense of your miseries, to Jesus Christ by faith; to receive, freely, the pardon of your sins, grace and peace, the Spirit and life; to preserve with care the graces you have received; and to watch without ceasing, waiting till your heavenly Bridegroom shall come to perfect your deliverance and felicity.
But if you are desirous of attaining to this, remember the following admonitions:
First. Read it with a collected mind, and a heart truly willing to be made wise unto salvation.
Secondly. Frequently question yourself thus: Dost thou understand this? Dost thou sincerely believe that? Art thou such a man as here described? Thy heart, is it thus disposed? Hast thou experienced that? Dost thou truly desire to become so and so? Hast thou practised that? &c.
Thirdly. Read this book till you have well discovered these two things, namely, what you want, and the means of obtaining it. If the first reading does not sufficiently inform you, read it a second and third time, always imploring God for the light of his Spirit.
Fourthly. Do not resist the influences of the Holy Spirit, when he would convince you of the bad and dangerous condition in which you may find yourself; but suffer him to conduct you into a deep and thorough knowledge of your misery, and every thing hitherto hidden from you, however strange, humbling, and painful it may be.
Finally. Take no repose till you can say, with perfect assurance, ‘Formerly, it is true, I was blind, unbelieving, dead in sin, a slave to Satan, rebellious against God, an enemy to my Saviour, and the most unworthy of all men; but the Lord has shown me mercy; has pardoned my sins, through his merit, blood, and death; and it is God’s will that I should “glory in nothing but Christ crucified:” by faith in him, I am clothed with a perfect righteousness, and animated by divine power.’ If, hereafter, you should be able to hold this language, you will then truly belong to Jesus Christ, and, after a happy death, will enter into his kingdom of glory. But, without this, you can have no part in him.
God grant that these truths may become, in your heart, a living and prolific seed, which may bear fruit to eternal life. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you! Amen.