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H AVING paid respectful attention to the practical piety of Mr. Marolles, let us now enquire, by-what means he was so well prepared to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay fast hold of eternal life.
In his letter to Mr. Jurieu, he says, “When I reflect on the merciful providence of God towards me, I am ravished with admiration, and do evidently discover the secret steps of that providence which hath formed me from my youth in a requisite manner, to bear what I now suffer. I have always had but little love for those things which worldings esteem and admire. This is saying much; but to this, we must add, his frequent devotions and innumerable meditations; his honest and cheerful conversation, with his friends and enemies, and his writing so many excellent Letters in prison; for, by these means, he became stedfast in the faith, and, in an eminent degree, adorned in all things, the doctrine of God our Saviour.
His excellent discourse on providence, I translated and published, in 1790; believing it had not then made its appearance in our language; and, I am still of the same opinion. In this improved edition, care has been taken to make it as worthy of the reader's notice as I am able, and as the laws of a liberal translation would admit. Having but an imperfect acquaintance with the French language, some mistakes will probably be found; but designedly, the thoughts of Mr. Marolles is no where misrepresented. Where a literal version would offend, much must be left to judgment: but human judgment, in such cases, is so various, that it is not easy to determine what should be retrenched, what should be supplied, and what should be transposed..
· I shall only add, that I should think it much to my honor, if the names of Marolles and Martin, · may be transmitted to posterity, by multiplied
editions of the preceeding memoirs, and of the ' following essay on providence.
TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION PUBLISHED
AT AMSTERDAM, 1710.
W E must not expect to find in this work, which we give to the public, a complete treatise on providence. He who composed it, was not a theologian by profession; nor did he propose to examine all the questions which relate to this important subject. He wrote this discourse for his own use, with a view to comfort and fortify himself in the faith, in the midst of the most afflicting events, by making some christian reflections on the conduct of God towards men in general, and in a special manner on his conduct towards his church.
His chief design was to accustom himself to this thought, “ that nothing takes place in this world, without the will of God; and that both good and evil are here distributed with much wisdom, for the advantage of them that fear him."*
* His design is further manifest, by the original title page of this work, which may be thus translated:.“ A discourse on · providence ; wherein is shewn, how God dispenses good and evil
The many trials to which believers are here ex. posed, is frequently, the great subject of their sorrow. . They attentively consider what is painful in their affliction, but seldom think of the advantages connected with them, and of the end which God proposes to accomplish by their conflicts. As they interest themselves in that which happens to the true church, they are afflicted to see it suffer. It seems to them, when she is a long time under oppression, that God has, in some measure, abandoned his church, and almost ceased to care for · his inheritance. Our author turns his attention to
this, and speaks amply of the sufferings of the * children of God. He shews the necessity of · these trials, and how they contribute to their sanc
fication and salvation. He observes what are the duties to which they are called upon those occasions; from what motives they should endeavor to fulfil them, and what assistance they may expect from him who makes them pass through these temptations.
In a word, what this discourse contains, is very edifying and consolotary to sufferers of every description; but it is still more proper to moderate the afflictions of those pious persons who are most afflicted with the calamities of the church. The dejection into which they are cast, because it is not, in some places, in its former condition, will be greatly
to men, and to his church; what are, or should be, the dispositions of the faithful, and what are the fruita which they may desive from theis own experience.