Dr. William Perkins (1558-1602)
The Printer to the Reader
The Order of Salvation and Damnation
by Dr. William Perkins
The Printer to the Reader
I suppose it altogether needless (Christian Reader) by commending Mr. William Perkins, the Author of this book to woo your holy affection, which either himself in his lifetime by his Christian conversation has woon in you, or by his death, the never dying memory of his excellent knowledge, his great humility, his found religion, his fervent zeal, his painful labors, in the Church of God, do most justly challenge at your hands: only in one word I dare be bold to say of him, as in times past, Nazianzus spake of Athanasius. His life was a good definition of a true minister and preacher of the Gospel. And as needless were it (if not injurious) by praising of his learned and godly writings, to think to incline your better judgment, which in so holy a subject (as is the body of Divinity, and principles of religion) I dare not suspect to be unsettled; and in so easy a method and familiar style, which he useth in the both, I am sure can hardly miscarry; such is his love to all, that as for the matter of his doctrine, he contenteth and satisfieth the most learned; so for the manner of his delivering of the same, he condescendeth to the capacity of the meanest of God’s children; such then do I here once more present unto you, Mr. Perkins his works, read them diligently, and judge of them freely. I doubt not but in your excellent censure, you will conspire with those learned men, who for the profitable instruction they contain, if not in all, yet in the most points of Christianity, for the more common good of the church of God, have deemed them worthy their godly labors, in translating them into diverse languages, as into Latin, Dutch, Spanish, &c. A thing not ordinarily observed in other writings of these our times.
Concerning this new Edition, if you ask, why I have not added those other treatises of his, which have been published since the former Impression? I answer, it is not done without the advice of grave and learned men in two respects: first, to set a difference (as indeed there is great odds) betwixt those books which the Author himself yet living, by his own care, not only in the penning, but likewise in the correcting of the same, did set forth; and those other which are posthumous, that is, borne after his death, gathered and collected by others; Such as are the following: 1)Upon three chapters of the Revelation, 2) Satan’s Sophistry, 3) Upon the Epistle of Saint Jude, 4) The Dignity of the Ministry, 5) Upon the Eleventh Chapter to the Hebrews, 6) Upon three chapters of Saint Matthew’s Gospel.
Secondly, because I have remaining by me, so many other treatises in divers prints and forms of the same Author’s own collection, which I purpose (by God’s permission) to set forth, as will amount to a second volume equal to this, if not bigger.
In the same time I could with those that have the interest in those after-births, agree likewise, to draw them into one Volume, that so they that take delight in Mr. Perkins, his writings, might with less labor of their own, attain to the complete body of his labors it being also more convenient for the use, to have them rather compacted in one volume then scattered into diverse parcels of diverse forms. Thus with promise to make all possible expedition in setting forth the second Volume of his works I commend this to your diligent reading, my endeavors to your charitable construction; and us both to the blessing and holy protection of Almighty God.
From Cambridge this 6th of September, 1608.