How we are brought to salvation and life (Calvin).
This knowledge of ourselves, if it has really entered into our hearts, shows us our nothingness, and by it, the way into the true knowledge of God is made easy for us. And the God of whom we are speaking has already opened for us, as it were, a first door into His kingdom when He has destroyed these two awful plagues: a sense of security when faced with His retribution, and false confidence in ourselves. For it is then that we begin to lift up our eyes to heaven, eyes that were previously fixed and set upon the earth. And we, who used to find our rest in ourselves, yearn for the Lord.
And also, on the other hand, although our iniquity deserves something quite different, this merciful Father, in His incredible goodness, then voluntarily reveals Himself to us who are thus afflicted and terror-stricken. And by such means, which He knows to be helpful to us in our weakness, He calls us back from error to the right road, from death to life, from ruin to salvation, from the realm of the devil to His own realm.
To all those whom He pleases to re-establish as heirs to eternal life the Lord has ordained, as a first step, that they should be distressed in their conscience, bent beneath the weight of their sins, and moved to live in His fear. To begin with, therefore, He sets out His Law, which is what brings us to this state.
John Calvin, Truth For All Time, pp. 8, 9