December 25, 2010

Nathaniel Vincent (1638–1697) on the Possible Salvation of the Reprobate Drawn from the Son's Incarnation

Thus you have the Properties of the Day of Grace. In the fourth place I am to lay down the Reasons, why such a Day of Grace is granted. Several reasons of this may be assigned.

1. One shall be drawn from the Son's Incarnation, and taking our nature on him. Hence it comes to pass, that unto Man such kindness is expressed. The Apostle says, Verily, he took not on him the nature of Angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham, Heb. 2. 16. He was made in the likeness of Men, therefore mankind is the dearer to him. There is a difference put between apostate Angels and fallen Men; I speak even of those, that through their own wickedness and folly miss of salvation. The reprobate Angels never had a remedy provided, nor a Day of Grace afforded; Christ assumed not their nature, but as soon as ever they had sinned, they fell, like lightning, suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, from Heaven to Hell. But Man was not thus dealt with; even those whom the Apostle calls Vessels of Wrath fitted to destruction, are yet endured with much long-suffering, Rom. 9. 22. Their salvation is in it self really possible, I say, in it self, though all things consider'd there is an impossibility of any other event, than the destruction of sinners continuing in their rebellions; and this real possibility of salvation will make them cast the whole blame of their perdition on themselves, that the day of salvation was trifled away, and the salvation of that day was neglected.

This matter may be made more obvious and plain by a similitude. The Apostle Paul, Acts 26. admonisheth the Centurion, who was to conduct him to Rome, that the voyage they were about to make, would be with much damage and hurt, not only of the lading and ship, but also of their lives. Who can deny, that the tarrying in the Haven where they were, and where they might have been in safeguard, was in it self really possible? and they could not reasonably lay the blame of their shipwrack [sic] on God's decree and determination, but upon their own rashness. In like manner sinners are admonished, that if they go on in wickedness 'twill be to their hurt and eternal damage, not only of their lives, but also of their souls. Who can deny, that the abstaining from such and such sins is really possible? therefore God's decree is not to be blamed (which brings no coaction upon the will of Man) but Mans own perversness if he is wrack'd, and miscarries to eternity.

We read of the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards Man appearing, Tit. 3. 4. The Son of God was manifested in the flesh of Man; and upon this score it is that light comes into the world, and shines even upon those dark souls that are unwilling to comprehend it, and salvation is proffer'd also unto them that refuse to embrace it.
Nathaniel Vincent, The Day of Grace in Which the Chief of Sinners May be Turn'd and Healed (Boston: Re-printed for Alford Butler, and sold at his Shop, the lower End of King-Street, near the Crown Coffee-House, 1728), 52–54.


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