April 8, 2015

Nicholas Byfield (1579–1622) on the Season and Offers of Grace

Quest. But how may we know when this season of grace is?

Answ. It is then when God sends the Gospel to us in the powerful preaching of it: when the light comes, then comes this day: when the doctrine of salvation is come, then the day of salvation is come, and God offers his grace then to all within the compass of that light. God keeps his visitation at all times, and in all places, when the Word of the Kingdom is powerfully preached: the time of the continuance of the means is the day here meant, in a general consideration. But if we look upon particular persons in places where the means is, then it is very hard precisely to measure the time when God doth visit, or how long he will offer his grace to them: only this is certain, that when God strikes the hearts of particular men with remorse, or some special discerning or affections in matters of Religion, and so bringeth them near the Kingdom of God; if they trifle out this time, and receive this general grace in vain, they may be cast into a reprobate mind, and into incurable hardness of heart: and so God shuts the kingdom of God against them, while it is yet open to others, Mat. 3.12. Isa. 6.10. compared with Mat. 13.14, 15.
Nicholas Byfield, A Commentary Upon the Three First Chapters of the First Epistle General of St. Peter (London: Printed by Miles Flesher and Robert Young, 1637), 417.
And besides, all such as enjoy the means of grace, and yet have not felt this visitation of God, should be much allured to the care of attending upon the means, and be made desirous to receive the grace of God, and that effectually: it should much move them that God hath now sent them the means, and keeps his public visitation; and that God stands not upon desert, nor doth he make exception of them, but offers his grace unto all, and desireth not the death of any sinner, yea beseecheth them to be reconciled; and to that end hath committed the Word of reconciliation to his servants, with express commandment that they should be instant, and with all patience instruct men, and call upon them, and persuade them to save their souls.
Ibid., 420.


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