Prior to the English translation of Kuyper’s work on Common Grace, I saw several quotes from Kuyper — obviously without full context. These quotations were pressed into service for various agendas. Therefore, it was wonderful that Kuyper’s works have now been translated into English and are available through Lexham Press (logos). I will try to summarize the basic thrust of the chapters
Kuyper Common Grace, Vol. 1, chapter 1
Following the creation of humanity there came the Fall. Having become estranged from God, humanity could not receive other than condemnation and punishment from God without God coming graciously to his creation. To this end God set forth a new covenant of grace toward humanity which manifested to individuals as salvation and to humanity as a whole in temporarily mitigating certain immediate effects of the Fall (which also refers to as “forbearance”) .
Thus, there are three basic aspects of God’s grace to humanity: particular grace to individuals into salvation, covenant grace to the people of God as a people, and common grace to humanity on the basis of their being human beings. He also seems a Trinitarian pattern here of the work of the Spirit (he merely asserts but does not argue the Trinitarian point at length).
The common grace was first raised at length by John Calvin in The Institutes and was based upon the observation that those who were outside of God’s saving grace still exhibited reason and beauty. How do we explain such a thing? Do we deny the various commendable things seen among those who reject God? Or, do we lessen the Fall, and turn the Fall into a stumble and limp? Calvin solved the problem by explaining that God gives a sort of grace to even unbelievers to permit the continuance of the world of men after the Fall.
Kuyper notes that the issue has been discussed by various Reformed theologians, but no one has considered the matter at length. Therefore, his work proposes to look at the matter at length.