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Nathanael Hardy: Another Hypothetical Universalist

January 15, 2009

We have found another late Puritan who held to what Richard Muller calls, “non-speculative hypothetical universalism.”

I know its claimed by some of our opponents that folk like Richard Baxter was one of the very very few Puritans who held to this doctrine. We know that that is simply not the case.  For example, the reader is invited to check out Tony’s excellent chart found here. The list of names is growing.

Regarding Hardy, while he remained an Anglican, he clearly identified himself as part of the Reformed Community. Even a superficial glance at Hardy’s footnotes bears this out.  Further, he clearly was seen as a leader in his community, as he was chosen to stand side by side with Edward Calamy,  Thomas Case, and Edward Reynolds (three Westminster Divines) and Thomas Manton in the peace negotiations with Charles II.


It is one thing to say. He is a propitiation, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world, and another thing to say. He is a propitiation as fully for the sins of the whole world as he is for ours. It is observable in Scripture that some places speak of Christ laying down his life for his sheep, John x. 15, and giving himself for his Church, Ephes. v. 25, and others of Christ’s dying for all, and tasting death for every one. In one place he is called the Saviour of the body, ver. 23, and in another, the Saviour of the world, John iv. 14. Nor will it be hard to reconcile these, if we distinguish of a general and a special intention in God, that the fruit of his philanthropia, love to mankind, this of his eudokia, good will to some particular persons. By the former, he intends Christ’s propitiation applicable to all; by the latter, he decreeth it to be actually applied to some. According to this it is that St Ambrose saith, “Christ suttered generally for all, and yet specially for some,”[1] and Peter Lombard, “Christ offered himself on the altar of the cross for all, as to the sufficiency of the price; for the elect only, as to efficacy, because he effects salvation only for them that are predestinated.[2]

Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 141.

David: I have extracted this gem from his sermon on 1 John 2:2, which I will post later at the C&C blog next week.

In this snippet, though, we see all the elements of the classic view of the expiation, with its two-fold intentionality. Here Hardy echoes Davenant.


Credit to Tony for this wonderful find.

[1] Christiis passus est pro omnibus; pro nobis tamen specialiter passus est— Luc.

[2] Christus se in ara crucis obtulit pro omnibus, quantum ad pretii sufficientiam; sed pro electis tantum quoad efficaciam, quia pradestinatis tantum salutem efficit.—P. Lumb. dist. seciinda. lit. h.


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