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Nathanael Hardy (1618-1670) on 2 Peter 2:1 and Jude 4

February 5, 2009

Hardy:

The more to enforce this upon us, take notice,

1. Who it is, the Son, and that in a double notion.

(1.) Being the Son, he ‘thinketh it no robbery to be equal with God,’ Philip, iii. 5, inasmuch as, according to the Athanasian creed, he is God of God, light of light, very God of very God. Being the Son, he is heir of all things. Lord of heaven and earth; and shall we in any kind, or for any cause, deny him? This is that which St Jude brings in as an aggravation of the sin of these very antichrists, whom he calls ‘certain men crept in unawares, they denied the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ,’ Jude 4; where, though some take the words disjunctively, applying the first clause to the Father, and the second to the Son, yet since there is no article in the Greek between theon and kurion, God and Lord, to divide them; yea, the word despotes, in that parallel place of St Peter, is evidently used of Christ, and withal the heresies of those times more directly struck at Christ than at God the Father; it is not improbable that St Jude intended here only to set forth Christ in his natures and prerogatives, whom he calls ‘the only Lord God’ (as elsewhere the Father is styled ‘the only true God’), not in exclusion of the other persons, but of all false deities. And now, when we set before us the divinity, majesty, sovereignty, and authority of Christ, the only Lord God, how must the sin of denying him appear beyond measure sinful!

(2.) This glorious and eternal Son of God was pleased to undertake and accomplish the work of our redemption, and it would be no other than a monstrous ingratitude to deny him. Upon this account, St Peter, speaking of these very antichrists under the name of false teachers, 2 Pet. ii. 2, aggravates their denial of Christ, in that it was of ‘the Lord that bought them.’ There cannot be a more execrable villainy, than for a slave to disown his lord that hath ransomed him. Who would not cry shame on that son who should deny his own father? And may I not say of the Son of God, in Moses his language, to every one of us, Deut. xxxii. 6, ‘Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee?’ ‘What is there thou canst be in danger of by acknowledging him, which he did not actually undergo to redeem thee? Is it loss of estate? he was poor; of credit? he was reviled; of liberty? he was bound; of life? he was crucified; and shall any of these dishearten us from honoring, or induce us to deny him? When therefore any temptations shall assault us (as once they did Peter) to deny him, let us remember what he is in himself, and what he hath done for us; let us consider his greatness, and be afraid; his goodness, and be ashamed; for fear, or shame, or any cause whatsoever to deny him.

2. That I may drive the nail to the head, let us often set before our eyes that dismal communication so often denounced in the Gospel by the Son of God himself against those who shall deny him. Mat. x. 33, ‘Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven;’ and again inculcated by St Paul, 2 Tim. ii. 13, ‘If we deny him, he will deny us:’ a threat than which none more just, and yet withal none more terrible. Just it is, in that it is the retaliation of like for like. What more rational than that despisers should be despised, forsakers should be forsaken, and deniers should be denied? And how terrible it is will soon appear, if you consider that the Son of God will then deny us, when he shall appear in his glory, that he will deny us not only before men, but angels, nay, his Father; that if he pronounce upon us an know you not (which is to deny us), we are the cursed of the Father; he will not acknowledge them for his adopted children, who durst not here own his begotten Son, and whom his Son will not then own for brethren; yea, which consummates the misery of such apostates, they must ‘have their portion with hypocrites,’ having denied Christ; and being denied by him, they must depart from him into that fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels, there being no reason that they should be near to Christ hereafter, who follow him afar off, nay, run away from him here.

Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 344.   [Some spelling modernized; underlining mine.] [Note: Of further interest here is that Hardy’s thinking here predates the Granville Sharp rule by about one century.]

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