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Nathanael Hardy on the Death of Christ

February 11, 2009

Hardy:

Dual Aspect of the death of Christ:

1) In regard of Christ, the certain continuance of all the true members of the church depends upon the energy of his death, and the efficacy of his intercession.

[l.] Though the design of Christ’s death was in some respect general, namely, to purchase a possibility of salvation for all upon the conditions of faith and repentance, yet I doubt not to assert, that besides this there was a particular design of his death, which was to purchase a certainty of salvation by faith and repentance for some, to wit, the elect, this being the most rational way of reconciling those scriptures which do enlarge Christ’s death to the whole world, with those that restrain it to his church. Indeed, if there be not some who shall be actually saved by Christ’s death, his death will be in vain. If there be not some for whom Christ hath purchased more than a possibility of salvation upon condition, it is possible none should be actually saved by it, especially if (as those who deny this peculiar intention affirm) the performing of the condition depends so on the liberty of our will, that notwithstanding the influence of grace a man may choose or refuse to do it; for then it is as possible that every man may not believe as that he may, and consequently it is possible no man may be saved by Christ’s death, and so Christ’s death in vain, as to that which was its primary end, and consequently his intention frustrated. It remaineth, then, that as Christ intended his death to be sufficient for all, so that it might be efficient to some, in order to which it was necessary that for those persons he should purchase grace, yea, not only grace, but perseverance in grace till they come to glory. Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 312 . [underlining mine.]

Christ sustained and equivalent satisfaction:

1) This punishment thus inflicted on Christ, is a plenary satisfaction to God’s justice. It is true, this word satisfaction is not formally expressed in Scripture, yet there are equivalent phrases. Such, among others, is that phrase so often used of redeeming; and as if the Holy Ghost would prevent that Socinian exposition of (redimere pro aliquo modo liberare) redeeming, as if it were only in a large sense no more than delivering, it is St Paul’s express phrase, ‘Ye are bought with a price,’ 1 Cor. vi. 20; and that this price may appear to be of full value, it is opposed to,
and advanced above, corrupt gold and silver by the apostle Peter, 1 Peter i, 18, 19. Nor is it any infringement to the merit of this price and worth of this satisfaction, that the suffering of Christ was not every way the same that we should have undergone, since it is all one whether the debt be paid in the same coin or no, so it be to the full value. Christ sufffered the punishment of our sins, as Calovius well observeth, [Vide Calov. Sociniania. Prot.], though not secundum identitatem omnimodam, yet per aquivalentiam, the same in every respect, yet equivalent to it. Indeed, what satisfaction could justice demand more than infinite; and the sufiering of an infinite person could not be less. Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 114. [Footnotes cited inline, italics original, underlining mine.]

Sins of the world:

1) Finally, when secure sinners hear of the infinite merit of Christ’s blood, how satisfactory it is for the sins of the whole world, and therefore much more of a particular person, they are willing to persuade themselves of an interest in that blood, and thereby of reconciliation and fellowship with God, not considering what our apostle saith in the very next verse, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; but it is only those who walk in the light. Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 61.

2) Indeed, we must distinguish between natural and forced deductions. Some, like spiders, suck poison out of flowers; like bad stomachs, turn the best nutriment into ill humours, perverting the soundest doctrines by fallacious paralogisms. If we are made sinners by one man’s disobedience, then, say some, God is unjust in charging Adam’s posterity with his guilt. If justification be by faith alone, then, say others, what need of good works? If Christ be the propitiation for the sins of the world, then, say others, we need not fear though we add sin to sin; and thus the most precious doctrines of the gospel are abused to patronise horrid conclusions; but how irrational they are, easily appeareth to any who shall judiciously examine them. Nor doth this hinder but that many specious doctrines have a sting in their tail; and how amiable soever they seem in their direct aspects, yet they will be found very detestable in their reflection. Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 341. [Underlining mine.]

1 John 2:2:

1) 2. But further, these words, ‘he is the propitiation,’ maybe construed in respect of the virtue and sufficiency of his propitiation, according to which notion the whole world is to be taken in a more comprehensive construction. Distinct. 3. To unfold which be pleased to take notice of a double sufficiency, the one intrinsical or natural, arising from the worth and value of the thing; the other extrinsical and positive, arising from the ordination and institution of God, suitable to which this phrase the whole world is to be more or less extended.

1. Christ’s propitiation is sufficient, as to its natural value, for the sins of the whole world, comprising not only men but angels. There is no doubt merit enough in the blood of Christ to pacify God for the sins of the devils as well as men; and the reason is plain, because the value of Christ’s passion depends primarily on the dignity of the person suffering, so that the person being infinite, the value of his passion must be infinite; and since an infinite merit can have no limitation, we may truly say, he is a propitiation sufficient for the whole world, containing as well spiritual as earthly wickednesses; yea, not only for one, but a thousand worlds; yea, as many millions as we can imagine.

Nor doth the dissimilitude of the nature which Christ took, and in which he suffered, to the angelical, hinder but that his death might in itself be sufficient for angels, if God had so pleased. For what crime of any creature whatsoever can be so heinous, for the expiating of which the shedding of the blood of God cannot suffice? and if Christ obtained confirmation for the angels that stand (as the learned generally acknowledge) that he is not a propitiation for the angels that fell, is only from God’s pleasure, not any want of dignity and sufficiency in the price which was paid by him.

2. But when the schools speak of Christ’s dying for all sufficiently, and accordingly some expositors [Cathus. Serra in loc.], interpret this expiation ’sufficient for the sins of the whole world;’ it is as the learned Davenant hath excellently observed, and solidly proved, another kind of value, to wit, such as ariseth from divine ordination; and thus, though we must exclude angels, and consider men only as riatores, whilst they are in the way, since (as St Bernard truly) the blood of Christ which was shed on earth goeth not down to hell [Sanguis effusus super terram nou descendit ad inferos.—Bern, in Cant. Serm. 75.] yet we are by the whole world to understand omnes et singulos, all and every man that hath been, is, or shall be, in the world; so that we may truly assert, it was the intention of God giving Christ, and Christ offering himself, to lay down such a price as might be sufficient, and so upon gospel terms applicable to all mankind, and every individual man in the whole world.

To unfold this truth aright, I shall briefly present two things to your consideration:

1. A price may be said to be sufficient, either absolutely or conditionally. A price is then absolutely sufficient, when there is nothing more required to the participation of the benefit but only the payment of the money; and thus we are not to conceive of God’s ordination, that Christ’s death should become an actual propitiation without any other intervenient act on our part. He died not in this sense for any, much less for all. When, therefore, we say God would that Christ should lay down a price sufficient, and so applicable to every man, it is to be understood in a conditional way, upon the terms of faith and repentance. And hence it is, that though Christ dying suffered that punishment which was designed to be satisfactory for the sins of every man, yet God doth justly inflict the punishment upon the persons of all them who are not by faith partakers of Christ’s death, because it was intended to satisfy for them only upon condition of believing.

2. Know further, that though God intends Christ’s propitiation conditionally applicable, aeque’, as well to every as any man, yet he did not ex aequo, equally intend it for every man. 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, [Christiis passus est pro omnibus; pro nobis tamen specialiter passus est—Amhros.in Luc.] “Christ suffered generally for all, and yet specially for some,” and Peter Lombard,[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.],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.

Suitably hereunto it is that divines conceive a double covenant to be intimated in Scripture—the one universal and conditional, the other special and absolute; the one made with all, and every man, upon these terms, ‘Whosoever believeth in Christ shall not perish,’ John iii. 16; the other made with Christ concerning a seed which he should see upon making his soul an offering for sin, Isa. liii. 10, to whom he promiseth not only salvation by Christ upon condition of believing, but the writing his law in their hearts, Heb. x. 16, whereby they are enabled to perform the condition, and so infallibly partake of that salvation. By all which, it appeareth that notwithstanding God’s special affection, and decree of election whereby he hath purposed this propitiation shall be actually conferred upon some, we may truly assert, God hath a general love whereby he hath ordained the death of Christ an universal remedy applicable to every man as a propitiation for his sins, if he believe and repent. And hence it is that this propitiation, as it is applicable, so it is annunciable to every man. Indeed, as God hath not intended it should be actually applied, so neither that it should be so much as actually revealed to many men; but yet it is, as applicable, so annunciable, both by virtue of the general covenant God hath made with all, and that general mandate he hath given to his ministers of preaching the gospel to all, so that if any minister could go through all the parts of the world, and in those parts singly, from man to man, he might not only with a conjectural hope, but with a certain faith, say to him, God hath so loved thee that he gave his only son, that if thou believe in him, thou shalt not perish; and that this is not barely founded upon the innate sufficiency of Christ’s death, but the ordination of God, appeareth in that we cannot, may not, say so to any of the fallen angels, for whom yet, as you have already heard, Christ’s death is instrinsically sufficient. Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 140-141. [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting, footnotes cited inline, italics original, and underlining mine.]

Redemption of the World:

1) Finally, the principal effect and use of light is to discover and make manifest. Things that are secret and hidden appear in the light, by reason of its clarity and brightness. For this cause chiefly is the gospel resembled to light, because it is apokalupsis and apiphaneia, a revelation and a manifestation of many glorious mysteries. The trinity of persons in the unity of essence, the unity of the two natures in one person in the incarnation of the Son of God, the meeting together of mercy and justice in the redemption of the world, the estate of bliss and glory laid up for believers in heaven, the calling of the Gentiles from all parts of the earth out of the state of ignorance to the knowledge of God and Christ, are those mysterious
doctrines which the gospel plainly revealeth to us. Well may it deserve to be represented by the similitude of light. Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 181. [Italics original, and underlining mine.]

2) That phrase of St Paul, 1 Cor. ii. 16, noun Christou echomen, ‘we have the mind of Christ,’ may serve as a paraphrase upon this. To have the Father is to have the mind of the Father, which is elsewhere called his good, acceptable, and perfect will. This will or good pleasure of the Father is the redemption of the world, which he sent his Son both to accomplish and reveal. In this respect St Basil upon these words, [Basil ai Ampliiloch. cap. viii.], ‘He that
hath seen me hath seen the Father,’ thus glosseth: ou ton charaktera oude mogphen alla to agathon tou thelematos; not the figure or form of the Father’s essence, which is most simple and uncompounded, but the goodness of his will; and therefore he who denieth the Son cannot have, but is either altogether ignorant of, or apostatised from, the doctrine of the Father. Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 342. [Footnotes cited inline, italics original, and underlining mine.]

2 Peter 2:1 and Jude 4:

1) 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.]

Christ died for apostates:

1) Oh that all backsliding apostates would think they heard this judge upbraiding them at that day with this or the like language: What didst thou mean, thou naked, hypocritical, perfidious, ungrateful, foolish sinner, to go from me ? Did not I offer myself, my merits, my righteousness to clothe thee? But thou hast cast away my righteousness, wouldst have none of me, and now thou art shamefully naked. Didst thou not for a time make a large profession of my name and truth? but without any just reason thou hast relinquished it, whereby it appeareth thou wert
no other than a whited sepulchre. Didst thou not by thy sureties promise at thy baptism, and afterwards at my table engage thyself to my service? But none of those oaths have been cords strong enough to hold thee. Could I do more for thee than that I did, in laying down my life for thee; and is this thy requital, to deny me, and by that denial to crucify me afresh? Dost thou not see what thou hast done, by leaving me to embrace this present world, made a cursed exchange of gold for dross, pearls for pebbles; thy pleasures are vanished, thy hopes disappointed, and thyself shamefully deceived. And now, oh that we would all lay to heart, Quae tunc erit fidei gloria, quae poena perfidiae cum judicii dies venerit, to use St Cyprian’s language, [Cypr, ad Demetr.], what shall be the glory of the faithful, and the ignominy
of the perfidious; the honour of constancy, and the reproach of apostasy in that day! What a dark, gloomy, dreadful day it shall be to them that forsake Christ! what a bright, splendid, joyful day it shall be to them that abide in him ! and which is better, judge you. It is before Christ himself, and that as sitting on his throne of glory, we must then appear; and what a sad thing will it be to have shame and confusion then sit upon thy face ! If therefore thou wouldst
stand then, do not run away now; if you would then lift up your heads, do not now turn your backs; now ‘abide in him, that you may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.’ Nathanael Hardy, The First General Epistle of St John the Apostle, Unfolded and Applied (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 344. [footnotes cited inline; underlining mine.]

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