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EBOOK Theoretical-Practical Theology, Volume 3: The Works of God and the Fall of Man (Van Mastricht)

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Petrus van Mastricht’s Theoretical-Practical Theology presents one of the most comprehensive methods of treating Christian doctrine. In it, Mastricht treats every theological topic according to a four-part approach: exegetical, dogmatic, elenctic, and practical. As a body of divinity, it combines a rigorous, scholastic treatment of doctrine with the pastoral aim of preparing people to live for God through Christ.

Students and pastors will find it a valuable model for moving from the text of Scripture to doctrinal formulation that will edify the people of God.

Volume 3, The Works of God and the Fall of Man, is a book of origins—origins of the created order and of sin. Mastricht begins with a discussion of the decrees of God and how they establish His eternal purpose for everything. He then shows how the decrees are carried out in creation and in God’s continual providence. The volume concludes with Mastricht’s treatment of the apostacy of Adam from his original estate and the devastating effects of sin that followed. This is an important volume for learning how God governs all things, even the rebellious actions of those good things He created.

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Part 1 Continued: Prolegomena and Faith

Book 3: The Works of God

  1. The Actions and Decrees of God
  2. Predestination
  3. Election
  4. Reprobation
  5. Creation in General
  6. The World and the Work of the Six Days
  7. The Good Angels
  8. The Evil Angels
  9. Man and the Image of God
  10. The General Providence of God
  11. Special Providence
  12. The Covenant of Nature

Book 4: Man’s Apostasy from God

  1. The Violation of the Covenant of Nature
  2. Original Sin
  3. Actual Sin
  4. The Penalty and State of Sin

About the Author

Petrus van Mastricht (1630–1706) was a Dutch theologian who studied at Utrecht under Gisbertus Voetius and Johannes Hoornbeeck. He pastored churches in the Netherlands and taught at the universities of Duisburg and Utrecht. His Theoretical-Practical Theology was praised by many as one of the great works of systematic theology and is noted for treating Christian doctrine comprehensively from its exegetical foundations to its practical use for one’s soul.


Todd M. Rester is an associate professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary.


Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


“As to the books you speak of: Mastricht is sometimes in one volume, a very large thick quarto, sometimes in two quarto volumes. I believe it could not be had new under 8 or 10 pounds. Turretin is in three volumes in quarto, and would probably be about the same price. They are both excellent. Turretin is on polemical divinity, on the 5 points & all other controversial points, & is much larger in these than Mastricht, & is better for one that desires only to be thoroughly versed in controversies. But take Mastricht for divinity in general, doctrine, practice & controversy, or as an universal system of divinity; & it is much better than Turretin or any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion.”Jonathan Edwards to Joseph Bellamy, January 15, 1747

“Any serious student of Reformed theology needs to sit at the feet of Petrus van Mastricht. The challenge has been that to do so you needed to know Latin or Dutch. Thanks to the herculean efforts of the folks at the Dutch Reformed Translation Society and Reformation Heritage Books, English readers can now learn the art of ‘living for God through Christ.’” Stephen J. Nichols, president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries

“With each translation of the formative Reformed theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries comes the possibility of our churches being renewed by forgotten treasures. This is one of those gold mines. So important is van Mastricht that even Descartes felt obliged to respond to his critiques and Jonathan Edwards drew deeply from the well of his Theoretical-Practical Theology. It is a distinct pleasure to recommend this remarkable gem.” Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

“It is reckoned by many that the Reformed faith came to its richest expression in the writings of the Dutch theologians of the seventeenth century. Among these the theoretical-practical theology of Petrus van Mastricht is a foremost production.  Jonathan Edwards claimed that it ‘was much better than any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion.’ Its English translation and publication is a notable achievement.”  — Paul Helm, professor of the history and philosophy of religion, emeritus, King’s College, London

“The release of this publication is one of the most important events in contemporary scholarship. Mastricht was the favorite theologian of Jonathan Edwards, the preeminent American religious mind. So Mastricht was not just one of the most significant Reformed thinkers; he also exercised inordinate influence on ‘America’s theologian.’ All scholars and readers interested in Reformed theology and the inner workings of Edwards’s mind will want to procure this series.” Gerald McDermott, Anglican Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School and coauthor of The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

“Petrus van Mastricht’s remarkable Theoretical-Practical Theology, now being published in its first full English translation, is marked by a methodological program wherein each theological topic is treated in the fourfold order of exegetical foundation, dogmatical exposition, elenctical elucidation, and practical application. Here we discover one of the richest fruits of the Dutch Nadere Reformatie for the history of Reformed theology, combining scholastic rigor with earnest piety. Now in English, this work promises to open new avenues into an understanding of Continental Reformed thought, even as it offers theological wisdom for the contemporary church.” J. Mark Beach, professor of doctrinal and ministerial studies, Mid-America Reformed Theology, Dyer, Indiana

“What if you could have a systematic theology that approached something like Turretin’s precision and Brakel’s devotion while, by design, helping men preach better? It would look like Mastricht. This has long been my favorite system of theology, and I have never been so eager to endorse and promote a book." Ryan M. McGraw, Morton H. Smith Professor of Systematic Theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

“A new appreciation has grown in our time for the great post-Reformation theologians of the Reformed tradition, and Petrus van Mastricht was a towering giant among them. Jonathan Edwards thought he was better than Francis Turretin! Mastricht’s magnum opus Theoretical-Practical Theology, however, is virtually unknown and unquoted today, accessible only to competent and determined Latinists. This translation does for Mastricht what Giger and Dennison did for Turretin—it provides a readable, critical, annotated English translation that puts Mastricht within easy reach of pastors, seminarians, and other students of theology. A sound and experiential divine, who (it may surprise you to learn) interacts with and criticizes Kabbalah and Islam as well as Descartes and Socinians, Mastricht is always concerned to show that true theology is practical and never merely notional. Truth is unto godliness.” Ligon Duncan, chancellor and CEO, John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary

“The very title of this work, Theoretical-Practical Theology, indicates why, three centuries ago, Petrus van Mastricht’s work appealed to Scottish ministers who studied under him or read his theology. Not least of these was his student James Hog, who would later famously republish The Marrow of Modern Divinity. In making van Mastricht’s classic available in English for a new generation of students, pastors, and scholars, the Dutch Reformed Translation Society and Reformation Heritage Books are giving a great gift to the Christian church as a whole, and to students, pastors, and scholars in particular.” Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; and teaching fellow, Ligonier Ministries

“Translating Petrus van Mastricht’s Theoretico-practica theologia is a courageous endeavor that deserves respect. This large book, a unique synthesis of theoretical and practical aspects of theology, is an important specimen of seventeenth-century Reformed thought and piety. Complete editions have been available for a long time, but only in Latin (1682–1724) and in a Dutch translation (1749–1750). None of these texts are as informative as the present English translation; based on the Latin original, it keeps an eye on the eighteenth-century Dutch translation and provides ample background information.” Aza Goudriaan, associate professor of historical theology, Free University of Amsterdam

“Scholars and students alike should welcome this translation of Mastricht’s Theoretico-practica theologia. Mastricht’s work represents the full achievement of the Reformed orthodox theological program of developing an exegetical, doctrinal, elenctic or polemical, and practical approach to Christian doctrine. Whereas other theologies of the era, like Brakel’s Christian’s Reasonable Service or Turretin’s Institutes, embody one or two of these emphases, Mastricht provides the full spectrum of Reformed orthodox thought and does so on a highly detailed and carefully defined level. The translation is a significant achievement.” Richard A. Muller, senior fellow, Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research; P. J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology, Emeritus, Calvin Theological Seminary

“Mastricht’s magnum opus is suited for the school (scholastic) in its definitions, divisions, brevity, and clarity; suited for wider instruction in its frequent recourse to catechetical interrogation and response; and especially suited for truth and godliness in its decidedly biblical-exegetical foundations and eminently spiritual applications. In his manual Mastricht holds together—and yet carefully distinguishes—what many before and after him are wont to separate. Developed when Reformed instruction for the ministry of the gospel was in full flower, the result is a deeply gratifying and wholistic account of Christian theology as ‘the doctrine of living for God through Christ.’ ” Theodore G. Van Raalte, professor of ecclesiology and associate librarian at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary

“Van Mastricht is one of the greatest of the Reformed orthodox, exerting a profound influence on subsequent theologians, including Jonathan Edwards. His grasp of the tradition, his ability to interact with contemporary issues, and his careful articulation of orthodoxy exemplify the best of Protestant theology after the Reformation. Yet the lack of an English translation has meant that he has been known more by reputation than by content in the Anglophone world. Here at last is an English translation which will allow a whole new audience of pastors, theologians, and laypeople to draw once again on this profound theological source.” Carl R. Trueman, professor of biblical and religious studies, Grove City College