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The Best Method of Preaching (van Mastricht)

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Reformation Heritage Books

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In this appendix to his Theoretical and Practical Theology, Petrus van Mastricht presents pastors with the best method of preaching available. Dividing the task of preaching into four basic aspects (planning, arrangement, parts of a sermon, and delivery), he gives analysis to show how each is meant to work, gives rules for working through each one, and discusses how each part is to aim at and interact with the affections of the hearers. Throughout the piece, he uses Colossians 3:1 as an example to show his student how to progress through this method of preaching.

Van Mastricht’s work on preaching demonstrates the concern of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed theologians that even the most precise and technical theology is meant to aid preachers in addressing the church with God’s Word. It also provides preachers today with encouragement to treat the biblical text faithfully and in a way that most benefits those listening to their sermons.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Petrus van Mastricht
Preface: The Advantages of Using a Theoretical-Practical Method of Preaching

  1. The Basics of Sermon Arrangement
  2. Preaching Sermon Introductions
  3. Exegeting and Explaining the Text
  4. Preaching Doctrinally
  5. Preaching to Comfort Believers
  6. Preaching against Sin
  7. Preaching for Self-examination
  8. Exhorting unto Good Works
  9. Cautions, Handling Lengthy Texts, and Delivery
  10. Why This Is the Best Method of Preaching



Petrus van Mastricht (1630–1706) was a Dutch theologian who studied at Utrecht under Gisbertus Voetius. He pastored churches in the Netherlands and taught at the universities of Franeker and Utrecht. His Theoretical and 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.



"The present book on preaching by Mastricht is a teaser volume to whet your appetite for his Reformed dogmatics. In sixty pages, Mastricht succinctly shows how to use theology to preach more effectively to Christ's bride. He covers the basics of sermon arrangement, sermon introductions, exegeting and explaining the text, preaching doctrinally, preaching to comfort believers, preaching against sin, preaching for self-examination, exhorting unto good works, cautions in preaching, how to handle lengthy texts, and sermon delivery. Every preacher should read this short book, together with the translator's helpful introduction which provides biographical details of Mastricht's life, influences writings, and emphases so as to appreciate more fully this little gem on preaching." - Joel R. Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Petrus van Mastricht's brief summary of the essential points of good preaching is sure to become a standard reference alongside William Perkins's The Art of Prophesying. Clear and concise, this book should be essential reading for young and seasoned preachers. A gem." - Derek W.H. Thomas, minister of preaching and teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina