Van Mastricht, Petrus
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 2, Faith in the Triune God, delivers a thorough treatment of the doctrine of God. Mastricht begins his consideration of theology proper with a substantial chapter on saving faith, reminding readers that contemplating God apart from true faith will fall short of the salvation of their soul. Mastricht then discusses the subject of God in three main divisions. First, he treats the existence of God and our knowledge of him. Second, he discusses the divine essence as it is revealed through the names and attributes of God. Third, Mastricht carefully details the Trinitarian nature of the one God who subsists in three persons.
Author and Editors
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 a historian of early modern theology and philosophy in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Politics, Queen’s University Belfast, as well as Associate Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary. He also volunteers as the director of The Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research.
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
“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
“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