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Peter Van Mastricht (1630-1706) was a German-Dutch theologian who studied at Utrecht under Gisbert Voetius. He held pastorates in Germany and Denmark before accepting a position as professor of Hebrew and practical theology at Frankfurt, and later at his alma mater, Utrecht. Van Mastricht is probably best known for his Theologia Theoretico-Practica (1682-87), a comprehensive and infuential work that was translated into Dutch and won much acclaim. Van Mastricht deeply shaped the experiential piety of the “Nadere Reformation” in the Netherlands, as well as larger currents of Reformed theology, even within English-speaking divinity from the late 17th century onward.
Jonathan Edwards wrote to young Joseph Bellamy in 1747 that this work of Van Mastricht was “. . . much better than Turretin, or any other book in the world, except the Bible, in my opinion.” Edwards incorporated many of Van Mastricht’s ideas in his famous book, The Freedom of the Will.
A section from his Theologia Theoretico-Practica on the topic of regeneration was translated and first published in English in 1770. It was re-issued in 2002 as A Treatise on Regeneration (SDG Press), edited by Brandon Withrow. Van Mastricht’s treatment of regeneration is, in many respects, typical of the late 17th century and many aspects would be readily recognized, particularly the explanation of regeneration as an instantaneous introduction of a new principle of life into the heart by the Spirit, logically prior to faith.