Peter Van Mastricht (d. 1706) was an outstanding Dutch Reformed scholastic, theologian, and professor in Holland during the late 17th century. His greatest work was Theologia Theoretico-Practica, which was essentially a systematic theology for the mind and heart. Here’s one section of that work, which specifically has to do with regeneration. I realize the language is a bit bulky, but if you read carefully you’ll realize Mastricht is speaking about God’s sovereign grace in giving new life to dead sinners – and keeping them in that new life.
In what sense regeneration is irresistible.
“We may hence determine that regeneration is irresistible, and in what sense this is to be understood. For if you consider what the person who is to be regenerated is – a child of wrath who is dead in sin – he certainly has depravity enough to resist (Acts 7:51). But if you consider that it is God who regenerates and quickens, the subject of regeneration can no more resist God than Lazarus of old could have resisted Christ when He raised him to a natural life (John 11:43-44). Nor does he have a will to resist, for, by the spiritual life instantaneously produced, all inclinations or desire of resisting are suppressed or taken away (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Jeremiah 32:39-40; cf. Galatians 1:13, Acts 9:2-6; 22:5, etc.).”
In what sense regeneration is inadmissible.
“The grace of regeneration can never be lost, nor can the grounds upon which this inadmissibility is founded (1 John 3:9, Ezekiel 36:27, 11:19-20, Jeremiah 32:39-40). In this, indeed, it differs from the first spiritual life effected in creation by the bestowing of original righteousness, through the loss of which, by sin, our first parents became spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5), since the spiritual life bestowed by regeneration is never entirely lost. However, the unfailing permanence of this life is by no means ascribed to the firmness and constancy of the regenerate [person], or the strength and perfection of the spiritual life; for there is, and always dwells in the regenerate [person], so much corruption that they are as likely, by their own conduct, to destroy this life as our first parents were – and indeed more so because they, before the loss of their spiritual life, were perfectly righteous and holy (Ecclesiastes 7:29). But the impossibility of losing the grace of regeneration depends first on the grace of election and of the divine purpose; hence the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29, Matthew 24:22). Second, it depends upon preserving grace (1 Peter 1:5; John 10:28-29).
rev shane lems