The Act of Faith and the Intellect (Van Mastricht)

The second volume of Petrus Van Mastricht’s “Theoretical-Practical Theology” was recently published in English. I’ve mentioned volume 1 here before, so I won’t give a long explanation of it, but Van Mastricht (1630-1706) is one of my favorite Reformed theologians. This second volume covers topics like Faith, Theology Proper, and the Holy Trinity. It is solid exegetical and practical theology at it’s scholastic best! Here’s a section from Van Mastricht’s discussion of faith and the intellect:

Indeed in the intellect faith requires: 1) Knowledge of the promises of the gospel, of God and Christ (John 17:3; Is. 53:11; 2 Tim. 1:12); 2) Assent, given not only implicitly to the whole Word of God (Acts 24:14; Luke 16:29), but also explicitly to the fundamental dogmas, and in particular to the promises of the gospel, without which there cannot be any reception of God or Christ (Phil. 3:8, 10). In particular, 3) assent to this great proposition: Christ is that once-promised Messiah without whom there is no hope of salvation at all (John 11:25-27; 1 John 2:22, 4:2-3; Acts 4:12). But finally, 4) a theoretical knowledge and assent is not sufficient, but a practical knowledge, by which you have been convicted and the will is moved to take hold of that which has been offered, namely, God and the Mediator (Rom. 7:18, “I know…”; v.21, “I find…”; v. 24, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me?”).

Petrus Van Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology, vol. 2, p. 8.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

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