The “Beneficent Propensity” of God (Van Mastricht)

Theoretical-Practical Theology Volume 2: Faith in the Triune God The goodness, kindness, mercy, and love of God are major themes in all parts of Holy Scripture.  It’s always one of my favorite parts of theological reading when I come across good explanations of God’s goodness and love that are very much based on Scripture.  In volume two of his Theoretical-Practical Theology  Petrus Van Mastricht wrote an excellent section on the love, grace, mercy, long-suffering, and clemency of God.  After doing some exegetical work on Exodus 34:6 (…The LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth [CSB]), Van Mastricht discussed in detail what these terms mean and how they apply to the Christian life.  Here are some quotes that I really appreciate.  I’ve edited the layout to make it easier to read:

…There is in God a certain benevolent and beneficent propensity toward his creatures….

That propensity is called benevolent when considered intrinsically and beneficent when considered extrinsically.

In itself generally considered it is love;
insofar as it is independent, free, and is not owed, it is grace;
insofar as it considers the creature as miserable, it is mercy;
insofar as it considers the offending sinner whom it endures, it is patience;
insofar as it endures him a long time, it is long-suffering;
insofar as it also does good to him, it is clemency and beneficence.

Petrus Van Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology, vol 2., p 348-349.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015