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The Christian's Reasonable Service, Volume 4: Ethics and Eschatology

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First published in 1700, The Christian’s Reasonable Service (De Redelijke Godsdienst) ran through 20 Dutch editions in the eighteenth century alone! The title is derived from Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” It expresses what God requires from man, and particularly from the Christian, that he serve him in Spirit and in truth—intelligently, rationally, and in harmony with and response to God’s revelation of himself: his Word.

With a decidedly Puritan flavor and representing Reformed experiential religion at its best, Wilhelmus à Brakel systematically moves through the major doctrines of the Bible in hopes of seeing the minds of God’s people renewed for the purpose of promoting godliness. Throughout his work, but particularly in the practical application of each doctrine, à Brakel strives unceasingly to exalt the name of Jesus as the name that the Father has given above every other name—there being no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). This volume addresses ethics and eschatology.

Resource Experts
  • Provides a Reformed systematic theology
  • Analyzes Christian ethics and Christian living
  • Includes a history of God’s redemptive, covenantal work from the beginning to the end of the world

Top Highlights

“she bore her first born son, who had been promised for a period of approximately four thousand years,” (Volume 4, Page 503)

“Others receive it as being of divine origin, doing so simply because the church and everyone else declares it to be so” (Volume 4, Page 199)

“Secondly, felicity consists in seeing God. God cannot be seen with physical eyes, for He is the invisible One (cf. 1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 11:27). The Lord Jesus, according to the body, will, however, be seen with physical eyes with overwhelming joy and love by all the citizens of heaven. Since the fullness of the Godhead will dwell bodily and visibly in Him, the nature of this will be such that the reflection of divine glory will be seen in Him. Believers will see Jesus in His glory, and they will speak with Him and He will speak with them face to face. God, however, will be seen with the enlightened eyes of the understanding.” (Volume 4, Page 365)

“A renewal of the covenant with the wholehearted intent to forsake former sins and to live a godly life” (Volume 4, Page 6)

“Secondly, on a day of fasting we are to deprive ourselves of all external ornamentation” (Volume 4, Page 4)

The Christian’s Reasonable Service represents, perhaps more than any other work, the Puritan heartbeat and balance of the Dutch Second Reformation. Here systematic theology and vital, experiential Christianity are scripturally and practically interwoven with a covenantal framework, the whole bearing the mark of a pastor-theologian deeply taught by the Spirit. Sweeping in coverage, nearly every subject treasured by Christians is treated in an unusually helpful way, always aiming for the promotion of godliness. In my opinion, this pastoral set of books is an essential tool for every pastor and is extremely valuable for lay people as well. Happily, you can now read it freshly translated into contemporary English.

Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

Wilhelmus à Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service is a tremendously insightful work that showcases the marriage between scholastic precision and a warm pastoral piety. À Brakel not only challenges the mind as he plumbs the depths of the teachings of Scripture, but he also challenges the heart as readers must grapple with the truth and its implications for their growth in grace. Not only can historians read à Brakel to learn about historic Reformed theology, but scholars, pastors, and laymen can all benefit from a close reading of these wonderful volumes.

—J. V. Fesko, academic dean and professor of systematic theology and historical theology, Westminster Seminary California

With its fine balance of Reformed doctrinal statement and application to Christian life and personal piety, à Brakel’s Christian’s Reasonable Service provides a superb illustration of the theological project associated with the late seventeenth century development of the Dutch Nadere Reformatie, or ‘Further Reformation.’ Although it abounds in sound definition and detailed exposition, this vernacular theology was intended not for the academic setting but for the purpose of educating the laity in both faith and practice. It remains a significant study in Reformed theology even as it exemplifies the true sense of the old Reformed maxim, Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda—namely, that the doctrine of the church has been reformed but the life of the Christian is always to be reformed, guided by the teachings of the Reformation. The Elshout translation beautifully conveys the sense and the spirit of à Brakel’s work.

Richard A. Muller, P. J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary

No systematic theology compares to Wilhelmus à Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service for its explicit concern to weld the objective and subjective in theology. Emerging from the Dutch Further Reformation, à Brakel is without equal in exploring both the intricate details of the Reformed theological system whilst ensuring that at every turn theology is done in the interests of piety and the glory of God. In an era when the subjective has either been lost in a sea of postmodernity or viewed with suspicion for its apparent lack of academic integrity, only those who have never read this monumental treatise would dismiss it as guilty of either. An achievement to place alongside Calvin’s Institutes and the systematic theologies of Turretin, Hodge, and Berkhof.

Derek W. H. Thomas, professor of systematic and historical theology, Reformed Theological Seminary

  • Title: The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 4
  • Author: Wilhelmus à Brakel
  • Series: The Christian’s Reasonable Service
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage
  • Print Publication Date: 1995
  • Logos Release Date: 2013
  • Era: era:reformation
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Reformed Church › Doctrines--Early works to 1800; Theology, doctrinal › Early works to 1800
  • Resource Type: Systematic Theology
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-12T17:05:39Z

Wilhelmus à Brakel (2 January 1635, Leeuwarden – 30 October 1711, Rotterdam) was a Reformed minister in the Netherlands. He is arguably the most esteemed representative of Middle Period of the Dutch Further Reformation (1600–1750) (also known as the Dutch Second Reformation, or in Dutch as the Nadere Reformatie). The Dutch Further Reformation is similar to and coincides closely in time with English Puritanism.


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Save on Publisher Spotlight through May 31!


Digital list price: $40.00
Regular price: $31.99
Save $9.60 (30%)