• Keith Mathison

Classic Reformed Systematic Theology Texts Online


There are a lot of things I dislike about the Internet, but it can serve useful purposes as well. For example, it is now much easier to read old books that are difficult to find in a print version. I thought it might be helpful to provide links here to some of the great works of Reformed systematic theology that have been translated into English at one point or another. For the purposes of this list, I'm defining "systematic theology" a bit loosely. I'm including works that cover the bulk of topics included in a typical systematic theology text regardless of whether written as an academic text, a catechetical text, a series of sermons, or a commentary on a confession or catechism. I'm also limiting the list to works written before the twentieth century. Most texts written after that are not in the public domain and are available for purchase. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but I hope it will help readers access a few classic works they may not have known were either available online or available for purchase.

Huldrych Zwingli – Commentary on True and False Religion (1525) [This Google Books link has an extensive, but partial preview]. For the full text, purchase is necessary: Amazon

John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Volume 1 (1559 edition)

Volume 2 (1559 edition)

Heinrich Bullinger – Decades (1549–1552)

Decades 1 & 2

Decades 3

Decades 4

Decades 5

Theodore Beza – The Christian Faith (1558)

Wolfgang Musculus – Common-Places of Christian Religion (1560) [If anyone knows of an easier to read online version, please forward the link, and I'll update this post]

Peter Martyr Vermigli – The Common Places (1576)


Jerome Zanchi – Confession of Christian Religion (ca. 1586). Available for purchase also, but it might require a second mortgage: Amazon

Zacharius Ursinus – The Summe of Christian Religion (1587). Later translated as Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (1851)

Amandus Polanus – The Substance of Christian Religion (1595) [His larger Syntagma Theologiae Christianae has not yet been translated into English. It is available in Latin here: Volume 1 and Volume 2

Johannes Polyander, Andreas Rivetus, Antonius Walaeus, and Antonius Thysius – Synopsis of a Purer Theology (1625) [The English translation of this work was completed in July 2020 so it is not available online and technically does not fit the parameters of this blog post, but it is a must-read in the history of Reformed theology, so . . . Available to purchase for an arm and a leg here:

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Johannes Wollebius – Compendium of Christian Theology (1626) [Also available in modern English translation in Beardslee’s Reformed Dogmatics if you can find a copy].

William Ames – The Marrow of Sacred Divinity (1639)

Johannes Maccovius – Scholastic Discourse (posthumous publication in 1652). This link will take you to a page where the pdf is available for download. Grab it while it's still there.

Edward Leigh – A System or Body of Divinity (1646)

Hugh Binning – The Common Principles of Christian Religion (1672) [Available in an easier to read updated revision here]

Herman Witsius – The Economy of the Covenants (1677)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Francis Turretin – Institutes of Elenctic Theology (1679–1685). Not available online, but I couldn't fail to mention Turretin. Available for purchase here: Amazon

David Dickson – Truth’s Victory Over Error (1684)

Thomas Watson – A Body of Practical Divinity (1692).

Volume 1

Volume 2

Benedict Pictet – Christian Theology (1696)

Petrus van Mastricht – Theoretical-Practical Theology (1698–1699) [The English translation of this work is ongoing at the present, so it is not available online. The following links are for those interested in purchasing it]

Volume 1

Volume 2

Wilhelmus à Brakel – The Christian’s Reasonable Service (1700)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Thomas Boston – A Complete Body of Divinity (@1720)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Samuel Willard – A Compleat Body of Divinity (1726)

Thomas Ridgeley – A Body of Divinity (1731)

Volume 1

Volume 2

John Gill – Complete Body of Practical and Doctrinal Divinity (1767, 1770)

John Brown – Systematic Theology (1782). Originally titled A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion.

John Dick – Lectures on Theology (1838)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Archibald Alexander – A Brief Compend of Bible Truth (1846)

Charles Hodge – Systematic Theology (1872–1873)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Robert Lewis Dabney – Systematic Theology (1878)

A.A. Hodge – Outlines of Theology (1878)


William G.T. Shedd – Dogmatic Theology (1888–1894)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3


Enjoy!

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