Every duty he is called unto becomes a burden unto him when he is under the spirit of discouragement; he knows not what it is to obey; he knows not what it is to believe. The mercies which they enjoy are nothing to the mercies they lack. The Reality of the Devil First of all, the reality of the devil. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. I will lay my hand upon my mouth. See this in the Israelites. As if Christ would have said, there are none that I need bid come, but only these that are weary and heavy laden; for it is only these that will come; but if ye would come otherwise, He would not receive you.
And we conceive there are these devices by which he assaults such. Brooks prefaces the work by suggesting that Christ, the Scriptures, our own hearts, and Satan's tactics are the fo June was Thomas Brook's month in my Ancient Mentors reading schedule. Several devices he has to draw souls to sin and several plots he has to keep souls from all holy and heavenly services, and several stratagems he has to keep souls in a mourning, staggering, doubting, and questioning condition. By presenting the bait and hiding the hook: For remedies, consider that 1 we ought to keep at the greatest distance from sin and from playing with the bait 2 sin is but a bitter sweet 3 sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses 4 sin is very deceitful and bewitching 2. The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the Spirit of the Lord has been as careful to note the saints' rising by repentance out of sin, as he has to note their falling into sins. God's commands are not like those who are easily reversed—but they are like those of the Medes, they cannot be changed. It will usher in the loss of that divine favor which is better than life, and the loss of that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory, and the loss of that peace which passes understanding, and the loss of those divine influences by which the soul has been refreshed, quickened, raised, strengthened, and gladdened, and the loss of many outward desirable mercies, which otherwise the soul might have enjoyed.
Then shall a good conscience be more worth than all the world's good. Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices was written by Puritan Thomas Brooks in order to examine, analyze, and warn against the temptations and doubts that Satan uses as he tries to overthrow both Christians and unbelievers. Brooks's own footnotes are a gold-mine as well. The Scripture styles them scorpions, vipers, thorns, briars, thistles, brambles, stubble, dirt, chaff, dust, dross, smoke, scum. Here are the two representative heads of the human race. So when God shall cast a sword into the hand of a little sin, and arm it against the soul, the soul will faint and fall under it. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
Oh, the graces that error has weakened, and the sweet joys and comforts that error has clouded, if not buried! Men usually grow from being naught to be very naught, and from very naught to be stark naught, and then God sets them at nought forever. Consider that sin is never a whit the less filthy, vile, and abominable—by its being colored and painted with virtue's colors. Augustine, by wandering out of his way, escaped one that lay in wait to harm him. Sin is a plague, yes, the worst and most infectious plague in the world; and yet, ah! Many rest in their repentance, which caused on to say, 'Repentance damns more than sin! It is better to have no mind—than a blind mind. So David, when he was himself, he shuns the occasion of sin Psalm 26:4, 5 : 'I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. The first remedy is, solemnly to dwell upon those scriptures which expressly command us to avoid the occasions of sin, and the least appearance of evil 1 Thess.
But Satan also lies to us as believers. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked. The viper is killed by the little young ones that are nourished and cherished in her belly—so are many men eternally killed and betrayed by the little sins, as they call them, that are nourished in their own bosoms. A poisonous pill is never a whit the less poisonous because it is gilded over with gold; nor a wolf is never a whit the less a wolf because he has put on a sheep's skin; nor the devil is never a whit the less a devil because he appears sometimes like an angel of light. Sin is never at a stand-still Psalm 1:1 , first ungodly, then sinners, then scorners. The breath of the erroneous is infectious, and, like the dogs of Congo—they bite though they bark not.
Satan has a great store of devices to use against Christians. What was it that he wrote? Satan's devices are mostly in the area of doubt. It is easy to know there is something intended in such a providence; but it is hard to know what is the particular intention of such a particular providence. We know then certainly it is not an easy thing to repent of sin. All the pains and labor that men take to defend and maintain their errors, to spread abroad and infect the world with their errors, shall bring no profit, nor no comfort to them in that day, wherein 'every man's work shall be made manifest, and the fire shall try it of what sort it is,' as the apostle shows in that remarkable scripture 1 Cor. The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That those who were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, did look upon the mercy of God as the most powerful argument to preserve them from sin, and to fence their souls against sin; and not as an encouragement to sin. We know the realities of the Jewish Holocaust, of the Cambodian killing fields, of the genocide in Rwanda.
O will you not condemn yourselves for folly in that day, that this so precious and excellent object should have been so oft despised by you? Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. Affliction is a fire to purge out our dross, and to make virtue shine. It is better to have an ulcerated body—than a seared conscience. So then, if ye would know when your discouragement is above the due limits and bounds, ye may know it to be this, when your discouragement makes you to neglect the exercise of duty. You see it in Exodus 15, you see it in some of the Psalms, you see it in Zephaniah 3, and you certainly see it in the New Testament. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. Oh that they were engraven in all your hearts, and constant in all your thoughts! Laban showed himself at parting.
Ahithophel wise—as well as Solomon. By polluting the souls and judgments of men with dangerous errors that lead to looseness and wickedness: For remedies, consider that 1 an erroneous vain mind is as odious to God as a wicked life 2 it is needful to receive the truth affectionately and plenteously 3 error makes its owner suffer loss 4 it is needful to hate and reject all doctrines that are contrary to godliness, that lead to self-righteousness, and that make good works co-partners with Christ 5 it is needful to hold fast the truth 6 it is needful to keep humble 7 errors have been productive of great evils 12. Sin's murdering morsels will deceive those who devour them. When I take these times designated to quiet, prayer, and reading I bring a few different books, knowing that I will not get all of them read. Repentance is the vomit of the soul; and of all purgatives, none so difficult and hard as it is to vomit. Vatablus's note there is, 'I will prosper him in all things, and not by affliction restrain him from sin. Born, probably of well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1625.