Precious Remedies (15)

My summary adaptation of Thomas Brooks treatise continues:

DEVICE 9: By presenting to the soul the crosses, losses, reproaches, sorrows, and sufferings, which daily attend those who walk in the ways of holiness. Therefore, says Satan, you were better to walk in ways that are less
troublesome, and less afflicted, though they be more sinful; for who but a madman would spend his days in sorrow, vexation, and affliction, when it may be prevented by walking in the ways that I set before him?


Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That all the afflictions that attend the people of God, are such as shall turn to their profit and glorious advantage.  Afflictions are a crystal glass, wherein the soul has the clearest sight of the ugly face of sin. The afflictions shall contribute to the mortifying and purging away of their sins (Isa. 1:15, and 27:8, 9). Afflictions are God’s furnace, by which he cleanses his people from their dross. Afflictions work the saints to be more fruitful in holiness (Heb. 12:10, 11): ‘But he afflicts us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.’ Vines bear the better fruit, after pruning; Manasseh’s chain was more profitable to him than his crown. God’s house of correction is his school of instruction. All the stones that came about Stephen’s ears did but knock him closer to Christ, the corner-stone. Afflictions lift up the soul to more rich, clear, and full enjoyments of God (Hosea 2:14): When was it that Stephen saw the heavens open, and Christ standing at the right hand of God—but when the stones were about his ears, and there was but a short step between him and eternity?  Afflictions serve to keep the hearts of the saints humble and tender (Lam. 3:19,20). ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.’ Afflictions are God’s furnace, by which he cleanses his people from their dross. Affliction is a fire to purge out our dross, and to make virtue shine. Afflictions are medicines which heal soul diseases, better than all the remedies of physicians. Aloes kill worms; colds and frosts do destroy vermin; so do afflictions the corruptions that are in our hearts. The Jews, under all the prophet’s thunderings, retained their idols; but after their Babylonish captivity, it is observed, there have been no idols found among them. Again, Afflictions are sweet preservatives to keep the saints from sin, which is a greater evil than hell itself. The plant grows with cutting; being cut, it flourishes; it contends with the axe, it lives by dying, and by cutting it grows. So do saints by their afflictions which befall them; they gain more experience of the power of God supporting them, of the wisdom of God directing them, of the grace of God refreshing and cheering them, and of the goodness of God quieting and quickening of them, to a greater love to holiness, and to a greater delight in holiness, and to a more vehement pursuing after holiness


Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, that all the afflictions which befall the saints, only affect their sinfulness, not their noble soul. ‘And who shall harm you, if you be followers of that which is good,’ says the apostle (1 Peter 3:13). They shall never harm you. The Christian soldier shall ever be master of the day. He may suffer death—but never conquest. Do not fear those who kill the body (but not the soul),
they cannot take away my God, my Christ, my crown.


Remedy (3). The third remedy is that the afflictions which attend the saints in the ways of holiness, are but short and momentary. ‘Sorrow may abide for a night—but joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5). For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.’ ‘For yet a little while, he who shall come will come, and will
not tarry’ (Heb. 10:36, 37). 


Remedy (4). The fourth remedy is that the afflictions which befall the saints are such as proceed from God’s dearest love. ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten’ (Rev. 3:19). Saints, says God, think not that I hate you, because I thus chide you.  God had one Son without corruption—but no son without correction. A
gracious soul may look through the darkest cloud, and see God smiling on him. 

Remedy (5) Consider, it is our duty and glory not to measure afflictions by the smart—but by the end. When Israel was dismissed out of Egypt, it was with gold and ear-rings (Exod. 11:3); so the Jews were dismissed out of Babylon with gifts, jewels, and all necessary utensils (Ezra 1:7-11). Look not upon
Lazarus lying at Dives’s door—but lying in Abraham’s bosom. Look not to the beginning of Joseph, who was so far from his dream that the sun and moon should reverence him,that for two years he was cast where he could see neither sun, moon, nor stars; but behold him at last made ruler over Egypt.

Remedy (6) The design of God in all the afflictions which befall them, is only to try them;  ‘He knows the way that I take: and when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold,’ says patient Job,33:10. So in Deut. 8:2, ‘And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.’ Afflictions try what sap we have, what grace we have. Rotten leaves fall off in rough weather.

Remedy (7). The afflictions, wrath, and misery which attend the ways of wickedness, are far greater and heavier than those which attend the ways of holiness. ‘The wicked,’ says Isaiah, ‘are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.’ ‘There is no peace to the wicked, says my God.’ The curse of God, the wrath of God, the hatred of God, and the fierce indignation of God—always attend sinners walking in a way of wickedness. Deuteronomy 28:15 to the end of the chapter; No solid joy, nor lasting peace, nor pure comfort, attends sinners in their sinful ways. Sin brings in sorrow and sickness. 

Precious Remedies (14)

Thomas Brooks

DEVICE 8: (Satan tricks us into sin) by representing to the soul the outward mercies that vain men enjoy, and the outward miseries that they are freed from, while they have walked in the ways of sin.

By this stratagem the devil took those in Jer. 44:16-18, “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and sacrifice to her just as much as we like—just as we and our ancestors did before us, and as our kings and princes have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her, we have been in great trouble and have suffered the effects of war and famine.” This is just the language of a world of ignorant, profane, and superstitious souls, who would have returned to bondage, yes, to that bondage that was worse than that the Israelites groaned under.

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, solemnly to consider, That no man knows how the heart of God stands towards a person, by his outward blessings to that person. His hand of providence may be towards a man, when his heart may be against that man, as you may see in Saul and others; and the hand of God may be set against a man, when the heart of God is dearly set upon a man, as you may see in Job. No man knows either the love or hatred of God—by his outward mercy or misery towards them; for all things come alike to all, to the righteous and to the unrighteous, to the good and to the bad. The sun of prosperity shines as well upon brambles of the wilderness—as upon fruit-trees of the orchard; the snow and hail of adversity comes upon the best garden—as well as the wild waste. Health, wealth, honors, crosses, sicknesses, losses, are cast upon good men and bad men promiscuously.  Nabal is rich—as well as Abraham. Usually the worst of men have most of these outward things. Usually the holiest of men have least of earth, though most of heaven.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That there is nothing in the world that so provokes God to be wroth and angry, as men’s taking encouragement from God’s goodness and mercy—to do wickedly. Clearly seen by God’s raining hell out of heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah. This is clear in Ezekiel 16:49-50.  Good turns aggravate unkindnesses, and our guilt is increased by our obligations.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That there is no greater misery in this life, than not to be in misery; no greater affliction, than not to be afflicted. Woe, woe to that soul that God will not spend a rod upon! This is the saddest stroke of all—when God refuses to strike at all! (Hos. 4:17), ‘Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.’
So when God gives over a soul to sin without control, you may truly say, ‘This soul is lost,’ you may ring out his knell, for he is twice dead, and plucked up by the roots. Freedom from chastisement is the mother of carnal security, the poison of religion, the moth of holiness, and the introducer of wickedness. ‘Nothing,’ said one, ‘seems more unhappy to me, than he to whom no adversity has happened.’ Outward mercies often times prove a snare to our souls. ‘I will lay a stumbling block’ (Ezek. 3:20).  Prosperity has been a stumbling-block, at which millions have stumbled and fallen, and broke the neck of their souls forever!  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:8-10

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the deep need of wicked men, under all their outward mercy and freedom from adversity, is far greater than all their outward enjoyments. It is true, they have honors and riches, and pleasures and friends, and are mighty in power; their family is established, and their offspring are before their eyes. ‘Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.’ ‘They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.’ ‘They spend their days in wealth, their eyes stand out with fatness, they have more than heart can wish: and they have no bands in their death—but their strength is firm; they are not in trouble as other men.’

Yet all this is nothing to what they lack. They lack a saving interest in God, Christ, the Spirit, the promises, the covenant of grace, and everlasting glory. They lack acceptance and reconciliation with God; they lack righteousness, justification, sanctification, adoption, and redemption. They lack the pardon of sin, and power against sin, and freedom from the dominion of sin. They lack that favor with God, which is better than life, and that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory, and that peace which passes understanding, and that grace, the least spark of which is more worth than heaven and earth. They lack a house that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. They lack those riches that perish not, the glory that fades not, that kingdom that shakes not.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That outward things are not as they seem and are esteemed. They have, indeed, a glorious outside—but if you view their insides, you will easily find that they fill the head full of cares, and the heart full of fears. What if the fire should consume one part of my estate, and the sea should be a grave to swallow up another part of my estate! What if my servants should be unfaithful abroad, and my children should be deceitful at home! Ah, the secret fretting, vexing, and gnawing that does daily, yes hourly, attend those men’s souls whose hands are full of worldly goods! If God gives them in his wrath (check Psalms 73:17 and92:7), and does not sanctify them in his love, they will at last be witnesses against a man, and millstones forever to sink a man in that day when God shall call men to an account, not for the use—but for the abuse of his goodness.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider the end and the design of God in heaping kindness to the wicked, and in giving them rest and quiet from those sorrows and sufferings that others sigh under. David shows the end and design of God in this. “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will make them vanish from this life.” Psalm 73:16-20.  Like Pharaoh God says I raise you up, for to show in you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.’ There is not a wicked man in the world that is set up with Lucifer, as high as heaven—but shall with Lucifer be brought down as low as hell. The rich man went to hell, beggar Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom.

Remedy (7). Consider, that may give the wicked their requests—but send leanness into their soul. It is a heavy plague to have a fat body and a lean soul; a house full of gold, and a heart full of sin. There are no men on earth so internally plagued as those who meet with least external plagues. Oh the blindness of mind, the hardness of heart, the searedness of conscience, that those souls are given up to, who, in the eye of the world, are reputed the most happy men, because they are not outwardly afflicted and plagued as other men.

Remedy (8). The eighth remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell more upon that strict account that vain men must make for all that good that they do enjoy. “In that day men shall give an account of good things committed unto them, of good things neglected by them, of evil committed by them, and of evils allowed by them. Then shall a good conscience be more worth than all the world’s good.”  Abused kindness will certainly turn into fury. The day is at hand when he will pay wicked men for the abuse of old and new gifts. (Adapted)

 

Precious Remedies (13)

Thomas Brooks

DEVICE 7: BY MAKING THE SOUL BOLD TO VENTURE UPON THE OCCASIONS OF SIN

Says Satan, You may walk by the harlot’s door though you won’t go into the harlot’s bed; you may sit and sup with the drunkard, though you won’t be drunk with the drunkard; you may look upon Jezebel’s beauty, and you may play and toy with Delilah, though you do not commit wickedness with the one or the other; you may with Achan handle the golden wedge, though you do not steal the golden wedge.

Remedy (1). 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. 5:22): ‘Abstain from all appearance of evil.’ Whatever is heterodox, unsound and unsavory, shun it, as you would do a serpent in your way, or poison in your food. To abstain from all appearance of evil, is to do nothing wherein sin appears, or which has a shadow of sin. So Jude 23, ‘And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.’ It is a phrase taken from legal uncleanness, which was contracted by touching the houses, the vessels, the garments, of unclean people. Under the law, men might not touch a menstruous cloth, nor would God accept of a blemished peace-offering. So we must not only hate and avoid gross sins—but everything that may carry a savour or suspicion of sin; we must abhor the very signs and tokens of sin. So in Prov. 5:8, ‘Remove your way far from her, and come not near the door of her house.’ He who would not be burnt, must dread the fire; To venture upon the occasion of sin, and then to pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ is all one as to thrust your finger into the fire, and then to pray that it might not be burnt. So, in Prov. 4:14, 15, you have another command: ‘Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men: avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.’ This triple gradation of Solomon shows with a great emphasis, how necessary it is for men to flee from all appearance of sin, as the seaman shuns rocks and shelves;  As weeds endanger the corn, as an infection endangers the blood, or as an infected house endanger the neighborhood; so does the company of the wicked endanger the godly. Friendship with wicked consorts is one of the strongest chains of hell, and binds us to a participation in both their sin and their punishment.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That ordinarily there is no conquest over sin, without the soul turning from the occasion of sin. It is impossible for that man to get the conquest of sin—who plays and sports with the occasions of sin. God will not remove the temptation to sin, except you turn from the occasion of sin. It is a just and righteous thing with God, that he should fall into the pit, who will adventure to dance upon the brink of the pit, and that he should be a slave to sin, that will not flee from the occasions of sin. As long as there is fuel in our hearts for a temptation, we cannot be secure.  To rush upon the occasions of sin is both to tempt ourselves, and to tempt Satan to tempt our souls! It is very rare that any soul plays with the occasions of sin—but that soul is then ensnared by sin! It is seldom that God keeps that soul from the acts of sin, who will not keep off from the occasions of sin. Flee from the occasions of sin!

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That other precious saints, who were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, have turned from the occasion of sin, as hell itself; as you may see in Joseph (Gen. 39:10), ‘And it came to pass, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.’ Joseph was famous for all the four cardinal virtues, if ever any were. In this one temptation you may see his fortitude, justice, temperance, and prudence, in that he shuns the occasion: for he would not so much as be with her. And what a man is indeed, that he is in a temptation, which is but a tap to give vent to corruption. The Nazarite might not only not drink wine—but not taste a grape, or the husk of a grape. The devil knows that corrupt nature has a seed-plot for all sin, which being drawn forth and watered by some sinful occasion, is soon set a-work to the producing of death and destruction. God will not remove the temptation, until we remove the occasion to temptation. A bird whiles aloft is safe—but she comes not near the snare, without danger. The shunning the occasions of sin renders a man most like the godliest of men. A soul eminently gracious dares not come near the temptation. So Job 31:1, ‘I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.’ I set a watch at the entrance of my senses, that my soul might not by them be infected or endangered. The eye is the window of the soul, and if that should be always open, the soul might smart for it.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the avoiding the occasions of sin, is an evidence of grace, and that which lifts up a man above most other men in the world as with Job can walk uprightly in the land of Uz, where the people were profane in their lives, and superstitious in their worship; and with Daniel can be holy in Babylon; Many a wicked man is full of corruption—but shows it not for lack of occasion; but that man is surely godly, who in his course will not be bad, though tempted by occasions to sin. A Christless soul is so far from refusing occasions to sin, when they come in his way, that he looks and longs after them, and rather than he will go without them he will buy them, not only with love or money—but also with the loss of his soul! Nothing but grace can fence a man against the occasions of sin, when he is strongly tempted thereunto. Therefore, as you would cherish a precious evidence in your own bosoms of the truth and strength of your graces, shun all sinful occasions.

Precious Remedies (12)

Brooks details another of Satan’s devices to entice us to sin:

DEVICE 6: By persuading the soul that the work of repentance is an easy work; and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin. By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls
servants of sin, or rather slaves to sin.


Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power. Needs power that raises the dead and to make a world, to grant repentance (II Tim.2:25,26). Repentance is a gift that comes down from above. See Acts 5:31: ‘Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour—to give repentance.’ It is not in the power of any mortal to repent at pleasure.


Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider of the nature of true repentance.The Hebrew word for repentance signifies to return.
It denotes a turning or converting from one thing to another, from sin to God. The Greeks have two words by which they express the nature of repentance, one signifies to be careful, anxious, solicitous, after a thing is done; the other word denotes after-wisdom, the mind’s recovering of wisdom, or growing wiser after our folly. True repentance is a thorough change both of the mind and life.
Repentance for sin is nothing worth without repentance from sin. (1) The formal ACT of repentance is a changing and converting. It is often set forth in
Scripture by turning. ‘Turn me, and I shall be turned,’ says Ephraim; ‘after I was
turned, I repented,’ says he (Jer. 31:18, 19). It is a turning from darkness to light.
(2) The SUBJECT changed and converted is the whole man; it is both the sinner’s heart and life: first his heart, then his life; first his person, then his practice and lifestyle. ‘Wash, be clean,’ there is the change of their persons; ‘Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well’ (Is. 1:16, 17); (3) The TERMS of this change and conversion, from which and to which both heart and life must be changed; from sin to God. The heart must changed from the state and power of sin, the life from the acts of sin—but both unto God; the heart to be under his power in a state of grace, the life to be under his rule in all new obedience; and the apostle speaks, ‘To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God’ (Acts 26:18). So the prophet Isaiah says, ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord’ (55:7). He who turns not
from every sin, turns not aright from any one sin. Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man’s conscience; and therefore a soul truly penitent strikes at all, hates all,
conflicts with all, and will labor to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all sins. Besides, repentance is not only a turning from all sin—but also a turning to all good; to a love of all good, to a prizing of all good, and to a following after all good (Ezek.18:21): ‘But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.’ There must be good fruit,’ every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into
the fire.’ (Matt. 3:10). Also a true penitent does not only loathe his sin— he loathes himself. Ezek. 20:43: ‘And there shall you remember your ways and all your doings, wherein you have been defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that you have committed.’ Repentance both comes from God, and drives a man to God,.
Those who do not burn now in zeal against sin must before long burn in hell for sin. II Cor. 7:10, 11: ‘Godly sorrow
brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow
brings death. 

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is seriously to consider, repentance is a continued act. The word repent implies the continuation of it. Repentance is a grace, and must have its daily operation as well as other graces. ‘My sin is ever before me’ (Psalm 51:3). Repentance is a continued act of turning, a repentance never to be repented of, a turning never to turn again to folly. ‘O wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from this body of death!’ (Rom. 7:24). They are still sensible of sin, and still conflicting with sin, and still sorrowing for sin, and still loathing of themselves for sin. So tell me, O tempted soul, whether it be such an easy thing as Satan would make you believe, to be every day a-turning more and more from sin, and a-turning nearer and nearer to God, your choicest blessedness. 

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is solemnly to consider,that if the work of repentance were such an easy work as Satan would make it to be, then certainly so many would not lie roaring and crying out in hell of wrath and eternal ruin under the horrors and terrors of conscience, for not repenting! Yes, doubtless, so many
millions would not go to hell for not repenting, if it were such an easy thing to repent. Surely, were repentance so easy, wicked men would not be so much enraged when that doctrine is, by evangelical considerations, pressed upon them.


Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is seriously to consider, That to repent of sin is as great a work of grace, as not to sin. (Yet it is better to be kept from sin than cured of sin by repentance; as it is better for a man to be preserved from a disease than to be cured of the disease.) By our sinful falls—the powers of the soul are weakened; the strength of grace is decayed; Repentance is the vomit of the soul; and of all purgatives, none so difficult and hard as it is to vomit. ‘Come, let us return to the LORD! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence.’ (Hos. 6:1, 2); Is it an easy thing not to sin? We know then certainly it is not an easy thing to repent of sin.


Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider,that he who now tempts you to sin upon this account, that repentance is easy, will work you to despair and present repentance as the most difficult and hardest work in the world; and to this purpose he will set your sins in order before you, and make them to say, ‘We are yours, and we must follow you.’ Satan will help to work the soul to look up, and see God angry; and to look inward, and to see conscience accusing and condemning; and to look downwards, and
see hell’s mouth open to receive the impenitent soul: and all this to render the work of
repentance impossible to the soul. What, says Satan, do you think that that is easy which the whole power of grace cannot conquer while we are in this world? Have you not loved your sins above your Saviour? Surely, says Satan, if
you should seek repentance and grace with tears, as Esau, you shall not find it! Repent quickly!

Precious Remedies (11)

Thomas Brooks

DEVICE 5: TO PRESENT GOD TO THE SOUL AS ONE MADE UP ALL OF MERCY
Oh! says Satan, you need not make such a matter of sin, you need not be so fearful of sin, not so unwilling to sin; for God is a God of mercy, a God full of mercy, a God that delights in mercy, a God that is ready to show mercy, a God that is more prone to pardon his people than to punish his people; and
therefore he will not take advantage against the soul; and why then, says Satan, should you make such a matter of sin?
Remedy (1). Note it is the greatest judgment in the world to be left to sin, upon any pretense whatever. O unhappy man! when God leaves you to yourself, and does not resist you in your sins. ‘Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone’ (Hosea 4:17); he will be unteachable and incorrigible; ‘So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts, and they walked in their own counsels’ (Psalm 81:12). A soul given up to sin is a soul ripe for hell, a soul hastening to destruction! Do anything with me, lay what burden you will upon me,so you do not give me up to the ways of my own heart. Augustine says, ‘It is a human thing to fall into sin, devilish to persevere therein, and divine to rise from it. Deliver me, O Lord, from that evil man—myself!


Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, that God is as JUST, as he is merciful. As the Scriptures speak Him out to be a very merciful God, so they speak Him out to be a very just God. Witness His casting the angels out of heaven and His binding them in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day. Witness His turning Adam out of Paradise. Witness His drowning of the old world. Witness His raining hell out of heaven upon Sodom. Witness all the troubles, losses, sicknesses, and diseases, which are in the world. Witness His treasuring up of wrath against the day of wrath. But above all, witness the pouring forth of all His wrath upon His bosom Son, when Jesus bore the sins of His people, and cried out, “My God,
My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider,that sins against God’s mercy will bring the greatest and sorest judgments upon men’s heads and hearts. Mercy is God’s Alpha, justice is His Omega. David, speaking of these attributes, places mercy in the forefront, and justice in the rearward, saying, “I will sing of Your love and justice.” (Psalm 101:1). When God’s mercy is despised, then His justice takes the throne! God is like a prince, who sends not his army against rebels before he has sent his pardon, and proclaimed it by a herald of arms: he first hangs out
the white flag of mercy; if this wins men in, they are happy forever; but if they remain rebellious, then God will put forth his red flag of justice and judgment. If His mercy is despised, His justice shall be felt!
God is slow to anger—but he recompenses his slowness with grievousness of
punishment. But they (the Israelites), abusing his mercy, became the greatest objects of his wrath. For as our Savior prophesied concerning Jerusalem, ‘that a stone should not be left upon a stone,’ so it was fulfilled forty years after his ascension, by Vespasian the emperor and his son Titus, who, having besieged Jerusalem, the Jews were oppressed with a grievous famine, in which their food was old shoes, leather, old hay, and the dung of beasts. There died, partly by the sword and partly by the famine, eleven hundred thousand of the poorer sort; two thousand in one night were slaughtered; six thousand were burned in a porch of the temple; the whole city was sacked and burned, and laid level to the ground; and ninety-seven thousand taken captives, and forced to base and miserable service, as Eusebius and Josephus says. (Vespasian broke into their
city at Kedron, where they took Christ, on he same feast day that Christ was taken; he whipped them where they whipped Christ; he sold twenty Jews for a penny, as they sold Christ for thirty pence.) The plagues that God inflicts upon the despisers and abusers of mercy are usually spiritual plagues; as blindness of mind, hardness of heart, benumbedness of conscience, which are ten thousand times worse than the worst of outward plagues which can befall you. And therefore, though you may escape temporal judgments, yet you shall not escape spiritual judgments: ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Heb. 2:3) says the apostle. Oh! therefore, whenever Satan shall present God to the soul as one made up all of mercy, that he may draw you to do
wickedly, say unto him, that sins against God’s mercy, will bring upon the soul the
greatest misery; and therefore whatever becomes of you, you will not sin against mercy.


Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider,that though God’s general mercy is over all his works, yet his special mercy is confined to those who are divinely qualified. The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, patient, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping
mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and that will by no
means clear the guilty.’ Exodus 20:6, ‘And showing mercy unto thousands of those who love me, and keep my commandments.’ Psalm 25:10, ‘All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.’ Psalm 32:10, ‘Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.‘ Psalm 33:18, ‘Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, upon those who hope in his mercy.’ Psalm 103:11, ‘For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward those who fear him.’ Ver. 17, ‘But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him.’ When Satan attempts to draw you to sin by presenting God as a God all made up of mercy, oh then reply, that though God’s general mercy extend to all the works of his hand, yet his special mercy is confined to those who are divinely qualified, to those who love him and keep his commandments, to those who trust in him, that by hope hang upon him, and who fear him; and that you must be such a one here, or else you can
never be happy hereafter; you must partake of his special mercy, or else eternally
perish in everlasting misery.

Remedy (5). 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. Psalm 26:3-5: ‘For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth. I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked.’ So Joseph strengthens himself against sin from the remembrance of mercy: ‘How then can I,’ says he, ‘do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ (Gen. 39:9). He had his eye fixed upon mercy, and therefore sin could not enter, though the irons entered into his soul; his soul being taken with mercy, was not moved with his mistress’s impudence. Satan knocked often at the door—but the sight of mercy would not allow him to answer or open. Joseph, like a pearl in a puddle, keeps his virtue still. The mercy of God in Christ to our souls is the most precious stone or pearl in the world, to prevent us from being poisoned with sin.)
Likewise with Paul: ‘Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ (Rom. 6:1, 2). There is nothing in the world that renders a man more unlike to a saint, and more like to Satan—than to a
rgue from God’s mercy to sinful liberty; from divine goodness to licentiousness. This is the devil’s logic.So the same apostle: ‘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’ (Rom. 12:1). So John: ‘These things I write unto you, that you sin not (1 John 2:1, 2). What was it that he wrote? He wrote: ‘That we might have fellowship with the Father and his Son; and that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all
sin; and that if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins; and that if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ These choice favors and mercies the apostle holds forth as the choicest means to preserve the soul from sin, and to keep at the greatest distance from sin; and if this will not do it—you may write the man void of Christ and grace, and undone forever!

Precious Remedies (10)

 

DEVICE 4: By presenting to the soul the best men’s sins, and by hiding from the soul their virtues;  as by setting before the soul the adultery of David, the pride of Hezekiah, the drunkenness of Noah, the blasphemy of Peter, etc., and by hiding from the soul the tears, the sighs, the groans, the humblings, and repentings of these precious souls.

Remedy (1). 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. David falls fearfully—but by repentance he rises sweetly. ‘Blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, cleanse me from my sin; for I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow; deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, God of my salvation.’ It is true, Hezekiah’s heart was lifted up under the abundance of mercy that God had cast in upon him; and it is as true that Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon him, nor upon Jerusalem, in the days of Hezekiah. It is true, Job curses the day of his birth, and it is as true that he rises by repentance: ‘Behold, I am vile,’ says he; ‘what shall I answer you? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken—but I will not answer; yes twice—but I will proceed no further. I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear—but now my eye sees you; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes’ (Job 40:4, 5; 42:5, 6). Peter falls dreadfully—but rises by repentance sweetly; a look of love from Christ melts him into tears. He knew that repentance was the key to the kingdom of grace. As once his faith was so great that he leaped, as it were, into a sea of waters to come to Christ; so now his repentance was so great that he leaped, as it were, into a sea of tears, because he had denied Christ. Ah, souls, you can easily sin as the saints—but can you repent with the saints? Many can sin with David and Peter, that cannot repent with David and Peter—and so must perish forever!

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That these saints did not make a trade of sin. They fell once or twice, and rose by repentance, that they might keep the closer to Christ forever. They fell accidentally, occasionally, and with much reluctancy; and you sin presumptuously, obstinately, readily, delightfully, and customarily. The saints cannot sin with a whole will—but, as it were, with a half-will, an unwillingness; not with a full consent—but with a dissenting consent. You have, by your making a trade of sin, contracted upon your soul a kind of cursed necessity of sinning, that you can as well cease to be, or cease to live, as you can cease to sin. If you will make a trade of sin, and cry out—Did not David sin thus, and Noah sin thus, and Peter sin thus? No! their hearts turned aside to folly one day—but your heart turns aside to folly every day (2 Peter 2:14, Prov. 4:6); and when they were fallen, they rise by repentance, and by the actings of faith upon a crucified Christ. But you fall, and have no strength nor will to rise—but wallow in sin, and will eternally die in your sins, unless the Lord be the more merciful to your soul. Do you think, O soul, this is good reasoning? — Such a one tasted poison but once, and yet narrowly escaped; but I daily drink poison, yet I shall escape. Yet such is the mad reasoning of vain souls. David and Peter sinned once foully and fearfully; they tasted poison but once, and were sick to death; but I taste it daily, and yet shall not taste of eternal death. Remember, O souls! that the day is at hand when self-flatterers will be found self-deceivers, yes, self-murderers! Though sin dwells in the regenerate, yet it does not reign over the regenerate; they rise by repentance.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That though God does not, nor never will, disinherit his people for their sins, yet he has severely punished his people for their sins. David sins, and God breaks his bones for his sin: ‘Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which you have broken may rejoice’ (Psalm 51:8). ‘And because you have done this, the sword shall never depart from your house, to the day of your death’ (2 Sam. 12:10). Though God will not utterly take from them his loving-kindness, nor allow his faithfulness to fail, nor break his covenant, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth, yet will he ‘visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes’ (Psalm 89:30, 35). The Scripture abounds with instances of this kind. This is so known a truth among all that know anything of truth, that to cite more scriptures to prove it would be to light a candle to see the sun at noon. Josephus reports that, not long after the Jews had crucified Christ on the cross, so many of them were condemned to be crucified that there were not places enough for crosses nor crosses enough for the bodies that were to be hung thereon. God’s corrections are our instructions, his lashes our lessons, his scourges our schoolmasters, his chastisements our admonitions.  God disciplines people with sickness and pain, with ceaseless aching in their bones.’ When Satan shall tell you of other men’s sins to draw you to sin—then think of the same men’s sufferings to keep you from sin. Lay your hand upon your heart, and say, O my soul! if you sin with David, you must suffer with David!

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That there are but two main ends of God’s recording of the falls of his saints.

And the one is, to keep those from fainting, sinking, and despair, under the burden of their sins, who fall through weakness and infirmity.

And the other is, that their falls may be as landmarks to warn others to take heed lest they fall. It never entered into the heart of God to record his children’s sins, that others might be encouraged to sin—but that others might look to themselves, and hang the faster upon the skirts of Christ, and avoid all occasions and temptations that may occasion the soul to fall, as others have fallen, when they have been left by Christ. The Lord has made their sins as landmarks, to warn his people to take heed how they come near those sands and rocks, those snares and baits, that have been fatal to the choicest treasures, namely—the joy, peace, comfort, and glorious enjoyments of the bravest spirits and noblest souls that ever sailed through the ocean of this sinful troublesome world; as you may see in David, Job, and Peter.

Decathlon world record 9126points

 

Kevin Meyer of France recently set a new world best for the greatest all-round athletic challenge with 9126 points in the decathlon at Tallence, France. This came not long after total failure and disappointment at European Champs where he recorded three no jumps in Long Jump. Only shame is that second day was a Sunday, Lord’s Day when he should have been worshipping the God who enables his achievements!

Precious Remedies (9)

Thomas Brooks

DEVICE 3: BY EXTENUATING AND LESSENING OF SIN


Ah! says Satan, it is but a little pride, a little worldliness, a little uncleanness, a little drunkenness, etc. Alas! says Satan, it is but a very little sin that you stick so at. You may commit it without any danger to your soul. It is but a little one; you may commit it, and yet your soul shall live.


Remedy (1). First, Solemnly consider, that those sins which we are apt to account small, have brought upon men the greatest wrath of God, as the eating of an apple, gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath day, and touching of the ark. Oh! the dreadful wrath that these sins brought down upon the heads and hearts of men! The least sin is contrary to the law of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the glory of God; 


Remedy (2). Seriously to consider, That the giving way to a less sin makes way for the committing of a greater sin. We have no power in our own hands to keep off sin as we please; and we, by yielding to the lesser, do tempt the tempter to tempt us to the greater. (The camel’s nose in the tent leads to it’s whole body entering!-JK) Satan will first draw you to sit with the drunkard, and then to sip with the drunkard, and then at last to be drunk with the drunkard. He will first draw you to be unclean in your thoughts, and then to be unclean in your looks, and then to be unclean in your words, and at last to be unclean in your practices, remember Gehazi and Achan.Sin is never at a stand-still. The yielding to lesser sins, draws the soul to the committing of greater. 


Remedy (3). The third remedy against this third device that Satan is to consider that it is sad to sin against God for a trifle. Dives would not give a crumb, therefore he should not receive a drop (Luke 16:21). It is the greatest
folly in the world—to adventure the going to hell for a small matter. I
t
is the greatest unkindness that can be showed to God, Christ, and the Spirit, for a soul to put God upon complaining, Christ upon bleeding, and the Spirit upon grieving—by yielding to little sins. Therefore, when Satan says it is but a little one, you must answer—that oftentimes there is the greatest unkindness showed to God’s glorious majesty, in the acting of the least folly, and therefore you will not displease your best and greatest friend—by yielding to his greatest enemy.


Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider, that there is great danger, yes, many times most danger—in the smallest sins. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump. So there
is most danger often in the least sins. We are apt to take no notice of them, and to neglect those heavenly helps whereby they should be weakened and destroyed, until they are grown to that strength, that we are ready to cry out, the medicine is too weak for the disease! A little hole in the ship sinks it. A small breach in a dyke carries away all before it. A little stab mat the heart kills a man. A little sin, without a great deal of mercy, will damn a man!


Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan, is solemnly to consider, That other saints have chosen to suffer the worst of torments, rather than commit the least sin, that is, such as the world accounts little sins. So as you may see in Daniel and his companions, that would rather choose to burn, and be cast to the lions—than they would bow to the idol which Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When this ‘slight offense’, in the world’s account, and a hot fiery furnace stood in competition, that they must either fall into sin, or be cast into the fiery furnace—such was their tenderness of the honor
and glory of God, and their hatred and indignation against sin, that they would rather burn than sin! W
e must choose rather to suffer the worst of torments that men and devils can invent and inflict, than to commit the least sin whereby God should be dishonored, our consciences wounded, religion reproached, and our own souls endangered.


Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, that the soul is never able to stand under the guilt and weight of the least sin, when God shall set it home upon the soul. The least sin will press and sink the stoutest sinner as low as hell, when God shall open the eyes of a sinner, and make him see the horrid filthiness and abominable vileness that is in sin! What so little, base, and vile creatures—as lice or gnats—and yet by these little poor creatures, God so plagued stout-hearted Pharaoh, and all Egypt, that, fainting under it, they were forced to cry out, “This is the finger of God!” (Exod. 8:16; 10. 19). William Perkins mentions a good man—but very poor, who, being ready to starve, stole a lamb, and being about to eat it with his poor children, and as his manner was afore eating, to ask God’s blessing, dare not do it—but fell into a great perplexity of conscience, and acknowledged his fault to the owner, promising payment if ever he should be able.


Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device is, solemnly to consider, that there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction; and this appears as clear as the sun, by the severe dealing of God the Father with his beloved Son, who let all the vials of his fiercest wrath upon him, and that for the least sin as well as for the greatest.
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23); of ALL sin, whether great or small, Oh! how should this make us tremble—as much at the least spark of lust as at hell itself; considering that God the Father would not spare his bosom Son, no, not for the least sin—but would make him drink the dregs of his wrath!

Precious Remedies (8)

Thomas Brooks.

DEVICE 2: BY PAINTING SIN WITH VIRTUE’S COLORS.

Satan knows that if he would present sin in its own nature and dress, the soul would rather fly from it than yield to it; and therefore he presents it unto us, not in its own proper colours—but painted and gilded over with the name and show of virtue, that we may the more easily be overcome by it, and take the more pleasure in committing of it. PRIDE, he presents to the soul under the name and notion of neatness and cleanliness (or achievement-JK); and COVETOUSNESS (which the apostle condemns for idolatry) to be but (shrewd) good business; and DRUNKENNESS to be good fellowship (craic-JK), and RIOTOUSNESS under the name and notion of liberality, and WANTONNESS as a trick (normal part) of youth.

Remedy (1). Consider that sin is never a whit the less filthy, vile, and abominable—by its being coloured and painted with virtue’s colors. 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. So neither is sin any whit the less filthy and abominable by its being painted over with virtue’s colors.

Remedy (2). That the more sin is painted forth under the colour of virtue, the more dangerous it is to the souls of men. This we see evident in these days, by those very
many souls that are turned out of the way that is holy—and in which their souls have had sweet and glorious communion with God—into ways of highest vanity and folly, by Satan’s neat colouring over of sin. So are the sweetest names given to the greatest and the most horrible vices and errors that be in the world (equality, tolerance, non-discrimination, love-JK).

Remedy (3). To look on sin with a (view to judgment day) when sin shall be unmasked, and its dress and robes shall then be taken off, and then it shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than hell itself; then, that which formerly appeared most sweet will appear most bitter, and that which appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and that which appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul. Conscience will work at last, though for the present one may feel no fit of accusation.

The devil deals with men as the panther does with beasts; he hides his deformed head until his sweet scent has drawn them into his danger. Until we have sinned, Satan is a parasite; when we have sinned, he is a tyrant. O souls! the day is at hand when the devil will pull off the paint and garnish that he has put upon sin, and present that monster, sin, in such a monstrous shape to your souls, that will cause your thoughts to be troubled, your countenance to be changed, the joints of your loins to be loosed, and your knees to be dashed one against another, and your hearts to be so terrified, that you will be ready, with Ahithophel and Judas, to strangle and hang your bodies on earth, and your souls in hell, if the Lord has not more mercy on you than he had on them. Oh! therefore, look upon sin now as you must look upon it to all eternity, and as God, conscience, and Satan will present it to you another day!

Remedy (4). Seriously to consider, that (every sin disguised by Satan), cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus. That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he who was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he who filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the almighty God should flee from weak man—the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God who made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he who binds the devils in chains should be tempted; that he, whose is the world, and the fullness thereof, should hunger and thirst; that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God of life put to death; that he who is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46); that he who had the keys of hell and death at his belt should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having in his lifetime nowhere to lay his head, nor after death to lay his body; that that HEAD, before which the angels do cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns, and those EYES, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death; those EARS, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that FACE, which was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews; that MOUTH and TONGUE, which spoke as never man spoke, accused for blasphemy; those HANDS, which freely swayed the scepter of heaven, nailed to the cross; those FEET, “like unto fine brass,” nailed to the cross for man’s sins; each sense pained with a spear and nails; his SMELL, with stinking odor, being crucified on Golgotha, the place of skulls; his TASTE, with vinegar and gall; his HEARING, with reproaches, and SIGHT of his mother and disciples bemoaning him; his SOUL, comfortless and forsaken; and all this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colors upon! Oh! how should the consideration of this stir up the soul against sin, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!

After Julius Caesar was murdered, Antonius brought forth his coat, all bloody and cut, and laid it before the people, saying, “Look, here you have the emperor’s coat thus bloody and torn”—whereupon the people were presently in an uproar, and cried out to slay those murderers; and they took their tables and stools which were in the place, and set them on fire, and ran to the houses of those who had slain Caesar, and burnt them. So that when we consider that sin has slain our Lord Jesus, ah, how should it provoke our hearts to be revenged on sin—which has murdered the Lord of glory, and has done that mischief that all the devils in hell could never have done?

It was good counsel one gave, “Never let go out of your minds the thoughts of a crucified Christ.” Let these be food and drink unto you; let them be your sweetness and consolation, your honey and your desire, your reading and your meditation, your life, death, and resurrection.

The Sacrifices (14)

 

Sung Psalm 22:23-28 (note vow v25)

Reading I Samuel 1:1-20

This chapter centred on godly Hannah is perhaps the best example of the application of the OT feasts and sacrifices mentioned in the Pentateuch, especially the peace offering with a vow, freewill offering and thanksgiving.

I personally love the silent prayer that came from Hannah’s heart (v11), proof that God even hears that kind, spontaneously and silently uttered internally!

Remember that at the three prescribed feasts of Israel certain sacrifices were required for Israel corporately (Ex.23:15 ff., Deut.16:16,17) and others were individual and voluntary (Deut.12:5-12,17,18 cf. II Cor.9:6-8)

The family of Elkanah ate hence it was likely a peace offering (vv4,7,9)

Peace came to Hannah through prayer and the word of God (uttered by the high priest), on the basis of atonement (offering) and her believing.

She vowed she would give her son for a Nazarite for life (and no doubt had in mind a solution to Israel’s apostasy as ecclesiastical wickedness was rife). Elkanah approved her vow (Num.30:7). Later when bringing Samuel she offered burnt offerings and peace offerings (v24) proof of her husband’s wealth. Judgment fell on the high priest and his godless sons (v31).