Precious Remedies (25)

Brooks.

DEVICE 7: By casting in a multitude of vain thoughts (distractions I guess-JK), while the soul is in seeking of God, and by this device he cooled some men’s spirits in heavenly services, and taken off, at least for a time, many precious souls from religious performances.

“I have no heart to hear, nor no heart to pray, nor no delight in reading, nor in the society of the saints. Satan does so dog and follow my soul, and is still a-casting in such a multitude of vain thoughts concerning God, the world, and my own soul, that I even tremble to think of waiting upon God in any religious service. Oh! the vain thoughts that Satan casts in, do so distaste my soul, and so grieve, vex, perplex, and distract my soul, that they even make me weary of holy duties, yes, of my very life. ”

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To have your hearts strongly affected with the greatness, holiness, majesty, and glory of that God before whom you stand, and with whom your souls converse in religious services. Oh! let your souls be greatly affected with the presence, purity, and majesty of that God before whom you stand.There is nothing that will contribute so much to the keeping out of vain thoughts, as to look upon God as an omniscient God, an omnipresent God, an omnipotent God, a God full of all glorious perfections, a God whose majesty, purity, and glory will not allow him to behold the least iniquity. The reason why the blessed saints and glorious angels in heaven have not so much as one vain thought is, because they are greatly affected with the greatness, holiness, majesty, purity, and glory of God.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To be faithful in religious services, notwithstanding all those wandering thoughts the soul is troubled with. When all those trifling vain thoughts that he casts into the soul do but vex the soul into greater diligence, carefulness, watchfulness, and steadfastness in holy and heavenly services, and that the soul loses nothing of his zeal, piety, and devotion—but doubles his care, diligence, and earnestness, he often ceases to interpose his trifles and vain thoughts, as he ceased to tempt Christ, when Christ was steadfast in resisting his temptations.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider this, That those vain and trifling thoughts that are cast into our souls, when we are waiting upon God in this or that religious service, if they be not cherished and indulged—but abhorred, resisted, and disclaimed; they are not sins upon our souls, though they may be troubles to our minds; they shall not be put upon our accounts, nor keep mercies and blessings from being enjoyed by us. Oh, do justice upon these, free me from these, that I may serve you with more zeal. It is not Satan casting in of vain thoughts that can keep mercy from the soul, or undo the soul—but the lodging and cherishing of vain thoughts: ‘O Jerusalem, how long shall vain thoughts lodge within you?’ (Jer.4:14) Vain thoughts pass through the best hearts; they are lodged and cherished only in the worst hearts.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That resisting sinful thoughts, lamenting and weeping over sinful thoughts, carries with it the sweetest and strongest evidence of the truth and power of grace, and of the sincerity of your hearts, and is the readiest and the surest way to be rid of them (Psalm 139:23). Many low and carnal considerations may cause men to watch their words, their lives, their actions; as hope of gain, or to please friends, or to get a name in the world, and many other such like considerations. Oh! but to watch our thoughts, to weep and lament over them—this must needs be from some noble, spiritual, and internal principle—such as love to God, a holy fear of God, a holy care and delight to please the Lord. Thoughts are the first-born, the blossoms of the soul, the beginning of our strength—whether for good or evil; and they are the greatest evidences for or against a man, that can be.

A thorough work of grace is having your thoughts to be ‘brought into obedience,’ as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 10:4, 5 the subduing of those vain thoughts that walk up and down in the soul. (Psalm 139:23; Is. 59:7; 66:18; Matt. 9:4; 12:25.) Christ knew Herod’s bloody thoughts, and Judas’s betraying thoughts, and the Pharisees’ cruel and blasphemous thoughts afar off. (Matt. 15:15-18).

Oh! think thus: All these sinful thoughts, they defile and pollute the soul, they deface and spoil much of the inward beauty and glory of the soul. If I commit this or that sin, to which my thoughts incline me, then either I must repent or not repent; if I repent, it will cost me more grief, sorrow, shame, heart-breaking, and soul-bleeding, before my conscience will be quieted, divine justice pacified, my comfort and joy restored, my evidences cleared, and my pardon in the court of conscience sealed—than the imagined profit or seeming sensual pleasure can be worth. ‘What fruit had you in those things whereof you are now ashamed’ (Rom. 6:21). Inward bleeding kills many a man; so will sinful thoughts, if not repented of.

Remedy (5). Take it for an experienced truth, the more the soul is filled with the fullness of God and enriched with spiritual and heavenly things—the less room there is in that soul for vain thoughts. Oh, then, lay up much of God, of Christ, of precious promises, and choice experiences in your hearts—and then you will be less troubled with vain thoughts. ‘A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things’ (Matt. 12:35).

Remedy (6). Keep up holy and spiritual affections; for such as your affections are, such will be your thoughts. ‘Oh how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day’ (Psalm 119:97). What we love most, we most muse upon. ‘When I awake, I am still with you’ (Psalm 139:18). That which we much like—we shall much mind. Those who are frequent in their love to God and his law, will be frequent in thinking of God and his law—a child will not forget his mother.

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, To avoid multiplicity of worldly business. Oh, let not the world take up your hearts and thoughts. Souls which are torn in pieces with the cares of the world will be always vexed and tormented with vain thoughts in all their approaches to God. Vain thoughts will be still crowding in upon him that lives in a crowd of business. The stars which have least circuit are nearest the pole; and men that are least perplexed with business are commonly nearest to God.

2 Tim. 2:4, ‘No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.’ This is a comparison which Paul borrows from the custom of the Roman empire, wherein soldiers were forbidden to take up private businesses.

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Precious Remedies (24)

Brookes goes on listing Satan’s temptations to make Christians sin{

DEVICE 6: Satan presents the majority of the wicked world who follow their own lusts and make light the ways of the Lord.

Don’t you see that the great and the rich, the noble and the honourable, the learned and the wise, even the majority of men, care nothing for God’s ways, so why then should you be singular and odd? You had better do as the most do. (Micah 7:2-4.)

Remedy (1). God addresses this issue: ‘You shall not follow a multitude to do evil’ (Ex. 23:2). The multitude generally are ignorant. Num. 16:21, ‘Separate from them, and come out from among them.’ So the apostle: ‘Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness’ (Eph. 5:11). So Solomon: ‘Enter not into the way of the wicked; forsake the foolish, and live’ (Prov. 4:14 and 9:6). Those who walk with the many—shall perish with the many. Those who do as the most, shall before long suffer with the most. Those who live as the many, must die with the many, and go to hell with the many. The way to hell is broad and well beaten.  ‘The multitude’ is the weakest and worst argument. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Remedy (2). If you will sin with the multitude, you will suffer with the multitude. If you will be wicked with them, you must unavoidably be miserable with them. Say to your soul, O my soul! if you will sin with the multitude, you must be shut out of heaven with the multitude, you must be cast down to hell with the multitude: ‘And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues’ (Rev. 18:4). Come out in affection, in action, and in habitation, or else the infection of sin will bring upon you the infliction of punishment. So says the wise man, ‘He who walks with wise men shall be wise—but a companion of fools shall be destroyed,’ (Prov. 13:20). Even Moses and Aaron were punished after aggravation to sin.

Remedy (3). Solemnly consider  your eternal soul. The loss of your soul is incomparable, irreparable, and irrecoverable. If your soul is lost—all is lost, and you are undone forever. Is it madness and folly in a man to kill himself for company, and is it not greater madness or folly to break the neck of your soul, and to damn it for company? Be suspect of that way wherein you see multitudes to walk; the multitude being a stream that you must row hard against, or you will be carried into that gulf out of which angels cannot deliver you. Is it not better to walk in a straight way alone, than to wander into crooked ways with company? Surely, it is better to go to heaven alone—than to hell with company!

 

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Precious Remedies (23)

Brooks outlines Satan’s further lies that would turn us away from the glad service of our God:

DEVICE 5: By telling us how few and poor Christians are who walk in the ways of God—who continue in religious practices.

Says Satan, Do not you see that those who walk in such and such religious ways are the poorest, the lowest, and the most despicable people in the world?

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That though they are outwardly poor, yet they are inwardly rich. Though they are poor in temporals, yet they are rich in spirituals. The worth and riches of the saints is inward. ‘The King’s daughter is all glorious within’ (Psalm 45:13). ‘Hearken, my beloved brethren, has not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to them that love him?’ says James 2:5. ‘I know your poverty—but you are rich,’ says John to the church of Smyrna (Rev. 2:9). What though they have little in possession, yet they have a glorious kingdom in future promise. ‘Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s pleasure to give you a kingdom’ (Luke 12:32).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That in all ages God has had some who have been great, rich, wise, and honourable—who have chosen his ways, and cleaved to his service in the face of all difficulties. Though not many wise men, yet some wise men; and though not many mighty, yet some mighty have; and though not many noble, yet some noble have. Witness Abraham, and Jacob, and Job, and several kings, and others that the Scriptures speak of.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the spiritual riches of the poorest saints infinitely transcend the temporal riches of all the wicked men in the world; their spiritual riches satisfy them; they can sit down satisfied with the riches of grace that are in Christ, without earthly honours or riches. ‘He who drinks of that water that I shall give him, shall thirst no more’ (John 4:13). The spiritual riches of poor saints are as wine to cheer them, and as bread to strengthen them, and as clothes to warm them, and as armour to protect them. Now, we all know that the riches of this world cannot satisfy the souls of men—for they are as fading as a flower, or as the owners of them are.

Remedy (4). Consider, That though the saints, considered comparatively, are few; though they be ‘a little, little flock,’ ‘a remnant,’ a drop to the ocean—yet considered altogether, are an innumerable number that cannot be numbered. As John speaks: ‘After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands.’ (Rev. 7:9). So Matthew speaks: ‘And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 8:11). So Paul: ‘But you have come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect’ (Heb. 12:22).

Remedy (5). Consider, That it will be only a short time, before these poor despised saints shall shine brighter than the sun in his glory in the day that God comes to make up his jewels! It will not be long before these poor few saints shall be lifted up upon their thrones to judge the multitude, the world, as the apostle speaks: ‘Don’t you know, that the saints shall judge the world?’ (1 Cor. 6:2). And in that day, oh! how will the great and the rich, the learned and the noble, wish that they had lived and spent their days with these few poor contemptible creatures in the service of the Lord! Oh! how will this wicked world curse the day that ever they had such base thoughts of the poor despised saints, and that their poverty became a stumbling-block to keep them off from the ways of sanctity.

The poor, miserable, low, despised man of this world, yet is fixed in heaven, in the region of heaven: ‘Who has raised us up,’ says the apostle, ‘and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’ Oh! therefore, say to your own souls, when they begin to decline in the ways of Zion, because of the poverty and fewness of those who walk in them, The day is at hand when those few, poor, despised saints shall shine in glory, when they shall judge this world, and when all the wicked of this world will wish that they were in their condition, and would give ten thousand worlds, were it in their power, that they might but have the honour and happiness to wait upon those whom, for their poverty and fewness, they have neglected and despised in this world.

Remedy (6). Consider, That there will come a time, even in this life, in this world—when the reproach and contempt that is now cast upon the ways of God, by reason of the poverty and fewness of those who walk in those ways, shall be quite taken away, by his making them the head—who have days without number been the tail; and by his raising them up to much outward riches, prosperity, and glory—who have been as the outcast because of their poverty and fewness. John, speaking of the glory of the church, the new Jerusalem that came down from heaven (Rev. 21:24), tells us, ‘The nations of the earth will walk in its light, and the rulers of the world will come and bring their glory to it.’ The Lord has promised that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ (Matt. 5:5);

Precious Remedies (22)

Thomas Brooks

DEVICE 4: By persuading them to believe false implications from Christ’s work. 

As that Jesus Christ has done all for us, therefore there is nothing for us to do but to joy and rejoice. He has perfectly justified us, and fulfilled the law, and satisfied divine justice, and pacified his Father’s wrath, and has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us, and in the mean time to intercede for us; and therefore away with praying, and mourning, and hearing. Ah! what a world of professors has Satan drawn in these days from religious services, by working them to make such sad, wild, and strange inferences from the sweet and excellent things that the Lord Jesus has done for his beloved ones. His sacrifice implies thankful obedience, this heresy is antinomianism-JK

Remedy (1). Dwell as much on those scriptures that show you the duties and services that Christ requires of you, as upon those scriptures that declare to you the precious and glorious things that Christ has done for you.  ‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 15:58). ‘And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not’ (Gal 6:9). And that of the apostle ‘Rejoice always’ (1 Thess. 5:16), and ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess. 5:17). And that in the Philippians: ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’ (2:12); ‘Let us consider one another, to provoke one another to love, and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is— but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching’ (Heb. 10:24, 25).

Remedy (2). Consider that what Jesus Christ has done, and is doing for us, should be the greatest motives and encouragements to the performance of thankful service as Scripture teaches: ‘That we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life’ (1 Peter 2:9, Luke 1:74, 75). Christ has freed you from all your enemies, from the curse of the law, the predominant damnable power of sin, the wrath of God, the sting of death, and the torments of hell. But what is the end and design of Christ in doing these great and marvellous things for his people? It is that hearts may be the more free and sweet in all holy duties and heavenly services. This I am sure of, that all man’s happiness here is his holiness, and his holiness shall hereafter be his happiness. ‘Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.’ (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1). And again: ‘The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works’ (Titus 2:12-14).

Remedy (3). Consider the saints who preceeded us. David, ‘Seven times a day will I praise the Lord’ (Psalm 119:164). Who more in the studying and meditating on the word than David? ‘Your law is my meditation all the day’ (Psalm 119:97). The same truth you may run and read in Jacob, Moses, Job, Daniel, and in the rest of the holy prophets and apostles, whom Christ has done as much for as for you. Ah, how have all those worthies abounded in works of righteousness and holiness, to the praise of free grace!

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider this, godly living assures us and is evidence of our righteousness before God, of  communion with God, of our blessedness here, and our happiness hereafter. A tree that is not fruitful is fit only for the fire. ‘Little children,’ says the apostle, ‘let no man deceive you: he who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous’ (1 John 3:7). ‘In this,’ says the same apostle, ‘the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he who loves not his brother’ (ver. 10). ‘If you know that he is righteous,’ says the same apostle, ‘you know that everyone who practices righteousness, is born of him.’ “This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ without keeping His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: the one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.” ‘If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin,’ says the same apostle (1 John 2:3-6, and 1:6, 7). So (James 2:14, 20): ‘What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and have no works; can faith save him?’ that is, it cannot. ‘For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’

Remedy (5). Consider, that the saint’s performance of religious duties is to testify their justification. ‘A good tree cannot but bring forth good fruits’ (Matt. 7:17), to testify their love to God, and their sincere obedience to the commands of God; to testify their deliverance from spiritual bondage, to evidence the indwelling of the Spirit, to stop the mouths of the worst of men.

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Precious Remedies (21)

DEVICE 3: By presenting to the soul the difficulty of performing our Christian duties.

Says Satan, it is so hard and difficult a thing to pray as you should, and to wait on God as you should, and to walk with God as you should, and to be lively, warm, and active in the communion of saints as you should, that you were better ten thousand times to neglect them, than to meddle with them. Doubtless by this device Satan has and does keep off thousands from waiting on God and from giving to him that service that is due to his name.

Remedy (1). Dwell more upon the necessity of the service and duty, than on the difficulty that attends the duty. Though service be hard and difficult, yet are they exceeding necessary for the honour of God, and the keeping up his name in the world, and the keeping under of sin, and the strengthening of weak graces, for the keeping clear and bright your blessed evidences (of salvation), and for the scattering of your fears, and for the raising of your hopes, and for the gladdening the hearts of the righteous, and stopping the mouths of the ungodly, who are ready to take all advantages to blaspheme the name of God, and throw dirt and contempt upon his people and way. Never leave thinking on the necessity of this and that duty, until your souls be lifted up far above all the difficulties which attend religious duties. You are his servants by a threefold right; you are his servants by right of creation, and by right of providence, and by right of redemption.

Remedy (2). Consider, that the Lord Jesus will make his services easy to you, by the sweet revelation of himself to your souls, while you are in his service. ‘You meet him who rejoices and works righteousness,’ as the prophet Isaiah says (Is. 64:5), also John 14:21. If meeting with God, who is goodness itself, beauty itself, strength itself, glory itself—will not sweeten his service to your soul, nothing in heaven or earth will. Remember this, that God will suit your strength to your work, and in the hardest service you shall have the choicest assistance.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the hard and difficult things that the Lord Jesus has passed through for your temporal, spiritual, and eternal good. Christ did not plead,’This cross is too heavy for me to bear; this wrath is too great for me to lie under; this cup of suffering is too bitter for me to sip,, He resolutely and bravely suffers as the prophet Isaiah shows: ‘I gave My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tore out My beard. I did not hide My face from scorn and spitting.’ (Chap. 50:6).

Christ bears his Father’s wrath, the burden of your sins, the malice of Satan, and the rage of the world—and sweetly and triumphantly passes through all.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is to consider, that religious duties, holy and heavenly exercises, are only difficult to the worse, to the ignoble, part of a saint. They are not to the noble and better part of a saint—the soul, and the renewed affections of a saint. Holy exercises are a heavenly pleasure and recreation, as the apostle speaks: ‘I delight in the law of God, after the inward man’ (Rom. 7:22). To the noble part of a saint, Christ’s ‘yoke is easy, and his burden is light (Matt. 11:30). The Greek signifies that Christ’s yoke is a kind, a gracious, a pleasant, a good, and a gainful yoke—as opposed to that which is painful and tedious.

All the commands and ways of Christ (even those who tend to the pulling out of right eyes and cutting off of right hands) are joyous, and not grievous, to the noble part of a saint.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, that great reward and glorious recompense that attends those who cleave to the service of the Lord in the face of all difficulties and discouragements. Though the work is hard—yet the wages are great. Heaven will make amends for all! Yes, one hour’s being in heaven will abundantly recompense you for cleaving to the Lord and his ways in the face of all difficulties. This carried the apostle through the greatest difficulties. He had an eye ‘to the recompense of reward.’ Yes, this bore up the spirit of Christ in the face of all difficulties and discouragements: ‘Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Heb. 12:2). Some degree of comfort follows every good action, as heat accompanies fire, as beams and warmth issue from the sun: ‘Moreover, by them is your servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward,’ Psalm 19:2.The joy, the rest, the refreshing, the comforts, the contents, the smiles—which saints now enjoy in the ways of God, are so precious and glorious in their eyes, that they would not exchange them for ten thousand worlds!

Precious Remedies (20)

 

Brooks

Brooks continues his remedies against Satan’s devices…

DEVICE 2: The second device that Satan has to draw the soul from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is, by presenting to them the danger, the losses, and the sufferings which attend the performance of such and such religious services.
By this device Satan kept those who believed on Christ from confessing of Christ: in John 12:42, ‘Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.’ 


Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is to consider, that all the troubles and afflictions that you meet with in a way of righteousness shall never hurt you, they shall never harm you. ‘And who is he who shall harm you, if you be followers of that which is good?’ says the apostle, that is, none shall harm you (1 Pet. 3:13).

All afflictions and troubles which attend men in a way of righteousness can never rob them of their treasure, of their jewels. The greater the combat is, the greater is the following reward.The treasures of a saint are the presence of God, the favor of God, union and communion with God, the pardon of sin, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of conscience. These are jewels which none can give but Christ, and will be his happiness and glory hereafter? Why, a believer’s treasure is always safe in the hands of Christ; his life is safe, his soul is safe, his grace is safe, his comfort is safe, and his crown is safe in the hand of Christ. ‘I know him in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him until that day,’ says the apostle (2 Tim. 1:12). Also Romans 8:38-39-JK


Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is to consider, that other precious saints who were shining lights on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, have held on in religious services, notwithstanding all the troubles and dangers that have surrounded them. Daniel, and those precious worthies, under the lack of outward encouragements, and in the face of a world of very great discouragements, their souls cleaved to God and his ways.  Though bonds and imprisonments did attend Paul and the rest of the apostles in every place, yet they held on in the work and service of the Lord; and why, then, should you degenerate from their worthy examples, which is your duty and your glory to follow? (2 Cor. 6:5, Heb.11:36).

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, that all the troubles and dangers which attend the performance of all holy duties and heavenly services are but temporal and momentary—but the neglect of them may lay you open to all temporal, spiritual, and eternal dangers. ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Heb. 2:3). He says not, if we reject or renounce so great salvation. No! but if we neglect, or shift off so great salvation, how shall we escape that is escape divine justice. The doing of them may render you contemptible in the eyes of men—but the neglect of them may render you contemptible in the eyes of God; 


Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, that God knows how to deliver from troubles by lesser troubles. Surely, had not
these befallen us, it would have been worse and worse with us. Oh the carnal security, pride, formality, dead-heartedness, lukewarmness, censoriousness, and earthliness, which God has cured us of, by the trouble and dangers that we have met with in the ways and services of the Lord!I remember a story of a godly man, that, as he was going to take a ship for France, he broke his leg; and it pleased Providence so to order it, that the ship that he would have gone in, was sunk at sea, and not a man saved; so by breaking a bone, his life was saved. So the Lord many times breaks our bones—but it is in order to the saving of our lives and our souls forever. 


Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, that you shall gain more in the service of God, and by walking in righteous and holy ways, though troubles and afflictions should attend you—than you can possibly suffer, or lose, by your being found in the service of God. ‘Godliness is great gain’ (1 Tim. 6:6). Oh, the joy, the peace, the comfort, the rest—which saints meet with in the ways and service of God! They find that religious services are not empty things—but things in which God is pleased to discover his beauty and glory to their souls. ‘My soul thirsts for God,’ says David, ‘that I might see your beauty and your glory, as I have seen you in your
sanctuary’ (Psalm 63:2). Spiritual blessing will outweigh all the finery and glory of this world, and richly recompense the soul for all the troubles, afflictions, and dangers that have attended it in the service of God. Tertullian, in his book to the martyrs, had an apt saying. ‘That is right and good merchandise, when something is parted with to gain more.’ He applies it to their sufferings, wherein, though the flesh lost something, yet their soul got much more. Ah, did the men of this world know the sweet that saints enjoy in afflictions, they would rather choose Manasseh’s iron chain—than his golden crown! They would rather be Paul a prisoner, than Paul enrapt up in the third heaven. For ‘light afflictions,’ they shall have ‘a weight of glory!’ For a few afflictions, they shall have these joys, pleasures, and contentments, that are as numerous as the stars of heaven, or as the sands of the sea! For momentary afflictions, they shall have an eternal crown of glory. 

Exultant Praise

Yes he alone is worthy and his glory he will give to no other.

Young Calvinists

God chose us before He formed the creation. He separated us out from all those whom He would create and proclaimed that He would be our God and we would be His people. He loves us now even though we daily reject the guidelines He has given us and turn instead to our old chains. What a great God we serve! Why would God choose to love us, miserable people that we are? Our great God chose to love us so that we would see His wonders and praise Him for His glorious grace.[1] We will then praise Him who He is and what He has done for us.

What a glorious God He is! God is the King of Creation. He is sovereign over all things, and has predetermined all of history to serve His own divine will. Not only is He the original being, the Creator of…

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Precious Remedies (19)

Thomas Brooks

SATAN’S DEVICES TO KEEP SOULS FROM HOLY DUTIES, TO HINDER SOULS IN HOLY SERVICES, TO KEEP THEM OFF FROM RELIGIOUS PERFORMANCES

[8 devices and their remedies]

‘And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him‘ (Zech. 3:1).

DEVICE 1: By presenting the WORLD in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win the affection of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and finery, which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men. (It is true, this deceived not Christ, because Satan could find no matter in him for his temptation to work upon.) So that he can no sooner throw out his golden ball—but men are apt to run after it, though they lose God and their souls in the pursuit!

Ah! how many professors in these days have for a time followed hard after God, Christ, and ordinances; until the devil has set before them the world in all its beauty and finery, which has so bewitched their souls that they have grown to have low thoughts of holy things, and then to be cold in their affections to holy things, and then to slight them. The honours, splendour, and all the glory of this world, are but sweet poisons, which will much endanger us, if they do not eternally destroy us.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, to dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below. They are not able to secure you from the least evil, they are not able to procure you the least desirable good. The crown of gold cannot cure the headache, nor the velvet slipper ease the gout, nor the jewel about the neck take away the pain of the teeth. All the honours and riches that men enjoy, cannot free them from the colic, the fever, or lesser diseases.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, to dwell upon the vanity of them .This is the sum of Solomon’s sermon, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!’ This our first parents found, and therefore named their second son Abel, or ‘vanity.’ Solomon, who had tried all these things, and could best tell the vanity of them—preaches this sermon over again and again. ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!’ Dwell upon the vanity of all things here below, until your hearts be so thoroughly convinced and persuaded of the vanity of them, as to trample upon them, and make them a footstool for Christ to get up, and ride in a holy triumph in your hearts!

Tell me, you that say all things under the sun are vanity, if you do really believe what you say, why do you spend more thoughts and time on the world, than you do on Christ, heaven and your immortal souls? Why do you then neglect your duty towards God, to get the world? Why do you then so eagerly pursue after the world, and are so cold in your pursuing after God, Christ and holiness?

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, to dwell much upon the uncertainty, the mutability, and inconstancy of all things under the sun.  All temporals are as transitory as a shadow,  an arrow, a runner who passes by.  This intimates, that there is nothing of any firmness, or solid consistency, in the creature. Heaven alone, has a foundation—earth has none, ‘but is hung upon nothing,’ as Job speaks (26:7). The apostle commanded Timothy to ‘charge rich men that they be not high-minded, nor put their trust in uncertain riches’ (1 Tim. 6:17).

As a bird hops from tree to tree, so do the honours and riches of this world from man to man. The riches and glory of this world are but as smoke and chaff that vanishes;  Those that have been the most glorious, in what men generally account glorious and excellent, have had inglorious ends; The four mighty kingdoms, the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman: how soon were they gone and forgotten! The pomp of this world John compares to the moon, which increases and decreases (Rev. 12:1).

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, that the great things of this world are very hurtful and dangerous to the outward and inward man, through the corruptions that are in the hearts of men. Oh, the rest, the peace, the comfort, the contentment—that the things of this world strip many men of! Oh, the fears, the cares, the envy, the malice, the dangers, the mischiefs, that they subject men to! ‘I said in my prosperity I should never be moved’ (Psalm 30:6). When Jeshurun ‘waxed fat, and was grown thick, and covered with fatness, then he forgot God, and forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation,’ as Moses spoke (Deut. 32:15).

It is very sad to think, how their hearts and time are so much taken up with earthly things, that they have scarcely any leisure to look up to heaven, or to look after Christ, and the things that belong to their everlasting peace!

Sicily is so full of sweet flowers that dogs cannot hunt there. And what do all the sweet contents of this world—but make us lose the scent of heaven!

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, that all the felicity of this world is MIXED. Our light is mixed with darkness, our joy with sorrow, our pleasures with pain, our honour with dishonour, our riches with wants. If our minds are spiritual, clear and quick, we may see in the felicity of this world—our wine mixed with water, our honey with gall, our sugar with wormwood, and our roses with prickles. Surely all the things of this world are but bitter sweets. Sorrow attends worldly joy, danger attends worldly safety, loss attends worldly labours, tears attend worldly purposes. As to these things, men’s hopes are vain, their sorrow certain, and joy feigned.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, to get better acquaintance and better assurance of more blessed and glorious things. That which raised up their spirits (Heb. 10 and 11) to trample upon all the beauty, finery and glory of the world, was the acquaintance with, ‘and assurance of better and more durable things.’ You joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.’ ‘They looked for a house which had foundations, whose builder and maker was God.’ ‘And they looked for another country, even a heavenly one.’ ‘They saw him who was invisible, and had an eye to the recompense of reward.’ And this made them count all the glory and finery of this world, to be too poor and contemptible for them to set their hearts upon! (Heb. 10:34; 11:10, 16 26).

It is recorded of Lazarus, that after his resurrection from the dead, he was never seen to laugh, his thoughts and affections were so fixed in heaven, though his body was on earth, and therefore he could not but slight temporal things, his heart being so bent and set upon eternals. Ah that you would make it your business, your work, to mind more, and make sure more to your own souls—the great things of eternity—that will yield you joy in life and peace in death, and a crown of righteousness in the day of Christ’s appearing, and that will lift up your souls above all the beauty and finery of this bewitching world.

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, that true happiness and satisfaction is not to be had in the enjoyment of worldly good. True happiness is too big and too glorious a thing to be found in anything below that glorious God—who is a Christian’s summum bonum—his chief good. True happiness lies only in our enjoyment of a suitable good, a pure good, a total good and an eternal good! God alone is such a good—and such a good can only satisfy the soul of man. Certainly if happiness was to be found in these earthly things, the Lord Jesus, who is the right and royal heir of all things, would have exchanged his cradle for a crown; his birth chamber, a stable, for a royal palace; his poverty for plenty; his despised followers for shining courtiers; and his poor provisions for the choicest delicacies. Certainly happiness lies not in those things which a man may enjoy—and yet be miserable forever. Happiness lies not in those things which cannot comfort a man upon a dying bed. Is it honours, riches or friends—which can comfort you when you come to die? Or is it not rather faith in the blood of Christ, the witness of the Spirit of Christ, the sense and feeling of the love and favour of Christ, and the hopes of eternally reigning with Christ? Can happiness lie in those things which cannot give us health, or strength, or ease, or a good night’s rest, or an hour’s sleep, or a good stomach?

Remedy (8). The eighth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider the dignity of the soul. Oh, the soul of man is more worth than a thousand worlds! It is the greatest abasing of it that can be—to let it dote upon a little shining earth, upon a little painted beauty and fading glory—when it is capable of union with Christ, of communion with God, and of enjoying the eternal vision of God.

I have been the longer upon the remedies that may help us against this dangerous device of Satan, because he does usually more hurt to the souls of men by this device than he does by all other devices. For a close, I wish, as once Chrysostom did, that that sentence (Eccles. 2:11), ‘Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do, and behold all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun,’ We should prefer Christ’s spirituals and eternals above all temporal transitory things.

‘What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul. Mark 8:36 ‘A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth’ Luke 12:15.

Precious Remedies (18)

Brooks comes to the last of Satan’s devices to tempt:
DEVICE 12: TO CHOOSE WICKED COMPANY, TO KEEP WICKED SOCIETY

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell, until your hearts are affected, upon those commands of God which expressly require us to shun the society of the wicked (Eph. 5:11): ‘And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness—but rather reprove them’; (Prov. 5:14-16): ‘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.’ 1 Cor. 5:9-11, 2 Thess. 3:6, Prov. 1:10-15. Turn to these Scriptures, and let your souls dwell upon them, until a holy indignation be raised in your souls against fellowship with vain men.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That their company is very infectious and dangerous, as is clear from the scripture above mentioned. Ah, how many have lost their names, and lost their estates, and strength, and God, and heaven, and souls—by society with wicked men! As you shun a stinking carcass; as the seaman shuns sands and rocks, and shoals; as you shun those who have the plague-sores running upon them, so should you shun the society of wicked men. As weeds endanger the corn, as bad infections endanger the body, or as an infected house the neighbourhood—so does wicked company the soul. (Prov. 13:20).

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, To look always upon wicked men, under those names and notions which the Scripture describes them. The Scripture calls them lions for their fierceness, and bears for their cruelty, and dragons for their hideousness, and dogs for their filthiness, and wolves for their subtleness. The Scripture styles them scorpions, vipers, thorns, briars, thistles, brambles, stubble, dirt, chaff, dust, dross, smoke, scum. (2 Tim. 4:17, Is. 11:7, Ezek. 3:10, Matt. 7:6, Rev. 22:15, Luke 13:32, Is. 10:17, Ezek. 2:6, Judges 9:14, Job 21:18, Psalm 1, 83:13, Psalm 18:42, Ezek. 22:18, 19, Is. 65:5, Ezek. 24:6.)

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is, solemnly to consider, That the society and company of wicked men have been a great grief and burden to those precious souls that were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven (Psalm 120:5, 6): ‘Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul has long dwelt with him that hates peace.’ So Jeremiah: ‘Oh, that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men’ (Jer. 9:2). So they vexed Lot’s righteous soul by their filthy conversation’ (2 Pet. 2:7); they made his life a burden, they made death more desirable to him than life, yes, they made his life a lingering death. Guilt or grief is all that godly gracious souls get by conversing with wicked men.

‘O Lord, let me not go to hell, where the wicked are: for Lord, you know I never loved their company here’—said a gracious gentlewoman, when she was to die.