Foreboding

Meaning: a feeling that something bad will happen; fearful apprehension.

The Lord Jesus Christ is good and doeth good especially to his own all the time, so away with foreboding and fear to which we are so liable. Eternal life, blessing, abundant grace, daily wisdom and light are ours. What is it you fear? A serious accident, illness, persecution, loss of friends or family, dying? All things are yours…

Q. 1. Heidelberg Catechism-What is thy only comfort in life and death?
A. That I with body and soul,1 both in life and death, am not my own,2 but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;3 who, with His precious blood,4 hath fully satisfied for all my sins,5 and delivered me from all the power of the devil;6 and so preserves me7 that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;8 yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,9 and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,10 and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.11

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Psalm 31:19

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23:6

 

For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance. Psalm 21:6

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Precious Remedies (50)

Last blogpost on Brooks treatise Precious Remedies against Satan’s devices.

The conclusion: FIVE REASONS WHY WE ARE TEMPTED.

Reason (1). That our hearts may be kept in a humble, praying, watching frame.

Oh! has Satan so many devices to ensnare and undo the souls of men? How should this awaken dull, drowsy souls, and make them stand upon their watch! A Christian should be like the seraphim, beset all over with eyes and lights, that he may avoid Satan’s snares, and stand fast in the hour of temptation.

The Lord has in the Scripture discovered the several snares, plots, and devices that the devil has to undo the souls of men, that so, being forewarned, they may be forearmed; that they may be always upon their watch-tower, and hold their weapons in their hands, as the Jews did in Nehemiah’s time.

2). To expose the malice, envy, and enmity that is in Satan against the souls of men.

Satan is full of envy and enmity, and that makes him very studious to suit his snares and plots to the tempers, constitutions, fancies, and callings of men, that so he may make them as miserable as himself.

Reason (3). The third reason is drawn from that long experience that Satan has had.

He is a spirit of mighty abilities; and his abilities to lay snares before us are mightily increased by that long standing of his. He is a spirit of over five thousand years’ standing. He has had time enough to study all those ways and methods which tend most to ensnare and undo the souls of men. And as he has time enough, so he has made it his whole study, his only study, his constant study, to find out snares, traps, and stratagems, to entangle and overthrow the souls of men. When he was but a young serpent, he did easily deceive and outwit our first parents. But now he is grown into that ‘old serpent,’ as John speaks (Rev. 12:9). He is as old as the world, and is grown very cunning by experience.

Reason (4). God judges the men of the world, that they may stumble and fall, and be ensnared forever.

Wicked men who withstand the offers of mercy, and despise the Spirit of grace; who will not open, though God knocks ever so hard by his Word and rod, by his Spirit and conscience—are given up by a hand of justice, to be hardened, deceived, and ensnared by Satan, to their everlasting ruin (1 Kings 22:23). And what can be more just than that they should be taken and charmed with Satan’s wiles, who have frequently refused to be charmed by the Spirit of grace, though he has charmed ever so wisely, and ever so sweetly?

Reason (5). To show the excellency and power of God’s grace illustrated and manifested, by making his people able to grapple with this mighty adversary, and that notwithstanding all the plots, devices, and stratagems of Satan, yet he will make them victorious here, and crown them with glory hereafter. I Cor.10:13,Romans 16;20, James 4:7. PTL!

The greater and the subtler the enemies of the children of Israel were—the more did divine power, wisdom, and goodness, sparkle and shine; and that, notwithstanding all their power, plots, and stratagems, yet to Canaan God would bring them at last. When Paul had weighed this, he sits down and glories in his infirmities and distresses and Satan’s buffetings—that the power of Christ might rest upon him (2 Cor. 12:7-9).

Thanks to Thomas Brooks who being dead yet speaketh. Great work.

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Proposition 5.

Satan known by his names: sometimes called Behemoth, whereby the greatness and brutishness of the devil is figured (Job 40:15). Called the accuser of the brethren for their slanders; and evil ones, for their malice. Satan is an
adversary, that troubles and molests (1 Pet. 5:8). Abaddon is a destroyer (Rev. 9:11). He and his evil spirits are tempters, for their suggestions; lions, for their devouring; dragons, for their cruelty; and serpents, for their subtlety. As his names are, so is he; as face answers to face, so do Satan’s names answer to his nature. He has the worst names and the worst nature of all created creatures.


Proposition 6: God will shortly tread down Satan under the saints’ feet.Christ, our champion, has already won the field, and will shortly set our feet upon the necks of our spiritual enemies. Satan is a foiled adversary. Christ has led him captive, and triumphed over him upon the cross. Christ has already overcome him, and put weapons into your hands, that you may overcome him also, and set your feet upon his
neck. Though Satan be a roaring lion, yet Christ, who is the lion of the tribe of Judah, will make Satan fly and fall before you. Let Satan do his worst, yet you shall have the honour and the happiness to triumph over him. Cheer up, you precious sons of Zion, for the certainty and sweetness of victory will abundantly recompense you for all the pains you have taken in making resistance against Satan’s temptations. The broken horns of Satan shall be trumpets of our triumph and the coronets of our joy. “The God of
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16:20. The Greek word signifies to break or crash a thing to pieces. Being applied to the feet—it means that crushing which is by stamping upon a thing.

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Brooks now hits on the key to defeating Satan and living in victory:

Proposition (4). That no weapons but spiritual weapons can be used effectively against the devil.

This the apostle shows: ‘Therefore take unto you,’ says he, ‘the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand’ (Eph. 6:13). So the same apostle tells you, ‘That the weapons of your warfare are not carnal—but mighty through God, to the casting down of strongholds (in the mind!-JK)’ (2 Cor. 10:4). David’s faith in the name of the Lord Almighty defeated Goliath. ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a shield—but I have come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’ (1 Sam. 17:45).

The only way to stand, conquer, and triumph, is still to plead, ‘It is written,’ as Christ did (Matt. 4:10). There is no sword but the two-edged sword of the Spirit, that will be found to be metal of proof when a soul comes to engage against Satan; therefore, when you are tempted to impurity, plead, ‘It is written, be holy, as I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16); and, ‘Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord’ (2 Cor. 7:1). If he tempts you to distrust God’s providence and fatherly care of you, plead, It is written, ‘Those who fear the Lord shall lack no good thing.’ (Psalm 34:9).

It is written, ‘The Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from those who live purely’ (Psalm 84:11).

If he tempts you to fear that you shall faint, and fall, and never be able to run to the end of the race that is set before you, plead, It is written, ‘The righteous shall hold on his way, and he who has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger’ (Job. 17:9).

It is written, ‘I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good—but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me’ (Jer. 32:40).

It is written, ‘Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint’ (Is. 40:31).

If Satan tempts you to think that because your sun for the present is set in a cloud, that therefore it will rise no more, and that the face of God will shine upon you no more; that your best days are now at an end, and that you must spend all your time in sorrow and sighing; plead, It is written, ‘He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, and cast all our sins into the depth of the sea’ (Micah 7:19).

It is written, ‘For a small moment have I forsaken you—but with great mercies will I gather you. In a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment—but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ (Is. 54:8, 10).

It is written, ‘The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed—but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you.’

It is written, ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet will not I forget you. Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands, your walls are continually before me’ (Is. 49:15, 16).

If ever you would be too hard for Satan, and after all his assaults, have your bow abide in strength, then take to yourself the Word of God, which is ‘the two-edged sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith, whereby you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil’ (Eph. 6:17). Satan will certainly fly from you (James 4:7).

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Proposition (2). That Satan has a great hand and stroke in most (?all-JK) sins.

It was Satan who tempted our first parents to rebellion. It was Satan who provoked David to number the people. It was Satan who put Peter upon rebuking Christ; therefore says Christ, ‘Get behind me, Satan’. It was Satan who put Cain upon murdering of righteous Abel, therefore it is that he is called ‘a murderer from the beginning’. It was Satan who put treason into the heart of Judas against Christ, ‘And supper being ended, the devil having put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him’. It was Satan who put Ananias upon lying; Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?’ (Gen. 3:1-5; 1 Chron. 21:1; Matt. 16:22, 23; John 8:44, 13:2; Acts 5:3)

As the hand of Joab was in the tale of the woman of Tekoah, so Satan’s hand is usually in all the sins that men commit. Such is Satan’s malice against God, and his envy against man, that he will have a hand one way or other in all the sins, though he knows that all the sins he provokes others to shall be charged upon him to his greater woe, and eternal torment.

Proposition (3). That Satan must have a double permission before he can do anything against us.

He must have permission from God, and permission from ourselves, before he can do anything against our happiness. He must have his permission from God, as you may see in the example of Job (Job 1:11, 12; 2:3-5). Though the devil had malice enough to destroy him, yet he had not so much as power to touch him, until God gave him permission.

They could not so much as enter into the swine without permission from Christ (Luke 8:32). Satan would gladly have combated with Peter—but this he could not do without leave. ‘Satan has desired to have you, to winnow you’ (Luke 22:31). So Satan could never have overthrown Ahab and Saul—but by permission from God (1 Kings 22). Ah! what a cordial, what a comfort should this be to the saints—that their greatest, subtlest, and most vigilant enemy cannot hurt nor harm them, without permission from him who is their sweetest Saviour, their dearest husband, and their choicest friend.

And as Satan must have permission from God, so he must have permission from us. When he tempts, we must assent; when he makes offers, we must hearken; when he commands, we must obey, or else all his labour and temptations will be frustrated, and the evil that he tempts us to shall be put down only to his account. That is a remarkable passage in Acts 5:3, ‘Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?’ He does not expostulate the matter with Satan; he does not say, Satan, ‘Why have you filled Ananias’s heart to make him lie to the Holy Spirit?’ but he expostulates the case with Ananias; Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?’ Why have you given him an advantage to fill your heart with infidelity, hypocrisy, and obstinate audacity, to lie to the Holy Spirit? As if he had said, Satan could never have done this in you, which will now forever undo you, unless you had given him permission.

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Brooks now comes near to his conclusion:

SIX CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING SATAN AND HIS DEVICES

Proposition (1). That though Satan has his devices to draw souls to sin, yet we must be careful that we do not lay all our temptations upon Satan neglecting the lust of our own base hearts.

‘And the Lord said unto the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat’ (Gen. 3:13). Sin and shifting of blame came into the world together. This is no small baseness of our hearts, that they will blame that naughtiness upon Satan. Man has an evil root within him; that were there no devil to tempt him, nor no wicked men in the world to entice him, yet that root of bitterness, that cursed sinful nature which is in him, would draw him to sin, though he knows beforehand that ‘the wages of sin is eternal death’ (Rom. 6:23). ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ (Matt. 15:19). The understanding of man is dark, the will wicked, the memory slippery, the affections crooked, the conscience corrupted, the tongue poisoned, and the heart wholly evil, only evil, and continually evil. Should God chain up Satan, and give him no liberty to tempt or entice people to vanity or folly, yet they could not but sin against him, by reason of that cursed nature that is in them, that will still be a-provoking them to those sins that will provoke and stir up the anger of God against them (Jude 15, 16).

Satan may tempt us—but without ourselves he cannot conquer us; he may entice us—but without ourselves he cannot hurt us. Our hearts carry the greatest guilt in every sin. Satan can never undo a man without himself; but a man may easily undo himself without Satan. Satan can only present the golden cup—but he has no power to force us to drink the poison that is in the cup; he can only present to us the glory of the world, he cannot force us to fall down and worship him, to enjoy the world; he can only spread his snares, he has no power to force us to walk in the midst of his snares. Therefore do the devil so much right, as not to excuse yourselves, by your accusing him, and laying the load upon him, that you should lay upon your own hearts.

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Brooks now turns to the characteristics of false teachers who are the source of much evil, temptation, backsliding and the damnation of themselves and sinners who listen to them.

 SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE TEACHERS

Satan labours powerfully by false teachers, which are his emissaries, to deceive, delude, and forever undo the precious souls of men (Jer. 23:13) ‘I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.’ Micah 3:5: ‘The prophets make my people to err.’ They seduce them, and carry them out of the right way into by-paths and blind thickets of error, blasphemy, and wickedness, where they are lost forever. ‘Beware of false prophets, for they come to you in sheep’s clothing—but inwardly they are ravening wolves’ (Matt. 7:15). These lick and suck the blood of souls (Phil. 3:2), ‘Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers.’ These kiss and kill; these cry, Peace, peace, until souls fall into everlasting flames! (Prov. 7). (Acts. 20:28-30; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 3:4-6; Titus 1:11, 22; 2 Peter 2:18,19.)

Now the best way to deliver poor souls from being deluded and destroyed by these messengers of Satan is, to expose them so, being known, poor souls may shun them, and fly from them as from hell itself.

Now you may know them by these characters following:

[1.] False teachers are men-pleasers.

Such are not true teachers; Gal. 1:10, 1 Thess. 2:1-4. They preach more to please the ear than to profit the heart (Is. 30:10): ‘Who say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things: speak to us smooth things; prophesy deceits.’ Jer. 5:30, 31: “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:30-31. False teachers handle holy things rather with wit and trifling, rather than with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-murderers. Flattering words do all the mischief, they are sweet soul-poisoners. “This is my warning to my people,” says the Lord Almighty. ‘Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord! They keep saying to these rebels who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own evil desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!'” (Jer. 23:16, 17). Among these are those who promise health and wealth and preach free will and a universal love of God-JK

[2.] False teachers are notable for reproach upon Christ’s most faithful ambassadors.

Thus Korah, Dathan, and Abiram charged Moses and Aaron that they took too much upon them, seeing all the congregation was holy (Num. 16:3). You take too much state, too much power, too much honour, too much holiness upon you; for what are you more than others, that you take so much upon you? And so Ahab’s false prophets fell foul on good Micaiah, paying of him with blows for lack of better reasons (1 Kings 22:10-26). Yes, Paul, that great apostle of the Gentiles, had his ministry undermined and his reputation blasted by false teachers: ‘For his letters,’ say they, ‘are weighty and
powerful—but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible’ (2 Cor. 10:10). They rather condemn him than admire him; they look upon him as a dunce rather than a doctor. Christ and his servants have filth and scorn thrown upon them of whom the world is not worthy!

[3.] False teachers invent devices and visions of their own heads and hearts.

Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer are cases in point as regards descent into hell etc-JK. Jer. 14:14: “Then the Lord said unto me—These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts.” “This is my warning to my people,” says the Lord Almighty. “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord!” Jeremiah 23:16. Harold Camping’s false prophecy was another recent case in the USA. Matt. 24:4,5; Titus 1:10; Rom. 16:18

[4.] False teachers major on minors and legalism.

1 Tim. 1:5-7: ‘Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith sincere; from which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, and understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm.’ Matt. 23:23: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for you pay tithe of mint, and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.’ False teachers are nice in the lesser things of the law, and as negligent in the greater. 1 Tim. 6:3-5: ‘If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing—but doting about questions and strife of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw yourself.’ Such teachers are hypocrites. (Rom. 2:22). The earth groans to bear them, and hell is fitted for them (Matt. 24:32). Luther complained of such in his time as would strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. This age is full of such teachers, such monsters! The high priest’s spirit (Matt. 23:24) lives and thrives in these days.

[5.] False teachers cover and colour their dangerous principles and soul deceptions with very fair speeches and plausible pretences, with high notions and golden expressions.

Many in these days are bewitched and deceived by the magnificent words, lofty strains, and stately terms of deceivers. As strumpets paint their faces, and deck and perfume their beds, the better to allure and deceive simple souls; so false teachers will put a great deal of paint and garnish upon their most dangerous principles and blasphemies, that they may the better deceive and delude poor ignorant souls. They know sugared poison goes down sweetly; they wrap up their pernicious, soul-killing pills in gold! (Gal. 6:12; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rom. 16:17, 18; Matt. 16:6,11,12; 7:15.)

[6.] False teachers strive more to win over men to their opinions, than to better them in their lives.

Matt. 23:15: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves!’ They busy themselves most about men’s heads. Their work is not to better men’s hearts, and mend their lives; and in this they are very much like their father the devil, who will spare no pains to gain proselytes.

[7.] False teachers make merchandise of their followers.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:13. They eye your goods more than your good; and mind more the serving of themselves, than the saving of your souls. So they may have your substance, they care not though Satan has your souls (Rev. 18:11-13). That they may the better pick your purse, they will hold forth such principles as are very indulgent to the flesh. False teachers are the great worshippers of the golden calf. “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.” (Jer. 6:13). Crates threw his money into the sea, resolving to drown it, lest it should drown him. But false teachers care not who they drown—so they may have their money.

Now, by these characters you may know them, and so shun them, and deliver your souls out of their dangerous snares.

Well said back in the 1600s and applies for all of NT age-JK

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DEVICE 5: By making a sinner mind more the secret decrees and counsels of God, that is whether he is elect or not, rather than his own duty.

Why should you receive and embrace Christ? says Satan; if you are elected, you shall be saved; if not, all that you can do will do you no good. No, he will work the soul not only to doubt of its election—but to conclude that he is not elected, and therefore, let him do what he can, he shall never be saved.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That not all the angels in heaven, nor all the men an earth, nor all the devils in hell know whether you are an elect person, a chosen vessel. You may be confident of this, that God never made Satan one of his privy council, God never acquainted him with the names of such that he has set his love upon to eternity.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, not to meddle with that which you have to do. ‘Secret things belong to the Lord—but revealed things belong to you’ (Deut. 29:29). Your work, sinner, is, to be prompt in believing, and in returning to the Lord; your work is to cast yourself upon Christ, lie at his feet, to wait on him in his ways; and to give him no rest until he shall say, Sinner, I am your portion, I am your salvation—and nothing shall separate between you and me.

And if you are a believer-your job is to make your calling and election sure (II Peter 1:10).

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Yet another ploy of Satan Brooks lists that may be used to discourage penitents from coming to Christ:

DEVICE 4: By suggesting to a sinner Christ’s unwillingness to save.  

How daft-JK!

It is true, says Satan. Christ is able to save you—but is he willing? Surely, though he is able, yet he is not willing to save such a wretch as you are, who has trampled his blood under your feet, and who has been in open rebellion against him all your days.

Remedy (1). First, The great journey that he has taken, from heaven to earth, on purpose to save sinners, strongly demonstrates his willingness to save them. Matt. 9:13: ‘I came not to call the righteous—but sinners to repentance.’ 1 Tim. 1:15: ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’ He also said , “Him that cometh to me I shall in no wise cast out.” John 6:37.

Secondly, His divesting himself of his glory in order to sinners’ salvation, speaks out his willingness to save them. He leaves his Father’s bosom, he puts off his glorious robes, and lays aside his glorious crown, and bids adieu to his glistering courtiers the angels; and all this he does, that he may accomplish sinners’ salvation. From the cradle to the cross, his whole life was a life of sufferings.

Thirdly, That sea of sin, that sea of wrath, that sea of trouble, that sea of blood that Jesus Christ waded through, that sinners might be pardoned, justified, reconciled, and saved, strongly evidences his willingness to save sinners (2 Cor. 5:19, 20).

Fourthly, His sending his ambassadors, early and late, to woo and entreat sinners to be reconciled to him, does with open mouth show his readiness and willingness to save sinners.

Fifthly, His complaints against such as refuse him, and who turn their backs upon him, and who will not be saved by him, strongly declares their responsibility- (John 1:11): ‘He came to his own, and his own received him not.’ So in John 5:40, ‘But you will not come to me, that you may have life.’

Sixthly, The joy and delight that he takes at the conversion of sinners demonstrates his willingness that they should be saved (Luke 15:7): ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’ God the Father rejoices at the return of his prodigal son; Christ rejoices to see the travail of his soul; the Spirit rejoices that he has another temple to dwell in; and the angels rejoice that they have another brother to delight in (Is. 53:11).

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DEVICE 3 : By suggesting the sinner is not prepared.

Says Satan, You are not prepared to entertain Christ; you are not humbled; you are not heart-sick of sin; you have not been under horrors and terrors as such; you must stay until you are prepared and qualified to receive the Lord Jesus.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That such as have not been so prepared and qualified as Satan suggests, have received Christ, believed in Christ, and been saved by Christ. Matthew was called, sitting at the tax collector’s booth, and there was such power went along with Christ’s call, that made him to follow Christ (Matt. 9:9). We read not of any horrors or terrors that he was under before his being called by Christ. Reader! what preparations and qualifications were found in Zacchaeus, Paul, the jailor, and Lydia, before their conversion? (Luke 19:9, Acts 16:14.) God brings in some by the sweet and still voice of the gospel, and usually such that are thus brought into Christ are the sweetest, humblest, choicest, and most fruitful Christians.

God is a free agent to work by law or gospel, by smiles or frowns, by presenting hell or heaven to sinners’ souls. Some are brought to Christ by fire, storms, and tempests; others by more easy and gentle gales of the Spirit. The Spirit is free in the works of conversion, and, as the wind, it blows when, where, and how it pleases (John 3:8).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly To dwell upon these following scriptures, which clearly evidence that poor sinners who are not  prepared and qualified to meet with Christ, may, notwithstanding that, believe in Christ; and rest and lean upon him for happiness and blessedness, according to the gospel. Read Prov. 1:20-33, and chap 8:1-11, and chap. 9:1-6; Ezek. 16:1-14; John 3:14-18, 36; Rev. 3:15-20. Here the Lord Jesus Christ stands knocking at the Laodiceans’ door; he would gladly have them to sup with him, and that he might sup with them; that is, that they might have intimate communion and fellowship one with another.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the Lord does not in all the Scripture, require such and such preparations and qualifications before men come to Christ, before they believe in Christ, or entertain, or embrace the Lord Jesus. Believing in Christ is the great thing that God presses upon sinners throughout the Scripture, as all know that know anything of Scripture.

Obj. But does not Christ say, ‘Come unto me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’? (Matt. 11:28). To this I shall give these three answers:

(1.) That though the invitation be to such that ‘labour and are heavy laden,’ yet the promise of giving rest, it is made over to ‘coming,’ to ‘believing.’

(2.) That all this scripture proves and shows is, that such as labour under sin as under a heavy burden, and that are laden with the guilt of sin and sense of God’s displeasure, ought to come to Christ for rest; but it does not prove that only such must come to Christ, nor that all men must be thus burdened and laden with the sense of their sins and the wrath of God, before they come to Christ.

‘I will give you rest.’ I that have the greatest power to give it, the greatest will to give it, the greatest right to give it, ‘Come, heavy laden sinners, and I will give you rest.’ Rest is the most desirable good, the most suitable good, and to you the greatest good. ‘Come,’ says Christ, that is, ‘believe in me, and I will give you rest’; I will give you peace with God, and peace with conscience; I will turn your storm into an everlasting calm; I will give you such rest, which the world can neither give to you nor take from you.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That all that trouble for sin, all that sorrow, shame, and mourning which is acceptable to God, and delightful to God, and prevalent with God, flows from faith in Christ, as the stream does from the fountain, as the branch does from the root, as the effect does from the cause. Zech. 12:10, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him.’ All gospel mourning flows from believing; they shall first look, and then mourn. All who know anything about the gospel, know this, that ‘whatever is not of faith is sin’ (Rom. 14:33). Until men have faith in Christ, their best services are but splendid sins!

Adapted.