Thomas Brooks “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Remedies”


Thomas Brooks, 1608-1680

Beloved in our dearest Lord, Christ: the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched.  If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter.  It is my work as a Christian, but much more as I am a Watchman, to do my best do discover the fullness of Christ, the emptiness of the creature, and the snares of the great deceiver. – 15

Satan’s Tactics:

Whatever sin the heart of man is most prone to, that the devil will help forward. – 16

He hath several devices to destroy the great and honourable, the wise and learned, the blind and ignorant, the rich and the poor, the real and the nominal saints. One while he will restrain from tempting, that we may think ourselves secure, and neglect our watch; another while he will seem to fly, that he may make us proud of the victory; one while he will fix men’s eyes on others’ sins that their own, that he may puff them up; another while he may fix their eyes more on others’ grace than their own, that he may overwhelm them.  – 16-17

Perspective in the Battle:

…remember this, that your life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing, and he shall make amends for all.  – 20

On Meditation and Usefulness:

“It is…her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet”

First, Thou must know that every man cannot be excellent, that yet may be useful.  An iron key may unlock the door of a golden treasure, yea, iron can do some things that gold cannot.  Secondly, Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.  It is not the bee’s touching of the flower that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet.  It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.   – 22

On Christian Activity:

God loves, saith Luther, curistas, not queristas, the runner, not the questioner – 22

Experiencing Grace Brings Grief for the Graceless:

Gracious souls use to mourn for other men’s sins as well as their own, and for their souls and sins who make a mock of sin, and a jest of damning their own souls. Guilt or grief is all that gracious souls get by communion with vain souls (Ps. 119. 136, 158). – 25

The Joy of Mourning over one’s Sin:

It was a sweet saying of Jerome, ‘Let a man grieve for his sin, and then joy for his grief. -25

Bernard on Temporal Happiness and its Peril: 

Men had need pray with Bernard, “Grant us, Lord, that we may so partake of temporal felicity, that we may not lose eternal.”  – 30

Relationship to the Devil:

“Men must not think to dance and dine with the devil, and then sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” – 32

The Magnitude of Christ’s Payment of Sins, Sins that Satan Paints as Reasonable to Commit: 

Remedy (4).  Seriously to consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colours upon, 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

“…he that filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger…”

Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he that was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he that filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the power of God should fly from weak man, the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of circumcision circumcised, the God that made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he that 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 that is one with his Father should cry out of misery, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27.46); that he that had the keys of hell and death at his girdle should lie imprisoned in the sepulchre 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

“Remedy (4).  Seriously to consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colours upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus.”

hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that face, that was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews; that mouth and tongue, that spake as never man spake, accused for blaspheme; those hands, that 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 annoyed: his feeling or touching, with a spear and nails; his smell, with stinking flavor, being crucified about 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 colours upon!  Oh!  How should the consideration of this stir up the soul against it, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!  -36- 37

‘Never let go out of your minds the thoughts of a crucified Christ.’ – 38

It is an excellent saying of Bernard , “Quanto pro nobis vilior, tanot nobis charior.  The more vile Christ made himself for us, the more dear he ought to be to us.”  – 38

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2 Responses to Thomas Brooks “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Remedies”

  1. wally says:

    This is the first time I have seen your website.
    Thanks for these great quotes of Thomas Brooks. He is really neat. I had never heard of him until Tim Keller mentioned him in one of his sermons.
    Have others tried to list the strategies of Satin like Brooks has done?

    I have a somewhat related question. Would you say the heart of a regenerate man is still desperately wicked? It seems that Brooks avoids addressing this issue. The issue really bothers me; I keep coming back to it over and over. How one answers this question affects how he views everything about himself. The Reformed view of Romans 7:14-23 , that Paul is speaking of himself after conversion, seems wrong to me. What say you? Do we Christians have pure hearts as Jesus indicates on the sermon on the mount?
    In Christ,

  2. Hi Wally: I think the flesh is still a very vibrant influence in our lives so yes, I believe that we, as Christians, easily cry out at the impact of our sin in our hearts and lives, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from me from this body of death?” But, there is victory in the Christian life through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, as the Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” The emphasis is that we are now able to not do whatever the flesh wants to do. We know the evil lurks within and we see its expression often in the grave moral failures of “renowned” Christian leaders. I often tell my students that one of my great fears is that, in my old age, the many sinful and even evil thoughts I have might come out of my mouth on my death bed, as I may not have full cognition and moral discipline at that time. I hope it doesn’t happen, but I know the potential is possible. Yet, if we walk by the Spirit, we will become more and more like Christ and make progress on our precarious journey. I hope this answer is helpful to you. There is a spiritual tension/warfare in our souls, but God gives grace to those who seek Him and use the means of grace.

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