Thomas Brooks, an eminent 17th century puritan pastor, penned one of the most practical and helpful books on the Christian life ever printed–Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices. In it we find ripe fruit from Brooks methodical labors in scouring scripture for Satan’s wiles and our Heavenly Father’s remedy for this cunning adversaries’ afflicting actions.
We do well to remember Satan is roaming about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour and even better to stand against such a beast with the sword of the Spirit in our hand, which is the word of God and a stride kept in step with the spirit. Surely, there is no other way to conquer such an enemy.
One Device of Satan, notes Brooks, is to “Hinder souls from holy and heavenly services, and from religious performances.” He continues in writing that Satan does so by “presenting to the soul the difficulty of performing them” (i.e. of living a holy, productive life). “Satan says, it is so hard and difficult to 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 ten thousand times better to neglect them than to meddle with them; and doubtless by this device Satan has and does prevent thousands from waiting on God and from giving him the service due his name”.
Brooks helpfully outlines five remedies to the Christian to foil Satan in this device and the following is a portion of the 5th and final exhortation.
“Christians that would hold on in the service of the Lord, must look more upon the crown than upon the cross, more upon their future glory than their present misery, more upon their encouragements than upon their discouragements. God’s very service is wages; his ways are strewed with roses, and paved ‘with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory’, and with ‘peace that passeth understanding’. Some degree of comfort follows every good action, as heat accompanies fire, as beams and influences issue from the sun: ‘Moreover, by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping them there is great reward’. Not only for keeping, but in keeping of them, there is great reward. The joy, the rest, the refreshing, the comforts, the contents, the smiles, the incomes that 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. Ah! if the vails be thus sweet and glorious before pay-day comes, what will the glory that Christ will crown his saints with for cleaving to his service in the face of all difficulties; when he shall say to his Father, ‘Lo, here am I, and the children which thou hast given me’.
If there be so much to be had in a wilderness, what then shall be had in paradise?”1
Brooks, T. (1861). Precious Remedies. In Works of Thomas Brooks (pp. 75-77). Edinburgh: Banner of Truth.