Thomas Brooks: Satan’s Devices, Part 1

We have just embarked on a new preaching series at Coram Deo called Know Your Enemy, focused on the three traditional enemies of the soul in Christian theology: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

A series like this encourages us to mine the history of the church, where we discover a rich spiritual pathology that can help us greatly. Not least among this treasury is Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, a treatise written by the great Puritan pastor Thomas Brooks (1608-1680). Just perusing the table of contents of this work will challenge the soul and stimulate the mind! So this week, I’m posting the outline of Brooks’ work here as a means of helping readers reflect on the various “devices” Satan uses, and Brooks’ thoughtful remedies.

SATAN’S DEVICES TO DRAW THE SOUL TO SIN [12 devices and their remedies]

1. By presenting the bait and hiding the hook: For remedies, consider that

  1. we ought to keep at the greatest distance from sin and from playing with the bait
  2. sin is but a bitter sweet
  3. sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses
  4. sin is very deceitful and bewitching

2. By painting sin with virtue’s colors: For remedies, consider that

  1. sin is never the less vile by being so painted
  2. the more sin is so painted the more dangerous it is
  3. we ought to look on sin with that eye with which within a few hours we shall see it
  4. sin cost the life-blood of the Lord Jesus

3. By the extenuating and lessening of sin: For remedies, consider that

  1. sin which men account small brings God’s great wrath on men
  2. the giving way to a less sin makes way for the committing of a greater
  3. it is sad to stand with God for a trifle
  4. often there is most danger in the smallest sins
  5. the saints have chosen to suffer greatly rather than commit the least sin
  6. the soul can never stand under the guilt and weight of sin when God sets it home upon the soul
  7. there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction

4. By showing to the soul the best men’s sins and by hiding from the soul their virtues, their sorrows, and their repentance: For remedies, consider that

  1. the Spirit of God records not only the sins of the saints, but also their repentance
  2. these saints did not make a trade of sin
  3. though God does not disinherit his sinning people, He punishes them severely
  4. God has two main ends in recording the falls of His saints

5. By presenting God to the soul as One made up all of mercy: For remedies, consider

  1. It is the sorest of judgments to be left to sin upon any pretense whatever
  2. God is as just as He is merciful
  3. sins against mercy will bring the greatest and sorest judgments on men
  4. though God’s general mercy is over all His works, yet His special mercy is confined to those that are divinely qualified
  5. the saints now glorified regarded God’s mercy as a most powerful argument against, and not for, sin

6. By persuading the soul that repentance is easy and that therefore the soul need not scruple about sinning: For remedies, consider that

  1. repentance is a difficult work above our own power
  2. repentance changes and converts the whole man from sin to God
  3. repentance is a continued act
  4. if repentance were easy, the lack of it would not strike millions with terror and
  5. drive them to hell
  6. to repent of sin is as great a mark of grace as not to sin
  7. Satan now suggests that repentance is easy, but shortly he will drive his dupes to despair by presenting it as the hardest work in the world.

7. By making the soul bold to venture upon the occasions of sin: For remedies, consider

  1. certain scriptures expressly command us to avoid occasions of sin and the least appearance of evil
  2. there is no conquest over sin unless the soul turns from the occasions of sin
  3. saints now glorified have turned from the occasions of sin as from hell itself
  4. to avoid the occasions of sin is an evidence of grace

8. By representing to the soul the outward mercies enjoyed by men walking in sin, and their freedom from outward miseries: For remedies, consider that

  1. we cannot judge of how the heart of God stands towards a man by the acts of His providence
  2. nothing provokes God’s wrath so much as men’s abuse of His goodness and mercy
  3. there is no greater curse or affliction in this life than not to be in misery or affliction
  4. the wants of evil men are far greater than their outward blessings
  5. outward things are not as they seem, nor as they are esteemed
  6. God has ends and designs in giving evil men outward mercies and present rest from sorrows and sufferings that cause saints to sigh
  7. God often plagues and punishes those whom others think He most spares and loves
  8. God will call evil men to a strict account for all the outward good that they have enjoyed

9. By presenting to the soul the crosses, losses, sorrows and sufferings that daily attend those who walk in the ways of holiness: For remedies, consider that

  1. all afflictions suffered by Christians turn to their profit
  2. all such afflictions only reach their worst, not their best, part
  3. all such afflictions are short and momentary
  4. all such afflictions proceed from God’s dearest love
  5. it is our duty and glory to measure afflictions not by the smart but by the end
  6. God’s design in saints’ afflictions is to try, not to ruin, their souls
  7. the afflictions, wrath and misery consequent upon wickedness are far worse than those linked with holiness

10. By causing saints to compare themselves and their ways with those reputed to be worse than themselves: For remedies, consider that

  1. to be quick-sighted abroad and blind at home proves a man a hypocrite
  2. it is far better to compare our internal and external actions with the Word than to compare ourselves with others worse than ourselves
  3. though our sins may not appear as great as those of others, yet without repentance responding to mercy, we shall be as certainly damned as others

11. By polluting the souls and judgments of men with dangerous errors that lead to looseness and wickedness: For remedies, consider that

  1. an erroneous vain mind is as odious to God as a wicked life
  2. it is needful to receive the truth affectionately and plenteously
  3. error makes its owner suffer loss
  4. it is needful to hate and reject all doctrines that are contrary to godliness, that lead to self-righteousness, and that make good works co-partners with Christ
  5. it is needful to hold fast the truth
  6. it is needful to keep humble
  7. errors have been productive of great evils

12. By leading men to choose wicked company: For remedies, consider that

  1. there are express commands of God to shun such company
  2. wicked company is infectious and dangerous
  3. it is needful to look upon the wicked in such terms as Scripture describes them
  4. the company of wicked men was once a grief and burden also to saints now glorified


Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply