Quotes from Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks (1608 – 1680)
DEVICE 4: By presenting to the soul the best men’s sins, and by hiding from the soul their virtues:… as by setting before the soul the adultery of David, the pride of Hezekiah, the impatience of Job, the drunkenness of Noah, the blasphemy of Peter, etc., and by hiding from the soul the tears, the sighs, the groans, the meltings, the humblings, and repentings of these precious souls.
Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That these saints did not make a trade of sin. They fell once or twice, and rose by repentance, that they might keep the closer to Christ forever. They fell accidentally, occasionally, and with much reluctancy; and you sin presumptuously, obstinately, readily, delightfully, and customarily. The saints cannot sin with a whole will, but, as it were, with a half-will, an unwillingness; not with a full consent, but with a dissenting consent. You have, by your making a trade of sin, contracted upon your soul a kind of cursed necessity of sinning, that you can as well cease to be, or cease to live, as you can cease to sin. Sin is, by custom, become as another nature to you, which you can not, which you will not lay aside, though you know that if you do not lay sin aside, God will lay your soul aside forever…. If you will make a trade of sin, and cry out, Did not David sin thus, and Noah sin thus, and Peter sin thus? No! their hearts turned aside to folly one day, but your heart turns aside to folly every day; and when they were fallen, they rise by repentance, and by the actings of faith upon a crucified Christ. But you fall, and have no strength nor will to rise, but wallow in sin, and will eternally die in your sins, unless the Lord be the more merciful to your soul. Do you think, O soul, this is good reasoning? — Such a one tasted poison but once, and yet narrowly escaped; but I daily drink poison, yet I shall escape. Yet such is the mad reasoning of vain souls. David and Peter sinned once foully and fearfully; they tasted poison but once, and were sick to death; but I taste it daily, and yet shall not taste of eternal death. …Though sin dwells in the regenerate, yet it does not reign over the regenerate; they rise by repentance.
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That though God does not, nor never will, disinherit his people for their sins, yet he has severely punished his people for their sins. David sins, and God breaks his bones for his sin:’Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which you have broken may rejoice’. ‘And because you have done this, the sword shall never depart from your house, to the day of your death’. Though God will not utterly take from them his loving-kindness, nor allow his faithfulness to fail, nor break his covenant, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth, yet will he ‘visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes’.
When Satan shall tell you of other men’s sins to draw you to sin, then think of the same men’s sufferings to keep you from sin. Lay your hand upon your heart, and say, O my soul! if you sin with David, you must suffer with David.
Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider… that their falls may be as landmarks to warn others to take heed lest they fall. It never entered into the heart of God to record his children’s sins that others might be encouraged to sin, but that others might look to themselves, and hang the faster upon the skirts of Christ, and avoid all occasions and temptations that may occasion the soul to fall, as others have fallen, when they have been left by Christ. The Lord has made their sins as landmarks, to warn his people to take heed how they come near those sands and rocks, those snares and baits, that have been fatal to the choicest treasures, namely, the joy, peace, comfort, and glorious enjoyments of the bravest spirits and noblest souls that ever sailed through the ocean of this sinful troublesome world; as you may see in David, Job, and Peter. There is nothing in the world that can so notoriously cross the grand end of God’s recording of the sins of his saints, than for any from thence to take encouragement to sin; and wherever you find such a soul, you may write him Christless, graceless, a soul cast off by God, a soul that Satan has by the hand, and the eternal God knows where he will lead him. I have known a good man, says Bernard, who, when he heard of any that had committed some notorious sin, he was accustomed to say with himself, he fell today, so may I tomorrow.