The pressure to produce a debut blog entry that is witty, memorable, interesting and heart-warming has been laid heavy upon my back for the last few days since I was given such a generous and magnanimous introduction by my fellow blogger James Phillip Morgan Hurd last week. After hours of consideration I decided I could do no better than to reproduce some of the work of the puritan Thomas Brooks. As a history students we’re constantly faced with a barrage of negativity directed towards the puritans, their works being sidelined as narrow-minded and extreme. The thought of actually reading such works in the twenty-first century, valuing them as relevant and beneficial is absurd. But Brooke’s Precious Remedies Against Satan’s devices is indeed truly precious. Every remedy suggested by Brookes is ‘seriously to consider’, making it a book that shouldn‘t be rushed through. Its hard-hitting and incisive, with constant reference to the Word, explaining its relevance and endurance. Here’s one section that was particularly good…
‘By painting sin in virtue’s colours. Satan knows that if he should present sin in its own nature and dress, the soul would rather fly from it than yield to it…’
‘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 Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he who was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he who filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the almighty God should flee from weak man—the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God who made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he who 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 who is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46); that he who had the keys of hell and death at his belt should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher 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 hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that face, which was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on… that mouth and tongue, which spoke as never man spoke, accused for blasphemy; those hands, which 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 pained with a spear and nails; his smell, with stinking odor, being crucified on 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 colors upon! Oh! how should the consideration of this stir up the soul against sin, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!’
We can think of many helpful and good remedies to prevent us from sinning, but surely the best is to reflect on God’s love for us more. The void left by hacking sin out of our lives must be filled by love for God!