One of the greatest Puritan books ever written – even the vast table of contents is incredibly edifying, providing an 8-page outline categorizing the various methods by which Satan deceives and entices us. By far the most comprehensive study ever done of the methods of Satan in dealing with people.
Book review by Garry Geer:
It doesn’t matter how well we define our terms, how stringently we examine our epistemology, or how cognizant we are of current thought, it comes down to what you do with what you know. Christ makes this point again and again. Our actions are the red-meat of our testimony. They reflect how we really feel about God, our sin, and the need for redemption. Talk is cheap. Obedience is what buys the ranch.
I was reminded of this as I finished Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks.
PR (as I will call it from here on out) strikes that tension between doctrine and action that seem to miss in much of the current literature on the market. Possibly, it is because in our desire to avoid legalism, we are overcautious in how specific we are in our warnings.
The book is broken down in several different areas in which Satan’s strategies are discussed in some detail. There is nothing occult, or mystical about any one area. It’s all rather common sense. I recognized about every single example from my own life.
For instance, one whole section pertains to “Satan’s devices to keep souls from holy duties, to hinder souls in holy services, to keep them off from religious performances.” Under that are 8 outlined 8 different devices the devil uses keep us from being obedient in worship. He mentions that Satan presents “…the world in such a garb as to ensnare the soul” or Satan hinders by “…presenting to the soul the difficulty of performing religious duties.” That device is examined in detail, and then various remedies to that device are listed out one after another. Again, none of the remedies are novel, or esoteric. Rather, they fall into the basic pattern of “remember what you already know.” Meditation on God’s Word is a vital element to dealing with sin, and Brooks rubs our faces in it. (actually the Puritans do as a whole) We live such quick, unfocused lives that we have left that particular spiritual discipline behind us, and have thus deprived ourselves of a vital tool.
Brooks’ hatred of sin is not based upon some nickel and dime criteria, but rather hatred from whatever separates him from fellowship with his God. Sin is horrible. Sin in the believer’s life damages his relationship with his Lord. You almost feel Brooks’ desperation at such a condition, but then you read the hope that he has through Jesus Christ. Brooks wrote this book because he desired to know a holy God better, not because he was making marks on a chart.
As I had stated before, I would recommend this little volume for devotional study. It would be a good addition to daily worship.