Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices – A Review
Thomas Brooks’ book of this name was first published in 1652 and was then reprinted with various corrections and enlargements over the following years. Alexander B. Grosart used the edition of 1676 as the basis for his reissue in 1866 and this is the one that Banner of Truth reprinted in 1980.2 Thomas Brooks was born in 1608 and attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625. Ordained a preacher in 1640, he spent a number of years as a chaplain to the Parliamentary Fleet at sea. After the Civil War, he became a minister in London and often preached before Parliament. He was ejected from his church in 1662 because of the Act of Uniformity but even so, Brooks continued preaching to a congregation in Moorfields, London. He died in 1680.
C.H. Spurgeon appreciated this author highly and would count his books amongst those ‘of the good solid Puritan volumes that are so little prized nowadays, and my soul can feed upon such blessed food as that and be satisfied with it.’3 Precious Remedies is based upon 2 Corinthians 2:11, ‘Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.’ The author could write of Satan as ‘that wily merchant that devoureth, not widow’s houses, but most men’s souls,’ and then speaks of his devices as being plots, machinations or stratagems. He also warns that Satan’s activities are several and by them he deceives, entangles and undoes the souls of men.
The writer’s method is to prove that Satan has several and various devices, show what and how numerous they are, give the remedies against them, and then draw out vital truths from this. While producing the work, Brooks could testify to the ‘strange opposition that I met with from Satan, in the study of this following discourse’, and says of it that it ‘hath put an edge upon my spirit, knowing that Satan strives mightily to keep those things from seeing the light.’4
Brooks describes twelve devices to begin with, which Satan uses to draw souls into sin. In each case, a number of remedies are given. A further eight follow in which Satan is said to keep men from ‘holy duties’ and ‘religious services.’ As before, various remedies are provided. Next, other antidotes are offered and these are against those schemes that Satan employs to keep believers in a ‘sad, doubting, and questioning condition.’ Last of all, at this point, Brooks explains how the Devil can use particular devices to lead souls into the misuse of riches, to persecute the godly, become proud in learning, divide Christians and encourage ignorance of the truth.
An Appendix follows, that gives five devices used to keep people from trusting in Christ. Also there are seven characteristics of false teachers, plus six conclusions concerning Satan and his workings. Like the entire book, these are very practical in their approach and will aid the believer in withstanding the evil one. Each of the conclusions and ten helps that follow ought to be carefully observed and in fact, serve as a good basis to the whole volume. Some of these are: follow God’s Word, do not grieve the Holy Spirit, labour to be filled with him, remain humble, be watchful, keep up communion with God, be much in prayer, etc.
All Christians should read Precious Remedies, feed on its contents and meditate prayerfully upon the truths found there. To do so will make them more effective believers and cause them to always be sober, vigilant and on guard against the evil one. He is a dangerous adversary and ‘walketh about, seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Pet. 5:8). Would you be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might? Then this book will be of help in furnishing you with the necessary spiritual weaponry, and a mastery of its vital truths will make you skilful in handling God’s Word and withstanding Satan. Ministers in particular would be greatly helped in their calling and perhaps they might find the Remedies useful as a series of sermons?
- I.e., in Volume 1 of the 6-volume set of The Works of Thomas Brooks. The Trust had earlier (1968) published Precious Remedies as a paperback in the Puritan Paperbacks series (see Note 1).
- A sermon in 1883, quoted in his Autobiography, Volume 2, page 332.
- ‘Epistle Dedicatory’, Reason 3, page 17 of the paperback edition.
Reprinted from Bible League Quarterly, October-December 2011, by permission. Notes added.
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