Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices. By Thomas Brooks. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1652. Reprint, 2000.
“If readers of Puritan literature were set the task of listing thirty of the ‘mighties’ among Puritan preachers, the name of Thomas Brooks would certainly appear among them . . .” These are the opening words of a brief bio appearing in the opening pages of this edition of Precious Remedies. Not much is known about Brooks’ life. He was born in 1608, served as chaplain during the Civil War (1642-48), and pastored two churches in the London area.
He did know suffering during his ministry. In 1662, he was evicted from ministry into non conformity along with many other pastors. In 1665, he remained in London and ministered to those who were suffering from the Plague. In 1666, he stayed in London during and after the Great Fire which left the city in a “ruinous heap.” When others fled for these reasons, Brooks stayed his post and pastored his people. His wife, Martha, died in 1676, and Brooks followed her in 1680.
In spite of the fact that his biography is scant, his writings have made a great impact upon many believers. He wrote from a pastoral heart. His writings are filled with Scripture and pointed illustrations. He had an ability to communicate with clarity and vividness, which would capture the reader. Part of his legacy is revealed in these two examples. First, one of Spurgeon’s many works was Smooth Stones Taken from Ancient Brooks. It is a collection of writings from Brooks’ pen. Second, one named Calamy is quoted in an edition of Brooks’ works as saying of his writings, “. . . His desire to be ‘useful’ to souls, to achieve the holy success of serving Christ, to win a sparkling crown to lay at his feet, breathes and burns from first to last.”
The previous quote is an apt summation of the spirit that moves throughout Precious Remedies. In Ephesians 6:11 Paul says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” “Schemes” in that passage are what Brooks calls “Devices” in his title. Brooks sets out to expose many of Satan’s “devices” in order to enable the believer to become alert, wise, and victorious over these tricks, plots, and lies.
Brooks is very thorough in naming all types of devices and provides with each one a list of “remedies.” These “remedies” are scriptural insights for the believer to be equipped with truth and promises to battle Satan’s ploys. Brooks lists 12 devices to draw the soul to sin, 8 devices to keep souls from holy duties, 8 devices to keep saints doubting, and 5 devices to destroy all ranks of men. Keep in mind, each device is explained and followed by several remedies to serve as weapons against these attacks. The Appendix is just as helpful and insightful as the main material. It contains 5 more devices, 7 characters of false teachers, 6 propositions concerning Satan, and 10 special helps against Satan’s devices. Just this abbreviated form of the table of contents proves how valuable a resource this is for the good soldier of Jesus Christ who is warring against the flesh, the world, and the devil!
It would be easy to provide a lengthy list of profitable quotes, but I will only retain the reader with these two. (1) “When the asp stings a man, it doth first tickle him so as it makes him laugh, till the poison little by little, gets to the heart, and then it pains him more than ever it delighted him. So doth sin.” [p. 32] (2) “Instead of wondering that so few are saved, sit down and wonder that any are saved, that any escape the snares of this cunning fowler, who spreads his nets and casts forth his baits in all places, in all cases and companies.” [p. 243]
If you are serious about fighting sin, persevering in the faith, and growing in holiness, then read this book and learn to uncover Satan’s devices against your own soul and how to stand firm against them!
If you are not concerned about these things and claim to be a believer, you MUST read this book, for you are already held sway in one of Satan’s chief devices meant for your destruction!