Thomas Brooks’ Four Prime Things

I did some quote mining from Thomas Brooks Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices from the chapter ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’. I found Brooks’ words to be very insightful, practical and challenging. The ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’ is a letter he wrote to his congregation.

He was very humble in the letter which can be seen in the prayers he asked for concerning himself. However, the quotes I chose are focus on his exhortations to his congregation of which the universal congregation may benefit. We live in a different culture and time than did Brooks. Yet, it just seems like we don’t think as deeply today as back then. I may be wrong, but I don’t find such deep, challenging words to be as common today from pastors or even fellow Christians.

Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter. It is my work as a Christian, but much more as I am a Watchman, to do my best to discover the fullness of Christ, the emptiness of the creature, and the snares of the great deceiver; which I have endeavored to do in the following discourse, according to that measure of grace which I have received from the Lord. God once accepted a handful of meal for a sacrifice (Lev. 2:2; 5:12), and a small quantity of goat’s hair for an oblation; and I know that you have not so “learned the Father,” as to despise “the day of small things” (Zech. 4:10).

Beloved, Satan being fallen from light to darkness, from felicity to misery, from heaven to hell, from an angel to a devil, is so full of malice and envy that he will leave no means unattempted, whereby he may make all others eternally miserable with himself; he being shut out of heaven, and shut up “under the chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6), makes use of all his power and skill to bring all the sons of men into the same condition and condemnation with himself. Satan has cast such sinful seed into our souls, that now he can no sooner tempt, but we are ready to assent; he can no sooner have a plot upon us, but he makes a conquest of us. If he does but show men a little of the beauty and finery of the world, how ready are they to fall down and worship him! Whatever sin the heart of man is most prone to, that the devil will help forward.

At one time, [Satan] will restrain from tempting, that we may think ourselves secure, and neglect our watch. At another time he will seem to flee, that he may make us proud of the victory. At one time he will fix men’s eyes on others’ sins than their own, that he may puff them up. At another time he may fix their eyes more on others’ graces than their own, that he may discourage them.

My desires to you are–That you would make it your business to study Christ, his Word, your own hearts, Satan’s plots, and eternity–more than ever. That you would endeavor more to be inwardly sincere than outwardly glorious; to live, than to have a mere name to live. That you would labor with all your might to be thankful under mercies, and faithful in your places, and humble under divine appearances, and fruitful under precious ordinances. That as your means and mercies are greater than others–so your account before God may not prove a worse than others.

For a close, remember this, that your life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing,and heaven shall make amends for all!

tagged as , in Church Issues,Gospel,morality,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe September 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm


Thank you for this post and spotlighting these words from Thomas Brooks. I read this book last year and found it very helpful. You’re right in that much of what we see and hear today is shallow compared to this.

Blessings to you –

2 Mark September 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm


Thanks for the comment. Brooks is a blessing to read.

Just a note for those who might drop by, I don’t mean to indict all pastors today as falling short in some way. We all fall short. And if these types of challenging words are not heard often today it is the fault of all of us whether in the pew or the pulpit.


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