This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: sin (Page 1 of 3)

David’s Digest: Do We Have Our Own Gourd?

Jonah 4:5-11:

5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

As I read this recently, something struck me: This temporary thing made Jonah “exceeding glad.” Is there something in my life that I think is missing that would make me “exceeding glad”? Or rather what came to mind personally, is there something in my life that I wish wasn’t, and that being gone would make me “exceeding glad”?

Do I have my own form of “Jonah’s Gourd”?

Do we truly trust God in His providences in our lives, especially in the difficult times of trial and affliction? Do we do well to be angry at God for them, or the lack of something we think we should have?

Or better, do we thank the Lord for these things, or the lack of something we think we should have, in our lives, as the guiding hand of a loving Father?

1 Thess 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Heb 12:8 – “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

And then, what does the Bible say should make us “exceeding glad”?

First and foremost, the Lord Himself:

Psalm 21:6 – “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

But further, not only thankful for His afflicting hand but:

Matt 5:11-12 – “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 Pet 4:12-13 – “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

And so, there we have it…it’s the trial and afflictions themselves that are to make us “exceeding glad”, not some temporal thing in our lives, or difficulties being removed. In fact, removing them might not only be evidence of losing the loving chastisement of a Father that makes us better followers of Him, but also the losing of the thing itself in which we are to be exceeding glad!

May the Lord Christ Himself be our greatest joy! And then, may His trials and afflictions, in the not having things we think we want, or the not removing of things we want removed, make us exceeding glad, and always thankful!

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: Misery is Mercy

I’ve been through an excellent book from Puritan Thomas Brooks called “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where he identifies the various ways Satan goes about his work, and offers remedies to help against those devices.

I believe it’s important we are aware of these things, as the Bible says:

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

And we are to resist…

James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6:11 – “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

…but only with God’s help:

Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Below is another device of Satan to draw a person to sin, sin being something we should hate in ourselves since sin is against God and hated by God as well. The device is to get us to shy away from afflictions and difficulties of life, but the remedy is to understand and welcome the loving, chastising hand of our heavenly Father!

And the worst thing possible for a man is to be left to himself to commit sin:

Rom 1:18-32:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Ps 81:10-16:

10 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.

12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!

14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.

15 The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.

16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

I’ve included the other remedy points below for context, but for this blog post am just focusing on Remedy 3. However, you can listen to the whole section in this audio reading (it starts with Device 7):


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The eighth device that Satan hath to draw the soul to sin, is,

Device (8). By representing to the soul the outward mercies that vain men enjoy, and the outward miseries that they are freed from, while they have walked in the ways of sin.

Says Satan, Do you see, O soul, the many mercies that such and such enjoy, that walk in those very ways that your soul startles to think of, and the many crosses that they are delivered from, even such as makes other men, that say they dare not walk in such ways, to spend their days in sighing, weeping, groaning, and mourning, and therefore, says Satan, if ever you would be freed from the dark night of adversity, and enjoy the sunshine of prosperity, you must walk in their ways.

[Footnote: It was a weighty saying of Seneca, there is nothing more unhappy than he who never felt adversity. Some of the heathens would be wicked as their gods were, counting it a dishonour to their god to be unlike him. – Lactantius.]

By this stratagem the devil took those in Jer. xliv. 16-18, ‘As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee: but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth of our mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.’

This is just the language of a world of ignorant, profane, and superstitious souls in London, and England, that would have made them a captain to return to bondage, yea, to that bondage that was worse than that the Israelites groaned under. Oh, say they, since such and such persons have been put down, and left off, we have had nothing but plundering and taxing, and butchering of men, etc.; and therefore we will do as we, and our kings, and nobles, and fathers have formerly done, for then had we plenty at home, and peace abroad, etc., and there was none to make us afraid.

[Footnote: It is said of one of the emperors, that Rome had no war in his days, because it was plague enough to have such an emperor. You are wise, and know how to apply it. [The allusion, no doubt, is to Charles I., and the agitation for the Restoration of Charles II. Cromwell died Sept. 3. 1658. – Editor]]

Remedy (1). That no man knows how the heart of God stands by his hand. [ie. people cannot know how God feels about them just by how things are happening in their lives]
Remedy (2). That there is nothing in the world that does so provoke God to be wroth and angry, as men’s taking encouragement from God’s goodness and mercy to do wickedly.
Remedy (4). That the wants [lacks] of wicked man, under all their outward mercy and freedom from adversity, is far greater than all their outward enjoyments.
Remedy (5). That outward things are not as they seem and esteemed.
Remedy (6). Consider the end [purpose] and design of God is heaping up mercy upon the heads of the wicked, and in giving them a rest and quiet from those sorrows and sufferings that others sigh under.
Remedy (7). That God does often most plague and punish [with spiritual judgements] those whom others think he does most spare and love [because of their temporal ease].
Remedy (8). Dwell more upon that strict account that vain men must make [on judgement day] for all that good that they do enjoy.
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider,

That there is no greater misery in this life, than not to be in misery; no greater affliction, than not to be afflicted.

Woe, woe to that soul that God will not spend a rod upon! This is the saddest stroke of all, when God refuses to strike at all: Hos. iv. 17, ‘Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.’ ‘Why should you be smitten any more? you will revolt more and more,’ Isa. i. 5.

When the physician gives over the patient, you say, ‘Ring out his knell, the man is dead.’ So when God gives over a soul to sin without control, you may truly say, ‘This soul is lost’, you may ring out his knell, for he is twice dead, and plucked up by the roots.

Freedom from punishment is the mother of security, the step-mother of virtue, the poison of religion, the moth of holiness, and the introducer of wickedness. ‘Nothing,’ said one, ‘seems more unhappy to me, than he to whom no adversity hath happened’.

Outward mercies ofttimes prove a snare to our souls. ‘I will lay a stumbling-block,’ Ezek. iii. 20. Vatablus’ note there is, ‘I will prosper him in all things, and not by affliction restrain him from sin.’

Prosperity has been a stumbling-block, at which millions have stumbled and fallen, and broke the neck of their souls for ever.

[Footnote: Religion brought forth riches, and the daughter soon devoured the mother, said Augustine.]

May the God of infinite mercies never leave us to ourselves, to walk in our own ways! And may we be thankful to Him for His loving, chastising hand!

Heb 12:6 – For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Rev 3:19 – As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: Repentance is Easy, Part 4

This is the final part, continuing from part 3 from Puritan Thomas Brooks’ book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where the devil entices people to sin by suggesting repentance is an easy thing.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The sixth device that Satan hath to draw the soul to sin is,

Device (6). By persuading the soul that the work of repentance is an easy work, and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin. Why! Suppose you do sin, saith Satan, it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, “Lord, have mercy upon me;” and if you do but this, God will cut the score (footnote: this references notched sticks by which debt accounts were recorded anciently), and pardon your sins, and save your souls, etc.

By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls servants or rather slaves to sin, etc.

Now, the remedies against this device of Satan are these that follow:

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider of the nature of true repentance.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is seriously to consider, That repentance is a continued act.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is solemnly to consider, That if the work of repentance were such an easy work as Satan would make it to be, then certainly so many would not lie roaring and crying out of wrath and eternal ruin under the horrors and terrors of conscience, for not repenting; yea, doubtless, so many millions would not go to hell for not repenting, if it were such an easy thing to repent.
Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is seriously to consider, That to repent of sin is as great a work of grace as not to sin.

(Footnote: Yet it is better to be kept from sin than cured of sin by repentance, as it is better for a man to be preserved from a disease than to be cured of the disease.

By our sinful falls the powers of the soul are weakened, the strength of grace is decayed, our evidences for heaven are blotted, fears and doubts in the soul are raised (will God once more pardon this scarlet sin, and shew mercy to this wretched soul?), and corruptions in the heart are more advantaged and confirmed; and the conscience of a man after falls is the more enraged or the more benumbed.

Now for a soul, notwithstanding all this, to repent of his falls, this shews that it is as great a work of grace to repent of sin as it is not to sin. Repentance is the vomit of the soul; and of all physic [medicine], none so difficult and hard as it is to vomit. The same means that tends to preserve the soul from sin, the same means works the soul to rise by repentance when it is fallen into sin.

We know the mercy and lovingkindness of God is one special means to keep the soul from sin; as David spake, “Thy lovingkindness is always before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth, and I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers, and will not sit with the wicked,” Ps. xxvi. 3-5. So by the same means the soul is raised by repentance out of sin, as you may see in Mary Magdalene, who loved much, and wept much, because much was forgiven her, Luke vii. 37-39, etc. So those in Hosea, “I Come, let us return unto the Lord; for he hath torn, and he will heal; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight, or before his face,” Hos. vi. 1, 2 ; as the Hebrew hath it, i.e. in his favour. Confidence in God’s mercy and love, that he would heal them, and laud up their wounds, and revive their dejected spirits, and cause them to live in his favour, was that which did work their hearts to repent and return unto him.

I might further shew you this truth in many other particulars, but this may suffice: only remember this in the general, that there is as much of the power of God, and love of God, and faith in God, and fear of God, and care to please God, zeal for the glory of God, 2 Cor. vii. 11, requisite to work a man to repent of sin, as there is to keep a man from sin; by which you may easily judge, that to repent of sin is as great a work as not to sin.

And now tell me, O soul, is it an easy thing not to sin? We know then certainly it is not an easy thing to repent of sin.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, that he that now tempts thee to sin upon this account, that repentance is easy, will, ere long, to work thee to despair, and for ever to break the neck of thy soul, present repentance as the difficultest and hardest work in the world; and to this purpose he will set thy sins in order before thee, and make them to say, “We are thine, and we must follow thee.”

(Footnote: Beda tells of a certain great man that was admonished in his sickness to repent, who answered that he would not repent yet; for if he should recover, his companions would laugh at him; but, growing sicker and sicker, his friends pressed him again to repent, but then he told them it was too late, for
now, said he, I am judged and condemned.

As one Lamachus, a commander, said to one of his soldiers that was brought before him for a misbehaviour, who pleaded he would do so no more, saith he, no man must offend twice in war; so God will not suffer men often to neglect the day of grace.)

Now, Satan will help to work the soul to look up, and see God angry; and to look inward, and to see conscience accusing and condemning; and to look downwards, and see hell’s mouth open to receive the impenitent soul: and all this to render the work of repentance impossible to the soul.

What, saith Satan, dost thou think that that is easy which the whole power of grace cannot conquer while we are in this world? Is it easy, saith Satan, to turn from some outward act of sin to which thou hast been addicted? Dost thou not remember that thou hast often complained against such and such particular sins, and resolved to leave them? and yet, to this hour, thou hast not, thou canst not? What will it then be to turn from every sin? Yea, to mortify and cut off those sins, those darling lusts [corrupt desires of the heart], that are as joints and members, that be as right hands and right eyes? Hast thou not loved thy sins above thy Saviour? Hast thou not preferred earth before heaven? Hast thou not all along neglected the means of grace? and despised the offers of grace? and vexed the Spirit of grace? There would be no end, if I should set before thee the infinite evils that thou hast committed, and the innumerable good services that thou hast omitted, and the frequent checks of thy own conscience that thou hast contemned; and therefore thou mayest well conclude that thou canst never repent, that thou shalt never repent.

Now, saith Satan, do but a little consider thy numberless sins, and the greatness of thy sins, the foulness of thy sins, the heinousness of thy sins, the circumstances of thy sins, and thou shalt easily see that those sins that thou thoughtest to be but motes, are indeed mountains; and is it not now in vain to repent of them? Surely, saith Satan, if thou shouldest seek repentance and grace with tears, as Esau, thou shalt not find it; thy glass is out, thy sun is set, the door of mercy is shut, the golden sceptre is taken in, and now thou that hast despised mercy, shalt be for ever destroyed by justice. For such a wretch as thou art to attempt repentance, is to attempt a thing impossible. It is impossible that thou, that in all thy life couldst never conquer one sin, shouldst master such a numberless number of sins; which are so near, so dear, so necessary, and so profitable to thee, that have so long bedded and boarded with thee, that have been old acquaintance and companions with thee. Hast thou not often purposed, promised, vowed, and resolved to enter upon the practice of repentance, but to this day couldst never attain it? Surely it is in vain to strive against the stream, where it is so impossible to overcome; thou art lost and cast for ever; to hell thou must, to hell thou shalt.

Ah, souls! he that now tempts you to sin, by suggesting to you the easiness of repentance, will at last work you to despair, and present repentance as the hardest work in all the world, and a work as far above man as heaven is above hell, as light is above darkness. Oh that you were wise, to break off your sins by timely repentance!

May we seek the Lord almighty in true repentance out of love for Him, and may He grant us that! May He protect us from the lies of the Accuser, and may we look to Christ Jesus alone for His redemption, righteousness, forgiveness and cleansing!

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: Repentance is Easy, Part 3

This is continuing from part 2 from Puritan Thomas Brooks’ book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where the devil entices people to sin by suggesting repentance is an easy thing.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The sixth device that Satan hath to draw the soul to sin is,

Device (6). By persuading the soul that the work of repentance is an easy work, and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin. Why! Suppose you do sin, saith Satan, it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, “Lord, have mercy upon me;” and if you do but this, God will cut the score (footnote: this references notched sticks by which debt accounts were recorded anciently), and pardon your sins, and save your souls, etc.

By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls servants or rather slaves to sin, etc.

Now, the remedies against this device of Satan are these that follow:

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider of the nature of true repentance.
Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is seriously to consider, That repentance is a continued act.

The word repent implies the continuation of it. (Footnote: Anselm in his Meditations confesseth, that all his life was either damnable for sin committed, or unprofitable for good omitted; at last concludes, Oh, what then remains but in our whole life to lament the sins of our whole life.)

True repentance inclines a man’s heart to perform God’s statutes always, even unto the end. A true penitent must go on from faith to faith, from strength to strength; he must never stand still nor turn back. Repentance is a grace, and must have its daily operation as well as other graces. True repentance is a continued spring, where the waters of godly sorrow are always flowing: “My sins are ever before me,” Ps. li. 3.

A true penitent is often casting his eyes back to the days of his former vanity, and this makes him morning and evening to “water his couch with his tears.” “Remember not against me the sins of my youth,” saith one blessed penitent; and “I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious,” saith another penitent. (Ps. vi. 6, xxv. 7, 1 Tim. i. 13.)

Repentance is a continued act of turning, a repentance never to be repented of, a turning never to turn again to folly.

A true penitent hath ever something within him to turn from; he can never get near enough to God; no, not so near him as once he was; and therefore he is still turning and turning that he may get nearer and nearer to him, that is his chiefest good and his only happiness, the best and the greatest. They are every day a-crying out, “O wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from this body of death!” Rom. vii. 24. They are still sensible of sin, and still conflicting with sin, and still sorrowing for sin, and still loathing of themselves for sin. Repentance is no transient act, but a continued act of the soul.

And tell me, O tempted soul, whether it be such an easy thing as Satan would make thee believe, to be every day a-turning more and more from sin, and a-turning nearer and nearer to God, the choicest blessedness. A true penitent can as easily content himself with one act of faith, or one act of love, as he can content himself with one act of repentance.

A Jewish Rabbi, pressing the practice of repentance upon his disciples, exhorting them to be sure to repent the day before they died, one of them replied, that the day of any man’s death was very uncertain. “Repent, therefore, every day,” said the Rabbi, “and then you shall be sure to repent the day before you die.” You are wise, and know how to apply it to your own advantage.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is solemnly to consider, That if the work of repentance were such an easy work as Satan would make it to be, then certainly so many would not lie roaring and crying out of wrath and eternal ruin under the horrors and terrors of conscience, for not repenting; yea, doubtless, so many millions would not go to hell for not repenting, if it were such an easy thing to repent.

(Foortnote: If thou be backward in the thoughts of repentance, be forward in the thoughts of hell, the flames whereof only the streams of the penitent eye can extinguish. – Tertullian. Oh, how shalt thou tear and rend thyself! how shalt thou lament fruitless repenting ! What wilt thou say? Woe is me, that I have not cast off the burden of sin; woe is me, that I have not washed away my spots, but am now pierced with mine iniquities; now have I lost the surpassing joy of angels! – Basil.)

Ah, do not poor souls under horror of conscience cry out and say, Were all this world a lump of gold, and in our hand to dispose of, we would give it for the least drachm of true repentance! and wilt thou say it is an easy thing to repent? When a poor sinner, whose conscience is awakened, shall judge the exchange of all the world for the least drachm of repentance to be the happiest exchange that ever sinner made, tell me, O soul, is it good going to hell? Is it good dwelling with the devouring fire, with everlasting burnings? Is it good to be forever separated from the blessed and glorious presence of God, angels, and saints, and to be for ever shut out from those good things of eternal life, which are so many, that they exceed number; so great, that they exceed measure; so precious, that they exceed all estimation? We know it be the greatest misery that can befall the sons of men; and would they not prevent this by repentance, if it were such an easy thing to repent as Satan would have it?

Well, then, do not run the hazard of losing God, Christ, heaven, and thy soul for ever, by hearkening to this device of Satan, viz., that it is an easy thing to repent, etc. If it be so easy, why, then, do wicked men’s hearts so rise against them that press the doctrine of repentance in the sweetest way, and by the strongest and the choicest arguments that the Scripture doth afford? And why do they kill two at once: the faithful labourer’s name and their own souls, by their wicked words and actings, because they are put upon repenting, which Satan tells them is so easy a thing? Surely, were repentance so easy, wicked men would not be so much enraged when that doctrine is, by evangelical considerations, pressed upon them.

Go on to Remedies 5-6!

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: Repentance is Easy, Part 2

This is continuing from part 1 from Puritan Thomas Brooks’ book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where the devil entices people to sin by suggesting repentance is an easy thing.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The sixth device that Satan hath to draw the soul to sin is,

Device (6). By persuading the soul that the work of repentance is an easy work, and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin. Why! Suppose you do sin, saith Satan, it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, “Lord, have mercy upon me;” and if you do but this, God will cut the score (footnote: this references notched sticks by which debt accounts were recorded anciently), and pardon your sins, and save your souls, etc.

By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls servants or rather slaves to sin, etc.

Now, the remedies against this device of Satan are these that follow:

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.
Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider of the nature of true repentance.

Repentance is some other tiling than what vain men conceive. (Footnote: The Hebrew word for repentance signifies to return, implying a going back from what a man had done. It notes a turning or converting from one thing to another, from sin to God. The Greeks have two words by which they express the nature of repentance, one signifies to be careful, anxious, solicitous, after a thing is done; the other word is after-wit, or after-wisdom, the mind’s recovering of wisdom, or growing wiser after our folly. True repentance is a thorough change both of the mind and manners. Repentance for sin is nothing worth without repentance from sin. If thou repentest with a contradiction, saith Tertullian, God will pardon thee with a contradiction; if thou repentest and yet continuest in thy sin, God will pardon thee, and yet send thee to hell; there is a pardon with a contradiction. Negative goodness serves no man’s turn to save him from the axe.)

Repentance is sometimes taken, in a more strict and narrow sense, for godly sorrow; sometimes repentance is taken, in a large sense, for amendment of life. Repentance hath in it three things, viz.:

The act, subject, terms.

(1.) The formal act of repentance is a changing and converting. It is often set forth in Scripture by turning. “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned,” saith Ephraim; “after that I was turned, I repented,” saith he, Jer. xxxi. 18. It is a turning from darkness to light.

(2.) The subject changed and converted, is the whole man; it is both the sinner’s heart and life: first his heart, then his life; first his person, then his practice and conversation [behavior of live]. “Wash ye, make you clean,” there is the change of their persons; “Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well,” Isa. i. 16; there is the change of their practices. So “Cast away,” saith Ezekiel, “all your transgresssions whereby you have transgressed;” there is the change of the life; “and make you a new heart and a new spirit,” xviii. 30; there is the change of the heart,

(3.) The terms of this change and conversion, from which and to which both heart and life must be changed; from sin to God. The heart must be changed from the state and power of sin, the life from the acts of sin, but both unto God ; the heart to be under his power in a state of grace, the life to be under his rule in all new obedience; as the apostle speaks, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” Acts xxvi. 18. So the prophet Isaiah saith, “Let the wicked forsake their ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord,” lv. 7.

Thus much of the nature of evangelical repentance. Now, souls, tell me whether it be such an easy thing to repent, as Satan doth suggest.

Besides what hath been spoken, I desire that you will take notice, that repentance doth include turning from the most darling sin. Ephraim shall say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” Hosea xiv. 8. Yea, it is a turning from all sin to God: Ezek. xviii. 30, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one of you according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from your transgresssions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

Herod turned from many, but turned not from his Herodias, which was his ruin. Judas turned from all visible wickedness, yet he would not cast out that golden devil covetousness, and therefore was cast into the hottest place in hell. He that turns not from every sin, turns not aright from any one sin. Every sin strikes at the honour of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man’s conscience; and therefore a soul truly penitent strikes at all, hates all, conflicts with all, and will labour to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all. A true penitent knows neither father nor mother, neither right eye nor right hand, but will pluck out the one and cut off the other. Saul spared but one Agag, and that cost him his soul and his kingdom, 1 Sam. xv. 9.

Besides, repentance is not only a turning from all sin, but also a turning to all good; to a love of all good, to a prizing of all good, and to a following after all good: Ezek. xviii. 21, “But if the wicked will turn from all the sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die;’ that is, only negative righteousness and holiness is no righteousness nor holiness. (Footnote: It is said of Ithacus, that the hatred of the Priscilian heresy was all the virtue that he had. The evil servant did not riot out his talent, Mat. xxv. 18. Those reprobates, Mat. xxiii. 2, robbed not the saints, but relieved them not; for this they must eternally perish.) David fulfilled all the will of God, and had respect unto all his commandments, and so had Zacharias and Elizabeth.

It is not enough that the tree bears not ill fruit; but it must bring forth good fruit, else it must be “cut down and cast into the fire,” Luke xiii. 7. So it is not enough that you are not thus and thus wicked, but you must be thus and thus gracious and good, else divine justice will put the axe of divine vengeance to the root of your souls, and cut you off for ever. “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewed down and cast into the fire.” Mat. iii. 10.

Besides, repentance doth include a sensibleness of sin’s sinfulness, how opposite and contrary it is to the blessed God. God is light, sin is darkness; God is life, sin is death; God is heaven, sin is hell; God is beauty, sin is deformity.

Also true repentance includes a sensibleness of sin’s mischievousness; how it cast angels out of heaven, and Adam out of paradise; how it laid the first corner stone in hell, and brought in all the curses, crosses, and miseries, that be in the world; and how it makes men liable to all temporal, spiritual, and eternal wrath; how it hath made men Godless, Christless, hopeless, and heavenless.

Further, true repentance doth include sorrow for sin, contrition of heart. It breaks the heart with sighs, and sobs, and groans, for that a loving God and Father is by sin offended, a blessed Saviour afresh crucified, and the sweet comforter, the Spirit, grieved and vexed.

Again, repentance doth include, not only a loathing of sin, but also a loathing of ourselves for sin. As a man doth not only loathe poison, but he loathes the very dish or vessel that hath the smell of the poison; so a true penitent doth not only loathe his sin, but he loathes himself, the vessel that smells of it; so Ezek. xx. 43, “And there shall ye remember your ways and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.” True repentance will work your hearts, not only to loathe your sins, but also to loathe yourselves. (Footnote: True repentance is a sorrowing for sin, as it is an offense to God and averse to God. This both comes from God, and drives a man to God, as it did the church in the Canticles, and the prodigal: Ezek. xiii. 22, 23.)

Again, true repentance doth not only work a man to loathe himself for his sins, but it makes him ashamed of his sin also: “What fruit have ye of those things whereof ye are now ashamed?” saith the apostle, Rom. vi. 21. So Ezekiel, “And thou shalt be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God,” xxxvi. 32. When a penitential soul sees his sins pardoned, the anger of God pacified, the divine justice satisfied, then he sits down and blushes, as the Hebrew hath it, as one ashamed.

Yea, true repentance doth work a man to cross his sinful self, and to walk contrary to sinful self, to take a holy revenge upon sin, as you may see in Paul, the jailer, Mary Magdalene, and Manasseh. This the apostle shews in 2 Cor. vii. 10, 11: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance never to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold the self-same thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge.” (Footnote: So much the more God hath been displeased with the blackness of sin, the more will he be pleased with the blushing of the sinner. They that do not burn now in zeal against sin, must ere long burn in hell for sin.)

Now, souls, sum up all these things together, and tell me whether it be such an easy thing to repent as Satan would make the soul to believe, and I am confident your heart will answer that it is as hard a thing to repent as it is to make a world, or raise the dead.

I shall conclude this second remedy with a worthy saying of a precious holy man: “Repentance,” saith he, “strips us stark naked of all the garments of the old Adam, and leaves not so much as a shirt behind.” In this rotten building it leaves not a stone upon a stone. As the flood drowned Noah’s own friends and servants, so must the flood of repenting tears drown our sweetest and most profitable sins.

Go on to Remedies 3-4!

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: Repentance is Easy, Part 1

As noted in a previous blog post about him snaring people into sin by painting God as all mercy, Satan uses wiles to try to work people to hell, and is constantly in this effort:

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

But we are to resist…

James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6:11 – “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

…but only with God’s help:

Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

That last set of blog posts are taken from Puritan Thomas Brooks excellent book called “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where he identifies the various ways Satan goes about his work, and offers remedies to help against those devices.

The following is another of those devices, where the devil entices people to sin by suggesting that repentance is an easy thing, and remedies against that device.

You can listen to it here:


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The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

From Thomas Brooks:

The sixth device that Satan hath to draw the soul to sin is,

Device (6). By persuading the soul that the work of repentance is an easy work, and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin. Why! Suppose you do sin, saith Satan, it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, “Lord, have mercy upon me;” and if you do but this, God will cut the score (footnote: this references notched sticks by which debt accounts were recorded anciently), and pardon your sins, and save your souls, etc.

By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls servants or rather slaves to sin, etc.

Now, the remedies against this device of Satan are these that follow:

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.

There is no power below that power that raised Christ from the dead, and that made the world, that can break the heart of a sinner or turn the heart of a sinner. Thou art as well able to melt adamant, as to melt thine own heart; to turn a flint into flesh, as to turn thine own heart to the Lord; to raise the dead and to make a world, as to repent.

Repentance is a flower that grows not in nature’s garden. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil”, Jer. xiii. 23. Repentance is a gift that comes down from above. (footnote: Fallen man hath lost the command of himself, and the command of the creatures. And certainly he that cannot command himself cannot repent of himself.) Men are not born with repentance in their hearts, as they are born with tongues in their mouths: Acts v. 31, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” So in 2 Tim. ii. 25, “In meekness instructing them that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”

It is not in the power of any mortal to repent at pleasure. (Footnote: it was a vain brag of king Cyrus, that caused it to be written upon his tombstone, I could do all things; so could Paul too, but it was “through Christ, which strengthened him.”) Some ignorant deluded souls vainly conceit that these five words, “Lord! have mercy upon me,” are efficacious to send them to heaven; but as many are undone by buying a counterfeit jewel, so many are in hell by mistake of their repentance. Many rest in their repentance, though it be but the shadow of repentance, which caused one to say, “Repentance damneth more than sin.”

Go on to Remedy 2!

— David

David’s Digest: Satan’s Devices & Biblical Remedies: God is Full of Mercy, Part 3

This is the final part continuing from part 1 and part 2 from Puritan Thomas Brooks’ book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, where the devil entices people to sin and remedies to fight off that attack approach.

The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt.

From Thomas Brooks:

The fifth device that Satan hath to draw the soul to sin is,

Device (5). To present God to the soul as one made up all of mercy.

Oh! saith Satan, you need not make such a matter of sin, you need not be so fearful of sin, not so unwilling to sin; for God is a God of mercy, a God full of mercy, a God that delights in mercy, a God that is ready to shew mercy, a God that is never weary of shewing mercy, a God more prone to pardon his people than to punish his people; and therefore he will not take advantage against the soul; and why then, saith Satan, should you make such a matter of sin?

Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these:

Remedy (1). The first remedy is, seriously to consider, That it is the sorest judgment in the world to be left to sin upon any pretence whatsoever.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That God is as just as he is merciful.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That sins against mercy will bring the greatest and sorest judgments upon men’s heads and hearts.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider, That though God’s general mercy be over all his works, yet his special mercy is confined to those that are divinely qualified.

So in Exodus xxxiv. 6, 7, ‘And the Lord passed by before me, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.’ Exodus xx. 6, ‘And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.’ Ps. xxv. 10, ‘All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep his covenant, and his testimonies.’ Ps. xxxii. 10, ‘Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.’ Ps. xxxiii. 18, ‘Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.’ Ps. ciii. 11, ‘For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.’ Ver. 17, ‘But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.’

When Satan attempts to draw thee to sin by presenting God as a God all made up of mercy, oh then reply, that though God’s general mercy extend to all the works of his hand, yet his special mercy is confined to them that are divinely qualified, to them that love him and keep his commandments, to them that trust in him, that by hope hang upon him, and that fear him; and that thou must be such a one here, or else thou canst never be happy hereafter; thou must partake of his special mercy, or else eternally perish in everlasting misery, notwithstanding God’s general mercy.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That those that were once glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven, did look upon the mercy of God as the most powerful argument to preserve them from sin, and to fence their souls against sin, and not as an encouragement to sin.

Ps. xxvi. 3-6, ‘For thy loving-kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth; I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil-doers, and will not sit with the wicked.’ So Joseph strengthens himself against sin from the remembrance of mercy: ‘How then can I,’ saith he, ‘do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ Gen. xxxix. 9. He had fixed his eye upon mercy, and therefore sin could not enter, though the irons entered into his soul; his soul being taken with mercy, was not moved with his mistress’s impudence.

Satan knocked oft at the door, but the sight of mercy would not suffer him to answer or open. Joseph, like a pearl in a puddle, keeps his virtue still. So Paul, ‘Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ Rom. vi. 1,2. There is nothing in the world that renders a man more unlike to a saint, and more like to Satan, than to argue from mercy to sinful liberty; from divine goodness to licentiousness. This is the devil’s logic, and in whomsoever you find it, you may write, ‘This soul is lost.’

A man may as truly say, the sea burns, or fire cools, as that free grace and mercy should make a soul truly gracious to do wickedly. So the same apostle, ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service,’ Rom. xii. 1. So John, ‘These things I write unto you, that ye sin not,’ 1 John ii. 1, 2. What was it that he wrote? He wrote, ‘That we might have fellowship with the Father and his Son; and that the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin, and that if we confess our sin, he is just and faithful to forgive us our sins; and that if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ These choice favours and mercies the apostle holds forth as the choicest means to preserve the soul from sin, and to keep at the greatest distance from sin; and if this won’t do it, you may write the man void of Christ and grace, and undone for ever.

May we pray to the Lord for help against Satan’s wiles, may He grant us strength and direction to resist, and we thank Him for His promises and remedies against this foe of God and our souls!

— David

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