Tim Challies worked through the classic puritan book Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks with his blog readers. The book more or less exhaustively captures the ways that we’re drawn into sin and provides ways to protect ourselves. You should definitely read the book, but Challies does a nice job of summarizing the key themes in his posts:
- Satan loves to sail with the wind: Introduction to the series with the summary being a quote from Brooks, “Satan has snares for the wise and snares for the simple; snares for hypocrites, and snares for the upright; snares for generous souls, and snares for timorous souls; snares for the rich, and snares for the poor; snares for the aged, and snares for youth.”
- Satan wants to help you: Themes include minimizing sin, rationalizing it because others have fallen as well, hiding the consequences and making repentance cheap
- Satan wants to help you even more: More ways of being tempted to sin such as comparison with others, association with the wrong group of friends and the challenge of maintaining holiness
- Eight ways Satan want to keep you from worship: The ideas here are making the world look attractive, showing that Christians are the minority, distracting thoughts filling the mind and reliance on past devotion to God rather than persistence and commitment in the present
- Eight ways Satan convinces you to question your salvation: These topics cover focusing on sin rather than on our Savior, a misunderstanding of grace, relapses of sin and that only unbelievers face strong temptations
- Twelve ways to preserve Christian unity: This summary shifts from temptations to benefits of sticking together as a church body, loving one another, forgiving wrongs and reconciling among other things
- Ten ways to resist the devil: The series is wrapped up with this post. It touches on points such as working for wisdom, resisting temptation, staying humble and communing with God
“Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” by Thomas Brooks ranks right up there with “Pilgrim’s Progress” in terms of time-honored Puritan classics. This book is a must-read for every Christian, especially those who are struggling or tampering with sin. Satan hates “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” because it exposes his methods. More than that, it offers biblical methods to avoid and overcome temptation. The message and content of “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” are as useful today as they were many ages ago when it was written. The profound depths of insight that Thomas Brooks delivers makes it worthy of reading over and over again. This book is similar to C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” in that it exposes the schemes which so frequently work against God’s people. Whether you are downhearted, unsure about the topic of spiritual warfare, or want to successfully battle pride, unbelief, or lust, this book has it all. “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” includes tips on how to uplift and purify the thoughts, and how to fight more fiercely against the sin that so easily taints our hearts and minds. Though written years ago, it is extremely relevant to our time. The remedies are unabashedly from God’s written Word and are effective “treatment” for the issues at hand. “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” can be used as a devotional, discipleship reading, or tool for counseling.
In considering this work I am reminded of the song, “Killing Me Softly with His Song” in which the singer states that the singer has sung about her justas if he’d read her letters. He KNEW her, yet had never met her. This book could bring this to your mind too. The reader will find statements of Satan’s “devices” – the strategies he used, lies he tells, etc. and one can recognize how these things have been a part of one’s life at different times. The rememdies are unabashedly from God’s written Word and are effective “treatment” for the issue at hand. Similar to C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” in exposing some schemes which tend to work against God’s people, this is book can be used as a devotional, a discipleship reading, and a tool for counseling.