Don't let my lack of posting about this book serve as an indication that I was neither engaged nor interested. To the contrary, I have found myself immersed in it, to the point that I have labored to suck out every bit of sweetness from its pages. I finished the book this morning, but want to step back to my reading from last week and post an important section for the edification of both of my readers.
Satan has his devices to destroy the saints; and one great device that he has to destroy the saints is, By working them first to be cold, and then to divide, and then to be bitter and jealous, and then 'to bite and devour one another' (Gal. 5:15). Our own woeful experience is too great a proof of this. The Israelites in Egypt did not more vex one another, than Christians in these days have done, which occasioned a deadly consumption to fall upon some. (If we knock, we break. Dissolution is the daughter of dissension.)
The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell more upon one another's graces than upon one another's weaknesses and infirmities. It is sad to consider that saints should have many eyes to behold one another's infirmities, and not one eye to see each other's graces, that they should use spectacles to behold one another's weaknesses, rather than looking-glasses to behold one another's graces.
The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That love and union makes most for your own safety and security. We shall be invincible if we are inseparable. The world may frown upon you, and plot against you—but they cannot hurt you. Unity is the best bond of safety in every church and commonwealth.
The third remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon those commands of God which require you to love one another.
The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell more upon these choice and sweet things wherein you agree, than upon those things wherein you differ.
The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That God delights to be styled—'the God of peace'; and Christ to be styled—'the Prince of peace, and King of peace'; and the Spirit is a Spirit of peace. 'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace' (Gal 5:22). Oh! why then should not the saints be children of peace?
The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, To make more care and conscience, of keeping up your peace with God. Ah! Christians, I am afraid that your remissness herein is that which has occasioned much of that sourness, bitterness, and divisions that be among you. (There is no fear of knowing too much—but there is much fear in practicing too little.) Ah! you have not, as you should, kept up your peace with God, and therefore it is that you do so dreadfully break the peace among yourselves. The Lord has promised, 'That when a man's ways please him, he will make his enemies to be at peace with him' (Prov. 16:7). Ah! how much more then would God make the children of peace to keep the peace among themselves, if their ways do but please him!
The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell much upon that near relation and union that is between you. This consideration had a sweet influence upon Abraham's heart: 'And Abraham said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray you, between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen—for we are brethren' (Gen.13:8). The Hebrew signifies, 'Oh! let there be no bitterness between us—for we are brethren.'
The eighth remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the miseries of discord. Dissolution is the daughter of dissension. Ah! how does the name of Christ, and the way of Christ, suffer by the discord of saints! How are many who are entering upon the ways of God hindered and saddened, and the mouths of the wicked opened, and their hearts hardened against God and his ways—by the discord of his people! Remember this—the disagreement of Christians is the devil's triumph; and what a sad thing is this, that Christians should give Satan cause to triumph!
The ninth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That it is no disparagement to you to be first in seeking peace and reconcilement—but rather an honor to you, that you have begun to seek peace.
The tenth remedy against this device of Satan is, For saints to join together and walk together in the ways of grace and holiness so far as they do agree, making the word of God their only touchstone and judge of their actions.
The eleventh remedy against this device of Satan is, To be much in selfjudging. 'Judge yourselves, and you shall not be judged by the Lord' (1 Cor. 11:31).
The twelfth remedy against this device of Satan is this, above all, Labor to be clothed with humility. Humility makes a man peaceable among brethren, fruitful in well-doing, cheerful in suffering, and constant in holy walking (1 Pet. 5:5).
(Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices (pdf download) by Thomas Brooks, selections from pages 198-209)