Satan’s Devices to Keep Saints Doubting and Questioning –Part 1

Satan’s Devices to keep saints in a sad, doubting, questioning, and uncomfortable condition. –Part 1

1. By causing saints to remember their sins more than their Savior, yea, even to forget and neglect their Savior:

For remedies, consider that

A. Though Jesus Christ has not freed believers from sin’s presence, He has freed them from its damnatory power
B. Though Jesus Christ has not freed believers from the vexing and molesting power of sin, He has freed them from the reign and dominion of sin.
C. It is needful to keep one eyes on the promise of remission of sin, and the other eye on the inward operations of sin
D. Believers’ sins have been charged to the account of Christ as debts which He has fully satisfied
E. The Lord has good reasons for allowing His people to be troubled with sinful corruptions
F. Believers must repent of their being discouraged by their sins

2. By causing saints to make false definitions of their graces:

For remedies, consider that

A. There may be true faith, even great faith, where there is no assurance
B. The Scriptures define faith other than Satan tempts the saints to define it
C. There may be true faith where there is much doubting
D. Assurance is an effect of faith, not faith itself

3. By causing saints to make false inferences from the cross actings of Providence:

For remedies, consider that

A. Many things, through contrary to our desires, are not contrary to our good
B. God’s hand may be against a man when His love and His heart are set upon him
C. Cross providences are sent by God to work some noble good for saints
D. All the strange and deep providences that believers meet with further them in their way to heaven

-Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 1652.

Holy Lord God I love Thy truth

Holy Lord God! I love Thy truth,
Nor dare Thy least commandment slight;
Yet pierced by sin, the serpent’s tooth,
I mourn the anguish of the bite.

But though the poison lurks within,
Hope bids me still with patience wait;
Till death shall set me free from sin,
Free from the only thing I hate.

Had I a throne above the rest,
Where angels and archangels dwell;
One sin, unslain, within my breast,
Would make that Heav’n as dark as hell.

The prisoner, sent to breathe fresh air,
And blessed with liberty again,
Would mourn, were he condemned to wear
One link of all his former chain.

But O! no foe invades the bliss,
When glory crowns the Christian’s head;
One view of Jesus as He is,
Will strike all sin forever dead.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

No Strength of Nature Can Suffice

No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright;
And what she has, she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

How long beneath the Law I lay
In bondage and distress!
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.

Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its power within,
I feel I hate it too.

Then all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose His ways.

What shall I do was then the word,
That I may worthier grow?
What shall I render to the Lord?
Is my inquiry now.

To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
And hear His pardoning voice;
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779).

Join All the Glorious Names

Join all the glorious names
Of wisdom, love, and power,
That ever mortals knew,
That angels ever bore:
All are too mean to speak His worth,
To poor to set my Savior forth.

But O what gentle terms,
What condescending ways,
Doth our Redeemer use
To teach his heav’nly grace!
Mine eyes with joy and wonder see
What forms of love He bears for me.

Arrayed in mortal flesh,
He like an angel stands,
And holds the promises
And pardons in His hands;
Commissioned from His Father’s throne
To make His grace to mortals known.

Great Prophet of my God,
My tongue would bless Thy Name,
By Thee the joyful news
Of our salvation came,
The joyful news of sin forgiv’n
Of hell subdued, and peace with Heav’n.

Be Thou my Counsellor,
My Pattern, and my Guide,
And through this desert land
Still keep me near thy side:
Nor let my feet e’er run astray
Nor rove nor seek the crooked way.

I love my Shepherd’s voice,
His watchful eyes shall keep
My wand’ring soul among
The thousands of His sheep:
He feeds His flock, He calls their names,
His bosom bears the tender lambs.

To this dear Surety’s hand
Will I commit my cause;
He answers and fulfils
His Father’s broken laws:
Behold my soul at freedom set!
My Surety paid the dreadful debt.

Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offered His blood, and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside:
His powerful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the throne.

My Advocate appears
For my defense on high;
The Father bows his ears,
And lays his thunder by:
Not all that hell or sin can say
Shall turn his heart, his love away.

My dear almighty Lord,
My Conqueror and my King,
Thy scepter and Thy sword,
Thy reigning grace I sing:
Thine is the power; behold I sit
In willing bonds beneath Thy feet.

Now let my soul arise,
And tread the tempter down;
My Captain leads me forth
To conquest and a crown:
A feeble saint shall win the day,
Though death and hell obstruct the way.

Should all the hosts of death,
And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power, and guardian grace.

-Isaac Watts, Hymns and Sacred Songs, 1709.

God’s Cause

SOVEREIGN GOD,

Your cause, not my own, engages my heart,
and I appeal to You with greatest freedom
to set up Your kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;

Glorify Yourself and I shall rejoice,
for to bring honor to Your name in my sole desire.

I adore You that You are God,
and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it.

O that all men might love and praise You,
that You might have all glory from the intelligent world!

Let sinners be brought to You for Your dear name!

To the eye of reason everything respecting
the conversion of others is as dark as midnight,

But You can accomplish great things;
the cause is Yours,
and it is to Your glory that men should be saved.

Lord, use me as You will,
do with me what You will;
but, O, promote Your cause,
let Your kingdom come,
let Your blessed interest be advanced in this world!

O bring in great numbers to Jesus!
let me see that glorious day,
and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls;
let me be willing to die to that end;
and while I live let me labour for You
to the utmost of my strength,
spending time profitably in this work,
both in health and in weakness.

It is Your cause and kingdom I long for, not my own.
O, answer my request!

-Arthur Bennett, ed. The Valley of Vision, 320. (language modernized)

From All That Dwell Below the Skies

From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung,
Through every land, by every tongue.

Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy Word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns rise and set no more.

Your lofty themes, ye mortals, bring,
In songs of praise divinely sing;
The great salvation loud proclaim,
And shout for joy the Savior’s Name.

In every land begin the song;
To every land the strains belong;
In cheerful sounds all voices raise,
And fill the world with loudest praise.

-Isaac Watts, Psalm 117, The Psalms of Da­vid, 1719; stan­za 3, anon­y­mous; stanza 4, Ro­bert Spence, Pock­et Hymn Book, 1780.

Satan’s Devices to Keep Souls from Holy Duties – Part 4

Satan’s Devices to keep souls from holy duties, to hinder souls in holy services, to keep them off from religious [activities].

7. By casting in vain thoughts while the soul is seeking God or waiting on God:

For remedies, consider that

A. The God with whom we have to do is great, holy, majestic, and glorious
B. Despite wandering thoughts it is needful to be resolute in religious service
C. Vain and trifling thoughts that Satan casts into our souls are not sins if they are abhorred, resisted and disclaimed
D. Watching against, resisting and lamenting sinful thoughts evidences grace and the sincerity of our hearts.
E. We must labor to be filled with the fullness of God and enriched with all spiritual blessings
F. We must labor to keep up holy and spiritual affections
G. We must labor to avoid multiplicity of worldly business

8. By tempting Christians to rest in their deeds:

For remedies, consider that

A. Our choicest services have their imperfections and weaknesses
B. Our choicest services are unable to minister comfort and aid in days of trouble
C. Good works, if rested upon, will certainly destroy us as the greatest sin we commit
D. God has met our need of resting place in Christ Himself

-Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 1652.

Satan’s Devices to Keep Souls from Holy Duties – Part 3

Satan’s Devices to keep souls from holy duties, to hinder souls in holy services, to keep them off from religious [activities].

5. By presenting to view the fewness and poverty of those who hold to religious practices:

For remedies, consider that

A. Though saints are outwardly poor, they are inwardly rich
B. In all ages God has had some that have been rich, wise, and honorable
C. Spiritual riches infinitely transcend temporal riches, and satisfy the poorest saints
D. Saints now appear to be ‘a little flock,’ but they belong to a company that cannot be numbered
E. It is but as a day before these departed saints will shine brighter than the sun
F. The time will come even in this life when God will take away the reproach and contempt of His people, and make those the ‘head’ who have been the ‘tail’

6. By showing saints that the majority of men make light of God’s ways and walk in the ways of their own hearts:

For remedies, consider that

A. Certain Scriptures warn against following the sinful examples of men
B. Those who sin with the multitude will suffer with the multitude
C. The soul of a man is of more worth that heaven and earth

-Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 1652.

Satan’s Devices to Keep Souls from Holy Duties – Part 2

Satan’s Devices to keep souls from holy duties, to hinder souls in holy services, to keep them off from religious [activities].

3. By presenting to the soul the difficulty of [doing] religious duties:

For remedies, consider that

A. It is better to regard the necessity of the duty than the difficulty of it
B. The Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the obedient soul and thus make the service easy
C. The Lord Jesus has Himself engaged in hard service and in suffering for your temporal and eternal good
D. Religious duties are only difficult to the worse, not to the more noble part of a saint
E. A glorious recompense awaits saints who serve the Lord in the face of difficulties and discouragements

4. By causing saints to draw false inferences from the blessed and glorious things that Christ has done:

For remedies, consider that

A. It is needful to dwell as much upon scriptures that state Christian duty as upon those that speak of the glorious things that Christ has done for us
B. The glorious things that Christ has done and is now doing for us should be our strongest motives and encouragements for the [doing] of our duties
C. Other precious souls who have rested on Christ’s work have been very active and lively in religious duties
D. Those who do not walk in God’s ways cannot have such evidence of their righteousness before God as can those who rejoice in the service of the Lord
E. Duties are to be esteemed not by their acts but by their ends

-Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 1652.

Satan’s Devices to Keep Souls from Holy Duties – Part 1

Satan’s Devices to keep souls from holy duties, to hinder souls in holy services, to keep them off from religious [activities].

1. By presenting the world in such a garb as to ensnare the soul:

For remedies, consider that

A. All things here below are impotent and weak
B. They are also full of vanity
C. All things under the sun are uncertain and mutable
D. The great things of the world are hurtful to men owing to the corruption of their hearts
E. All the [happiness] of this world is mixed
F. It is needful to get better acquainted with, and assurance of, more blessed and glorious things
G. True happiness and satisfaction do not arise form worldly good
H. The value and dignity of the soul is to be a subject of contemplation

2. By presenting to the soul the dangers, losses and sufferings that accompany the [doing] of certain religious duties:

For remedies, consider that

A. All such troubles cannot harm the Christian
B. Saints now glorified encounter such dangers, but persevered to the end
C. All such dangers are but for a moment, whereas the neglect of the service of God lays the Christian open to spiritual and eternal dangers
D. god knows how to deliver from troubles by troubles, from dangers by dangers
E. In the service of God, despite troubles and afflictions, the gains outweigh the losses

-Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 1652.