by Thomas Brooks
Christian Reader! Some preachers in our days are like Heraclitus, who was called the dark doctor, because he affected dark speeches; so they affect sublime notions, obscure expressions, uncouth phrases: making plain truths difficult, and easy truths hard, etc. They "darken counsel by words without knowledge," Job 38:2. Men of abstract conceits and wise speculations are but wise fools: like the lark that soars up on high, peering and peering—but at last falls into the net of the fowler. Such people commonly are as censorious as they are curious, and do Christ and his church but very, very little service in this world.
The heathenish priests had their mythologies and strange canting expressions, of their imaginary inaccessible deities, to amaze and amuse their blind superstitions followers; and thereby to hold up their Popish and apish idolatries in greater veneration. The prudent reader can tell how to make application.
If you desire high strains of wit, or larded, pompous, and high-flown expressions, or eloquent trappings, or fine new notions, or such things that you may rather be amazed at than understand, I shall not encourage you to the perusal of this treatise. But,
First, If you would be furnished with sovereign antidotes against the most dangerous errors which are rampant in these days—then seriously peruse this treatise: 2 Pet. 3:16; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7-11.
Secondly, If you would be established, strengthened, settled, and confirmed in the grand points of the gospel—then seriously peruse this treatise: 1 Pet. 5:10. But,
Thirdly, If you would know what that faith is, which gives you a saving interest in Christ and in all that fundamental good which comes by Christ—then seriously peruse this treatise: John 1:12, 16, and 5:24. But,
Fourthly, If you would have your judgment rightly informed in some great truths, about which several men of note have been mistaken—then seriously peruse this treatise: 1 Cor. 2:6-7; Psalm 119:18. But,
Fifthly, If you would know what safe and excellent pleas to make to those ten scriptures that refer to the general judgment, and to your particular day of judgment—then seriously peruse this treatise: 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27. But,
Sixthly, If you would have your heart brought and kept in a humble, broken, bleeding, melting, tender frame—then seriously peruse this treatise: Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 57:15; 2 Chron. 34:27. But,
Seventhly, If you would always come to the Lord's table with such a frame of spirit, as Christ may take a delight to meet you, to bless you, to bid you welcome, and to seal up his love and your pardon to you—then seriously peruse this treatise, especially that part of it where the dreadful and amazing sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in body and soul, are at large set forth: Mat. 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-30. But,
Eighthly, If you would have a clear sight of the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the love of Christ—then seriously peruse this treatise: Eph. 3:18; Psalm 146:8. But,
Ninthly, If you would have your love to Christ tried, raised, acted, inflamed, discovered, and augmented, etc.—then seriously peruse this treatise: Cant. 1:7, and 8:5-7. But,
Tenthly, If you are a strong man in Christ Jesus, and would have your head and heart exercised in the great things of God, and in the deep things of God, and in the mysterious things of God—then seriously peruse this treatise: 2 Tim. 2:1; Heb. 5:14; 1 Cor. 6-7; 1 John 2:14. But,
Eleventhly, If you are but a weak Christian, a babe, a little child, a shrub, a dwarf in grace, holiness, and communion with God, and in your spiritual attainments, enjoyments, and experiences—then seriously peruse this treatise, especially the first part of it: 1 Cor. 3:1; Heb. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:2; 1 John 2:1, 12-13. But,
Twelfthly, If you would know whether you are an indulger of sin, and if you would be stocked with singular remedies against your special sins—then seriously peruse the former part of this treatise: Job 20:11-14; Micah 6:6-7; Romans 13:14; James 4:3. But,
Thirteenthly, If you would be rooted, grounded, strengthened, and settled in those two grand points of the gospel, namely, the active and passive obedience of Christ, and be daily refreshed with those pleasant streams, with those waters of life that flow from thence—then seriously peruse this treatise: 1 Pet. 5:10; Isaiah Heb. 10:10, 12, 14; Gal. 4:4-5; Romans 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21. But,
Fourteenthly, If you would be throughly acquainted with the sufferings of Christ, in his body and soul, with their greatness and grievousness, etc., and if you would understand the mighty benefits we have by his sufferings—then seriously peruse this treatise: Isaiah 53 and 63:2; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; John 10:11, 15, 17-18. But,
Fifteenthly, If you would be able strongly to prove, that there is a hell, a place of torment, provided and prepared for all wicked and ungodly people—then seriously peruse this treatise: Mat. 25:41; Psalm 9:17; Proverbs 5:5. But,
Sixteenthly, If you would, in a scripture-glass, see the torments of hell, and know how to avoid them, and what divine improvements to make of them, and be resolved in several questions concerning hell and hellish torments—then seriously peruse this treatise. But,
Seventeenthly, If you would be able strenuously to maintain and defend Christ's eternal deity and manhood against all corrupt teachers and gainsayers—then seriously peruse this treatise: 1 John 1:2, 14; 1 Tim. 2:5. But,
Eighteenthly, If you would be rooted and grounded in that great doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ, and be warmed, refreshed, cheered, comforted, and delighted with those choice and singular consolations that flow from thence—then seriously peruse this treatise: Jer. 23:6; Isaiah 45:24, and 61:10; 1 Cor. 1:30. But,
Nineteenthly, If you would be set at liberty from many fears and doubts and disputes that often arise in your soul about your internal and eternal estate, then seriously peruse this treatise: Psalm 42:5, 11, and 55:5; 2 Cor. 7:5. But,
Twentiethly, If you would have all grace to flourish and abound in your soul, if you would be eminently serviceable in your generation, if you would be ripe for sufferings, for death, for heaven, if you would be temptation-proof, if you would be weaned from this world and triumph in Christ Jesus when the world triumphs over you—then seriously peruse this treatise: Psalm 92:12-14; Romans 15:13; Acts 13:36; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Rev. 12:1; 2 Cor. 14.
Reader, if you would make any earnings of your reading this treatise, then you must—
1. Read, and believe what you read.
2. You must read, and meditate on what you read.
3. You must read, and pray over what you read.
4. You must read, and test what you read by the touchstone of the word.
5. You must read, and apply what you read; that plaster will never heal that is not applied, etc.
6. You must read, and make conscience of living up to what you read, and of living out what you read. [Acts 18:8, and 24:14; Psalm 1:2, and 119:5, 18; Acts 17:11; Psalm 119:9; John 13:17; Psalm 119:105-106.] This is the way to honor your God, to gain profit by this treatise, to credit religion, to stop foul mouths, to strengthen weak hands, to better a bad head, to mend a bad heart, to rectify a disorderly life, and to make sure work for your soul, for heaven, for eternity.
Reader, in a sealed fountain and hidden treasures, there is little profit or comfort. No fountain compared to that which flows for common good, no treasures t compared o those who lie open for public service. If you get any good by reading this treatise, give God alone the glory; and remember the author when you are in the mount with God. His prayers for you are, that you may be a knowing Christian, a sincere Christian, a growing Christian, a rooted Christian, a resolute Christian, an untainted Christian, an exemplary Christian, a humble Christian, and then he knows you will be a saved Christian in the day of Christ; so he rests, who is your cordial friend and soul's servant,
Table of Contents
The Epistle Dedicatory
To the Reader
What are the special remedies, means or helps against cherishing or keeping up of any special or peculiar sin, either in heart or life?
What is that faith, which gives a man a saving interest in Christ, and in all those blessed benefits and favors which come by Christ?
Questions concerning the great day of the Lord, and the day of judgment.
Christ, bearing and enduring all these punishments for the elect.
Christ's spiritual sufferings.
Hell is a place of endless, easeless, and remediless torment.
The Divinity and Humanity of Christ
Applications and inferences
The justification of a sinner in the sight of God
Nine choice consolations of justification
Christ our representative and surety