It’s the end of season one of the Theodio Podcast. I’m your host Dan Kassis.
For the last 44 episodes, we have listened to and explored the book Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks. We have shared segments of our original audio production of the book, providing commentary and fresh insight, bringing this work of classic theology to life for you.
And that’s the whole reason I created Theodio: to bring classic theology to life. That slogan has carried two meanings. I feel it’s my duty to bring to life some timeless old works that should be read and appreciated today. And I’ve aimed to do so in a way that brings this content to your life, in a way you can use and benefit from. I hope that’s been the case for you.
I want to thank everyone who has joined us on this journey, regardless of when you learned about the Theodio Podcast. If you missed any episodes, you can always catch up wherever you get your podcasts, or on our website at Theodio.com. If you haven’t done so yet, we’d like to request you submit a rating or review of the show. Doing so helps other people find the shows they want to hear.
And don’t forget about the blog. It’s where this whole journey started. You can read the post that accompanies each podcast episode, and leave a comment at the end if you’ve read something you found especially helpful or meaningful.
Expectations vs. reality
Personally, I have found Precious Remedies to be more helpful and meaningful to my own life than I expected. This journey has upset my expectations many times, in ways I have found surprising or even amusing. I’d like to share them with you here.
First, I expected a book about Satan, but I got a book about Christ.
Coming into this project, I prepared myself for a long lesson about the devil. I assumed he would be the subject of the book, that it would have an almost sulfurous quality. Instead, the sweet aroma of Christ is what permeates this work.
The book isn’t about Satan as much as it is about his devices – hence the title. And Brooks’s goal is not as much about educating his readers about the devices as much as it’s about our weapons of warfare against them.
Brooks constantly reminds his readers we cannot experience victory over our enemy without the help and companionship of the Lord Jesus. His refrain throughout these pages is not so much “do this” as “remember this.” We remember what Christ has accomplished for us, remember the tools we have at our disposal, remember that we are on a journey home from war.
Second, I’m convinced more than ever that spiritual warfare is a battle of the mind
It was more than 10 years ago, during my seminary studies, that I took a hard look at Ephesians 6 and realized I had spiritual warfare all wrong. I’ve had other similar experiences with the scriptures, times when God’s word managed to tell me what it truly says through the noise of popular evangelicalism and hand-me-down devotionals.
I won’t repeat here all the details about what the individual pieces of armor represent. You can read that blog post or listen to that podcast episode to catch that if you want. But the main thing to remember is that the armor is mostly protective gear. And what does it protect us from? Lies, accusations, intimidation, and misleading half-truths. It keeps our heads and hearts safe. It binds up all our loose ends with truth. It plants us firmly where we stand.
And those are the words with which Brooks closes this entire work. He quotes Ephesians 6, reminding us that, having done all the preparatory work of arming and protecting ourselves, we stand. We remain on our feet, stand our ground, and refuse to be moved. We know and remember the truth. We fight from a position of victory.
So, no, the “shoes of the gospel of peace” have nothing to do with evangelism. Yeah, I have to bring that up, because it’s such a common error. “The gospel shoes carry us wherever God sends us to preach the good news.” No. This passage is about spiritual warfare. Why would Paul suddenly take a hard turn to talk about mission? He doesn’t. Yes, the New Testament’s call to evangelism is clear. But it isn’t in Ephesians 6. I’m a big proponent of “teach it where it says it.”
I’ve had a few soapbox moments here on season one. Thanks for indulging me one last time.
Third, and finally, I expected a book of wisdom, but I got a collection of letters from a friend.
Is Precious Remedies filled with timeless wisdom? Of course. But it’s not some weighty tome from a detached, distant old sage. It’s more like a series of handwritten notes from that guy in your Bible study class you love. You know the one. Every time he opens his mouth to speak, he drops gold. You secretly wish he was the one teaching.
You know what a word cloud is? A cluster of terms from a written work that shows you the most commonly used words and phrases. I looked up this book on Google Books and found a word cloud for it. Want to know what are the two most often used words? Satan and Jesus? That’s a really good guess, but no. The answer is: “Ah, souls.” That’s it. Two little words that reveal Thomas Brooks’s heart for his readers.
Each time that phrase appears in the book, I tried to put some emphasis into the audio version. “Ah, souls.” There is weight and breath in those words. There is a heart cry of longing that we would take seriously Brooks’s admonitions and encouragements. This faithful pastor cannot hide his deep desire for our spiritual well being.
There’s one more oft repeated phrase in Precious Remedies. You see it at the close of many of Brooks’s remedies. “You know how to apply it.” This man trusts his readers’ ability to put his wisdom to use. He doesn’t waste time providing detailed instructions on how to make it all work. Oh, how I wish more of today’s pastors would follow his example. Their long to-do lists wear us out with their overly complicated steps. Instead, Brooks lays out his remedies for us, and then steps away, allowing us to make use of them individually according to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
As you have listened to our original audiobook segments, and hopefully read Precious Remedies for yourself, you must have noticed how eminently quotable Thomas Brooks is. I’ve remarked more than once that it’s as if Brooks knew Twitter would be invented one day. Many of his statements are pithy and punchy. He uses alliteration and rhyme almost like a rapper. It’s definitely not something I expected from a 17th century English Puritan before I began this journey.
As I’ve worked through the book over the last few years, I’ve collected my favorite Brooks quotations. And since there’s no audiobook segment to share in this final episode, I’m going to read this list here.
Many long to be meddling with the murdering morsels of sin, which nourish not — but rend and consume the belly — and the soul that receives them. Many eat that on earth what they digest in hell.
Men must not think to dance and dine with the devil, and then to sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; to feed upon the poison of asps, and yet that the viper’s tongue should not slay them.
Until we have sinned, Satan is a parasite; when we have sinned, he is a tyrant.
The least sin is contrary to the law of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the glory of God.
Ah, souls, you can easily sin as the saints — but can you repent with the saints?
Though sin dwells in the regenerate, yet it does not reign over the regenerate; they rise by repentance.
God’s corrections are our instructions, his lashes our lessons, his scourges our schoolmasters, his chastisements our admonitions.
It is a human thing to fall into sin, devilish to persevere therein, and divine to rise from it. Deliver me, O Lord, from that evil man — myself.
Mercy is God’s Alpha, justice is His Omega.
When God’s mercy is despised, then His justice takes the throne.
Repentance is a flower which does not grow in nature’s garden.
It is not resolving, it is not complaining, it is not mourning — but believing, which will make you divinely victorious over that body of sin that to this day is too strong for you, and that will certainly be your ruin, if it be not ruined by a hand of faith.
The heart of man is a three – sided triangle, which the whole round circle of the world cannot fill.
He who escapes discipline may suspect his adoption. God had one Son without corruption — but no son without correction.
God had one Son without sin — but none without sorrow.
Let heaven be a man’s object , and earth will soon be his abject.
Talk not of a godly life — but let your life speak. Your actions in passing pass not away; for every good work is a grain of seed for eternal life.
Not race or place — but grace truly sets forth a man.
I don’t think I can stretch season one out any further. It has been an incredible honor to bring Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices to life for you. And here’s one more reminder that if you will sign up for our email newsletter on the homepage at Theodio.com, you’ll know when our original, unabridged audio edition releases this summer. You’ll be eligible for a special price, and a little something extra, too.
And speaking of original audio recordings, I’m already at work on the next one. Once again, I turned to some trusted friends for advice on which book to tackle. After four years studying spiritual warfare with Thomas Brooks, the consensus was that it’s time to shine a bright light on the matchless person and work of the Lord Jesus. So I’m turning to a contemporary of Brooks, another 17th century English Puritan.
His name is John Flavel. In 1671 he published a collection of sermons titled: The Fountain of Life Opened, Or a Display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory. For our purposes, it’s simply called The Fountain of Life. And Lord willing, this book will be the focus of season two of the Theodio Podcast and the accompanying blog.
If all goes according to plan, we’ll be back in 2022 to begin yet another journey to bring classic theology to life.
Thank you. See you next year.