9.01.2010

Low living

DEVICE 8 [of Satan] By representing to the soul the outward mercies that vain men enjoy, and the outward miseries that they are freed from, whilst they have walked in the ways of sin...

The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider the end and design of God in heaping up mercy upon the heads of the wicked, and in giving them a 'quietus est,' rest and quiet from those sorrows and sufferings that others sigh under...

Canst thou think seriously of this, O soul, and not say, O Lord, I humbly crave that thou wilt let me be little in this world, that I may be great in another world; and low here, that I may be high for ever hereafter. Let me be low, and feed low, and live low, so I may live with thee for ever; let me now be clothed with rags, so thou wilt clothe me at last with thy robes; let me now be set upon a dunghill, so I may at last be advanced to sit with thee upon thy throne. Lord, make me rather gracious than great, inwardly holy than outwardly happy, and rather turn me into my first nothing, yea, make me worse than nothing, rather than set me up for a time, that thou mayest bring me low forever.
In this "chapter" by Thomas Brooks in his work "Precious remedies against Satan's devices," Brooks contrasts how the wicked often receive many temporal, worldly blessings such as riches, wealth, power, physical beauty, etc. With this wider context in mind, I feel it important to note that I strongly disbelieve that Brooks would argue that in and of themselves living a life of poverty and living low by the world's standards will bring eternal, heavenly crowns and blessings. "Mansions of glory and endless delight" are not ours forevermore by our own virtue, for we are evil; they are presented and prepared by Christ and his righteous worth. (And that's not even mentioning that Jesus himself will be our greatest pleasure in eternity future, not heaven and its many blessings as chief treasure.)

Brooks is arguing that Satan presents this lie to Christians (and I will modernize the English):
"...if you would ever be freed from the dark night of adversity, and enjoy the sunshine of prosperity, you must walk in [sinners'] ways."
Clearly, the truth is quite opposite this lie of Satan. See Psalm 1:1 below:
Blessed is the man
   who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
   nor sits in the seat of scoffers...
For the Christian, they must not embark on life's journey seeking to imitate the way of the wicked who enjoy earthly prosperity. (Insert rant on prosperity heresy preachers here.) The disciple of Christ must be of the mindset that seeks a low position in their life presently rather than a life devoid of adversity, pain, trial, and suffering; for this is one device against Satan's lie. The wicked who enjoy great wealth in this world will be penniless for all eternity when their mortal bodies die. Brooks notes, and this is a most somber topic,
"God's setting them up, is but in order to his casting them down; his raising them high, is but in order to bringing them low."

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