By Thomas Brooks, (1608 - 1680)

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us--for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11


(Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians, Chapter 2, verses 5-11)

In the fifth verse, the apostle shows, that the incestuous person had by his incest saddened those precious souls who God would not have saddened. Souls who walk sinfully are Hazaels to the godly (2 Kings 8:12-15), and draw many sighs and tears from them. Jeremiah weeps in secret for Judah's sins (Jer. 9:1); and Paul cannot speak of the belly-gods with dry eyes (Phil. 3:18, 19). And Lot's righteous soul was burdened, vexed and racked by the filthy Sodomites (2 Peter 2:7, 8). Every sinful Sodomite was a Hazael to his eyes, a Hadadrimmon to his heart (Zech. 12:11). Gracious souls use to mourn for other men's sins as well as their own, and for their souls and sins who make a mock of sin, and a jest of damning their own souls. Guilt or grief is all that gracious souls get by communion with vain souls! "Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed." Psalm 119:136. "I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word." Psalms 119:158.

In the 6th verse, he shows that the punishment which was inflicted upon the incestuous person was sufficient, and therefore they should not refuse to receive him who had repented and sorrowed for his former faults and follies. It is not for the honor of Christ, the credit of the gospel, nor the good of souls, for professors to be like those bloody wretches, that burnt some that recanted at the stake, saying, "That they would send them into another world while they were in a good mind."

In the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th verses, the apostle stirs up the church to forgive him, to comfort him, and to confirm their love towards him, lest he should be "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow," Satan going about to mix the detestable weeds (Matt. 13:25) of despair, with the godly sorrow of a pure penitent heart. It was a sweet saying of Jerome, "Let a man grieve for his sin, and then joy for his grief." That sorrow for sin which keeps the soul from looking towards the mercy-seat, and that keeps Christ and the soul asunder, or that shall render the soul unfit for the communion of saints--is a sinful sorrow.

In the 11th verse, he lays down another reason to work them to show pity and mercy to the penitent sinner who was mourning and groaning under his sin and misery; that is, lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. A little for the opening of the words.

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us—lest Satan overreach us. The word in the Greek signifies to have more than-belongs to one. The comparison is taken from the greedy merchant, who seeks and takes all opportunities to beguile and deceive others. Satan is that wily merchant, that devours, not widows' houses—but most men's souls!

We are not ignorant of Satan's devices, or plots, or machinations, or stratagems. He is but a Christian in title only, who has not personal experience of Satan's stratagems, his set and composed machinations, his artificially molded methods, his plots, darts, depths, whereby he outwitted our first parents.

The main observation that I shall draw from these words is this—That Satan has his several devices to deceive, entangle, and undo the souls of men. I shall—

1. Prove the point.

2. Show you his several devices.

3. Show the remedies against his devices.

4. Show how it comes to pass that he has so many various devices to deceive, entangle, and undo the souls of men.

5. Lay down some propositions concerning Satan's devices.


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