From Parasite to Tyrant

The pleasures of sin are very short; in the midnight Judas receiveth the money, and in the morning hangeth himself: “The pleasures of sin are but for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Till we sin, Satan is a parasite; but when once we are in the devil’s hands, he turns tyrant.

—Thomas Manton
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 10:345.


The “Kill Joy” Objection

Never more make such objections as these:

If I leave off the ways of sin and enter upon the service of God and become religious, then I must be tied up to strictness and preciseness, must bid adieu to liberty, must see no more good days, shall never more have any such pleasant, merry days and nights as I have had in time past. I must leave my former company that I used to drink and be merry with, and must forever be tied up to self-denial, to chastity and temperance, must deny my senses, must be forced to keep under my body and bring it into subjection, must be forced to fight against my own flesh and blood, must become a melancholy, mopish, dull creature. And instead of drinking, rioting and wantonness, I must be forced to pray and read the Scriptures, and sit sighing and weeping for my sins, and so I must be forced to spend the remainder of my days if I become religious.

Alas, how miserably blind are sinners, to fancy themselves happy when they are serving the devil for the wages of eternal death. They are led like an ox to the slaughter; they are fatted for hell in Satan’s pen. They are allured by Satan’s bait to be taken by his hook. They think themselves at liberty when they are bondslaves to sin and the devil and are laboring hard, go through many difficulties and dangers. They labor in perpetual fears and stings of conscience, and all to work out their own ruin, all to lay up wrath against the day of wrath; and yet this their miserable state is what they call their liberty, that [which] they so fear being deprived of upon their entrance on a religious course of life. A deliverance from this power of Satan and  their lusts, and from the vexatious accusations of conscience and fears of death and hell and condemnation to eternal torments, is the bondage they are afraid of if they enter upon the service of God, although God will give them the liberty of his own children, will give them the glorious freedom, the free exercise of themselves in heavenly, noble and exalted delights and pleasures, the least of which are more eligible than all the satisfactions that are enjoyed in seventy years of a sensual life.

Wherefore, let sinners never more make such foolish objections against the service of God. For you may be assured this day as from God, if you will enter upon his service, he will give the full liberty of doing whatever tends to your own good and advantage, or to your own pleasure. He will [give] you liberty to recreate and delight yourself in the best, the purest and most exquisite pleasures, as much as you please, without any restraint.

—Jonathan Edwards
Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Yale University Press, 1992), 10:629–630.


Blaming Satan

Oftentimes men charge that upon the devil that is to be charged upon their own hearts

Though Satan has his devices to draw souls to sin, yet we must be careful that we do not lay all our temptations upon Satan, that we do not wrong the devil, and attribute that upon him that is to be attributed upon our own base hearts.

Sin and shifting blame came into the world together. This is no small baseness of our hearts, that they will be wicked, ay, very wicked, and yet will attribute that wickedness upon Satan.

Man has an evil root within him

Were there no devil to tempt him, nor no wicked men in the world to entice him, yet that root of bitterness, that cursed sinful nature that is in him, would draw him to sin, though he knows beforehand that “the wages of sin is eternal death” (Rom 6:23), “for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies” (Matt 15:19).

The whole frame of man is out of frame

The understanding is dark, the will cross, the memory slippery, the affections crooked, the conscience corrupted, the tongue poisoned, and the heart wholly evil, only evil, and continually evil. Should God chain up Satan, and give him no liberty to tempt or entice the sons of men to vanity or folly, yet they would not, yet they could not but sin against him, by reason of that cursed nature that is in them, that will still be a-provoking them to those sins that will provoke and stir up the anger of God against them (Jude 15, 16).

Satan hath only a persuading sleight, not an enforcing might

He may tempt us, but without ourselves he cannot conquer us. He may entice us, but without ourselves he cannot hurt us. Our hearts carry the greatest stroke in every sin. Satan can never undo a man without himself; but a man may easily undo himself without Satan. Satan can only present the golden cup, but he hath no power to force us to drink the poison that is in the cup. He can only present to us the glory of the world, he cannot force us to fall down and worship him. He can only spread his snares, he hath no power to force us to walk in the midst of his snares.

Therefore do the devil so much right, as not to excuse yourselves, by your accusing him, and laying the load upon him, that you should lay upon your own hearts.

—Thomas Brooks
Adapted from The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, 1:152–153.

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