"By persuading the soul that hte work of repentance is an easy work, and that therefore the soul need not make such a matter of sin."
It is worth repeating Brooks' explanation of this device: "Why! Suppose you do sin, saith Satan, it is no such difficult thing to return, and confess, and be sorrowful, and beg pardon, and cry, 'Lord, have mercy upon me!' and if you do but this, God will cut the score, and pardon your sins, and save your souls. By this device Satan draws many a soul to sin, and makes many millions of souls servants or rather slaves to sin." To combat this device consider:
- That repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.
- The nature of true repentance. By this Brooks means, 1) The formal act of repentance is a changing and converting. 2) The subject changed and converted is the whole man. 3) The terms of this change and conversion, from which and to which both heart and life must be changed; from sin to God.
- That repentance is a continued act
- That if the work of repentance were such an easy work as Satan would make it to be, then certainly so many would not lie roaring and crying out of wrath and eternal ruin under the horrors and terrors of conscience, for not repenting; yea, doubtless, so many millions would not go to hell for not repenting, if it were such an easy thing to repent.
- That to repent of sin is as great a work of grace as not to sin.
- That he that now tempts thee to sin upon this account, that repentance is easy, will, ere long, to work thee to despair, and for ever to break the neck of thy soul, present repentance as the difficultest and hardest work in the world.
This is, perhaps, one of the most important sections in the entire book. If one comes to understand that repentance is a work of grace and is not an "easy" thing to do then it disarms Satan of one of his favorite weapons. How often have you taken sin lightly becasue you assumed that you could repent later? Recently, I had the opportunity to counsel a teenager that was flirting with the things of the world. This person was very close to forsaking the gospel (at least for a season in her mind) and run after the pleasures of the world. I used some of Brooks' thoughts here as well as numerous Scriptures, helping her see that such a decision puts her on really shaky ground. How do you know God will allow you to come to repentance? May we tremble at the prospect of sin.
"Thou art as well able to melt a [diamond], as to melt thine own heart; to turn a flint into flesh, as to turn thine own heart to the Lord; to raise the dead and to make a world, as to repent." (56)
"Repentance for sin is nothing worth without repentance from sin." (57, footnote)
"Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man's conscience; and therefore a soul truly penitent strikes at all, hates all, conflicts with all, and will labor to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all." (58)
"Repentance is no transient act, but a continued act of the soul." (61)