Well, I just started reading Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices. I have been reminded of how much I love the Puritans. Their sweet humility that radiates warmth, rather than the more common false modesty, paired with their robust understanding of the Scriptures is a much needed relief from most of whats available and what is easy and attractive. That said, here is Brooks’ description of his desire and intent for his own people; it is visionary, simple and warm. It resonates with me deeply when I think of the church, here and in the West:
“My desires for you are, ‘That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God’ (Eph. 3:16-19); and ‘That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyfulness’ (Col. 1:10-11); ‘That ye do no evil’ (2 Cor. 13:7); ‘That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment;’ ‘That ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere, and without offence till the day of Christ’ (Phil 1:27, 4:1); and that ‘out God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the food pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power’; ‘That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Thess. 1:11, 12). And that you may be eminent in sanctity, sanctity being Zion’s glory (Ps. 93.5); that your hearts may be kept upright, your judgments sound, and your lives unblameable. That as ye are now ‘my joy’, so in the day of Christ you may be ‘my crown’; that I may see my labours in your lives; thsat your conversation may not be earthly, when the things you hear are heavenly; but that it may be ‘as becomes the gospel’ (Phil 1:9-10). That you as the fishes which live in the salt sea yet are fresh, so you, though you live in an uncharitable world, may yet be charitable and loving; that ye may, like the bee, suck honey out of every flower; that ye may shine in a sea of troubles, as the pearl shines in the sky, though it grows in the sea; that in all your trials you may shine like the stone in Thracia, that neither burneth in the fire nor sinketh in the water; that ye may be like the heavens, excellent in substance and beautiful in appearance; that so you may meet me with joy in that day wherein Christ shall say to his Father, ‘Lo, here am I, and the children that thou has given me (Is. 8:18).
My desires to you are, That you would make it your business to study Christ, his word, your own hearts, Satan’s plots, and eternity, more than ever; That ye would endeavour more to be inwardly sincere than outwardly glorious; to live, than to have a name to live; That ye would labour with all your might to be thankful under mercies, and faithful in your places, and humble under divine appearances, and fruitful under precious ordinances; that as your means and mercies are greater than others’, so your account before God may not prove a worse than others’; That ye would pray for me, who am not worthy to be named among the saints, that I may be a precious instrument in the hand of Christ to bring many souls unto him, and to build up those that are brought in in their most holy faith; and ‘that utterance may be given to me, that I may make known all the will of God’ (Eph. 6:19); that I may be sincere, faithful, frequent, fervent and constant in the work of the Lord, and that my labour be not in vain in the Lord; that my labours may be accepted in the Lord and his saints, and I may daily see the travail of my soul.”
– Thomas Brooks 1652, Precious remedies against Satan’s devices, The Epistle Dedicatory