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Heaven On Earth Kindle Edition
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One of the greatest comforts for a Christian is that they are "accepted in the Beloved". It is not presumption or arrogance and we can say with Paul "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6 verse 14)
Thomas Brooks gives a thorough breakdown on the nature of assurance, why we should strive to attain it and how assurance renders burdens light.
Brooks was a learned man and he backs up his teaching with several Scriptures (this was a trait of the Puritans who were men of the Word). He also had an in-depth knowledge of the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. Here is an example:
"Oh but that glorious righteousness about which faith is conversant, is an unshaken righteousness, a righteousness which cannot be shaken: Psalm 36:6, "Your righteousness is like the great mountains," or rather, as it is in the Hebrew, "Your righteousness is like the mountains of God."
Brooks was also a scholar in ancient history and he frequently uses this to explain his teaching as shown here:
"What Alexander (the Great) said of his two friends, is applicable to many in our day; says he, "Haehestion loves me as I am Alexander--but Craterus loves me as I am King Alexander." One loved him for his person, the other for the benefits he received by him. So true Christians love Christ for his person, for his personal excellency, for his personal beauty, for his personal glory;"
In places this book is theologically very deep and as with other works by Thomas Brooks is not just to be read once but can be used as a reference book.
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"...the weakest Christian is as much justified, as much pardoned, as much adopted, and as much united to Christ--as the strongest Christian. The weakest Christian has as much interest and propriety in Christ, as the highest and noblest Christian who breathes; though he cannot make so much advantage and improvement of his interest and propriety as the strong Christian, who has a greater degree of grace...A man may have true grace, and yet lack assurance...as the least grace, if true and sincere, is sufficient to salvation, so the sense of the least grace should be sufficient to your consolation...These two lovers, grace and assurance, are not by God so nearly joined together but that they may by sin on our side, and justice on God's, be put asunder...be much in believing, and make only the Scripture the judge of your condition; maintain the judgment of the word against the judgment of sense and feeling; and if upon a serious, sincere, and impartial comparing of your heart and the word together, of your ways and the word together, the word speaks you out to be sincere...Faith trades in invisible things, in eternal things. Its eye is always upwards, like the fish uranoscopos, which has but one eye, and yet looks continually up to heaven...Christ will be all in all--or he will be nothing at all."
From the previous reviews of the paperback version, I suggest that those who prefer to read it on the Kindle will equally profit from this entry.
Why does God sometimes withhold,for a time,assurance to some believers?- "...to reveal the strength of their graces" p.34"...a little grace will put a man upon those services that are costly and contrary to the old man." Another reason the author gives is that the one who has assurance withheld comes to be more fully convinced of the exceeding sinfulness of sin.-p.35"...no bitterness so bitter as sin,that keeps my soul from that sweet assurance."
One of the motives for believers to earnestly seek a well grounded assurance-"Satan labors to keep Christians from assurance because Satan knows that assurance is manna in a wilderness,...assurance is a salve for all sores,...a remedy against every malady,...assurance is a Christians anchor at sea."-Whether a Christian has assurance does not affect their true standing before God,but it can and will affect their comfort and their usefulness in this life.One part of having a well grounded Biblical assurance is honest self examination in the light of God's Holy Word.It is the pinnacle of danger to have an assurance that is false.One of the means of having a well grounded assurance-p.152"...It is the close walking Christian that shall be crowned with assurance,assurance is a choice part of a believers happiness,and therefore God will never give it out of a way of holiness."
Brooks gives ten advantages which accompany assurance-1."...it will give you a possession of heaven"-a believer can experience two heavens;heaven in this life and also in the life to come.A well grounded assurance will enable you to experience 'Heaven On Earth' in this present life.If I have confidence that God is with me(and that confidence is Biblically based)who(or what)can ultimately be against me? Nothing on earth or in heaven!! 2."Assurance will be a choice preservative to keep you from backsliding from God"-If you are diligent in making your calling and election sure,you will likely still stumble,but you will not ultimately fall into apostasy.
Thomas Brooks' 'Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices' is one of the best books on dealing with sin and temptation and 'Heaven On Earth' is absolutely one of the finest treatises on assurance of salvation ever published.Brooks writings are as important and relevant today as they were when first published more than three centuries ago.