Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) is a Puritan that you need to read (you can find many of his works online here). Unlike many pastors, he stayed in London during the Great Plague of 1665, faithfully tending his flock. He lost his first wife, Martha Burgess, a godly woman whom he greatly treasured, in 1676. He wrote of her, “She was always best when she was most with God in a corner. She has many a whole day been pouring out her soul before God for the nation, for Zion, and the great concerns of her own soul.” He later married a young God-fearing woman named Patience Cartwright. They were described this way: “she spring-young, he winter-old.” I love that! Brooks died in 1680 and John Reeve, who preached at the funeral, said Brooks had “a sweet nature, great gravity, large charity, wonderful patience, and strong faith.”
In his book Heaven on Earth, Thomas Brooks describes the sweetness and joy that can be ours when we kill sin, particularly those “darling sins” that we love so much-
The fourth motive to provoke you to the mortifying of your darling sins, is, solemnly to consider, that the conquest and effectual mortifying of one bosom sin, will yield a Christian more glorious joy, comfort, and peace— than ever he has found in the gratifying and committing of all other sins. The pleasure and sweetness which follows victory over sin, is a thousand times beyond that seeming sweetness which is in the gratifying of sin. The joy which attends the subduing of sin—is a noble joy, a pure joy, a special joy, an increasing joy, and a lasting joy. But that joy which attends the committing of sin—is an ignoble joy, a corrupt joy, a decreasing joy, a dying joy. The truth is–if there were the least real joy in sin, there could be no hell-torments, where men shall most totally sin, and be most totally tormented with their sin.
Ah! doubting Christians, as ever you would have good days, as ever you would walk in the light, as ever you would, like the angels, have always harps in your hands, and hallelujahs in your mouths—be restless, until in the spirit and power of Jesus, you have brought under control, that sin which sticks so close unto you. Remember this, nothing below the conquest of bosom sins can make a jubilee in the heart. It is not a man’s whining and complaining over sin—but his mortifying of sin, which will make his life a paradise of pleasure.
Here’s to our churches becoming a paradise of pleasure!