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Heaven on Earth (Puritan Paperbacks) Paperback – October 1, 1961
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'All saints shall enjoy a heaven when they leave this earth; some saints enjoy a heaven while they are here on earth. That saints might enjoy two heavens is the project of this book.' --Joseph Caryl
About the Author
Little is known about Thomas Brooks as a man, other than can be ascertained from his many writings. Born, probably of well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1625. He was licensed as a preacher of the gospel by 1640 at the latest. Before that date he seems to have spent a number of years at sea, probably as a chaplain with the fleet. After the Civil War, Brooks became minister at Thomas Apostle's, London, and was sufficiently renowned to be chosen as preacher before the House of Commons on 26 December, 1648. Three or four years later he moved to St Margaret's, Fish-street Hill, London, but encountered considerable opposition as he refused baptism and the Lord's Supper to those clearly 'unworthy' of such privileges. The following years were filled with written as well as spoken ministry. In 1662 he fell victim to the notorious Act of Uniformity, but he appears to have remained in his parish and to have preached the Word as opportunity offered. Treatises continued to flow from his agile pen. In 1677 or 1678 he married for the second time, 'she spring-young, he winter-old'. Two years later he went home to his Lord.
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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.