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The Mute Christian under the Smarting Rod Paperback – January 10, 2011
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Brooks begins his treatise by proposing a Doctrine--"That it is the great duty and concernment of gracious souls to be mute and silent under the greatest afflictions, the saddest providences, and sharpest trials that they meet with in this world." A Selected quote adds to our understanding of his proposed Doctrine--"If God's hand be not seen in the affliction, the heart will do nothing but fret and rage under affliction." Brooks also enumerates and responds to ten different Objections to this Doctrine and follows with "helps and directions that may contribute to the silencing and stilling of your souls under the greatest afflictions, the sharpest trials, and the saddest providences that you meet with in this world."
Thomas Brooks deals with suffering in a way that modern Christian writers rarely do. He writes from the perspective of God's sovereignty, and writes as a man that was living at the time when life was hard and short for most of the population. Death of children before adulthood was common. Plagues were a fact of life. Even so, the Puritan divines lived in the sure belief in the holiness and goodness of God. Suffering was understood as the discipline of a loving God dealing with his children, shaping them into the image of Christ. That being so, Brooks writes a short and direct treatise. The points he outlines are supported with rich amounts of scriptural reference and life examples.
Reading the Puritans is not light work. The language of the age can make it slow. But that is all the better for chewing on the thoughts. The patient reader can glean a wealth of wisdom. For the Christian who is suffering, this book addresses the real issue. Not why he is suffering, or how might he find an end to the trial, but how should he respond to suffering. Yes, there is a sinful response to suffering, and there is a righteous response. Brooks helps the sufferer identify sinful responses and seek holy ones.