Yesterday, we introduced our adult Sunday School class to the English Puritan Thomas Brooks (1608-1680), the author of our next study book, Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices. Over the next quarter, we will read together the Puritan Paperback edition of this important and useful book, published in an attractive format by the Banner of Truth.
Though little is known about Thomas Brooks’s personal biography, Pastor Groff drew from extant biographical sketches of the beloved Brooks to discuss four features of the Puritan’s significant ministry.
- Thomas Brooks was a highly esteemed military chaplain. His writing reflects a certain directness, urgency, and intensity that that matches the life and livelihood of the seasoned warrior.
- Thomas Brooks was not detached from the national concerns and affairs of his time, though it seems that he did not have any political ambitions himself. After his initial service as a chaplain at sea, he ministered in London for his entire life.
- Thomas Brooks was first and foremost a pastor, and his writings bear this out. He was chiefly concerned with the spiritual condition of his hearers. While Brooks knew that those to whom he ministered were occupied with matters of war and conflict, he was confident that there was no greater war than that against the chief enemies of God and man, sin and Satan.
- Through all the political turmoil, ecclesiastical controversies, and personal ups and downs of Brooks’s life, his ministry was buoyed and buttressed by the stalwart support of his wife Martha Burgess who was remarkable in prayer. Brooks would testify at her death, “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 (i.e., the Church), and the great concerns of her own soul, when them about her did judge it more expedient that she had been in her bed, by reason of some bodily infirmity that did hang upon her; but the divine pleasures that she took in her [prayer corner] did drown the sense of pain.” The fact that Brooks would marry again sometime in the four years between Martha’s death and his own departure to glory is itself a testimony to the importance of a steadfast and supportive wife to the ministry and well-being of our Puritan.
You can watch Pastor Groff’s 30-minute lesson on the life and ministry of Brooks in the embedded video above. For a .pdf transcript of the lesson, click here. To access Pastor Groff’s timeline of the life and ministry of Thomas Brooks, click here.